Shopping for Chinese New Year clothes!

Shopping for CNY

I don’t make a big deal out of shopping for clothes every Chinese New Year. It’s a tradition to wear new garments but some years I didn’t buy anything or just got a pack of red underwear (which turned out to be the best I ever had).

Onitsuka Tiger

However, I wanted to get my better half some clothes so we went to purchase new attire over two weekends.

MUJI

We ended up buying more stuff for me. My dear got me two awesome shirts from MUJI, one long sleeved casual and one work shirt from MNG and a pair of “drop crotch chinos”. I have no idea what that last one was, she just thought I ought to wear something different. smirk

Clothes

I did manage to get her something though – we went to Levi’s for a pair of denims and H&M for more garments.

UNIQLO Disney Chinese New Year Collection

I also got attire for the kids.

Disney Chinese New Year 2016

I really liked this shirt but they didn’t have one in my size. It’s from the UNIQLO Disney Chinese New Year 2016 collection.

Onitsuka Tiger Asics

I spent the most in Onitsuka Tiger. I had wanted a pair of bright blue sneakers from adidas a few months ago but unfortunately they were out of my size. My dear remembered that I liked that particular shade of blue and brought me to Onitsuka Tiger to get a similar pair.

ASICS Onitsuka Tiger

Onitsuka Tiger don’t make their own shoes. They’re actually made by ASICS and branded as Onitsuka Tigers. Interesting, I didn’t know that. It makes sense though, why would an apparel company go into the shoe business when they can just co-opt and OEM (rebadge) from an existing sports company? Pretty smart business move.

RM55 Socks

I do like the brand though and since there was a 30% sale on accessories if you buy footwear, I got two pairs of socks to go with them. Unfortunately, the discount is only valid for one (1) item so I also got an overpriced RM 55 pair of socks from Onitsuka Tiger. Haha.

CNY Shopping

It was fun going shopping with my better half though and I got all my Chinese New Year wardrobe sorted out. The reunion dinner is coming up soon! Have you all gotten all your shopping done?

Our RM 890 8-Head Abalone Poon Choy Dinner

Poon Choy

This is a Chinese New Year tradition that I do with my better half and the kids. Her parents usually come along as well so it’s 6 pax for our poon choy dinner. I make it a point to do a lot of research before ordering the year’s poon choy (which is a big bowl feast with lots of stuff inside) and decided on Unique Seafood, Kota Damansara for our 2016 table.

Prosperity Poon Choy

I had to order and pay for the poon choy in advance – it costs RM 411.65 for a 5 pax poon choy with with 8-Head Abalone. It says RM 374.20 nett on the poon choy reservation slip, but that’s for take-out only. You get a 16% surcharge for service and GST if you dine-in, which is what we opted for this year.

Table Reservation

I made reservations for a table of 6 for 6:15 pm.

Seafood Fish Tanks

My dear’s father is a huge fan of fish so that was one of the reasons I had chosen this place for our Chinese New Year dinner. They have a wide range of seafood on offer – everything from lobsters to fish. It’s also super fresh (since they’re still alive and in aquariums) and you simply walk over to choose the specimen that you want and the chef will cook it for you.

King Grouper

He went for the King Grouper (RM 173/kg) and one of the waitresses fished out the 1.3 kg creature and it eventually ended up on our dinner table.

Abalone Salmon Yee Sang

I also wanted to have yee sang with everyone so I asked for their most premium version, which was the Abalone and Salmon with Fuji Apple Yee Sang (RM 160.90 for half portion). It’s good for them to offer 1/2 portions since a full portion would be too much for our table of 4 adults and 2 kids.

Lou Sang

The abalone was very good and sliced well, but the salmon was a little sad looking. We later found out that Japanese restaurants around Klang Valley has started offering fresh salmon and other seafood for yee sang at extremely competitive prices. Nevertheless, it was the symbolic tradition of the lou sang toss that means more than the food itself.

2016 Poon Choy

The 8-Head Abalone Poon Choy (RM 411.65) came next and it was enclosed in a claypot, complete with lid, and a heating source at the bottom. I dare say that this was the best poon choy we’ve had over the years and the hot nature of the ingredients contributed to that. Of course, the awesome selection of goodies was cooked to perfection too.

