This blog started 2011 as "Fine Food and Wine in Kuala Lumpur", a diary of food and wine adventures in KL. Through travel, this got subsumed into a broader global context. The blog looks to document food, wine and travel experiences mostly in Europe and Malaysia, also Japan, Scandinavia and India. I try to call it as I see, eat and drink it; if it's tasty, value and worth a return, I will look to say so. Type a city, country, restaurant, wine in the search box, see if I've been there?
Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Triple Round, Serendah - not blown away
Soft Shell Crab
I generally dislike these food safaris that all my Malaysian Chinese friends seem to like with an intense passion. You know the script - A friend of a friend has somehow determined that this restaurant in this god forsaken out of the way town is the dogs for food and we should all go there one night to eat and why not go this weekend, oh and by the way I have already booked. Annoys me to have to trek across the country, get lost, get angry and turn up at the place in a bad mood and not really ready to enjoy the food. So it was I found myself driving up the North South Highway to Bukit Beruntong to eat at the Triple Round with the lenglui and in no way looking forward to getting lost. Huge control freak - don't like not knowing where I am or where I am going. But this should have been okay - we had a map and it looked straightforward. But then it always does, doesn't it? The food had better be worth it...
Actually, the web reviews looked very promising and the organising DQ had decided that it was absolutely essential that we all go there to eat as she had already invited her Yeehah friends to go there. So that was that. DQ loves to eat, especially with friends and other people who love to eat. Getting to the turnoff was easy enough though we did indeed get a bit lost by taking the one turning too soon. Got advised to go past the Petron station and take the next right and turn in 180 degrees and the place was at the far end of the shophouse block. Which it was. Next time preprogram the Garmin or the Waze.
The place was buzzing and this was at 6.30pm. All Chinese. DQ had thoughtfully reserved the aircon part of the restaurant and they were all sat there waiting for me and visibly dehydrating. Seems the restaurant didn't have a corkscrew and they all knew for sure that I would bring one. Of course. I am IWFS. Force of habit makes me stuff a corkscrew in the pocket just on leaving the apartment. Just in case.
The Poon Choy
Not that it did much good in this early part of the evening. We spent our first ten minutes begging the staff to bring plates, glasses and tea before I finally decided to get the things for ourselves. Screw them. The table cheered. The staff didn't seem to notice or care - trying to cater to too many people to try to keep them all satisfied, no need to get worked up over some gwailo doing their work for them. Quite right. Screw him. Er, me.
The food had been pre-ordered and it all seemed to come at once. There was Crispy Soft Shell Crab and Jellyfish Salad to start, Kampong White Chicken and Ginger Sauce, Prawn Rolls, Mixed Green Vegetables and the stars of the night - the Poon Choy and the Roast Pork Knuckle.
The judgement? Okay, I guess. I am probably not the best judge of prime Cantonese Soul Food, but I found this… just okay. The soft shell crab was nicely crisp and crunchy though not a lot of crab, the prawn rolls firm and sweet, the veggies a bit over salted and the chicken nothing to shout about. The Poon Choy was essentially a mix of various foods in a big round pot which gets covered and steamed together for a while to create a kind of a hotpot. There was roast pork, stewed pork, duck feet, scallop, abalone, prawn, broccoli and black mushroom. It was very hearty, though the sum was probably greater than its parts. And as I am not a great one for duck feet, abalone and mushroom, a lot of the thing went straight past me. Probably too gwailo to understand the thing. It all felt way oversalted, though wholesome and quite tasty.
The Pork Knuckle got demolished quite fast and was good in a Germanic kind of way. My bit had tiny chunks of meat and gristle and little bony bits and not really enough to get a full taste of it. The bit I did have was okay, somewhat reminiscent of the ones we would get at the Eurodeli in its Ampang incarnation - crunchy, salty skin and juicy succulent meat. One Pork Knuckle we recently had at the Damansara Kim outlet was fairly good, but not the standard of the glory days. Maybe need a return trip to the Triple Round to give the knuckle another try.
We sucked down five bottles - two of my lovely Hardy's Chardonnay, two bottles of Pinot (one a bold New Zealander, the other a cherry jam gooey Napa creation) and some sweetly vicious looking fizz which I didn't get to try.
Would I go back? Well…. no, not really. At least not on this showing. A forty five minute drive to get there was not really merited given the taste of the food and the need for the self service. It was… okay. Not bad, just not really spectacular all round. I can see why the DQ and the others like it. Total for thirteen people was RM40 each which is brilliant value. But it didn't quite do it for me. We can get better quality in the city which begs the question why travel to Bukit Beruntong? Not that the place was short of punters scarfing down the food - business was happily booming. Was told that their other dishes are stunners - the pork mince on tofu and the pork ribs in orgasmic sauce - but there was no space left in the belly to try. Now going to Dengkil for the seafood makes sense - brilliant fish, well prepared and superb value which is tough to find in KL. Also the Dengkil is locked into the Garmin. But the Triple Round... no. Maybe the style is just not the kind of food I would travel for. Didn't blow me away. Sorry.