Friday, February 17, 2012

TGI Friday's with my coursemate

It was a rainy Saturday evening, but I'm very happy to see my course mates brace through the rain and jam of course. Our reunion dinner this year was held after the 15 days of CNY, so there was no need  to have a Chinese full course set dinner. That's why we had it in a Western cuisine environment. Considering PJ area to be the midpoint, TGI Friday was a good option as it brings back nostalgic and fond memories of birthdays celebrated here during final years (during first years, it was just fast food chain or mamaks, second year is always held in Wong Kuok for the complimentary giant milk tea)

Lets take a short review on the food, after all this is supposed to be a food blog. Girl from Kuantan ordered steak.... forgot this was the Tennessee Steak or Sirloin Steak. What I remembered was it didn't come cheap, around RM60. A bottle of Strongbow was ordered to satiate her carnivorous appetite. QA Executives DO NOT earn much, but that doesn't mean we do not know how to pamper ourselves. Well, she has been promoted to Senior Executive recently, so congrats sis! (When is my turn? FML!)

Similarly, if you are not staying in KL, why not go all out and order according to your heart's desire. I went for the promotional Best Beef Ribs with a choice of 3 new sauces which i went for Mustard Herb BBQ Sauce. 7 slabs of beef ribs were arranged casually alongside crispy fries, onion rings and apple coleslaw... As described in the menu, they are indeed fall-off-the-bone tender, fire grilled and glazed to perfection. This gargantuan portion cost me RM56.90, a worthy price to pay, best if the portion is shared. I find the version here is better than Tony Roma's cause its juicier and tender.

Chargrilled North Atlantic Salmon Fillet served with seasoned vegetables and cheddar cheese mashed potatoes.

This should be the Chicken and Shrimp Diablo. Tender, seasoned chicken and shrimp sautéed in olive oil, then blended in a fiery tomato Diablo sauce. Served on linguine pasta with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

Local KL-ites had the Chicken Ceasar Salad. Tired of eating posh food everyday... or just low on budget perhaps? Hehehehe....

Double Stack Chicken Quasidallas. Chargrilled chicken, Colby and Jack cheeses and caramelized onions and peppers double stacked in flour tortillas. Served with herb rice, fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream and salsa. (I copied the description from the TGIF website as I did not try my friends' food). But honestly, this is quite a big portion... especially the amount of carbohydrate.

Cedar Seared Salmon Pasta. It's something like a  typical Cabonara. Just the slight difference that  fettuccine is doused with a  blend of creamy Alfredo white sauce.

Key West Whitefish.... Errr, whats a white fish? Hehehe.... For the health freaks =p
 Great time of updating each other on hows life. Some of us haven't been meeting each other since convocation!!! Its our 3rd reunion... I missed the last two gatherings, so it has been nearly 3 years since we saw each other. There were 17 of us, a number to be proud of. Kudos to those who traveled from far... Kuantan, Johor Bahru and yours truly from Ipoh who made this gathering a success. And for those who are in KL but still play the anti-social game (or some who only hang out with their high class strata of friends only) and need me as the organizer to beg you and keep reminding you to meet up, you suck! Seriously, YOU SUCK BIG TIME since university days from being an outcast voluntarily. Cause 17 of us had a great time sharing our joyous moments in our career and love life! Some have registered their marriage and planning on their wedding dinner soon, some got their first house, some promoted at work, some finally had their first girlfriend and also someone who is getting married to a Taiwanese and migrating there!

A group photo before we parted off. Can't wait for our next gathering. I think no need wait till next CNY... cause there will be a lot of "summonses" issued out this year. Hehehe.... No second round for us that night but there is second round for me... Read on. Stay tune for the next blog posting. =)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ko Hyang, Korean Country Delights @ The Gardens, Midvalley

 "Train ke Seremban akan tiba dalam masa 3 minit. Train to Seremban will be arriving in 3 minutes". This announcment in the KL Sentral station brings back bitter sweet memories of my KL life as a student few years ago. It's great to step my foot back in KL soil back again for the weekend. For the first time I travelled by ETS. It's RM25 per way for Silver Class. The trip was 30 minutes faster than the usual KTM Intercity, which I think costs RM20 now (in contrast to RM12 in those day for economic class). Well, since there is not much price difference, I opted for the ETS which was a bit more comfy and silent throughout the 2 1/2 hour journey from Ipoh to KL Sentral.

 Arrived at Midvalley and found out things haven't changed much. While waiting for my friends, I could not help but to dine alone first. Considering it will be Western food for the dinner gathering, I would go for something Asian. No Chinese food please, so its either Japanese or Korean. Since Sushi Zanmai was full, I have to opt to try some Korean cuisine in De Garden. Ko Hyang is an open restaurant concept, without walls, tables around the open kitchen. They only serve 3 types of Banchan - kimchi, sugar glazed anchovies with sesame and appetiser comprising fishcakes, cocktail sausages and capsicum. Their Korean rice tea has a pleasant aroma and has a hint of honey.

 My meal of the day - Korean Rice Cakes with Dumplings in Soup (RM15.90). It was my first time trying Korean Rice cakes. In my previous visit to Korean restaurants, I wanted to order the Rice Cakes cooked with Kimchi. Since my tummy was craving for something soupy and warm, I opted for the "clear broth" version to avoid any possibilities of stomach discomfort due to spicy soup.

 A closer look to the dumpling -filled with minced chicken and chives. On top of the dumpling is the rice cake. Quite chewy, it reminds me of the "Pak Gor" (a noodle dish) which some siu chows in KL will fry them. The soup is quite bland, but lightly flavoured from the seaweed, egg, sesame oil and some toppings of minced beef.

This place is pork free... but can be considered HALAL too as it bears an logo of a unrecognised Halal certification body. Not highly recommended... as what is Korean food without pork right? =p

Friday, February 10, 2012

Healy Mac, Ipoh - Irish themed bar

 At first I thought Healy Mac was another copycat of the sudden bloom of bistro/pubs/bars/chillout places trend in Ipoh, particularly a mimic to the St Patrick Irish Bar theme. I was wrong to find out that they are actually a chain store, just like Overtime. You can read more about their website here. This is their third outlet, situatied in a corner lot in the same row with big guns Berlin Bier House and ChaTime.

 Ambience is quite welcoming with portraits of the Irish pride, Whisky on the wall. There is a Leprechaun doll or two hanging around the barrels/tap at the bar counter. Background music is mainly hits from the 80s, featuring numbers like Beat It and Sweet Child Of Mine, shown in their MTVs version on a LCD screeens around the bar area. The crowd here are mostly from the working age group. No sign of any Ah Beng, golden haired La la Chais nor any fish net stocking Ah Lian throughout the whole 2 hour chilling out session on a Thursday evening.

 Ambience aside, lets move to review the food - Organic Pork Spare Ribs. I do not know how organic this can be, but the meat was indeed very tender and fell off the bone without much effort to rip it. Tasted a bit mild without much overdone with the sweetish BBQ sauce, they take pride in incorporating Guiness Stout to marinade/glaze the ribs. Served with a side of buttered corn and carrot and a scoop of mashed potato, this is comfort food to go along with your beer/Stout!

 Grilled Fillet of Salmon was our pick from the 3 fish dishes in the menu. IMHO, I find the menu to be quite limited. Perhaps they want to make sure they give you the best that they can offer. Its either fish and chips, cod fish or salmon. The salmon is served in a chunky cut drizzled with some white wine sauce. Portion of the fish is not very big. But the sides of Guacamole, sun dried tomatoes, mashed potato and mixed vegetables should make it a wholesome meal.

 This is the Aglio Olio with Bacon Bits and Smoked Salmon looked a bit childish in terms of presentation but it was quite nice! Perhaps I have a soft spot for bacon! and also smoked salmon!!! Lightly tossed in olive oil infused with some garlic, this dish tastes better than it looks.

 The Mixed Sausages platter comprising Emmenthaler, Frankfurter, Hungarian, Thuringer Sausages. A mustard-wasabi dipping sauce is served but it doesn't complement the sausages well. Nothing really spectacular about this dish, except being a good finger food for beer.

