Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Mama Jiaozi Guan, Cheras

Dumpling devotees, draw your chopsticks: The handcrafted jiaozi here come packed with prawns, pork and chives, steamed to order, served warm and tender (up to RM16 per plate, depending on the choice of stuffing). Communication might be problematic for some of us though; when we visited, there was no English-language menu or English-speaking crew member.

Mama Jiaozi Guan
86D, Jalan Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 930am-1145pm.

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D'Tandoor, Damansara Uptown

By Aiman Azri

Determinedly standing the test of time for nearly three decades, D'Tandoor has long delighted devotees of North Indian cooking with its skill around spices, mastery of meat, brilliance with bread and reputation for rice.

With current outposts in Selangor, Putrajaya and even Penang, D'Tandoor originally opened in Damansara Uptown in 1992, more than a lifetime ago for most restaurants - this is where we headed for a taste of the brand's capabilities. It's a lovely venue for a meal, transporting us out of this commercial enclave into a setting that evokes a sense of heritage and history, complete with classical paintings on the wall and copper cups on the tables.

An assurance of peerless authenticity prevails in D'Tandoor's kitchen, spearheaded by a fleet of Pakistani chefs and cooks who tackle North Indian and Arabic cuisine, thoroughly versed in the traditional fare of their home region.

Their repertoire is encyclopaedic, spanning more than 100 dishes and delicacies, ensuring there's something for everyone, in portions perfect for sharing.

Numerous visits would be needed to explore the entire menu, but for an introduction to D'Tandoor, these four possibilities would whet the appetite for more: Meat-and-curry enthusiasts can feast on succulent, savoury mutton rogan josh, balanced with uplifting notes of yogurt and coriander (RM27.50), and tandoor-cooked, fork-tender butter chicken masala that's robust and richly creamy (RM33.90). Crustacean cravings should be conquered by the prawn masala, laced with onions for earthy dynamics to complement the prawns' briny sweetness (RM32.90), while vegetarians can consider the palak paneer, a protein-packed preparation of fresh cottage cheese immersed in a luscious spinach-based gravy (RM17.50).

Other temptations span everything from fish amritsari to dhall maharani, keema mattar to korma zafar shahi, sheesh rampuri to chooza tikka, nawrattan korma to bengan bartha and much, much more - many of these might be familiar names for seasoned fans of North Indian cuisine, but there should still be some lesser-known recipes for even long-time customers to discover.

Baked in tandoor clay ovens for a lightly smoky crispness, D' Tandoor's bevy of flatbreads in baskets work well as companions to the cooking, soaking up the sauces to their fullest. Naan is a cornerstone of the selection, with the Kashmiri naan offering fruity, nutty nuances (RM10.50), while the aloo masala naan promises a layer of potatoes between the bread for a double dose of comfort-food, crowd-rousing carbs (RM9.90). Everything from puri to paratha is also available for starchy, stretchy satisfaction.

Have we saved the best for last? D'Tandoor's rice platters are mighty enough to make for complete meals on their own, built with firm, fragrant basmathi rice in multiple, mouthwatering preparations.

There's a nod to the Middle East's culinary cousins with the Arabic mandy rice, alluringly aromatic with smoked chicken, studded with almonds and cashews galore, buoyed by a salsa-style sauce for bursts of tang (RM28.50, sufficiently hearty for two persons).

Alternatively, the bamboo lamb briyani brings one of the Klang Valley's most recent briyani trends to D'Tandoor, with the briyani poured out of a hollowed bamboo stick, spilling over with its steaming-hot, herb-scented contents, revealing the rice with chunks of juicy meat (RM38 for the lamb briyani, rounded out with raita). If you haven't had bamboo briyani yet, D'Tandoor is a convenient, comfortable destination for this.

Besides masala tea and lassi, D'Tandoor's coffee also comes recommended to ensure customers continue to remain alert after indulging in a filling meal - try the D'Tandoor Special Coffee or the Bru Coffee for your fuss-free Uptown caffeine fix. Service is pleasant and helpful throughout.

All in all, this was a worthwhile trip to D'Tandoor, which has plenty going for it - this month, look out for its Ramadan buffet promotion (with different dishes every day throughout the fasting month), priced at RM42.90++ per person (half off for children). For catering services that includes non-Indian cuisine, you can check out D'Tandoor's sister brand, Al-Malik, at

Many thanks to the D'Tandoor team for having us.

52, Jalan SS 21/62, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, 47400 Selangor. Other outlets in Subang Jaya, Putrajaya and Penang.
Open Monday-Friday, 11am-330pm, 630pm-11pm; Saturday-Sunday, 11am-11pm. Tel: 03-7728-2020

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Vanilla Dessert Cafe, Taman Tun Dr Ismail

This friendly new dessert den promises a plethora of house-made ice cream, served parfait-style, with waffles or on their own.

Since we visited on a Monday, it seemed most appropriate to order the Mondae Blue, bringing a splash of cheerful colour to the start of our week with vanilla ice cream layered with fresh strawberries, almond crumbles, caramelised macadamia nuts, digestive biscuits and strawberry sauce (RM18). There's also a T.G.I. Fridae that features chocolate ice cream with bananas.

