MIGF Macanese Cuisine Menu @ Samplings on the Fourteen

Samplings-on-the-Fourteeth

My famous Instagram personality/healthy living influencer/TV host friend Soo Yin extended an invite to a food tasting at Samplings on the Fourteen. This restaurant is a mere 4 monorail stops away from my office so I dropped by after work to check out their MIGF menu. MIGF is the Malaysia International Gastronomy Festival. The festival was a huge deal in 2003 when I was a fresh grad working in KL. I would check out the participating restaurants with my meager salary at the time and most of the offerings were good. However, the inclusion criteria seem to have changed – there’s a few additions I wouldn’t think of as fine dining and the same few faces from Genting has an oversized presence.

HB-SooYin

That doesn’t mean they’re all duds though. The well regarded nadodi is one of the restaurants in MIGF 2018. I’ve also been hearing tons of positive things about the progressive gen in Penang. I haven’t dined at either, my experience tend to lean towards the Michelin Guide. I admit, I’m a Michelin star chaser and I’ve dined at world class Michelin starred restaurants in Paris, Hokkaido and more recently, Bangkok. I really enjoyed the dinner I had in The Lab at Gaggan two weeks ago. That said, there are very few places in Malaysia which I would consider world class restaurants.

This is the Light Macanese Cuisine Menu (RM 178 nett) offered by Samplings on the Fourteen. The Full Macanese Cuisine Menu is the same thing but with two glasses of wine pairing at RM 208 nett.

Portuguese-Squid-Salad

The appetizer was Portuguese Squid Salad, which was a cold dish of squid with a few brushed sauces. I detected a rather fishy smell emanating from the cephalopod and the sauces were not very intense. I didn’t think they added much to the dish. It’s not my favorite thing.

Potato-Kale-Soup

The soup course which featured Potato Kale Soup was better. It’s rich and has bits of crunchy elements and something which tastes like pork (though I’m told this is a pork free restaurant so it’s probably turkey ham). Decent.

Macau-Garlic-Prawn

The entrée of Macau Garlic Prawn was my favorite dish of the night. The prawns were cooked well and the garlic chips were excellent. I also liked the mash/puree served on the side – the flavors go swimmingly with the garlicky prawns. Good stuff.

Grilled-Fillet-of-Marble-7-Wagyu-Tenderloin

We were given a choice of two mains and I got to sample both of them since myself and Soo Yin ordered a different one each. I went for the Grilled Fillet of Marble 7 Wagyu Tenderloin. Unfortunately, the waiter who took my order did not ask me my preferred doneness so it came out medium. I usually go for blue or rare. I honestly wouldn’t have rated this as an M7 wagyu. To be fair, this is probably Australian wagyu, not the excellent marbled breeds from Japan (a steak of this size would cost much more than the price of dinner alone). However, this dish came across as one dimensional and flat due to the minimalist seasoning. This can only be pulled off if the meat is of exceptional quality and it’s not. I was hoping the pink lotus root would have been pickled more – adding an acidic touch to this dish would have saved it. I have had two excellent steaks in the past fortnight, once at Gaggan and another time at Upstairs at Mikkeler. But lest you think I’m a food snob (that’s totally not me if you have me on Facebook), I honestly think a dedicated local steakhouse like TTDI Meat Point would be a better bet if you like steak. Their chimichurri sauce is excellent.

Confit-of-Soon-Hock

The other main was Confit of Soon Hock. I like this one better. The fish was cooked decently and flakes off well. I thought the portion was a little too small to be a main but maybe that’s an internal food cost calculation thing. I would go for this over the beef. The addition of potato balls (?) was a bit curious though. I did not think it added to the dish and the texture doesn’t go very well since both are soft.

Serradura

Dessert was Serradura/Macarons. This was spelled as macaroons in the menu and all MIGF literature. That annoys me more than it should. They’re two different things. Macarons (the French meringue confectionary) should be spelled with a single o. I know some inclusive, vegan, body positive liberals have started saying both spellings are correct if you prefix it with “French” e.g. French macaroon but since there’s already a coconut biscuit called macaroon and the French spell it macaron, why would you invite confusion?

Mini rant aside though, the serradura was excellent. I had to convince Soo Yin to eat it coz it was so good. I love the malty biscuit dust – it reminds me of all the Marie biscuits I ate as a kid and goes very well with the whipped cream. Asians love textural play in their food and this checks all the boxes. Bonus points for also not being too sweet. However, the macarons that came with this dish was overly sweet.

Fourteenth-View

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to a food review. I did enjoy talking to my fellow bloggers during the night. I had fun. The food wasn’t the best, if I were to be honest, but there were some highlights in the menu – the excellent shrimp entrée and the serradura were my favorites.

