Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Hometown Hot Soup Restaurant

It was pretty late on a Saturday evening (about 8.30 p.m) when we ventured to Hometown to try their hot pepper soup. Howetown is owned by the same people who operate Restoran Kee V in Sungai Chua and they have 2 popular outlets in that area. The outlet we visited is located along Jalan Semenyih, near the Billion shopping centre.

A look at their glossy menu suggested that these guys may be looking to franchise their successful food business? The crowd at this outlet seemed to indicate that they had a winning formula too. We ordered and were amazed at the speed that the food was served – we had not even finished washing the tea cups !

 We had to try the hot pepper soup with various pork innards. It was pretty decent but not particularly outstanding. It could have done with more pepper.

The fa diu kai or claypot chicken with rice wine was good. There was lots of sauce to go with the rice.

We ordered their special taufoo (bean curd). A fried block of taufoo was topped with what looked like minced meat but turned out to be chopped radish (?). This was decent enough.

The green vegetable was nice and crunchy.

Overall it was a decent enough meal, but not exciting enough to warrant a return visit. Unless of course we were dead-hungry and need a place where the food is served before you can warm the seat…….

Monday, 21 February 2011

Sahara Tent at Alamanda, Putrajaya

It was Chinese New Year season as Ros and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary recently. We were pretty much sick of Chinese food so I gave Ros a choice of Western, Japanese or Middle Eastern. She chose the latter - but the 'Middle Eastern' places around Kajang are generally pretty basic and functional, not exactly conducive for a special celebration. So we decided to venture a little further to Putrajaya.
Located within the Alamanda shopping complex in Putrajaya is Sahara Tent, an award winning Middle Eastern restaurant which gained fame in Malaysia at its flagship outlet located at the Fortuna Hotel, off Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. The entire area was later turned into Ain Arabia or Arab Quarter by DBKL. Sahara Tent's flagship outlet recently moved out to the main Jalan Sultan Ismail thoroughfare, near the old Finnegan's pub. In terms of d├ęcor, Sahara Tent @ Alamanda scores very high – fabrics and tapestries decorate the walls, Arabian carpets and artifacts are strewn around the outlet and even the lighting uses Arabian colored glass light fittings. Several group dining areas resemble a desert tent – very appropriate for a restaurant that takes its name from a desert tent. Service too was great – I think the wait staff were mainly Filipino and spoke pretty good English – a real plus point in this day and age of foreign workers.
We ordered the Meze Platter. Now I had ordered the same item at their flagship outlet in KL and the six items were served on several small platters – hummus, murtabel, chef's special eggplant, tabouleh, fattoush and waraq-enab. Here, the items were served on a single platter – but I should say, with sufficient portions to be shared by two. No complaints in that sense.
The hummus or mashed chickpea with olive oil was smooth and creamy with a tinge of bitterness. Scooped up with some bread, this is a dish synonymous with Middle eastern food for me. Murtabel on the other hand is mashed eggplant. I could not identify the seasoning but it was served with olive oil an olive on top. We liked the hummus better.
Tabbouleh is one of the 2 salads served on the platter and is a salad served with bulgur (a type of wheat). It has a slight bitter taste which may have come from parsley in the salad and sourness from lemon. Fattoush is the other salad on the platter. This had diced cucumber, tomato, onion and crispy bread pieces in a tangy salad dressing. Very appetizing.
Another inclusion on the platter was described as Chef's Special. From what I could make out, it was grilled eggplant with onion and chilli, tomato and capsicum. It had a tangy taste as well, and we both liked this. There were also two pieces of vine wrapped rice parcel (or waraq-enab). Vine leaves are a little bitter, so be warned.
For our main, we had the Chicken Briyani – nice long grained rice full of flavor topped with a moist and tender piece of chicken. Excellent in terms of taste. The accompanying tomato gravy was bland and tasteless – strictly for those who must moisten their rice with some gravy !
To complete the meal, we ordered some sweet dessert - baklava. This was supposed to be freshly made with crispy and crumbly pastry and sweet syrup. Here it was pre-made and refrigerated so the filo pastry had gone hard. My advice - avoid ordering this.

Overall, the food was pretty good (excluding the dessert), ambiance was great and prices were moderate. We'll return to explore the menu further.

Location : Sahara Tent Restaurant at the Ground Floor of Alamanda, Putrajaya located near the fountain area on the outside of the complex.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

New bak kut teh stall near the Kajang market car park

We visited the new (1 week old only) bak kut teh stall near the Kajang market car park (where 7 Wonders used to be). We understand that the cook (he is either Burmese or Vietnamese) used to work at the "Longkang" place. The look and taste is quite similar to Longkang's BKT and we were pretty satisfied. Certainly worth another visit.

Look out for a full review soon. Happy Chinese New Year to everyone. Happy eating in the Year of the Rabbit !