Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Killiney - Pluit Mas

It wasn't long ago that I tried the original Killiney Kopitiam on Killiney Rd, Singapore. If you stay around Orchard, go there at least once for breakfast. The atmosphere around isn't that comfortable, but the food is really good. On a weekday morning, you'll the see the tables full of office workers grabbing a bite and sipping warm coffee O.

I think it was only a few years ago these kopitiam franchises start penetrating to the Indonesian market. Oh well, whatever sells in Singapore doesn't mean it will sell well in Indonesia. Having a history of almost 100 years doesn't mean you'll sell well here.

Having a couple of friends living in the area of Pluit Mas, there is no way I could miss out on the not-so-recently-opened Killiney shop located near the entrance gate. The view from the outside seems like a typical neighborhood kopitiam but I was more interested in the food and coffee rather than the atmosphere. When I thought the food could at least be similar to the one I enjoyed very much in Singapore, my friend could give me a kick for introducing something not worth writing in the blog. But, but I try to be rational this time.

So we arrived at the shop around 7pm, the first floor is almost full, so we decided to go to the 2nd floor. Heck, the air-con wasn't turned on, and the windows and door were all closed, so there's a slight stuffy feeling you get when there isn't much air flowing through your head. You see, though I can understand that electricity bill isn't cheap here, but restaurants are service-operated businesses. You're not only selling your food, but service and atmosphere as well. The balcony was another option, but it's meant for smoking area. It was only after 10 minutes or so, the air on the 2nd floor started to freshen up.

What do you have to order when you mentioned kopitiam? The Teh Tarik and the Kaya Toast of course! We ordered a hot and a warm tea, and the conclusion; cold is always better. I'm not sure how it tastes like in Singapore, but the one I had here is not bad at all, wasn't very sweet like in any other kopitiam, and the milk to tea ratio is just nicely propotioned.

Then everything started spiraling down. First was the Kaya Toast. If I were to compare the original with this one, it's like comparing a 2011 Honda Jazz to an 2004 Made-in-China Chery QQ with manual transmission and no power steering (No other insult intended, but you get my point). In the Killiney Indonesia website, they boast about having their kaya jam produced daily in their shop, then having the best butter, and bread that's heavier than the ones in the market and made in their own bakery. I don't believe in any of these.

The toast served to us was so thin and crispy I thought I was only munching on the break crusts when it's supposed to be crusty on the outside and tender on the inside. The kaya jam were OK, but it's spread very thinly like as if they were margarine. So no oozing whatsoever like mentioned in the website. Of course last is the butter; no need for more complaints needed. When you realized if the bread is at the same thickness as the butter, it's no longer a toast (lost for words to describe).

The Mee Rebus we ordered was far from the original, lacks the ingredients, taste and everything else. For a dish that's been decorating the tables on Killiney Singapore, it's so disappointing how it turned out here. The noodles used was cheewy, the sauce was too watery and warm (Not hot!), and the tofu is cold.

And when we thought the next dish is hopefully better, it wasn't going to be. The 30 minutes spent waiting for the Singapore Laksa Fried Rice isn't worth it. I'd go for the Nasi Goreng TekTek across the road. It's our mistake to order such unique dish in the first place. The fried rice is seasoned with laksa sauce, so there's this soury, salty fried rice that's just off-balanced. Accompanying the fried rice are few pieces of chicken, an egg, 3 prawn cracker, and some garnish. Whoever is stationed to decorate the dish must not have a sense of aesthetics.

Though their prices are cheaper than other kopitiams, I really hope they could improve on the quality of food as well as the service.

Restaurant info;
Killiney Kopitiam - Pluit Mas Ruko Blok EE no. 11
Ph: 021 - 6681511

Prices as of 16 May 2011;
Hot Teah Tarik - 18k
Cold Teh Tarik - 20k
Kaya Toast - 16k
Mee Rebus - 28k
Laksa Fried Rice - 27k

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bangkok Jam - Emporium Pluit

It was an unusually quiet Sunday when the 7 of us decided on a last minute to have dinner somewhere near. So hopping on the car and there I realized I remembered seeing a recently opened Thai restaurant in Emporium Pluit. It has, however, been opened for a few months now and don't blame me for not going to that part of the mall often.

