Friday, May 30, 2008

More Light Bites @ Green Meadow SS2

3-style Steamed Sweet Potato Balls

Stumbled upon this 'little gem' of a place recently although I later discovered that (according to my colleagues) they have been operating for some time now but recently expanded to this recent location due to growing popularity. Green Meadow Cafe is its name and organic vegetarian is its game. (gee, sounds so cheesy...)
The menu looks good with a nice selection of dishes (although mostly are individual dishes). A selection of the more popular and house specialty dishes is shown on the placard.

Tempting as the more substantial dishes look, nothing can take my eyes away from these little snacks made from three of my favourite root vegetables; sweet potatoes, pumpkin and yam.

First to be served was the Pumpkin Cake.
When I saw this in the menu, I presumed it was the savoury pumpkin kueh. So when it arrived without any sauces, I immediately asked for some chili sauce. The waitress did a double-take before hurrying away to get some for me. I later understood why. The Pumpkin Cake is not the savoury type at all. Loaded with sprinkles of raisins and sunflower seeds, its glutinous texture and subtle sweetness make it more like a "nyonya-style kueh".

I was more impressed with the 3-style Steamed Sweet Potato Balls.
Individually coated in black and white sesame, grounded "peanut-y" powder and the last one which I failed to identify, they are ideal as healthy and nutritious snacks.

To end, the Or Nee (steamed yam pudding) was served.
Topped with some gingko nuts and red date, the Or Nee is a luscious dessert. Every bite of its velvety and creamy texture was a delight to the palate. If it's less oily, I would definitely indulge in it more often.

All in all, it was a pleasant experience. I look forward to trying other dishes on their menu next time.

Green Meadow Cafe
62-62C, SS2/67,
47300. Petaling Jaya.
Location Map here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Light Bites & Desserts at Millennium Square, PJ

Light Bites: Sweet Potato Pastry & Crab Claw Pastry (not actual name in menu)
For someone who has a perpetual sweet tooth like me, I am always on the lookout for place to satisfy my sweet tooth. Recently, I was introduced to a relatively new outlet in Millennium Square (Section 14, PJ). I do not recall seeing any signboard but if I was not mistaken, I was told the name of the shop is Recharge or Refresh. Their menu was rather simple (at time of visit). They do have some vegetarian set dishes that rotate on a daily basis. I was more taken with their snacks menu.
Another type of light snack at Recharge or Refresh (sorry, forgot exact name of the shop).
To be frank, I am not sure about the names of the dishes ordered since it was my lunch partner that day who did the ordering. As you can see, most were deep-fried snacks and to me tasted more or less the same (to me). The dish that left the most impression with me is their Sweet Potato Pastry (see pic above). Leaning more to a sweet dessert that a savoury snack and the fact that I love sweet potato (especially the purple variety), it doesn't take a genius to figure out why I liked this the most. Their Special Seafood/Crabstick with Vegetables Roll was not bad either. The rest were just average.
Special Seafood/Crabstick with Vegetables Roll

Finishing off with a platter of fresh cut fruits.

Opposite this outlet is a more well-known outlet, Piccadilly. This outlet serves quite a variety of both Western and local fare. On a separate occassion, my friend and I were at this outlet for lunch. Not feeling particularly hungry and also not particularly attracted to anything on their menu, we chose to share 1 light snack and 2 desserts.
Their bruschetta tasted just like "spaghetti bolognese" on a piece of toasted baguette. It wasn't awful, but far from being remarkable.
Dessert: Sour Sop on Shaved Ice
On the other hand, their Sea Coconut on shaved ice and Sour Sop on shaved ice desserts were much appetizing. Then again, it was a hot and humid day and anything cold would surely find favour with us.
Dessert: Sea Coconut on Shaved Ice. EXCELLENT remedy on a hot and humid day!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Pholicious Experience" at O`Viet, Sunway Pyramid

I first developed a liking towards Vietnamese cuisine when I was studying in Sydney, Australia. However, when I came back to KL, I was dismayed to discover that there were only a couple of Vietnamese restaurants that I could find in the Klang Valley. Fortunately, since then more and more Vietnamese outlets have sprung up with the growing local appreciation of Vietnamese cuisine, notable mostly for its abundance of vegetables and absence of excessive grease.

