Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Fat Witch Brownies

David bought me a brownies cookbook last week and I was extremely inspired by it. The author of the book was "Patrica Helding" who lived in New York City. She baked brownies for her love of passion and started to experiment with all sorts of different brands of chocolate chips, butter, flour, etc. She is very particular with her measurements and experimented batch after batch until she found her ultimate precise recipe. She first sells the brownies to her friends, colleagues and friends. Until finally, people praise and encourage her enough that she found the confidence to open her brownies store called 'Fat Witch Brownies'. For 12 years she kept her recipe an absolute secret until she wrote this book, that she let spreads her brownies recipe with the world.

I always wanted to open a cake store or a bakery but has no culinary or pastry background what so ever. Patricia has none too but her passion drove her, and actually to begin with; brownies is a simple desert yet decadently delicious. In her book, she gives advices as to pair the assortments of her brownies with different ice creams, sauces and accessories.

I felt encouraged and inspired by her book in many different ways. Maybe it was her narration, maybe it was her personal experiences, maybe it was her own personal recipe but above all I understood that her passion and confidence reigns above all culinary degrees that other pastry chefs have. Lastly but not least, I've decided that I should one day open a brownies store and called it "Big Bite Brownies" (what do you think of the name?). It may come true 5 years or even 10 years from now but I'll always have it in my mind. Watch it coming guys!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Tea Garden @ Gading Serpong

David and I drove quite a distance of 32 Kilometers from my house to Gading Serpong. Serpong is a large residential and commercial estate with all the necessities you can find there. Two of us were house hunting and for a late lunch we hit this restaurant called "Tea Garden". Both of us overheard the house brokers saying that the place has good food. The place was very easy to locate because it is situated on the main boulevard road; as long you take notice of your surroundings, you won't missed it.

At a Sunday 2.30 pm, the place was still busy and busy means good business and thus good food I have in mind. But honestly, I was confused when I first enter the eatery. The decoration was very weird, they have Chinese red lanterns all over and also Malay signature green window panes. I'm very sure that the owners didn't hire an interior designer to do the place. When I opened the menu, I was even more confused. The variety of food was abundance! There was way too much choices and it spread from Western, Chinese, Malay, Deserts, etc. I couldn't decide promptly and asked what was the house signature dish; Hainan Chicken Rice.

Last but not least, I have to praise them for the rather cheap price they charge. For two grown up who eats big portion (all the menu below) we spend Rp 160,000 (include tax) that is approximately around USD 17. Good value for money don't you think?

Menu : Hak Kau
Price : Rp 15,000 ++
Score : 6.0 / 10

>> David's favorite and thus we need to order this every time any restaurant has it on their menu. This particular Hak Kau has super fresh shrimp, when I bite into it, I can feel the meat is still firm and springy; not mushy at all.
Menu : Baked BBQ Pork Puff
Price : Rp 12,000++
Score : 7.0 / 10

>> Whenever I give at least a 6.5 / 10, you really need to have a go at it and this you have to try! The sweet pastry was a perfect combination with the savory pork fillings inside. I wanted to have a second plate but ordered too many other dishes and thus, next time I'll have to come back here !!
Menu : Crab Siu May
Price : Rp 14,000++
Score : 6.0 / 10

>> The taste was rather typical but I have to give an extra point for the fresh ingredients. The crab and shrimp fillings inside were so fresh that I can feel it coming back alive, hahaha.
Menu : Fried BBQ Pork Bun
Price : Rp 12,000++
Score : 7.0 / 10

>> This is a cross between fried "Man Tou" and a steamed BBQ Pork Bun. The goodness of each dish were all combine into one! Great crispy skin outside and splendid savory pork inside. Most importantly, NOT too oily at all.
Menu : Hot & Sour Sze Chuan Soup
Price : Rp 10,000++
Score : 3.5 / 10