8-Head Abalone

This year had 8-head abalone, fresh prawns, fresh scallops, black moss, sea cucumber, huge sheets of fish maw, oysters, dried scallops, roasted duck, steamed chicken drumsticks, mussels, mushrooms, abalone slices and plenty of vegetables at the bottom. There was a lot to eat! Unlike last year’s poon choy, our 2016 poon choy was cooked together and all the flavors combined really well.

Grouper

The fish came after the server saw we were done with the poon choy. The King Grouper was cooked two ways – the first as slices of grouper in superior stock. This proved to be a hit as well, the entire grouper cost RM 224.90 (not inclusive of RM 12 cooking charge) and the flesh was soft and tender. I like how the freshness was accentuated by the cooking style too. The slices of grouper rested on soft and silky tofu, a very nice way of presenting it.

King Grouper Soup

The second course for the King Grouper came as a soup. Unique Seafood fried the head and bones and cooked it with some vegetables to produce a flavorful soup. It’s usually taboo to not serve a whole fish for Chinese New Year but since we have kids, it’s a lot easier (and more practical) to have the restaurant slice up the fish so there’s no bones and cook the head separately.

Waxed Meat with Glutinous Rice

I also ordered the Waxed Meat with Glutinous Rice (RM 44.35) which is a Chinese New Year staple. We barely made a dent in this since we were all full by then. I tapao it and we enjoyed it the next day though and it was delicious!

Seasonal Mixed Fruits

The kids wanted to have dessert so I ordered a platter of Seasonal Mixed Fruits (RM 20). They first had this when they came over to Sibu a few month’s ago. It’s nothing spectacular but maybe that was coz we were almost bursting with food at this point. Haha.

RM890 Bill

The bill came up to RM 890.50 for everything. I had already paid RM 414.50 when I reserved the poon choy earlier in the week (you have to pay up-front nowadays since it costs a lot to prepare the top shelf ingredients) so I just needed to pay RM 476 more after dinner. It’s slightly more than if you had booked a banquet but this way we got to choose what we wanted to eat and we had it centered around poon choy, which you can’t do with the banquet option.

Stuffed Scallops

I particularly enjoyed the fresh scallops stuffed into gourds and the fatt choy (black moss – a type of bacteria). I was quite surprised to see the little one eating a whole 8-head abalone by herself too. It was really yummy and we nearly managed to finish the poon choy despite just having 4 adults.

Unique Seafood

It was a great poon choy dinner and I’ll be looking to try a different restaurant’s poon choy around this time next year. Chinese New Year is coming up in less than a week’s time! Happy Chinese New Year everyone! :)

Tanoshii Dezato – Japanese Taiyaki (Fish Cake) Ice Cream

Tanoshii Dezato

Tanoshii means enjoy, so this ice cream cafe literally means Enjoy Dessert in Japanese,” I proudly declared to my better half. It seems that my years of watching anime during college in university had paid off at last. smirk I could only piece together the two words, hardly enough for our trip to Hokkaido in a month’s time but sufficient for our dessert pit stop.

Tanoshi Dezato

We had come across Tanoshii Dezato in Tropicana City Mall, which offers the intriguing creation of a taiyaki (baked sea bream – the Japanese style fish cake) filled with custard, topped with ice cream and a fruit.

Custard Taiyaki

The Signature Taiyaki costs RM 12.80 and you can customize it with a stuffing, ice cream flavor and fruit of your choice. There’s everything from red bean to chocolate for the filling and several ice cream flavors in addition to peach, kiwi, strawberry and banana as the fruit option.

Freshly Made Taiyaki

The interesting thing at Tanoshii Dezato is that the taiyaki is freshly baked on the spot! This mean it’ll be crunchy and warm and we were looking forward to eating the unusual Japanese themed ice cream “cone”.

Taiyaki

The woman manning the counter had two small fans to cool the taiyaki cone so the ice cream won’t melt when it’s inserted. The custard is baked inside the fish cake (see previous pic) and the fruits are all fresh!

Taiyaki Ice Cream

We went for a custard filled taiyaki with matcha ice cream and fresh peach. It tasted wonderful! The taiyaki is stuffed with the custard filling so there’s something for you to eat with the “cone” and the ice cream goes into the taiyaki cone too. I like how the fruits are fresh instead of canned.

Black Sesame IceCream

My dear also wanted another scoop of black sesame ice cream by itself. The ice cream costs RM 7 per scoop if you want it a la carte. Tanoshii Dezato also sells taiyaki by itself for RM 9.90 but the combo of the two with fruits just cost RM 12.80 so that’s the better option unless you’re too full to eat the taiyaki.

