"Tucked away river eatery that's worth the trip!"
The first thing that struck me was just how picture perfect Azrorasa looked. It’s a small, kampung style place, located on a little ‘island’ in the middle of a river. Shady trees frame the front, and small sampans
and boats. It was very picturesque, calm, with the steady flow of the river and the sounds of kampung fauna all add to a sense of tranquility. We immediately settled comfortably into our chairs. It was almost like having lunch at home on a lazy weekend afternoon.
Then the food came. The food here is gloriously, authentically Malay kampung style, bursting with richness and flavor. The cherry on this cake? Everything is prepared fresh, from scratch, the moment you order it. So order your rice, and order.
Selera Azrorasa’s specialty is their Gulai Kari Ikan Sembilang. It comes to your table in ceramic bowls to help retain the heat. Inside, the kuah is a gorgeous red, orange and brown in colour, and so creamy and thick, laced with chunks of so, so fresh ikan sembilang (eel catfish) and okra. It is spicy, fragrant, creamy and absolutely wonderful. The fish is tender and perfectly cooked, catching in the flavours of the curry with aplomb. Then there is their Ikan Sembilang Goreng; an unassuming preparation, just the usual turmeric and salt, but expertly seasoned, and fried to that cosmic oneness of crunchy, crispy skin with just the right amount of fat beneath, and moist, sweet flesh. I could have a plate of this just a snack, and I’d die a happy man.
Next, came their Ketam Masak Cili. The crabs come bathed in a spicy, sweet and sour chilli-based sauce, and in a generous amount. You will need two hands for this messy, sticky, absolutely delicious dish, and you’ll find yourself clawing and digging for every morsel of sweet, fresh crab meat. Rounding off this classic kampung meal was a plate of very fresh, green ulam and hot sambal belachan. As refreshments, have a bottle or two of locally produced in Taiping MYM sodas, in strawberry, orange or sarsaparilla. They taste great, and you’d be supporting a local endevour as well.
"All in-house dough is handmade"
Chef Nicola Carradori has given his hands and experience to many notable restaurants before settling to open his own place. Looking to present customers withItalian flavours, he’s set a menu that leaves people spoilt for choice. They’re presented all over the walls charmingly on chalkboard menus. We give you the top three dishes to try here at iCook Italian Gastronomia.
For pasta, try the house specialty, Chicken Tortelloni. The dish comes in folds of moist, fresh pasta, dripping with creamy sauce. The sauce is delightful – full bodied with a mouth-watering flavour of mascarpone cheese, blended well with rosemary and porcini. Minced chicken filling is soft and tender, with a taste full of onions and herbs. iCook also has a selection of pasta in various styles and sauce: Aglio Olio, Carbonara, Marinara and Bolognese.
What’s an Italian meal out without some pizza? At iCook, the wide selection of toppings will definitely have your stomachs growling. We tried the Quattro Stagioni Pizza, and it comes steaming on a wooden platter. The self made pizza dough was very soft and spongy, unlike the crispy thin crust we expected. It’s slathered with a generous base of tangy tomato sauce and sprinkled with chicken ham, artichokes, mushroom and olives.
For sandwiches, we had the Fattoria Smoked Salmon Panini. The smoked salmon came in juicy slices that oozed with flavours – salty and smoky, complimenting the crunchy salad and fluffy bread. Dough in the restaurant is all handmade and you can tell by the spongy texture and soft bite. The Panini is served with a side of chunky potato wedges and blended tomato sauce. More »
"As chickeny as chicken chunks can get"
"Sup ayam satu, nasi putih," I ordered soaked from running from my car. I wanted something that would warm me all the way to the bones. A short while later, a plate of white rice and a stainless-steel bowl, steaming with the hot liquid inside came, and I prepared to tuck into my meal. Aaaaah, was my first thought as I sipped the broth. It was delicious; I used to read how Americans always say a bowl of chicken noodle soup is just the thing for when it’s cold and rainy and you’re feeling a bit miserable. I know now that can hold true. After one spoon, I couldn’t stop sipping more! The soup made that lost turn somewhere I made worth it, and it was a perfect meal for that rainy night.
