Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Roti Canai Pandamaran

Roti Canai.

This famous popular Malaysian Indian pancake that's synonymous with Life here. I can't imagine life without roti canais, can you? I mean, it's such a Malaysian way of life - it's not even food, it's just a way of life! We eat it anytime of the day and it's readily available everywhere! So, because it is sooo everywhere and everyone has their favourite shop/stall for this, it doesn't get blogged about much. Well, at least I haven't.

Not until I've heard so much about this one particular joint in Pandamaran, Klang. Yes, my family members have been singing unending praises about this place... about how popular it is... how you have to wait & wait for tables there... that the place is always full, even at 7am! So I actually went there once, sometime during the Chinese New Year break this year, at night, hoping to see what the fuss was all about.

Big mistake.
It's not open at night!
I was, like "tell me, where got roti canai shop doesn't open at night one??!"

Well, this one doesn't.

So, after that fruitless disappointing trip all the way to Pandamaran, I shoved the idea of going there, to the back of my mind... and thought nothing about it... until one day I read J2Kfm's review about it. That's when I reminded myself that I needed to go & check this place out! If J2Kfm - an Ipoh blogger - can blog about it, all the more reason that I should go and try their so-called famous roti canai, right? :-)

The name of the shop is Restoran I.V. - I wonder what IV stands for?! But never mind, the important thing is the "Roti Canai Pandamaran" below it... I guess everyone knows it by this name!


We were there just before noon, so I guess the crowds had thinned out by then. But you can see that it's still pretty full...


Like most mamak shops, you can choose from a variety of curries and spicy dishes...

Roti Canai IV-2

Since I went there with a group of relatives, I can't recall how many plates of Roti Canais we ordered! Indeed their reputation is justified.

Their roti canais are g.o.o.d.


Light, airy, fluffy, crispy and hardly a trace of oil!

All the criteria for excellent roti canai are met - what more can one ask? Yeah, except for a 2nd or 3rd piece... hehe!

I, of course, also had to test their Thosai. It passed the test too. Not oily, the thosai batter was perfectly made and grilled... and the accompanying coconut chutneys (2 types) were tasty enough - I hate bland chutneys!


Roti Canai IV-1

Being the glutton that I am, I just cannot not have at least an accompanying dish to go with the rotis and thosais, right?

Try their Mutton Masala - it's scrumptious!


Chunks of mutton cooked in a thick masala gravy - the spices have rendered the meat so flavourful and meltingly tender with none of the strong smell associated with mutton.

Ahhh... I'm keeping the best gem for last...


Yeah... it looked like just any ordinary harmless currypuff, right?

But... but.... it's really one of the BEST currypuff I've ever had! Just look at that thin crispy pastry and the very generous amount of filling! And as you can see, it's just not any old potato mush filling either. It's got carrots, green chillies, a bit of dhall, potato of course & small chunks of chicken meat - all cooked in a very yummy masala paste. They were so good we re-ordered plates of it!

Roti Canai IV

And for days after that, LL kept asking when we're going back there again for the currypuffs ;-)

So, on the days that you do not want to eat Bak Kut Teh in Klang/Port Klang, why not go for roti canai and currypuffs here...

Roti Canai Pandamaran (Restoran I.V)
117 Jalan Pandamaran Jaya 62
42000 Pandamaran Jaya
Port Klang
*the map to this place is Google-able!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Qba B4 Buffet @ Westin Kuala Lumpur

The special invitation said to go for a "fiesta of food, drinks and fun all in one venue". This was the invitation to preview b4: abbreviation for beer, bbq, band & bandido

... and armed with this promise, we made our way to Qba at Westin Kuala Lumpur one Saturday evening not too long ago.

Qba - Cuban bar, Latin Grill restaurant, Wine & Cigar Lounge all rolled into one impressive joint which elegantly combines Cuban traditions with a fusion of Latin flavours. Walking into the dim interior of Qba, I was struck by its stylish, nostalgic decor, albeit sombre - it kinda reminded me of scenes from those The Godfather-type of movies... and I almost expected to see some underworld kingpins crouched in deep evil-plotting hidden behind thick veils of cigar smoke!


The large bar on the 1st floor is certainly the focal point there - seating all around but what would surely be the central attraction is the statue of a winged creature (an angel?) looking down benevolently from atop the liquor cabinet!

The cosy low tables and plush leather sofas at the cigar lounge allows one to retreat in the pure enjoyment of Cuban cigars, vintage rum and wines...



Making our way to the Qba Courtyard, where the B4 feast is held, the first thing that struck me was the amazing array of colours - such a contrast from the bar and lounge inside!


I just love love love the vibrant colours that assailed our sight!