Last but not least, the photo of the bill. Hehe... This are the sides of mashed potatoes and Sauerkraut which comes along with the sausage platter. They are served on a wooden like tray which normally used to present the bill. =.= Poor presentation here. Anyway the total bill for 4 of us come to nearly RM200. They have various type of beers, both drafted from the tap or in bottle form. The Carlsberg draft here is RM35 a jug which is quite reasonably priced. Kilkenny and Strongbow and various type of hard liquor and cocktails are also available. There you go, another "in trend competitor". How well will Healy Mac fare, it depends on Ipoh people! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Folie Folie Cafe and Grill

Although it has been opened for a couple of years (I think), I only paid a visit last week. Time to give my parents a good dinner treat. Mom went for Traditional Fish and Chips as she could not really find something she likes from the limited choices in the menu. 2 pieces of battered Dory fish on a bed of crinkle cut fries. Served with a bed of lettuce and Thousand Island sauce. Dory fish flesh was a bit too moist and bland. The fries was not fried to perfection, a bit overdone.

Roasted Chicken Leg with a choice of Mushroom/Black Pepper Sauce. Served with generous servings of baked potatoes and baby tomatoes. The potatoes are well flavoured from the inside out. The chicken if a bit too dry to my liking. Perhaps it would be better if a bit more gravy were to go along with it.

This is their version of Cabonara served with Chicken Ham (its a pork free restaurant). The presence of the creamy gravy is not really sensed by the eye but was detected by your taste buds. The strong aroma of cheese boosted this dish to be more appetizing. The shitake mushrooms were one of my favourite. Lightly sauteed with a faint hint of garlic, it added a touch of umami and was the saving grace as I always looked upon  the bacon bits to play its significant part in a good old plate of Carbonara. Despite being a bit dryer, the version here is not bad.

Carlsberg is the only draft beer available. Half a pint at RM8. That's quite a steal. And their 1/2 pint seems to be quite a lot. Maybe its due to the tall glass design. I really like the beer here. Although its draft beer, its not too dilute or "less gassy".

Baked Cheese Rice with Seafood in White Sauce. A well done effort compared to the likes of Wong Kuok/Kim Gary. The rice seems to have a mild wok hei which I think they pan fry it a little to get rid of excess moisture and to lock in the fragrance. This extra step plays a big role to avoid the dish being too messy and moist when mixed with the creamy sauce and cheese later.

Beef bacon with Enoki Mushroom rolls. No pork bacon as its a pork free cafe. They were a bit too generous with the enoki, making is a bundle so big that its very hard for one go inside your mouth

The plate of Grilled Lamb Cuts (RM10.80). Very robust in flavour. Well marinaded. Meaty. But a bit on the chewy side. Makes good partnership with your booze. 

Folie-Folie Cafe and Grill is situated in the same compound as Kelab Gemilang Perak. Dunno what so grand about this club. Maybe got snooker centre, gym and sauna only gua.... The next time I'm here, I will come with a group of friends to unwind with the live band.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lee Burger

Talk about procrastination. These photos have been in my handphone for over a month and I decided to just do a quick coverage on Lee Burger, Bercham (corner shop behind the GP Food Court). Though near to my workplace, I only ate once or twice for lunch as I'm a firm believer that good food must be enjoyed in a slow paced, stress free period. Having the thought of need to return back to work after eating makes me sulk

There is nothing really extra spectacular about Lee Burger. Not the ambiance definitely, as it is not air conditioned. But its mainly the style of their Western food here. How many of you grew up visiting Thum's Western Food in Wooley for your Western Food Fix? I'm sure you will find the brown sauce used here very familiar. Not to mention the onion rings and the garlic toast served along with it...

Fancy a more filling meal? Opt for rice instead. There have Chicken Chop Rice, Pork Chop Rice, etc... mostly under RM10 but still it cost more than how you would normally spend on an average lunchtime right?

That is why I went during dinner. Enjoying my Chicken Cordon Bleu slowly (around RM13... forgot the price). You should by now noticed that the side dishes for the chops are the same. The crinkle cut fries, onion rings (from real whole rings of onions, lightly battered and fried), garlic toast and some coleslaw on a bed of lettuce. Having so much fried stuffs on the side, I could not imagine ordering Chicken Maryland.

Thankfully for my plate of Cordon Bleu, the brown sauce will make sure your meal will not be a dry one. A slice of ham and melting out in gusto as you dissect that deep fried slab of meat. By the way, they serve a PORK version of Cordon Bleu too.

