Thursday, June 22, 2017

Padi House, Greentown Ipoh

Wow, seems like Ipoh has attracted a lot of new food and beverages chain of urban caliber in the last 2 years. From Doma Modern Korean to Three Little Pigs to Morganfield's, the business area of Greentown is again revitalized with the addition of the 10th outlet of Padi House. If I am not mistaken, this is their first venture out of Klang Valley. Strategically located facing the main road, this corner lot is directly opposite Sushi Mentai, having the same row as Maxis service centre. The signboard is not very obvious though but you wont miss the well lit cream colour building with alot of bamboo trees as its natural perimeter fencing.

Yours truly visited this pork free franchise in Sri Petaling earlier this year. Having tried their cakes, I was not really amazed by the quality of the cakes.  After getting to know that they revised their pricing lower and omitting service charge, I decided to give this "new toilet" a try. When I arrived, I was greeted with additional bonus with complimentary drinking water. To make up for all these, you need to walk up to the counter and pass your order chit and make the payment on the spot. Well fair enough, I don't mind doing this as I save much from the omission of 10% service charge which works out to be almost RM10 for an average family dine out!

Here is the snapshot of the crowd at around 7:30pm on a Thursday evening. The decor is more on the minimalist with bright lighting, possibly a slightly different theme compared to their Klang Valley outlets. There are just around 5 tables which fit a group of four. while the other row caters to larger crowds of 8 and 10, but requiring them to sit on stools. On a rainy evening, the outside seats seems quite nice too with lighting bamboo trees backdrop. Okay, now off to review the food :)

Padi House Chicken Chop Rice (RM14) comes with a smaller portion of chicken thigh grilled and served with their brown onion sauce and topped with what I believed is herbed garlic butter. There is a scoop of rice underneath the sunny side up egg. To complete the meal, two spring rolls and a serving of coleslaw is served along. This serve as a cheaper (and more filling alternative to hardcore typical Asians who cannot survive without rice) proxy compared to the grilled chicken chop at RM20

Bearing a similar resemblance is the Vietnamese Chicken Chop Rice. The slight difference would be the grilled chicken is served dry with a sweetish and slightly sourish dipping sauce, midly flavoured with fish sauce. To get a more Asian touch, coleslaw is replaced with a Vietnamese salad consisting of onions, beansprouts, coriander and chilies. This comes at RM15 with the staples of sunny side up and spring rolls.

They have quite a good choice of pasta and western chops and steaks. I opted for the Lamb Chops with Pasta (RM26). One can opt for the Tomato Puree or the Aglio Olio. Presentation was really simple though, it looked even more plain if its not because yours truly crushed some fresh ground pepper on the aglio olio. The pasta was a bit too oily to my liking, but if its is really pure olive oil then I wouldn't mind. The fragrance of garlic is there while the dried chillies just managed to give a mild hint of aroma without any effects on the tongue. For those who wanted a tongue numbing experience, do add in more chilli flakes. The portion of the pasta is quite substantial, and being cooked to near al dente, I really like this texture, just like how pasta should be cooked. The lamb chops (or shoulders) are grilled to perfection. The cuts were very lean with practically no fats visible. Grilled to lightly charred, it was evident that the meat was substantially marinaded with some herbs. The brown onion sauce was served but I enjoyed eating the lamb just on its own. It may not be the best lamb chops yet it is better than most substandard cafes to say the least.

From the wok, they have choices from fried noodles to rice ranging from RM10-RM12. This is the Beef Fried Kuay Teow (RM10) which came with tender beef slices and eggs. I did not put high expectation on this as to recreate a similar taste as their benchmark primary outlet, stir fry dish depends very much on the skill of the cook rather than duplicating it from Standard Procedures or recipe. I was surprised that it tasted quite okay as the presence of "wok hei" is there though it is slightly on the oily and salty side. Of course it cannot replicate the taste from those renowned hawker stalls but certainly this attempt put many cafes to shame.

The same can be sad with the Singapore Fried Beehoon. There were 2 medium sized prawns, some fish cakes, an egg and most importantly, generous amount of wok hei put together. The older folks who do not prefer western dishes will nod their head in agreement with this. The portion is quite substantial and this bear a price tag of RM12. 

Going up the stairs house a much cosier seating ideal for a drink, snacks and a slice of cake perhaps. The setting is definitely not meant for a main meal. It will be great to sip good coffee after a heavy downpour and cooling night. But definitely not DURING a downpour as I see minimal shelter was constructed to protect patrons at the side balcony area upstairs.

A glimpse of their cake counter which yours truly feel is slightly below par. Perhaps I will just share two photos below which I did not even be bothered to purposely write a blog post solely for it earlier this year.

Their Classic Tiramisu which I had at their Sri Petaling outlet. As its a pork free outlet, I guess they skipped the coffee liquor too. Need I say more? I was disappointed again as its hard to get authentic Tiramisu taste nowadays with premium mascarpone cheese with strong espresso and coffee liquor. 

This is their Macadamia Cheesecake. It looks great in terms of presentation but taste-wise is just so-so. After eating the top layer which has a butterscoth-like caramal drizzle later, there was no punch from the cream cheese layer. You might beg to differ but considering I am paying RM10+ for this, some Secret Recipe variants taste much better than theirs.