I knew I was about to leave for the real Bangkok city soon, but there is this urge for a pad thai dinner. (Bangkok food adventure will be on the blog hopefully soon). Deciding on this restaurant simple, none of my friends seem to care of what to eat, so they just jumped board the boat with me.

The traditional Thai ice tea was super super sweet. Though the taste of pandan is very apparent, too much of this drink will make you diabetic. I'm not sure, but maybe we could ask for a separate sugar next time.

We ordered a couple of entrees; Spicy Papaya Salad and Prawn Cakes. The salad was ordinary, nothing special, though there is a nice touch on the extra floss and peanuts sprinkled on top. The Prawn Cake, on the other hand, was delicious. Definitely the winner among all the other dishes, the prawn cake is skewered with a stick of lemongrass. The idea wasn't that original, but compliments go to the cake. You can really taste the tender of prawn meat, covered in crispy breadcrumbs and the sweet and sour dip make the whole dish more than your usual prawn cake. The not-so-oily after taste makes you want to munch more.

What is a trip to a Thai restaurant without ordering the pad thai? This is the one dish that makes me wanna visit the restaurant, but but but, how disappointing. Pad thai has got to be one dish that define the ability of the Thai chef, I just kept reminding myself, don't get my hopes up. None of what I imagine a REAL pad thai should taste like appear in front of me. Even before tasting it, I knew the noddles must had been overcooked, and that was the biggest mistake someone cooking a pad thai could ever make. Then I thought please at least serve something tasty, how wrong could I be. The dish was completely tasteless! Even with the dried chilly added and a splash of that lemon wedge, the dish is bland. Like as if it's cooked for someone with all the health complications. Enough with the complain, I would just sum up; prawn was hard; spring onion was RAW; and the portion would feed at most 2 babies!

Thanks to the donkey, the next dish we ordered were much better. The red curry chicken was nice, though if the spiciness level is to be increased to another level, it would be a perfect companion for my rice. First, it was very rich, the tinginess of that curry would make your tongue numb for a fraction of a second, then the distinct combination of spices and coconut milk makes the dish more complete. Inside, there were these green beans which I'm not sure what they were.

Another Thai favorite is of course the TomYum Seafood. But, in case you're wondering, let your imagination of a perfect sour and spicy soup filled with an abundant of seafood run wild. I think I cooked a better TomYum soup than the fellas in the kitchen. The TomYum they served is too light, too sour, and inside were a piece of mantis prawn, another piece of smaller prawn, 5 pieces of mushrooms, 3 pieces of fish, and that's all.

A friend wanted to order a fish and we ordered this Gourami Chilly Sauce. It was simply just deep-fried pieces of gourami fish, with traditional Thai sweet and spicy chilly sauce. I just don't get how the chefs couldn't make a simple TomYum soup or Padthai, but able to make this fish dish such a treat. The fish was lightly battered and deep-fried to a certain wellness. While the outside batter is still smoking hot and crispy, the inner flesh was soft and tender. Unlike the usual deep-fried gourami fish. Then pieces of onions and capsicum are stir-fried along with garlic, pineapple and chilly. Overall, the fish was a very nice conclusion to our dinner.

Restaurant info:

Bangkok Jam - Emporium Pluit Mall, 4th floor
Tel: 021 - 6667 6827

Prices as of 1 May 2011;

Thai Ice Tea - 16.5k
Spicy Papaya Salad - 22.5k
Prawn Cake - 38.5k
Seafood Padthai - 29.5k
Red Curry Chicken - 35k
TomYum Seafood - 42.5k
Gourami Chilly Sauce - 75k

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pad Ka Prow - 13 May 2011

Apologies fellas, it's been a while since the last update, been busy with work and stuffs. Anyway, this time, it's a classic Thai dish - Pad Ka Prow - or Stir-fried Pork with Thai Sweet Basil. Simple simple dish to make.

Had my Bangkok trip this week and brought home some ingredients back. The most important in this dish is of course the basil itself. Definitely different to the local ones here, the Thai sweet basil has larger leaves and the aroma is stronger and more pungent. Then, the fish sauce too, has got to be the Thai fish sauce. The Chinese and the local fish sauce is less salty and more fishy :P.