The black pepper lamb chop (around RM17) comes in a generous portion, grilled to perfection. For most food items in the menu, you can top up RM3 on your ala carte price and upgrade it to be a set meal. RM3 means a bowl of soup of the day, drinks of either ice lemon tea/ iced lime and a serving of watermelon for dessert.

If that doesn't fill your stomach, and you do not feel like ordring spaghetti or sandwiches they have some Oriental offerings like Curry mee, stir fried chinese dishes and Red Wine Chicken Mee Suah (as shown as picture above). Served in a claypot, the serving is substantial for a person (around RM10) with a lot of boneless chicken meat. You feel the tinge of ginger alongside the red wine paste from Setiawan (not very generous in portion as the soup did not turn awfully red like those in Setiawan). If a bit more sesame oil is used, then it will be perfect. There you go, review of Lee Burger, Bercham! Happy weekend folks!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yea Won and Daorae Korean Cuisine

 One of the best part about Korean food is... There are a myriad of side dishes. Not only they are free, they are also refillable. Clueless on where to dine over the extended CNY period, a meal in a Chinese restaurant will most likely cost you an arm. Japanese and Korean cuisine which normally are on the higher end range seems like normal price during this festive season. Hence, we decided to have our dinner in Yea Won Korean Cuisine.

 Yea Won has been around for many years. I remember in those days, there was only 2 places for Korean food, one is Yea Won and the other Onix Jun. And Yew Won is surviving until now proves that they do have more than something to offer in their arsenal. The Bil-Bim-Bap looks colourful and appetizing. Served in a hot bowl, you can add in the beanpaste sauce for that extra savoury and pungent flavour. Available in beef or pork. RM18 per bowl.

Mom was too hungry and mixed the noodles before I could get a proper shot of her Hand Sliced Noodles with Chicken. From the menu, I noticed that authentic Korean cuisine do not have much chicken and fish in their menu. Most of the items are red meat, mainly beef and pork. Besides this soupy noodles, you can also give their Ginseng Chicken Soup a try if you insist on taking white meat only.

 Otherwise, join the majority and indulge in a beefy experience. This is the Short Rib Soup (RM25). Served with a bowl of rice, this soup is similar to the Ngau Lam. Just that you get generous amount of beef in a hearty broth. The beef is tender and could easily fall from the bone without much effort. Very nice dish indeed!

 The star of the night is none other than the hot plate BBQ meat. There are 3 different cuts of pork. One serving of 200g ranges from RM23-RM28 depending on standard belly or prime cuts. A minimum of 2 servings of meat is required for them to start off the hotplate. If pork isn't your cup of tea, you can always try the beef at around RM45-60 for 200g. If I recalled correctly, there is no chicken meat for the grill....

The meat are grilled without any marinade. The meat are unadulterated and you can taste the natural taste of the meat. Else, you can always dip it into light soya sauce with onions or a oil mixture with salt.

Grab some geens, drizzle abit with oil, put some bean paste, a pip of garlic, some pickled onions and a piece of pork. Don't bother to wrap it up nicely but do try to make sure your mouthful if filled of evey single ingredients' contribution. If you wish to take a break from Japanese cuisine, try Korean. It is a fresh dining experience and an appetizing one.

Yup, I had Korean BBQ in Daorae on the second day of CNY, thats around few days before I dined in Yea Won with my family. Daorae is more of a commercialized setting but they do invest in proper gadgets to ensure you get a pleasant dining experience possible. Daorae on the other hand has a slightly more variety of banchans which can be used to fill up your stomach if plain meat did not do the trick

The meat in Daorae is grilled over semi-direct contact with the charcoal flame, resulting in some slightly charred ends, which is indeed very tasty. The slight drawback about Daorae is.... after cooking, the waiter will dish out the meat into a small plate. The charcoal based furnace is then removed. I prefer Yea Won's practice whereby they just shut off the flame and let the heat from the hot plate preserve the temperature of the meat. You can take your time and wrap your meat in vege and chit chat along your meal, without needing to worry the meat will turn cold.

Final verdict.... I have the slight preference for Yea Won. Though Daorae serves lamb, chicken and sotong for the grill compared to the dual option of either beef of pork only in Yea Won. Well, after all, these are the 2 options available so far. Oh, I missed out Riche Montana in Ipoh Garden South. I wonder if they still have the BBQ menu.........