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Burgers, Wings and American Fare @ Mean Mince, Mutiara Damansara

Mention Mutiara Damansara and most will think of IKEA and The Curve – but venture further in to the housing area and you’ll find a hidden gem, tucked within a quiet suburban spot just next to the Mutiara Damansara police station. Opened two years ago, Mean Mince dishes out American fare the likes of juicy burgers, wings, onion rings and deep dish pizzas, and has made a name for itself among burger fans for its unique deep fried burger.

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The shop is appropriately Americana-themed, with American license plates and black and white photos of New York and the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, while the speakers blast diner music. Plenty of natural sunlight makes for a cheerful, well-lit interior, and the ‘bar’ (setup looks like one but they don’t serve alcohol) is lined with rows of soda bottles. 

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The restaurant’s specialties are its burgers, in particular the deep fried burger – but I didn’t feel like having one so I ordered some snacks instead. I have read rave reviews about the burgers though, so might be back again to try them!

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They give you a small bucket of light popcorn to munch on while you wait for your order.

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The Very Vanilla Shake (RM10) was done right – thick, sweet and cold, they don’t skimp on the ingredients. Perfect with fried finger food, or to wash down your burgers and onion rings.

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Their Buffalo Wings comes highly recommended. For just RM13.90, you get six pieces of succulent, deep fried to perfection wings, coated in a sour and spicy buffalo sauce and served with blue cheese aioli. The wings are literal perfection: crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The sauce is what really makes the dish pop, though – I’ve had buffalo wings at many places in Malaysia, and they somehow can’t live up to the ones I’ve had at BWW in LA. The ones at Mean Mince taste authentic.

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Also, the main reason I came to check the place out: Mozzarella sticks (RM13.90). I’ve been craving mozzarella sticks for several weeks now and Mean Mince turned up in my search while I was googling for places that sold them in PJ. Again, portions are very generous – the cheese is almost bursting out of its batter, and the tangy tomato salsa that comes with it helps to cut through the heaviness.

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Gotta do that cheese pull

Overall, Mean Mince is a great place for American food, and the service is fast and friendly. Will be making a return visit for the burgers!

MEAN MINCE

31-1, Jalan PJU 7/16A, Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 12pm – 9pm (Thurs – Tuesdays). Closed Wednesdays.

Telephone: 03-7733-2512

facebook.com/meanmince

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Tonkatsu by Ma Maison, 1 Utama Celebrates 7th Anniversary – 50% Off All Sets!

Tonkatsu by Ma Maison is my favourite place to get authentic tonkatsu. I’ve dined at their Publika and USJ Main Place branches before, but never at the original in 1Utama (don’t ask me why – I just never did it lol). Recently I went back to the office to pack, and since the mall is nearby, I stopped by for lunch. It so happened that the outlet is celebrating their 7th anniversary and are offering 50% off all their sets (from 11am – 8PM) until November 30 – so I got an EXTREMELY value for money deal.

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The shop is tucked within ISETAN. It can be quite difficult to find because it’s hidden in a corner – just follow the signage when you get to the Japanese resto section.

Tonkatsu by Ma Maison was founded in Tokyo in 1976 by Akinori Terazawa  – who after failing to find the perfect tonkatsu, set out to make his own specialty outlet. To date, they have 16 outlets across Japan, five in Singapore and three in Malaysia.

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11am. First customer of the day!

The restaurant boasts a classy interior with cool grey walls, sleek wooden furniture and black and white photos/calligraphy. The aesthetics are standard across all of their branches.

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The highlight at Tonkatsu by Ma Maison is the Rosu Katsu (RM27.90) – a juicy 160g deep fried pork loin cooked to golden brown perfection. What makes it so addictive is the ratio of lean to fat, so you get a wonderful medley of textures in your mouth: soft and tender lean meat, melt-on-your-tongue fat, all enveloped in a crunchy, breaded crust. Each set is served with pickled ginger slices, cabbage and mustard to cut through the oiliness, fluffy white rice and warm miso soup. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing more satisfying than shovelling down big spoonfuls of white rice with something salty and deep fried. (PS: they offer free rice, soup and salad refills!) For big eaters, go the whole hog and order the Jumbo Rosu Katsu (RM32.90), which weighs in at a hefty 250g.