The ingredients;
10 cloves of garlic (Yes, you do need heaps of these)
3 bird-eye chilly (Depend on how spicy you want it to be, I like mine rather mild)
300 gr mince pork (You can use chicken if pork's not halal for you)
A handful Thai sweet basil (Tried to use the local once, not as good as the Thai's)
2 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (Please use only Thai fish sauce - I use the Squid Brand Thai Fish Sauce)
1 tablespoon Sweet Soy Sauce (READ: Kecap Manis)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (Stir-fry purpose)

No salt and pepper needed, trust me. First the fish sauce is already salty, then you wouldn't want the pepper smell and taste to overcome the basil. Then I like to use the sweet soy sauce because it adds a mild sweet taste to the whole dish as well as some colour. You can always use sugar, but please do use the sweet soy sauce if available.

Let's get cooking;
1. Mince both garlic and chilly finely and stir-fry until the garlic releases its aroma.
2. Once they are done, put in the pork and starts breaking up the meat. Sometimes, minced meat would just crumbed together to form meatballs. We don't want this.
3. Dump in the wet ingredients and continue until the meat is done.
4. I like my basil leaves not thoroughly cooked, so I put them just 10 seconds before the whole dish is done.
5. Plate, garnish and serve with warm jasmine rice.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Old Town White Coffee - Living World Alam Sutra

I've been to this new mall quite often this past weeks or so. Much of my mates have never been there and why shouldn't I be a nice fella once in a while and take them there. Anyhoo, quite a few restaurants start opening up in the mall, there's a penyet restaurant, HanGang, and a couple more coffee shops.

But out of all places, we decided on this Asian coffee shop franchise from Malaysia - Old Town White Coffee (OTWC). They claimed that they are the largest kopitiam restaurant chain in Malaysia, and looking at the list of chain on their website, no one can deny.

Since I've tried My Kopi O!, might as well just try its direct competitor (More kopitiam-like reviews in the future). So how does OTWC different to others? I don't know. I've tried the OTWC during my trip to KL last year, and whoa the menu is so thick you'll think twice about stealing them. :P I think there's tens of different drink menu and you'll probably keep asking the waiter what are the differences between each one.

But the one here in Jakarta, there isn't much choices in both the drinks and food. I like to have options, and I'm not getting any in here. I think if you would bring a foreign franchise here, at least have a more variety menu. My image of last year's OTWC visit starts drifting away.

Of course when you go to this type of restaurant, the first thing you need to order is their toasts! And this is what we ordered; 1. Their original Kaya Butter Toast and 2. Thick toast with blueberry jam. My original plan was to order their special white coffee, but since it's early afternoon and I don't feel like having coffee for lunch, we ordered Warm Honey Lemon Juice.

Though we ordered the toasts early, the orders came quite late and we were already eating half-thru our mains. Now I'm not going to compare whose toast is better than whose, I'll stay as neutral as possible. The first toast - Kata Butter Toast, was just OK. The kaya spread is nicely overflowing the toasts, and the butter is still in 1 piece, not melted. My one only complain would be the size of the toasts. It's so thin that I think the butter is thicker!

The second toast menu is a much better option than the kaya. And when I meant by thick toast, it's actually really really thick! And I'm loving every part of it. The fat bread is toasted, spread margarine, and topped with blueberry jam. What makes it special is the jam. I don't know if it's home or factory made, but it's just to my liking. Some blueberry jam just can't make it because if they kept it for too long, the fruit's gonna break apart. Not this one, it's fresh and you can practically chew every piece blueberry and still juices oozing out from them.

Each of us ordered a main each. My friend ordered the Superior Nasi Lemak, and I ordered the Superior Rojak Mee. Both dished turned out to be average.

There was a confusion when one waiter brought a plate of unknown order and left it on our table for 5 minutes and later brought it back to the kitchen. Turns out they gave a wrong chicken to us. They suppose to give a piece of Rendang chicken in the dish, but they served the BBQ chicken. To me this is quite unprofessional considering they left the food in the table for 5 minutes. What if we already start eating them? Not even a sincere apology being offered. Tsk!

