Indian Roadside Stall’s Tosai @ Malaysian Warmth

Lovely Malaysia. How can I almost forget it. It’s been a while since I have this feeling. The feeling of peace, relax and of no rush whatsoever, in a nondescript roadside Indian stall, eating my favourite tosai for breakfast and having an exceptionally Malaysian kind of warmth service. How else can we start a day in Malaysia better? Maybe with a new generation touch which is having my netbook with me along with Internet connection.

Thanks to the burgeoning so called upper class kopitiams around Malaysia, many of us youths had start to forget how nice it is actually to go back to basics. The old times. The sitting near the roadside, having other locals buzzing around you, some chit-chatting, some flipping their newspapers and some just plainly stare around (like me but without the netbook ha-ha). The stall people walking around taking orders, serving, laughing, sometimes kacau (a Malay term for disturbs) and treating everyone as if they are long time friends.

So yeah, sometimes we forgot what makes something tick, something that stand the test of time. Sometimes we forgot how wonderful it is to be Malaysian. Now I would hope to relive more of these simple joys in life. Like good ol’ Malaysian warmth and good ol’ healthy tosai to start the day.

Tosai @ Malaysia's Indian roadside stall
Tosai @ Malaysia's Indian roadside stall

Indian roadside stall
Between Jalan 33/70A and 19/70A,
Sri Hartamas,
50480 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia

Marufuku @ Jaya One, PJ : You, Karaage, Me, Udon

Marufuku @ Jaya One, PJ
Marufuku @ Jaya One, PJ

“I must take you to try this place near Old Klang Road, got this good Japanese noodle?”

“You mean Taman Desa? “

“Eh how you know this place?”

I smile secretively. “Good Japanese udon right?”

“Yes, yes! But what I like is the fried chicken though”

“Oh you mean karaage

“Er, I think so, the fried chicken lah! How you know this place one?”

“I ate there once with a friend

“Yes, we must go! I miss the fried chicken!”

“and I miss the udon! Ok let’s go on weekend”

But being us the pj-lites, who seldom get to go out of  our comfort zone, call us busy, call us lazy or just call us snobs, we always move around the confine of PJ area with some exceptions of bangsar, we end up not going there weekend after weekend .

Fast forward few weeks later, Y message me online.  “What’s for dinner?”

Looking at the time, it was almost quite late for dinner as I am still in Cyberjaya, the concrete jungle.

“If only we can go for the Japanese fried chicken”

Suddenly a light bulb appear on top of my head (hey it’s been a while eh)

“I heard  that it has a sister restaurant in Jaya One”

“What??!? Really?”

“Wait let me check if they have your favourite chicken”

Marufuku Ambiance @ Jaya One, PJ

Couple of googles later and visiting my few favourite food blog (yes this place have been blog almost to death), I confirmed and so off we went there with anticipation. Once reaching, thanks to also directions from the blogs (they are always so handy, especially now with iPhone nation, we check in online at every whim on the palm of our hands). Once we sat down I promptly ordered my favourite udon soup with egg and seaweed, while she promptly ordered her karaage of course.

Udon in Fish Broth @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Udon in Fish Broth @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

Unpretentious and fuss free fresh udon noodles served in a fish based broth carefully made. This is what we would call comfort in a bowl. The best udon I’ve ever eaten is in an outskirt town near Osaka, Japan, the next best udon is found here (or also the one at Taman Desa). This would make me happy enough as knowing it is almost impossible for me to return to the place in Japan for a quick fix. I love the fishy broth that are not too salty (and I have low tolerance for salt), and the springy fresh udons. Good food is just the clever play of throwing together few key natural tastes, nothing too fancy but something enough to leave an impression. Mmm, this is probably the criteria for a good man? Pardon me for going out of topic.

Niku Beef Udon @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Niku Beef Udon @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

Now on to the other hand, Y ordered the dry version of Udon, which I must say is much more complex in taste and flavour. She does prefer something of such, with more saltiness, sweetness or even spiciness, she almost always go over the top for things, and almost like her choices in men? We start to see a pattern with men and udon here, what do you think?

Karaage @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Karaage @ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

But the main thing here for Y would be the karaage. She being her, rave and chomp and rave and chomp on her what she called fried chicken. Looking at her eat you would almost be convinced that she is eating some kind of happy drug. I would say that I have eaten better karaage, where it would be less oily and more crunchy when fried in the right temperature (yes I am quite a snob (again) when it comes to fried stuff), but the version here is quite alright, and Y obviously love the taste. If the dried udon for her is a marriage, then this would certainly be an affair.

