Thursday, 28 January 2010

I Want Crabs! - Robson Heights Seafood Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur

Salted Egg Yolk Crab - Robson Heights Seafood Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur

I wanted crabs, I got crabs - some hefty babies drenched in a thick, sticky marmite sauce and some other suckers enveloped in artery clogging salty egg yokes. I was in high heaven - this was seriously good food.

Claypot River King Prawn with Glass Noodles - Robson Heights Seafood Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur

Robson Heights Seafood Restaurant does some very nice food. The fried noodles are tasty - think it's the extra dose of lard that they use (surely it's near impossible to get food tasting good without a healthy dose of saturated animal fat? Roast spuds in goose fat, toasted crumpets dripping with butter, Hokkien mee with it's little pieces of deep fried pork lard ... ) and most of its seafood dishes are pretty darn good - like those scrumptious fresh water prawns with glass noodles. Heads heavy with roe cooked in a delicious broth flavoured with garlic, ginger, chili and the all important rice wine. However, there were some downsides to their food like the waste of time (and tummy space) lemon chicken and disappointing kam heong clams. Not that the clam dish tasted bad - more like the clams were so tiny, every other ingredient overpowered it.

Claypot River King Prawn with Glass Noodles - Robson Heights Seafood Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur

* I had incredibly sticky fingers from probing every yummy crevice of the crabs, so not many photos.

The Robson Heights Seafood Restaurant
10B, Jalan Permai, Off Jalan Syed Putra, 50460 Kuala Lumpur

Monday, 25 January 2010

Dim Sum - The Ming Room, Bangsar

I haven't had much luck with my recent dim sum visits in London - Chuen Cheng Ku was atrocious and the usually fail safe Royal China was having a bad day (I refuse to even consider the possibility that Royal China is not as good as it once was). Dim sum in KL is usually a whole lot more fun - not awe inspiring stuff but good, cheap and cheerful. And I get to share it with some of the best dining companions - my dad and sister. Blessed with hearty appetites and greediness to match, we do tend to eat very well together.

Ming Room at BSC (that's Bangsar Shopping Centre to the non-KLite) has been around for quite some time, part of a new wave of Chinese restaurants with modern decor and a traditional meets modern style of cooking. Think Baked Foie Gras with Stuffed Sea Clams or Pan Seared Foie Gras with Garlic Rice ... you get the gist. I've been to Ming Room several times and I don't recall the being particularly great or all that bad either. It's one of those places where the memories of the food just sort of disappears into oblivion. Definitely OK for a dim sum then.

Fried Peanuts and Tofu - The Ming Room, BSC

We started with their "free" starter. A real rip off. The starter was good - tiny pieces of deep fried tofu, peanuts and dried silver anchovies coated in a sweet chili sauce - but forget the free part. Chinese restaurants used to serve a plate of peanuts when I was a child, which I'm pretty sure was free. A few years later they started charging for the same plate of nuts and soon more enterprising restaurants began jazzing up their "free" plates and it became a hidden charge on the bill. You could of course say no, thanks, send the plate back and earn yourself a huff from the waitress. Most don't bother ... just eat it la!

Har Kow - The Ming Room, BSC

Sui Mai - The Ming Room, BSC

No dim sum meal would be the same without an order of har kow and siu mai even if they aren't particular favourites. These were alright. Not much else to say about both these dishes.

Steamed Fishballs - The Ming Room, BSC

One of my absolute favourites are steamed fishballs. I could happily just have fishballs and nothing else. Not those ultra bouncy kind that you buy from the supermarket, thank you very much. They have to be chewy rather than bouncy - I like to think it's because there's a higher ratio of fish in the recipe. The Ming Room fishballs hit the spot. I even requested a second portion. Ah happiness!

Sharksfin Dumplings - The Ming Room, BSC

For a touch of luxury these seafood dumplings had a a few strands of sharks fin on them.

