Monday, 24 September 2012

Full Scottish Breakfast @ Craigmore Guesthouse, St Andrews

Now I know people seldom think of St Andrews of Scotland as a tourist destination but it is home to one of the most important cathedral ruins and prestigious universities in UK. It is also very famous for golf so please don't come during the summer as all the guesthouses and hotels will be full and the prices exorbitant =.= The university itself hardly needs introduction as Kate and William famously met there as students. If you fancy some sea breeze, do make a trip to St Andrews too as it's a coastal city.
Anyway what I wanted to highlight in this post is... <drum roll> ...Scottish breakfast!!! =D
I stayed at Craigmore Guesthouse (which I highly recommend) and they offer a choice of full Scottish breakfast, Scottish kippers or porridge (otherwise known as oatmeal). No prizes for guessing which one I ordered =P
L-R: Marmalade, Butter Cubes, Strawberry Jam
I usually do not like toast with jam and butter as I had it every single day when I was still schooling and now I'm sick of it but I love the butter cubes, marmalade and strawberry jam served here - they all tasted really fresh as if they were just processed from milk and pureed from fresh fruit.
I also had a rack of toast to accompany my huge platter. Oh how I miss British bread! It is just so much fluffier even though the bread is compact with a nice bready aroma. It went so well with the preserves and butter that I was tempted to eat more than a slice.
Ham & Fresh Fruit
There was also a tray of ham, cheese, fresh fruit, yoghurt and muesli to choose from. I had a slice of ham and some summer fruits. The ham was really fresh and sweet and superior to any ham in KL; I could have had more but I was saving space for the porky platter and also there were limited slices on the breakfast trolley =P The rock melon, blueberry and raspberry were really sweet and juicy and a great appetiser.
Full Scottish Breakfast
The Full Scottish Breakfast consisted of, clockwise, sunny side-up, grilled mushrooms, grilled tomato, pork bacon, pork sausage, potato scone and black pudding. The fried egg, mushrooms and tomatoes were yummy as usual. The pork bacon was a little on the salty side though and not as crisp as I like it to be but it was really meaty. The pork sausage was a real winner with its crisp skin yet juicy filling. The potato scone was rather bland and tasteless - that's a miss. 
Now I bet most will be wondering how does black pudding taste or even, what it is. For the uninitiated, black pudding is a type of sausage made by cooking (pig's) blood with some filler such as oatmeal until it is congealed. It probably sounds like Fear Factor material and I was initially kind of apprehensive about its taste too so I had a tiny nibble was nice! The black pudding was grilled to a crisp texture and if you don't dwell too much on the fact that it's congealed blood, it actually tastes like sausage but with a gamier taste. It's slightly crunchy too from the crisp exterior. All I can say is, if you like innards, give it a try. If you dislike innards, try at your own risk =)

And if you're curious, here's a view of my cosy room =)
Cosy double bed

Love the curtains

PawPoints: 4 Paws
Craigmore Guesthouse
Murray Park
St Andrews
Tel: +44 01334 472 142

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Cristang Restaurant @ 8 Avenue, PJ

