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Budget Eats: Soru Station Puchong

With food prices increasing, even noodles and rice at your neighbourhood chap fan stall or kopitiam can be quite pricey, what more cuisine like Western food.

But there are still some good options – if you know where to look.

Newly opened in The Wharf at Taman Tasik Prima is Soru Station, which serves affordable local and Western fare. With humble beginnings as a food truck, business did so well that they opened a few physical branches, the latest being this outlet in Puchong.

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The Hubs and I came here for a quick lunch. Despite being peak hour, the restaurant was not too crowded. The space wasn’t fancy, but it is well ventilated, clean, and comfortable. We made our orders by scanning the QR code menu at our table, then proceeded to the cashier for payment (you can also choose to pay online).

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Our orders were served quickly. Hubs had the Beef Burger (RM9), served with a side of mashed potato. Like many Malay-style burgers, the burger was extremely messy; slathered in a variety of sauces such as tomato, chilli, cheese, and finally a large helping of gravy.

The sauces can be a tad overpowering, but I could still taste the seasonings used in the patty, which was thick and juicy. It reminded me of Otai burgers, actually. Our only qualm was that the dish was a little cold – the patty was probably heated up very quickly on the grill, but everything else wasn’t. Still, for the price, I think it’s good value.

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I went for the nasi lemak ayam crispy (RM8). Again, portions were generous. The rice was good; with hints of ginger and turmeric – but I was a little disappointed with the chicken. It was fried well with a crispy texture, but it was very bland. It didn’t even have the natural flavour of the chicken, which was very odd. The skin had no flavour whatsoever. The saving grace was the sweet and savoury sambal, which went well with the rice (I also used it as a sauce for the chicken). So yeah, some hits and misses. But all in all, I wouldn’t complain, given the price point.

Most of the dishes are priced around RM7 to RM12; and the portions are filling. I wasn’t expecting anything super, so the food was decent enough for me. Service and environment is good as well – so all in all, value for money!

SORU STATION (PUCHONG)

No 8/1, Prima Bizwalk Business Centre, Jalan Tasik Prima 6/2, Taman Tasik Prima, 47150 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 12PM – 12AM (closed Mondays)

https://www.sorustation.com/

PS: I hope you liked this post! Please consider supporting my blog via Patreon, so I can make more. Or buy me a cup of coffee on Paypal @erisgoesto

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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

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Strangers at 47, SS17 Petaling Jaya – Sweet and Savoury Crepes

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Living in the Klang Valley, there are plenty of cool and chic cafes to check out every other week. But competition is pretty fierce, and if you don’t have something to draw in the crowds (like good food, impeccable service and an Instagrammable interior), you’re likely to fold just as quickly as you set up shop.

Strangers at 47, though, has been a long-time stalwart on the cafe scene. As one of the pioneers in the SS17 area, the shop has a stable fanbase, who come for their delicious crepes, and it has even expanded from a single shop lot to include two adjacent spaces, providing diners with a comfortable and more spacious dining experience.

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My last visit here was in 2015. Yes, I am aware that it was 6 years ago lol. The signature mural of a fox and a bear upon entering the restaurant is still there.
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Although the space is much bigger now, the theme has not changed much, and still features a minimalistic look, with communal-style long tables for larger groups, cosy booths, wooden tables and warm yellow lights.

Stringent SOPs are in place before customers are allowed to enter the shop for dine-in. At the entrance, aside from scanning your temperature and registering yourself via MySejahtera, a staff member will also explain the house rules, such as wearing masks while moving around the cafe (except when you’re eating/drinking). You are also allowed to stay for a maximum of 1.5 hours only. It’s a good thing we came early, as the line started building up after 11.30am.

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For hygiene purposes, there are no printed menus. Diners scan a digital menu using a QR code scanner.

You can view their menu here.

My Hot Cappucino (RM11) was nice and milky, but not too sweet.

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The Moomins is trying to eat less meat these days, so we ordered Lethal Shrooms (RM19.50); one of the cafe’s signatures that has been on the menu since they opened. An assortment of sauteed mushrooms such as portobello, shimeji and baby king oysters mushrooms, plus sauteed baby spinach and caramelised onions are wrapped in a thin savoury crepe, then topped with tomato relish, poached egg and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I recommend ordering this if you’re not sure what to order; it never fails to disappoint.

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If seafood is more your thing, there’s Miss Dory (RM22.50), comprising breaded and deep fried to golden perfection fish fillet, battered squid, citrus-cucumber onion salad, potato pumpkin mash, roasted cherry tomatoes and homemade sriracha mayo lime. All the flavours and textures — the crunchy from the fish and squid, the soft and smooth pumpkin mash plus the tangy cherry tomatoes and mayo lime — come together wonderfully.