Cons:
Macarons is spelled with one ‘o’. Macaroons (with two o’s) is a different type of biscuit made with coconut
Food wasn’t very impressive

Pros:
The cute waitress added me on Facebook

Moment Cuisine Steak House @ Kota Damansara

Moment Cuisine Steak House

I have watched this new restaurant with interest. It wants to be a higher end steak house but the menu items have a decidedly local twist to it. The Dataran Sunway F&B scene is very competitive and many restaurants have tried and failed to make it big here. I have a seen a very promising new entry this year (a pho place) but this one doesn’t look like it’s going to be successful. It didn’t help that the restaurant was empty all the time.

Moment Cuisine Kota Damansara

I walked in this evening to see what they’re all about. They have plastic dishes on the front, so I know it’s all steaks but I wanted to try it for myself. Moment Cuisine feels like a steak house for local palates and even has the definition of rare, medium, medium well and well done on their menu. The interior looks a lot like a budget hotel trying to look classy, with linen covered high back chairs flanking glass topped tables.

Banana Milkshake (RM 10.90)

Banana Milkshake

I was interested to see they have a range of real milk shakes…meaning, milkshakes made with real fruits. I opted for banana and was pleasantly surprised to see it’s made with real bananas and not the nasty artificial flavoring from a bottle (looking at you Monin). It’s pretty good. I nearly ordered another one when I finished mine, but at RM 11 per glass, it’s a little on the high side.

Moment’s House Grilled Australian Ribeye Steak (RM 43.90)

Moment House Steak

I ordered the house specialty, which is a ribeye from Australia. It comes with 3 choices of sauces – black pepper, mushroom and something called “Aromatic BBQ Sauce”. I went for the last one since I’m not very keen on the first two localized ones. The steak was very high quality. I was surprised – it’s all good meat with no gristle.

Moment Cuisine Steak

I had it rare and it came out rare. This is the most expensive item on the menu. The ribeye steak was juicy and tasty and goes very well with the apple barbecue sauce.

Moment Cuisine

Moment Cuisine Steak House surprised me. I expected them to do localized bad steak, and while the first part was correct (it is indeed tailored to local tastebuds) the second bit wasn’t. The cuts of beef were high quality and I enjoyed eating the steak. The cold sides could do with more work though. I don’t think they’ll do very well here since it’s neither here nor there but I’ll like to be proved wrong. It’s targeting Chinese customers e.g. the food isn’t halal and they serve pork chops too. Problem is, Chinese traditionally don’t eat a huge amount of meat. I don’t mind dropping in for another juicy steak, though at RM 63 for dinner, it’s not going to be a daily thing.

Epic Fit Meals @ Damansara Perdana

Epic Fit Meals

Epic Fit Meals sounds a lot like Epic Meal Time – the legendary YouTube sensation which later jumped into the silver screen. However, the concept between the two couldn’t be further from each other – it’s like the difference between night and day.

Epic Fit Meals Delivery

The latter celebrates excess – lots of bacon, whiskey and ridiculously large portions while the former is part of a new delivery-centric food revolution that focuses on healthy food. Epic Fit Meals is actually quite close to where I live and they also deliver to my area but I decided to drop by to meet Wick Kee, the guy behind Epic Fit Meals, when he invited me over.

Epic As Usual

Wick Kee is also from Melbourne. We actually studied in the same university, same campus – Clayton. We’ve also both stayed at the UniLodge – a popular university frat house lodging place in the middle of Melbourne CBD (although I hear it’s not so wild now). I was very intrigued when he said he’ll be bringing Melbourne style cuisine to Malaysia.

Japanese Sweet Mashed Potato

That means everything that the Australians value – low food miles, fresh produce, in-season ingredients. Even better, Epic Fit Meals is bringing Aussie style Greek food to Malaysia! I love Greek food and the suburb where I stayed (Clayton) has a high population of Greeks. I had a phase where I was eating dolmas (rice and meat wrapped in grape leaves) and sprats from a can. smirk

Cauliflower Rice

I got to know quite a few Greek friends when I was studying there and ate often at a popular Greek restaurant called Dion in Melbourne. I love Greek culture and food and I was glad that Epic Fit Meals would be bringing souvlaki and the likes to KL. I tried a cross-section of their menu, including their Epic Pesta Raya specials:

Epic Fried Chicken Schnitzel

Epic Grilled Chicken (RM 12.80 / 249 kcal)
Epic Fit Meals only use chicken breasts here and everything has the calorific count clearly stated on the menu. They have two types of chicken – grilled and “fried”. This is the former and you can opt for their (various and plentiful) sides to go with it. Prices start from RM 15.80 for the sets/combos, depending on how many sides you want.

You can choose the sauce for the chicken too! They have 7 sauces – (from mild to hot) Eziki, OZ’s Barbie-Q, Bonza Peppa, Apple Salsa, Country Gravy, Curry Grande and FIRE S.O.S. I went for Eziki (70 kcal), the sauce based on Greek tzatziki made from blending yoghurt, cucumbers, vinegar, dill and garlic.

