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