If pork loin isn’t your thing, you can opt for hire katsu (pork fillet, which is leaner). You can also choose to get Miso Rosu Katsu/Hire Katsu, Kakifurai (deep fried oyster), Jumbo Ebifurai (deep fried shrimp), sakana (white fish), chicken or a mix of a few different fried items.

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The food is good on its own, but you can elevate it with various sauces. The spicy offers a good kick, while the sweet goes really well with the meat and balances out the saltiness. I usually put sesame dressing on the salad – but you can use it as a dip for your meat too.

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Thanks to the promo, my meal cost only RM16++ which is a steal for the portion and quality. The promo is available until the end of November 30 at the 1 Utama outlet only. Stop by if you’re in the area! 🙂

TONKATSU BY MA MAISON (1 UTAMA)

Level 2, Isetan, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama, PJ, 47800 Selangor.

Phone: +603-7727 3337

Opening hours: 11AM – 10PM

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Meal For One: Beverly’s Kitchen, Taman Meranti Jaya Puchong

SMEs form a big part of the Malaysian economy, and they’re not just your tech start-ups or media agencies: they also include your neighbourhood kedai runcit and favourite hawker stall.

While people are encouraged to stay home more to avoid the risk of infection, there are still ways you can support your local business. If you’re taking a break from cooking, for example, you can da bao from your favourite hawker stall. Ordering meals from Grab / Food Panda is convenient, but remember that many of these small time traders don’t get a big profit because delivery providers take a significant cut from the total bill. You can read a very good explanation of the challenges businesses face with regards to this issue as told by Renyi, the founder of MyBurgerLab, here.

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It has been nearly a year since the pandemic started – and the effects on the economy are apparent. The Star reported that over 30,000 SMEs have closed since the beginning of the Movement Control Order in March, and this figure is expected to rise if things continue as they are. Even for myself, the situation is precarious because I work in an airline-related industry, which has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. That being said, I’m still getting paid – so I’ll worry later about whether I’ll still have a job by the end of the year lol.

As for me, I’ve never really liked calling delivery: despite being a millennial, I’m quite old-fashioned when it comes to ordering things online. I much prefer popping out to a hawker stall nearby for food. There’s a really good Mee Jawa place that I frequent almost every week. Unfortunately last Friday, they were sold out even though it was still pretty early (around 11-ish). The lady boss told me that business was actually better than it had been during MCO, which is great news and I’m happy for her (because it means they’re less likely to close.. how else am I going to get my Mee Jawa fix lol).

I decided to try another stall which is located within the same kopitiam. Beverly’s Kitchen serves Western cuisine, grilled items, burgers and pasta. The stall is neat and clean, and it has an efficient layout ie you can see where they prepare the raw ingredients, the cooking station, etc. Prices are slightly higher compared to noodles or zap fan, but if you’re ever in the mood for pasta, this can be an option. Portions are hefty and they make our items to order. Some of the items on the menu include grilled chicken with oregano spaghetti/rice, fried chicken with french fries, bbq pork chop with rice, jumbo sausage, Hawaiian chicken burger, chicken wrap, and more.

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Good thing about living in Malaysia? Even if you’re ordering ‘western’ food, you have an option for rice lol. I got the fish fillet with rice (RM14.90) which came with a side of salad, gravy and a couple of button mushrooms scattered on top of the rice.

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The fish fillet was as large as my hand, and they gave me a mountain of rice, so I’d say it was pretty worth the price. Taste-wise it was okay – I wasn’t expecting anything fancy or authentic anyway. The meal would have been dry if not for the gravy, which was also decent.

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If you’re craving something aside from the usual noodles and rice, Beverly’s Kitchen offers good variety. They also do deliveries on FoodPanda.

BEVERLY’S KITCHEN

Inside Restoran Wai Wai, 149-G, Block J, Tanming Boulevard, Jalan Meranti Jaya 3/1, Taman Meranti Jaya, Puchong.

Thank you for stopping by! Blogging has been a decade-long passion, and it has been a whirlwind journey of ups and downs. This is a space where I share my no-holds-barred thoughts, reviews, personal stories and anecdotes – and it’s also where I’ve made lifelong friends. Contrary to popular belief, I do not make big moolah from writing – which is why your support means the world to me so that I can continue to deliver authentic content. If you like what you read, please consider donating or buying me a cup of coffee. Every little bit helps!

