Honey Chicken popular since 1974

Honey Chicken popular since 1974

With the number of food reviews that I have done, sometimes, it is a real tough decision just thinking what to eat for a simple dinner.

Malaysians are truly blessed with a wide variety of choices. Being the melting pot between East and West, for the foodie fan have some of the widest variety of food choices to satisfy the taste buds.

Craving for a good plate of Nasi Briyani, I noticed one particular Indian Muslim (Mamak) restaurant which was listed on top ten Nasi Briyani by TripAdvisors.

Honestly, I have always seen lots of people there, but never attempted to try out the food until I started reading the reviews by others.

Lesson learnt from here: Never underestimate what appears to be just an ordinary cornershop Mamak restaurant like Restoran Mahbub is capable of producing.

Here, although I can find better nasi briyani elsewhere, it is their signature dish, the honey chicken (ayam madu) which gets my thumbs-up all the way. A plate of nasi briyani and honey chicken is RM15.

Although being health conscious, I try to cut down on sugar, here they use honey and perhaps a little bit of chilli to prepare the chicken drumstick.

The moment I took the first bite, my eyes brightened up and a smile spread across. It was indeed delightful and so “refreshing” to have a delicious piece of chicken after a stressful day.

This is one which I think has a lot of potential to satisfy many taste buds. Let’s put it this way – when you walk into Restoran Mahbub, you have not really enjoyed the food here until you try their honey chicken.

According to 32-year-old owner, Omar Farook Ali the Nasi Briyani Ayam Madu (Honey Chicken Briyani) has become the best signature dish since 1974, the year when his grandfather, Mohammed Yusuff first set up the restaurant in Bangsar.

It was known back then as Restaurant Sharifa, but it became officially known as Restoran Mahbub in 1995.
No wonder the Honey Chicken was so good as Omar explains further:

“The restaurant has gained popularity as having the best Nasi Briyani Ayam Madu in town since 1974. This is my grandfather’s secret recipe.”

It was followed up by their Nasi Briyani Ayam Bukhara (RM15.50), which made its first debut in 2000, something that we will try later. By the time were there, they had run out of the Nasi Briyani Ayam Buhara.

However, my 9-year-old boy whom I encourage to develop his own opinion, likes his nasi briyani differently. He prefers it with his favourite fried chicken (RM15 a plate of nasi briyani and fried chicken). See his blog.

For those who cannot travel that far to try their nasi briyani, it is possible to buy their Briyani Box, which can be ordered and delivered to the home.

Or, those living in and around Damansara Damai will find Restoran Mahbub’s second outlet within their reach, and better still, it is open 24 hours seven days a week. Using waze, this is accessible for outstation guests who are using the New Klang Valley Expressway (exit at Sungai Buloh). Even this restaurant has been operating since 2004 after Omar’s father Datuk Seeni Abdul Kadhar and his sibling Mohamed Sidek further developed the family business.

With Omar as the third generation helming Restoran Mahbub, there are currently attempts to modernise it.

“We received the SME Entrepreneurs 2017 award recently,” he said. “Another feather added was the SME MIMCOIN (Successful Family Business) 2017 award.”

 

Apart from their nasi briyani, I would also recommend their Roti Canai Special. Although I would usually take thosai, their Roti Canai Special (RM4) is great way to give the roti canai an innovative touch but what is important is that the taste, too, was good.

Damansara Damai

The Damansara outlet is located at L-013A, Jalan PJU 10/2A, Vista Shop Damansara Damai, Sungai Buloh.
Tel: 03-6157 2587 (For Delivery, Take Away & Reservation)
Business hours: 24 hours / 7 days a week (Damansara Damai)

Bangsar

Bangsar outlet is located at No. 15-17, Lorong Ara Kiri Satu, Lucky Garden, Bangsar.
Tel: 012-6231 786 (For Catering Service).
Tel: 03-2095 5382 (For Delivery, Take Away & Reservation)
Business hours: 7am – 1am / 7 days a week (Bangsar)

Fancy being served by two medical doctors

Fancy being served by two medical doctors

I was expecting to be introduced to a bearded retiree by the name of Dr. Adnan Abdat, but the bespectacled young gentleman in his apron, looking more like a waiter, was none other than a 30-year-old Dr. Adnan himself.

