Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fresco, Jaya Grocer, Ipoh Parade

Jaya Grocer has opened for almost a year in Ipoh Parade, trying to gain the niche market share with most of its premium imported items. Many years back, Cold Storage failed to capture and sustain their business here and how would Jaya Grocer now? So far so good I guess as it seems that there are still many who can afford and are willing to spend on premium items. And with regards to Fresco, their in house cafe/restaurant which provides good quality food at a slightly higher than average price a normal Ipohian would pay.... are doing pretty well.

Both of us underestimated the portion here. Having order a pasta and a chicken dish, yours truly have some cravings for Lasagne. Arghhh I underestimated the portion served or rather I overestimated my feasting capacity, 3 dishes for 2 people is overpowering indeed! Coming back to the lasagne, its available in both chicken or beef filling, I opted for the red meat counterpart though. The lasagne is to be collected on your own after you have paid at the counter while the staff is pre-heating it. Underneath a generous layer of gooey cheese lies layers of flat pasta dough with minced beat and tomato sauce. The RM17.90 may be a big pricey for a ready-to-eat dish but the generous amount of meat and cheese make up to the price tag

Spaghetti Aglio Olio Fresco is al dente spaghetti tossed in olive oil, garlic and chilli flakes. With generous serving of beef bacon and mushroom, it is worth paying for that slightly extra at RM21.90. The beef bacon is slightly on the chewy side unlike the non-halal version elsewhere which may have bacon chips fried to crispy bits. The presence of chili flakes could not be ignored as the tongue of yours truly acknowledge the heat from this dish. My dining partner found that the olive oil infused with the pungency of garlic worked well hand in hand with the chili flakes though.

Harissa Chicken – smoked boneless butterflied chicken breast which is well marinaded. The charred lines add to the smoky flavor and a slightly dry surface but maintained tender within. To make it a balanced meal, there is a serving of mashed potato and mixed mesclun salad with citrus and capsicum coulis, scoring additional points in terms of food presentation. For RM18.90 I will recommend you to go for this dish instead of the Quarter Roast Chicken at RM17.90 as it is a made to order dish and the Harissa Chicken offer a more appetizing mixed mesclun salad in place of the coleslaw.

The Harissa Chicken looks smaller in portion the second time I visit. Seems like one piece of chicken breast of the portion of the earlier photo being split into 2 separate pieces here. Hmmm...

Spaghetti Fresco should not disappoint since it is bearing its brand name. It is a dry version similar to the Aglio Olio, just that it is served with grilled vegetables, sundried tomatoes, chilli and herbs. Instead of beef bacon, you get 5 pieces of medium sized deshelled prawns. Both the Aglio Olio and this dish have their own distinctive taste. Ideal for those who wish to have their pasta without the usual tomato based sauce or any creamy sauce. Nevertheless I will try their Cabonara one day.

This is the Spicy Lamb Meatballs (RM17.90) - 5 pieces of coarsely minced lamb could do more than just being an appetizer as the size of the meatball is quite generous. The size of one meat ball can be equivalent to almost 3 pieces of those meat balls at those Chinese soup noodle stalls

Quarter Roast Chicken (RM17.90) is a similar sight you may find in Kenny Rogers. Served with brown sauce and a serving of mashed potato and coleslaw, one can opt for premium sides at RM20.90 per set. If I am not mistaken, the premium sides include plain aglio olio spaghetti, mixed mesclun salad, mixed sauted vegetable for your pick. The meat is moist and tender making it one of the most common dish ordered here (probably most people do not realize the is a more extensive made-to-order menu)

The Double Steak and Bacon Burger appeared tempting in terms of name and photo illustrated on the menu. Nevertheless the burger portion is quite big to be finished by one person. The meat portion is very substantial with slices of grilled beef steak (slightly overcook and cheswy) with grilled beef bacon as well, complemented with assorted vegetables like carrots and zucchini dressed in a balsamic vinegar-like dressing and caramelized onions. The bun is well toasted resulting into a rather dry texture instead of a fluffy one. I don't really fancy the overdose of butter used to toast the bun hence I will give this dish a miss. At RM24.90 the meat and portion is really generous and the side serving of fries makes this a dish meant for sharing. All in all, most of the items here did impressed me and I will be back again to check out other meat dishes like the Hickory Sauce Oxtail and Moroccan Lamb. By the way, you can purchase certain chilled meat or salmon from Jaya Grocer with the green sticker on the packaging, indicating that Fresco will cook for you for a minimum fee or free if you order side dish to go along the meat. Wagyu anyone? :)