Monday, 30 September 2013

Hoofed @ Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

Hoofed, a restaurant that is dedicated to Pork lovers, is located in the suburbs of Taman Tun Dr. Ismail in Kuala Lumpur. It is located along Lorong Rahim Kajai 14 where most of the famous pubs are located. This restaurant was started in the year 2010 by the same owners as the Tom, Dick & Harry Pub which is located on the Ground Floor and this restaurant lies on the First Floor. I have been here some years back and after a long time, am returning today to try out the food again. 

Hoofed Restaurant in TTDI, Kuala Lumpur just above the Tom, Dick & Harry Pub

The Side Entrance to the Restaurant

Dark but Beautiful Set Up

Lovely Deco
I was rather early here today. It was just minutes past six and the place just had another two tables which were occupied. Stepping in after all these years, I never realised that the place was actually this dark and that too as it's just past six in the evening. I wonder how it would look like when it's night. As always, their waiters are very friendly. I was greeted the moment I walked in and was ushered to my table. 

The Food Menu

The Food Menu

The Food Menu

The Drinks Menu

The Drinks Menu

The Drinks Menu
Here, they have three sets of menus, the Food Menu, Drinks Menu and Wine Menu. Do note that at any time, they have more than a 100 different wines being offered from vintage to common ones. Even their drinks menu was very elaborate with a great number of drinks being offered. For me tonight, I was just in the mood for food and hence just a soft drink would go well. That limitation of choice in soft drinks made my life easier as I did not have to flip pages after pages trying to decide what I wanted to have. The Food Menu was limited to the same dishes and I feel that it is time for them to expand the list further. This was further made evident by a number of customers who walked in with families knowing that it was a watering hole and yet asking if they served food and after going through the menu, they just walked out having been not satisfied with the food options available. That in itself should trigger a signal for them to improve the food options made available to diners. This trip too, I ordered the same dishes that I had ordered the last time as I quite liked them when I had tried them years ago.

Pineapple Juice @ RM 8.00
I chose the Pineapple Juice which was listed under the fresh juices section. From my observation, it was just off the fresh juice carton that is sold off the shelf but it was nice and for that the manufacturer should be commended, not Hoofed. I have known pubs where fresh juices are really fresh juices and they are prepared in front of you at the bar counter. 

Roasted Tomato Soup @ RM 7.00
Please do note that this is not the usual Tomato Soup and it is Roasted Tomato Soup. Both have a major difference and this is a more authentic preparation but would be enjoyed only by those who prefer the conventional way of making soups. For those who are used to the ones off the can which has preservatives and flavouring, then this would not be nice but I truly loved it. It was fresh, had loads of fiber in it and it was delicious. I would rate this soup at 9.2/10 .

Roast Pork Belly @ RM 17.90
Their Pork Belly is prepared differently from the traditional Chinese five spice treatment. Here it is marinated for a day in their very own secret sauce and roasted the next day resulting in a generous slice of cake rather than a hunk of meat. It also comes with Dijon Mustard and Garlic Mayonnaise for the dip sauce. Despite this being a very special preparation of theirs, this time around this did not taste as good as it did the last time. Surprised by the drop in quality, I would rate this at 7.5/10 . 

Pork Shoulder Chops @ RM 30.20

Comes With Mashed Potato
Their Pork Chops used to be one of the best in town. Here, the meat are all shoulder cuts which results in a firmer meat and not the usual soft meat that is found in other places. As for the meat, it was still well prepared today but the gravy was really off. It was flat and tasteless and I just do not know how to explain it and to put it simply, it was bad. I think after trying the new restaurants in Klang Valley for their Pork Chops, I would vote for Kennedys that is located in Sunway Damansara but it is sad that they had to close down two months back due to lack of support. I would rate this Pork Chop at 3.5/10 and it is all due to the gravy and not the meat. 

Sign That Greets You On The Way Out
On the whole, based on the dishes that I had tried tonight, the standard has dropped tremendously over the years. They seriously need to work on improving the quantity of dishes offered as well as the quality of dishes served in order to gain back their popularity and I am saying this in good faith as I had been one of those who voted for them as the best Pork Chop in town a number of years back. You guys have been there and I am sure that you would be able to get back there. Just need to get out of your present comfort zone, re-evaluate and improve and you'll be back on the top. 