What's latin food without its dazzling colours, right?


The whole Courtyard has been transformed with "stalls" showcasing the best of Mexican and Latin cuisine...


I love the way they have prepacked the uncooked marinated meat into individual portions - so hygienic and neat. All you have to do is tell the service crew which piece you want and they'll grill it and serve it to you at your table!


While we sat and sipped our cocktails... you can have unlimited refills of these, which are included in the price of the buffet:

Cocktails - Bandito, Cuba Libre
Mocktails - vacrious types
Softdrinks & Juices
Wine - red & white
Beers - Carlsberg Draft, Carlsberg Gold, Chang Beer, Skol


... we were quickly served this Platter of Irish Oysters & Shellfish on ice shavings...


Take your pick of dainty Cocktel de Mariscos - Seafood Cocktails, served prettily in wine glasses:


Scallop tiradito, salsa verde, garlic chive cress, cashewnuts prawn & cocconut ceviche - so spoiled for choices!



From one of the grill stations, we had these... calamari, prawns on beds of beans and tomatoes...


These were one of my favourites - Seared Salmon Fillets on Corn Cakes... lovely fresh succulent salmon on fluffy corn pancakes!



From the Parrilla - the Asadero Open Grill, the aroma from a whole lamb roasting on the spit rotisserie really whetted our appetites...


These guys really know their meats... every piece of marinated meat was grilled to perfection.


I particularly liked their lamb cutlets - really divinely tender and flavourful! Don't ever forget to order at least 2 pieces there! If lamb is not your fancy, then try their Angus sirloin steak, chipotle marinated chicken, glazed beef short ribs, seabass in banana leaves with achiote & orange, Chorizo sausages, goldband snapper kebabs - just point only!

What's a latin meal without Tacos, right?? A mind-boggling variety of stuffings for your tacos - grilled fish, mango salsa, grilled lamb carne asada, roasted poblano rajas, even scrambled eggs!


South American filled Corn Cakes - with beef & green olive hash, black beans & cheese, grilled eggplants, dried tomatoes & feta cheese, pericho, turkey ham and cheddar cheese - oh my gosh, the list is endless and one couldn't possibly try all these at one sitting! So choose wisely.


Ohh... I must show you the Giant Torta - south of the border sandwich! Have you ever seen such a humongous sandwich?! The fillings were Achiote spiced chicken, pickled jalapeno, mango salsa, guacamole, roma tomatoes, Monterey jack cheddar etc. I was too stuffed at this point to try this.


And now I must show you the huge variety of dips, sauces and sides that were laid out...


There were Brazilian Criolla, tequila habanero bbq, red chimmichurri, pico de gallo & jus...


... Herb butter, smoked chilli butter, herb & spicy curry butter... Hallelujah for butter lovers!

... Cowboy-baked cannellini beans, escallavida vegetables, Columbian-styled baby potatoes, tomato & olive salad...


We had Paella too...


And if that wasn't enough for your carbs intake, there's Picadillo con heurvos - a kind of Cuban Nasi Campur where you have endless helpings of Beef Hash Ragout, Braised Canary Beans, Takari (Caribbean Lamb Curry) and top up with loads of Avocado Pineapple & Cacao salad, hot salsa & crisp plantains!

For Desserts - the Dulces - these will be served at your table...


Coffee Chocolate Mousse & Cinnamon Churros
Coconut Macaroons
Grilled Caramelized Argentine Crepes
Tropical Fruit Paletas Popsicles

I only tried the first 2 - the cinnamon churros were a bit too sweet for me and so were the macaroons. To wash away the sweetness from my palate, these were very helpful... we popped some tequila and sucked on orange slices sprinkled with cinnamon!


Stay on to party with the band if you like... or just lounge around with the free-flow drinks and watch your World Cup matches!


The B4 Feast is available at:

Qba Courtyard
The Westin Kuala Lumpur
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Every Saturday from 6pm to 10pm
Tel: Westin Dining @ 03-2773 8338
email: westindining@westin.com

RM148++ per person
RM99++ for Starwood Privilege members
RM74++ (9-18 year olds)
FOC (8 years & below)

*Many thanks to Ming and Zen for inviting/organizing this!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Craft Brews @ Mutiara Damansara

To be very honest, I am no beer drinker.

I do have the occasional 1 glass, when socialising with friends and when they insist I join them in their frothy merry-making. But then, hey... I'm always game to try and learn new things. So, when Marian Eu recently invited me to join her for a little session at Craft Brews, I had no hesitation in saying "Yes!"

Housed in the Podium of Menara Batu Kawan, right across Tesco in Mutiara Damansara, Craft Brews is very visible and easily located.


