Monday, 23 October 2017

Auntie Lora Kopitiam @ Taman Segar, Cheras

Just as I'm always looking for a good bowl of curry laksa, I'm always looking for a good bowl of prawn mee as well.  So, that brought me to Auntie Lora Kopitiam @ Taman Segar, Cheras as I've read about them being the place to go to for Penang prawn mee.

As soon as I arrived on a Saturday morning, I can see the popularity of the place with all the outside tables taken up.  We found one last empty table inside.  Besides prawn mee, they also offer curry mee, loh mee, assam laksa, kuay teow th'ng (soup), gulai chicken, eggs and toast, and lots more.

I obviously came here for one thing and one thing only....their prawn mee.  A standard bowl of Penang Prawn Noodle costs RM8.50 while a bowl (with just pork ribs) costs RM12.  Of course yours truly here went for the whole works...the Penang Prawn Noodle with Pork Ribs @ RM14.90.

The bowl of prawn mee arrived with its usual ingredients of prawns, pork ribs, hard-boiled egg, lean pork, kangkung, bean sprouts and fried shallots.  This prawn broth, made with a combination of pork bones and prawn shells, was more savoury than sweet.  I think they could have been more generous with the broth looking at the hefty price I paid for this bowl.  The meehoon started soaking up the soup rather quickly and there wasn't much left by the time I finished my noodles.  Perhaps the description of 'good to the last drop' rings true here since there was hardly any broth left afterwards.

When my bowl of prawn mee arrived, it came without the sambal (I don't know if that was 'conveniently forgotten' or they actually forgot), so I had to ask them for it.  The sambal was much needed as I had to dunk all of it into the soup for it to offer any kind of spiciness.

They were rather stingy with the fried shallots too....and I will have none of that! :P  So I ordered extra Fried Shallots @ RM0.60 but somehow they didn't taste anything like the freshly fried, fragrant and thinly sliced shallots of my neighbourhood's prawn mee.

I can see why many customers felt that the prices are high here, I would too seeing that the bowl of prawn mee came with only two miserable prawns (and it's the same for the standard bowl too after seeing pics of it online).  Not only were there just two prawns, they were also tasteless, dry and had no sweetness at all. Judging from the shell left intact on the tail of the prawn, I could see that they were those hard-shelled type which I associate with el cheapo prawns.

No complaints on the three pieces of pork ribs as they were tender as they should be.

Since the looks of the curry mee didn't appeal to my husband (info for cockle junkies: do take note that cockles can be ordered by the bowl here at RM5) + he isn't into prawn me, he went with the Pork Ribs @ RM7.50 to eat with a bowl of rice @ RM1.50.  The pork ribs came in a bowl filled with the same broth as the prawn mee...and RM7.50 got him only four pieces of pork ribs! >.<

I saw Braised Egg @ RM1.80 on the menu and couldn't resist thinking it'd be hard-boiled eggs left braising in a dark soy concoction (like those from braised duck or braised pork shops with tofu).  But it came in a bowl filled with the broth from the loh mee instead and the white of the egg was exceptionally hard.  Overcooked?  Doesn't seem like it since there's no green ring around the yolk.  Left braising in the loh mee sauce for too long?  Maybe.  The hard-boiled eggs weren't freshly made?  Perhaps.  I've never had hard-boiled eggs tasting this hard before.  So, skip this altogether. >_<

I had their Pure White Coffee (Cold) @ RM3 while my husband had the Penang Nutmeg Juice @ RM4.60 (if you like the taste of nutmeg, I'm not a fan, then this nutmeg juice will appeal to you).  Their website says their white coffee is from the established Ipoh brand of Chang Jiang White Coffee.  Well, now I know I don't like Chang Jiang White Coffee! ;P

My Personal Opinion

The place is obviously popular judging from the brisk business they were doing.  A possible destination for a decent bowl of prawn mee although it won't be my regular haunt since I wasn't too thrilled about the price for the quality and quantity of prawns I got.

Auntie Lora Kopitiam
No 23 Jalan Manis 4
Taman Segar
56100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-9134 9998

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Nice Catch @ Pavilion

Located right at the end of the food court on Level 1 and taking over from where Manhattan Fish Market used to occupy, a newly opened two-week old seafood restaurant (when I visited) has joined the many new dining options at Pavilion.

Nice Catch @ Pavilion offers a selection of wholesome, premium seafood with a twist cooked western style with homemade sauces prepared fresh daily.

Glad to see that they have dispensers for freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt on every table unlike a certain Establishment (I visited recently) that shall remain nameless ;)...wuahahahaha (I'm so cruel)! :D

For starters, we had the Golden Squid & Salsa @ RM27 described as flash-fried Korean squid with ginger and dried chillies over seasoned onion rings with crispy basil leaves served with a warm salsa sauce.

