Thursday, April 7, 2011

May Star - Central Park

Choosing this restaurant for a meeting with a friend whom I've not met since a couple of years ago was the easiest task I could ever remember. Not really foreign to a lot of the Chinese-Jakartans, May Star definitely has become one of the top-rated restaurants well-known for its BBQ duck, DimSum, and of course its Coconut Pudding. The restaurant chain is rumoured to have been established by a group of people of the Fujian-ethnicity. (READ: Orang Medan)

Probably the best location for the owners to decide to open their chain is this one in Central Park. Location-wise, it's quite 'central' Jakarta, though its location is really the North. Since Central Park is quite a new mall, to have at least May Star as one of its tenant is precious, as it's never run out of patrons, even on a weekday. Though there were many other High-end Chinese restaurant in the mall, May Star is a definite winner. The most recent chain is the one in Gandaria City and I heard is catered for non-pork eaters. A very good strategy considering more and more non-pork eaters are starting to dine in Chinese restaurants.

Prior to have booked the restaurant that afternoon, there is no wasting time in queuing. To have to say "excuse me" to all the people swarming the restaurant entrance is a sign of achievement, with just a phone call. A friend overheard another guest asking the manager when will they get a table for four, the manager just shook her head. So, please do book the restaurant (even on weekdays) before your grandma kicks you in the butt for making her queue.

A friend once gave me tips on what to order and what not. The first one he said was if you don't come with your parents / elderly, don't order fish and other luxurious Chinese delicacy (Sharks Fin Soup, Sea Cucumber, Lobsters, etc). Even your credit card will scream its lungs out. But even without ordering those, May Star is May Star and it is indeed expensive. The seven of us didn't bother to check out the prices before ordering, let's conclude it's a lesson learnt. (The menu pictures are just so tempting)

So each of us ordered a dish, and we concluded to exclude those dishes listed above. The first dish is the BBQ Combination. Perhaps, most families who came in numbers order this one. It's a combination of 5 mini dishes, BBQ Pork, BBQ Duck, Chicken in soy sauce, Stewed beef and jellyfish. All of them taste average, especially the beef and chicken. And there were 3 types of sauces served; Soy sauce, Chilly sauce and a type I don't know what sauce. They should have served the typical Hongkie sauces; Chilly oil, Duck Sauce, and Plum Sauce.

Then we ordered the Prawn in Salted Egg. I didn't like it that much. First it's still shelled and the salted is covering the prawn shell, so there isn't much salted egg after de-shelling the prawns. Nobody can blame me for eating the whole prawn, with its shell, minus the head and tail. The worse thing about this is actually it's quite greasy and you can't enjoy the crisp of fresh prawn meat.

Next is another seafood, Deep fried Squid XO Style. It's very appetizing! Just a few years ago I realized XO sauce doesn't involve the XO liquor as I thought before. Check this out: It's just based on naming method. The squid is fried perfectly, doesn't get rubbery as it just snaps when bitten. Then the dry XO aroma is just so pleasantly flirting with your sense of smell.

Time for a meat dish, we ordered the ever-famous Beef in Black Pepper Sauce. It's served with blanched Kailan and a piece of fried papadum. I still have no idea on why they served a papadum, but who cares, the overall dish is without doubt, a winner. Starting with the chunks of beef, cooked to an inch perfect, they just breaks off in your mouth when chewed and the strong black pepper sauce seems to have penetrated to the core. Amazing! Though the Kailan is just average, I think this dish is a must-order.

Then we ordered the Imported Broccoli. Again this is very ordinary, even homey I'd say. It's probably blanched for a while then showered with some oyster-sauce.

Lastly, a friend recommended this Sapo Tofu. It's a dish where the tofu is weirdly stewed in some thick sauce but taste surprisingly quite nice. The thick sauce taste very light and the additional mushroom matches the whole dish.

So one thing that makes people keep coming back to May Star is probably the complementary whole BBQ Duck when the order is more then Rp500k (or Panin Bank CC holder -> 25 - 30% discount). And we did forget the duck almost until the end. Honestly this is not the first time I had the duck, but the quality seems to have dropped by a little wee bit. The duck skin is still crisps, but the meat is not as tender as it was 2 years ago, and it's becoming more salty lately.

Just when you think it's over, a trip to May Star is never complete without the Coconut Pudding. The pioneer of this dessert, there are many restaurants trying to imitate, but haven't so far found any that can match this masterpiece. The pudding is made from imported Thai coconut, and the sweetness and the jelly-like texture is just perfectly harmonized. A Thai friend whom had tried the pudding even praised it's better than the one in Thailand, he even went for a second serving.

Though I did complained about the prices in the beginning, and some people argue that there are other restaurants offering similar dishes at more affordable prices, May Star somehow managed to pull back customers with new creative dishes and more promotions (The most recent one is winning a car).

Restaurant Info:
Jl Mangga Dua Raya
Phone: +62 21 6127880

Emporium Pluit Mall Lt.4
Jl Pluit Selatan Raya
Phone: +62 21 66676280

Central park mall LG Floor NO. 103-103A
Jl. Letjend S Parman Kav.28
Phone: +62 21 56985422

Gandaria City GF-Main Street NO.M-G38 & M-G39
Jl. Sultan Iskandar Muda (Arteri Pondok Indah)
Gandaria - Kebayoran Lama
Phone : +62 21 29052922

Prices as of 5 February 2011 in Central Park:

BBQ Combination - Rp148k
Prawn in Salted Egg - Rp144k
Fried Squid XO Style - Rp87k
Beef in Black Pepper Sauce - Rp192k
Broccoli - Rp87k
Sapo Tofu - Rp78k
BBQ Duck - Rp100 (Promo)
Coconut Pudding - Rp42.8k

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