Little surprise then, that I made several more visits to Kasmie Tomyam just to have the soup. And they get it right all the time.
Encik Kasmie himself runs the kitchen, although he wouldn’t divulge his sup ayam recipe. Now sup ayam is pretty basic as far as soup dishes go, but not everyone can make it a memorable dish. I suspect he uses a bunjut (spice sachet) as a base, but adds his own ratio of spices and seasonings that makes it unique.
The soup comes steaming hot, and I loved how it was served in a stainless steel bowl. Inside the soup were generous chunks of chicken; each chunk tender and moist, not at all dried out as if the meat was boiled to death. It was as chickeny as chicken chunks can get. Slivers of onion added a subtle sweetness, while smashed cili padi provided a fantastic ‘kick’, that was, thankfully, not overpowering. More »
"Ditch your conscience and get The Complete Dayummnation..."
This stall is run by three friends. Located in a kopitiam, one handles the grill, the second fries up the eggs/bacon and toasts buns while the third takes orders, assembles the burgers and delivers it to hungry tables. There weren't too many patrons when I came about but I put my skepticism aside and ordered the works (single patty, bacon, cheese and egg). Looking back, I realised on that night there was a huge ceramah at Esplanade so that could be the reason for the lack of customers. Don't matter, it didn't take long for my precious package to arrive.
What hit me was the freaking size! It wasn't huge, it was GINORMOUS. I could barely hold it in one hand. As I unwrapped it, the appetizing waft of grilled porky goodness hit me and I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into it. But oh oh, how to eat it? Times like this I wished I was a python so i could disengage my jaw and wolf down the sucker but alas, I tried my best to attack this fat piggy. One bite, and I was hooked. Hubby had to literally wrestle it from my clutches. We were like 2 ravenous carnivores trying to get a share of the prize.
10 minutes later, the massacre was over. The verdict? Pork nirvana, baby! The patty was well marinated, so thick and juicy. The bacon wasn't too crispy, just nicely fried to lend a slight salty savouriness without outshining the star i.e. the pork patty. The cheese was nicely melted over the patty, lending a subtle richness to the burger and the crunch of raw onions was refreshing. I love the raisin bun, it absorbs the meat juices and remains crusty without falling apart. The raisins lend a sweet finish after each bite. My only minor gripe was the egg could be a little runnier and the commercial ketchup/chilli sauce was unnecessary, plus caramelised onions would have been nice. Nevertheless, I went to bed stuffed and happy.
The next night, I was itching for more. This time being the eve of GE, the humble stall was enjoying brisk business and it took a while for my order to arrive. The moment that piping hot package arrived, I took a minute to visually devour it. Then within 5 minutes, it was gone! The worst part was I wanted another one! I feel like an addict who just had another fix. A quick chat with Morgan Ramanchandram reveals that him and his partners Ian Lim and Lam Khai Hong started serving their awesome patties at their own house parties. As their friends raved about it, the idea to commercialise their wares started after they noticed the boom of pork burger stalls in Penang.
"The briyani specialist"
Living up to its name, this neighbourhood restaurant offers a range of Briyani sets. We ordered the Chicken Briyani, plain Briyani with Fried Chicken and a number of sides. The Chicken Briyani is gingery soft, while the fried chicken is succulent and lean. They used a fine, lightly spiced basmati served in large portions. Acting as a base, its mild taste is a welcome when coupled with hot condiments.
A proper Briyani experience would not be complete without its side dishes. We greatly recommend the Green Chicken; chunks of juicy meat doused with mint sauce, coriander and green peppers. The resulting flavor is an exotic blend of sweet, refreshing and fiery spice.
Another side dish to try is the Chicken Tikka Karahi. The Karahi comes in a delicious coriander and chilli mix. It’s hot and spicy, providing the extra taste mileage to the meal. We also ordered Qeema, a minced meat dish spiced with ghee. The meat provides depth to a tasteful sauce - great to eat with rice and bread. For a vegetable side, we had the Aloo Gobi. The cauliflowers and potatoes are covered in thick masala sauce, leaving a lingering taste that’ll heat up your mouth.