I chose Irish Colcannon (122 kcal) and Epic’s Cauli-Rice (134 kcal) for the sides. The former is their version of the Irish dish of mashed potatoes with cabbage and leek and the latter is Epic Fit Meals’ secret low calorie and Paleo alternative to rice, made from fresh cauliflower. It’s really crunchy and yummy.

Epic Grilled Chicken

Epic “Fried” Chicken Schnitzel (RM 13.80 / 381 kcal for Classic, 403 kcal for Fire)
They don’t actually fry their chicken schnitzel – it’s all oven-baked for healthy reasons, but has the crunchy consistency and flavor you expect from classic fried chicken. Again, only chicken breasts are used. I opted for the FIRE S.O.S sauce as recommended by Wick Kee, which went very well with the “fried” chicken schnitzel.

The sides I paired with these are meant to complement the fiery sauce – Cilantro Lime Rice (217 kcal) and Mashed Sweet Potatoes (271 kcal). I thought the lime rice would be acidic but at least put out the fire but it turned out to be perfectly balanced. I love the use of Japanese sweet potatoes for the mash too, they have a lot of Paleo options.

Good Ol Breakkie Wrap

Good Ol’ Breakkie (RM 12.80 / 415 kcal)
This is Epic Fit Meals’ implementation of a breakfast wrap. It was actually the first thing I ate and I almost finished half before deciding to give more space to the other food spread out on offer. I was surprised by how fresh the ingredients tasted – it’s important to note that Epic Fit Meals only starts prep and cooking when you order. I saw this for myself, all the vegetables are chopped and everything is cooked to order.

Ayam Apple Api Pizza

3A: Apple, Ayam & Api Pizza (RM 19.80 / 545 kcal)
This is one spicy pie! It’s meant to celebrate the diversity of Malay cuisine and mashing it up with some unusual elements which goes well with the ingredients e.g. apple. I thought the result was surprisingly good. I liked the heat and the balance of the apple sauce. They also serve a Nasi Lemak Pizza (RM 19.80).

Fruit Yoghurt Cup

FRUGERTii (RM 5.80 / 98 kcal)
You can also order sides a la carte. They’re RM 4.90 for regular sides and RM 5.80 for Epic sides. I asked if they have any desserts on the menu and being a health-conscious establishment, this is the only one that they had. It’s sliced local fruits (grapes, oranges, apples etc) topped with their own low-calorie yoghurt.

Cold Pressed Juices

Cold Pressed Juices (RM 7.80 – RM 8.80 / 41 kcal – 79 kcal)
I thought this was one of the best juices I’ve had in a long time. They’re cold pressed and made each morning – all remainders are thrown away at the end of the day, ensuring you have a fresh bottle of juice. I loved the carrot, apple and pear combo in Classic Trifecta (RM 7.80 / 78 kcal). I gave the Coolie Beauty (RM 7.80 / 41 kcal) which had cucumber, apple, ginger, celery, lemon to my better half to try. She liked it and the kids loved the Red Apple Honey Smoothie (RM 8.80 / 79 kcal) – a smooth concoction of apple, fresh yoghurt and wild honey.

Epic Fit Meals Malaysia

It’s a very novel concept to deliver great-tasting healthy food (which doesn’t usually go together in a sentence) at ultra-competitive prices (you can get a complete meal with sides for RM 20 or less). Delivery is free and they’ll get the food to you within 45 minutes max which means it’ll still be hot, so check out Epic Fit Meals by calling 03-77333375 if you’re looking for something different to eat. I’ll definitely order their food again when we’re not cooking or eating out. :)

Aussie Story @ Sibu Bus Terminal

aussie story sibu

Aussie Story is new – very, very new. It has only been open for 4 days and we went on the fourth day of their operations. No newspaper advertising, no Facebook/Twitter/Instagram page, just pure old school word-of-mouth accompanied their soft launch and it’s been packed every single night ever since they opened their doors!

The congratulatory wreaths that celebrated the launch were still fresh! We didn’t know about the place, we chanced upon the restaurant by accident and decided to go in and take a peek at the menu. It’s a very nice place – you can say that the warm, soft-incandescent lit interior called out to us on a rainy day. smirk

aussie story restaurant

The place is a joint venture between two friends who’ve been classmates since their school days. Fredrick Wong is the barista and he’s in charge of the front-of-house while his partner Johnny Yong is the head chef and manages the back-of-house. I think this division of labor suits their personalities well, according to the long conversations we had with the both of them.

