Sunday, June 27, 2010

Behold the Bathwater, at Dubrovnik, Solaris Mont Kiara

Come crunch time, we tend to forget the things that mattered or meant something just yesterday. Like neglecting your parents when you're deeply lodged in some silly emotional tribulation. Or how the routine session with friends gave you a new lease on life when you were relentlessly fixed on wallowing in despair.
An apt case in point: a late-night conversation with a friend recently discounted a relationship which had been intensely intimate to obliteration, simply because he couldn't deal with it in, granted, his galling circumstances. "(It) wasn't even a real relationship, I don't know what it was!" he stammered, when confronted with how he had abruptly upended it.

Similarly, it's easy for us to mark down the good-tasting dishes delivered in the wake of the bad at an eatery. Such is a reminder I would like to enlist for Dubrovnik, which delivered more than it failed this one despondent weekend.

Fish in the midst - I ordered a new entrant to the menu, Riba Romesco, baked seabass with breadcrumbs served with a mountain of potatoes. This was commendable - the fish fresh and cooked to a tender quiet, the accompaniment sufficiently light yet ample. Like nights in with a loved one requiring no charades.

Ciki had asked for Lamb Chops even before she arrived so this couldn't have failed. Pretty much like the promise of a smile that releases persecution of all that's perverse.

PA made a stand with Palacinke, crepes filled with -egg and dairy, a requiem to a dream. Ahh, this is stuff that sordid sex is made of. You cannot get enough of it, even when it gets too cloying and convoluted.

The Kozice, a dish featuring fresh water prawns with Mediterranean rice, was akin to the collapse of the Kingdom of Croatia. The prawns were overdone and the rice was a sad, flavourless mass. Not too different from the arguments and the disagreements that persist in any accord. Do we dare compromise?

We gave desserts a shot and the Apple Pita (Pie) reinstated our faith in the gentleness of flour, cinnamon, fruit and sugar. Same ingredients of a winning concoction to intimacy, really.

The Mille Foglie received lacklustre affection. The pastry sandwiching light vanilla custard failed to provoke the passion so palpable in its predecessor.

No matter how convenient, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. No giving up on Dubrovnik yet, until it proves itself to be a certain undoing.

Dubrovnik Restaurant
Solaris Mont Kiara
No. 2 Jalan Solaris, Mont Kiara
50480 Kuala Lumpur

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thank You, Father, at Pudu of all places

"How about that Pudu Hakka Mee place?" was the response from my dear Father on Father's Day, when asked what he wanted for breakfast. Wrapped up in reckless, unwarranted grief over an unexpected disappointment, I had turned up at the start of the day of my parents' rare visit to KL sullen and unyielding, completely oblivious to the blessings for which I was so fortunate.

The established Hakka Mee institution of Chun Kee in Pudu set the pace for the major mind methamorphosis for Father's Day. Dapu is part of Meizhou City, located in Guangdong Province and where the standard Hakka dialect congregates. It also happens to be where Dad was born and raised through rough and tough means. Made perfect sense that the mention of Dapu resonated loud and proud with him.

Jalan Sayur where the stall was located was packed to the brim and we engaged in some friendly jostling and waiting to secure a table and the attention of the stall owners.

We finally landed a VIP table after a bout of waiting and Dad bowled me over with his giddy excitement of tasting the flavours of his childhood. His fever rubbed off on all of us, including my very beautiful, sceptical mother and some random boy they decided to adopt along the way.

We were in for a long wait so I sauntered over to neighbouring Yong Tau Foo stall, which looked like they knew what they were doing.

And they did. The bowl of stuffed goodies arrived a few minutes later to hearty reception. Flavour-packed and gratifying!

After about 25 minutes of waiting time, the first bowl of Da Pu Mian arrived to cheer and commotion. The dish was simple enough - egg noodles, topped with minced pork and char siew, wrapped lovingly in juices of staple Hakka - lard, lard and lard.

Father was disappointed. He suspected the noodles were finished with a machine and that just wasn't the Dapu way. I was disappointed that it didn't live up to his expectations, much the same what I didn't live up to but we live and learn.

And I learnt that whatever your roots and who you are, nothing, not the disappointments nor the failures life serve up, dictate how you move on. The lessons from my Father are precious, as is the realisation of how blessed I am.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Missing Moustache went unmissed, Hai Keng, Section 14

The Saturday Mission: Some fiscal damage at Digital Mall Section 14, but before that, to fill the gut, we sauntered over to nearby Hai Keng Coffee Shop.

