Friday, 21 October 2016

Eatomo Food Co @ Taman Desa

Eatomo @ Taman Desa, which opened its doors less than 2 months ago, is a casual eatery fashioned after a Japanese fish market, showcasing fresh imported seafood and meat dishes at casual prices.  At first glance, it doesn't seem like the average Japanese restaurant that we're accustomed to with its ambience and almost mamak-like decor of plastic chairs and steel-type tables.  

Even their menu is unconventional, printed on paper and filed in a plastic folder with pockets! >.<  And food are mostly served on paper plates and bowls along with plastic cutlery and cups.  It's casual dining, so don't expect too much in terms of ambience and presentation.

As soon as you enter, you'll be greeted by a counter (on the left) displaying their fresh (and seasonal) catch of fresh oysters, sea urchin, mussels, scallops, clams, kuruma ebi, salmon, tuna, tai red snapper, sanma, hamachi and lots more...much like a seafood market.

After hearing about this latest Hawaiian-inspired dish which seems to be in trend now, I've been wanting to try "poke" (pronounced "poh-key") bowls for a while.  One of two poke bowls available here (and their top seller), the California Poke Bowl @ RM19.90 was filled with mixed sashimi, poke marinade, guacamole, crab salad, masago and spicy mayo on top of sushi rice and finished with a sprinkling of seaweed and sesame seeds. The other one is the Spicy Salmon Poke Bowl @ RM21.90.

I fell head over heels in love with this bowl of goodness evoking delightful textures from the ultra fresh cubes of seafood sashimi (I think I detected salmon, tuna, some white fish & octopus), creamy guacamole and crunchy Japanese cucumber and masago.  Tossed in a tasty poke marinade with spicy mayo, the best way to eat this is to just mix everything together....for a mouthful of spicy and tangy flavours in one wonderful bite! ^o^  It's so irresistibly good that I can see myself ordering this over and over again.

Since our first taste of ikura (salmon roe) at Yamaguchi Fish Market, we were instantly drawn to its taste. This is a rather expensive ingredient that's not usually found in lower end Japanese restaurants.  We found it on the menu here and so we didn't hesitate to order the Salmon Ikura Don @ RM23.90.

Sitting proudly on top of a bowl of sushi rice with generous slices of beautiful Norwegian salmon, the Hokkaido ikura was fresh and salty.  Biting into these little pops of sensation and tasting the savoury salmon juices squirting out was pure happiness....though not quite as good as the one we tasted at Yamaguchi Fish Market but still very decent.

Our next dish was the Fried Shrimp Basket @ RM14.90 featuring 6 pcs of panko-crusted, deep-fried jumbo shrimps (ebi furai) served with a temptingly tasty homemade tartare sauce.

The batter on the shrimps were crispy and incredibly light.  The coating was so light you can almost see the thread-like batter.  I enjoyed this thoroughly.

One of the value offers here is their salmon sashimi available in two sizes (12 - 15 slices for the smaller box or a larger pack for RM34.90 with 25 - 30 slices).  Our Salmon Sashimi Box @ RM19.90 came in 3 rows of 6-7 slices per row probably because they were smaller pieces than usual (must be selling out fast that night). Although I would have preferred a slightly thicker cut with a bit more marbling (like some that I've seen on other blogs), I certainly can't fault the freshness or the great value of this box.

Having not quite fulfilled our quota for fresh salmon sashimi for the day (!), we ordered the Salmon Toro Box @ RM19.90 as well and was presented with 5 slices of fatty belly with a beautiful marbling.

Want to see the fatty, here, see ^_*

Cute vessels holding wasabi and soy for our salmon sashimi

When I went to take a look at their fresh oysters at the seafood counter, one of the servers was eager to introduce me to something new (that's not on the menu)...their imported live prawns, Kuruma Ebi.  Fun Fact: Kuruma Ebi also go by the names of Wheel Shrimp, Japanese Tiger Prawn or Japanese Imperial Shrimp (and can grow up to 20cm) and reportedly retails for 3,500 - 5,000 yen for half a kilo.  I've seen a video of the shrimps being packed in sawdust but still alive and kicking when unpacked (I guess that's why they can be imported live).  Since I've not tried raw shrimps, I agreed to an order of Kuruma Ebi Sashimi @ RM23.90 to see if it lives up to its price tag! ;)

My first bite yielded a firm bite (unlike the sticky texture of amaebi on my palate) with freshness of the ocean.  It was slightly sweet and very juicy with what I can only describe as a clean, delicious taste.

