Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Da Ohn Da Korean Cuisine, Ipoh

Da Ohn Da has been in business for more than 2 years in an “ripe-for-harvest” environment whereby Korean cuisine is now accepted and gaining much popularity after all foundation works laid by Korean dramas and K-pop culture, not to mention the boom in the tourism industry.  While they have just opened their branch in the mainland of Penang, yours truly only sampled this place just last weekend after getting some positive comments from a friend or two.

The Bibimbap (RM17) comes with a well fried egg on top, unlike most version whereby a raw egg is broken on top of the steaming content beneath. So for those who went to Korea, I guess the raw egg “Cabonara-like” version seems to be the authentic one which requires one to mix it well before eating. Could the fully fried egg dished on top upon serving is improvised to cater to local taste buds which cannot accept the raw egg version? At Da Ohn Da, you are provided with the soya sauce and also the sweetish Bibimbap chilli sauce to add it according to your own preferred taste. Oh ya, there have the one with meat (chicken, beef or pork)at RM19 which I would recommend it. the meat sauce with gravy do enhance the overall dish a bit. Imagine the minced meat topping like u find in Hakka noodles.

There are six variants of banchans offered here. And from the photos posted on Facebook by other customers, it seems that they do not rotate their side dishes selection. You have the iconic kimchi, pickled zucchini, pickled beansprouts, fried anchovies, fried beancurd skin and spinach. The spinach and beansprout side dish is similar ingredients found inside your bowl of bibimbap

Same like the rules of most Korean BBQ chains around the neighbourhood, the minimum order for the BBQ meat on the grill is 2 portions. Here at Da Ohn Da, they tweaked the menu a little by displaying the price of 400g (which is already two portions). For RM56, one can choose or mix and match from the pork neck, pork belly, soya sauce marinaded pork belly and spicy chicken fillets. Lamb and beef are also available at a different price tag. 

They are using an electric grill just like most Korean BBQ in Ipoh. Unlike other places which use those thick 'stone' grill, the one here uses a thin grill plate there are open vents on the grill resulting into slightly charred and aromatic bits from the direct heat of the heating element. For the record, only Daorae is using a charcoal pit to barbecue the meat which gives it distinctive aroma. Overall, I find the dining experience acceptable, especially knowing the fact that it does not impose GST or service charge. And just like how a proper Korean restaurant operates, the rice tea is free flow and so are the side dishes. The bill comes up to RM75 for all these above and its good to feed 3 adults for lunch. And I will definitely come back to try their other stuffs :)

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: