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

Vietnam Kitchen @ One Utama : Family for Comfort

It is crazy. Almost every time my family and I went to One Utama for dinner, we will end up inevitably in Vietnam kitchen. We would always start with some wishful thinking, saying let’s go dinner in One Utama. Why? Oh we want to watch movie after or there is something to buy or it is raining, are the usual reasons for a family, especially one with a baby boy (which always serve as the ultimate reason/excuse to everything including being fashionably late).

Sighing, I would then pretend and ask “But where would we eat?”

My dad would pretend to answer “Oh don’t know yet?”

As if on cue, I would answer “Alright, we’ll see then”, with a resign note.

We would then try to act oblivion and with hope that when we get there we will decide on somewhere ‘else’ to eat but in the end we would somehow, someway we would decide on good old Vietnam Kitchen. Not that it is a bad thing because due to the numerous times that we have dined there, it has somehow became a sort of comfort food for us family. It invokes the sort of sense of security where you know what you would be getting anyway and what you would want to order without having to rack your head over the menu with. And almost always that you know what to expect out of the meal. With this, we have somehow minus out the angst that sometimes come with eating out, which instead let’s us focus on the gathering of family aspect itself. Moreover nowayears, with the new addition to the family, we do indeed need a lot of extra focus; it is quite amazing how a little package can bring so much more to what there already is.

It is true that sometimes, something that we have so much off we would actually overlook, thus you can see why the lack of pictures for this place that I have been more times than any other places that I have reviewed here. Nevertheless the food is enough to comfort no matter how many times we have been there. Though I must say it used to be better, bigger portions and better fried spring rolls, but still it is worth to go for affordable Vietnamese food or if you and your family have no idea where to go and need some kind of fall-back plan to keep the peace.

Vietnamese Bun
If I am ever going for a single dish for myself, I would always go for the Vietnamese bun that I find oh so light and easy to eat. It is almost like an Asian noodle salad, rice vermicelli served on a bed of fresh sliced greens (normally cucumber and carrot), topped with either grilled chicken or pork, herbs, bean sprouts and roasted peanuts. This Vietnam Kitchen version comes with sliced fried spring rolls too. Then it is served with the Vietnamese popular condiment – Nuoc cham (fish sauce mix with lemon, garlic, vinegar, sugar and chili), for you to drizzle over the dish generously. Ah, just describing it makes me want to go get one of these refreshing dish for this hot day.

Pork ball noodle soup and Beef noodle soup
My dad on the other hand would always go for his soupy goodness, sometimes my brother in law will follow suit, which is the pork ball noodles, which comes with smooth rice noodles and clear but flavourful soup. Meanwhile, though my dad being a non-fan of beef, there is also the famous Vietnamese beef noodle soup here. It may not be the best of its kind but for the variety that this restaurant is serving, it is good enough for its kind. It is the usual famous Vietnamese noodle soup with thick broth and smooth noodles.

vietnam kitchen platter
Vietnam Kitchen Platter

House platter
Besides that though we almost always order the house platter which is a somewhat like my Vietnamese bun but deconstructed and with addition of more meats like grilled shrimp wrap around sugar cane and meatballs. Also it comes with fresh big greens and rojak-like dark sauce for use to roll the fillings together in a rice paper. Yes, it is kind of like the Vietnamese version of our popiah.

Set menu/dishes and
There were few times that we had ordered from set menu before when we are eating in larger crowd but I personally think that the ala-carte dishes are better.

All in all, after the meal each time, everyone would be happy and then get on with their reason for being there, but one thing to give warning to if you are in a similar situation like mine is, do not start walking around with a toddler to entertain him for you might succumb to his/her seemingly innocent big brown eyes which sparkles at a certain thing which would end up with you having a lighter wallet. You have been warned, bout the toddler of course and not the meal, do try it if you are ever in One Utama and like us have no idea on where to eat in there.

Vietnam Kitchen
Bandar Utama Shopping Centre
S312 2th Floor Highstreet,
1 Utama Shopping Centre
Bandar Utama Damansara
47800 Petaling Jaya
0377241336

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.