>> I know the price is cheap (even crab meat is added into) for a bowl of hot and sour soup but the taste is confusing. Meaning, it is neither hot, sour, sweet nor salty. The taste is just weird. I have to point out here that the soup is not bland, seasonings were definitely remembered but it is just the taste that I don't like.
Menu : Chicken Feet with Black Bean Sauce (Tauco)
Price : Rp 11,000++
Score : 5.0 / 10

>> I was surprised at the portion of this menu. But when look closer I realised it was only 3 feet (normal serving) but it was  huge feet and the fact they didn't cut into smaller portions was rather a turn off for presentation. At all level , regardless of taste, portion, presentation Din Tai Fung's is still better.
Menu : Dumpling Soup
Price : Rp 16,000 ++
Score : 6.5 / 10

>> This is a satisfying bowl for my standard. The broth is not only clear but also has a calming taste. The dumplings were plump with shrimp and chicken stuffing. I can really feel that the kitchen were generous with their portions in relative to the price they charge.
Menu : Hainan Chicken Rice
Price : Rp 18,500++
Score : 6.0 / 10

>> I'm not sure why I got served white rice when they stated "Hainan Rice" and the stupid part was that I didn't asked the waiter about that. Nevertheless, the steam chicken with the soy seasoning was delicious and the chicken broth at the side was heavenly good! I might sound exaggerating for just a bowl of soup but I mean it. You have to try it and decide it whether I have good taste buds or not. The chili and ginger condiments were beautiful too. I would have given this a 7.5 / 10 if only they serve me Hainan Rice instead of white rice.

Menu : Egg Tart
Price : Rp 5,000 ++ (per piece)
Score : 8.5 / 10

>> I was head over heels for this tiny thing. I went "WOW" at my first bite and I reckon Tea Garden might serve the best egg tart in Jakarta. The texture was silky smooth, the sweetness was prefect and I can taste the intensity of the curd filling. Heavenly good !!
Menu : Durian Pancake
Price : Rp 26,000++
Score : 5.0 / 10

>> If you notice, this is the most expensive dish on today's lunch table (even more expensive than the Hainan Chicken Rice Set). Thus for that, I have a high expectation. However sadly, it was disappointing. The durian fillings were too little, the egg roll wrapping was slightly too thick and thus I can taste the doughy texture in my mouth. I rather have 5 egg tarts in exchange for this.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Duck King

This was an unexpected trip to Duck King. David and I wanted to eat "Shabuya" at Central Park; a place that serves grade 9 Wagyu beef hot pot in buffet style for a mere Rp 120,000 per person. However, unpredictably the restaurant was fully booked and we were have to wait for 45 minutes for our seat; thus we canceled our initial plan! We turn our back and the first restaurant I saw on the right was this; "Duck King". The place was fairly packed with Chinese families sitting down on a round table having dinner but luckily no queue (hooray !!).
On the left was the initial dishes that they'll place on the table, it varies from place to place (I got served crispy fish skin this time) and the thing that bothers me the most is that the restaurant always make the eaters pay for this. On the right is my all time favorite condiment; bird's eye chili with garlic in soy sauce. No chili sauce in the world can beat the taste of biting into real fresh birds eye chili !!

Menu : Steamed Chicken Feet
Price : Rp 14,800 ++
Score : 5.75 / 10

>> I noticed I have been eating quite a sum of chicken feet every time I come to a Chinese restaurant. Mainly because since my glorious experience with Din Tai Fung, I'm actually fond of the menu. Duck King's wasn't too bad, even though it was certainly not as great.
Menu : Hak Kau
Price : Rp 16,800 ++
Score : 6.5 / 10

>> Fresh Hak Kau is David's all time favorite Dim Sum. He loved this a lot but personally for me it was good but not damn good. The shrimp meat were fresh, the food was served steaming hot but I'm sure I had better ones.
Menu : Tom Yam Seafood Soup
Price : Rp 38,000 ++
Score : 7.0  / 10