After hearing so much about Cristang's famous pork burgers, we finally had a chance to try it. I'm not a big fan of the location though as it is situated in a part of PJ I hardly ever step foot on. Although it is housed in a rather new establishment, I still find the place a bit dodgy, especially if you visit it at night. There are lots of students milling about though - I assume there is a student accommodation nearby. Anyway, on to the scrumptious pork burgers...
Welcoming Exterior
The exterior is really lovely and welcoming. I especially love the broken marble / granite floor.
The picture of the interior above is a bit dim since it is dim inside the restaurant but there is a homey feel to it.
Pork Burger Classification
As we were here specifically for their pork burgers, we only took a picture of that particular page in the menu. All their burgers come with cheese, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and crunchy gherkins with a dressing of mayo and Dijon mustard as well as a side of Cajun potato wedges.
Cristang also offers a wide variety of the usual mains and pastas in the menu which we would definitely return to try.
P3 - The Original (RM 25.70)
JS, always the safe one, opted to try The Original Pork Burger, codenamed P3, which consisted of pork patty topped with bacon, chilli con carne and the usual toppings, sandwiched between a buttered bun with a side of Cajun wedges.
The pork patty was moist and juicy and the knobbly chilli con carne was the perfect accompaniment to the burger. I also love the slightly toasted and buttered buns. There was a huge piece of bacon which was good but I much prefer it to be seared till crispy and charred with lardy bacon goodness =P The roasted potato wedges were really good and crispy with fluffy insides. I finished them all even though I was super full =D
Dissected version of P3
I know it looks kind of gross but we just wanted to show you the burger components =P
P5 - Getting Creole (RM 30.80)
I had the P5 burger, which had a petai pork patty instead (I requested for regular pork patty) and additional Cajun prawns. Everything else was similar to The Original hence I'll just comment on the Cajun prawns which were of medium sized and half-shelled, making it super easy to chomp away. You might wonder how does a combo pork and prawns burger work but just think of it as a Surf n' Turf burger, porky style. I'll definitely order this again =D
Dissection of P5
JS insisted on all these dissected shots >. >
P10 - Some Like It HOT! (RM 35.65)
VJ had the works - pork patty blended with habanero and jalapeno peppers topped with bacon and jalapeno tomato salsa as well as everything else. We didn't try this but it smelled soooooo good when it arrived and I was so tempted to snitch a bite >.< As I was originally contemplating between this and the Creole burger, I'll probably order this on my next visit.
P7 - The Urban Legend (RM 30.65)
MW had The Urban Legend <cues spooky tune> which consisted of petai pork patty, bacon and minced pork with petai sambal. A very petai affair this is. Again we did not try so no comment there. It should be awesome for petai lovers =P
The pork burgers are slightly on the expensive side but they are really worth it for the amount of toppings and juicy patty. If only Cristang would relocate to my preferred side of PJ, I'd gladly return anytime.

PawPoints: 4 Paws
Pawket: Olive
Cristang Restaurant
B-G-19, 8 Avenue
Jalan Sungai Jernih 8/1
Seksyen 8
Petaling Jaya
Tel: 7956 7877
Tue - Sun: 11am - 3pm, 5.30pm - 11pm

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Moon Palace Restaurant @ Bandar Puteri Puchong

