Saturday, 31 January 2015

Kim Lian Kee Restaurant @ Jalan Loke Yew, Cheras

Kim Lian Kee is a famous chain of Chinese restaurants that take pride in their Hokkien Mee. Having been started by Mr. Ong Kim Lian in 1927, they started their very first outlet at Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur. Today, they are strategically located at a number of malls in Chinese dominant areas in the Klang Valley. Once such mall is the Viva Mall that is located along Jalan Loke Yew in Cheras, which we visited today. Their Hokkien Mee is also listed as one of the top 10 Hokkien Mee's in the Klang Valley. Being a fan of Hokkien Mee, I have always wanted to try out their Hokkien Mee but never got a chance as I do not go to Petaling Street side often. As I was here this evening, the moment I sighted this outlet, it was a must try for me. 

Kim Lian Kee At Viva Mall, Cheras

Interior Of The Restaurant

A Brief Write Up on Hokkien Mee

A Short Write Up On The Petaling Street Stall
Their outlet at Viva Mall is located on the first floor. It is quite close to the escalator and therefore locating it is quite easy. They occupy two shop lots here and also have an open air seating space. We were here at a non peak hour and even then, they were operating at full house capacity. That was impressive. Despite the busy times, the staffs were quite fast to attend to us. The moment we walked in, we were greeted by a waitress who then handed their menu over to us. She then left us alone to decide on what we wanted to have.

Their menu was quite elaborate with a number of other food items which must have been recently added. Originally, this restaurant only had two or three signature dishes but over the years of commercialisation, a whole lot of other dishes have been included. We decided to stick with their famous dishes as we specifically came here for their Hokkien Mee. 

Summary Of Dishes
We then called the waitress over and placed our orders. Our orders were quite simple. Two drinks and a Hokkien Mee which is my favourite and another Moonlight Kuey Teow which is my brother's favourite. Once the orders had been finalised, she then disappeared into the kitchen and then returned with a summary of orders and placed it at our table. She also made sure to ask us if we do consume Pork. That is a lovely gesture on her part and we said, Yes. She did that as there are quite a number of Hindu's who do not consume Pork.

Coca Cola @ RM 4.50

Milk Tea @ RM 3.90
The prices here are definitely a premium. It is the most expensive Hokkien Mee restaurant that I have visited thus far and this includes the others on the same list of top 10 Hokkien Mee places in the Klang Valley. A can of Coca Cola was priced at RM 4.50 and a glass of Milk Tea was priced at RM 3.90 . The Milk Tea here is supposed to be one of their recommended drinks and to my surprise, it was a watered down version. There was no sign of tea or milk when sipping on this and all that I could taste was pure bland watery taste. For me, this deserves nothing more than 1/10 . A sheer disappointment. 

Moonlight Kuey Teow @ RM 12.90

Moonlight Kuey Teow @ RM 12.90

All Stirred Up
I was amazed to find this dish here as the only other place that I have seen this is at a similar Hokkien Mee stall called Leong Kee which is located at my hometown of Tanjung Malim. This version however did not taste as great as it seemed, nevertheless, it was still nice. Perhaps my expectations were tuned at Leong Kee's standards. I would rate this at 7.5/10 . A nice dish if your expectations are not great. Portions were good for two bowls (small Chinese bowls) and the price is definitely double of what I would usually pay at Leong Kee.

Hokkien Mee @ RM 11.90

Hokkien Mee @ RM 11.90
To my surprise (once again), the Hokkien Mee was not good. I am not saying that it was not as nice at this place or that place, what I am saying is that this was not good. It tasted very odd and was not up to it's mark. For me, this is a failed Hokkien Mee dish. I wonder why the crowd is so great here or have my taste buds gone wrong. Whichever it is, I would reiterate my stand that this is not good and does not deserve all the hype that has been built surrounding this restaurant. Perhaps, they were good in those days but definitely not now. Or perhaps they are still good at their original restaurant but not here. I am being nice by giving so many possible scenarios here but the crux of the matter is that the Hokkien Mee tried at this particular outlet today was not up to acceptable standards. When I checked the Foursquare reviews, it was confirmed that I am not alone. Every single review applauded the same message. In my opinion, this deserves a rating of 4/10 and nothing more .

Chili Paste With Belacan
Chili Paste with Belacan was also provided with the Hokkien Mee. This again was not up to it. Well, they had done this right up to the point of grinding the chili, once they added the Belacan, it was a dish that had gone wrong. They had added too much Belacan, perhaps to this batch which made it taste very odd and salty. I would rate this at 4/10 . 

Lunch In Progress

Bill For The Evening
Overall, I am not impressed with this restaurant. Not a single item that I tried this afternoon was up to it's expected level. Prices were exorbitant and the food was very ordinary, if not sub standard. The service however was very good and I should congratulate the waiters for that. I truly wonder if they had paid any money to you know who to get onto that list! Starting to doubt the validity of that list now. I know of so many other Hokkien Mee places which are not on that list and have way way better food than this. Definitely not returning!

Address: Lot 1-11, First Floor, Viva Home Mall, No. 85, Jalan Loke Yew,
                Cheras, 55200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 1000 - 2200 Daily

Telephone: +603 2032 4984


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Restoran V. Vanan @ Hulu Bernam, Selangor

Restoran V. Vanan has been around for at least 25 years now. This started as a simple Indian restaurant that serves Nasi Lemak and Roti Canai 24 hours a day. This restaurant is located on the Ulu Bernam side of town, right beside the entrance to Kampung Kilang Papan. Today, this restaurant has transformed itself into a Chinese eatery with the main restaurant being the same but with an addition of another Chinese Stall here which sells noodles. The main restaurant nowadays opens at 7 am and closes at around midnight. During the day, he sells breakfast items along with Indian mixed rice for lunch and come evenings, it is mainly Roti Canai. The Chinese stall however dominates the scene from around 6 pm till around 11 pm. 

The Restaurant on the Ulu Bernam side of town

The Restaurant

Outdoor and Indoor Seating Spaces

Outdoor Seating Space

The Chinese Noodles Stall

The Chinese Noodles Stall

The Chinese Noodle Stall
Most of the time from around 7 pm till midnight, the restaurant is packed with customers. This Chinese stall sells Curry Mee, Soup Noodles, Prawn Mee and some Yong Tau Fu items. He has the best Prawn Mee in town and his other dishes are quite good as well. Ordering is quite straightforward. Just head to the stall and order your dishes. If you are going for Curry or Soup or Yong Tau Fu, then just choose your items to be added and place them into a bowl and hand over to him and that's pretty standard practice. He also has some Indian boys to assist him with this. Once done, just head back to your table and the dishes would be sent over shortly. His Curry and Prawn Mee tends to finish quite fast and so, in order to avoid disappointment, best to go there early.

Teh Tarik @ RM 1.20
Drinks orders are taken at your table. We ordered the above Teh Tarik and it was a decent cup of tea. I would rate this at 7.5/10 .

Prawn Mee @ RM 4.50

Prawn Mee @ RM 4.50

Prawn Mee @ RM 4.50
My friend ordered this Prawn Mee and it was priced at RM 4.50 per bowl. This came in a decent portion and had two medium sized shrimps in them. The broth was delicious and that is the most important thing for this dish. Besides the noodles, there were also some Kangkung and fried dried onions that were added into the dish. Overall, a good preparation and I would rate this at 8.9/10 .

Curry Mee @ RM 4.50

Curry Mee @ RM 4.50

Curry Mee @ RM 4.50

Chili Paste
The standard dish of Curry Mee is priced at RM 3.50 but once you start adding other items like Fish Balls etc. into the dish, then the price goes up based on the items selected. I added in a few items like Fried Fuchok, Fried Wan Tons and Fish Balls and my bowl of Curry Mee cost me RM 4.50 . Not bad a price based on the number of items that I added. The Curry itself was slightly on the lighter side but it tasted quite good. Not one of those excellent preparation but it was nice for a neighbourhood stall. The Chili Paste too was nice. I would rate this preparation at 7.7/10 .

