Review: Ground Eatery, Bandar Puteri Puchong – Revamped Menu

Whenever S and I can’t figure out what to eat, Ground Eatery in Bandar Puteri Puchong is always a safe bet. It’s cosy, the food has never disappointed, service is friendly and the prices are reasonable for the setting. Since it was S’s birthday (and coz we hadn’t seen each other since February), dinner was in order.

Like many places, the resto has implemented SOPs, so we had to scan a QR code and get our temperatures checked before entering. The place was actually operating at full capacity, although it didn’t feel too crowded because seats were adequately spaced.

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Every time we come here we never fail to order the rose milk (RM7) – hot for me and iced for S. It’s milky and frothy, with the delicate sweetness of rose petals. They also serve refreshing juices and coffees.

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It has been awhile since my last visit, and the menu has changed a little.

They still offer pastas, pizzas and burgers, but they’ve also added several Japanese dishes such as Unagi with Rice and Japanese curry with chicken karaage (above).The portion was very generous, with three huge chunks of fried chicken, rice wrapped in a perfectly fluffy omelette, flooded with a savoury curry sauce. Tastewise, it was pretty good although I felt that it could have benefited from extra seasoning (curry was quite bland). The chicken was excellent, and despite the large size it was juicy and thoroughly cooked, with crisp skin.

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S had the pork burger. It came with two juicy patties stacked precariously, atop a bed of lettuce and a side of chips. Again, the patties were perfectly cooked and juicy. I think it takes a considerable amount of skill to make sure thick patties are cooked thoroughly without drying them out, so kudos to the chef at Ground Eatery!

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Our meal for two with drinks came up to about RM60. I bought a loaf of banana chocolate bread as well (RM15) – not pictured but it was nice and moist, not too sweet.

In light of the new SOPs, the restaurant now offers dine-in, delivery and pick-up. Dine-in is available from 11am – 8pm. For delivery and pickup, you can send a Whatsapp to this link. 

Menu: 

GROUND EATERY 

Tower 4 & 5, PFCC, Jalan Puteri 1/2, Bandar Puteri Puchong,, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Tel: 03-5879 7292

Business hours: 11AM – 8PM

 

 

 

I Spent RM250 On Dessert & Drinks @ Mr Chew’s Chino Latino Bar, WOLO Kuala Lumpur

Yes. RM250. There are plenty of things that RM250 could get me. Two weeks of food. A month’s fuel expenses. Two months worth of phone / internet bills. A fancy All-You-Can-Eat buffet for two at a five-star hotel.  To be fair, it was a special occasion, so I’m not complaining. It’s just that I was rather taken aback by the bill when it came, lol.

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Tucked on the top floor of WOLO in Bukit Bintang, Mr Chew’s Chino Latino Bar is a popular drinking spot, boasting Instagrammable interiors and amazing views of the bustling Golden Triangle area. Spanning two floors, the main dining area is overseen by an extravagant floor-to-ceiling portrait of the Empress Dowager Cixi, as well as tall glass windows that offer excellent views of KL’s busiest district at night. The second floor is more of a private lounge area, suited for those who want a couple of drinks and quiet conversations with friends.

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Not sure if we came at a bad time but the service was not what I expected. There was no one at the concierge, and nobody bothered to even pay attention to us as we hovered about the foyer for a good 10 minutes, waiting to be seated. The one guy who finally came was warm and friendly, and led us upstairs but nobody came to take our orders for a good 15 minutes. As we were looking and pondering over the menu, Ate Noemi asked if we could sit downstairs instead, in one of the lounges. I went to look for the same guy and he said yes, so we moved downstairs.

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Again, no one paid us any heed or came to check on us – I guess we could’ve just lounged there without ordering anything. I don’t know why because the place was not crowded, nor did it seem very busy (it was about 10PM). I understand ‘service’ is always subjective because it’s the customer’s word against the establishment’s, but for such a high-end place with high-end prices, I was expecting more.

 

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View was stunning though. Feels like a metropolis – downtown LA, Tokyo, or NY.

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We had dinner earlier at Jalan Alor, so we came here just for desserts and drinks. The Banana Burrito with Tonka bean ice cream, Deep fried banana, shaved gula melaka and Coconut (RM35) came served in a wooden box. It was okay. Rather underwhelming to be honest.

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Dessert tacos (RM35) of Mango pomelo, strawberry and hazelnut chocolate were equally underwhelming. They weren’t bad, just not wow or anything. The presentation was nice though.

