Thursday, 30 April 2015

Warung Empat Sahabat @ Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

Located right next to Brickfields Asia College is this stall that goes by the name of Warung Empat Sahabat. I have walked past this stall a number of times before but never really did notice what they sell. Being inquisitive, I decided to walk in this afternoon.

Warung Empat Sahabat in Brickfields
The place was nothing much actually. Just the usual Indian Muslim food along with some Chicken Rice. Cleanliness was another issue altogether. Most workers here were Bangladeshis. 

One Bangladeshi Worker Preparing The Cendol

The Stall
I then approached one of the guy's and asked him what's their specialty at this stall. He mentioned that they specialise in Cendol and Rojak. As it was around tea time, I went ahead and ordered a Cendol. With that, he went on to prepare the Cendol. There was not much of an interaction from any one of the workers. Seemed a little strange though but I just assumed that they might have had a bad day. 

Cendol @ RM 2.00

Cendol @ RM 2.00

Cendol @ RM 2.00
In a matter of minutes, the bowl of Cendol was sent over. One glance at it and I knew that I made a huge mistake by coming here. The Cendol looked and tasted really bad. Not only were they stingy on the ingredients, they were also stale. By looking at the picture above, you could clearly see the condition of those Fried Peanuts and Corn. Even the jelly was somewhat discoloured. It tasted so bad that I could only have a few sips and had to leave the rest. I would only rate this at 2/10 .

That's RM 2.00 that had gone to waste. Regretted coming here. Hygiene was also very bad and I would not be surprised to see huge rats running around. A big NO to this place going forward. Definitely my last trip here. 

Address: Beside Brickfields Asia College, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields,
                50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 0700 - 1900 Daily

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Restoran Puteri @ Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

Restoran Puteri is one of those very established Malay restaurants in the country. They started this very first outlet in Brickfields in the year 1984 and have since been a very strong player in the sub category. In 2006, they opened their flagship restaurant in Penchala overlooking Taman Tun Dr. Ismail. That flagship restaurant has a very grand ambiance, can seat up to 350 people at any one time and has been used a lot for private functions and cater's mainly for the upper markets. Having said that, it had been a long time since I had some good Malay food and since I was in Brickfields, I decided on dropping by for lunch. 

Where It All Started For The Group

Not Too Far From BSN

Simple Looking Restaurant

Not Too Crowded At This Hour
I was here to have a rather late lunch. It was already 3.30 pm and the usual lunch crowd had already left. These that you see is their usual tea time crowd. The restaurant is located along Jalan Tun Sambanthan, not too far from the BSN outlet in Brickfields. In fact, it is very close to NU Sentral Mall. This restaurant is where it all started for the group and is a very humble set up when comparing the two. Most of the people seen here at this hour were staffs of MRCB who work just across the street. I know that this place gets very crowded during lunch hours and despite being hungry, I was somewhat glad that I came post lunch hour.

Teh O Ice @ RM 1.50
Instead of going to the counter to select my food, I took my seat and ordered a drink first. It was a rather hot day and this was something that I needed even more. Service was quick and my Teh O Ice arrived pretty fast. This was priced at RM 1.50 per glass which is the norms around Brickfields. The drink was good and I would rate it at 8.5/10 . It was not too sweet and everything was just nice.

Authentic Malay Dishes

Good Variety

Ulam and Grilled Fish
Having had a few sips of my drink, I then walked over to the food counter. They definitely had a very good selection of authentic Malay dishes. They all looked quite good and the spread was amazing. I can generally visualise the kind of crowd that they would usually have as they had four people manning this counter alone. Service was very quick but just like those Nasi Kandar places, we were not allowed to scoop the curries by ourselves and these were done by their staffs. I didn't quite like this simply because they weren't 100% listening to what I was saying. For example, when I asked for just a little, they played a deaf ear and put a whole portion for me. I later asked the staff why they did that. Apparently, there's no such thing as tasting here or just a small portion. If you want to take something, then it has got to be a full portion. That's the instructions that has been given to them and that has been their practice all these years. Well, being established, they can afford to be like that but it would have been better for them to be fair to customers' as well and enable customer's like me to take whatever I want in the quantity preferred. After all, I am going to pay for everything that I take. Anyway, if it's their practice, then there's nothing that I can do about it. With that, I returned to my table. 

My Mega Expensive Lunch

The Cost Of My Lunch
Wow! RM 17.70 is the cost of my lunch. This was written by the supervisor once I was back to my table. He then came over, checked my plate and then slid this small piece of paper under my drink. Seriously, this is probably the most expensive lunch that I have had in Brickfields.  Must be the price to pay for their fame!

