Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jack n Grills Cafe and Steak House

Within Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh lies a new kid on the block named Jack n Grills (Photo credits belong to their Facebook fanpage). It replaces the former short-lived Isaac's Kitchen which occupied the iconic Crossover which shifted from Festival Walk. This lot has housed previous many failed short lived food and beverage business while other strong names like Yeolde English and Olivenz managed to stand the test of time (and customer base as well).

Following most cafes serving western chops and steaks, it is a norm that the menu include rice dishes as some people like the elderly could not be satisfied with potato as their carbohydrate fix, be it fries, wedges or mashed. While they omit items such as Nasi Lemak, Fried Rice, Fried Noodles or Tom Yam meehoon like how some cafes tweaked their menu, derivatives from the chicken chop or fried fish fillets are available here. At RM16.90, you here is a serving of Teriyaki Chicken Chop Rice. The chicken thigh is grilled to near perfection while maintaining its juiciness, the skin was slightly charred and aromatic. The teriyaki sauce has a good caramel-like feel, neither being too dilute nor viscous.

Moving on the menu, there is the generic Grilled Chicken Chop with black pepper sauce (RM17.90). The portion of the boneless chicken is similar to the Teriyaki Chicken Chop Rice. Instead you get a serving of fries instead of rice and an egg. The fries is fresh and not soggy at all. The quality of the fries is there as there was some sense of filling and satisfaction upon biting to it, unlike the fast food style fries. As frozen 'traffic lights' vegetables (corn, peas and carrots) is a big no-no to me, I could still accept coleslaw (or those half hearted shredded carrots and purple cabbage with overdose of Thousand Island sauce) like a long-standing steakhouse opposite does it, but I commend Jack n Grills for serving an apple-tomato salsa served with fresh greens drizzled with balsamic vinegar dressing. The pricing might be slightly more expensive than the long-standing cafes in the neighbourhood but you pay for better side dishes and also presentation.

There are few variants of lamb chop available - Red Wine Glaze, Mint Sauce, Black Pepper and yours truly opted for the Dijon Mustard Lamb Shoulder (RM24.90). Despite there are some comments on Facebook stating that the kitchen management is a bit messed up and cause an unnecessary long wait of more than an hour, I find that the food here is quite meticulously prepared. The wedges are still hot and the food is quite well presented. Maybe I was the second table of the day, arriving slightly before 6.30pm on a Saturday. After 7pm, the crowd began to build up and the indoor dining area was almost full. Having a good view at the kitchen, I somehow agree that there could be room for improvement to speed things up. Hopefully they wont compromise quality by grilling the meats beforehand and frying the fries and wedges, just like how a similar cafe across the road is famous of doing it. Feeling like splurging? They have their signature Lamb Racks and also Lamb Shank, if you are okay for paying more than RM40 for that. They have beef steak, pasta and sausage platter as well. Since they serve pork (the cabonara has bacon!), they did not capitalize fully into dishes such as pork ribs, pork knuckle, pork chop, etc. 

Last but not least, this is my Grilled Cheesy Chicken Kebab (RM23.90). Tender cubes of grilled chicken thigh is layered between capsicum, onions, cherry tomatoes, shitake mushroom with alternating layers of melted cheese and smoothered with black pepper sauce. I feel that most of the grilled dishes here are served with black pepper sauce by default and I find the sauce to be quite good (right punch of mild heat from crushed peppercorns) albeit slightly salty to my liking. Drinks are at least RM5 (soft drinks) and fruit juice at RM8+ while beer starts from RM11 onwards. There is no GST or service charge yet so I would say the price is fairly reasonable for the food served.

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