There are of course much better Curry Mee's that one could get in Tanjung Malim but they are all available only during the day. For the night scene, this is the only place that I can think off that sells this item. His Prawn Mee is definitely recommended but his Curry Mee is just above average. In case one feels like eating Curry Mee at night, then this would be the only option in town. 

Address: Restoran V. Vanan, beside the entrance to Kampung Kilang Papan, 
                Jalan Besar Ulu Bernam, 35900, Hulu Bernam, Selangor, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 0700 - 0000 Daily
                            Chinese Stall Opens From 1800 - 2230 Daily

Telephone: +6012 251 0103 

Kafe La Cucur Express @ KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur

La Cucur is a Malaysian concept cafe that is located in a number of premium locations across the Klang Valley such as in Bangsar Village and KLCC. Another one of their smaller cafe's is located on the Ground Floor of KL Sentral. Since it is much smaller in size with limited dining space, this outlet is known as La Cucur Express.

La Cucur Express at KL Sentral

Small Kitchen

The Cashier's Counter

Drinks and Food Items

Food Items and Cookies

Inside Their KL Sentral Outlet

Rustic Comcept
I have passed this place like a thousand times before and have always wondered what they actually sell here. Today, I decided to drop by for tea. The place was crowded for it's size and there were a number of dine in's and the majority of them were doing take aways.

Set Meals On Specific Days

Malay Cakes
The food items are those common Malaysian delicacies and they also have an array of local Malay cakes for sale. All their items looked so good. I decided to start with one heavy dish and some tea and if I still could go on, I would then go for some Malay cakes. I then placed my orders at the cashier and paid for them. I was informed by the cashier that the food items would be sent over to my table. 

Teh Tarik @ RM 2.00
Unfortunately, the set meals were not available for today and I had to go for the Ala Carte option. The prices here were definitely a premium but as you know, this is somewhat a tourist location and hence, these prices are somewhat acceptable. The Teh Tarik was sent in a matter of minutes. The Tea was hot and it tasted very good. There were no corners cut in cutting down of the ingredients. A perfect glass of tea and I would rate this at 9/10 .

Roti Jala with Chicken Curry @ RM 7.50

Roti Jala with Chicken Curry @ RM 7.50

Delicious Roti Jala

Excellent Chicken Curry

Excellent Chicken Curry
My meal arrived quite fast too. I ordered a plate of Roti Jala which was served with some Chicken Curry. First look and I knew that this has got to be delicious and the Chicken Curry's aroma was simply so good. As expected, the Roti Jala was very good. It was soft and fluffy and the accompanying Chicken Curry was delicious too. It came with two large chunks of chicken and some potato's in a thick gravy. Awesome stuffs! The price of RM 7.50  now seemed like a very reasonable price when comparing the taste of the dish. Definitely worth the price and highly recommended! I was literally drinking the curry once the Roti Jala was done. I would rate this dish at 9.7/10 . Personally, I would not mind travelling all the way here just for this dish.

Malay Cakes @ RM 1.20 each

Malay Cakes @ RM 1.20 each
After being done with the Roti Jala, I decided to try two of their Malay Cakes. These were priced at RM 1.20 each. Both the cakes were a true delight. I have never tasted these cakes to be as good as it was here. There were no signs of them being stingy with the ingredients and they were simply too good. Just too good! These cakes deserve a rating of nothing less than 10/10 . Excellent!

From the food items that I tried today, I am impressed with this place. Never in my wildest dream did I expect the food here to be so good. Going forward, it would almost become mandatory for me to visit them every time I am here in KL Sentral. Honestly, I would not mind travelling all the way just to have their food. Every single item that I tried was absolutely fantastic. A highly recommended cafe and a must try place if you love Malay cakes.

Address: Unit 4, Level 1, Stesen Sentral, 
                50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 0700 - 2200

Telephone: +603 2279 8718


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