Despite being fully qualified as a medical doctor himself, my first question to him was:

“Why, are you serious? You are now operating a restaurant instead of attending to your patients.”

But Adnan chooses to be humble about it.

“My focus is on the quality of the food and service that, as a professional, I can provide,” he explains.

After all, he is right. If medical doctors can become politicians, why not Dr. Adnan who chooses to be in the food and beverage business?

He has made up his mind that owning his own restaurant business is more fulfilling in life than being a medical doctor. That has been his first love since he was young.

For that reason, he quitted his medical profession to start Simply Ribs at Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) about three months ago. Despite a short stint, walk-in customers are increasing by the day as word of mouth gets out.

While doing a search, I found Simply Ribs to be interesting. Dr. Adnan’s invitation to do food review comes across as sincere as he is a person. His smile also appears genuine. For that reason, I decided to check it out – and indeed, I am mesmerised by what they have to offer in terms of quality of service and their signature dishes.

Although as a restaurant owner, he wants me to focus more on the food, I think the fact that the restaurant is run by a medical doctor, is already a big story in itself.

There are restaurants with good food, but either the chefs, owners or waiters are aloof, these places do not attract me but to begin with, Adnan is already a winner.

Occasionally assisted by his wife, Dr Ameerah Abdul Razak, the young couple not only invested money into their new venture, but Simply Ribs has become Adnan’s second home. He is passionate about the quality of food and service.

From my first half-an-hour of observations after the formal introductions, the young couple are down-to-earth people. Owning a restaurant means having to work very hard to serve their customers.

I was mesmerised not only by the food but their great humility and willingness to take on the role as waiter and waitress. Secretly, I recorded both of them in action.

If indeed there is anyone to be awarded waiter or waitress of the year, it’s Adnan and Ameerah. They have indeed raised the status of the service industry. Looking at their enthusiasm, I believe most people would be forgiving even if there are indeed shortcomings in the restaurant or its food.

Simply Ribs is well-known for its halal signature slow-cooked beef ribs. Since this is their signature dish, “Oh Yeah!” Smokey Beef Ribs (RM79) is worth trying for the entire family. Its preparation is indeed very tedious and time consuming; therefore, a little waiting would be necessary during their peak hours.

According to Adnan, the ribs are first marinated and then boiled until the meat is tender, before being grilled to perfection. Somehow, the kitchen staff have been taught exactly how long to grill the beef ribs so that they are not overcooked. “This is what we are specialised in,” he quipped.

As a fan of lamb shanks, I find the way they braised their Australian Lamb Shank (RM45) is just nice to give it a tender and succulent “thrill” to the tastebuds. An entire family of four can share the lamb shank. The dish is served on a bed of mash fottoes with focaccia garlic toast.

In fact, I found a fellow lamb enthusiast in eight-year-old, Ng Jeen How who said that he likes the lamb shank the best from all the dishes she tried.

“Besides lamb shank, I think I also like the pasta, if not for the the Chili padi that they use,” he said.

His six-year-old sister, Jean Huay likes their classic mushroom soup (RM12) which comes with fresh portobello, white button mushrooms with dried Parcini mushrooms in chicken broth, beef broth and cream. “I also like their lasagna,” she added.

Indeed, their rolled beef lasagna (RM28) which is hand rolled De Cecco pasta, filled with minced beef, egg and ricosta cheese, topped with classic marina and above. In a last article I wrote about searching for a good lasagne, and I think I have found it here.

Now, for their appetizers, you should try their Mushroom Bruschetta (RM16) and crispy baked Potato skins (RM14), while for drinks, go for the honey passion fruit (RM9). They also serve Seafood Gratin (RM16) here.