>> I usually have Szechuan Wonton Soup when I hit Duck King but this time I had a different one. Their Tom Yam was good, they had the level of sourness just right and balanced it well with the chili too ! Good stuff !!
Menu : Garlic Steamed Scallop
Price : Rp 19,800 ++
Score : 7.5 / 10

>> My goodness, one of the most fresh scallop I had ever consume in my life. I may sound exaggerating but this was better than the Duck King's in Emporium Pluit branch. This was succulent, firm, scallop big in size and most importantly the garlic and the soy sauce was heavenly good as ever with white rice!
Menu : BBQ Double Combination
Price : Rp 78,000 ++
Score : 6.5 / 10

>> This is a double combination of BBQ chicken and duck. I liked the chicken better because it was more fragrant and seasoned better. While the duck has a little bit too much bones and the layer of fats was slightly too much for my taste.
Menu : Deep Fried Squid with Chili and Pepper
Pirce : Rp 52,000 ++
Score : 6.0 / 10

>> I don't particularly like squid, octopus, calamari or anything of the same species. But this I quite enjoy the seasoning. I like anything with fried garlic and abundance was poured on top of this dish; together with chili and pepper. I would also like to praise about the bite size portion, you'll be able to easily pop one entire piece into your mouth.
Menu : Watercress in spicy shrimp paste (Kangkung Terasi)
Price : Rp 34,000 ++
Score : 8.0 / 10

>> This may look like a humble dish, but this is the star of the night. The portion was generous, the vegetable was really fresh and crispy but most importantly the taste was really good. You can taste the shrimp paste without overpowering your entire pallet, great seasoning !!
Menu : Glutinous Rice with Durian Ice Cream
Price : Rp 25,000 ++
Score : 3.0  / 10

>> Bad dessert and was extremely disappointed! The glutinous rice was so bland that I thought water has more taste. The durian ice cream was also a joke, it was too tasteless and just doesn't taste good at all.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Imperial Kitchen

I went to Supermall Karawaci last Saturday Afternoon, a very different and rather far destination than my normal routine but because of several reasons I was there. David was craving for Dim Sum and had been nagging for it for the past few days. I wanted it less badly but when pretty excited when we choose this for our Saturday brunch menu.

Apparently at the end of the meal, I was not blown away. The price was not expensive, it was rather reasonable but I'll prefer to pay slightly more money and have Dim Sum at 'Din Tai Fung' (January 2011's post). I felt no body even come close to Din Tai Fung's chicken feet. It was so damn good !

Menu : Steamed Beef Balls
Price : Rp 13,900 ++
Score : 6.0 / 10

>> Seasoned well and served pipping hot which is great. But it would have scored a higher point if the meat wasn't too mushy. I'd like it to be more tighter and firm. This slightly feels like a baby food.
Menu : Chicken Feet with Black Pepper Sauce
Price : Rp 12,900 ++
Score : 3.5 / 10

>> If you have tasted Din Tai Fung's then any chicken feet dish you tasted later after that would be extremely difficult to beat. This is lacking in taste, seasoning and texture in comparison. But if it was to be judged by itself, I'd say it is still pleasantly edible.
Menu : Crab Xiao Long Bao
Price : Rp 13,900 ++
Score : 5.0 / 10

>> Lacking of the 'soup' inside the steamed bun. Xiao Long Bao should be bursting with hot broth that actually made the signature way of eating (biting a small hole and slurp the broth). This particular dish was ordinary and nothing to be missed or praised about.
Menu : Hak Kau (Steamed Shrimp Dumpling)
Price : Rp 13,900++
Score : 6.5 / 10

>> Hak Kau is one of the most common dish ordered during any "Dim Sum" session. I have rather nice things to say this time; thin translucent wrapping, big satisfying shrimp meat inside and when dipped into soy sauce, it taste good!
Menu : Siu Mai 
Price : Rp 13,900 ++
Score : 6.0 / 10

>> Fresh meat, succulent taste and great seasoning. The next time I come to Imperial Kitchen in Supermall Karawaci, I'll probably only re-order the Hak Kau and Siu Mai.