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Since it was Ate Noemi’s birthday, we surprised her with a box of Mr Chew’s Favourites (RM50). It’s basically what we ordered earlier, with the addition of Lychee Ice Kacang. I did not know or I would have ordered something else from the dessert menu like the Peanutbutter Parfait and the Mint Ice Kacang. Add this on to four drinks – three fresh juices and a soda – and that came up to RM250.

My overall impression of the place? I can see why people like going there because the ambience is great, but I was not too keen on the service nor the food and its prices. It was all kinda meh. This is not a professional review of any kind – you have all the high traffic websites for that. This is just an average person penning down their thoughts on their experience – which looks to be a one-off one.

Now if you want really good food in the area, I suggest this (mid-range price with excellent service – been here four times now!) and this. (cheap but hearty)

MR CHEW’S CHINO LATINO BAR 

The Penthouse, WOLO, Bukit Bintang Street, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 11.30AM – 2.30PM, 5PM – 1AM

Reservations: mr-chew.com

 

Favourite Sushi Spot – Sushi Zanmai

KL-ites have a love affair with Japanese food, and there are plenty of kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) restaurants around to fit every budget. Some of the more value for money chains include Sushi Jiro, Sushi King and Sushi Mentai, while the mid to higher-end ones include Sushi Tei and Sushi Zanmai. The latter is one of my favourite places to go to when I have the money to splurge. There are also two specific dishes that I must order, lol.

Sushi Zanmai has many outlets scattered across the Klang Valley. I usually dine at the one at Jaya Shopping Centre, but this post was when I went to 1Utama with N.

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First must order: Chuka iidako (baby octopus). I love chewy things (like squid and mochi), so chuka iidako is a must have whenever I go to any Japanese restaurant. The one at Sushi Zanmai, however, has perfected the marinade, so much so that it doesn’t feel right eating it anywhere else. It has a nice balance between sweet and savoury, peppered with fragrant sesame seeds on a bed of fresh lettuce and shredded radish. Portions are of a reasonable size as well.

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Second must order: Shimeji karaage. Lightly battered and served with a dollop of mayonnaise, these are crisp, salty and I like how the mushrooms have a crunchy exterior complemented by a juicy, almost meat-like texture on the inside. I usually order a bowl of rice to go with it.

And that would be what I eat when I’m alone – I call it my trinity of Sushi Zanmai – and I never tire of ordering the same things. On this occasion, however, I had to digress from my weird eating habits and order other stuff for N.

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N’s Chicken Katsudon. The chicken was first fried before it was cooked with the egg and sauce, but that meant it was soggy and somewhat tasteless. Maybe stick to their sushi offerings ? 

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Anago (boiled saltedwater eel), basted with a light teriyaki-sauce for that perfect sweet-savoury taste, and salmon.

SUSHI ZANMAI 

For a full list of their outlets, visit: supersushi.com.my

PS: In case you’re wondering, no this is not a paid spot, but the personal opinion of the writer. 

 

 

We Dined While Dangling 150 Feet In The Air @ Lounge In The Sky Kuala Lumpur

Food with a view is always good, especially if it’s the Kuala Lumpur skyline (one of the prettiest in Southeast Asia, IMO). But forget rooftop bars. How would you like to be seated on a platform raised 150 feet into the air by a crane, with nothing but a couple of straps to keep you from falling? If that appeals to your inner adrenaline junkie, then Lounge In The Sky should be right up your alley.

Following the success of Dinner In The Sky , Lounge In The Sky was launched several months ago at TREC KL, offering a different experience for diners. I went for DITS several years ago (blog post here) and it was both fun and scary due to my acrophobia. Still, I was pretty excited to go on something similar again.

That being said, LITS is notably different from DITS in that you get a) smaller, more intimate tables of four, rather than DITS’ large table configuration where everyone is seated facing the chefs in the middle of the platform; and b) live entertainment where a performer will serenade you with tunes as you try not to look below lol.

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CEO of 2Spicy Entertainment Arvin Randhawa speaking to the media before we were hoisted up for our session

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There was a slight drizzle, but we were finally okayed for lift off. Crew members were on hand to make sure that everyone was properly secured into the seats. The straps felt like the ones you get on roller coaster rides, which kind of limit your movements, but it’s a necessary safety measure. We were allowed to bring our phones and cameras up, but larger bags had to be stowed in storage lockers below.