Recently, I was invited by FoodStreet to attend a food tasting at O’Viet Restaurant & Café in Sunway Pyramid. Arriving at dinnertime, what awaits was an authentic and tantalizing palate of Vietnamese cuisine.
Beverages: (Clockwise from Top Left): 3 Colours Delight, Plum in Soda, Hot Lemongrass Ginger Tea, "Optima" Vietnamese Coffee
Starting with an array of beverages, the Plum in Soda, Lemongrass Ginger Tea and Three Colours Delight. The pairing of Plum in Soda, although odd-sounding works to tantalize the taste buds (but probably not for those who despise sour stuff).I liked the refreshing Lemongrass Ginger Tea, served hot or cold although I would recommend the former. The Three Colours Delight is a mix of green grass jelly, cendol and red beans; all blended beautifully together in this rich and creamy concoction.

We were then served a Mixed Grill Platter (RM24.90) which consists of traditional Vietnamese appetizers such as fried spring rolls, sugarcane shrimps, grilled beef and chicken with fresh veggies and comes with 4 paper rolls for you to make your own DIY summer rolls. Dipped in either the clear sweet and tangy nuoc cham sauce (an ubiquitous Vietnamese flavoring sauce) or the brown peanut sauce, they provide a tasty start to the evening.
Appetizers & Starters: (Clockwise from Top Left): Mix Grill Platter, Grilled Lemongrass Fish in Banana Leaf, Beef La Lot, Bo La Lot Platter.
The Bo La Lot (Grilled Beef in Wild Betel Leaves) (RM14.90) is another traditional Vietnamese specialty and should not be missed.
(Clockwise From Top Left): Mrs. Chong showing how to wrap your own Spring Roll, The "finished" spring roll, The Vietnamese way to savour the appetizers, A bite of the yummy Spring Roll
The Vietnamese way to eat these appetizers are to have them wrapped in a lettuce leaf with some mint leaves and marinated carrot and dipped in nuoc cham, or a special brown nutty and slightly pungent sauce with a hint of fu yue (Chinese fermented bean cube) that accompanies the La Lot. According to Mr. Chong (proprietor of O’Viet), most of their dipping sauces are self-concocted. Grilled Lemongrass Fish in Banana Leaf (RM22.90) is another popular dish in O’Viet. The fish is cooked with various herbs, vegetables and spices that the flesh has absorbed a pleasantly savory taste.

Now comes the “Pho-licious Experience” part of the night. O’Viet offers quite a wide selection of noodle/pho dishes. We managed to sample 3. First to come was the “Mieng Ga” (RM12.90), chicken in glass noodle in a rather light and delicate chicken broth tinged with herbs. The“Pho Bo Dac Biet” or O’Viet Special Mixed Beef Noodle (RM13.90) is an aromatic melange of noodles combined with pieces of beef and innards (beef fillet, brisket, tripe and beef balls). I was told that their beef-based broth which was not too heavily laced with strong spices and herbs, was slow-boiled for at least 48 hours.
"Pholicious Experience": (Clockwise from Top Left): "Mieng Ga", O'Viet Special Mixed Beef Noodle, Side Dish & Condiments for Bun Bo Hue, Bun Bo Hue (Hue-style Beef Noodle in Spicy Broth)
However, my vote goes to “Bun Bo Hue” or Hue-style Beef Noodle (RM11.90), described as beef fillet and tender brisket in mildly spicy beef soup. Although lesser known compared to Pho Bo, it was by no means inferior to it. In fact, Hue (pronounced as hu-ei) or Central Vietnamese cooking is widely described as the most unique of all and also the most distinct in taste – being much spicier and colourful than its Northern and Southern counterparts. Hue cooking is also influenced by the otherwise little-known royal Vietnamese style of cooking.
The key of Bun Bo Hue is the rich beef broth. It was bright and spicy, tangy yet slightly sweetish, and highly aromatic. The side dish of assorted vegetables was also slightly different from the usual as it also include banana flower and some pounded dried chili paste. Just chuck what you fancy from the side dish into the soup already heavily-ladened with beef, brisket, noodles, and start digging in!