Zoomed in on the bright cheery sight of the signboard bearing Fushou Lou Nyonya Seafood Curry Mee. The guy operating the stall was to our utter dismay, devoid of a fushou (moustache). But then we eyed the peace offerings in the form of additional optional toppings for your bowl of noodles like stingray, clams, long beans, cuttlefish and we were appeased.

His Neptunian version came with a hefty piece of stingray, cuttlefish and clams. He pronounced the curry opulent and joyfully liberating... kinda like the sea!

Mine was a more subdued but equally sumptuous affair of poultry and cuttlefish. I loved that they had the option of lai fun or laksa noodles because frankly, I don't give two shrimps for the other sort of noodles. The gravy was thick and had a distinct sourish taste - attributed to lashings of lime, perhaps?

My hot geek friend's intense enjoyment of his bowl of noodles said it all. Yes, he's available, girls! He likes his curry hot and thick, his t-shirts bright and cheerful and his eyewear oversized vintage. He is also a huge proponent of facial hair (on men only... I THINK!) but thankfully, did not find fault with Fushou Lou for the misleading moustachioed appellation.

Both bowls came up to a very decent RM12. Thanks for the treat, Toto!

Fushou Lou Nyonya Curry Laksa
Hai Keng
Jalan 14/20, Section 14
Petaling Jaya

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Before you say I Do at Ma Maison, Ampang

We gather here today to wish you well. And to be well, you need to eat well. No scrimping on the things that matter most to a bride-to-be - joy and liberation from loving, being loved and entering into a life-long contract of uhh.... bondage and protective custody? We kid, we kid. We love people in love and we love weddings!

Ma Maison offers a RM30 nett meal of a myriad of emancipation from stuffy and restrictive diets and starters. There is plenty ot chew on, from garlic toast to toast with caramelised onions & cheese and egg mayo concoction, salad involving eggplant, pasta and beansprouts and potatoes. We were well sated on the homely fare before the main courses made it to the table.

We ponder in silence upon a totally pretty yet pedestrian visual arrest of the City of Love.

The appetizer buffet also featured the very veritable duck offering here. The standard of procedure is, on days they serve their infamous duck in orange sauce, they grill the remaining parts of the duck. It's a bit tough and I felt it was too gamey to the tongue.

The Duck in Orange Sauce is perhaps the most fitting ode to the marriage vow - obliging and hope-inducing. The sauce is robust enough to pare down the fowl gusto of the duck. Most satisfying, as I am sure the parties of the impending union would concur of each other.

The other main course on offer, Perch in Butter Sauce didn't fare quite as well. The meal owner felt that while the flesh was firm and fresh, the sauce was a too heavy on the cream and didn't do it justice. Hmm... mayhaps a conundrum for marital discourse?
And on that note, all the best to Li Ann and Benji!

Ma Maison
32 Persiaran Ampang
Desa Pahlawan
55000 Kuala Lumpur
WP Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4256-5410

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rokumeiken, Bukit Damansara

Rokumeiken reminds me of one of the mom & pop neighbourhood joints in suburban Japan where everyday dining is the name of the game. These diners are almost always a little worn, a little dated, a little grubby but the domestic warmth within is easily slipped into like the embrace of a loved one.

And while we're getting the game on, Hanshin Tigers Rules OK!
Or more aptly, Ō-ō-ō-ō Hanshin Tigers! Fure-fure-fure-fure!

Only Anchor beer is available. At RM11 a pop, we should’ve just wised up and gone straight for the sake.

The Specials board touted the Daikon Sarada. Fresh and tart enough with the routine wafu dressing – not exceptional, but we gladly polished it off anyway.

The lady also recommends Oden as a house special so off we go. So glad we ordered this. The winter quotidian saps in us rejoice in the warmth and nourishment of this stew.

Hotate & Kinoko mushroom pizza with gyoza skin as base, topped with cheese and roe. I am not a major cheese proponent but even I would have appreciated the use of a better cut of cheese rather than the processed Kraft singles.

At this point, it dawned on us to peruse the sake menu and settled for the Namagyozo. This was light and rejuvenating. If we can't have Tokyo summers, we can have chilled sake!

At this point too, we were comfortable enough in our own skin to want to pile the grease on and so ordered the Tori Age Oreshi (deep fried chicken with sour dressing). Fair enough. I particularly liked the vinegared dashi dressing.

Komochi Shisamo was the last to arrive and went the fastest. I like this one description I read about it here: "Shisamo is a type of horny actively reproductive fish." What's not to like?!

We were a tad surprised at the tab of about RM142 for two but put it down to our shameless neglect of price checking. They also do hefty and reasonably-priced dinner sets.

67 Medan Setia 1
Plaza Damansara
50490 KL