The well seasoned squid with a light coat of batter had a pleasing balance of flavours...warmth from the shredded ginger, heat from the dried chillies and crisp of the fried basil leaves. ^.^

They were good on their own but even better dipped into their homemade salsa sauce of tomatoes and onions.  A word of caution though....this dip has quite a bit of kick which some might find too spicy (I did as the spiciness kicked in after a few mouthfuls but I relished the salsa even though it was a bit on the spicy side)! ;)

Other light bites include a Cheesy Lobster & Seafood Dip (RM27), Spicy Poached Mussels (RM17) and Crispy Prawn Cocktail (RM17).

Their Facebook posting threw diners a challenge..."If it's not nice, you don't have to pay for it"!  But here's the catch....only if you have a valid reason as to why you don't like the dish.  Well, fair enough + I love a I ordered the Lobster Bisque @ RM23.

The menu states that it's a bountiful bisque packed with rich flavours that comes with a decadent lobster tail with a unique umami twist of Japanese ebiko.  There was also a swirl of (what looked like) pesto oil drizzle on the soup.  It was served with a long piece of crusty baguette smeared with pesto which acted as a great vehicle to dip and scoop the creamy soup.

And yes, it did come with a nicely presented lobster tail (albeit a small one) sticking out of the soup that was firm and fresh to the bite.  There were some tiny bits of (what I believe to be) lobster meat in the soup too (unless they were prawns).  The soup had just the right consistency and I loved that it came piping hot, a good sign that it was freshly made.  And the final outcome?  It was nice, so I paid for it....kikiki! ;D

They have just one other soup, the Wild Mushroom Crema (RM17) or you might go with a salad (they have three), the Savoury Fruit & Funghi Salad (RM23), a Garden Crisp Salad (RM17) or a very decadent Lobster Salad (RM72).

For mains, our first pick was the Classic Grilled Catch of the Day @ RM55 with a choice of fish fillet of Norwegian Salmon or Grouper @ RM55, Sea Perch or Butter Fish @ RM35 (we chose salmon), that comes with freshly grilled prawns with salsa rice and sauteed zucchini and cherry tomatoes.

The way the Norwegian Salmon was sliced (thinly and diagonally like you would sashimi) made it impossible to cook the salmon skin side down to get it crispy, so don't expect it to be coz it won't.  I did enjoy the flesh which was moist and delicate though.

As for the prawns, they have this translucent look and the texture was way too crunchy for my liking.  Plus the prawns were lacking the natural sweetness that I seek.  I've come across this type of overly bouncy prawns many times and I don't like one bit it.  I hear that they'll have this texture if they were treated with baking powder to make them extra bouncy.

You can also select your choice of sauce between mustard dill or ginger soy.  I went with ginger soy.  I wasn't expecting it to look like a cocktail sauce and their was a heat element in it (from a combination of ginger and chillies perhaps) that I quite liked.

When I see the word 'grilled', I expect direct heat, over a hot open fire and flame-kissed food.  So, I was expecting to see at least a little bit of charring or grilled marks on the seafood...but (sadly) there were none.  I think pan-fried would have been a better description for the way the seafood was cooked here.

Our other main was the Crispy Battered Fish & Friends @ RM35 with a choice of fried fish fillet (choose between Norwegian Salmon, Grouper, Sea Perch or Butter Fish, we chose Sea Perch this time) with crunchy prawns and chips served with a side of fresh salad and their signature grapefruit tartar sauce.

The dish arrived with two pieces of battered sea perch and three prawns (which had the same crunchy texture).  The batter was not overly thick nor overly crispy, the chips were nice.  Served with a grapefruit tartar sauce that seemed to have a drizzle of pesto oil on top, I can't say I tasted grapefruit in the sauce though.

If you come in a larger group, you can order a bigger platter for sharing like the Great Ocean Fiesta (RM119) or the Captain's Seafood Spread (also RM119) which is basically the same smaller versions we had.  The former showcases the grilled version with additional items like squid and mussels while the latter is the fried version with extra items of squid and corn dodgers.  The platter could be ideal for four as we saw a family-of-four (two adults + 2 children) sharing one of such platters.  And if you want to go all out, there's the more premium Nice Catch's Spicy Seafood Feast with Canadian Lobsters (RM189), King Crab Legs (RM159), Whole French Crab (RM119) or a Mixed Seafood of Prawns, Squid & Mussels (RM99).

Our drinks were Botanical Passion @ RM13 (earl grey tea infused with Thai basil leaves and mint with a tangy passionfruit reduction) and a Bottled Juice of Chilled Orange @ RM12.  Two surprising items showed up in the receipt though but with no charges.  One was for two glasses of iced water which we requested (since none was served) and two wet wipes which we declined when offered.