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Aside from savoury crepes, Strangers at 47 has a selection of sweet crepes as well. Unfortunately we were too stuffed to order any.
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The cafe offers cakes too. The Cendolier Cheesecake (RM14.50 per slice) is a house specialty. You can also take home homemade kimchi, kaya and homebrewed kombucha.

Service here is excellent, albeit a little slow as the crepes are made to order. If you’re here over the weekend, come early to avoid the crowd, or be prepared for a wait.

STRANGERS AT 47

45, 47 & 49, Jalan 17/45, Seksyen 17, 46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 10AM – 9PM (Closed Tuesdays).

Phone: 03-7498 1034

facebook.com/strangersat47

Graze @ Hilton Kuala Lumpur – 45-Minute 3-Course Express Lunch

Looking to entertain business clients, or just want a quick (but five-star!) lunch on the go?

Hilton Kuala Lumpur‘s modern European brasserie, Graze, is currently offering a 45-minute, 3-course express set with the busy work crowd in mind. Drawing emphasis on fresh and seasonal produce, the six concise menus comprises a variety of appetisers, mains and desserts to finish. Indulge in classics like Caesar Salad, Creamy Mushroom Soup, Graze Steak Sandwich, Napolitan Beef Ragout, Traditional Crème Brule, Caramel Banana Brownie and more. Available from 1 July – 31 August 2020 and for lunch only, the set meal is priced at RM95 nett per person inclusive of soft drink, juice or coffee and tea.

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Take a seat by the window and enjoy panoramic views of the lush greenery surrounding the KL city centre. Bright and flooded with natural light, the restaurant is nevertheless cosy and warm, immediately setting you at ease as you take a break from the day’s hectic schedule.

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To kick things off while waiting for our appetisers to arrive: complimentary bread with olive oil.

There were two sets to choose from for the day; G went for Set A, comprising a gazpacho soup starter, a steak sandwich as the main course, finishing off with a dessert of wild berries tart. I opted for Set B, which included a Salmon Gravlax salad, Napolitan Beef Ragout, and Warm Brioche bread and butter pudding.

SET A 

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Beautifully plated Gazpacho with Pulled Flower Crab, Avocado Mousse, Cucumber and Tomato, Virgin Olive Oil 

This popular cold soup with Andalusian origins is made of raw blended vegetables. The gazpacho on its own has a mild, refreshing taste, but is elevated when you combine all of the ingredients together – the creaminess of the avocado, the crunch of cucumber, the natural sweetness of the snow crab and tomatoes make for a wonderful combination.

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Graze Steak Sandwich with Caramelised Onions, Tomato Relish, Rocket Salad

This one’s for the meat lovers. Served in generous portions and a side of thin-cut fries, the meat is thick, juicy and well-seasoned, slathered in a sweet relish of tomato and caramelised onions and complemented by the peppery, nutty flavour of rocket salad. Bringing everything together are two buns, which are soft to the bite but slightly crispy on the outside.

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Wild Berries Tart and Mascarpone Chantilly is beautifully presented; the slight tartness of the berries balancing well with the sweet mascarpone chantilly for a refreshing end to the meal.

SET B 

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The Salmon Gravlax Garden Green Salad, Dill Creme Fraiche, Volkorn Bread is a wonderful blend of textures and flavours, featuring salmon rosettes on a bed of fresh greens. The Volkorn bread – A German recipe – contains healthy grains, and also gives the dish an added crunch, while the creamy dill creme fraiche binds all the different ingredients together in harmony.

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My personal favourite is the Napolitan Beef Ragoutthe price for the express lunch is worth it just for this! Generous portions aside, everything is cooked to perfection, from the firm but supple texture of the pasta to the mouthwatering flavours of the beef ragout, which is savoury with a delicious natural sweetness. It is obvious the meat has undergone a long and laborious cooking process, as the meat is so tender it literally melts in your mouth. Top it off with shredded cheese, and you’ll be guaranteed to leave the restaurant with a satisfied smile.

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The pasta’s hollow shape makes it ideal for soaking up the sauces.

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There’s always space for dessert, and the Warm Brioche Bread & Butter Pudding with Vanilla Ice Creamrounds off the meal on a high note. The pudding is actually quite light, and the mild sweetness of the vanilla lets you end the meal on a satisfying note.

GRAZE 

Graze Modern European Brasserie, Level 4,The Hilton Kuala Lumpur, 3 Jalan Stesen Sentral 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Open for lunch daily from 12.30PM – 2.30PM

*Reservation is required. A standard discount is available for Hilton Dining APAC members and selected credit card holders. For further enquiries or reservations, call +603 2264 2264 or visit www.eatdrinkhilton.com.