Asam Pedas Gravy
As I took their Asam Pedas Fish, I had asked the staff to pour some gravy onto the rice. Honestly, I have tasted very much better Asam Pedas in the Klang Valley. This was very ordinary tasting. I would not even consider this to be nice. It tasted like some watered down chili paste. Nothing else. I would only rate this at 3/10 .Not good!

Asam Pedas Fish @ RM 6.00
I took a slice of Ikan Merah from the Asam Pedas preparation and this cost me a whopping RM 6.00 . A full banana leaf meal next door would have cost me less than that. Coming back to this fish, it tasted just okay. The fish itself was decent and that's simply because it is a good fish by general standards but the gravy killed the dish. As the preparation was really bad, I would only rate this at 3/10 . Not recommended!

Sambal Belacan @ RM 1.70
Like really?!!! A dash of Sambal Belacan is RM 1.70? This was a bigger surprise than the price of the fish earlier. Whenever I go to any Tomyam Restaurants, they would provide this for free and that would taste anytime better than this. This was not at all spicy and it lacked Belacan. I would say that this was just average and RM 1.70 for this is something that I just can't digest. Taste wise, I would rate this at 5/10.

Sambal Udang with Petai @ RM 4.00
This was just a scoop of six small Prawns and one piece of Petai and for this, I was charged RM 4.00 . Was it good? Not really! The 'Sambal' was good but the prawns weren't fresh. They would have been refrigerated for at least over a week. And that too with just one small piece of Petai. A very stingy portion for sky high prices. I would rate this at 6.5/10 . Nothing great at all!

Clams (Lala) @ RM 4.50

Clams (Lala) @ RM 4.50
Among all the items that I had tried today, this was the best and when I say 'best', I meant the best among the lot. Not that it was amazingly good. The preparation was nice though. For a small bowl of these, I was charged RM 4.50 which once again is expensive. This at least I could accept as it tasted nice. Seriously, I don't mind paying for quality. If you check my older blog entries, I do dine at high end restaurants and have had no issues paying for quality. It's just when the taste does not match the price tag, I get very annoyed. Coming back to this dish, I would rate it at 8/10 .

I would not want to recap the entire comments here once again but would like to just say that this place is overrated. I am not sure about the other outlet in Penchala and this statement is solely referring to this particular outlet in Brickfields. In short, it's an over priced place and the food does not match the price tag. 

Address: No. 146, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields, 
                50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: Mon - Fri  0730 - 2200
                             Saturday   0730 - 1700
                             Sunday Closed


Monday, 27 April 2015

Restoran SJ Corner @ Rawang, Selangor

It's dinner time and I'm waiting for my north bound train at Rawang KTM station which is scheduled to arrive in another one hour. Feeling hungry, I decided to cross over to Bandar Baru Rawang and check out this relatively new Indian Muslim Restaurant called Restoran SJ Corner which was just a three minutes walk from the Komuter Station. 

Parking Spaces

Located Along Jalan Bandar Rawang 12

Very Classy Looking Restaurant

Clean Environment

Drinks Counter
If you are standing at the KTM Station, then this restaurant is clearly visible. This restaurant is located along Jalan Bandar Rawang 12. The place was very posh looking. They had both indoor and outdoor seats and the entire restaurant was air conditioned. This is not the typical Indian Muslim Restaurant that we are commonly used to and they are carrying themselves as a modern Nasi Kandar place. I was here at sometime around 8.30 pm and the response from customers seemed decent. Being a corner unit, the restaurant was very spacious and it was beautifully designed. Definitely a lot of money had been spent on renovations. Parking spaces were very much available and that is definitely a plus point for them.

Good Spread Of Dishes

Checking Out The Curries
I then walked over to the curries station and was happy to see a good spread. For this hour, the availability of dishes were quite good. There was a well dressed man standing at this counter and he was serving the customers. Just like any other Nasi Kandar place, the serving was handled by the staffs who would select the curries based on customers instructions. Having gotten my food, I then returned to my table.

Iced Water @ RM 0.30

My Meal @ RM 10.50
Once I was seated, a Malay girl came over, checked the items that I had taken and then wrote down the price on a piece of paper and slid it under my plate. I was surprised to see that my helping had cost me RM 10.50 . This very same selection would have cost me under RM 8.00 in any one of those famous Nasi Kandar restaurants in Kuala Lumpur and for Rawang, this price was just exorbitant, regardless of how posh the restaurant looked. I looked at the handwritten piece of paper once again and asked her if the price was right. She looked at it and replied that that's the price here. I did not want to argue and just left it while nodding my head. I had ordered a glass of Iced Water and this was priced at 30 cents. The price of the drink is fine but the food is definitely expensive. I had taken half the usual portion of White Rice, a mix of curries, some Cabbage, some Mutton and one piece of Fish Cutlet. Price aside, the service however was very fast and in less that a minute, my drink was sent over to the table. Even at the curries station, the gentleman at the counter was very friendly and obliging. Now, time to taste the food.