The waffle selection is extensive; for a triple dose of chocolate, have the chocolate waffle with 62 percent dark chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, caramelised bananas and digestive biscuits, a hefty waffle that two persons can easily share (RM23).

Ice cream costs RM10 per smooth scoop, in flavours like Alphonso mango (rich and punchy), coconut, pistachio and matcha.

Vanilla Dessert Cafe
104a, Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Open Wednesday-Monday, 1pm-10pm.

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McDonald's Malaysia: Fuelling Up on Drive-Thru Convenience

McDonald's Drive-Thru outposts have rescued us from hunger countless times in the past three decades, offering the convenience of a speedy bite in between meetings or a satisfying supper after long hours at work, even after nearly every other restaurant has closed.

Now, it'll become easier to find and fuel up on our favourite Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets, as McDonald's Malaysia is ramping up its Drive-Thru business nationwide to cater to customers seeking fast, friendly service and feel-good meals to complement their on-the-go lifestyles.

Hassle-free and efficient, McDonald's prides itself on being Malaysia's Drive-Thru market leader, the most accessible and reliable in the country, continuously expanding its footprint in more cities and towns.

Fun fact: McDonald's Malaysia currently boasts 167 Drive-Thru restaurants - according to a recent announcement by McDonald’s Malaysia Managing Director and Local Operating Partner Azmir Jaafar, the company aims to open 20 new McDonald’s Drive-Thru restaurants this year. 

“The Drive-Thru segment of our business has seen significant growth since the opening of our first Drive-Thru restaurant at McDonald’s Titiwangsa in 1988," Azmir said. "And since then, the Drive-Thru segment has no doubt become an important key driver for the company, as Drive-Thru window sales contribute close to 50% of total sales for all 167 McDonald’s Drive-Thru restaurants. On top of that, we are seeing an average of 10% year-on-year growth in our Drive-Thru sales for the first quarter of 2019."

“By 2021, McDonald’s Malaysia aims for 70 percent of all McDonald’s restaurants nationwide to be Drive-Thru restaurants,” Azmir added.

On 26-28 April, McDonald's Malaysia organised a Drive-Thru Weekend Challenge that saw a total of 473,860 cars zoom off with their favourite McDonald’s meal from the 167 McDonald’s Drive-Thru restaurants nationwide over three days. The number of cars, if parked bumper to bumper, would be roughly equivalent to 150 times the length of the first Penang Bridge, McDonald's estimates.

McDonald’s Malaysia also successfully set a new record on 27 April for the highest vehicle count accessing McDonald’s Drive-Thru restaurants over the course of 24 hours, with a total of 164,235 vehicles. This led the company to be officially recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records for achieving the “Largest Participation for a Drive-Thru Challenge in 24 Hours."

“We would like to thank Malaysians for being good sports and making this Drive-Thru Weekend a success. It was great to see the immense response for this challenge, especially seeing families coming to McDonald’s Drive-Thru restaurants nationwide to participate,” said Azmir. 

An exciting consumer activation in conjunction with the Drive-Thru Weekend was also launched on the McDonald’s app on 17-30 April. The Drive-Thru Hero Challenge encouraged customers to drive through and check in at as many McDonald’s Drive-Thru restaurants as possible to stand a chance of being among the Top 10 Drive-Thru Heroes. With one stop equalling 10 points, the Top 10 Heroes received cash based on their points. For others, every five stops at McDonald’s Drive-Thrus unlocked offers on McDonald’s menu items.  

McDonald’s isn't hitting the brakes on these accomplishments - the company expects a 10 to 15 percent increase in vehicle count at McDonald’s Drive-Thru restaurants moving forward as this segment accelerates in the next few years. 

“We have seen 15 years of success of the McDonald’s Drive-Thru VIP loyalty programme, and we promise greater consumer activation in the future as we continue to improve our operational efficiency. We are committed to maintaining our market leadership today and confident that we will meet growing consumer needs for a wide variety of great-tasting and quality food during any time of the day just by driving-thru McDonald’s,” said Azmir. 

This post was brought to you by McDonald's Malaysia. Photos are courtesy of McDonald's.

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Bah Cafe, Seri Kembangan

Bah Cafe brings beloved flavours from its founders’ home state of Sabah to Seri Kembangan: Sandakan-inspired century egg dumplings, plump with unmistakable slices of the preserved egg, plus minced pork and morsels of prawns (RM11.90), are the tasty temptation, a true treat for dumpling devotees.

Another kitchen-made speciality is yi fu, a fish paste blended with egg, soft-textured with a briny-sweetish edge (RM12.90). And since it’s Sabah we’re talking about, seafood is a highlight too; while the Klang Valley isn’t as blessed as northern Borneo for the ocean’s bounty, Bah’s seafood bee hoon makes a commendable effort to furnish fresh produce (RM13.90).

Tenom kopi-o (RM2.60) and Sabah tea (RM2.10) complete the as-close-to-authentic-as-possible experience. Bah’s crew says the cafe’s founders come from Tenom, though a language barrier raised the risk of a miscommunication. 

Bah Cafe
43G, Jalan BS 1/2, Olive Hill Business Park, Taman Bukit Serdang, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor.
Open Tuesday-Friday, 11am-3pm, 6pm-9pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-10pm.

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