Dessert: Chilled Durian Pancakes
It was to my utter delight when I saw what came next. Durian pancakes! Yes, this place serves chilled durian pancake. Fresh soy-based (non-dairy) cream and thick durian flesh encased in a thin crepe skin served chilled. A definite must for all durian lovers! But don’t worry if you do not like durian for it also comes in either cempedak or avocado filling. RM5.90 for 2 pieces. A couple of pieces that I tasted came with a slightly hardened or frozen center. Just slice it in 2 and let it warm a little before consuming.

The scrumptious meal and also the interesting explanations and fascinating tales by the lively Mr. Goh (who by the way, also owns Du Viet and La Lot Vietnamese Restaurant) finally came to an end with a cup of sweet, intense Vietnamese coffee directly imported from Vietnam. There are 4 selections available (according to your preferred intensity). I had the Optima (RM7.50) which is of medium strength and has a combination of 4 beans. Although I would have preferred it served warmer, I still enjoyed the very good cup of aromatic Vietnamese coffee.
Soothing ambience in O'Viet
Besides the dishes mentioned above, O’Viet has a pretty extensive menu that covers a rather large selection of appetizers & starters, ala carte dishes, noodles & congees as well as desserts and beverages.
Link to this article on Food Street

O’Viet Restaurant & Café (Pork-free)
G1.45 (Ground Level, Sunway Pyramid)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ben & Nicks, Subang Jaya

I wouldn't have suspected that there's a quaint litte eatery hidden on the ground floor of this new block of condominiums (E-Tiara, located next to Carrefour Subang Jaya) have I not read about it. Before going, I distinctively remember reading that the place was rather small. But I was still surprised to discover how small it was. Upon entering, there was a long table filled with little children (probably a kids party that made us felt like we were crashing their party). And that table more of less filled the entire hallway of the restaurant. What was left are a few smaller tables located near the walls. However, there are more tables available outside the restaurant.
Good Illy coffee served here.

Anyhow, let's move on to food. The menu does have a few interesting choices in addition to standard western/italian fare. I had something that sounded like "combo in a blanket" which was basically a mixture of grilled beef and grilled chicken in crispy tortilla wraps. The dish was served together with side of salad.
Combo in a blanket
I started with the chicken half first and found it to be tasty enough although not remarkable. I still liked it though. Then when I bit into the other half that was filled with the grilled beef, my-oh-my, it was just awesome! The grilled beef slices were tender and so well-marinated that every bite was simply yummy.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
My friend ordered their Cajun Chicken Pasta in creamy sauce. When it arrived, it did look a bit too creamy and "jelak" for my liking but after nicking off a few bites from her plate, to my surprise I found myself liking it. My friend who had it proclaimed it to be "very delicious!" and proceeded to eat every morsel and almost licked the plate clean.

Grilled Lamb Cutlets
Another friend ordered their Grilled Lamb Cutlets. I didn't manage to try this. When asked, my friend commented that the dish was "ok" but pretty "average" although he did not have any problem finishing every bit of it.

Found out that the outlet serves Illy coffee so more plus points for them! *grins* Their latte looked rather good too.
My friend who had not tried a affogato (which is basically a shot of espresso topped with a scoop of ice-cream) before, ordered one for himself. However, I would only recommend this dessert for people who like espressos.

Other desserts that we ordered to share were their homemade bread and butter pudding and apple crumble.
Homemade bread and butter pudding
When both were served at the same time, I had a hard time distinguishing them from each other. They looked the same.
Homemade Apple Crumble
Both were alright, I guess. I have always thought that it is hard to go wrong with pairing a hot dessert with something cold like ice-cream and I was not wrong in this case. Portions were a bit small although they were pretty generous by giving a large scoop of ice-cream, speaking of which was of good stuff. In fact I wanted to ask the owner which brand of ice-cream they used but unfortunately, I forgot to do so.

Service was good. Rather friendly and personal as most of the staff seems to be family members. Due to this however, service can be a bit slow at times. And to be safe than sorry, do make a reservation before going to avoid disappointment since the place is rather small.

Ben & Nick's Diner
Lunch: Mondays to Fridays, noon to 2.30pm and for
Dinner: Monday to Saturdays 6pm to 10pm.
Lot G10, E-Tiara Service Apartments,
Subang Jaya (next to Carrefour Subang).
Tel: 016-201 0189.