Menu : Hainan Chicken Rice
Price : Rp 27,900 ++
Score : 3.0 / 10

>> BAD ! The rice is not fragrant at all, the chicken is super dry, the vegetables were soggy and tasteless. Everything about this dish is just a nightmare !

Menu : Sunkist Pudding
Price : Rp 14,900 ++
Score : 6.0 / 10

>> I wanted the coconut pudding but they do not have it in their menu (shame!) but instead they have this interesting looking Sunkist Pudding. The flesh of the orange is forked out and filled with real Sunkist tasting pudding. The taste was pretty good and it was a good first time experience having "Sunkist Pudding". Very creative I might say !!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Nasi Campur Kaca Mata

I was visiting my good friend of mine in Puri housing estate area and when come to dinner time, we were debating where to have our meal. When all of us stumble across this eatery place, I took the liberty to make an authoritative decision to eat here. Everyone agrees but at the end of my meal, I was a little bit disappointed! What matters to me most about any "Nasi Campur" is  the "Nasi Hainan" itself. The one they served here were not fragrant enough and I definitely felt that the one in Pantai Indah Kapuk branch serves better food.

Menu : Nasi Hainam Campur
Price : Rp 28,000 ++
Score : 5.75 / 10

>> The "Hainam Rice" (not shown in here) is too bland. It weren't fragrant enough and even though it tastes better than normal jasmine white rice, I still expect it to be super duper delicious. Next, the meat dish consists of barbeque pork, crispy pork belly, roast chicken and the obvious half boiled egg. I probably liked the barbeque pork most, roast chicken second and lastly the crispy pork belly. The problem with the pork belly is that it was not crispy at all and thus I can feel all the juicy fat when I bite into it. I  know many people love that part the most but personally I preferred my pork belly to be real crispy and thus the fats were rendered 'naturally' by the process.

Monday, 14 February 2011

EN Japanese Dining Bar

My first post on En Dining can be found on December 2010 and did this double entry because the food I had this time round is completely different and too good to be missed. As always why I had dinner at En Dining was because there were 20 of us and wanted to watch soccer (Manchester United Vs Manchester City). However after this trip, I think I might be coming back soon not because of the fact they have a big TV with ESPN on it but for the first time I enjoyed the food. Thanks to my friend "Marwin", he knew the good dishes on the menu and changed my perspective on this restaurant.

Menu : Aburi Chasu
Price : Rp 42,000 ++
Score : 6.8 / 10

>> GOOD STUFF ! I know this grilled stewed pork is very fatty and very high in cholesterol but my tongue knew better that this is very yummy ! The soy sauce mixture at the bottom of the meat cuts into the fatty taste and the generous onion gave a crunchy texture.
Menu : Amiyaki Beef
Price : Rp 98,000++
Score : 7.5 / 10

>> This grilled sirloin beef with spicy ponzu sauce dish was a true surprising delight. I didn't expected this to taste good. I merely choose this from the menu base on the picture. I felt the ponzu sauce tasted more like salsa but nevertheless what ever the sauce was, this was really GOOD !
Menu : Beef Carpaccio
Price : Rp 68,000++
Score : 6.5 / 10

» The first time I had carpaccio was tuna fish meat. Instead this one was thin sliced raw beef with special sauce. I'm really a big fan of sour!! The surprising fact was that even though it is pure raw beef, it's not disgusting. The meat was fresh!! 
Menu : Crab Chahan
Price : Rp 85,000++
Score : 7.5 / 10

>> If you are bored of having normal fried rice then you should definitely try this ! This japanese fried rice has crab soup that 'pools' around it and on top there was glorious soft shell crab. I love the crab soup the most, really really good together with the fried rice !
Menu : Negi Chasu
Price : Rp 45,000 ++
Score : 7.5 / 10

