Date of Visit: March 27 2013
‘Damn Shiok’ – literally translates to ‘damn delicious’ in Malay
Loitering around the malls in KL is fast becoming an excruciating lunchtime exercise. It was with relief that our meeting today went OT and my colleague offered to drive us out for a late lunch at Bangsar Shopping Mall. Bangsar is an up-market residential area about 30mins (on good traffic days) from KL City Center. Since our ‘mission’ is simply to grab a late grub then head out to catch the plane, I didn’t have time to check out the mall, however, with my sharp eyes, I noticed many nicely done up eateries. In particular, a pastry shop on the ground level which offers afternoon tea which I look forward to visit.
The restaurant we are heading to is ‘Champ’. Apparently, it is a favourite of the locals serving Malaysian fare. On the large brick wall inside the bistro, there is a huge red board proclaiming that Champ is placed in the Top 30 restaurants in Malaysia by Miele. From my googling, I later discovered that Miele Guide is an authoritative guide on eating out in Asia since the opinions are based on the professional jury and also online polling.
The deco in brickworks with a large bar, dim low lights and booth seatings is reminiscent of ‘Cheers’, the popular sitcom from the 80s, ‘Where everybody knows your name! What is lacking is perhaps the jukebox! True to its spirit, while waiting for our food to arrive, we saw the chef-owner Richard Nah. A big man in T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. All very casual, simply out to inspect his business which my colleague tells me is humming along briskly. I can concur, with beers on tap pulled into huge icy cold schooners.
What we ordered:
We ordered a BBQ pork (char siu) and crispy pork belly to share. Like all Malaysian dishes, they were very sweet. Still, I liked both dishes. The BBQ pork, although very sweet, was perfectly caramelised and the fat literally melts in my mouth. The crispy pork belly was tender, tasty and has crispy skin. I can attest that they were ‘damn shiok‘!
Mee Jawa: A Malay/ Indonesian fried noodles
Nyonya Kerabu Mee Hoon: A dish similar to dry angel hair pasta. Spicy and sour with onions and chilies to unblock one’s tear glands. The mee hoon were very fine, but did not stick together and the best part of it, it was not oily and more like a noodles salad with herbs! Shiok!
Fried Kway Teow: This is a popular dish and my colleague explained that this is his favourite because it has a lot of crab meat and the shrimps are big and juicy.
Chu Yuk Fun: This is Champ’s signature dish – a bowl of noodles chock full of minced pork, pork ribs and innards. Shiok again, no doubt, but it has a layer of oil on top and only 2 tiny miserly bits of innards.
My verdict? Well, anytime I don’t have to jostle for a table is damn shiok. However, in all fairness, the BBQ pork definitely ranks in my top 5 list char siu for dessert!