My mum first came across Moon Palace Restaurant when she saw their ad in the newspaper. I tried googling for some reviews but there weren't many and there were even unfavourable ones. Since the pictures of the restaurant looked clean and new, I decided to take the plunge and book a room at this restaurant anyway.
The restaurant is located at Bandar Puteri Puchong, near the Giant Hypermarket. It is decorated in a modern Chinese style with lovely VIP rooms and cute seat covers as you'll see if you scroll below. As they opened at the beginning of the year, there weren't many people there - only 2 tables when we were there for lunch on Sunday.
The staff who took my mum's call sounded polite and cheery and when we were there, one of them was stationed permanently in the VIP room. She was friendly with a nice smile and ever so hardworking, changing our plates after every course and refilling tea without being asked to. Very good service I'd say.
Love the olden script in its logo
Samfu for the chairs
I love how the seat covers are designed to look like traditional Chinese clothing with those oriental buttons. I forgot to take a picture of the VIP room but as you can see from the above picture, the walls are carpeted in a modern and chic design. There is even a karaoke set for you to sing your hearts out.
As you can see, the cutlery and all dinnerware are new. Even the tablecloth is creamy white with a nice floral design.
Combination Platter
What a lovely looking and huge combination platter! Clockwise from left, you'll find glazed pork belly, crab claws in an orangey sweet and sour sauce, stir-fried seafood, celery, carrots and snow peas in a vermicelli basket, deep-fried spring rolls and in the centre, cold marinated jellyfish on cucumber.
  • The pork belly coated in a thick BBQ / Worcestershire glaze was well marinated. The meat was cooked to perfection and was not dry.
  • The crab claws were really good too, covered in a thick orange-coloured BBQ sauce.
  • The stir-fried veg and seafood were light and crunchy - I liked this a lot too! The same cannot be said of the deep-fried vermicelli basket though as I couldn't break it apart with the serving spoon so I abandoned it.
  • Deep-fried spring rolls were average only.
  • The cold dish of marinated jellyfish on cucumber was appetizing and provided a nice contrast to the other hot dishes.
Shark's fin soup
Shark's fin protesters, hold your horses! It's just a name and I'm sure for such a cheap price, no sharks were harmed in the making of this comforting bowl of soup filled with lots of crabmeat.
Suckling pig
Ooo yummy! White bread and some patty (I detected some salted egg yolk in the mix) and topped with a crispy suckling pig skin. Yum!
Cod in Superior Sauce with Beancurd and Woodear Fungus
This was rather average as is typical steamed fish but the cod was really smooth with firm white flesh.
Braised Mushrooms and (Mini) Abalones
This was also average - the usual fare of mushrooms, gingko nuts, beancurd and baby abalones and a bit of blanched pak choy stalks on the side all flavoured with thick oyster sauce.
Stir-Fried Vegetables
This was a surprise winner! For me at least, the other senior citizens were all spitting the fibre out =.= I found it extremely delicious though...some sort of mountain vegetable with sweet stems stir-fried with crunchy mini salted fish and squiggly squid. If you've eaten the noodles (Sansai Udon) at Sushi Zanmai before, you'll know what sort of vegetables I'm talking about.
Longevity Noodles
The set menu originally had Fried Rice but as we were celebrating pawprints' obaachan's birthday, we swapped it with Longevity Noodles. As you can see, it doesn't look very appetizing =.= I wish the broth was less watery, it would have been much better if they had thickened it and made it into gravy. But once you scoop the noodles into a bowl minus the "soup", it looks quite ok as you can see in the below picture. It tasted average to me only...not something I'd recommend. 
Close-up of Longevity Noodles
Longan and Sea Coconut
The Longan and Sea Coconut at Moon Palace is a much much nicer version compared to other restaurants. The soup was syrupy and sweet and concentrated with hints of lemon and honey (lemon hachimitsuzuke ^_^). The addition of numerous ice cubes ensured that the drink is sufficiently cold and refreshing. Love this!
Chinese birthday buns
As it was obaachan's birthday, we also switched the usual Chinese dessert with Chinese birthday buns in the shape of a peach. Soft, moist buns with a centre filling of lotus paste.
Wasn't it a very good meal? This 8-course meal for approximately 10 people was only priced at RM 498++ which is way cheaper than other restaurants. The taste and superb service was also well worth the price tag. We definitely wouldn't mind returning for any future events.
PawPoints: 4 Paws
Pawket: Cheese
Moon Palace Restaurant
1st Floor, Tower 2 @PFCC
Bandar Puteri Puchong
Tel: 03 8063 8122
Daily: 11am - 11pm

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Haikara Style Cafe & Bakery @ SS16, Subang Jaya