Address: 18A, Lorong Rahim Kajai 14, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Telephone: +603 7728 8567

Opening Hours: 1700 - 0000 Monday to Saturday
                            Closed on Sundays

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Cafe Jin Yi By Coffee Ritual @ Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya

Jin Yi by Coffee Ritual is another new player in the sudden ballooning of burger joints. This restaurant is located in Damansara Utama and is on the first floor right above Seri Penang. With the sudden mushrooming of new burger joints, what drew me to this place is that unlike other places that serve Lamb Burgers, these guys sell Mutton Burgers instead. To those that are not quite familiar with the difference, Lamb and Mutton are both sheep but the meat of a sheep in it's first year is Lamb, that of a juvenile sheep older than one year is Hogget and the meat of an adult sheep is Mutton. 

Cafe Jin Yi by Coffee Ritual in Damansara Utama

Posters at the Entrance

Posters at the Entrance

Interior of the Restaurant
Having been located on the first floor, they just have a very small dining space with not more than 5 small tables and a long bar counter. This is very much a family run business manned mainly by the couple. As such, when there is a decent crowd, service tends to get delayed. From what I observed, besides selling these burgers, they also do sell some coffee making machines and also have an online business where customers could order these machines. Even when I arrived here today, there was no one at the counter and it took them five minutes to come out of the small kitchen to attend to me. 

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu
Their burgers are predominantly Beef, Chicken and Mutton and these are all homemade patties. Besides these, they do offer some deserts as well as a handful of sandwiches. It does take some skill in ordering the dishes here and if you are unsure, it is best to ask for help as they have a number of combo sets which could help reduce the bill as opposed to ordering Ala Carte. Having ordered my Cheese Mutton Burger, I topped it up with a combo set to get a soft drink at RM 4.00 . I heard that their coffee here is quite good but since it was an extremely hot Sunday afternoon, decided to go for a cold drink instead. With that, the couple disappeared again into the kitchen. 

Sprite (As part of the Upgraded Combo) @ RM 4.00...otherwise it's RM 5.00
Well, shortly after placing my orders, another family walked in and they were attracted in checking out the Coffee Makers after having placed their orders. With that, both husband and wife spent their entire time demonstrating the machines to them. I am sure that this is not the first time that this had happened as when you look at the Foursquare reviews, it is filled with the very same comments. After that, another couple walked in and they did not even bother to go get their orders. At last, it took them 28 minutes to send me the drink and it took the next couple slightly longer than that to receive their drinks. My drink should have just taken less than 5 minutes. Its just a matter of opening the fridge, getting the can of Sprite, getting a glass with ice and sending it over to me. This wait time is definitely not acceptable. I had even read reviews where it took them an hour to send the drinks over to customers just because they were too busy attending to these demonstrations. Come on either run a Cafe or an outlet selling these machines. You cannot do both without sufficient manpower. The more you neglect your customers, the higher the tendency for you to loose them. Remember, these people came here for food first and then got interested in your machines and hence the drawing factor is the food. If you loose people by trying to sell them these machines and neglecting the main reason they came there, you know where that would lead you to. 

Cheese Mutton Burger @ RM 21.50

The Cheese Mutton Burger

Closer Look At The Patty

The Burger Cut Into Two Halfs
For the price paid, it comes not only with the burger but a small bucket of fries, some salad and pickles. From the time of ordering, it took them 52 minutes to deliver my meal. Honestly, I wanted to walk out much earlier but since it was a common calamity faced by all their customers, I just wanted to see where it goes. In fact, many of them lost their patience and were clearly disgruntled. It was very evident from their face expressions. The Salad was just so so. I would only rate it at 5/10. The Mutton Burger was nice but the bread was really hard, flaky and dry. I just didn't like the bread so much so I just removed the top bread and had the burger with the rest of the layers. I would rate their Mutton Burger at 7.2/10 . Nothing great honestly, but it was not bad. Tasted more like Corned Mutton to me as it was on the slightly salty side. Nevertheless, the burger size was huge. 

Small Bucket of Fries
The Bucket of Fries were just ordinary fries. Nothing special about them. It was not a homemade preparation and must have been something from one of the supermarkets. I was expecting much more from them as most of these newly opened burger joints have improvised the standard fries and have come up with new recipes. I would only rate this at 5/10 . The average rating is not because the fries were not good but it is simply because it was just another fries which lacked innovation. 

