Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Kitchen Inn Cafe

Kitchen Inn Cafe on Urbanspoon
Would you go to the other side of the world just to try a new restaurant?
I would.
And I consider an hour's drive in peak hour traffic to be the other side of the world!
The lengths a glutton would go to for good food. Seriously.
Seriously ridiculous.

When we arrived at around...I dunno, dinner time, the place was chock a block. The restaurant is small, and even with a few tables scattered outside the building, it was absolutely full house. We were forced back out to the pavement outside, tired...cold...rotting from hunger, but only for a short while before we were invited back inside.

Soya Bean Milk
To start, we had dessert. I don't fancy starting meals with sweetness but being refreshed is always good. The only downside to beginning with drinks being served first is that you don't want to have too much of it before your meal, but then as you leave it sitting there receiving no attention from you, ice gets bored and it starts to melt melt melt. To the point where your soya bean milk becomes bland iced water.

Kampua Special - $8.50
 I had this on my first visit, picking this dish because it seemed to have a little bit of all the meats. A bowl of handmade noodles visibly loaded with prawns, BBQ pork and minced pork on top with  crunchy fragrant fried shallots and spring onions. Truthfully it was a very tasty dish of noodles but the downfall was the thick slick of oil that coated them. Usually you'd make the effort to avoid fatty 2 minute instant noodles right? Housemade noodles probably sound a lot better than Indomie packet noodles but they probably aren't, in terms of fat offerings. Needed a trusted old mate called Coca Cola to wash this down.

As this isn't a roast house and they don't specialise in roast meats, the BBQ pork aren't as nice or succulent as BBQ pork can be. Bit dry and a bit burnt but doesn't stop the whole dish from tasting nice. Just like how one bad dish shouldn't immediately put you off a whole restaurant!

Kampua Special
Just as a size comparison,
A: Shit how big is that prawn?!
Nah. That's just the small size of the bowl buddy.

I love claypots. I love the puff of steam that explodes in your face the moment you take off the lid. I love steam burn that impatience brings.

Bak Kut Teh (Large) - $9.90
With its walls adorned with banners promoting the tastiness and health benefits of Bak Kut Teh, this is one of the more popular dishes here. Which is sad, because it means you are very likely on missing out if you come any later than when mass diners come to dine. And then you have to travel to the other side of the world AGAINNN

This is traditionally Malaysian herbal soup cooked with pork spare ribs, with tofu, plump Chinese mushrooms and the like. Kitchen Inn's rendition includes iceberg lettuce as an ingredient with quite a good quantity of meat on the bones in the dish. It's not strongly marinated with the flavours of herbs and spices, as it is in the soup where the flavours really shine. I initially used the excess soup to wash the oil off my noodles as I ate them, but in the end I couldn't resist and ended up drinking the soup anyway cause it was so delicious. Disgusting, I know. But disgustingly delicious.

The dish is available in Small and Large but I have no idea what the Small looks like cause small doesn't exist in my food vocabulary. At $9.90, you'll probably be filled up well with all that liquid plus a bowl of steamed rice. It's tempting to tip the rice right into the claypot and eat it that way!

When asked what size I wanted, my no brainer answer seemed to make the waitress pause and look at me, her disbelief not obvious at all.
Me: "Oh large please"
Her: "Large?"
Me: "Is it too large?"
I felt a bit self conscious at this point :$

And this was the second time I ordered Bak Kut Teh on a different occasion. Very noticeably, all there is is 2 soup soaked tofu protruding from the soup, which BURNS like a m^%!@!%^^&**&, and not much else. What you don't know is that there was close to nothing else in that claypot.

That is what happens when you get there too late and you hear the dreaded sorry we've run out tonight! Still in the mood for some tea in our food, we agreed to their offer of giving us whatever they still had. So we were presented with this sad, little empty pot that still made us happy.

Accordingly, they apologised for serving us nothing and said they'll charge for a Small. When it got round to paying, guess they felt charging a small was still too large of a price, and rounded the bill's total down another $2 or so. Naw. Small, thoughtful gestures like so go a long way. Happy days.

Hainan Chicken Rice
After having this twice at Kitchen Inn, I would say it's probably not one of their specialties like their other favourites. Their steamed chicken served with chicken stock rice could do with some minor improvements. Still ok, but maybe the chicken could see a bit more moisture, be a bit more...slippery :/


Sometimes if you are persistent about something, it pays off. And what's more important is not to believe everything you hear before you see it for yourselves and well, taste it for yourselves. Hold an air of skepticism about life in general. I have heard a mixed bag of reviews about this place before I visited, directly from friends. Because I know them to be liars about every other thing, I trusted the numerous positive reviews I'd seen on the internet, my most trusted friend.
The internet never lies, friends can. And after I went? Friends do lie.

The menu does stand out from what you usually spot, and I have read lots about people even making the comparisons between here and the authentic dishes they eat in Malaysia, saying they are on par with the taste and make them reminisce about home. I have also heard complaints about bland tasting, watery, tasteless dishes being served, but to each their own and what (wise) choices you make! Unique and (to some), weird dishes like their Special soup comprising pig intestine, liver, kidney, pork and preserved vegetables make an appearance, but to me, those sound all too familiar. As horrid as it sounds.

Clean, polished and simple is the decor style here. A casual and relaxed dining atmosphere with casual staff in casually dressed clothes. And I mean seriously casual, staff wandering around in shorts and thongs level of casual. It appears it is very family owned and run with a variety of staff ranging from adolescents to (nearly) elderly. All are equally as friendly and smiley, which is a good contagious disease :D

One of the ladies was very friendly and observing of her customers - I was fanning myself and shortly after, the air conditioner came on.  I glanced at her and exchanged a nod and a smile, which the words thank you and you're welcome were exchanged even though they were unsaid. It's really amazing how much can be said - and how much you don't need to say - with one simple gesture.

1 comment:

So what did you eat today?

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