Kakiage@ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ
Kakiage@ Marufuku, Jaya One, PJ

There are also other types of noodles and fried stuff that you can pick from the menu, not extensively but just good enough not to overwhelm you. Some restaurants just have so many choices it baffles the mind and make one wonder which items are really good. Stick with good amount of variety and does it well, it will certainly keep the customers coming back happily. Though Marufuku does not have the same authentic ambience as its elder sister in taman desa, I would have to be contented with it for now as I think it might be a bit ironic to venture out of comfort zone just to get a dose of comfort food.

I would of course venture out if I to meet LFB, the friend who in the first place introduce me to this not-so-secret place anymore, also possibly thanks to him and his PR skills. So let me help to spread it further, try it at Taman Desa if it’s not out of your comfort zone, else head over to

Marufuku Udon
Blk L, Unit 18, Level G,
Phase 1, Jaya One
No 72-A, Jalan Universiti,
46000 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 603- 7957 6368

Sanuki Udon
No.9, Jalan Bukit Desa 5
Taman Bukit Desa
58100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-7980 3704

Best Steak @ Prime, Le Meridien, KL : Prime Time, Ladies

The Lady in Red
She is the one who you would find packing three suitcases for a one week trip. Someone who would packed in lots of shopping of books and clothes, and sneaked in bottles and packs of chilli paste, spices and what-nots from Malaysia and then get slapped with huge amount for overweight baggage back to Jakarta. She would be the one who knows the best of quality, the right and appropriate thing to do at a time and she makes her decision firm and fast. She is one awesome clear and wonder woman I must say.

The Lady in Green
She is the sweet and lovely lady who will always ever so gently take you into her arms to comfort you in times when you were bawling like a baby. She would be the one listening to you when you need to talk or sometimes cajole you into sharing your heart out in order for her to understand you more. She would always be the one who took effort to keep in touch and to bring everyone together. She is the one who would always ask for your updates and genuinely care for you.

The Lady in Yellow
A no nonsense and down to earth girl, she pursues what she thinks is best and then excel in it. Perseverance and loyalty is her middle name, she works at things single-mindedly without fail be it work or personal. Nevertheless, since when we were still young and in our diapers running around our nanny’s home, she had always have a soft spot for me, letting me do what I want, getting into trouble yet still protect me from harm and even my nanny’s wrath sometimes. She is the best person to go to for a girls’ day in.

The Lady in Black
The naughty one and the one who is never on time would be what you use to describe her. She is the one who would make the rest of the ladies to shake their head. She would be the one who would steal a cookie from the jar and forgot to wipe her mouth clean and the rest would process to laugh it off and help her clean it while rolling the eyes. Yes she was the one that feel so blessed to have the three ladies in her life.

The Ladies Meats are not the Men’s Poison
Most recently, the ladies except for the one in yellow, got to meet up after a long time. And it has been a really long time. This time, the ladies in green and black manage took this as an excuse for another extreme fine dining (the first with the lady in yellow), this time we go from middle eastern belly dancers to meat, meat, meat and just meat. Yes you heard it right, meat. Did I mention bloody and juicy?

Wagyu Steak @ Prime, Le Meridien KL
Wagyu Steak @ Prime, Le Meridien KL

Oh yes. I am talking about really fine good and dandy red perfectly cooked to medium rare of a perfectly fresh and juicy Wagyu beef. After the lady in black, which you all would have guessed by now is me, hem and haw, and hem and haw some more, over all the amazingly looking menu of red meats, I was pretty sure I would have want to try all if my wallet and waistline had permitted, but in the end I chose her ribeye meat of Australian Certified Wagyu Beef/Kobe Style. This was one of the best steaks I have ever eaten, and yes what a bold statement but true one to make. Not to mention at the same time we keep washing the meat down with the nicely paired pinot noir. Let us all smack lips in unison now.

Sides and Sauces @ Prime, Le Meridien KL
Sides and Sauces @ Prime, Le Meridien KL

To go with our meats, we all have the same array of side dishes. There was the baked honey cinnamon pumpkin wedges which I must say was my favourite, the honey was simply divine, not overtly sweet yet have this strong scent of sweetness that almost make me thought that it was sweet potato instead. Another top favourite of the sides coming in closely was the charcoal grilled Australian Portobello mushrooms with its smoky flavour mixed with its moist and strong mushroom taste. Then there was also the creamy spinach with garlic which is unique and I didn’t know that spinach can go so well with cream and so now I do. Also at meantime, we have the luxury to also accompany our meats with specially concocted sauces, served in copper pots (which I simply love), that is the truffle sauce and wild mixed mushroom sauce.