As the platform was raised, I sneaked a glance down (it’s hard not to) and felt a little weak in the knees to see how fast the ground was receding from view. It also didn’t help that the platform was rotating, so one minute I was facing one side and the next I was looking at the Twin Towers in the distance.

FYI 150 feet is equivalent to about 12 to 15 storeys high!

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Twin towers shrouded in a light mist in the distance; KL traffic below. The position of my seat made it difficult to get a good overall shot of the skyline, but the view was awesome.

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The platform had four ‘catwalks’ so that staff could serve us dishes. We started off with a caviar-topped appetiser and a cocktail.

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LITS offers several different packages, including standard, business and first class. On the menu of our standard session (RM199) was prawn ceviche with yuzu cream, bonito flakes and fried oba leaf; mushroom fricasse with chive cream and fried shallots; and for dessert, lemon meringue tart with rose cream and chocolate pearls. Everything was excellent, but being a fan of mushroom, I especially liked the mushroom fricasse and its savoury, crumbly pastry shell.

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The highlight of the night for me was when the lights were dimmed to a deep blue, and our performer for the night serenaded us with sultry tunes. The slight drizzle and the view of Kuala Lumpur in the evening created a romantic, magical atmosphere – something that no rooftop bar can emulate.

Each LITS session lasts about 40 minutes – and even though I enjoyed it, I was glad to have two feet on solid ground again!

For bookings and menus, visit elements.my/skylounge.

 

 

*PS: I am so proud of N, who decided to tag along despite his overwhelming fear of heights (it’s so extreme he does not even walk near the barriers at shopping malls). I told him multiple times before we went up that it was absolutely okay if he didn’t want to go, but he went anyway. I could see how frightened he was from the way he gripped the table as we ascended. He was stiff and made minimal movements throughout the entire 40 minutes we were up in the air, but he got through it nonetheless. ❤ Well done bibi.

BONUS: 

I’ve never been to TREC, so N and I wandered around in search of food. The dishes served on LITS were tasty but we weren’t expecting just canapes so we came on an empty stomach. We ended up getting instant noodles afterwards (lol) but not before getting some great shots of TREC. #mood

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2019 In Pictures

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s time to do a recap of the year again (feels like I just did 2018’s!).

It feels rather wistful to be saying goodbye to 2019, not only because it’s the end of the year, but also of the decade. The 20s have been extraordinary. I wonder what’s in store for my 30s?

JANUARY 

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2019 wasn’t off to a good start. My company took on another client but without hiring additional staff, everyone’s tasks and responsibilities doubled. The physical and emotional repercussions of pulling late nights and always feeling like there’s never enough time to finish everything took its toll, and for the first time in my career, I broke down at work. It was embarrassing.  My inability to pull off tasks given perfectly made me feel incompetent and worthless. In hindsight, I should have known where to drawn the line, but not wanting to disappoint a good boss and her faith in me, stressed myself out to breaking point. It’s something that I need to learn to handle more adequately.

I went to a cat cafe to destress. Watching and being near cats calms me. They’re my favourite creatures, although circumstances at home means I can’t keep any yet. Perhaps in 2020?

FEBRUARY

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Not everything was doom and gloom, however. While my job can be stressful at times, I’m also thankful for the opportunities it has afforded me. After a rough January, February saw me flying to Melbourne to watch the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play, which was phenomenal. I grew up reading the Harry Potter books, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a new story brought to life on stage.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Melbourne. The most memorable moments include visiting the Lyon Housemuseum, a private house-museum that blends an art gallery with a living space, exploring the laneways of Melbourne on foot, riding a helicopter (for the first time!) to see the 12 Apostles, and spotting real-life koalas and an emu upclose.

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MARCH

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Got to experience Malaysia’s first private onsen bath!

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Did a story on unusual libraries in the Klang Valley, such as the Little Giraffe Book Club, housed in a refurbished old kampung house, the curated Rumah Attap at Zhongshan, and the Japan Foundation Library, dedicated to all things Japanese and more.

APRIL

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N came to visit from Manila, and we went on many little adventures, like watching a drum performance and visiting Cameron Highlands.

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Went for a short work trip to Singapore, and managed to squeeze in some time for sightseeing with a high school close friend of mine.