There's plenty of space all round the place for smokers and alfresco dining.

Sambal Hijau Craft Brews-2

Sambal Hijau Craft Brews-3

The interior has high ceilings which gives the place an airy feel... the clean modern lines of the decor breathe comfort and elegance. I also like the warm cosy corners with bright cheerful yellow and orange lamps casting amber shadows on the diners.

Sambal Hijau Craft Brews-4

We were welcomed by Benjamin Chong, their very affable and friendly Brand & Concept Marketing personnel. With his bright cheery grins, Benjamin gave us a very comprehensive briefing of how Craft Brews came about. Opened in December 2009, Craft Brews imports its "boutique beer" from Singapore - Red Dot and some American brews with cute names like Flying Dog and Rogue.

That evening, I had the chance to try one of their signature brewed beer by Red Dot - this Monster Green Lager.


The striking green comes from the European-manufactured spirulina and this is certainly a novelty, I must say. It has a fresh green smell and after swallowing it, it leaves a fleeting floral tinge on the tongue. As I am no hardcore beer drinker, this light beer suits me fine.

If you prefer a fuller-bodied beer, then perhaps the English Ale (also brewed by Red Dot) will be a better choice.


Its darker amber hue would already tell you that this beer has a smoky aroma and smoother malt, leaving a more flavourful aftertaste - tinges of mixed spices and kinda citrussy.

Both the Monster Green Lager and English Ale are available on tap.

The other 2 lighter coloured beers we tried that evening came from bottles...


... the American Amber Ale (by Rogue) and Tire Bite (Fying Dog). I found the American Amber to be more bitter but it has a very nice aroma - a mix of coffee, citrussy and sweet floral afternotes. The Tire Bite, on the other hand, is a "summer beer" - very light, refreshing, with subtle malty twangs.

Sambal Hijau Craft Brews-1


All that beer-tasting really whetted our appetites - I mean, with beer, food is a natural accompaniment, no? Craft Brews serves up some treats, too and most of them are strictly non-halal of the porky kind!

With every main dish ordered, you get a serving of the chef's signature soup: Tomato Minestrone. Made from pork stock, there were generous chunks of celery, carrots and onions in the tangy tomatoey soup.

Sambal Hijau Craft Brews-5

I could see almost every table in Craft Brews had a plate of this Caramelised Roast Pork (RM18). I guess this is everyone's favourite to go with beers! Chunks of roasted pork belly tossed in dark soya sauce, sugar (that caused the caramelising) and curry leaves. You can opt for either the "spicy" or "non-spicy" version - just a matter of adding/omitting the chilli padi!


Another great snack/starter to go with your beers is the Fried Calamari (RM16). Sitting on a bed of fresh lettuce leaves, the crispy fried calamari rings were succulent and aromatic with sprinklings of spices added into the batter.


Now for the mains... Tex Mex Back Ribs (RM25) and Honey Mustard Back Ribs (RM25)...


What you see on the above pic is actually a combo of both types of ribs... Ben had wisely not ordered full portions for us (there were only 3 of us) so that we can try both items. Of the 2, I prefer the Tex Mex Ribs (background) as this had more bite and spice to it. The Honey Mustard version were too tender for my liking.

The Cayenne Prawns scored top marks with us. You know why? Because the prawns were wrapped with a layer of bacon before being grilled! Yes, the smokey porky flavour of the bacon married well with the briney succulent prawns - yummy!


If you're not much of a pork lover, then try their Caribbean Spiced Quarter Chicken (RM28).


Served with very generous portions of coleslaw and potato wedges, the skinless quarter piece of chicken is grilled, with a rich marinade of trade-secret spices and herbs. I must say the potato wedges in Craft Brews are really good - those perfectly-fried crispy wedges dipped in honey mustard are quite addictive, I tell ya!

Sambal Hijau Craft Brews-6

What with the beers and all the above dishes, we were pretty stuffed at this juncture. I could only manage a bite of their dessert - Cinnamon Apple Pie served with a scoop of New Zealand Natural Icecream (RM14).


Items needed for brewing beer... hops (which looks like my Koji's food - palletized petfood!), yeast, malt and water of course!

Sambal Hijau Craft Brews-8

Craft Brews also serves some decent Set Lunches... a hit with the lunch crowd, I'm told.


And ohh... we love these wise words too... wisdom to ponder upon while waiting for your beers and food...!

Sambal Hijau Craft Brews-7

Craft Brews
Jalan PJU 7/2
Mutiara Damansara
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7722-3000

Happy Hours: Monday-Saturday (12.00pm to 8.00pm)
Sunday - All Day!

*Many thanks to Marian Eu for the kind invitation and Benjamin Chong for the beer education!