Location Map
If you would like to try out this place, you could find the location map above. I do not want to comment more as I have said what I wanted to say from my experience here today but I sincere feel that they need to clearly align their activities to their priorities which is either they want to excel as a cafe or as a retail outlet selling coffee machines. Please do note that this restaurant DOES NOT have Halal status but they are Pork free.

Address: 68-M, Jalan SS 21/39, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 1100 - 2200
                            Closed on Mondays

Telephone: +603 7725 3633

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Chef Kit's Salt Baked Chicken @ Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya

Salt Baked Chicken is a traditional Hakka recipe and there a number of famous restaurants in Ipoh, Perak that sells this dish. In Kuala Lumpur however, there are not many places that sell this dish and even if they do, it is not up to the mark. Today, I had managed to discover one restaurant in Damansara Utama called Chef Kit's Salt Baked Chicken that has been selling this for a number of years and they seem to be very famous. 

Restaurant Chef Kit's Salt Baked Chicken in Damansara Utama

The Baking Area on the right
This restaurant is located along the same row as The Ship Restaurant in Damansara Utama. The set up is very simple and while I was here today, I observed that there were not many who dine in as most of them prefer take aways. The boss is a very friendly guy and since he was quite free, he spent some time talking to me. He mentioned that despite his restaurant not having any Halal status, it is Pork Free and hence he has a lot of Malay customers who buy his chicken. The chicken is baked in one corner of the restaurant which is clearly visible to customers as it has glass panels. He has two versions of the chicken, original as well as crispy and he always uses Kampung Chicken for this purpose. He usually starts business at 10.30 am every morning and although he is scheduled to close at 9 pm, most days he ends up closing much sooner as he runs out of chicken. Even while speaking to me, the conversation was interrupted by a number of phone calls from customers who were calling to book a number of birds for the next day. Besides walk ins, he also does delivery to a number of neighbouring areas. 

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu
The menu had a number of items but the concentration was always around the Salt Baked Chicken and having it served in a number of different combinations. I was confused as to what to order and had asked for his recommendation. He suggested for me to try the Loh Shi Fun and a plate of Original Salt Baked Chicken. He mentioned that these are his two signature dishes. As for the drink, he suggested me to try his Honey Lime Ice which is one of his hot selling drinks and having got the recommendation from the boss himself, I just agreed as he could not go wrong with his own dishes. 

Honey Lime Ice @ RM 2.80
As recommended, the Honey Lime Ice was splendid. It was pure, highly concentrated and did not have any flavourings. Definitely I would recommend this myself. I would rate this at 10/10 .

Claypot Loh Shi Fun @ RM 6.00

All Mixed Up
As this is a Pork Free restaurant, the meat that you see on top of the Loh Shi Fun is minced chicken. I have tried this dish in a number of places in Kuala Lumpur including some of the most famous restaurants for this dish and this restaurant would beat them all. This Claypot Loh Shi Fun was definitely the best that I had tried. It was heavenly and every bite was just so good. Absolutely delicious. I would rate this dish  a perfect 10/10 .

Original Salt Baked Chicken @ RM 7.50
The above is the Original Salt Baked Chicken and I ordered a quarter bird just to try the meat out. In my opinion, it was quite good, the best that I had tried in Kuala Lumpur but it was not better that Aun Kheng Lim Salt Baked Chicken which is the famous one in Ipoh. I would rate this at 9.2/10 .

Fried Wan Ton @ RM 5.00
Besides the recommended dishes, I also ordered the above Fried Wan Ton as I read some blog reviews which had claimed that this Fried Wan Ton is quite good here. To mention again, the meat used in the Wan Ton is chicken. I found this dish to be very well prepared. The skin was fried to crispiness and although the meat was rather small, it tasted good. I would rate these at 8.5/10 .

Based on my dining experience today, I would definitely vote for their Claypot Loh Shi Fun as well as the Salt Baked Chicken. Both of these dishes were excellent and not to forget the Honey Lime drink. It is always best to call first before heading here as you may not want to be disappointed when having arrived there and found that the restaurant was out of chicken or even closed for that matter. 