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Brought N for a work-cum-holiday trip to sunny, beautiful Phuket. It was my second visit and the crystal clear oceans and sandy beaches were just as breathtaking as the first time. But what made it even more memorable was time spent with a loved one. ❤

MAY

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A work trip brought me to Siniawan in Sarawak, also called the ‘Cowboy Town of Borneo’. The place has an extraordinary back story, the people are warm and hospitable, and the pace of life is just so different from the hectic hustle and bustle of the city. KL-ites are often so absorbed with life in the city that we fail to realise that there is so much more to Malaysia than our little bubble.

JUNE

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Went to watch The Phantom of the Opera with the editor. It was my first time watching a musical, and the performances blew me away.

JULY

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Got to see digital reproductions of Da Vinci’s works at the National Visual Arts Gallery. Considering that such exhibitions don’t come to Malaysia very often, I think it was a great effort by the local government and arts and culture organisations to bring this to the country.

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Had a lot of fun doing a story on unique cafes, such as this one which has a 2D concept.

AUGUST

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Had an interview with Hong Kong celebrity chef Alvin Leung for the opening of Fuhu at Genting.  I was nervous af because he seemed like one of those chefs with a fiery temper. It turned out okay, but the interview never made it to light because it got axed at the last minute, which was a shame.

SEPTEMBER

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N came to visit again. We were planning to get our marriage registered in Malaysia, then change his tourist visa into a spouse visa, which would allow him to stay for another six months. Unfortunately, we were thrown into a loop when the marriage registration date got pushed to November instead – so he had to exit the country in October and come back in November again. A lot of time was wasted in the process, but we did get to spend more time together and explore new places.

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Another work trip – this time to Japan, to cover the Toyosu Fish Market. It wasn’t exactly a ‘glamorous’ assignment, but it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable assignments of the year, apart from Melbourne. It was fascinating to be offered an insight into what goes on behind the scenes at the world’s largest seafood market, and in our spare time I got to explore parts of Tokyo as well.

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OCTOBER

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Brought N to Sekinchan so he could see the green paddy fields.

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Had a Masterclass with Chef Nobu of Nobu fame.

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Won a social media contest for Tapas Club, where we got to sample some of their excellent wines and small eats. I am now an addict of their garlic shrimp.

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Finally went to Bangkok! Almost everyone I know has gone to Bangkok, and they gasp every time I tell them I haven’t, since it seems like I’ve been to many places but not this one so close to home. N and I took it easy rather than rushing to different places, which I think made it more enjoyable. The museum alone was worth the trip (the history nerds that we were, we spent six hours in the place). N departed for Manila from Bangkok, while I made a lonely trip back to Kuala Lumpur.

NOVEMBER

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N came back for our civil marriage registration. We went to the immigration department to inquire about applying for a spouse visa, but was disappointed yet again when told there was a cooling period of six months, and that he wouldn’t be able to apply until May 2020. Which meant he wouldn’t be able to extend his visa, and would have to fly back to Manila (again).

It gets harder to separate each time, but this is a path we both committed to taking, and no damn bureaucracy is going to dampen our spirits. We maximised our time together by taking some pre-wedding photos in Ipoh, which we did on our own to save on a photographer.

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Brought him for a work trip to Seremban, where he rode an ostrich for the first time.

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DECEMBER

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Went with N to Melaka. It was nice to bring him to places and play tourist in my own country. We slept in a capsule hotel for the first time; an experience I’m not likely to repeat anytime soon.

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Our annual office Christmas party was tinged with a hint of sadness this year, as it was the last one we were having as a complete team. The media industry isn’t doing so well right now, and my company did not escape unscathed. At the beginning of the year, we were up to our necks with work; at the end of it, having lost a major client, half of the team would be let go. I was one of the lucky ones to be retained, but without the support and guidance of my editor, whom I also consider a mentor, I think it will be a very challenging year in 2020. I suppose I should be thankful for still having a job, but I believe the media industry is in a serious rut right now. For the next year, my goal will be to try and upscale my skills and diversify my portfolio. It’s a do or die world, and I’m not getting any younger.

Well there you have it! 2019 all wrapped. It’s the night of New Year’s Eve as I write this, snugly wrapped in my blankets with a fresh face mask and scented candles in the room. Gone are the days of going out for fireworks and partying the night away, but that doesn’t mean I’m not celebrating it in my own little way.

Happy New Year! 

 

Breakfast @ Alcove Cafe, Port Campbell, Victoria

If you’re spending the night in Port Campbell on your Great Ocean Road journey, The Alcove Cafe is a nice place to grab a quick bite before you leave town. They open from 6AM daily, and the menu has gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options.