Aussie Story is still in the soft-launch stage so a lot of the items on their menu is unavailable, like the pita bread that I was interested in. Thus, we asked for recommendations and got:

Toasted French Loaf with Cheesy Egg Salad (RM 7.50)

toasted french loaf

This is the appetizer that Johnny the chef suggested. He almost insisted on it, so Arthur and I ordered it to see what the fuss is all about. It’s a baguette that’s been sliced and covered with melted cheese, finely chopped cubes of hard-boiled eggs, and an acidic element (the chef hinted it was based on the Thousand Island dressing).

However, it came out so fast I could see that only 2 of the 3 pieces had been browned properly. I don’t mind the chewy texture of the bread but I think it could have been on the oven/toaster/grill for a couple of minutes more so the Maillard reaction and caramelization would have been more even.

I thought I would dislike this pale looking appetizer but I thought it was delicious! The cheese and mayo works very well together and you can still taste and feel the texture of the tiny cubes of hard boiled eggs in the topping. There’s also a sour note which really made the dish!

The flavors works very well together and we both enjoyed it very much.

Irish Stewed Lamb Shank (RM 38)

irish lamb shank

I was surprised when this came out almost after the appetizer. It has barely been 5 minutes since we placed our order! The lamb shank is slightly smaller than the ones that I’m used to seeing but it tasted alright. The meat fell off the bone when picked at with a fork – a sign that it’s been slow-cooked to perfection.

I also liked how they left the cartilage on the top of the shank – the best part of ordering the lamb shank, I reckon. The mashed potatoes were good and I really liked their purple cabbage coleslaw.

However, one minor quibble I had was about the sauce – it was pretty evident that the gravy that came with the lamb shank isn’t the same reduced gravy that the lamb shank was cooked in – it tasted too watery, as if the gravy was sourced from generic stock and poured over the dish instead of the actual reduction from the lamb shank pot.

British style Fish & Chips (RM 15)

british fish chips

The fish and chips were made with good fish and the batter was seasoned well. It’s great value for the price too, since you get a huge fillet of fish (which is not the 50% filler, 50% fish abomination that’s been passed off as Dory fillets – they use proper fish fillets here).

The dipping sauce keeps up with the times too! They don’t use tartare sauce (despite what it states on the menu), it’s a pet peeve of mine when F&B outlets do, it’s so 90’s school canteen and it’s usually used to cover the taste of bad fish. Restaurants have found better combinations to go with good catches now and the last time I remember having tartare sauce was during my high school in Christchurch, NZ when the school canteen would serve fish sandwiches slathered with tartare sauce.

I’m sure I’ve had tartare sauce in bad local fish and chip outlets since but if I had, it wasn’t memorable enough to remember.

aussie story fish

Aussie Story uses a mayo based egg infused dip which I thought was very nice. It reminded me slightly of the dill aioli I had in CREST Café, Birubi Beach recently.

I think it’s actually the *same sauce* that goes on top of the baguette appetizer, but without the acidic component. The purple cabbage coleslaw is also the same as the one served in the lamb shank. Overall, I quite liked the dish.

white chocolate
White Chocolate Drink (RM 6.50)

I think it’s smart of them to incorporate similar and reusable things across dishes to minimize prep time. Fredrick and Johnny recounted the first day they opened and the trials of having to serve a full house, and having to comp a lot of tables since they couldn’t keep up with the pace of service.

One minor feedback that I have is that the appetizers and the main courses all came out at the same time – there’s no time for us to savor the appetizers and then wait for the main courses to arrive. Everything just came out almost immediately, it was so fast it made me slightly dubious on how they can cook everything to order.

CoffeX Bristot

Fredrick did address this when I raised my concerns though – it seems that Sibu people like having all their dishes on the table at the same time so they can share it. There’s no concept of waiting for a 3-course dinner here and I have to agree with him. It’s not Aussie Story’s fault, it’s the culture here and they have to accommodate for it lest people complain about their food not arriving promptly.

The service is impeccable and they really want to learn – we were solicited on our views of every dish. I told the owners that I was very impressed that the head chef and the front-of-house manager would take the time to go to every table and talk to the patrons about the food. We got all our drinks comped by Fredrick so the bill only came out to a discounted RM 60 for the food.

I would highly recommend this place due to the service – their PR is second to none and their food is pretty good overall. It’s up there with places like Tom’s Too but the service here is spectacular. It’s their passion after all, and I went back Saturday night with my dad to try and get a table, but the place was totally full.

aussie story

I really enjoyed the ambiance of the place and it’s the best service I’ve ever had in Sibu – totally customer oriented. Fredrick insisted on serving us coffee (they use CoffeX and Bristot) on the house when I asked to pay the bill too – which is a nice touch. There is a reason why the restaurant is called Aussie Story but I’ll let Fredrick tell the tale since it sounds more passionate coming from him – it is, after all, his story. :)

Aussie Story
Sibu Bus Terminal
(opposite 3° Celsius)