Review: 33 Blue Room, Petaling Jaya

Hey, guys! I know I’m supposed to do my 30-Day Writing Challenge prompts – but work cropped up and I’m finding it difficult to keep up. That said, since I’m on an 18-day streak, I’d hate to break the momentum – which is why I’m squeezing in this quick food post over lunch break at the office. 

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I had a couple of hours to kill while waiting for an assignment the other day. Scouring for places to hangout nearby, I came across 33 Blue Room – which was, rather unusually, tucked in an industrial zone surrounded by manufacturing companies, car dealerships and engineering firms. The place has a classy ambience – perfect for intimate gatherings with friends or the S/O, birthday parties or just as an after-hours drinks spot.

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Lots of wood and black, complemented by warm lighting. (PS: Sorry for the sucky pictures – my phone camera isn’t good with yellow / low lights). The theme of the restaurant revolves around music, which you can see from the jazz-inspired saxophone decor on the walls. There is also a deck on the mezzanine floor for the DJ to spin tunes.

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One of the restaurant’s most eye-catching fixtures is the wall of wine bottles which extends up to the ceiling.

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N and I were there around 5.30PM and they only had pizzas, pastas and some appetisers – so we waited for 6PM for the dinner menu. For drinks, we ordered the Jasmine Green Tea (refillable) and Chamomile Tea. 

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The menu is mostly Western. Their specialty is pork, so we ordered the Premium Pork Ribs to share. This is good enough for three people, as N and I struggled to finish it between the two of us –  but while there was plenty of meat, the salad and potatoes were barely a mouthful. Taste wise, it was decent but not great – the meat flaked off the bone easily, but was rather stringy and dry when chewing. Thankfully, it was saved by the barbecue sauce, which was rich and salty.

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There’s always room for dessert no matter how stuffed you are – and we obliged to an Earl Grey Mousse with Vanilla Ice Cream and Crumble. 10 points for presentation – it looked like something out of a fine dining establishment. The mousse was exquisite, and I liked how they served it with a ball of white chocolate and boba pearls; an excellent combination.

Prices are steep; expect to pay around RM100 for a complete meal for two, inclusive of drinks.

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33 BLUE ROOM 

2a, Jalan 51/225a, Section 51a Zone Perindustrian PJCT, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 12AM (1AM on weekends). Open daily

Food Review: Lesa, Melbourne

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. If I had to choose a place to live (other than KL), Melbourne would definitely be on top of the list. Why? Aside from a thriving arts and culture scene, they’ve also got awesome coffee. And of course, food. Australians in general are big on food and wine, but Melbourne is on another level. Not only is the scene one of the world’s most sophisticated, you literally cannot find food that sucks here, lol. Or at least not any that I’ve tried.

Enter Lesa, upstairs from another popular resto, Embla, along Russel Street. Ascend a dark and narrow staircase to find a cosy spot that is contemporary and slightly reserved; not too casual but not intimidating either. Rough, brick walls are complemented by sleek wooden furniture, the large glass windows allowing for plenty of sunlight to filter in during the day. It’s the perfect place for intimate dinner dates or a long lunch with business associates and/or friends – preferably with a glass of wine from their extensive list.

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Our four-course menu kicked off with Fermented potato flatbread, shiitake and macadamia. Fluffy with a crisp crust, the bread was elevated to new heights with the macadamia cream and the rich earthiness of the shiitake oil.

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Next was Spanner Crab, Floratina Tomatoes, Pine Nut & Laurel, a delightful combination of flavours pairing the natural sweetness of the carb with the tartness of the tomatoes, the slight bitter sharpness of the laurel and pine nut. Being a big fan of seafood, this was right up my alley!

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My favourite of the lot was the third course: Lamb rump, chocolate capsicum, garlic and almond. Chocolate capsicum sounds like a crazy combination, but it worked surprisingly well – it was almost like eating a mild and chewy sweet. The lamb was the star of the show – perfectly pink and succulent, with just the right balance of lean and fat.

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Sides of roast potato and reine de glace iceberg, rocket and hazelnut. Now people who know me know I’m not a big fan of vegetables, but these were so fresh and nicely dressed that it had me going for seconds.

 

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Last but not least was the innovative Roast potato parfait, chocolate, sourdough, lemongrass. This is one of those non-sweet desserts that do just as well as an ending to the meal; loved the creamy texture of the parfait and the fragrant notes of lemongrass.