Lor Mai Kai - The Ming Room, BSC

Lor mai kai with gloppy brown sauce. Sticky rice with chicken, pork and mushrooms - good. Pretty hard to get wrong.

Wu Kok - The Ming Room, BSC

Wu kok - deep fried yam dumplings stuffed with meat. Another favourite of mine but sadly not many places get it right. Very often the dumplings are served cold and clogged with oil. These were quite delicious. The yam was light with crisp edges. Delightful.

Mango and Prawn Rolls - The Ming Room, BSC

I don't recall eating these prawn and mango rolls but apparently I did since I have photos of them.

Sui Kow - The Ming Room, BSC

I have been dreaming of sui kow for a very long time now. My sui kow dreams usually evolve around the dumplings from Foong Foong's Ampang yong tau foo. Sadly there was no time for yong tau foo this time but Ming Room's sui kow managed to quell my cravings for them ... a little. Where the food in Foong Foong's is ultra cheap and cheerful, Ming Room is a touch more refined. The sui kow was really quite lovely and the soup it was served in was delicious. It was the sort of broth you can imagine 10 chickens being boiled for 20 hours to achieve.

Char Siew Cheong Fun - The Ming Room, BSC

Another favourite of mine is the cheong fun. At Ming Room the noodles was soft and silky, the meat lean. Very nice.

Shredded Chicken and Century Egg Congee - The Ming Room, BSC

For it's non-halal status, I was a little surprised when the waitress shook her head when we asked for porridge (I refuse to use the word "congee" to refer to rice porridge ... it somehow gives me the creeps) with lean pork and century egg. Surely it is one of the cornerstones of dim sum? Alright, har kau and siu mai are the cornerstones. Cheong fun, char sui bau, pei dan sau yuk chuk are second tier stones if you must - in my book anyway. So we had porridge with shredded chicken and century egg instead. Nice, but not quite the same is it? I poked around the menu right at the end of the meal and found that they had porridge with dried oysters and lean pork, which I just had to have. Oh it was good, very good. Reminds me of the stuff my grandma used to make.

The food at Ming Room really wasn't too bad. There were some dishes they did well and was quite hard to fault, whilst others were a bit hit and miss. The service, however, was definitely a miss. We ordered some vegetables that never turned up, the waiting staff had the attention span of newts (if and when you could get them to understand you) and the the bill took about 10 minutes to arrive. Fancy restaurant The Ming Room would hope to be but it's really no further up the ladder than a glorified Tai Thong. It's not an insult - it's just not quite as refined as it would like to be. The saving grace, for me that is, was the bill. All that food for 4 (let's not count my nephew as a full eating person) and it only cost Rm150! It works out to be roughly about £7 a person. Bargain!

The Ming Room
3rd Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

KL Cravings

I found my KL foodie wish list whilst clearing up my desk at work today. Surprisingly it only had 4 wishes on it.

Koon Kee in Petaling Street, Chinatown - Wanton and Sui Kow
Foong Foong, Ampang - Yong Tau Foo
Yong Tau Foo Stall, Bangsar Lucky Garden Market - Chee Cheong Fun (with the little dried shrimp embedded in the noodles) with Soy Sauce, Oil, Sesame Seeds and Green Chilies
Jalan Imbi - Pork Ball Noodles

I only made it to 2 places when I was in KL. Poor showing for someone who was there for a month! I will be home again in May but until then, the sweet dreams continue ...

Sunday, 24 January 2010

It's a Piggy New Year!

Roasted Piggy - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur
The unveiling of our dinner

It's well into the new year and I haven't posted anything in ages. Blame it on my month long sojourn in Malaysia, hectic schedule whilst I was out there or the impossible internet upload speeds I had to contend with ... but the main thing is, I'm back with ton of trigger happy holiday snaps and a whole load of foodie stories.