I have to say, the rice is fragrant. It's been a while since the last time I ate nasi lemak, and this one turns out to be quite nice indeed, though not as good as those in Singapore or Malaysia. The rice is accompanied by a piece of rendang chicken, sambal sotong, fried anchovies, nuts, and egg. All not worth talking about. Except the sambal sotong which I think was a little bit chewy.

The Rojak Mee, which I thought should come close to the original Malaysian dish, turns out to be very home-made, not very "restauran-y". The dish is served with egg noodles in the center, surrounded by pieces of fried tofu, sambal sotong, fried potatoes, bean sprout, and egg. Then topped with fried shallots and sprinkled some curry sauce. Tofu was over-fried, sotong was chewy, and the curry sauce is just bland.

Hopefully they could improve on their service, as well as the non-toasts meals and food varieties.

Restaurant info:
Old Town White Coffee
Living World Mall - Alam Sutra
Unit G19 - 19A, Alam Sutra Boulevard Kav.21
Serpong - Tangerang

Ph: 021 - 532125502

Prices as of 24 April 2011
Honey Lemon Juice - 17k
Kaya Butter Toast (S) - 9k
Blueberry thick - 20k
Supreme Nasi Lemak - 38k
Supreme Rojak Mee - 30k

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sushi Mori - Central Park

My first Japanese review yeay!

But seriously, with so many new Japanese-fusion restaurant since 3 4 years ago, there's so many to choose from, and sadly, most of them taste the same to me. Can't really differentiate whose sushi is whose, most just try to make a little changes and try to be different. In the end, fusion is fusion, how much improvement and alteration can you do?

So while searching for a nice restaurant to spend a Friday evening with our alumni friends, I decided to try this new Japanese Fusion restaurant in Central Park - Sushi Mori. My bro recommended this place as he frequents the restaurant. A friend also recommended this as the price to portion ratio is worth a try.

Not much talking needed, I booked the restaurant early and heck the staffs called me twice to confirm. Well I don't blame them as there were quite a few people already queuing when I showed up. And just when I thought they were going to seat us in a stretched 2 by 2 tables, they gave us the VIP room! A rounded table exclusively placed separately with other tables. The only I could complain probably is the plastic chair. Hope they're sensitive enough to change them to wooden chairs with mats on top.

Looking at their table mats, there's a find-the-difference-puzzle you could try solving while waiting for the food to arrive.

What do you usually order in a Japanese fusion restaurant like this? I dare to bet 90% of you will order either cold or warm ocha. Shoot me if I'm wrong.

With so many types of fusion sushi being introduced by the waiter, I couldn't be bothered to focus on the name, but just see the menu picture and just point; this, that, this, that and this. Come on, people do get confused even when the food finally arrived and it's not easy to differentiate one sushi to the other. So to remember it, what I did was to ask the waiter when the food arrived, snap the food pictures, and snap the name of the food in the menu. This way, it gets less confusing. Though, in the end, taste wise, it's hard to remember which is which, and only some distinct one you could vividly remember in your brain.

Ninja Roll - Eel, Cheese, Crab Stick
Can't exactly remember how they taste, but it's one of the better sushi. Recommended! Combination of grilled eel and the spicy mayonnaise sauce is really good.

Hana Roll - Shrimp, Snow Crab, Tobiko, Spicy Tuna, Avocado
What a sushi! Thought it reminds me of the Korean Kimbab, the taste is heck different. Because there's so much stuffings in there, my tongue is not sensitive enough to differentiate each ingredients inside. The sushi is just so-so, but if you were still hungry and don't know what to order, give this a try.

Samurai Roll - Soft Shell Crab, Spicy Salmon
The warm spicy salmon on top is such a tease, and the crunchy soft shell crab just makes it even better. Recommended!

Volcano Roll - Shrimp, Fried batter, Jelly Fish
One of the reason I came to this place. This is exceptionally good, not because of the fried crunchy batter, but the overall texture. Volcano Roll in other sushi places is different to this one, so this is a unique one.

Kazan Roll - Ginger Rice, Salmon
The name and the ginger rice is actually my reason to order. Never tried ginger rice before, but disappointingly, it's just rice with ginger flavour. LOL. The rice is mixed with orange and green tobiko, then neatly stacked in two layers separated by a piece of nori, then topped with a few ingredients like salmon, jelly fish and more tobiko. Finally showered with a light mayo-like sauce. Despite the 'French-look', the taste just doesn't live up to its image.