Music background: Songbird by Kenny Rogers (by Colin Ng Soon Beng).
Read comments by 9-year-old boy about Simply Ribs here.

Simply Ribs is located at 36 Lorong Rahim Kajai 14, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur.
Business hours: 12 noon – 11 pm (Tuesday – Sunday) Closed on Mondays

Tel: 03-77315566 / 017-6688652
Whatsapp: 017-6688652
Email: [email protected]
Website: https://www.simplyribs.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SimplyRibs/
Waze location: https://www.waze.com/livemapzoom=17&lat=3.15571&lon=101.623

Just the Chettinad Dining Experience

Just the Chettinad Dining Experience

For the uninitiated, the Chettiars are famous not only as money lenders; they do have their well-known cuisines that give a truly Chettinad dining experience.

Most of us may think that Indian restaurants are all the same, but like the Chinese, we our Cantonese-style, Hakka-style, Hailam-style, Foo-Chow style, and Malay restaurants, we have cuisines ala Minangkabau, ala Kelantan, ala Terengganu and so on. The Indian cuisines are also varied based on their geographical origins.

There is the Kerala-style, Hyderabad-style, and in Malaysia, to taste the Chettinad cuisines, Anjappar Restaurant is the right place to visit.

The first Anjappar restaurant was started by its patriarch, Anjappar in Chennai in 1964.

Today, with over 70 outlets around the world, Anjappar prides itself as a pioneer in popularising the Chettinad cuisines. In fact, for most Chettiars in Chennai, the name Anjappar is synonymous with the Chettinad cuisines.

I must admit that although I have been a fan of Indian and Mamak food, I have not really been able to differentiate the different style of cooking until I did the food tasting at Anjappar.

Here, one should start with the somewhat spicy Crab or Nandu Rasam (RM9.00), which is a great appetizer to begin the meal with.

According to one of the invited guests, Dr Tapash Rudra from Calcutta, the rasam is good for

“any kind of mental stress as it is able to relieve oxidative stress.”

For starters, they have both Gobi 65 and Onion Pakoda. Onion Pakoda (RM9.50) or some call it Onion Bhaje is also an Indian snack used as a starter for most Indian meals. Gobi 65 is basically cauliflower (or ‘sayur kobis’) deep fried using the same ingredients used for Prawn 65 (RM24) which is one of their signature dishes.

I asked the restaurant founder’s son, Kandawamy Anjapparwhy the reason why the number 65. “It’s a secret recipe that my father came up with,” he said.

“He did not know what to call it, so he just called it 65 as it was also the number 65 dish that he had created. Since then, he has used the secret recipe not only for the prawns, but for other dishes as well.”

Since I am a fan of Kebab from the moment I tasted my first Souvlaki as a student in Melbourne thirty years ago, Anjappar’s Chicken Garlic Kebab (RM20) definitely attracted me. Although it is done differently, the kebab tastes good.

Their chicken dishes can come in different cooking styles as Ginger Chicken Dry (RM17.00), Chicken Manchurian Dry (RM17.00) and Special Chicken Dish (RM19.00).

For those who love Masala, their Fish Masala (RM18.00) is best eaten along with white rice, but I find that it also goes well with the naan. Individual guests who visit the restaurant can also do with just their briyani rice served with either chicken or mutton. On its own, the briyani rice can be really a heavy lunch.

As this has been a family restaurant for over half a century, Anjappar also has dishes that cater to the taste buds of children. For the children, I would recommend their Chicken Lollipop (RM17.00) and Fish fingers (RM22.00).

Overall, it is a good dining experience for those who have never tasted the Chettinad cuisines.

Anjappar Restaurants in Malaysia are located at three different places:

Address: G56, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +6(0)3 2288 1508/+6(0)3 2288 1509
Business hours: 8AM-11PM

 
Address: No.35, Jalan 14/20, Seksyen 14, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: +603 7932 1508
Business hours: 9AM – 11:30PM

 
Address: 136, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +603 2273 3812
Business hours: 9AM – 11PM

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in all sorts of gastronomical delights – Western, Middle Eastern and Asian.

