Grabin’ A Grub @ Morganfield’s, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: July 1 2013

The first 3 days of July sees me jetting into KL again. The views of KL city was pretty from the plane with the low-laying layer of opaque haze. However, before I could further romanticise the views, the door to the plane opened allowing the acrid smell of smoke to fill the cabin and my eyes started to water. Fantastic! I’ve left the Borneo jungles and now fronting the developing world problem. HAZE! *cough* *cough*

With my city digs at The Pavilion, I have to front yet another developing world problem, that is, where to eat? I am fast running out of ideas. Spasso (my review here)  came to mind, but wishing to reduce my carbohydrate intake due to my lack of exercise and thus guilt for inactivities for the last couple of weeks (blame haze and heat), I reached for one of the dozen food apps I had installed on my mobile for a recommendation from strangers.  Speaking of which, I am also venturing into the world of food apps development. To be more specific, I am investing into a food app start-up, a real physical company which I am very excited about.

Righto, I am 0.9km away from Morganfield’s and photos of the ribs and desserts looked delish…

So here we are at 6:30pm, myself and one other arrived in front of service discussing of whether we should go in.

The diner is basic and grubby, smelling of grease, smoke and stale ciggies. Judging from the huge bar area, one could certainly discern that alcoholic beverages is huge selling point here (like the rest of the joints clustering at the Connection Bridge in Pavilion). To help with our decision the helpful service at the front showed us the menu. We did a quick glance and went in for a punt.

image

Walking towards our table, we passed by a couple of tourists wearing bibs (?!) eating a humongous platter of ribs, chicken, chips and corn bread served on a metal tray. This is a definite ode to obesity!

The disposable placemats on the tables has recommendation options for the sharing plates, which are way too big for the 2 of us.

wpid-20130701_183431.jpg

My dining companion ordered the Smokin’ Cheese Burger.  It was a huge double-patty cheese burger stabbed with a steak knife for added drama, but  did not ‘wow’.  Chips were edible but erred to the salty side, understandable since the diner has to up-sell drinks. It was gobbled up simply for the sake of eating.

image

My Smokin’ Duck Salad has a dodgy Peking Duck’s influence – lettuce, cucumbers, spring onions, capsicums and strips of defrosted Peking duck sprinkled with sesame seeds.  It came with sesame soy sauce on the side.  No complaints, the vegs filled me up and it was a long time I had eaten the century egg.

image

The service rings of Malaysian hospitality – all smiles, friendly and professional.  The decor was unfortunately a confused eclectic assemble of a pseudo-American diner.   Pictures hanging on brick walls, and a juke box at a corner.  There was also a  TV  showing Mr Bean which kept the little girl from our next table entertained.

Dessert was a Bread Pudding  which came with a stingy serve of  ‘special’ whiskey sauce.  It radiates home-made with store-bought Nestle vanilla ice-cream.  Satisfied our sweet-tooth nonetheless!

image

We did not linger long at the diner after dessert. On our way out, I noticed the couple still struggling to finish The Carnivore.

In all fairness, Morganfield’s is a ribs joint.   Here I am, using my food app for recommendation from strangers, knowing full well that each person has different taste buds and what I ate was not rated nor recommended by these strangers, so I was at my own peril.  It was nevertheless pretty interesting.

Will I be back? Never say never, perhaps I might try the ribs one day if I can justify the carbs.

A Bowl of Salad and Chippies Ahoy! @ Ben’s, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: June 10 2013

Following a hearty lunch at Tonkatsu earlier on (my review here), I was still feeling rather full. But it’s dinner time and rather than raiding the fridge in the middle of the night by skipping my dinner, I opted for a lighter salad fare. However, finding a place that serves proper salads in KL is hard – I have tried Pavilion’s TGI Friday where they offer an uninteresting single varietal salad of iceberg lettuces, sweet corns and cherry tomatoes heavily drenched in dressing which  defeats the purpose of a ‘light fare’.

Meanwhile, I have walked passed Ben’s countless times and perused its overly lengthy board menu placed at the entrance. The restaurant aims to please all its diners by offering an array of choices, unfortunately, this was a put-off for the indecisives. But because I remembered that they have salads on offer and since I had already decided on what I am going to order – a salad – hence the mission of ordering should be easy.

image

So, here we are, Mom, Bro and I, ending up at Ben’s to be quickly ushered into the restaurant.   I am not sure about the replica of  a living room at the front.  Perhaps, the big blue sofa is for the take-away patrons to rest their tired derrières while waiting for their orders.  A huge lamp for reading the Hello! magazines were very thoughtfully provided.   Nonetheless, the standout is the colour of the bright yellow feature wall which I thought absolutely stunning (I love bright colours).

image

image

The restaurant itself is a long space.  A banquette with throw cushions was set against one wall, making excellent spatial economics for when the restaurant has to accomodate for a large group.  The tables need only be joined together and some chairs borrowed.  The space spills out to an outdoor dining area on the balcony overlooking the Bukit Bintang strip which would be perfect for an idle afternoon tea or to partake in the vibrancy when BB comes alive at night.

image

Cleverness in details is one thing that I noted about Ben’s.  Everything from the napkins, to the box of card games for ideas to kick off conversations on the table right down to the details of the waist-coat-aprons on the wait-staffs.