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Meal for One: Kluang Station, 3Damansara PJ

Established in 1938, the original Kluang Rail Coffee in Johor is the stuff of legend. The humble kopitiam (coffee shop) started off as a pitstop for commuters and travelers at the Kluang Railway Station – where they could grab simple but tasty Malaysian breakfast quintessentials like nasi lemak, tea, half boiled eggs, and toast with butter and kaya. (you can read about my previous visit here).

Interstate travel is discouraged in light of the pandemic, so for KL-ites who can’t travel all the way down south, there is a ‘watered down’ alternative – in the form of Kluang Station in 3Damansara. While I am not sure if the Kluang Station franchise (they have a few shops across Peninsular Malaysia and also in Kuching, Sarawak) is affiliated in any way to Kluang Rail Coffee, it definitely draws inspiration from it, from the train station-themed decor to the classic favourites on its menu.

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The menu is a hodgepodge of Malaysian street food favourites with some Western offerings like pasta and salads thrown in. For drinks, there’s the usual teh tarik, milo and coffee, but also some less ordinary beverages like the pretty three-layered Sirap Bandung, which has rose cordial, condensed milk and gula melaka (palm sugar) on the bottom.

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Was in the mood for pasta, so I ordered a carbonara. It came with bits of fried ham and button mushrooms. The pasta was al dente, but the sauce had an odd, artificial flavour. Won’t be ordering this again. ._.

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I also felt like snacking on something, so I got an order of fried chicken. These are lightly battered boneless cubes served with spicy dipping sauce. It was decent but not great. At least the chicken was thoroughly cooked and not dry.

To be completely honest, I was not impressed with the few dishes I ordered – but then again, they are better known for Malaysian dishes so perhaps I got the wrong items? It is a far cry from the simplistic but comforting fare at Kluang Rail Coffee. That being said, they have value for money set lunches and most of their offerings are affordably priced, so its suitable for office workers in the area.

PS: There are 11 Kluang Stations all across Malaysia. I dined at the one at 3Damansara.

KLUANG STATION

Lot G-43, 3 Damansara Shopping Mall, No. 3, Jalan SS20/27, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 8AM – 10PM (daily)

kluangstation.com.my

Hong Kong-style Desserts @ Lou Gai Fong, Bandar Puchong Jaya

Hey guys! I hope you’re all keeping safe. After a lull of sorts, coronavirus cases have spiked again in Malaysia to over 400 cases at the time of this writing. Most of them are from the election which was held in Sabah recently. For some unfortunate reason, our government did not impose a mandatory quarantine for returnees to West Malaysia, and since people can’t be trusted to home quarantine themselves, it resulted in several clusters. It doesn’t help that we have reckless and irresponsible politicians abusing their privileges and power, getting slaps on the wrist for breaking the rules. If you can’t lead by example, how can you expect the rakyat to follow?

I think another quarantine is unlikely. The country’s economy is simply unable to bear the cost of such a move. That being said, I’m going to be staying at home more and eating out less: so that’s a plus for my pocket, I guess?

But I digress.

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A couple of weeks ago, the fam and I went to Chinatown (cases were still in the double digits then so we felt it was okay to go out), and on the way back home we stopped for a tea time break at Lou Gai Fong in Bandar Puchong Jaya. The Cantonese name literally translates to ‘old timer’ or ‘those who have lived in a neighbourhood /community for a long time. The shop specialises in Hong Kong-style char chaan teng (kinda like HK version of kopitiams) items as well as traditional Chinese desserts (tong shui).

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The exterior has an open kitchen, designed to look like street stalls. Air- conditioned seating is available on the inside.

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The interior is inspired by Hong Kong-themed deco, and features a scene of the island’s famous Cheung Po Chai (a traditional Chinese junk), amidst a backdrop of the Victoria Harbour and its towering skyscrapers. The other wall boasts an almost floor-to-ceiling scene of HK’s night scene and iconic neon signages. Bird cages hang from the ceiling – a tribute to HK’s bird gardens, where elderly folk often bring their songbirds out to the park for display / contests (although sadly, this culture is slowly disappearing).

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Thirst quenchers
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In HK, Char chaan tengs are the common man’s go-to, offering reasonably priced food in a casual setting. As such, they dish out fast, tasty and affordable meals for office workers, labourers and everyday salarymen, where they can pop in quickly for a filling lunch. At Lou Gai Fong, they serve typical char chaan teng dishes like tomato egg fried rice, luncheon meat and egg rice, stewed pork rice, noodles, waxed meat with rice, and more

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Since it was tea time, we decided to order some traditional desserts instead. Moo had the white fungus dessert with longan. It came with three boiled quail eggs.