Der Backmeister simply means The Master Baker

Der Backmeister simply means The Master Baker

When Oliver Rollar decided to call it a day in the corporate world, his passion in the bakery business took off to where he is today.

With the help of a baker friend of his from Cologne, Germany, Klaus and his wife Monika, Oliver and three other partners managed to set up the bakery in July, 2015.

“The Adolphs were kind enough to spend three months with us to set up the kitchen and help out with the Front of House,” he said.

“In Germany, Klaus and Monika have a lot of experience operating four bakeries, a hotel and a restaurant. Monika herself, for example, has 45 years of experience in total!”

Soon, Der Backmeister was up and running and both Malaysians and expatriates can now be proud of having a German bakery right here at Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

Whenever they crave for a hearty German meal – especially Monika’s delicious goulash soup, a stew of meat and vegetables – they can waze their way to Der Backmeister.

Der Backmeister is now pretty busy during weekends and public holidays with four bakers working hard to produce fresh bread for a never ending string of customers who know how to appreciate what a real solid loaf bread is – the way it is done traditionally.

Once they love and crave for Der Backmeister’s wide range of bread, they would no longer touch the factory-produced soft and fluffy ones. From the strudels, pretzels, brezel, buns and Currywurst to the different kinds of bread made from sourdough, Der Backmeister does have a wide range to choose from.

Name it, they have it – the Whole Grain Honey Spelt (RM23), Walnut Bread (RM18), Farmer’s Housewife (RM15), Pain De Campagne (RM15), Bavarian Spelt (RM23), Pumpkin Bread (RM15), Cranberry Loaf (RM15), Opa Klaus Bread (named after Oliver’s friend Klaus, RM20), Tea Bread (RM15) and almost anything including Oliver’s own “innovation” of Roti Curry Rendang (a sandwich).

There is also a story behind the Curry Rendang sandwich. “One of my customers had to rush back home one day when she suddenly realised that she had put her rendang on slow fire,” he said. “Because I told her that I love rendang, she later gave me some of her rendang. It was delicious but I could not eat it without the bread. So, that’s how the Roti Curry Rendang came about.”

When Oliver offered us to try his Roti Curry Rendang, I immediately responded, “Yes, why not?” I have not regretted and I would strongly recommend everyone stepping into Der Backmeister to at least try it. To me, it is a great combination.

Being a lover of all kinds of seeds and nuts, I could not resist to try every kind of bread that was served on the table. The Big Backmeister, which is a mixed platter of salami, meatloaf, ham, cheese, butter, jam and eggs, is for those have a big appetite. The platter comes with different kinds of bread and buns.

In fact, my 9-year- old son managed to capture each type of bread on the shelf using his phone-camera and has since posted them on his new blog on food. I am encouraging him to start writing and taking his own photographs.

There were four of us for the food review and we thought there was too much to finish initially, but everything was so good that we had nearly nothing left by the time the session was over. The most important thing was everyone was happy with the food served.

My primary schoolmate who then went to the same secondary school and later to the same university in Melbourne, K.K. Yaw happened to fly in from Perth and he was able to join in the food tasting session.

This, in fact, is more than a food tasting session for him. It is an experience that I know he would bring back to Perth, and when he comes back in December, I trust he has already put Der Backmeister on his diary.

To be honest, a sumptuous meal here cannot go without a cup of either cappuccino, latte or as Oliver himself puts it, his favourite expresso. You need some room for that!

Der Backmeister Is located At:

Address: 40, Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2856 0613

Business hours: 8am – 7pm, Closed on Mondays

 

They have another outlet at:

Address: KPJ Ampang Puteri Hospital, 1, Jalan Mamanda 9, Ampang, Selangor

Tel: 03-4265 0222

Business hours: 7:30am – 9:30pm, daily

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/derbackmeister/

Website: https://www.derbackmeister.com/

Waze location: https://www.waze.com/location?h=w283befwn

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in all sorts of gastronomical delights – Western, Middle Eastern and Asian.