You can ask for the heads to be deep-fried and they were crispy and had a very pleasant umami taste....must be the deliciousness of the 'brain matter'....kekeke! ;D  Oops, presentation-wise, probably not as good-looking as the one on their Facebook.

So, would I have this again?  Maybe...if I can get round the freakin' expensive price of RM23.90 for just one shrimp (and not two as seen on their Facebook, probably coz mine was godzilla-sized?...hehe!) >_<  Having said that, it is a huge shrimp with superior taste and texture, so you have to ask yourself if you're willing to part with that amount of money for just one shrimp in order to savour this high end ingredient.  Well, price aside, I think you should try least once....for the experience of eating a raw shrimp :)

To finish our meal on a high, I just had to try a fun novelty dessert that's one of the hottest new desserts of the year, the Sakura Raindrop Cake (mizu shingen mochi or water cake) @ RM14.90 (with a pickled sakura flower or RM10.90 without).  Since I love pretty things, I went with the more expensive one with flower, of course! ;) But, when it arrived, I was disappointed that mine wasn't all that pretty was cloudy and the sakura flower looked shrivelled...T_T....the one in eatdrinkkl was much clearer and prettier! ^_*

This translucent blob-like dessert made with water, sugar and agar was paired with roasted soybean powder (listed as ijumi? on their menu but I know it as kinako) and gula melaka (which they substituted for kuromitsu).

Taste-wise, it was pretty bland.  It gets its flavour from the gula melaka and soybean powder (but, personally, I don't like the texture nor the flavour of kinako).

Texture-wise, it was way too firm for my liking (although this is my first taste of the dessert).  I thought it'd be more jello-like (maybe similar to those Penang coconut jelly) but it turned out to be more akin to a very firm agar-agar (the plastic spoon provided had difficulty cutting through the cake).  I was told it was like that coz they're striving for konnyaku consistency which has a chewier and firmer's firmer by choice (and they commented that some customers like it that way).  I guess I'm not one of them, so I won't be having it again.

Drinks of Fresh Lemonade @ RM6.90 & Iced Green Tea (refillable) @ RM2.90

My Personal Opinion

The ambience and decor here is unlike the type of Japanese restaurants you'd usually encounter, so come here solely for the freshness of the food.

Your best bets here might be the poke bowls....and the freshness of their seafood.  Prices seem reasonable but portions can be a little small, so that will bump up your bill as you'll need to order more.  Great for small-eaters who want to sample more dishes but bigger eaters might need 3 or more dishes to be fully satisfied.  But quality (and freshness) is undeniable.  

Lots more fresh seafood to try.  I am so coming back for more! ^.^

Eatomo Food Co
11-1-1 Jalan 3/109F
Taman Danau Desa
58100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2303 1608

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Secret Garden #4 - Rainbow Tree

After colouring my first three pieces (Enter My Secret Garden, Tree House & Love Actually) all in symmetrical form, here comes a piece that's not (and by that I mean the colouring though the drawing by Johanna Basford is symmetrical).

Wanting to try some other form of colouring, besides colouring symmetrically in all my previous pieces, I got some inspiration from some of the completed pieces I saw online and went a different route with this one which I shall name Rainbow Tree :)

My approach with this piece was to colour them in a spectrum of colours like the rainbow (or Sir Isaac Newton's Colour Wheel)....."ROY G BIV" (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo & violet).  I tried my best to choose colours closest to the spectrum but I was limited by my box of 36 colours! :'(

Blank Canvas

Work in Progress #1

I started with the tree trunk and worked from bottom to top starting with violet and ending with red.

Work in Progress #2

Then I began to work on Section I of the tree leaves starting with violet and colouring from left to right.  I only had 3 shades of purple  to work with...and two of them were more reddish-pink than purple (there were six violet colours listed in the colour chart that came with my box of colours but...argh....I didn't have a single violet in my box) T_T

Work in Progress #3

Then I moved on to Section II with indigo and, since there was only one shade of indigo, I had to combine it with four other shades of blue.

Work in Progress #4

Since I already combined indigo with blues, I had to go blue-green for Section III.  This was really tough as I only had two colours to play with (+ a little cheat help from one indigo shade).