Roasted Piggy - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

If Christmas is about quiet family time, New Year's Eve is all about the partying - head banging until the wee hours of the morning and getting so drunk you wake up with your head in a bucket. Alas, my NY's eves always tend to be a little tame (if you must ... bland probably sums it up a little better). Who wants to push and shove (and be pushed and be shoved) in an overpriced club? Or fork out for an expensive but mediocre meal? So this year it was off for a pigout on ... PIG (ok, forgive the pun .. it was just too tempting)! Kindly hosted by Ravenous Rabbit, we had a a whole pig .. not one of those wee lil piglets but a full grown momma fit to feed some seriously hungry people.

Roasted Piggy - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur
When the roast is roughly the same size as a 5 year old child

Roasted Piggy - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

Roasted Piggy - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

Roasted Piggy - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

Roasted Piggy - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

The hog may have been the star of the night but let's not forget the other bits and pieces we had with it. In my humble opinion, the pineapple sauce made by Ravenous Rabbit's mum was in a whole different league, topping even the pig. Forget apple sauce ... throw it out, it's so yesterday! Pineapple sauce should be the sauce for roast pork. Sweet with a nice tang - gorgeous!

Pineapple Sauce - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

Mushroom Sauce - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

Another of Auntie A's special roast pork sauce - creamy mushroom. Good old Campbell's anyone? With a whole lot more mushroom-iness! Mix the mushroom and pineapple sauces together and it was good enough to be eaten alone.

Fried Rice - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

Fried Shallots - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

When there is pork, there should always be rice. Typically Asian. The fried rice was C and K's contribution to the pot luck, along with a pot of crispy fried shallots.

Corn with Butter and Soy Sauce - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

C brought buttered corn on the cob with soy sauce and black pepper - just the way the Japanese like it. Ok I'm not sure how the Japanese like their corn but this corn idea was something I picked off a Japanese menu and have made with tinned corn several times. Corn + butter = good, corn + butter + soy sauce = even yummier! I'm not sure where C picked up her corn but I quite like the different coloured kernels. It makes life that bit more interesting.

Pasta with Spam - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

Spam and practically everything goes .... so no complains about the Spam and pasta dish that W brought. Alright, maybe there wasn't enough Spam ...

Creamy Pasta Sauce - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

For even more pasta goodness there was a creamy tomato and bacon sauce. I love my red sauces and let's face it, anything with bacon, cream and booze in is good. But oh so very, very rich!

Salmon Fishcakes with Sambal - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

The salmon fishcakes were good - nice flavour but as with everything deep fried, it would have been better straight out of a smoking hot pan. The sambal worked with the fishy flavours.

Caramalised Apple Crumble Pie - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

For dessert there was TO-DIE-FOR caramelised apple crumble pie. The smell hit me even before we started eating and it nearly knocked me off the piggy course (to be fair I'm not a huge roast pork fan .. but hey, when it's in front of you it's just rude not to tuck in - just as long as there's no crackling in sight!!!). The taste of the pie was as good as the smell. Sweet caramelised apples and all that buttery crumble and pie crust. Oh sinful! But I was good .. I had a little piece and turned my attention back to the pig. The memory lingers on .. as does everything that is bad for us.

Leftovers - New Year's Eve, Kuala Lumpur

There was actually a whole ton more food - like my contribution, a orzo and tuna pasta salad. I thought it was pretty good but someone mentioned it tasted like uni food whilst helping themselves to another portion. I'm not sure if I should be offended .. There were cannellini beans in pesto and a most delightful buttery and creamy mash. Of course there was the almost compulsory green salad and after dinner jelly. Photos of all this seem to be missing from my camera. Instant deletions of terrible photographs or perhaps forgetfulness on my part. Who knows? What I do know is what a greedy bunch we are, with eating ambitions far larger than our bellies. And the greediest of the lot - C and I. Check out our doggie bag! Yes, that tower belonged to us both. We very possibly took a quarter of the pig back with us - but to be honest, I never solved the mystery of where it went after. I have a feeling it's hiding in C's freezer ...

Happy New Year!