Signature Taiyaki

Tanoshii Dezato just started serving soft-serve ice cream. The signature taiyaki ice cream dessert with the soft-serve ice cream will be only RM 10.80. I asked why that was cheaper and the friendly lady there told us that it’s coz the soft-serve ice cream is made in-house while the other ice cream is imported from Japan so it’s RM 12.80. It’s worth a trip if you’re into new and unusual ice cream concepts.

Lobster ravioli with whole American lobster

Lobster ravioli with whole American lobster

This is what we cooked up for last night’s dinner. It looks real good eh? That’s a whole boiled Maine lobster (which is technically called an American lobster) served with lobster ravioli in brown butter sauce.

Boston Lobster

I wish I could say that I cooked the lobster and it originally came like this.

It did not.

Atlantis Lobster

The lobster came like this. smirk

Haha! It’s a whole cooked American lobster packaged by the huge Atlantis-IMF conglomerate. It came from the US and it’s frozen. The entire lobster cost RM 49.50. I hear that lobsters are getting cheaper nowadays coz the sea temperatures are rising, which makes the crustaceans hatch earlier and grow faster. Also, the overfishing of cod in the Atlantic means there are fewer natural predators to eat baby lobsters.

American Lobster

That means you can get lobsters at a pretty decent price nowadays, which explains why large F&B chains can offer it at RM 50 or so for a whole lobster, dine-in. That’s where the first lobster photo came from.

Three Bridges Lobster Ravioli

The ravioli is also store-bought. It’s made by Three Bridges and comes in a 9 oz (255 gram) pack. It’s just RM 34, made in California and described as 100% natural with “wild caught, North Atlantic lobster with creamy ricotta and vine-ripened tomatoes”.

You just need to boil it for 5 minutes.

Brown Butter Sauce

The only thing I made is the brown butter sauce, with lots of French origin butter and Himalayan pink salt.

Lobster Ravioli

There’s something to be said about just cooking something easy during a weekend. This seems to be a popular brand of lobster ravioli too, there was a lone Caucasian woman who took a few packs, presumably to eat something familiar at home. It tasted yummy though, both of us enjoyed the meal tremendously.

Jumping Bean Café @ Sunway Pyramid

Jumping Bean Cafe

We just had breakfast this morning at this “Japanese style café”. My better half actually wanted to go have xiao long bao but I was craving for my morning cup of coffee and she conceded to go with my choice instead. <3 Jumping Bean Café sounds like a good of a place as any to load up on caffeine and I needed it for our 8 hour Chinese New Year shopping marathon.

Jumping Bean Sunway

The café was quite deserted when we were there and I know this particular lot in Sunway Pyramid has gone through a lot of management and café/restaurant changes. I thought it might be wise to eat here before it closes down. smirk This happens a lot with us, especially in the ultra-competitive Dataran Sunway area, a prime example would be Flaming Melt (shuttered up 3-4 months after opening).

Tanzania Kilimanjaro Siphon Single Origin Coffee

Tanzania Kilimanjaro Siphon Single Origin Coffee (RM 15)
A place called Jumping Bean better had good coffee and I wasn’t disappointed. I asked about their Siphon selections and was presented with a Brazilian roast, Guatemala Antigua beans (suspect this is the same one that Starbucks offers) and coffee from Tanzania Kilimanjaro. I like how they actually take the trouble to bring you the coffee beans for choosing.

Siphon Coffee

I chose the final one and it was a good cup of coffee. I would have preferred the Siphon coffee system to be done at my table but I understand the constrains of space would have prohibited that since we ordered quite a lot.

Turkey Cheddar Croissant

Turkey Cheddar Croissant (RM 16.90)
My dear had this buttery croissant filled with turkey slices and cheese. It’s rather good, the croissant is home baked. Also pictured is her order of Iced Royal Milk Tea (RM 12). The side salad is the same as mine, I believe they just make one large portion. Nothing special but the star of the dish shined.

Waffle Breakfast

Waffle Breakfast (RM 15.90)
This was my order. It was described in the menu as the “best pair(ing) in the world” and I’m inclined to agree. I do like sweet, fluffy waffles filled with savory items. Mine had turkey ham, cheese and egg. It was good, if a little small, portion wise.