Each Briyani is served with a small bowl of mixed vegetables and yoghurt. The yoghurt deserves special mention as it's thin, a fantastic silky taste of sweet mint and sour milk. For bread selection, the restaurant includes Naan Garlic, which is chewy and thickly flavored; and Special Naan (Taftan) which is served in three fluffy slices sprinkled with sesame seeds. Both are perfect to dip with savoury gravies like curry and dhal.
"A Siamese Sensation"
The best way to experience Thai Asam Fish is by ordering a number of side dishes to be served with plain rice, though the menu also offers individual dishes such as fried meals. The portions are presented on a scale of Small, Medium, and Large, so it caters to parties of all sizes. The meal has a couple of must-have dishes, but the greatest of them all is the highly recommended signature dish, the Asam Thai Seafood platter. It’s a hot, steaming red brew of sliced mackerel with prawns and squids. The taste is an exquisite blend of sour tamarind, spices, and santan, together with chopped tomatoes, lady fingers and long beans. It all rounds up into a soup that is a fiery, zesty broth with a delicious asam pedas kick!
Another dish to try is the Buttermilk Chicken. Chunks of juicy chicken dripping with creamy buttermilk sauce, curry leaves and chili. The rich sauce is so flavoured that it’s good enough to slurp on its own. For a dry buttermilk dish, try the Butter Mantis Prawn. The prawns are sweet and salty, fried into crisp bites. They’re buried in shavings of sweet egg crusts, taking the crunchiness to a whole new level.
A seafood side dish we recommend is the Sizzling Spicy Sotong. The dish arrived to us spitting and spluttering sambal juices, with bundles of squid to share. Chewy squids in a thick sambal sauce with green chili and garlic, offering a nice heavy spiciness that is also quite sweet. For the vegetable sides, we settled on Steamed Bean Curd with Soy Sauce. The curds are soft, providing an airy taste to counter the flavorful dishes. Sprinkled with spring onions and fried shrimps with light soy sauce, it’s a nice compliment to the meal. More »
"Food, art and bicycle loving action..."
Inspired by business combinations in international stores, founders Fadli Hj Rosli and Halyza Halim sought no time to combine three things they loved most – riding, art, and good food. Grafa began as a fixed gear lifestyle store and design studio, with a small café at the side. Only recently did they expand the café into a full-blown designer restaurant. "This is a place where people can come and forget that they're in Subang," said Fadli.
Taking the combo inspiration further they teamed up with Williams (the all time popular foodie hangout in Kelana Jaya) for inspiration and a helping hand, so Grafa Café was born. Recipes are the same to give the familiar quality of good cuisine, but the cafe does have their own special stuff! The result is a funky restaurant with a menu that boasts both local and mixed cuisine in plus size portions. Perfect for a chilled out food loving session.
From lunch to supper, Grafa Café is usually buzzing with friendly conversations and acoustic music. Food here comes in generous portions and the menu offerings are promising. They have a range of western grill items like house specialty Grafamama’s Grilled Lamb Chop, served with creamy white gravy, mint sauce, with a side of mashed potatoes. It comes as two pieces of lamb, tender and light, a portion big enough for two people to share. The mashed potatoes can be a little clumpy but nevertheless tasty. The Chicken Chop offers a crunchy chicken breast with a deliciously thick black pepper sauce on the side.
There's also the Boyfriend Steak Sandwich, a messy, meaty meal of steak strips, chicken ham slices, with cheese and onions. The steak strips are marinated to a fine flavour of barbecue and are very soft to eat. Together with light, crispy onion rings, this dish makes for a tasty appetizer.
Try too the Nasi Goreng Ketam. It’s an aromatic serving of spicy seafood, a taste as familiar as tom yam. The rice is a little zesty and goes nicely with the soft shell crabs, though the whole dish may a little hot for some. Each mouthful is a flavourful trip, and will definitely fill an empty stomach. More »