Work in Progress #5

For Section IV, I got back on track and had five shades of green to work with (yay!) ^o^

Work in Progress #6

Following the spectrum, we come to yellow for Section V and, although I had three shades of yellow, one was too light to be visible, so I could only use two of them.  Even if you do shading with yellow, it's too light to be seen, so I had no choice but to add some browns to make it more visible.

Work in Progress #7

Section VI is orange and (again) I have only two shades of orange and so I added one dark yellow coz it was more orange than yellow.

Since the drawing is symmetrical, obviously the colouring should have been divided into six parts but in order to accommodate the colours of the rainbow (of which there are seven), I had to squeeze the yellow and orange into smaller sections.  

Work in Progress #8

Finally, I finished off with red for Section VII.  For shades of red, I had four choices! ;)

Tip #10 - If you're not sure what colours combine well together, using the rainbow spectrum as a guide is certainly helpful.  Otherwise, just shade a bit of the colour next to one another on a piece of paper to see how it looks before finally deciding which colours to go with.

Tip #11 - And because of my limitation of 2 - 3 colours for some of the colour blocks, I tried to apply different pressure when colouring with the same colour to make it look as though there were more than the mere 2 - 3 colours. Rainbow Tree is done!

Some of the blocks of colour were a bit trying to do coz I had limited choices for each colour....this is the time you'd be wishing you had a box of 120 colours instead!  But, in the end, I made the most of what I have...and this was the end result ^_^

Ditching my symmetrical form of colouring...for go with different blocks of colour, I'm pretty happy with the outcome.  Something different...though I think I still prefer symmetrical colouring which makes the piece seem more structured overall.

I have to say this was my toughest piece yet...probably because the drawings were so intricate making it more difficult to colour + the limitation of colours in each colour block made it challenging as well.

I'm ready for my next challenge.....and my next piece! ^_*

Monday, 17 October 2016

Heartbeans Coffee @ Pandan Indah

Driving around my housing area running errands, we chanced upon this cafe which we seemed to have missed. A check on their Facebook Page revealed that Heartbeans Cafe @ Pandan Indah has been in operation since December last year.  The cafe is quite small and narrow with just two rows of tables, one on either side of the wall...and you can access it from either the front or back entrance.  The cafe is pork-free (but not sure if it's halal-certified) but there are Malay servers working in the place.

The menu seems pretty limited...with about 12 main dishes in all (where chicken chop features in almost half of them, either on its own or in a combo with spaghetti bolognese or fettuccine carbonara).  An all-day breakfast, one fish & chips, two pastas with either smoked duck or foot-long sausage, two french toasts, a nasi lemak, some sandwiches and snacks round up the rest of the menu.  They've also introduced some weekday lunch sets (inclusive of a drink) for between RM10 - RM12.

Looking at the menu, you can't help but feel that some of these dishes can be something you can whip up at home (if you really wanted to).  But, since we were already here....I ordered the Spaghetti Bolognese with Grilled Chicken Chop @ RM18 served with some steamed vegetables.

The grilled chicken chop with black pepper sauce was decently executed just like any grilled chicken chop dishes out there.  However, I did like their black pepper sauce (house made, I assume) with just the right amount of peppery flavour.  [#Tip: You can also have this grilled chicken chop with spaghetti carbonara or on its own.]

The spaghetti bolognese with minced chicken, on the other hand, tasted like something I could quite simply put together at home (with a good bottle of bolognese sauce).  I find the combo of bolognese and black pepper sauce on one plate a bit of a mis-match and very unoriginal.  In fact, this dish is eerily similar to something I can get out of a western stall in a typical coffee shop....and at half the price! >_<

My son's Breaded Fish & Chips @ RM16 again was nothing special (frozen kind, I'm sure) and again looked almost identical to those you'd get from many coffee shop-style western stalls as well.

Next, their signature Pandan Nasi Lemak with Rendang Chicken Leg @ RM15.90 comes highly recommended, so we put down our order for one.  Served with a whole chicken leg, half a hard-boiled egg, fried anchovies, nuts, cucumber and pandan-infused rice, the serving was too huge for one (can be easily shared between two small-eaters).