image

image

Despite my simple plan of ordering a salad, the extensive menu of 10 different salads on offer still required a decision from me.  Finally, I went straight for the vegetarian option. Ben’s House Salad ($15.90) came with all my favourite goodies – endame and avocado. I have asked to have the dressing on the side since nothing can be more annoying than a salad drowned in dressing.  I was taken in by the freshness of the roasted pistachios, almonds, walnuts, sun-flower seeds, flaxseeds et al, which were noted as ‘7 seeds’ on the menu.   So stuffed to the brim with vegies, I am rest assured that I would not be raiding the fridge when night falls.

image

For my Mom and Bro, the process of eliminating Sandwiches, Pies, Pastas, Asians and Soups narrowed down to the Traditional options for them.  My Mom opted for  the Fish and Chips ($29.90) .  This came with a small side of coleslaw. With such an array of choices to choose from, it would not come a suprise if the fish fingers and chips were from the  frozen prepackaged supermarket origin rather than from the markets.   Nevertheless, how can one resist the seduction of a Machiavellian piece of crispy fried  temptation?  As in trance, I reached out for a piece, then another, and another, and soon half the chips were in my stomach! Oh dear!

image

My brother’s normal dinner at home is always a piece of steak.  His Steak Frites ($52.90) was a pretty ordinary chargrilled strip loin with black peper sauce.  Together, the chips and  plateful of green beans ensured that he is taking in his recommended vegetables for the day.

image

Although we did not have dessert, the lovey-dovey-gooey  looks exchanged by the couples at the next table while they tucked in their luscious slice of chocolate brownie cake said it all.   With my induction done, I shall be back for more salads and dessert the next time!

A Crunchy Piece of Piggy Heaven @ Tonkatsu, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit:  June 10 2013

Tonkatsu – a piece of crunchy deep-fried pork heaven – is an ubiquitous cafeteria staple in Japan.

But, did you know that tonkatsu has European roots?  Katsu is the Japanese pronunciation of ‘cutlets’ (pronounced ka-tsu-reh-toh in Japanese), whereas Ton means ‘pork’ in Japanese, thus tonkatsu, thus pork cutlets.   As a very amateur cook, the Chica is pleased to explain that the underlying difference between the European’s pork cutlets and Japanese tonkatsu lies in that the Western pork cutlets being coated with bread crumbs then pan-fried with butter, whereas the Japanese Katsu is deep fried in vegetable oil rendering it crunchier while maintaining the juice and tenderness of the meat inside.

Never mind…

As you probably notice, there are also many restaurants specialising in tonkatsu around.  In Pavilion Mall, there is Tonkatsu by Wa Kitchen, located on Level 6.

I should state that I am very apprehensive to anything deep-fried especially for calorie-sake and the type of oils used in the frying.  Having been to China, I have heard too many horror stories about re-using dirty recycled oil.  Nevertheless, I was prompted to try since there is not many eating establishments on Level 6 that I have not eaten, besides, I wanted to tick-off  Tonkatsu by Wa Kitchen on my list.

Following a quick welcome by the staff at the door, we were seated promptly.  I am thrilled to see Japanese bankers (they were wearing their tags) having their lunch as their presence vouch the authenticity of this tonkatsu place.  On the table was a tray of condiments – vinegar, dark soy and a bottle of sesame seeds.  Seeing that a grinding bowl and wooden pestle is provided, I took it as a DIY exercise to grind my own sesame dressing.

Should I point out that one should grind the dry sesame seeds before adding in the liquids?  A major faux pas on my side, see the picture below.

wpid-20130610_122059.jpg

My tray of Katsu Soba arrived shortly after.  On the tray was  a small dish of Japanese chilli flakes for me to sprinkle on my soba and my crispy pork loin katsu resting on a rack (I am not sure whether other orders come with their katsu on the racks, but I had asked for my katsu to be separated from the noodles since I don’t like my katsu to be soggy).   In my bowl of steaming soba are some seaweeds, bamboo shoots and half an egg.  The soba was cooked to my liking – al dente, however, perhaps this is a Malaysian-thing, the soup was simply too sweet for me to drink.

wpid-20130610_123023.jpg

Needless to say, it was wonderfully satisfying to sink my teeth into a crispy golden piece of juicy katsu and hearing myself chomping away.  With limited stomach space, I had to guiltily leave 2 pieces of the katsu heaven behind, thus hoping I am pursuing the greater karmic goodness through feeding those creatures less fortunate in the food chain

image

The other set that my dining companion ordered was the very simply called Set 1, which has pork-cutlet tonkatsu served with shredded cabbage, rice, mixed egg plant and miso soup.  Unbeknownst to us until later, the shredded cabbage is refillable gratis

wpid-20130610_122936.jpg

Minced pork with egg plant topped with scallions for a bit of colour.  A very flavoursome side dish

wpid-20130610_122958.jpg

The accompanying katsu for the rice set is a piece of choice pork-cutlet with a different texture to my pork-loin being a different cut of meat.

wpid-20130610_122917.jpg

A hearty meal tucked in deserved a little rest before heading back to our erstwhile duties.  While we would be happy to spend more time in the pleasant environment, time beckoned for us to leave and around RM35 lighter each (including drinks).

wpid-20130610_121654.jpg