Monday, December 19, 2011

Soup Restaurant

Evoking a provincial Chinese courtyard from Disney's animated classic 'Mulan,' Soup Restaurant is another Singapore-based enterprise that has finally made a move into Malaysia.

Seated amid this foliage, customers might forget they're in 1 Utama. The food here is as satisfying as the setting; Soup Restaurant is the Oriental equivalent of what Italians call 'cucina del donne' _ a kitchen that cranks out recipes long ago perfected by sisterhoods of cooks.

The star attraction here is the Samsui Ginger Chicken, a dish that echoes back to the 1930s, when thousands of Samsui female immigrants left Guangdong to become construction laborers in Singapore. This fowl delicacy was the close-knit Chinatown community's Lunar New Year treat, something the women could afford only once every 12 months.

Stripped of pesky bones, the satin-sheened meat is meant to be dipped in ginger sauce & wrapped with lettuce. It's fuss-free & fantastic _ slick, succulent flesh enlivened by the ginger's gentle astringence & lettuce's yielding crunch.

Soup Restaurant supposedly prepares only 30 servings of this one everyday: painstakingly hand-chopped minced pork, lean but tender, topped with salted fish for a savory aftershock that could awaken the taste buds of the dead.

Double-boiled chicken soup with 'wai san' herbs & ginseng roots, believed to help relieve stress. Delivered nuclear-hot to the table, it's the kind of restorative appetite sharpener that taps into the soul of Chinese cuisine.

Steamed 'san yu' fish. Bite-sized slices of fresh, flaky fish, featuring a fine purity of flavor. Mercifully, MSG is verboten at Soup Restaurant.

Even the humble sweet potato leaves are worth having here. Labeled "Ah Por Fan Shu Leaves" on the menu, these are fibrous but not chewy, teamed with nothing more than soy sauce.

Ah Kong's Ginger Fried Rice. Another simple pleasure, with the stealthy infusion of ginger proffering an understated twist to what might otherwise seem like formulaic fried rice.

Prices are fairly wallet-friendly; a hearty meal shouldn't hit RM50 per person.

So we like this place as much as _ maybe even more than _ Sunway Pyramid's Paradise Inn, the other recently opened Singaporean restaurant import. Entry on Paradise Inn: December 14.

Soup Restaurant @ 1 Utama,
G210A, Ground Floor,
One Utama (old wing), Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya.
Tel: 03-7727-2788
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my

31 comments:

  1. Came here fr light soupy dinner aft gym. got conned with the promo tho, it says they will compensate with the same value of vouchers as your meal, so we spent RM80, they gave us RM80 vouchers but you can only use one RM10 voucher for every RM50 spent.
    And that wasn't clearly defined in the promo when the staff told us about it!

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  2. TNG: yikes, that definitely sounds misleading! I didn't realize there's such a promotion here at all though. we spent about RM120 on this meal, but we weren't offered any vouchers. Hmmmmm...

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  3. I saw this the other day when I was in 1u!!!! Didn't know that the decor inside was so pretty!! :D though... I'm not a big fan of soups! but I might give that ginger chicken a try!

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  4. Vien: yeah, it's like entering a whole other world within! Some of their Singapore outlets are similarly decorated too =) and yeah, the name is kinda misleading. There are probably fewer than 10 soups on the menu :D

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  5. My mom often cooks soup with roasted pork bones and wai san. hehehe

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  6. Haha I couldn't tell this was in 1U too, until I read your post. Thought it was some renovated bungalow in KL.

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  7. man, the chicken really looks good.

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  8. Wah~looks delicious...must try!!

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  9. I love their chicken and soup, tried that a couple of times when I was still working in Singapore.

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  10. wow I like the deco of this place and it doesn't look one bit that it's in a shopping centre.