Bert’s Jr. Gourmet Burgers @ Kota Damansara

berts jr

Bert’s Jr. Gourmet Burgers is just a stone throw away from where I live but I’ve never eaten there, despite going to a lot of different places during the “burger craze”. We were craving burgers over the long weekend and since a lot of shops weren’t open, we decided to eat here. The different thing about Bert’s Junior is that they *don’t* serve pork – so don’t expect a nice juicy oink patty coz they’re a halal outlet.

berts jr gourmet burgers

I am wary of places like this, since some Muslims mistake myoglobin in cooked meat (the juices in a steak when it’s not rested properly) for blood, and since since blood is prohibited, a lot of halal steak houses and burger joints have very little in the way of customization – the meat is only served well-done e.g. you can’t order a blue steak or have it medium rare.

berts junior

Thus, I steered clear of the steak offerings (Bert’s Jr offers that on their menu too) and went in for the burgers. I asked for a recommendation and got Dark Vader (char-broiled mozzarella infused Australian beef patty topped with beef bologna cold cut, cheddar cheese, shiitake mushroom, green leaves, peeled tomato, caramelized onions) and Baa Baa Black Sheep.

dark vader

Bert Junior has burgers available in both small (100 gram) and regular (200 gram) patty sizes and I went for the larger one for my order. My better half went for a chicken burger since she doesn’t really like beef (Dark Vader) or lamb (Baa Baa Black Sheep). The burgers can also be made into a meal for RM 5 more – affording you a drink and a side (curly fries, French fries or croquette with coleslaw). It’s cheaper than most premium burger outlets in town.

Baa Baa Black Sheep (RM 21.90)
Char-broiled mozzarella infused Australian lamb patty topped with chicken mushroom, cold cut, cheddar cheese, Shiitake mushroom, pineapple, green leaves, onion & tomato salsa

baa baa sheep

I honestly can’t say I enjoyed my burger. I thought the combination of the lamb patty with the tomato salsa (which tasted more like a poorly executed Marinara sauce) was strange – it seems like the ultra strong tomato salsa is meant to cover the gamey taste of the lamb. I like the taste of lamb so I didn’t enjoy the overwhelming taste of tomatoes, which was ALL I could taste after a while.

lamb burger

I did like my side of croquette and coleslaw though – the latter was very refreshing. This is the most ordered item, according to the waitress.

Hot Chick (RM 19.90)
Grilled chicken thigh marinated with black pepper sauce topped with chicken mushroom, cold cut and cheddar cheese, egg, green leaves, peeled tomato, caramelized onions

hot chick

My dear went for the chicken option and she commented that the chicken thigh was rather dry. She did finish her burger though, but we couldn’t make a dent in the curly fries. I had a bite and thought it was mediocre but I do like the incorporation of a cold cut from the deli in their burgers.

berts jr us

I felt that our trip to Bert’s Jr. Gourmet Burgers was rather disappointing. The burgers we ordered were really underwhelming compared to other burger joints in town. However, the service was friendly and efficient and they also have a steamed cheeseburger on their menu, which I am keen to try next time.

black sheep

Bert’s Jr Gourmet Burgers
Jalan PJU 5/3, Dataran Sunway,
Kota Damansara

Dinner at Little Beach Boat House, Port Stephens

boathouse

Little Beach Boat House is a quaint little place just beside the bay at Port Stephens. You can hear the waves coming in at night and the wait staff is a duet of twins! The two Aussie girls look so much like each other that I just had to take a photo of them.

waitress aussie twins

The service is attentive and friendly and they had a special of the day, which I ordered. I actually recorded one of the twins reciting the dish in question so I can remember it, and she kindly obliged. Heh. This is one of the best restaurants in town according to Sharon, who dined with us last night.

popcorn

There was popcorn on the table – a growing trend that I’ve noticed in a lot of restaurants, who serve this in lieu of bread. I think it’s great! The dishes has a bit of a modernist twist in them too, with foams, purees and jelly sauce components on most of the dishes.

Entree

Seared Scallops ($19.00)
Cauliflower puree, chorizo, salsa verde, roasted corn

seared-scallops

This is really good! I like how the seared scallops and chorizo pairs up. Wei Zhi and I ordered different entrees and mains so we could try different things on the menu and this is her order.

Beef Cheek & Potato Croquette ($18.00)
W/ pee puree, binnorie feta & black garlic mayo

beef cheek croquette

I was more interested in beef cheek – a cut which is really flavorful if done right and they do it well here. It’s generously mixed into the crispy potato croquette and a nice touch is the black garlic mayo (the fermented garlic we use to make bak kut teh back home).

turkish bread

Toasted Turkish Bread ($10)
W/ balsamic & olive oil, garlic & herb butter, hommous and olive & feta tapenade

Mains

Miso Glazed Salmon ($33.00)
W/ soy roasted sweet potato, cashews, steamed greens and sesame & rice wine dressing

miso glazed salmon

I’m not a huge fan of salmon but according to Sharon (who also watches MasterChef Australia and offered me some) they did everything right in the “checklist” – crispy skin, no bones, juicy inside.

