Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Why foreign flavours flourish

After hearing and reading about it for so long, my family and I finally had the pleasure to eat at Tony Roma’s recently opened restaurant at Sunway Pyramid, one of two they currently have in Malaysia. We were there because my company held an event at the bowling centre, and taking the opportunity since we rarely go to Sunway nowadays, it was a good chance to try the place out. Located at what used to be the San Francisco Cable Car restaurant the last time we were there, the food we had was certainly far better than the one we had at the aforementioned restaurant. We had fried mushrooms, I took the boneless ribs and fried shrimp combo that only cost a couple bucks extra than a straight dish, and my wife had the pan-fried salmon while the elder kid had the burger and fries from the kids’ menu. Fearing American portions, we held off buying another kid’s meal for the younger kid and it was a wise decision as the older kid could not finish off her burger and the fries actually went abegging, so the sundae that the waitress forgot to serve that came with the kid’s meal was not actually missed as between them they could also not finish their individual milk shakes that was made with ice cream. Must remember to order only one the next time around. Anyway the younger also need not share the burger her sister had as she polished off half the fried mushrooms that came in an enormous portion, far nicer than those served in Outback Restaurant in Bukit Bintang that was delicious enough on their own right. Oh yeah I forgot she helped finished the onion soup in a cup that we also ordered as a starter, another dish that tasted heavenly, another rare find.

The clever thing was that Tony Roma’s had a similar concept like Mississippi Slim’s had before (how I miss this joint), where they served various barbeque sauces to accompany the entrees. They ingeniously served a sauce taster by making a smiley face out of the various sauces, reminding me of the sauce palette that Mississippi used to offer as their sauce taster as they had more sauces than Tony’s four, and the blue mountain won hands down as the favourite. And they are not stingy with the sauces too, as they left the sauce bottles bin on the table. As for the entrees, my ribs was great but I think I want it on the bone next time, as the syiok factor is less as I suspect some connecting fat was trimmed off so it was like having steak instead, while the butterflied prawns fried with a breadcrumb coating was nice and plump, and duly polished off by my elder daughter instead of me. The salmon my wife had was duly mutually agreed to be the best we had so far, though well coated with sesame seeds and black pepper it was not overwhelmed and had a nice pinkish centre, retaining the lushness of the sweet fatty fresh flesh of salmon. There is nothing better than a well prepared salmon dish, and certainly erased the bitter memories of dry Cajun fried salmon of its predecessor. Though I loathe to leave leftovers when we dine out, this time we had no choice as the welcome bread was hardly touched and some of the side dishes to the entrees was half eatened as we were already stuffed. And the icing on the cake is that we received a RM35 voucher for the next visit, so we are surely to make a return visit soon. Tony Roma’s certainly join my list of favourite barbeque joints, right up there with Chilli’s and Jake’s. I can’t wait for their Bukit Bintang and Mid Valley outlets to open, as this would give me easier access.

And yes, I also finally managed to try out Papa Beard’s cream puffs in Mid Valley that had me salivating when I read their blog reviews, and I must say that they deserve their accolades. I would not say that theirs are overly fantastic, but well made and faithful to the original taste. By not being stingy with their ingredients, their cream puffs retained the fluffiness and their fillings retained their scrumptiousness, the same taste as the delicious cream puffs I touched on in one of my previous blog entry, of those I had oh so long ago. This made me remarked to the wife why does it need a foreign franchise to repopularise something what the locals could do as good before, charging a higher price at that. I challenge the local bakeries to emulate their kopitiam brethren that are giving the foreign branded cafes a run for their money. We know the local tastes, so charge a fair price for a quality product as good as it was made so long ago, and I dare say that people will flock to your doors. I still believe that we Malaysians still have good taste buds, and not necessarily gourmets are looking for a good meal. I for one am not one, but delight in savouring delicious food. So keep making me eat my words, as long as you keep serving good food as I have had long ago. And Papa Beard, though you are not local, I thank thee for bringing back great cream puffs to the local shores and showing we Malaysians how they should taste like, less no one longer remembers, and for that I salute you.

And lastly to those international restaurants opening up locally, please do consider making your outlets halal, or making certain outlets at least pork-free, as otherwise you are depriving a large segment of market the chance to patronize you. Do not forget, not only we have a large Moslem population but we are now a top Moslem tourist destination as can be seen with the influx of middle easterners tourists, and I am sure they would love to eat halal international food that they cannot try even if they visit your home countries. As such I would like to thank the proprietors of the Little Vietnam group of restaurants, for daring to open halal Vietnamese restaurants though their food are so pork based. It is now so hard to find good halal Vietnamese food after the one in Sogo closed, and it is great to be able to eat Vietnamese dishes again though too bad your coffee is bitter instead of the normal smooth taste, as otherwise I would have bought a packet to start up the filter

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