Average spending is around RM15-25 per person depending on the dishes you order and whether would you want to order drinks (hot beverages to cold juices from RM3.50-RM7.90). As mentioned, this outlet is a non-service charged outlet and GST have not kicked in yet. They are currently having a opening promo of every RM100 spent, you will get a RM10 cash discount voucher on your next meal. Concurrently, ask them to give you an application form as they have limited amount of FREE membership cards to be given out. Member card bearers are entitled to 10% discount from their bill. So, take action and happy weekend!

For more photos and a full menu, please click on this link which leads to their Facebook page:

Monday, May 22, 2017

Doma Modern Korean Part 3

I think of my blogging history, I have never written 3 posts on a single restaurant before. And I think Doma Korean Cafe never fail to delight me every time I am there. Although this may be the 3rd post, yours truly has been dining there more than 3 times. And usually I could not stop help ordering a pork main dish, namely the BBQ pork ribs (Refer Part 2 of the review few months ago). I shall not repeat the similar dish in my three posts here as I am so driven to try every single item in their menu. But yet there are still certain perennial favourite I will order now and then

The Seafood Pancake (RM19) is likened to a flattened takoyaki which is bears a very soft and moist base, probably not like the typical Korean pancake you are expecting which has a thinner and well cooked base. Presentation wise, it is more like a pizza, with mayonnaise smothered on it and topped with bonito flakes. It was just barely average and I would advise you to skip this as there are more interesting items in the menu.

I accidentally ordered the Roasted Pork Belly as I pointed to the wrong item when I actually intended for the BBQ pork belly. I tried the BBQ Pork Belly on my first visit and intended to order it again to show my parents what is the great deal about it. Although the belly cuts may be similar for both BBQ and the Roasted version, the BBQ is more on the caramelized with melt in your mouth fat layers while the Roasted has a drier and tougher meat, probably due to the fat layer has solidified from different method of cooking. The price (RM35) portion and presentation wise (very delicate dollops of soya glaze and garlic chips all around) also bore similar resemblance but I still prefer the BBQ pork belly due to the unforgettable melt-in-your-mouth gelatinous fatty layers. Oh ya the purplish “sauce” is actually Blueberry Tofu Mousse, which tasted a bit unique although I can't really accept it wholly.

The Salmon Sashimi (RM25) comes in generous slices of salmon on top of a bed of mixed shredded cabbage. Well-seasoned with sesame based dressing (Kewpie perhaps?), this work of art is sprinkled with some black tobikko (fish roe) and edible flower petals. To be honest, the salmon slices may not be the at the freshest level, but the texture is still firm and sesame dressing managed to mask the slight “fishiness” which came along with it. Hardcore instagramers are highly advised to order this dish

The San Gye Tang (RM32) has a whole baby chicken in it and came piping hot in the ceramic bowl. As I have not tried San Gye Tang in other shops besides Daorae, I could not give a clear comparison. But taste-wise, I am more accustomed to Daorae’s version due to the choice of herbs mixture. And the one here is missing ingredients like glutinuous/high Calrose rice and walnuts which are usually “stuffed” along with the chicken, resulting into a cloudier and “sweeter” broth. Anyone of you tried their Ginseng Chicken Soup here and would like to share their thoughts?

Jap Chae is actually glass noodles stir fried with assorted vegetables like shitake mushrooms, carrots, daikon and spinach and sprinkled with sesame seed. Though this dish is meat-free, the umami taste comes from an appetizing blend of seasoning (sesame oil perhaps?) and good wok-hei while not causing the vegetables to be overcooked. Would you pay RM23 for rather “plain” noodles with vegetables only? Try it once; the taste may justify your decision to do so.

The Bul Dak contains generous mozzarella cheese as its base. The chicken cubes are stirred fried with onions in chilli based sauce. They are really generous with the portion of the mozzarella cheese. More cheese is sprinkled on top for good measure. This dish goes along perfectly with white rice. Slightly on the pricier side at RM31, but for the amount of cheese used, I strongly recommend it!

Look at the gooey cheese! If this does not entice any cheese lover, it will be hard to find something that will.
Repeat after me: CHeEEeEEeeSSSssSSEeEeZzz!!!!

As mentioned, drinks may be the slight flaw in Doma as they do not offer complimentary drinking water. Neither do they offer any for minimum price tag of RM1 like some cafes or restaurants. The cheapest drink would be soft drinks like Coke or 100 plus at RM6. Else, you might wanna top up another 1 buck to try something different like these Korean Fruit Drink. This is the Pear drink, and its manufactured by Coca Cola Manufacturing (Korea)!

Soju are also available here at RM8 per shot or RM27 per bottle. The cocktail flavoured ones are priced at RM30 per bottle (I opted for the Green Apple) The Korean pear drink (RM7) serves as a good flavouring agent if you wish to spice up your plain Soju a little. Or perhaps squeeze a few drops of lime into it. I would recommend you take the RM27 plain Soju as it has higher alcohol content 17.5% compared to the slightly more expensive fruit flavoured version at a weaker 11%.

There you go, the trilogy of the Doma review completed. Will yours truly come out with a fourth installment? Budae Jiggae (Korean Army Stew)? Calamari Salad? Bulgogi Beef Bowl? We'll just have to wait and see :)