Appetizers @ Prime, Le Meridien KL
Appetizers @ Prime, Le Meridien KL
Lobster Bisque @ Prime, Le Meridien KL
Lobster Bisque @ Prime, Le Meridien KL

While waiting for our meats, we had start to work up the appetite with some refreshing dishes like Classic Caesar salad and I must say this one holds true to its name of classis, simple and nicely mixed together with only the core ingredients of this famous salad, definitely make me rethink again how I have been misjudging it all these while. Another was the prawn and avocado with special sauce which was pleasant to the palate. The lady in red also wanted to have some soup to line the stomach for the onslaught of meats to come thus the order for the rich lobster bisque that came with a baked puff pastry top that makes one feel the joy of cracking it to get to the delicious orangey goodness inside.

Blackmore Wagyu @ Prime, Le Meridien KL
Blackmore Wagyu @ Prime, Le Meridien KL

Since at same time, prime was having a limited feature of Blackmore Wagyu beef, that are apparently prize as one of the finest meat, the lady in green suggested to order it and we definitely was glad she did. We had it ala salad style in order not to fill us up as we all each have individual servings of more meat. One bite into the soft buttery meat have me wishing we should have ordered more from this fine selection and who cares if we have more of other great meats too? In this matter, the more the merrier quote rings so true.

Breads and Premium Butters @ Prime, Le Meridien KL
Breads and Premium Butters @ Prime, Le Meridien KL

Not to forget, with honourable mentions, are the awesome hearty breads – wholesome walnut bread and enticing black pepper crusted elemental cheese bread, I was torn between the two and end up just helping myself to loads of both of them. This helps with the accompanying special homemade butter spreads of few versions – spicy, black pepper and plain. I believe they will rotate the flavours of these now and then. But I must say, the plain one won me over with its supreme real butter taste with real buttery texture, are such things even possible for a butter? Yes I think it does.

Desserts @ Prime, Le Meridien KL
Desserts @ Prime, Le Meridien KL

We started pleasantly and then climax at the supreme meats, the lady in red showed that she enjoyed her Australian black angus gourmet ribeye very much to, we will know end with a sweet note, or maybe few notes. My favourite was actually the simplest down to earth dessert of rich hot chocolate cake which came with chocolate sauce and the really smooth and rich stracciatella ice cream which I believe brought this dessert up into the sky. Then there was the everyone’s favourite of pecan mud pie with chocolate sauce which have a nice mix of ice cream with cake, pecans and biscuit crusts. Lastly was the crepe suzette with preserved orange zest which was good but I would have love more kick as I am more of a booze person, still it was alright.

The Ladies Palette of Colours
Mixing the ladies together will always produce loads of colourful antics. You will see them painting many canvases of wonderful memories. They already have a gallery full of colourful arts that depicts their adventures and love, especially for the ladies in green and black which virtually grew up with the rest of them. We are who we are because of them in some ways and we truly appreciate it. Most of all we must not forget the queen lady who brought us all together (two which she brought into this world), which is my nanny. I love you ladies!

Prime, Le Meridien
Kuala Lumpur Sentral
Kuala Lumpur 50470
Malaysia
603 2263 7888

Monte’s Restaurant @ BSC, Bangsar, KL : Good Food, Great Company

Planning a holiday is no easy feat, what more planning a budget holiday. But a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do, and so she had been buried in planning for holiday. Don’t envy her, instead go out and plan your holiday now! Besides that, I had been settling back down in Malaysia, after my short but great stint in Manila, though I would say settling down had been amazingly quite smooth, it is almost as if I had never left. But I did, because I can remember vividly my wonderful time in Manila, it’s like a happy and adventurous chapter in the journey of my life, which I would say have warrant another post, or many posts on another day! For those my dear reader, I am sorry that you would wait cause now the focus is that tham jiak is back in town and being blessed that she is, not shortly after she got back she had been invited to a wonderful food review! This time she gets to dine with duo Frat and FBB, and at same time she finally got to meet the famous Aly. Nothing beats a nice dinner with a nice group of people.

Garlic Bread & Soup @ Monte's, BSC KL
Garlic Bread & Soup @ Monte's, BSC KL

So on with the food review of today, we started off nicely with garlic bread. I for one have never been really crazy about garlic bread, especially those dried hard ones with some miserable hint of garlic, but for this one, Monte’s did it really well. The bread was soft with crunch at the right parts and it has been generously lather with creamy garlicky butter. It is good enough to even eat it on its own, which I nearly did finish it till I hear there are soups coming, so I restrain to leave a bit for sake of dipping, I just like the act of it, for sheer habit or what not but I do. The soups came and did not disappoint in the dunking part, especially for the Oxtail soup that was really flavourful albeit a bit on salty side (but be forewarned I have low tolerance for sweet or salty either way) and as for the carrot pumpkin soup it was creamy and with subtle taste of both.