Chicken Floss Honey Toast

Chicken Floss Honey Toast (RM 19)
We were supposed to have the “Japanese inspired” Mix Fruit Honey Toast (RM 19.90) for dessert but I wanted to try the unique sweet-savory chicken floss honey toast instead. It’s one of those home baked square of bread deals, with the inside cut out and made into 3 x 2 slices of “toast soldiers”. They’re supposed to cut it even smaller, into a 3 x 3 x 3 matrix (from what I gather from the pictures) and I thought it was sloppy that they didn’t.

Giant Toast

It didn’t taste as good as it could have, due to the thicker array of toast soldiers but I did like the honey and mayonnaise and chicken floss combination, especially with the creamy vanilla bean ice cream. The sweet and savory combination isn’t for everyone though – I ended up single-handedly finishing the huge dish – but it tasted nice to me.

Jumping Bean Sunway Pyramid

Jumping Bean Café is not a fully serviced café per se…there are paper chits on the table so it’s more like one of those chain kopitiam places, but since there weren’t a lot of people, the waiters came to our table to serve us. The bill cost RM 78.80 for the both of us. It wasn’t the best brunch we ever had, and it wasn’t the worst either. It was simply mediocre but saved by the fact that we were both really hungry. :)

Dotty’s Café and Bakery @ TTDI

Salted Egg Cronut

This is the home of the famous salted egg yolk cronut.

Dottys Cafe

We dropped by Dotty’s Café this morning after seeing that they were serving hot food for the first time this weekend. It was our Sunday morning brunch option of the week and we weren’t disappointed. I was actually a little apprehensive that the place would be packed considering its their “opening weekend” (of sorts) but it was quite manageable.

Dottys Cafe Bakery

Predictably, most people came here to take away boxes and boxes of their salted egg cronuts. I asked about the availability when we got there at 10:30 am and they were all sold out! I had to wait for the 12:30 pm batch. We ordered breakfast while contemplating whether to wait or not – part of me wanted to just wait for the hype to die down before sampling it but since my better half didn’t mind, we sat there until the next batch came out.

Doughnut Latte

Doughnut Latte (RM 14)
This is a really quirky item that Homer Simpson would absolutely adore. My dear wanted to try it and I was curious too after seeing it on their Facebook. It’s a hot donut that’s topped with ice cream with a pitcher of latte on the side. It works a little like an affogato – you basically pour the latte into the doughnut. This has the magical effect of partially melting the ice cream and making the donut soggy.

Latte Donut

It’s surprisingly good to wolf down bites of the warm coffee-infused doughnut with the colder ice cream as a contrast.

Salted Caramel Latte

Salted Caramel Latte (RM 13)
It’s pretty good but I would have liked the caramel to be saltier. I’m a huge fan of salted caramel and personally always tend to go more savory but there’s nothing wrong with Dotty’s implementation. They also have brews like Coconut Milk Latte (RM 14) which would be ideal for vegans, organic food lovers and hipsters alike. smirk

Baked Eggs

Baked Eggs (RM 26)
We shared this for breakfast. It was one of only three (3) items available on their menu today. I think most of them were sold out, I originally wanted a Salt Beef Sandwich (RM 26) but it wasn’t available. That said, the bread was simply out of this world! It should be noted that Dotty’s Café is also a bakery and all their bread is freshly baked. You can taste the wonderful bread here, there’s sour dough (which goes very well with butter) and slices of brown toast which went perfectly with the baked eggs.

Mixed Berries Pavlova

Mixed Berries Pavlova (RM 10)
I went to New Zealand to study high school when I was 15 years old and have eaten a lot of pavlovas over there. I’ve also eaten a lot in Australia but have always felt that pavlova is more of a Kiwi thing, they do it a lot better. This implementation is also good – there are just three ingredients, the pavlova shells, crème patisserie and berries and it’s a testament to their baking skills that these 3 go so well together.

Making Salted Egg Yolk Cronut

Salted Egg Yolk Cronut (RM 11)
We waited hours for this to come out and finally the floor manager (?) took one out before the 12:30 pm batch and served it to us. I thought it was nice of him to personally do that, and was a bit puzzled when he warned us that it’ll be hot and to wait for it to cool down. It wasn’t hot and I later found out the reason why – it can’t be hot, or the structure of the cronut will be compromised.

Salted Egg Yolk Cronut

The salted egg yolk cronut (which is a combination of a croissant and a donut, texture wise, just in case anyone has been living under a rock for the past few years) was really good. I can see why people would wait for this. The thick and generous amount of butter and salted egg appealed to me immensely – it was mouth-wateringly delicious!