#Interesting Observation
It wasn't until I was writing this post that I noticed something interesting in their receipt.  Right at the top of the receipt (under Nice Catch) were these words...MFM Restaurants Sdn Bhd and I only know of one MFM...and that is Manhattan Fish Market.  As I don't see any reviews done on this place (yet) since it's barely 3 weeks old, I can only deduce that this is a sister (and more premium) brand to their existing MFM chain of restaurants (though there's no such mention of this 'relationship' whatsoever on Nice Catch's website). Knowing this now, I can clearly see the 'similiarities' in some of the food offered and the sense of deja vu whilst I was dining here! ;)

My Personal Opinion

All in all, was it a nice catch?  I have to say it was a fairly nice catch.  Of the few that I tried, there were somethings that were good and somethings that could be better.

I was happy with both the starters I tried (and their prices too) but the mains didn't impress as much as I had hoped it would.  The grilled platter didn't quite deliver on its promise of cooking method, the quality of prawns could be better and I think the prices for the Norwegian salmon option is on the higher end (seeing that they were just two thin slices).

Someone told me that some of the restaurants/cafes in Pavilion pay close to RM100k in rental.  I wonder if the high rentals are driving food prices up and portions down for the outlets here.  From my last few dining experiences in this mall, that would seem likely! T_T

Nice Catch
Lot 1.18.02 Level 1
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2110 1387

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

How many ways can you fry an omelette?

Fresh from putting out an eggs-haustive list (as Sean puts it) of how many ways you can eat an egg...from poached to scrambled, steamed, baked, sunny side up, sunny side up flipped, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, omelette-style and raw, the Chronicles of the Humble Egg (as TM suggests) continues.....

A blogger friend (TM) thought I missed out on one style of egg frying but little did he know that there was going to be an eggs-tension of that list...focussing on just omelettes....hehe! ;)

For a person who is a fan of eggs done any way...omelette-style is one of my top favourites because of its can stuff them with whatever ingredients you like! ^_^

It's also one of the easiest failproof way to cook eggs at home.  You don't have to worry if it's overcooked, undercooked or if the yolk is perfectly runny or not.  So, how many ways can you fry an omelette?  Well, lots of ways :)

#1 - Onion Omelette

One of the most traditional way of eating omelette...every household would have cooked this at one time or another.

#2 - Luncheon Meat Omelette

This evokes a happy childhood memory from all of reminds us of something our moms used to make for us which we, in turn, now make for our children.

#3 - Long Beans Omelette

Another staple when it comes to home cooking...and the best way to incorporate vegetables into your children's diet (with them liking it and not making a fuss about eating vegetables!).

#4 - "Lap Cheong" (Dried Chinese Sausage) Omelette

This one is also a classic omelette that I used to eat as a child but isn't as popular these days.  It kinda looks like pepperoni pizza, don't you think? ;D

#5 - Oyster Omelette

This mixture of egg batter produces the thinnest and most frizzy-like edges that's absolutely crispy and scrumptious. ^.^

#6 - Minced Pork Omelette

Ah, my family's favoured filling for omelette whether at tai chow restaurants or a home-cooked one.

#7 - "Foo Yoong Tan" (I have no English translation for this :P)

One of the most ordered omelette dishes at "tai chow" (Chinese stir-fry) places...but one I don't cook at home coz it's too much of a hassle to prep so many ingredients (sliced onions, carrots, spring onions, chillies, sometimes even shredded cabbage) just to fry an omelette...kekeke! :D

#8 - Thai-Style Omelette

Always extra frizzy, extra crispy, extra fragrant than any other omelettes...and that's because they cook it in extra oil! :P

#9 - Coriander Omelette

I discovered this by chance when, one day, I wanted to add a protein to my salad but didn't have any meat in the fridge.  And since I had lots of Chinese coriander (which will wither if I don't use them up), I decided to make an omelette with it.  I've been adding it since to my salads quite regularly.  

#10 - "Choy Poh" (Preserved Radish) Omelette

This one's always a good choice with porridge because of the saltiness of the choy poh.

#11 - Garlic (or Chinese) Chives Omelette

Only if you're a lover of the oniony and garlicky flavours of chives....coz some will categorise this as stinky.

#12 - Button Mushroom Omelette

I make this for breakfast whenever I happen to have excess mushrooms in the fridge (which isn't very often these days since they're now more expensive).

#13 - Tamago (Japanese Omelette)

Don't even think of attempting to make this as the work to get the layers of egg is insane.  One that's best left in the hands of able Japanese chefs...hehe! ;D

#14 - Shrimp Omelette

Another popular omelette order at tai chow eateries alongside "foo yoong tan" and minced pork omelette but also one of those easy-to-make omelettes at home.

#15 - Pattaya Fried Rice

One of the most ingenious ways of using an omelette, don't you think?