You can certainly smell the aroma of pandan in the pandan and coconut infused rice...not bad but could be more "lemak".  They were very generous with the condiments of fried ikan bilis and kacang.  The ikan bilis was of an ok quality, the smaller ones were crispy but the bigger ones were a tad hard.  The sambal I didn't care much for.

You can add additional sambal sotong (squid) for RM3 and we did.  I thought I'd just get a scoop of it on the plate and was pleasantly surprised to see a separate serving on its own.  The sambal sotong is made with those crunchy-type cuttlefish (although they managed to cook it till tender) and not from those dried squid that I love so much.  However, the sambal (in the sotong) was definitely better tasting than the other sambal.

But the best thing on the plate was the rendang chicken leg...and a huge one at that.  The chicken leg was fall-off-the-bone tender and the "kuah rendang" (rendang sauce) was really good, certainly a lot better than the other two sambal.  I enjoyed this and the rice the most.

Their coffees (Iced Latte & Iced Cappuccino @ RM12) are drinkable and they offer organic flower and fruit teas as well.

A new drink on the menu, the Iced Magic Lemon Tea @ RM7 caught my eye...hmmm, I can certainly do with some 'magic' in my life (haha!).

It turned out to be just a lemon drink with a little help from the butterfly pea flower tea (and not colouring)...just a bit theatrics for that 'wow' factor! ^.^  That said, it was a refreshing lemon-flavoured drink that I enjoyed and wouldn't mind ordering again.

My Personal Opinion

Though the grilled chicken chop (and black pepper sauce) is satisfactory in taste, the food just screams ordinary, unimaginative, run-of-the-mill! >_<  The chicken chop with black pepper sauce tastes like something I can get out of a good western stall in a coffee shop...for less.  And the pastas look like something I can replicate at home to a fair degree of success too.

So, only if you're someone who likes localised western food, then this place would please you.  For others with a more sophisticated western palate, the food here will seem pretty "pedestrian"! >_<

The best bet here is still the Pandan Nasi Lemak....price may seem a bit high but it's a massive portion. Although I've only tried 3 dishes here, the rest don't seem to interest me all that much as the All-Day Breakfast @ RM23 looks rather generic + I wasn't going to pay RM18 for a french toast with salad leaves and some mushrooms thrown in...or even a simple french toast with honey (which I can make at home).

For me, I need a lot more than just grilled chicken chop (with black pepper or mushroom sauce) to get me to come back.  I'm afraid my heart didn't skip a beat for Heartbeans! :P

Heartbeans Coffee
8 Jalan Pandan Indah 4/6A
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 019-326 8326

Friday, 14 October 2016

Suukee Coffee @ SS2 PJ

I first read about this hidden gem on malaysianflavours.  From what I gather from their Facebook, they moved here in June (just one row behind their previous shop in SS2/24).

The place I'm talking about is Suukee Coffee @ SS2 PJ but the queer thing is that you won't be able to find this restaurant name as they're sharing the sames premises with another restaurant.  I don't know why they have this peculiar set up, so you'll have to find Restoran Yau Hau Fook in order to find Suukee Coffee. 

You'll find two sets of menu at the counter, one for Suukee Coffee (from 8am to 4pm) and the other for Yau Hau Fook that serves "tai chow" (or various Chinese stir-fry) dishes from 11am.

But we came in the morning looking for Suukee's offerings, especially their well-known (and chef recommended) Teluk Intan Mee Rebus @ RM7, reputed to be a Teluk Intan version.  Their mee rebus is a serving of yellow noodles with flour fritters, sliced tofu, hard-boiled egg, boiled potato chunks and bean sprouts, garnished with a sprinkling of fried shallots, fresh chillies and Chinese celery.  Now, I've not eaten a Teluk Intan mee rebus before, so I wouldn't know how this compares but this one was just great.

This plate of mee rebus came with additional Sambal Sotong (Squid) @ RM2.50 that added an extra 'kick' to the dish.  I liked that the potato-based gravy was thick, rich and flavourful with slightly spicy (from the sambal sotong), sweet and sour nuances.  The squeeze of calamansi lime further added a hint of sourness and freshness to the dish.  The other notable items on the plate were the absolutely crispy flour fritters and the other softer type fritter that resembled a cucur udang/bawang (prawn and onion fritter) which turned out to be really good.