Address: No. 25, Jalan SS21/56B, Damansara Utama,
                47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

Telephone: +603 7722 2172 & +6012 239 8878 (Hoong)

Opening Hours: 1030 - 2100 Daily

Friday, 27 September 2013

Chief Tomyam Seafood Restaurant @ Damansara Damai, Petaling Jaya

Chief Tomyam Seafood Restaurant has been around for a  number of years now in Damansara Damai. In fact, it is one of the earliest restaurants to open here. I still remember when they did their opening ceremony, the Selangor Menteri Besar then was their guest of honour. Having had a great deal of exposure from the media in the form of various write ups, this restaurant has stood the test of time and is today very much sought after by many even from neighbouring localities. Having passed this way so many times, I have not once tried them out and therefore, decided to drop in today for dinner. 

Chief Tomyam Seafood @ Damansara Damai

Interior of the Restaurant
The restaurant has a nice decorative feeling to it but it is clear that they have not done any upkeep to the fixtures and fittings since opening. On one corner, you find photos of VIP's who have visited this restaurant along with framed newspaper write ups. All the workers here are Kelantanese but the owners don't quite look so. They seem more like locals from Kuala Lumpur. Unlike many of the Tom Yam restaurants, this restaurant has very bright lighting and almost every two tables has a ceiling fan for them and they have switched on all the fans keeping the restaurant cool and comfortable.

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu
Their menu is very impressive, both in offerings as well as design. All their menu books are printed in hard covers which surely is a huge cost. Besides the usual Thai food, they also offer Western food, Ikan Bakar as well as Nasi Ayam. They also have sets besides the Ala Carte items as you could see from the above photographs which is value for money if you dine in larger groups. It is very much suitable for a minimum of 2 pax onwards. As I am alone today, decided to go Ala Carte. 

Kopi Tongkat Ali @ RM 2.50
It's been a long time since I had this Kopi Tongkat Ali. Here it is priced at RM 2.50 and they use the standard sachets which is what every other restaurant uses as well. Here they may have made it slightly diluted as it didn't have it's usual strong aroma. I would rate the above at 7/10 .

White Rice @ RM 0.30

Vegetables & Chili Paste for starters
The White Rice here is very cheap. Per plate was only RM 0.30 . Usually, it is never less than RM 1. The vegetables with Chili paste was on the house. As always, the chili paste was super spicy and I always try to avoid having too much of this item.

Kangkung Belacan @ RM 4.00
All their Ala Carte dishes comes in a very small portion and is usually good for one only. Their Kangkung Belacan was just okay. It lacked the belacan taste and had more sauces as the base taste which was not up to my expectations. Also the Kangkung itself was rather limited. There were more stems than the leaves and it would have been better if it was the other way around. I would rate this dish at 6.5/10 .

Ayam Masak Kicap @ RM 4.00
The Ayam Masak Kicap was slightly better than the previous dish. It had loads of onions, carrots, baby corn and slices of chicken. This style was slightly on the sweet side but it also had a slight spiciness to it. Could have been made better if it was slightly dry. I would rate this dish at 7/10 .

Sotong Goreng Gajus @ RM 5.50
Sotong Goreng Gajus is a rare dish that is not commonly found in other Tom Yam restaurants. This dish was very well prepared. The Sotong was still soft and not overcooked. The gravy was delicious and along with the cashew, it made the dish stand out. Very well prepared and I would rate this at 9/10 .

Tom Yam Ayam @ RM 5.00
The Tom Yam Soup was prepared in accordance to the South Thailand style where it is red in colour and has a spicy and sour taste to it. Here they had prepared it excellently and I must confess that it was very good. Nothing to comment about this dish. I would rate it at 9.8/10 .

Overall, this place serves some decent food at very reasonable prices. The earlier dishes that I had were very average but the last two dishes were very good. I guess it boils down to the individual dish and you cannot expect a blanket standard across all it's dishes and it is a matter of luck which of those that you order.  I did see a number of customers ordering the Western dishes and they seemed to be quite appetising too. Perhaps should make a trip to try those the next time. 

Address: C003A, Vista Shop,  Jalan PJU 10/3D, Damansara Damai,
                47830 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

Telephone: +6016 503 9977

Opening Hours: 1500 - 0200 Daily