>> Sliced stewed pork with leek and spring onion. Look very similar with Aburi Chasu but taste BETTER ! The sauce was slightly different, I can't explain what was different but bottom line this is the one you should choose over than Aburi. However, you'll need to order both and find out whether my taste buds are correct.
Menu : Rafte
Price : Rp 72,000 ++
Score : ---

>> I can't score this because I didn't taste this. This is a dish of stewed pork belly and the belly was so thick and fatty that I couldn't make myself taste the food. I know many people love this but seeing the 'look' of the thickness of the belly just made me choose the sliced one instead (Negi & Aburi Chasu).
Menu : Spicy Soft Shell Crab
Price : Rp 68,000 ++
Score : 5.5 / 10

>> This was okay, nothing great in comparison to other better tasting dishes I had tonight. The sauce wasn't spicy enough but the overall, I enjoyed this even though I may not re-order this dish again.
Menu : Dobinmushi
Price : Rp 42,000++
Score : 6.8 / 10

>> Steamed clear soup in Japanese tea pot. The presentation was very unique and the taste was very refreshing and in a way subtle and calming. It wasn't strong infused soup like Tom Yum or Laksa, this was leaning more towards home made soup. Very nice and recommendable !
Menu : Suchika
Price : Rp 58,000 ++
Score : 6.75 / 10

>> Broiled pork marinated with sea salt. This dish is really salty but a great appetizer. It really opens up your taste buds and instantly made you hooked into it. Very crispy, very addictive and very much like this ! Fyi, I ordered a second plate of this as everyone was snatching it way too fast haha !!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Es Teler 77

Es Teler 77 reminds me the good old time when I was 10 years younger,;still studying in Singapore. I had so much of fond memories there as I used to eat so much of their food. Mainly because it is affordable (SGD 2 dollars for chicken noodle *back then in 2000), situated near my school and it was a decent Indonesian restaurant within my knowledge. Upon since my Singapore days, I can't remember when was the last time I had a meal there.

Pleasant surprise due to the price, for 2 grown ups that were starving and had a natural big appetite, it cost Rp 90,000 (include tax) in total for both of us. I wasn't expecting much when I saw the decoration of the place. It was too plain and sparsely decorated. It wasn't comfy or anything suitable for couple of friends to have a chit chat session. The place is purely for diners to 'eat and go'. But at the end of it, I was pretty much satisfied with the food. I guess taste reigns above all things!

Menu : Ayam Goreng Pecak
Price : Rp 25,000++
Score : 5.5 / 10

>> The chicken was too tough but I couldn't expect much from a fried chicken as frying it will definitely made it tough. The traditional 'sambal belachan' is spicy (which is always good for me) but the smell of the shrimp paste was rather nauseating and thus because of that factor, this score only a 5.5
Menu : Bakmie Ayam Pedas Istimewa
Price : Rp 20,000 ++
Score : 6.5 / 10

>> For the mere price of Rp 20,000 you get a big bowl of chicken noodle with 2 boiled wonton and 2 beef balls in chicken broth soup. I thought this was a good value for money. I actually quite enjoyed the chicken noodle, the chicken meat and the noodle portion was relatively generous and the spicy taste wasn't overwhelming. However the boiled dumpling was rather disappointing, it was tasteless and not good at all.

Menu : Pisang Bakar Coklat Keju
Price : Rp 11,000 ++
Score : 6.0 / 10

>> Not bad at all. The banana itself was big in size and tastes sweet by itself. The topping was slightly stingy and would have been much better if there were more chocolate and cheese shavings. What I liked most about this is the 'burnt taste' I tasted from the inner side of the banana.
Menu : Es Teler
Price : Rp 25,000++
Score : 6.5 / 10

>> Their famous house name dessert ! Generous pile of jackfruit, coconut, avocado drenched with ice shavings and sweetened condensed milk on top. Love it ! Very sweet, very refreshing and very yummy too !!