Seared Veal Medallions ($34.00)
W/ Jerusalem artichokes, baby spinach, green beans and parmesan & sage butter

veal medallions

I’ve cooked Jerusalem artichokes before, which is totally different from the globe artichoke. I ordered a Sauvignon Blanc which goes very well with my fish dish but makes the veal tastes rather bitter.

Crispy Skin Barramundi ($39.00)
Saltwater barramundi with roast pumpkin, broccolini, cherry tomatoes, bacon and a pee puree

barramundi

This is my order, the special of the day. I didn’t know it was fried though, since I don’t particularly like grilled fish (any other cooking method is better) but I kept an open mind. I wanted to eat barramundi since Australia is one of two countries where you can find it. I asked the waitress for a wine pairing and she suggested either Sauvignon Blanc or a Riesling but “personally I’ll go for the former”.

sauvignon blanc

I took her advice and it tasted great with the barramundi! The Sauvignon Blanc is very sweet and pairs well with the fish. The skin of the barramundi is crisp and it’s a classic white fish which flakes well but has a stronger taste than other popular white fish like cod and John Dory. The barramundi is excellent when eaten with the sweet and smoky roast pumpkin though!

Boathouse ‘3 Pigs’ ($36.00)
Crispy pork belly, pork schnitzel, prosciutto, parmesan, chorizo, corn cob, bacon mayo & apple jam

boathouse 3 pigs

This is probably the restaurant’s flagship dish. It came on a huge wooden platter and has 3 (three) different pork items on it, including a crispy pork belly the size of a small steak! It’s beautiful and the apple jam has been jellyfied, giving it a bit of a modernist twist.

little boat house

The dinner at Little Beach Boat House was great, and the company better – we talked late into the night about everything, and I learned a lot about the Port Stephens area too. Tourism New South Wales and Tourism Australia picked up the bill (thanks Duglass and Sharon) and we all had a bit of fun with the friendly twin waitresses who look so much alike! :)

twin waitresses

I’m still at Port Stephens, heading back to Sydney later! I’ll be here until next week and you can follow what I’m up to on my other social media channels coz I got an AUD 2 per day data plan!

http://instagram.com/sixthseal
https://twitter.com/sixthseal
https://www.facebook.com/SixthSealcom

Posted: 8:53 am Sydney time (GMT +2)

3-in-1 Food Review: Sarawak Laksa @ Aloha, Cafe Cafe, Sizzling Honey Chicken Wings Kampua @ Noodle House

aloha us

48 hours. 3 meals. We went to my grandma’s house for dinner on the 15th day of Chinese New Year so these are the selected places we ate at last weekend in Sibu when my dear came over.

1. Sarawak Laksa @ Aloha Cafe

laksa stall

My better half had wanted to eat Sarawak Laksa for ages so this was the first place we went to. It was early in the morning, I had just dropped off my dad at the airport and we were heading back to town for breakfast when my dad commented that Aloha Cafe has the best Sarawak Laksa in town.

sarawak laksa
Regular (RM 5) Sarawak Laksa

Everyone has a favorite place but I personally don’t like the dish that much. However, I haven’t eaten it for years so I ordered a Sarawak Laksa Supreme (RM 10). My dear wanted to go for the regular one (RM 5) but I convinced her to have the special (RM 7). The difference in prices is from the prawns, not the amount of noodles.

sibu laksa

The RM 10 dish has the largest prawns while the RM 5 has tiny shrimp meant for regular cooking. The RM 7 option lies somewhere in between – the prawns are large, but nowhere near the jumbo shrimp of the RM 10 dish.

big prawn laksa
L-R: RM 7 and RM 10 Sarawak Laksa with jumbo shrimp

Just look at the size of the monsters!

big prawns

Aloha Cafe is right behind my alma mater so I used to eat here when I was in high school. There’s a rather interesting signage that says that they won’t be serving 170 ml cup-and-saucer drinks anymore. These are the old school glass receptacles that hot drinks used to be served in, my late granddad loves pouring the coffee into the saucer to cool it down before sipping it. The regular glasses was considered “large” back then.

aloha drinks

I thought it was a rather interesting passing-of-an-age.