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Pop’s had the curry fishballs. Curry fishballs are a staple of food culture in Hong Kong, originally sold from wooden pushcarts as an inexpensive street snack. They are first boiled, then deep fried, giving them a golden brown coating and extra crispness. Although the portion at Lou Gai Fong is small, the flavour is great, especially the curry which has been tweaked to suit local tastebuds (more spice).

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It’s rare for us to see places selling tong yuen outside of the Winters Solstice Festival, so the Bro and I both had tong yuen. They came in a spicy ginger soup that warmed the belly immediately. I enjoyed the chewy texture of the glutinous rice balls too.

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Bro had a slightly different version; ie bigger balls lol.
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Verdict: The tong shui is decent. Prices are average for a resto of this setting. Service is quite slow. It took awhile for our orders to come to the table, despite the shop being empty.

LOU GAI FONG

25, Jalan Kenari 4, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 7AM – 1AM (daily)

Chewy Japanese Noodles! @ Miyatake Sanuki Udon, ISETAN 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Petaling Jaya

My favourite udon joints seem to be closing one by one. First it was Marufuku Udon in Jaya One, then recently, Hanamaru Udon in Sunway Pyramid. Thankfully, I’ve found a new place to satisfy my chewy noodle cravings – and it’s close to my new workplace.

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Miyatake Sanuki Udon has roots in Kagawa, Japan, where they have restaurants and their own noodle factory. They opened their first outlet in Malaysia at ISETAN 1Utama in 2019.  The resto looks like your typical Japanese casual dining joint: lots of wood, attractive photos of the food, and Japanese-style buntings you usually see at sushi spots and robatayakis. Orders are made  for at the counter, and you can also pick your side dishes like chicken karaage, enoki mushrooms, crab sticks, chikuwa, and more.

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It goes without saying that their specialty is udon, and there are several varieties, such as plain, with curry, with thin slices of beef, and with onsen tamago (soft boiled egg). Went for the latter, which featured a full, yellow yolk that sat atop a bed of silky, chewy noodles.

Miyatake Sanuki Udon’s noodles are well known for their quality, and it is also sold in supermarkets around the world. The noodles are made from wheat that has been carefully selected and milled at their factory in Sanuki, giving them a sumptuous, strong-bodied flavour. You can taste the fragrant aroma of wheat, and it is by far one of the chewiest udon noodles that I’ve tasted. If you like chewy noodles, this will be right up your alley.

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Ordered sides of chicken karaage and fried enoki mushrooms.

Enjoying the different textures – crunchy and crispy, soft and chewy – is the ultimate satisfaction! Dip your fried snacks in tempura sauce for extra flavour.

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The onsen tamago was literally perfect: tried lifting it up and the membrane didn’t even tear.

An average bowl of udon here ranges from RM11 – RM20. My meal with two sides and a drink came up to RM25. Green tea is refillable, but the price is steep at RM4.

MIYATAKA SANUKI UDON (non-halal) 

Food Paradise, 2F, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Central Park Avenue, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

facebook.com/udonwon

Food Review: MK Hotpot, Sri Petaling Is My New Favourite Place

I almost didn’t get to try this place. Glad I did! 

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C and I were food hunting in Sri Petaling, and like the indecisive people we are, walked back and forth between several hotpot outlets (one was closed, another was too expensive, the other had a limited menu, etc.). After what must have been 40 minutes, we finally settled on MK Hotpot, a new resto that serves hotpot with a slight twist. The place is tucked on the first floor, so keep your eyes peeled for the sign outside the staircase.

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Simple interior, but cosy. Tables are adequately spaced apart. Service is attentive and friendly.

You order by set, with each set comprising of a soup, a ‘main course’ and a side. There are six different kinds of soup bases, so there’s something for every palate – like Signature Golden Chicken, Herbs, Tomato and Pepper. I went for the Tonkotsu (pork bone soup), while C opted for the Taiwanese Spicy soup. For the choice of protein, there is chicken breast slices, pork belly or lean pork slices, Australian Beef / Lamb slices, seafood platter and vegetable platter. Last but not least, pick a side of different rice and noodle dishes.