Cronut

The beautiful thing about the salted egg yolk cronut is that the insides are filled with the butter-salted egg combination too. It’s very rich and creamy.

Dottys Cafe Us

The salted egg yolk cronut is something you have to eat at Dotty’s Café and Bakery. You can take away of course but I personally feel it doesn’t taste the same if left to its own devices for too long. They have a wide range of freshly baked goods (and salads) as well as hot food so we’ll be back again to have brunch another weekend to try their other stuff. The meal cost RM 75 for the both of us, which is cheaper than our usual brunch outings. Dotty’s is located at Jalan Tun Mohd Faud 2 in TTDI.

5 fun things we did for our Christmas Eve celebrations!

Christmas Family Photo 2015

Christmas is just around the corner! The kids have been asking me about our annual turkey since our Melaka trip so I decided to celebrate Christmas early this year. Here’s what we did for the festive season:

1. Christmas shopping

Glenfiddich Mince Pies

Yup, this is one of the highlights of my year. I went out with my better half to look at what we’ll be getting for our Christmas celebrations. I saw this really cool Glenfiddich mince pies. It’s made with their 12 year old expression of single malt Scotch whiskey.

Glenfiddich Whisky Cake

They even have a Glenfiddich Whisky Cake!

2. Christmas turkey

Christmas Halal Turkey

This is a mainstay of our Christmas celebrations each year. The kids like to eat it and I like to roast it. It’s fun and it’s one of the things we look forward to.

Halal Turkey

Excuse the Islamic script, the turkey I bought is not haram this year. It’s called Midamar Turkey and despite coming from Iowa in the United States, it’s certified halal.

Brining Turkey

The turkey costs RM 348 and weighs 5.8 kg.

Roast Chestnut Cranberry Apple Stuffing

I used a roast chestnut, cranberry and apple stuffing for the turkey.

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

I stuffed our Christmas turkey and popped it into the oven…

Roasted Turkey

…and we all ate it with slices of bread and jellied cranberry sauce.

Turkey Christmas

Delicious!

3. Pistachio panettone

Flamigni Gran Pistacchio

My dear chose our annual panettone. It was a choice between panettone filled with mascarpone cream, chocolate covered and filled, a pandoro, or a pistachio crumb covered panettone with pistachio cream filling. She chose the last one, it’s RM 132.50 for a 1 kg cake.

Pistachio Panettone

This is made by the good people at Flamigni, the individual panettone is actually made by hand in Italy before being filled with pistachio cream and topped with crushed pistachios. It’s described as “Panettone con Crema al Pistacchio ricoperto di Chocolato Bianco e Granella di Pistacchi” which translates to panettone with pistachio cream covered with white chocolate and chopped pistachios.

Panettone with Pistachio Cream

The kids loved it! The white chocolate topping holding the crushed nuts was sweet and the cream even more so. I was very happy with our panettone this year, it’s absolutely fabulous! I can eat it all year!

4. Christmas crackers

Kids Christmas Crackers

This is another one of our Christmas traditions. I’ll go with my dear and buy some crackers for the kids. If you’re not familiar with Christmas crackers, they’re meant to be pulled by two people after Christmas dinner and (traditionally) the person with the largest half gets to keep the party favor or gift inside. It makes a snap / bang when you pull it.

Playing Christmas Crackers

The kids really liked them when I first got it for Christmas so I thought I’ll get them every year. We always give the kids two crackers each and we’ll each have one.

Happy-Clapper

I got a Happy Clapper from my cracker. Haha.

5. Family Christmas photo

Christmas Dinner

This is something we’ll do each year, take a photo together after we’ve eaten our turkey dinner and opened our Christmas crackers.

Christmas Crackers

The novelty paper hats are actually from the crackers. My better half printed the selfie props. This idea came from the stuff that came in last year’s Christmas crackers and we thought it’ll be fun to incorporate it into our annual festive photo. This year’s family Christmas picture has a “White Christmas” theme (coz we’re all wearing white).

Christmas Family Photo 2015

We make it a point to celebrate Christmas with the kids every year. It has become “our” tradition with a turkey, Christmas crackers, panettone and a group photo. This is our 2015 family Christmas photo. Merry Christmas everyone! :)

Restaurant Ole Sayang, Melaka

Melaka Kids

I was in Melaka over the long weekend with my better half and the kids.