Mix Of Curries
Whenever I have Nasi Kandar, I would always ask for a mix of gravies and I did the very same thing here. Before I comment about the gravy, let me say a few words about the rice. The rice was not fully cooked and I wonder how they could do that mistake in a restaurant. Even an idiot would be able to cook rice using a rice cooker these days. After all, technology does everything for you. That was a big put off for me. Now, coming back to the curries. The curries were bad, not slightly bad but really bad. Places like Nesan Curry House or even Adaikalam Mess for that matter which is just a five minutes walk from here serves curries that taste a hundred times better. The gravy was very much tasteless and bland. I would only rate this at 2/10 . 

The Cabbage was just average tasting and definitely something that was cooked in the morning. Give it another 2 hours and it would have turned bad. Already, it had started showing some signs. Anyway, up to this point in time, it was still edible. I would rate this at 5.5/10 .

I also had a serving of mutton and this was not good either. In fact, it was just so so. Regretted taking this. The meat was lean with not much fat but the preparation was hopeless. I would only rate this at 5/10 . 

Fish Cutlet

Fish Cutlet
In contrast to all the earlier items tried, the Fish Cutlet was amazingly good. This reminded me of the Fish Cutlet from Sithique Nasi Kandar in Brickfields. It was rich with fish meat (and not eggs like in most places) and spices and it was simply fantastic. This is one that I would highly recommend here and would rate this at 9.4/10 . Excellent one!

My Bill
Overall, I was not happy with the food and the prices at this restaurant. Except for the Fish Cutlet, everything else was just okay. Prices were exorbitant but the service was good. This is definitely a premium Indian Muslim Restaurant that serves very mediocre food. I doubt if I would be returning, maybe just for a drink and of course.....the Fish Cutlet!

Address: Along Jalan Bandar Rawang 12, Bandar Baru Rawang, 
                48000 Rawang, Selangor, Malaysia.

Opening Hours: 0700 - 0000 Daily

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Umi Sushi @ Tanjung Malim, Perak

Of late, there have been a number of new restaurants that have been opening up in Tanjung Malim and Umi Sushi is one of them. This is the first ever Japanese Restaurant in town and they opened their doors sometime late last year. This restaurant is located in Taman Universiti, a relatively new area of town where most of the new eateries have been mushrooming. Being a Malay Muslim owned business, this premise is Halal certified. Japanese cuisine has always been one of my favourites and having said that, I usually would only dine at certain Japanese Restaurants as I am quite fussy when it comes to these flavours. For me, they have got to be exquisitely perfect or else, I won't really end up enjoying my meal. Having said that, as I was in the mood for some Japanese food, I decided to pop in and try this place out. 

Umi Sushi Located In Taman Universiti

Outdoor Seating Area

Just A Small Area With Two Tables


Beautifully Designed Premises
The place was beautifully designed and was evident of the initial heavy outlay. They had a small outdoor seating area as well as a posh looking indoor seating area. Besides tables, there was a long counter that is typical to any Sushi Bar. The waiting staffs were mostly Malay's but I believe that their chefs are Filipinos. I was here at an odd hour and even at that time, the response was quite good. There were a number of tables that were occupied and customers just kept coming and this is a healthy sign. 

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu

The Menu
Their menu was an impressive hard bound and printed on high quality gloss paper. The spread was good and what you see above is just a portion of their menu. From what I saw in the menu, I understood that they are not 100% authentic in all their dishes as there were a number of fusion and hybrid dishes in the menu. Well, I'm always open for such improvisations as long as it gel's well with the overall theme.

Set Meals
Besides what's available in the menu, they also had two Bento sets. This seemed like a better option for me as it presents an opportunity to try a number of things instead of one heavy single dish. I then ordered the Saba Steak & Tempura Set which was priced at RM 25.90 . The prices weren't cheap and at the same time, they weren't expensive. I would say that it was a mid tier Japanese restaurant. Service was nothing much to shout about but they were generally attentive. 