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Like many of the buildings in this quaint seaside town, it looks and feels rustic and homely. The prices are, however, quite steep as they cater mostly to the tourist crowd.

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The interior is casual, filled with knick knacks, quirky decor and lots of fun wall art.

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One of my favourites!

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The ice cream bar wasn’t open yet as it was still early, but we could see the creamy concoctions all lined up, just begging to be tasted.

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Opted for a yoghurt bowl with berries, muesli and bananas. It was humongous, and could have easily fed two to three people.

The cafe offered a selection of pastries and bread as well at the counter, plus coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

THE ALCOVE CAFE 

34 Lord St, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia

Opens daily 6AM – 3PM

Lunch @ Lobby Lounge, The Manila Hotel

Dubbed the ‘Grand Dame’, The Manila Hotel certainly lives up to its reputation as the city’s oldest premiere hotel. Built in 1909 to rival the nearby Malacanang Presidential Palace, the building sports 570 rooms and has hosted political and social elites the likes of Ernest Hemingway, John Wayne, Michael Jackson, The Beatles and US President John F Kennedy. 

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On the outside, the hotel doesn’t look too impressive, but wait til you step into the lobby…

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Words that come to mind: Grand. Opulent. Elegant. Expensive. 

The ceiling is wood, and features five beautiful chandeliers made from brass, crystal and seashells. On both sides of the lobby lounge are white Doric columns, while the floor is Philippine marble. For Christmas, the hotel has put up decorations of giant gold Nutcracker statues, shiny red and silver trees and a small shopfront at the entrance.

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The lounge area has comfy, cushy chairs and tables made from Philippine mahogany. The service was a bit slow, but this isn’t the place to rush through a meal. 😀

So sit back, chill and enjoy the ambience.

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Frothy iced coffee with just the right balance of milky sweetness. Extremely refreshing after Manila’s hot weather.

15271921_10208105101967542_4495824312372063692_o-tile Beef lasagna, served with bechamel sauce and a side of garlic bread. Tender layers of savoury minced beef and gooey cheese are sandwiched between soft layers of lasagna, making for a delightfully cheesy and creamy dish. The portion is big enough for two small eaters.

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Also tried a Filipino dessert called Puto Bumbong –  long, sticky rolls made from glutinous rice and steamed in bamboo. The purple colouring comes from purple yam powder. Traditionally it is served during Christmas, but Manila Hotel offers it all year round. The sweet dish, which is chewy and sweet, is served with brown sugar, shredded coconut and grated cheese. I liked having the cheese with it coz it brings a bit of saltiness that balances out the sweetness well. I think this is my new favourite dessert. 😀

 

The Manila Hotel

One Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila 0913

Opening hours: 6AM – 12AM

 

Yoshinoya & Hanamaru Udon, D-Pulze Cyberjaya

Update: This branch is permanently closed. 

I was working on my birthday so the fam and I went for my ‘celebratory’ dinner the following day. Didn’t want to drive too far so we settled on going to D-Pulze @ Cyberjaya. It was a toss-up between seafood at Manhattan Fish Market and fast, cheap Jap food at Yoshinoya/Hanamaru Udon. We ended up having the latter because there were more choices for everyone to enjoy.

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Yoshinoya is famous for their beef bowls, while Hanamaru Udon dishes out udon. The two shops share the same dining area and adopt a self-service concept where guests order at a counter, add on fried stuff before paying at the cash register. The whole fast food concept is really interesting and convenient as you don’t have to wait long for steamy, piping hot food.

I had their Ontama Bukkake Udon (small – Rm8.80) which came topped with a perfectly half-boiled egg with oozy yolk, lots of chopped spring onions and springy udon noodles in a savoury soy sauce-based broth. The portion is actually quite small for big eaters, but just right when you pair it with fried snacks.

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Fried ebi (left) and chicken karaage. The shrimp was more batter than shrimp, but the karaage was good – crunchy on the outside, well flavoured and tender and juicy on the inside.

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Bro’s teriyaki chicken bowl from Yoshinoya.

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Pop’s chicken katsu, topped with a creamy mayo sauce and sweet onions.

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Self-service cutlery and green tea refills.

If you’re looking for convenient, tasty and fast Japanese food, Yoshinoya/Hanamaru Udon is a good place to go.

YOSHINOYA/HANAMARU UDON 

Upper Ground, D Pulze Cyberjaya