Kawasaki Roll - Fried Chicken, Cheese
Very ordinary dish, the sauce is nice though. Mixture of sweet and a wee but spiciness. Too bad the cheese is not melted as I would prefer.

Yaki Sake
It's three grilled balls of shredded crab stick. Very interesting dish, and taste good. I can't say it's amazing, but it's different so, recommended!

Sake Enoki - Enoki circled in salmon
Usually, my one of my favourite dish in Sushi Tei is the Beef Enoki. But here, we have Sake Enoki, similar concept, but the beef is replaced by salmon. Taste just so-so, though the salmon cooked perfectly. And the portion is satisfying.

Yuki Kani Roll - Crab Stick, Egg, Tobiko
We ran out of ideas of what to order, and since we're still hungry, we just point to a page and there, we have the Yuki Kani Roll. A definite typical dish. Nothing special.

Spicy Tuna Roll - Spicy Tuna, Seaweed, Tobiko
Nothing to be described here. Just another ordinary dish. Though the sauce is slurpy.

Sake Teriyaki - Salmon Teriyaki Set
A pleasant dish, the salmon is grilled nicely, not too overdone. The skin is crispy and the inside meat is still moist. Not bad at all. The additional topping of sesame seed sprinkled makes it even better.

Sake no Hifu Roll - Salmon Skin, seaweed, Cucumber
This is one very nice sushi roll! It's my first time having salmon skin inside a roll, so it's quite special, and the very mild sauce making the salmon skin more tasty.

Oshin Roll - Fried Chicken, Apple
Another great roll. The crispy fried chicken just shows it's not over-sauced, though the apple slices is doubtly visible, you can really taste the crisp apple texture. With the combination of sweet sauce, making the dish even more delightful. Again, my only complain would be the unmelted chees on top.

Fujiyama Roll - Smoked Salmon, Crab Stick, Scallop
I was too full to try this one, but heck! The smoked salmon inside is great, but with the over-flowing sauce, and so much cheese, the taste is just too complicated to be described in details. Can't taste the much anticipated scallops.

Overall, there are some great sushi, as well as ordinary ones. Comparing the prices to other Sushi place, Sushi Nori might just sits comfortably in the middle.

Restaurant Info:
Sushi Nori
Lower Ground no 115
Central Park
Jl S.Parman Kav.28 - Jakarta Barat

Prices as of 22 April 2011
Samurai Roll - 60k
Ninja Roll - 60k
Kawasaki Roll - 60k
Volcano Roll - 50k
Hana Roll - 45k
Yaki Sake - 48k
kazan Roll - 40k
Sake Enoki - 55k
Yuki Kani Roll - 28k
Spicy Tuna Roll - 35k
Sake Teriyaki - 50k
Sake no Hifu Roll - 28k
Oshin Roll - 55k
Fujiyama Roll - 60k

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio - 17 April 2011

Sunday afternoon, waiting for the evening to come, how could I ever let the afternoon pass just lazying around in front of the computer watching some Korean variety shows? Then my growling baby stomach started complaining, it's time for some light lunch. Ransacking through the refrigerator, not much ingredients to make something worth eating. Then after 10 minutes of looking though the cupboard, I finally found the perfect meal for a Sunday brunch - Spaghetti Aglio e Olio.

Probably the simplest and quickest out of all the pasta recipes (Bolognaise Sauce in tin can is NOT counted), Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is a must-try even for a newbie. Though this would my first attempt to make my own, a friend cooked and taught me once. A shout to NENEK RATNA!

Now, let's go to the ingredients;
2 cloves garlic
2 cloves shallot (READ: Bawang Merah)
2 tablespoon of olive oil (I used Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
A spoonful of diced bacon
Half a teaspoon of dried chilly flake
A pinch of mixed Italian herbs

Shall we start with the cooking process?
1. Cook the spaghetti half-way through (You wouldn't want to cook it too well-done, since we're going to stir-fry the pasta later on)

2. Thinly Slice the garlic and shallots (Please do not mince them), then stir fried them in medium to low heat olive oil until the fragrance came out. Then dump in the italian herbs, chilly flake, and the bacon. (I put the bacon last because I didn't want crispy bacon)

3. Once all the ingredients are cooked, throw in the half-cooked pasta in the sauce and stir-fried until the pasta is cooked through. I prefer mine to be 90% cooked, so it might take around 2 minutes or so.