Kedondong Fizz

Kedondong Fizz

My set came with the above drink called Kedondong Fizz. It was a fizzy soda drink. The drink itself shows that this is a fusion restaurant and not one to be labelled as an authentic restaurant where 'Japanese' lads would dine. In an authentic Japanese Restaurant, the most common drink would have been Green Tea. The drink was nice though and it had a salty sting to it. Nice for the hot weather. I would rate this drink at 8.5/10 . I was not too happy with the cutlery though. I was expecting Bamboo Chopsticks but what they had were a very flimsy looking plastic chopsticks and of course, the usual fork and spoon. I would expect better cutlery and being a Japanese Restaurant, they should provide Bamboo Chopsticks. The other thing that I was not too happy about was the absence of Wasabi. How would it even be possible for one to have Japanese food with Wasabi. That should be placed at every table just like what they have done with the Japanese Soy Sauce.

My Set @ RM 29.50
This set came with some White Rice, Tempura, Chawanmushi, Grilled Saba Fish, Miso Soup and some Watermelon. The portions were good for the price. Time to indulge now. Once again, no Wasabi provided with the set.

White Rice

White Rice
The White Rice provided is the local variety and not the Japanese sticky rice. This was a huge let down. If one refers to 'rice' in a Japanese restaurant, then it has got to be the short grain Japonica rice. I do hope that they would rectify this going forward as this is a huge blunder. 



Their Chawanmushi was just okay though I know for a fact that it would not pass for a Japanese. Nevertheless, being non native Japanese people, it was somewhat acceptable. The texture just didn't gel together and good Chawanmushi should just dissolve in the mouth, not one that is to be chewed. They had got the ingredients and taste right, just the technique wrong or perhaps I should say that it was not near good. More of a novice's preparation and I would rate this at 4/10 .


Their Tempura was nicely coated and deep fried but once again, it was the technique that went wrong. Do you see oil stains smudging the base of the paper? That should not be there. This you could check by simply visiting any Japanese restaurant that is manned by Japanese chefs. This oily stain would have a reverse taste on the Tempura itself. This was told to me by a Master-chef. I would rate this at 6.5/10 . 

Tempura Dip Sauce

Tempura Dip Sauce
The dip sauce for the Tempura had a local touch to it. Not 100% authentic but it tasted very good. Excellent work done here and I would rate this at 9/10 .

Grilled Saba

Grilled Saba

Grilled Saba
The Grilled Saba Fish was once again a fusion preparation. It tasted very Malaysian. Even the preparation methods was truly local. This kind of preparation would never be seen in a Japanese restaurant. Now, having said that, I would still say that this was a delicious preparation. It would have been better if the fish was not overdone. This was slightly overdone thus making the meat a little stiff. Otherwise, it tasted good and I repeat that it tasted very Malaysian and not Japanese. I would still rate this at 8.5/10 as I truly enjoyed the preparation. After all, it's all about the taste right!

Miso Soup

Miso Soup
Their Miso Soup was good but not great. The 'Dashi' was lacking and it should have had more greens and Tofu.  Nevertheless, a good attempt and I would rate this at 7/10 .

Tamago Maki @ RM 4.90
Having been done with my Bento set, I also ordered some Tamago Maki just to fill the stomach. This is one of my favourite rolls. The price is definitely very reasonable for the portion. 

Tamago Maki

It Was Breaking
This for sure must have been prepared by an amateur. This is one of the simplest rolls to make and it is mostly done using some tools. I wonder why they could not get this done right. Just like the earlier cases, the ingredients were all right and it was the technique that had gone wrong. If this was served to a Japanese, he would have just walked off as this is considered a bad omen. And it was not this one only, every single roll on that platter were opening up. I would rate this at 5/10 .If only the technique would have been right, this would have easily scored 9/10. 

Japanese Soy Sauce
The sauce used was that of a decent quality but once again, it was sad to note that Wasabi was not served with this dish as that is a compulsory practice. Definitely one for them to take note of.

The Bill For The Day
In my opinion, this place has got quite a number of things to improve on. I believe that I have said sufficiently in the paragraphs above and would not want to repeat it here. To those who have not been exposed to real Japanese food that place so much emphasis on perfection, this would be fine but not for a seasoned Japanese food lover. The Japanese are one of the most fussy people when it comes to their food. Everything has got to be precise including the cuts, layout and the way food is served. Otherwise, this is definitely a great place.

Address: No. 33, Jalan U1, Taman Universiti, 35900 Tanjung Malim, Perak, Malaysia.

Telephone: +605 458 2606

Opening Hours: Tues - Fri 1200 - 1430 & 1730 - 2230
                             Sat & Sun 1200 - 2230
                             Closed on Mondays