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  11. Wow the decor is very impressive! Definitely wouldn't guess that it's in a shopping mall. Food looks very authentic too, I'm aiming at the fish and nuclear hot soup :D

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  12. Michelle: heheh, i'm not actually sure what 'wai san' is! wonder what's the english-language name for the herb =)
    Baby Sumo: yeah, i think it's the best-decorated chinese restaurant in 1 utama! and the tables are nicely spaced out too, so it doesn't feel too crowded even when the restaurant is full =)

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  13. KY: definitely, the chicken would probably go very well with some chicken rice! smooth & tender stuff :D
    LifestyleKL: hope you manage to check it out soon! there's a queue that forms outside during peak hours, but the turnover is fairly fast =)

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  14. CK: ooooh, now you can try the 1U branch and see if it tastes as good as the singapore ones! i think it'll taste the same, since the menu here seems 100 percent the same as singapore's :D
    Eiling: yeah, 1 utama is getting to be a great place to eat out again! too bad the parking is still painful compared to most of the other malls that i visit =)
    Iamthewitch: ya, there's a lot of competition among chinese restaurants at one utama, but this outlet manages to stand out a little, thanks to its decor, heheh! :D

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  15. I've never even noticed this Soup Restaurant chain before (even though it apparently has like 15 or 16 outlets in SG). Gotta go try one of the outlets one of these days :D

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  16. Timing: apparently they also have branches in jakarta! looks like they're becoming a regional success story! :D

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  17. "a savory aftershock that could awaken the taste buds of the dead..." So funny la you!

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  18. Bangsar-babe: the salted fish definitely jolted my senses ... but in a good way, like a pleasant surprise! :D

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  19. I love the chicken here with the cold lettuce leaves wrapped with a huge dollop of the ginger garlic paste. Can't quite vouch for the salted fish minced pork though. I definitely have tasted better ones.

    And the decor...yeah Mulan best describes it. LOL

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  20. Qwazymonkey: ya, I figure that chicken recipe could be replicated nicely at home, though it needs fresh, very well-prepared chicken :D there's a romantic charm to the decor that really appealed to me. And it helps that I love Mulan =)

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  21. I'm a fried rice junkie so the ginger twist to the old favourite here has certainly caught my attention.

    My bad but I've not watched Mulan? :P

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  22. Kenny: ooh, there's also olive-fried rice, if you want something more savory :D and yikes, Mulan is one of the all-time modern Disney greats! It's right up there with The Little Mermaid! =)

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  23. Whoa interesting place! Are those plants real?

    What did u actually have for yourself, Sean?

    And... Hmm I don't normally like ginger on my dish but I'm never not interested in trying ginger in foods hehe

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  24. Rad: yikes, I think they're mostly fake plants. I forgot to look carefully, heh =) actually, two of us shared this meal, so we both ate everything on the table :D yeah, I dont really love ginger when it's steamed with fish or fried with chicken & veggies either, but it was nice with the fried rice. Very subtle, very mellow :D

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  25. I want the fried rice! My stomach is singing loud at the moment.

    Responsible, Sean! Hahaha

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  26. Ginger fried rice! Must try this then. Had some olive fried rice couple of month elsewhere...flavourful and quite addictive.

    Must say that this place certainly makes one forget that one is indoors. Love the greenery....artificial or real?

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  27. Rad: heheh, i hope your tummy is singing a happy tune now! :D
    Missyblurkit: yeah, and i figure olive fried rice might be a bit healthier & more antioxidant-packed compared to regular fried rice! :D hmmmm, the greenery looks a little too good to be true, heheh :D

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  28. ate here with alilfatmonkey.. was OK lah:)

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  29. Ciki: heheh, i'm always a fan of home-cooked kinda chinese food! :D

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  30. Yes! My world is complete! Had dinner in Singapore at the Soup Restaurant at Vivo city and been DYING to have it again since. Yay! Thanks Sean! The olive rice, ginger chicken and some kind of soup we had was so yummy...! Can't wait to go to 1U now :)

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  31. Cheryl: great to hear that! i hope you enjoy the 1U outlet as much as the vivo city experience! :D

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