Saravana offers more than the food it serves

Saravana offers more than the food it serves

With Deepavali round the corner, we decided to review a few Indian restaurants, starting with Saravana Bhavan in Bangsar.

Especially popular with the last-minute shoppers, Saravana Bhavan, located on the same row as DeGem’s Bangsar flagship boutique along Jalan Maarof, is indeed the other hidden gem in the world of gastronomy that has yet to be discovered, especially by the non-Indian community.

For the Indian community, the cuisines here need no introduction, but for the uninitiated Chinese and Malay families, this is indeed a Muhibbah experience especially with the children.

The impression has always been that Indian restaurants in Bangsar are all fine dining and expensive, or you can get the same things in an ordinary Mamak restaurant.

But the reality is Saravana is an established brand and a global franchise from Chennai, Southern India which serves good vegetarian dishes that are not terribly expensive. And, it is in a conducive airconditioned environment that does not suggest that it is a posh restaurant.

For example, its quick lunch is priced at RM12.70. I like to call it the four-season rice, because it features four different ways in which rice can be cooked and served South Indian style; therefore, it is a good way for diners like me to savour a bit of four kinds of rice in one dish.

That is something to start with, but the list is endless as we begin to discover after chatting with the Managing Director and CEO of Saravana, P.R. Shiva Kumaar, whose visit to this franchise outlet is a bonus to us. We were told that the first Saravana Bhavan restaurant was set up in Chennai in 1968, so by 2018, the
Saravana restaurant chain would be celebrating its Golden Jubilee.

Shiva is the son of the founder, 69-year- old P. Rajagopal, who has been identified by New York Times as the legend who “brought prestige to the vegetarian business.”

Currently, the family has over a hundred franchisees in India and another 72 franchise outlets in 20 different countries around the world. The first franchise outside of India was set up in Dubai in 2000. In Malaysia, its first outlet was open in Jalan Maarof in 2003; since then, another five Saravana outlets have been set up.

Shiva’s task is to visit these franchisees at least twice a year in his international circuit. He personally looks into the nitty-gritty of the operations.

“We believe in serving the food fresh,” he says. “For us, a meal here at Saravana is more than the food itself, it is an experience for the entire family.”

A dosa, for example, is a same dosa everywhere, but the moment the Ghee Roast Dosa (RM10.10) was served, there was the “wow! So Big!”

The crispy pancake-like crepe is not the usual moist dosa that is served ‘flat’ on the plate; it is crispy enough that it can be folded into something that looks like a tunnel, and this is what turns one of the invited guests, Cherise Boey.

Then, when the Channa Bhatura (RM10.60), which is usually served as a delicious Indian breakfast, it also raised a lot of excitement with all the ‘Oh, la la…’

Even young Alyson Ng, 6, suddenly finds her eyes brightening up to the ‘Channa’ or the fried bread. For the uninitiated, the `Bhatura’ is the yummy curried chick peas, which I thought was what made the ‘Bhatura’ taste delicious when eaten with.

For those who want to try out their vegan meat, they have their vegan chicken fry (RM11.70) and vegan garlic mutton (RM12.20). The Saravana SPL (short for Special) meals are priced at RM15.90, which is really about the price of a plate of Aglio Oglio in most Western restaurants.

It is quite an experience for the children to try out the different things in the Saravana SPL – sweet, poori, a side dish, rice, sambar, rasam, vegetables, curries, raitha, curd and appalam and pickle.

This is one good reason why the children can learn something about the Indian culture through its food. The beauty is that Saravana has a wide repertoire of choice, that sometimes, we find it hard to decide what to try out first, but children pick up fast, and they know what to order after a couple of times.

Restaurant manager, Rangasamy Dorairaj says families can ask for a set of quiz questions for their children to attempt to learn something about the Indian vegetarian dishes served.

