Uncle Don’s @ IOI Boulevard, Puchong Jaya

Uncle Don’s is a popular resto-bar chain with close to 30 outlets in Peninsula Malaysia. The brand is known for its relatively affordable Western and Asian fusion cuisine, served alongside draught beers and other alcoholic beverages. It also has a catchy tagline, ie “Dine like a Don Everyday!”

There aren’t too many affordable bistro-style eateries around, (the only other one I can think of is The Brew House), so Uncle Don’s outlets are always packed. I hate queuing up for food, so up until now, my first and only experience with the chain was at their SS2 branch, where the food was okay but the service abysmal. But I recently decided to give it another try at their Puchong outlet, which is tucked within IOI Boulevard in Puchong Jaya.

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Uncle Don’s is usually packed in the evenings with office workers grabbing some drinks with colleagues, or youngsters hanging out, so the place is very lively. You can come in the afternoon if you want a bit more breathing space. The Puchong outlet sports the signature Uncle Don’s look — wooden tables, a dark colour scheme, brick walls, and a sleek bar counter.

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The menu is extensive, with a broad selection of appetizers (mostly bites that go well with beer, like buffalo wings, nachos, and keropok), pastas, pizzas, burgers, as well as rice and noodle dishes. Not sure if they employ Filipino chefs, but there is a sole Filipino dish on the menu — sizzling sisig.

The Hubs ordered this, and it came served with rice and a side of keropok and some vegetables. It tasted pretty good, but I think it would have been better if the bits weren’t chopped so fine. Nothing wrong with it of course, just personal preference — because I think bigger bits would have given it a better texture. I also like that they didn’t include mayo, as some versions do (like the one at The Narra).

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My Seafood Maggi Goreng (I requested for no vegetables) was extremely spicy and had me sweating even within the air conditioned premises lol. Nevertheless, the dish was flavourful and they were generous with the portions, and there was a good amount of squid and shrimp with the noodles. Good wok hei as well.

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Both of our meals were part of the set lunches, which came with a choice of soft drinks or iced lemon tea. The set lunches are priced below RM20.

All in all, my second experience at Uncle Don’s was a pretty pleasant one! The service is much better at this outlet as well. I recommend coming for the lunches if you don’t like crowds, and during dinner/supper if you prefer a livelier atmosphere with drinks and music.

UNCLE DON’S (PUCHONG)

19, Jalan Kenari 6, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Open daily from 12PM – 12AM

uncledons.com.my

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Meal for Two: S’mores, Bangsar South

The Moomin’s eye doctor is located at Nexus Bangsar South, so I’ve been hanging around the neighbourhood a lot lately (her eye is much better now, but we’ve been doing follow-ups regularly because it wasn’t healing as quickly as it should due to age).

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On one of these follow-ups, we checked into S’mores for lunch. The place has been around since Nexus opened and touts itself as a “friendly neighbourhood bistro that promises the coldest beers” and “the most authentic charcoal and wood fire cooked western delights”. It was a weekday and the restaurant was packed with office workers, but service was still fast, attentive and friendly. The resto has a nice, chill vibe, a large bar and an al-fresco dining area.

The menu is mostly Western (think pastas, pizzas, ribs and burgers), with some Asian favourites thrown in (nasi lemak, laksa, meehoon). The Moomins and I ordered set lunches (RM16.90++) which came with a drink.

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Smores looks like a great place for a beer or two with colleagues after work
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The Moomin’s Spaghetti Bolognese. Portions were very generous.
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My carbonara spaghetti came in a huge serving, topped with heaps of Parmesan cheese. The pasta was cooked al dente, and it was creamy without being cloying (to me, at least), with generous bits of bacon. Solid dish, no complaints. Those who don’t like rich flavours might want to give it a pass though.