Haikara Style Cafe & Bakery is a homey, cosy cafe operated by a Japanese couple in Subang Jaya. It has quite a following for its baked goods as well as home-cooked Japanese dishes. It is also a good place to chill and have a cuppa.
Shop Front
The shop is located at the ground floor of the apartment complex adjacent to Carrefour which makes it quite easy to spot. However, if you're not familiar with Subang Jaya, do take care not to miss the turning and end up on the elevated highway to Federal Highway instead =P
Array of bread loaves
There are always freshly made bread, cookies and cakes available and the popular ones get sold out quickly.
Mushroom Cup Soup and Butter Roll (RM 4.50)
Quite affordable, don't you think? The butter roll came fresh from the oven and was too hot to handle with hands. Once it cooled down, it was soft and spongy and had a nice crust to it. The mushroom soup here is very watery, not the thick kind that is served in most restaurants. I think you can literally drink the soup from the cup itself. The soup had a milky taste flavoured lightly with herbs and there were also slices of button mushrooms for added texture.
Rokomoko Don (RM 18.90)
The Rokomoko Don is one of the more popular choices with a beef patty slathered in a sweet, tangy Rokomoko sauce and topped with a perfectly fried sunny side-up. As this is a donburi, rice is provided within a ring of fresh lettuce and shredded cabbage. The plate is decorated prettily with alternating cucumber slices and cherry tomato halves.
The beef patty is typical Japanese hanbaagu which is very moist and not as firm as Western style patties. The sauce is actually quite salty and tangy but it tastes better once you pair it with the unseasoned vegetables. This is comfort food at its best so do give it a try if you're feeling a little down =P
See the huge patty?
Croquette (RM 9.90)
I insisted we order a side of Croquette as I have not tried them before. The ones at Haikara are mixed with minced chicken and onions and drizzled with Haikara sauce which tasted somewhat like Brown sauce. The Croquettes were deep fried to a crisp texture and were quite good. I felt there was something a little off about its taste...probably the addition of minced chicken? Or it could be because I had conjured a taste of how fried mashed potatoes are supposed to taste like and this didn't taste like it =.= Anyway it's just odd me and I assure you the Croquettes are actually quite nice =) JS liked them so you can trust his unbiased and unfussy judgement.
Chicken Katsu Sandwich (RM 13.90)
The Chicken Katsu Sandwich didn't look like much from the picture in the menu but trust me, it's huge. The chicken katsu is sandwiched between two thick slabs of toasted homemade white bread and covered with a mixture of mayonnaise and mustard - you can opt for mayonnaise, mustard or a combination of the two. The sandwich is served with a side salad, a dollop of mayonnaise and a couple of wedges.
The chicken katsu here is lovely - moist and crispy. The mixture of mayo and mustard gives quite a kick and enhances the overall taste. I find it a little hard to stuff the sandwich into my mouth though due to the thick bread slices. I also noted that the bottom of the sandwich is rather oily but the sandwich is really good and comes highly recommended. JS agreed but he preferred Aoi Tei - I think both are equally good, just that Haikara's has a homemade feel to it whereas Aoi Tei has a more professional look to it.
The side salad was rather bland as it is not seasoned but I guess it is intended to balance the katsu sandwich. The wedges were surprisingly good due to the spiced seasoning - pity there were only 3.
See the katsu slab?

On an earlier visit, JS had the Chicken Vegetable Spicy Pasta (RM 18.90). It was quite light with a healthy vegetable broth-turned-gravy coating the pasta.
JS and I really like Haikara for its cosy ambience and we are already planning for the next visit back to sample the other dishes that caught our eyes. Oh another thing I noticed was that the proprietress - a slim, tall Japanese lady - looks very much like one Japanese actress called Natsuki Mari =P
PawPoints: 4 Paws
Pawket: Tomato

Haikara Style Cafe & Bakery
E-Tiara Ground Floor
Jalan Kemajuan SS 16/1
Subang Jaya
Tel: 03 5630 0743
Tue - Thur: 11am - 11pm
Fri - Sat: 10am - 11pm
Sun: 10am - 6.30pm

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Lan Je Steamed Fish @ USJ 1, Subang Jaya

Lan Je is a famous household name for fresh steamed fish. The original Lan Je outlet is at Rawang which I thought exceptionally far but good news, it is so popular that it seems to have branched out to many places such as Kota Damansara, USJ and Cheras.


Famous Steamed Fish (RM 12 - Medium)
We had the famous steamed fish with bean paste, garlic, ginger and soy sauce. You can also opt for spicier versions where cili padi is added. This Chinese blend of flavouring helps rid the fish of any fishiness whilst retaining the sweetness of the flesh. As Lan Je specialises in steamed fish, you are guaranteed of the freshest fish possible, the flesh firm, white and naturally sweet. The appetising sauce itself is a very good accompaniment with rice.

Choi Dam with Fried Anchovies
The Choi Dam aka brussel sprouts were average but the addition of deep fried mini anchovies really helped alleviate the taste.

We will definitely return since the shop is within familiar grounds and the fish is good =D

PawPoints: 3 Paws
Pawket: Onion

Restoran Lan Je
16-18, Jalan USJ 1/1B
Regalia Business Centre
Subang Jaya
Tel: 012 568 9391/ 016 668 9391
Wed - Mon: 11.30am - 3pm, 5.30pm - 9.30pm