“When they are able to answer all the questions correctly, with some help, of course, they will get a little surprise gift,” he said.

Moreover, for those of us who have not tasted what a good Indian vegetarian restaurant can offer, Saravana offers more than just the food. It is the experience. The entire family need not travel as far as to Chennai to try out some of the best cuisines that Saravana serves here.

Saravana Bhavan is located at these locations:

Bangsar Baru, KL
2, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
(Hours: 8:30AM – 11PM)
Phone: +60 3-2287 1228

Ampang, KL
26, Leboh Ampang, City Centre, 50100 Kuala Lumpur
(Hours: 8AM – 11PM)

Petaling Jaya
9, Jalan 52/2, Bandar Baru Petaling Jaya, 46200 Petaling Jaya
(Hours: 8:30AM – 11PM)
Phone: +60 3-7954 1755

Dang Wangi, KL
Dang Wangi 1007, Selangor Mansion, Jalan Masjid India, Kuala Lumpur
(Hours: 8AM – 11PM)
Phone: +60 3-2698 3293

Brickfields, KL
Brickfields 196, Jalan Tun Sambathan, Kuala Lumpur
(Hours: 7:30AM – 11PM)
Phone: +60 3-2260 3755

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in all sorts of gastronomical delights – Western, Middle Eastern and Asian.

Have you tasted Ayam Panggang Kenyalang in Seremban?

Have you tasted Ayam Panggang Kenyalang in Seremban?

A weekend’s trip to Seremban with the kids to visit the Jelita ostrich farm, without checking out all the good food that Seremban town has to offer, is simply unthinkable.

Most people can think of the usual stuff like siew pow, beef noodle, roast duck and so on, but what about Ayam Panggang Kenyalang on the way to the ostrich farm?

Call it a “birdy” holiday, whatever, but since it is halal, everyone can enjoy the grilled chicken for which Awang Putra Tamam, 46, is famous for is sold at a stall along Jalan Jelebu, Seremban. This road leads to the LEKAS Highway. Awang has been operating the stall since 2004.

And, coincidentally, it is named Warong Ayam Panggang Kenyalang, which comes from the colloquial name for Sarawak, “Bumi Kenyalang.” The Kenyalang is the hornbills.

Hailing from Miri, Sarawak, the father of three grown-ups used to sell about 50 birds a day, but now, the number can reach 100 on good days.

The prices are also reasonable. A whole chicken is RM20, half a chicken is RM11.

Prior to this, he was operating from his stall in Rembau. When he shifted to this outlet, located just some 500m from the junction between Jalan Ampangan and Jalan Pantai, his loyal customers have followed him.

It draws quite a crowd especially during lunch hours. Day trippers from Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya do buy a whole chicken back home, after they have tasted Awang’s sauce here.

His chicken is grilled over charcoal for a good 45 minutes and it comes with a specially concocted sauce that makes the chicken taste good, especially since he selects only chickens which are three kilogrammes and below.

“The meat of younger birds is usually sweeter,” he quipped.

The chicken can be served either with rice or noodles. The chicken rice is normally priced between RM6 for an ordinary plate to a quarter chicken served with rice at RM7.For those who love the Sarawak style “Mee Kolok”, Awang too has his version with strips of ayam panggang as well.

To find the place, one has to really use the Waze or Google Map, as it is easy to miss the Kenyalang signboard. There are several other stalls along the same stretch of road, but we only know this one to be good.

Read also our two other write-ups on where to eat in Seremban: Seremban Seafood Village and Lucky King Bun Restaurant. More to come.

Warong Ayam Panggang Kenyalang
is located at Batu 2 Jalan Pantai, Ampangan, Seremban 70400 Negeri Sembilan.

Tel/ Whatsapp:
012-284 8086 or +60 17-213 5549

Business hours:
10am – 10pm (seven days a week)

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in all sorts of gastronomical delights – Western, Middle Eastern and Asian.

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