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There is a condiment and sauces station, where you can mix your own dipping sauce. You can find the typical fried shallots, garlic, sesame, peanuts, sesame oil, vinegar and soy sauce, as well as shacha ( a paste made from soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chilli, brill fish and dried shrimp, popular in Hokkien communities ie Fujian in China, and Taiwan).

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Each set comes with mushrooms, pumpkin, cabbage and lettuce, corn on the cob, wood-ear fungus, quail eggs, radish and tofu. Add them to the soup to get that naturally sweet flavour.

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The unique thing about MK Hotpot is its ‘stone pot’ concept. Instead of a large vat to boil the soup, which is usually the case with other hotpot chains, you get a small stone pot each (which I think is more hygienic, coz you won’t have to cook your ingredients in the same pot). The pot also doubles as a shallow wok of sorts – the correct way to enjoy the food, according to our server, is to first stir-fry the ingredients with some oil, garlic and shallots. Once the food has released a nice fragrance and is slightly cooked, you then add the soup and let it boil.

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We got some ala carte items – pork balls, octopi, enoki mushrooms, cheese tofu, and giant shrimp. They are currently running a promotion, whereby if you like their Facebook page, each shrimp set of 3 costs just RM9.90. Everything is fresh and tasty, and they aren’t stingy with portions either.

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My tonkotsu soup base was the bomb – C and I ended up finishing almost all of the soup.  It was savoury, rich and lipsmacking-ly good! Her Taiwanese Spicy wasn’t bad either, but I think it’s more suitable for those who like that Sichuan mala /chilli oil taste. We also ordered a tempura (it was translated to Tian Bu La and I was like what on earth) which C wasn’t impressed with but I secretly liked lol.

Our meal for two came up to about RM100, with drinks. We ordered some extras, but I think the price is still reasonable given the portions and taste. In fact, I’m headed back there again this weekend with another group of friends!

MK HOTPOT (SRI PETALING) – Non-halal 

11-2 Jalan Radin Bagus 6, Bandar Baru Sri Petaling, Sri Petaling, 57000 Kuala Lumpur
Phone: 018-262 8332
Opening hours: 12PM – 11PM (closed Mondays)
PS: This is not a paid review. Views here are entirely my own. 

 

Brunch and Waffles @ The Owls Cafe, One Space, One City USJ

The Owls Cafe has made a name for itself in the Klang Valley, thanks to its signature waffles and brunch offerings. From a humble little cafe in Bukit Jalil, the brand has since expanded to include The New Chapter by The Owls Cafe at the Calvary Convention Centre, Midorie x The Owls Cafe at MYTown Shopping Centre in Cheras, as well as two outlets at The BUNCH PJ and One Space, One City USJ respectively. S and I paid a visit to the latter for Saturday brunch. We were lucky as we got in just before a queue started forming.

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The aesthetics are pretty consistent across their outlets, in that they’re always brightly lit and boast a minimalist look, with clean white/beige furniture and a touch of green. This outlet is smaller than the one at Cavalry, but it also has a high ceiling so it’s less noisy. 

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S had the Nutty Latte, while I went for the Vanilla Latte. Ice cold and perfect for a hot day, milky and not too sweet!

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Every time S and I have gone to The Owls Cafe elsewhere, he orders the same thing – and this time is no exception lol. But as the saying goes, why fix something that isn’t broken? The Morning Daisy is a solid choice for those who want a hearty pick-me-up, and includes a buttered croissant, salad with sesame dressing, scrambled eggs and criss-cut fries. Everything comes together in perfect harmony: the crispy, crunchy potato goodness of the fries, the fluffy eggs with just a dash of salt and pepper for seasoning, the flaky pastry and the refreshing greens.

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Decided to try something different this time and went for the Ultraman Pasta. For those not familiar with Cantonese, Ultraman is known as ‘ham dan chiu yan’ or ‘salted egg superman’ – a moniker that comes from his peculiar egg-like appearance. Anyway, the Ultraman Pasta consists of al-dente pasta coated in a savoury salted egg yolk sauce, served with juicy and sizable chicken karaage, topped off with fried egg. Sinful, but oh-so-worth it.

We could not make anymore room for desserts, but their waffles are really good too. There are two named after the owners of the cafe, Rebecca and David.

Service is nice and friendly. Mains and desserts average around RM18 – RM28.

THE OWLS CAFE @ ONE SPACE ONE CITY USJ 

G.01, G.02 & G.03, Ground Floor One Space @, Jalan USJ 25/1C, One City, 47650 Subang Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 8PM (daily)