2. Cafe Cafe

cafe cafe sibu

Back in the early 90’s, there was one “cool” restaurant in town to hang out at. It was called Country Cafe and all of us high school kids went there during weekends. The place serves all sorts of food, including some wonderful fusion dishes that other places in Sibu didn’t have back then. One of the guys that I hung out with was called Peter, a classmate of mine who dreamt of opening his own cafe.

noodle house

15 years later, he opened Cafe Cafe and it was a resounding success and led to many other restaurants and last I heard, he was starting a new one in Kuching. My dear hasn’t been here before so I brought her here for our (belated) Valentine’s Day dinner.

mee mamak

The Mee Mamak (RM 11) is a localized version of the nationwide favorite, with lots of tomato and chilli sauce. It’s probably the dish that gets ordered the most coz the portion is HUGE and it’s relatively cheap. I had fond memories of this and I ordered one to share with my dear and it’s still as good as I remembered it, although a more refined palate tells me it’s really not that great, nostalgia wins out for this one. smirk

salmon lemon butter

My dear went for the Norwegian Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce (RM 28). We were rather interested in seeing if they took the time to pluck out all the bones from the fish and it turns out that they did! The sauce was good but it’s ultimately frozen salmon and you can taste that in the plated dish, which isn’t generally a good sign.

chicken maltaise sauce

I went for the Breaded Chicken with Spicy Prawn Sauce (RM 19). Unfortunately, they had run out of the sauce, so I switched it to Maltaise Sauce – an orange and Hollandaise blend. I really liked the chicken – the portion was good and it was from a cut that I enjoy, but what takes the cake is the Maltaise sauce. It’s delicious!

molten lava cake

However, there was barely a *spoonful* of the lovely sauce on my dish, so I think they were running low on it as well. It would have been perfect if I had more sauce to go with the chicken. It was a nice dinner though, loved the chill ambiance at the back instead of the noisy booths in front.

3. Noodle House

honey wings kampua

This is where we went for our kampua fix before flying back to KL. I had the Sizzling Honey Chicken Wings Kampua (RM 13.50) while my dear went for the Sizzling Spicy Seafood Kampua (RM 13.50). I wanted to try the new Sizzling Beef Rendang Kampua though but my better half doesn’t eat beef so I went chicken instead.

sibu kampua

Noodle House has good Sibu local fare in a cafe format and I like the concept. We also ordered some kompia stuffed with pork meat.

kompia sibu

My dear wanted to try their Crème Brulee but I convinced her to go for the Molten Lava Chocolate Cake instead. It’s absolutely fabulous – easily the best dessert I’ve eaten in Sibu. The hot molten chocolate oozes out from the mud cake when you break it open with a spoon.

molten lava choc

There’s also a scoop of ice cream and a dusting of cocoa powder to top things off. Lovely stuff.

sibu forever

We had chosen the places we wanted to eat at wisely and managed to go to all, except another visit to Payung Cafe, which was closed for Sunday lunch. It’s a good weekend trip back home! :D

Betty’s Midwest Kitchen, Dataran Prima

bettys kitchen

I remember going to this pork friendly (or rather unfriendly, if you’re a pig, it really depends on where you stand smirk) establishment way back when it opened. I stayed at Dataran Prima Condominium when I came to KL again in 2008 and this was just around the corner. It generated a lot of buzz when it came out – and I thought it closed down and haven’t been there in years, until last night.

bettys midwest kitchen

It was a rainy night and also a Chinese festival (Winter Solstice) and we decided to go back to see if it’s still open. It was…and business is booming!

bettys aman suria

I mean that literally, we arrived early so we were seated within 5 minutes but there were others waiting on stools while it rained for an hour! It’s the only shoplot that has a security guard to direct and seat people too. Haha!

(He did also help us get into the car by escorting with dual umbrellas)

Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale (RM 18)

dead guy ale

This is a “craft brewed” beer that’s brewed in Oregon, following the Midwest theme. They have a couple of beers from that region (mostly from Rogue Ales) at a reasonable price so I had this maibock with dinner. It’s an import, robust (it’s a bock, not an ale as the name suggests) with all the sediments you’ll expect to find, I liked it.

pigs

Betty’s Midwest Kitchen is known for their porcine menu offerings – I remember their “Dog Food” best, which is fries and pork and cheese all churned together into a melted and delicious mess. This time, we ordered three mains:

Pulled Pork Burger (RM 12)

pulled pork burger

This is another popular offering – a filling main with fried burger buns and pulled pork at a reasonable price. I like the way they fried the buns and the slow-roasted and shredded pork tastes good with their “secret” BBQ sauce.

Baby Back Ribs (RM 32.50)

baby back ribs

This is probably the most expensive item on their menu. It’s grilled pork ribs marinated in their special rub and sauce and grilled to succulent tenderness. That’s the menu description, the reality is a bit of a let down. I remember them having way better ribs than this. The dish we had last night was rather disappointing.

I recommend Racks Bar and Baby Backs in Changkat Bukit Bintang if you’re looking for awesome ribs (wonder if it’s still open?).