S’MORES

Nexus, Bangsar South, Unit G7, Ground Floor, Jalan Kerinchi, 59200 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 11AM – 12AM (daily)

smores.com.my

Trying Out: Tommy Thongchai @ Jaya One, Petaling Jaya

So I’ve been meaning to check out this new gastropub near my workplace, coz I’ve walked past it a couple of times and the decor/vibe seemed really cool. Finally decided to visit one evening because traffic was horrendous and I didn’t want to spend 2.5 hours stuck in the car. :’D

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Newly opened in March this year, Tommy Thongchai is a Thai gastropub, serving East meets West fusion cuisine alongside a wide selection of alcoholic drinks. The liberal use of neon lights, rattan furniture paired with cosy cushions amidst the backdrop of the bar creates an instantly Instagram-worthy venue. The centrepiece of the main dining area is a colourful fairy light chandelier, featuring cute lighted pieces of Thai flags, flowers and other tiny trinkets.

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For those who prefer more privacy, the gastropub features a cosier dining spot next to the bar, which feels more enclosed and has plants hanging from the ceiling for a touch of green.

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The venue prides itself in its drinks with a Thai spin, as the mixologists hail from the Land of Smiles. Typically ranging from RM28 – 35, the extensive list covers cocktails and drinks with a Thai twist, including gems such as Tommy’s Tom Yum Thai (galangal, kaffir lime, lime, lemongrass and vodka) and Thai Tea with A Kick (lime, pineapple, honey ginger, Thai tea and rum).

**This is blasphemy because I’m not a very good alcohol drinker, ergo, I went with the alcohol-free Thai tea. lmao.

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The food is innovative and beautifully presented as well. Fusion is the name of the game: there are pasta and pizzas with Thai ingredients, burgers, rice dishes and sharing platters ideal for alcohol pairing. I ordered the Curry Tonkatsu – Japanese breaded and deep fried pork cutlet, served with a side of creamy Thai-style curry and soup. The tonkatsu was quite sizable and sure to satisfy the cravings of carb and meat-eaters, although I felt like the curry could have had a thicker consistency.

Main dishes are priced around RM25++.

  • Service: 8/10
  • Ambience: 8/10
  • Food: 7/10
  • Price: RM20+ for drinks, RM25+ for mains.

TOMMY THONGCHAI 

Food Review: Woodstock Bar and Bistro, Section 8 Petaling Jaya

*I have 20 drafts in the folder and no time to write/publish any D: Here’s a quick one typed over lunch. 

Food options are pretty limited around my workplace – so I when I heard there was a new place called Woodstock which opened a few months ago in Section 8 PJ I said Hallelujah! no more boring ol’ chap fan everyday. Now don’t get me wrong. Chap fan is still the cheapest option available and the food is pretty decent, but you try eating the same dishes everyday 5x a week

(What a first world problem lol).  

I’m not sure what the design at Woodstock was aiming for. An English pub? Perhaps. There was a faux ‘fireplace’, cosy leather couches and medieval paintings alongside rows of wines. The air conditioning was turned on full blast, presumably so that the beverages won’t go bad. The spacious wooden counter housed various expensive liquor bottles and beer taps. Two teles blasted dance videos and pop music.

The bar/bistro vibe made me think that they cater mainly to night customers, but they’re also open during the day with sets for the lunch crowd.

Live music area.

Wood paneled walls + deco – an old phonograph, portrait of a medieval king, a wooden clock.. the seats had prints of crowns and stuff on them.

Colleagues and I got ourselves a booth and I ordered their Pork Katsu rice set. Forgot the exact price (I think it was RM15.90) but it came served with a side of carrot and cabbage, pickles, one fried seafood tofu, fried mushrooms and sweet egg, and the katsu itself with rice. Also soup of the day (winter melon?) and green tea.

The food is decent, but ever since having the Pork Katsu from Tonkatsu by Ma Maison (I know.. you can’t compare it since they’re differently priced)… the latter has ruined all other pork katsus for me. To be fair, it tasted okay, although the meat could do with a bit more sauce since it was too dry. The rice was fluffy and the real winner for me was the mushrooms, which were not too greasy.

Not a bad place to stop by once in awhile for lunch if you’re in the area.

WOODSTOCK (NON HALAL) 

7, Lorong 8/1e, Petaling Jaya, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Opening hours: Lunch, 4PM – 12AM