#16 - Pattaya Fried Mee

It always amazes me how they can get the omelette so thin and then wrap fried rice or mee in it without tearing the omelette.

I'm sure there are many more types of omelette you can think of or have eaten but those are probably less conventional or not as popular...and perhaps not so good tasting as bitter gourd omelette (I love bitter gourd but somehow not in an omelette).

And many of these omelettes are easy enough to egg-secute.  So, what's your favourite omelette?  Mine is.....forget it, it's difficult to pick one, I like them all, maybe some more than others! ^o^
P/S: I hope you've enjoyed reading this post as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Qian Qian Little Kitchen @ Pandan Indah

Qian Qian Little Kitchen @ Pandan Indah specialises in pan mee (both dry and soup) with some side dishes of the fried kind like wantan, dumplings, otak-otak and fish cake (read my previous review here).

It has been our 'go to' pan mee place on weekdays for some of our family dinners.  We'd visit almost on a weekly basis and in one of our recent visits, we noticed that they have added two new pan mee flavours and introduced nasi lemak as well to their menu.

They have 3 choices of nasi lemak here, the first being Nasi Lemak with Chicken Drumstick @ RM8.50 with the usual condiments of fried egg, crispy fried ikan bilis and freshly fried peanuts, sambal and cucumber slices (of the Japanese kind).

The seasoning in the fried chicken drumstick may be less subtle for those who prefer more salty flavours (though I don't mind it).

Then there's the option of Nasi Lemak with Whole Chicken Leg @ RM10.90 for those who want or need a meatier (and more fulfilling) plate.  I have to say that for a Chinese-style nasi lemak, they did the sambal justice here (nearer to a Malay-style sambal but less spicy).

The chicken skin was well crisped though the meat might come off just a little dry to some but I was fine with it.  As for the fried egg, it really depends on your times you may still get a slightly runny yolk, on other days, the egg could be well overcooked (like most of the days).  You can always change it to hard-boiled if you don't want to deal with overcooked egg yolks.

But the best is yet to come...haha! ;D  Not found at many shops, this place offers Nasi Lemak with Luncheon Meat (Spam) @ RM8.50.....yay!  This was how the luncheon meat looked like the first time we had it.

The luncheon meat was fried to a nice crisp on the outside.  It's also fragrant and of a fair quality (better than most you'd find at chap fan stalls).

But in our more recent visits, they look like this now...they've probably changed the brand of luncheon meat but, luckily, these ones are still tasty enough (though I'd have to say I preferred the previous non-round ones just a tad more).

Fragrant, salty, tasty luncheon meat.....a sure-fire crowd pleaser :)

A nasi lemak with luncheon meat is bound to endear it to families with young children as, not only is the sambal not hot, it comes with luncheon meat (spam)! ^o^

Besides the introduction of nasi lemak, they've also added two new pan mee flavours to their repertoire, one is the Salted Egg Yolk Pan Mee @ RM8 (might as well jump on the bandwagon of everything salted egg yolk) with pork meatballs, minced pork, Sichuan preserved salted vegetables ("cha choy"), fried onions and, of course, mashed salted egg yolk.

Fans of anything salted egg will embrace this dish like no other.  Stir everything together (including the dried chilli condiment) and it'll be a chopstick-full of fragrant, salty flavours.  Beware of the red bird's eye chillies hidden in the salted egg though! O_o

The other new pan mee is the the "ma lat" flavour which is the hot and spicy (or numbing) version (depending how you see it based on your level of heat tolerance).  I usually find ma lat too hot for me to handle, so I would skip that.

As usual, they have some side dishes for you to add on as snacks like my favourite Otak-Otak @ RM5 (for 5 pcs) which I'd order almost every time.

My family likes to order the Salted Pork @ RM7.90 which is deep-fried pork coated with "nam yue" (fermented red bean curd).

I find this a bit too lean and dry for my liking but since my son likes it, we'd order it still.

To balance out your meal with some needed greens, the Vegetable Egg Soup @ RM5 would fulfill that need.  The vegetable is the star gooseberry leaves (sayur manis or "shu cai" in Chinese) in egg drop soup.

They also make a pretty decent.....and foamy glass of Teh Ais (Iced Tea) @ RM2.50 here.

My Personal Opinion

The place is highly suitable for families who like to eat in a really bright and clean  environment.  I think the introduction of nasi lemak has been a good call (I noticed it has brought them more customers) since not all family members like to eat noodles only.

For a Chinese-style nasi lemak where sambal is usually not (or never) a strong suit, their sambal certainly deserves praise for getting as close as possible to a good sambal.

Still a usual haunt for my family when we feel like eating pan mee...and now for a nasi lemak fix at dinner time as well! ^.^

Qian Qian Little Kitchen
81G Jalan Pandan Indah 4/6B
Pandan Indah
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4287 7333

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