Pork Chop with Apples (RM 23)

pork chop apples

Hot off the pan, their pork chops are pan-fried to juicy tenderness and served with their delicious house mash potatoes (love their sauce). There’s two huge chops and the apples naturally goes well with pork – you know the cartoon pig with a *shiny red apple* in its mouth ready to be roasted? :)

I liked this dish, it’s one of their better ones. The entire meal cost RM 94.05 for the both of us. Betty’s Midwest Kitchen charges RM 0.30 for iced water according to their menu but they waived it for us in the bill.

betty us

Overall, the service was decent and the food was good. However, it wasn’t as good as when I ate here years ago. It’s still intensely popular and they enforce a lot of rules (like no seating until entire party is there) so I guess they must still be doing something right. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but it’s just not the awesomeness that I remember it to be.

tong yuen

My dear made me some tong yuen for the Winter Solstice and that’s a wonderful dessert to end the night! <3 Betty’s Midwest Kitchen
Jalan PJU 1/43, Aman Suria,
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

The best burger in Sibu (and possibly Malaysia)

burger sibu

Secret Garden Grill. Hands down. I was rather unimpressed by the place but damn, does the kitchen come out with one fine and juicy burger!

secret garden grill

I went out with Arthur to have dinner here. I was thinking burgers or Ming Mei Shi and went for the former coz we were just talking about Maple Leaf’s burger.

dayak

Secret Garden Grill does have a rather interesting photo wall though – there are photos of local happenings dating back to when the local Dayak tribe didn’t wear bras (which, if you’re interested to know, doesn’t happen any more unless you’re in a bedroom smirk).

secret garden sibu

Back to burgers, they have a double cheese, double beef patty version that I was tempted to order but since it doesn’t have egg (which can be an add-on), I went for the Secret Beef Burger (RM 14.90).

arthur wee

What makes it so special? It’s the handmade juicy patty which is easily an inch of dribbling juicy beef, the perfectly done egg, and the buttery grilled bread that’s just right.

secret garden burger

I had trouble stuffing this into my mouth but it’s a very rewarding and slightly orgasmic event to chew and see the juices from the rare/medium beef patty squirt out.

best burger sibu

Mmm…

fish chips

Arthur had the Fish & Chip (RM 12.90)

caesar salad

…and we shared a Caesar Salad (RM 8.90) for some greens to round off the meal.

yoghurt drink

I also had the Mixed Fruit Yoghurt Drink (RM 3.80 – marked down from RM 7.50). I thought it was alright, though this place seems to have slashing prices right, left and center. The burgers are awesome though – best in Sibu, and I’ll call it out on KL too.

hb arthur wee

Dessert was Mille crepe at Noodle House – we had two versions, the Double Chocolate Mille crepe and the Rum & Raisin Mille crepe.

mille crepe

I prefer the former coz it tastes chocolatey, I couldn’t taste the rum in the latter, probably coz I’m desensitized. Haha!

horlicks dinosaur godzilla

Horlicks Dinosaus vs Horlick Godzilla

noodle house

Noodle House was packed as usual – bumped into an old classmate there (Hello Peter!). It’s a nice place for food and drinks.

hb burger

Thanks for dinner and desserts before I go back Arthur! It’s truly an epic burger. :)

Raro East Meets West Cuisine

soup in bread bowl

Raro serves up a mish mash of cuisine, like the restaurant’s name suggests. However, the “Eastern” dishes consists basically of rice with the steaks and other mainstays of “Western” cuisine. My dad is a regular there with his friends and he says the bread is really good.

raro

I took my dad out to dinner last night and checked out the Chef’s Special Mushroom Soup. That’s the official moniker for it, it’s mushroom soup inside a hollowed out bread bowl. The bread is sourced from a bakery here and it’s pretty good.

soup in bread

This appetizer goes for RM 6.90 and you can opt for it to be separated (like my dad’s order) if you don’t want the bread to go soggy. I like the soup inside the bread though so I went the regular way.

bread in soup bowl

I also had a New Zealand Lamb Chop (RM 20.90). It’s quite cheap for the portion – three thinly sliced lamb chops served in an oblique dish with half a boiled potato and some vegetables. I wasn’t very impressed with the sides but the meat is solid enough.

nz lamb chop

My dad doesn’t eat a lot of meat so he didn’t order a main and just had some off mine. Even with his help, the portion is quite satisfactory. However, one thing I didn’t like is the fact that everything comes in at once – they don’t wait for you to finish the appetizer before serving the mains.

hb dad

I think that’s how it’s done in Sibu but I still don’t like it. The drinks are pretty good though – had a Milo Shake (RM 8.90) and they didn’t skimp and dilute it. Raro East Meets West Cuisine is primarily known for its steaks and soup in a bread bowl but I didn’t find it exceptional.

raro restaurant

Good bonding time with my dad before everyone comes back tomorrow though! :D

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