Originality is definitely Lesa’s strong suit; the dishes are creative and put together in ways that many other restaurants will not even dare to go near with a ten-foot pole. Presentation can appear sparse, but what really matters here is flavour.

LESA 

level 1/122 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Phone: +61 3 9935 9838

Business hours: Wed & Sat (dinner service only – 5.30PM – 11PM), Thurs & Fri (lunch and dinner, 12 – 3PM, 5.30 – 11PM). Closed from Sun – Tues.

lesarestaurant.com.au

 

Food Review: Filling Sandwiches @ Good Blue Men, Happy Mansion PJ

Dating back to the 1970s, the Happy Mansion flats in Petaling Jaya comprise several blocks of old, walk-up apartments. In recent years, many of its ground floor units have been taken up by cool cafes and eateries, making it a favourite hangout spot for foodies and hipsters alike. I’ve tried a couple of places such as Frame Thai, Kwong Wah Ice Kacang and Elsie’s Kitchen – time to add a new one to the list!

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Enter Good Blue Men, which specialises in sandwiches and other Western fare such as pastas and grilled chicken chops. The interior is minimalistic but cosy. It was rainy when we visited so the shop was pretty empty – but I heard that it can get quite crowded during lunch time and weekends.

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Their signature here is the sandwiches, which feature rather unusual flavour pairings. The bestselling is their Kam Heong chicken – which features 13 herbs and spices, chicken breast and arugula on oregano toast. (Kam Heong is a Malaysian-style stir fry which often uses curry leaves and bird’s eye chillies). I only had eyes, however, for the Cheezy Meltdown (RM19).

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AS they prep your sandwiches to order, expect some wait time. My Cheezy Meltdown was a beautiful mess, with three different kinds of cheese oozing from toasted slices of homemade white bread. Also within were sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes and a fried hash brown to lend it some crunch. The dish was served with a side of cheesy fries.

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The sandwich was all I had hoped for – cheesy goodness with a good balance of textures. The cheese tasted a lot like the KFC cheese sauce, and got a little overwhelming after a while. Even one slice was very filling. If you’re a small eater, I suggest getting this to share.

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N had the Tom Yum Fish (RM23), which came with a fish fillet golden fried to perfection and salad, slathered with a housemade tom yum sauce. The sauce lent it a spicy-sour kick, complementing the fish’s sweet and natural flavours. The toasted raisin bread brought everything together really well.

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A good spot if you’re thinking of a hefty sandwich fix!

GOOD BLUE MEN 

AG-01, Ground Floor,Block A, Happy Mansion, Jalan 17/13, Seksyen 17, 46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Business hours: 10AM – 10PM (daily)

Contact:03-7499 7394

facebook.com/goodbluemen/

 

Laundry Cafe @ Subang 2, Shah Alam

Update: This outlet is closed.

When one heads to a cafe, it’s usually to grab a cuppa or a bite to eat; meet up with friends, or  read, work on a laptop, etc.

But what if you could also do your laundry? 

Tucked within an industrial area in Subang 2, Laundry Cafe is a unique 2-in-1 concept, offering self-service laundry services, and a place where you can enjoy a cup of joe while you wait. The spaces are separate, but there’s a door connecting the two together.

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The cafe itself is very nicely designed, featuring lots of wood and steel. It has, in fact, been used for filming in several shows. Spanning a ground floor and a mezzanine floor, the high ceiling provides a sense of loftiness. There are various seating arrangements, including long communal tables for large groups, and quiet sofa corners for people to chill.

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The cafe’s owners are actually in the construction and interior design business. One of the owners, Mr Puah, has been building self-service laundries for several years now and decided to open his own, combining it with his passion for coffee. In fact, when you step into the cafe, you’ll find various coffee machines and paraphernalia, some of which are from his personal collection. On the menu are a selection of Western food such as pastas and grilled meats, but the star here is the coffee, with the beans imported from Italy. Expect flat whites ,long blacks, macchiatos, lattes and the like.

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For lunch, I had the grilled black pepper chicken chop, and a cappucino. The dish came in a substantial portion, with thin cut fries and salad. While the fries are your regular commercial frozen ones, they didn’t taste all too bad. The chicken chop was above average, cooked well with tender juicy meat, and the black pepper sauce was great too.

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I’m not a coffee connoisseur, but the cappucino was great – not too sweet, frothy with a nice foamy top.

So drop by if you’re in the area, need some laundry done and a space to chill!

LAUNDRY CAFE 

65, Jalan Apollo U5/187, Bandar Pinggiran Subang, Seksyen U5, 40150 Shah Alam, Malaysia

Opening hours: 8AM – 7PM (closed Sundays)