4. Serve on a plate and garnish with a wee bit of dried herbs on top.

Originally, the recipe needs cheese, but I'd skip that sin part. Also, many recipes on the net doesn't use shallots, but my mentor NENEK RATNA mentioned it brings the extra aroma and flavour to the overall dish. Very true.

A really simple pasta recipe, perfect for those who are too lazy to go out, but too hungry to have home-delivered food.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

B' Steak Grill & Pancake - Muara Karang

This was my third visit to this restaurant branch in Muara Karang, and I have never been disappointed by the quality of food as well as the service. I knew what was good, but what's the point of ordering something you've eaten before? So this time rather than ordering my usual favourite, I opted for something a different.

I wanted to drink something less sinful, so we ordered the Evergreen. Basically just blended vegetable, with a bit of lime and some other vege. Not my fav, but just a typical blended vege drink.

Since we had a late lunch, the three of us decided not to order much. For starters, I tried their Grilled Honey Buffalo BBQ Wings once and it's not bad, but it's time to order something else, so we ordered Country Baby Potatoes and the Chef Special Salad. The Baby potatoes are grilled with some herbs, then topped with some tomato sauce (NOT tomato ketchup), some bacon and sour cream. You can really taste the crisp skin of the potato when you first bite, then the inside is soft and the most enticing is the aroma of the herbs smoking through your nostrils. It's a good choice nonetheless. The salad, named "chef special salad", was just ordinary. You don't need to be a chef to make this, not that I'm looking down on the dish nor the chef, but it's really average. The vegetable ingredients are fresh, but they do need to work on the grilled chicken.

Now, meat time! First is the Rib Eye Steak. It's the second time I tried this, and it keeps getting better. I remembered the first time was a little bit overdone, this time we requested medium well and the chef was spot on. You can choose the sauce from a few options; wild mushroom sauce, BBQ sauce, black pepper sauce, traditional gravy and another one I can't remember. And the side dish, the options were; chips, baby potatoes, mashed potatoes and potato wedges. Then we chose the premium size (200gr), rather than the regular (150gr).

Anyway, The outside is charred just the way I like it and you can really smell the burnt mark, then the meat is tender when chewed, just simply nicely grilled. The mushroom sauce, is just not that great. Without the sauce, the steak is already tasty enough. Since we already ordered the baby potatoes, we chose the mashed potato, which I think was a wise choice, considering no more fried stuffs for dinner for the week, and it tasted much better than the oh-so-usual-fries. The texture is not too creamy nor buttery, seasonings were nice, everything is just what I expect mashed potato should be.

Lastly, we ordered the Smoky BBQ Ribs. I knew I had to try this once, just to satisfy the curiosity inside. How is it better than the other ribs houses, and it turns out to OK. For safety sake, we chose the single stack ribs. It takes half an hour to serve after the entree were served, and the ribs was too oily. Not oily in terms of they put lots of oil during grilling, but the ribs meat contains lots of fats. A dieter's hostile enemy. Though I have to admit, the ribs is very tender, you just have to pierce the meat with a fork, and it's easily fallen off it bone. Taste-wise, you got to add the BBQ sauce for extra flavour.

I heard their pancakes are not bad, but we're too full for desserts, so maybe next time.

Overall, it's nice place if you have a steak craving, but not wanting to over-spend. For taste it's alright, though not as good as those high-end steak houses, price still talks.

Restaurant Info:

B'Steak Grill and Pancake

Greenville Blok AS No. 32
Jakarta Barat, Indonesia
Tel: 021 - 560-3968

Muara Karang Raya no.42
Jakarta Utara, Indonesia
Tel: 021 - 6603045

Prices as of 2 April 2011

Evergreen - 15k
Country Baby Potatoes - 17.5k
Chef Special Salad - 19.5k
Rib Eye Steak Premium - 64k
Smoky BBQ Ribs - 50.5k