Our bowl of Curry Laksa @ RM8 with meehoon/mee as the noodles of choice.  I'm not sure what version of curry laksa this was but it had roasted pork, bean curd puffs, long beans, bean sprouts and fresh mint.  The long beans and mint lean towards Penang-style curry mee but then it was missing the coagulated pig's blood and seafood.

The curry was mildly spicy and wasn't as thick as some I've had but with a good aroma of "santan" (coconut milk) and was nicely flavoured.  I'd say the roasted pork was just ok as a meat topping for the laksa.  Overall, it wasn't fantastic but decent enough...maybe I should have asked for additional sambal to spice it up.

The other curry offered was the Dry Curry Noodle @ RM8 that's been tossed in dark soy, curry and sambal paste.  This was served with either roasted pork or curry chicken, long beans and bean sprouts.  According to the menu, the curry noodles are only available on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

We also tried the Nasi Lemak @ RM4.50 with additional sambal sotong @ RM2.50.  The rice had nice fluffy grains served with fresh and crispy "ikan bilis" (anchovies) and groundnuts, hard-boiled egg, thinly sliced french beans and a sweetish not-too-spicy sambal.

The sambal sotong was the more spicy one (in comparison to the sambal) but the squid pieces were not as tender as these were the crunchy-type cuttlefish (that have been pre-soaked in alkaline water) like those used in a "sotong kangkung" dish.  It's a fair rendition coming out of a Chinese-style coffee shop I have to say but I wasn't loving it.

I made an order of Hainan Bread @ RM3 when I saw the pic in the menu which showed that they use the 'real deal' here....the traditional bread loaf! ^_*

I was amazed at the size of the single order of bread when it arrived.  Not only was it big in size, it was also very thick!

Usually, they'd use one thick slice of bread cut in the middle but this was made with two thick slices of bread instead.  So, this is absolutely for bread lovers who love their bread thick with more bite.

The inside revealed a spread of kaya (house-made I presume) that's a little darker than usual but nice and sticky-sweet.  And it's topped off with a stick of artery-clogging, thickly cut, absolutely creamy, frozen butter slice that's so sinful but seriously delicious.  I have fond memories of eating this frozen butter (or what we used to call "suet chong ngau yau") with bread when I was a kid and, at that time, we got a whole square of it, not a thin stick!  If we get it served nowadays like that (like in the olden days), I think many people will probably faint!! >_<

It was so good I packed one for the road....I don't care if I have to eat it cold and less crispy later! >.<  The combination of utterly crispy crust with soft yet crisp bread and absolutely creamy butter with delish homemade kaya.....that's a slice of heaven, right there.  Now that's how a good Hainanese toast should look and taste like! ;)

You can eat the toasted bread with half-boiled eggs (RM3 for 2) or a bowl of Chicken Curry @ RM5.  We packed two portions of the chicken curry.  I was a bit disappointed when I unveiled the packed curry as it contained only 3 small pieces of chicken and 2 small chunks of potato.  And what was worse was that I got two pieces of breast meat and the tip of one chicken drumstick (which barely had any meat).  Looks like the chicken curry here is not made with specific parts of the chicken (like say drumstick) but with the entire chicken, chopped to smaller pieces, and it depends on your luck which piece you get.

The chicken pieces were falling apart tender and, somehow, it reminded me of those (Ayam brand) canned curry chicken I ate a long time ago....kekeke! :D  I do like my chicken to be nice and soft but not until falling apart tender.  But I have to give due credit to the curry which was decent but remotely different in taste from the canned ones, of course.

I was less enthusiastic about their Iced Black Coffee @ RM2.80.  They say it's made with coffee powder from Teluk Intan.  If it was, I wasn't impressed.

My Personal Opinion

What I've listed above is their entire menu....yup, I've gone through all of them except for the half-boiled eggs.  I think they have a very limited menu because they're sharing the current premises with another restaurant (but I've not been to their old place, before they moved, so I'm not 100% sure if it was the same menu then).

If you want more variety, make sure you head here after 11am coz that's when Restoran Yau Hau Fook can whip up one dish meals for you from RM5.50 (judging from the banners in the restaurant) or you can order any of their a la carte tai chow dishes.

Notwithstanding Suukee's limited menu, I felt that their best dish is the mee rebus and I can certainly see myself returning for just this.....and the Hainanese toast! ;)

Suukee Coffee @
Restoran Yau Hau Fook
No 25 Jalan SS2/30
47300 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 017-367 0888

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