Melaka HB Ling

Her parents were also with us and so we decided to have a nice Nyonya dinner at Restaurant Ole Sayang in Melaka.

Restaurant Ole Sayang

This local restaurant actually serves wonderfully delicious food but has often been disparaged due to their bad service. This is primarily due to the fact that the place is constantly packed to the brim with people.

Reservations

The reservation was listed down as “Elaine”. smirk We got rather good service coz the owner’s wife came to attend to us. I believe the staff might be a tad overworked, which is why the comments come in as such but if one of the proprietors serve you, you’ll be alright. She actually told me not to order the large portion of their otak-otak in a warm, friendly and confidential tone. Haha.

Pandan Rice

That’s just a bit of a harmless confidence trick though since she’s actually a very good businesswoman. They even bring their delicious keropok over to each table to see if they want any to take away after your meal. That doesn’t detract from the excellent food though. It may not be for everyone since it’s noisy at times and crowded but if you’re looking for awesome Nyonya chow, you can’t go wrong.

Ayam Ponteh

Ayam Ponteh (RM 26)
This is the classic Peranakan dish of chicken cooked Nyonya style. They do it very well in Restaurant Ole Sayang, it was very hearty and delicious. I ate three (3) plates of rice from the gravy alone! It’s a famous local Malaccan recipe and we all loved it.

Asam Pedas Fish Head

Asam Pedas Fish Head (RM 75)
The fish is a species called kurau locally and the spicy broth goes very well with it. I was hesitant about ordering it in the classic style since it can be a bit hot but everyone seemed to like it so that was good.

Itik Tim

Itik Tim (RM 35)
This is half a duck simmered with savory pickled vegetables for a sour and appetizing soup course. It did its job well, which was to open up our appetites. The duck meat and bones isn’t edible (well, technically it is, but it’s not palatable) since all the moisture and goodness has been sucked out to be in the broth but it’s not meant to be eaten anyway.

Otak-otak

Otak-otak (RM 11.50)
This was the only thing which wasn’t up to par. The otak-otak seemed to be a bit off that day. The ratio of santan (coconut cream) to fish paste seem wrong, there was too much of the former so you could only taste coconut milk. Maybe that’s why the owner told me a small portion would do. *shrugs*

Sambal Udang Petai

Sambal Udang Petai (RM 28)
I love petai and I love shrimps. There’s nothing better than combining the two together! It makes for a spicy dish with a oeuvre of “smelly bean” (which is what petai is called in Chinese). It goes very nicely with the pandan scented rice.

Cincaluk Omelet

Cincaluk Omelet (RM 14)
The omelet went down very well with the kids. I liked it too but mostly left it for the kids coz they didn’t eat much from the other dishes. They can be a bit picky with food, kinda like me when I was young. You tend to grow out of these things (personally didn’t touch vegetables until my late 20’s) so it’s all good.

Chap Chai

Chap Chai (RM 22)
This is the Peranakan style preparation of vegetables and our last order from the Greatest Hits (TM) of Nyonya cuisine. There’s transparent rice vermicelli lining the bottom of the dish – I thought that was a very nice way to absorb the flavors of the gravy.

Huge Cendol

Huge Cendol (RM 30)
This is calculated according to the number of people. It’s RM 3 per serving (you can also get individual ones) so if you have 10 pax like us, you can opt for a huge mound for everyone. This was liberally doused with the awesome gula Melaka (palm sugar) and even though the kids made a collective spur-of-the-moment group decision not to have any (eh?) the adults all finished it. I myself had 5-6 servings.

Restaurant Ole Sayang Melaka

I had thought I had over ordered for everyone since we had 10 pax (but 4 of them were kids, so it’s 6 adults) but we managed to finish everything, even the gigantic portion of cendol. There was nary a scrap of meat left (except for the duck carcass in Itik Tim) and the plates looked licked clean. I’ll go again for the food alone. You’ll love this place if you don’t mind a bit of ambience (noise) and you’re looking for traditional Nyonya fare.

Metal Box Restaurant and Café, Empire Damansara

Metal Box

Metal Box Café has been generating a lot of buzz lately. Word is, the chef came from The Red Beanbag, the popular and perennially packed eating establishment in Publika. We popped over for breakfast and we were very happy with the food here. It’s a lot more vibrant compared to the (admittedly) bland stuff from The Red Beanbag.