Escargot @ Monte's, BSC KL
Escargot @ Monte's, BSC KL

Then on came the appetizers to whet our appetite of course, I was already gearing up for more after a good dose of garlic bread. The escargot turned out to be good, kind of a pleasant surprise as I had few bad ones before, though I wouldn’t say that this was utterly authentic but it was whetting my palate for sure. Then next was the Juice Scallop and living up to its description, it was juicy and oh so tender. Though I would prefer to have more flavourful sauce, the pumpkin puree that they were resting on was alright with complementing texture.

After that came my new found favourite dish to eat nowadays – salad, and yes I am on a diet so there, but this one is not your ordinary salad per say. This one is a warm salad, with nicely cooked prawns, eggplants and topped with fresh cherry tomatoes and some greens. Certainly a nice twist to my usual cold salad repertoire though I wouldn’t say it was my favourite.

Mains @ Monte's, BSC KL
Mains @ Monte's, BSC KL

Finally then came the real deal, our main course to fill up the remaining space of our stomach (not inclusive of the special compartment for dessert of course, who among you dare to say that you can be so full from food you cannot fit in dessert anymore).  First up was one of the two favourite of the lot that we had which was the pan-seared cod. I may be bias because I was always a fish lover, but still I must this one is really delicious, as the cod is fresh, cooked just right and the sauce was a flavourful companion. The next favourite, though I cannot decide which I liked more was the 8 hrs lamb, and as the name says, it was carefully braised for 8 hours in a special sauce and thus producing a dish where the meat is about to fall off itself and which literarily melts in your mouth, no kidding! I must say this is definitely one dish I would recommend to order if you are ever at Monte’s.

The rest of the main meal were the spaghetti marinara which was a classic dish that we all know but I would say that I like this version much, mushroom chicken which was served with herb rice and was indeed really paired well together thus not a surprise that this was one of the bestselling lunch dish due to its value in money while filling one up for the day and lastly the prawn and fish combo which I only manage to get hold of some big prawns that were freshly grilled.

Desserts @ Monte's, BSC KL
Desserts @ Monte's, BSC KL

With the stomach now filled up nicely, now came the part to fill up the secret compartment that was always reserved for desserts!  We had classic desserts which always seem to please many people for generations like bread and butter pudding, Hershey’s chocolate cake and carrot cake. I must say though the bread and butter pudding looks quite dry at first, it turned out that those thick dry crusts are the key part of this dish that gave it an interesting mix of flavour and texture, salty and crunchy in contrast to the rest of the sweet and fluffiness. While the chocolate cake (something I find hardest to take picture of next to a slab of steak) didn’t wow, it also didn’t disappoint and would certainly fulfill any chocolate lover (yes I am one) in need of a fix. The carrot cake was what I normally would make at home, crumbly and moist but most importantly not overly sweet, which of course please me very much and which also spur me to make one myself soon, though the icing was not the cheesy type that I would have preferred as the perfect pairing.

Oh and I just realize we have another mini secret compartment that was always there to be filled up with after meal drinks don’t we? Normally I love to wash down with a nice cup of coffee (if it is still early in the day as I have a coffee curfew so that I wouldn’t stay up late into the night) else tea or even alcohol will have to do. For this time, Susan Lee, Monte’s owner insisted that we tried a new special drink that she had discovered by chance – Green Tea Café Latte, which of course pique my interest as I am an avid fan of coffee and green tea! Who would have known these two can go so well together, kind of remind me of my favourite ‘cham’ (local coffee and tea mix) but with a Japanese twist instead! Certainly a good drink to end the meal and it was well worth breaking my curfew for.

Well who would have known then, tuck in a cozy little corner of the Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC) would be a family sort of restaurant that would certainly have something for every members of every age. I would say, with its new chic décor, it also in some ways to penetrate into the younger market where it can be a nice meal reunion or celebration of sorts place. Did I also mentioned really value for money? Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Monte’s Restaurant
Bangsar Shopping Centre,
F112, 1st Floor, West Wing
03-2094 1112

Fellow tham jiak kaki reviews:
Aly
FBB

P/S: Much thanks to Susan for being such a gracious host, Dinesh and FBB for the invite, Frat and Aly for the lovely company.