Metal Box Cafe Restaurant

The interior of Metal Box is made to look exactly like the namesake – full of shipping containers. The industrial chic look is accented by the steel girders, faux metal container and pictures of a loading dock. Service here is prompt and friendly. We stayed for a while to chat while eating our dessert and didn’t feel pressured to leave despite the place being full.

Incredible Waffle

Incredible Waffle (RM 23.90)
My better half chose one of their new dishes. This is a crispy liege waffle served with guacamole, choice of beef bacon or turkey ham paired with garden greens and 68 degree egg (slightly higher than a 63 degree egg). I loved the texture of the waffle, it goes very well with the 68°C egg and everything is seasoned well. This place doesn’t serve pork but strangely has a lot of red wine and Guinness infused items/sauces on the menu.

Metal-Box Baked Egg

Metal-Box Baked Egg (RM 19.90)
I was craving for baked eggs and opted to have this. There are 2 soft baked free-range eggs in a pot with sliced smoked chicken breast, diced chicken sausage, potato & eggplant, homemade cannellini beans in tomato coulis baked to perfection. This is topped with freshly grated Gruyère cheese and freshly baked French sour dough on the side. I really liked the zesty flavors in this dish – the abundance of premium homemade ingredients really shines though too.

Salted Egg Chocolate Lava

Salted Egg Chocolate Lava (RM 19.90)
This golden centered lava cake is paired with mixed berries and vanilla bean ice cream. It’s wonderful! It tastes like lau sar pao (Chinese dim sum dessert bun made with salted eggs) meets West. The salted egg is ingenious – people often add sea salt, salted caramel or something else to make the flavors pop but this is the first time I’ve seen salted egg used.

Salted Egg Dessert

It goes perfectly, flavor wise and the quality vanilla bean ice cream (you can even see the small dots) is delicious. I would go again just for this.

Metal Box Empire Damansara

Metal Box Café and Restaurant is located at Empire Damansara and it looks like the most popular F&B outlet there. It can be very packed during weekends and if you want the best seats in the house, go for the al fresco tables at the back. There are green shrubs and flowing water to make your morning even more chill and relaxing. I highly recommend it, it’s the right combination of great food and awesome ambience.

Barks Bunnies Café

Barks Bunnies Cafe

The name of the café is an obvious play on a certain WB cartoon. We didn’t actually know this was a “pet café” until we stepped through the doors. I was at the Subang Jaya area with my better half and we just wanted to have a very quick lunch and headed to the nearest place that has parking. That was how we ended up at this rabbit café.

Bunny Cafe

I didn’t take note of the name and it surprised me quite a bit when I saw an enclosure for rabbits to the side. “Dear, it’s one of those rabbit cafes!” I exclaimed. Oh well, doesn’t matter as long as the food was good. This place is pet friendly and some people bring their dogs inside. There was a resident canine on the premises too.

Chicken Pesto Sandwich

Chicken Pesto Sandwich (RM 13.50)
My dear ordered this coz she saw a sign outside advertising this special. It was plated quite decently, with fries on the bottom and the toasted sandwich sitting on top of the heavily seasoned potatoes. I had a bite and it looked better than it tasted. It wasn’t bad per se, it just wasn’t good either. My better half didn’t finish it.

Ellies Cold Pressed Orange Juice

Ellie’s Cold Pressed Orange Juice (RM 7)
This was pretty good though, can’t go wrong with a drink in a bottle.

Ameri-Cola

Ameri-Cola (RM 12)
What sorcery is this??? Described as “double shot of espresso over Coca Cola on ice”, it would shock most coffee purists. I thought it sounded like a potentially nice combination though and went for it. It wasn’t, but I’m glad I tried it. Haha.

Macaroni Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese (RM 14.50)
I had imagined this to be a creamy 3-cheese mac. I had been craving for a nice mac & cheese for ages and this wasn’t it. The dish that came out was excessively watery, with not much cheese to speak of. I didn’t finish it either.

Kafe Barks Bunnies

Barks Bunnies Café is one of those places you go for the pets, not the food. You can actually touch the rabbits and bring your own cats and dogs, which might be a plus point for animal lovers. The service from the college-aged looking girl was quite good, she asked us if the food was alright since she noticed we didn’t even eat half and I told her there’s a lot of room for improvement and she said the chef is new and she’ll relay my comments to him. We won’t be back to see but let’s hope that’s true.

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