Monday, July 8, 2013

Coliseum Cafe @ The Plaza, Jaya 33 Petaling Jaya

It's the history that counts for Coliseum. For this restaurant that enthralled W. Somerset Maugham in the 1920s & ensnared hundreds of thousands of customers in the ensuing decades, 2013 marks a milestone, as a new management strives to broaden the Coliseum brand.

Coliseum's first spin-off opens this week in PJ's Plaza 33, keen to recreate the colonial-era magnetism that makes the Tuanku Abdul Rahman original so enduring & endearing. That might expose this venue to mockery that true charm can't be cloned, but cynical critics matter not.

Whether you're eating in KL or PJ, Coliseum's menu remains unwavering in its worship of recipes that were old long before the latest generation of executive chefs was young. The signature Chateaubriand steaks will always sizzle here, smothered in either black pepper or brown sauce.

Hearty but chewy. At RM70.90++, it's also a full RM10 higher than than what Coliseum Cafe in downtown KL charged for this in January 2012.

A bite of this Hainanese chicken chop (RM24++) brings buried memories into sharp focus; it's food that's familiar in a manner that breeds no contempt, not when the people who introduced us to this three decades ago are now faded figures whom we miss dearly.

Everything else is still here too: Shrimp salads, oxtail soups, garlic toasts & caramel puddings. Unstinting servings of nostalgia on shiny-fresh plates.

What's missing: Booze. Coliseum PJ is having trouble securing a liquor license, so wine & margaritas remain woefully unavailable.

It's arguable whether Coliseum's expansion _ we may see more outposts in Mid Valley & elsewhere this year _ is prompted purely by commercial avarice. But as far as legacies go, Coliseum's isn't tarnished, not by this fledgling branch.

PJ Coliseum Cafe 1921,
Ground Floor, The Plaza, Jaya 33, Section 13, Petaling Jaya.
Same building as Noble Mansion, Kampachi & D'Cuisine.
Tel: 03-7932-3228
Open 10am-10pm

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60 comments:

  1. hoho~ it's opened! i just visited the one in jln tunku abdul rahman last month.

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    1. 女飞侠: heheh, ya, i think both branches have their advantages. the tuanku abd rahman branch is very near my office (a 10-minute drive), but parking is much easier at the PJ outlet. unfortunately, alcohol is only available at the tuanku abd rahman outlet =)

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    2. i think i still like the one in jln tunku abdul rahman. i prefer the classic interior and bar setting.

      errr....my friends and i always feel like asking u...what do u do actually? a full time food reviewer?

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    3. 女飞侠: yeah, true, the original would be the one that most of us favor in the end :D heh, nope, food reviews are just a hobby. i have a job that's not related to restaurants =)

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  2. Don't have to go to the KL one anymore ! Good parking spaces in 33, I think compare to finding one near Little India !!!!

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    1. Wong: that's true! parking is totally stress-free at plaza/jaya 33, especially compared to the little india streets :D

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  3. hmmm the food looks good! but quite pricey eh..

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    1. Constance: ya, that's true, even the mid-range sizzling steaks here (rib-eye, sirloin & t-bone) cost nearly RM50++ =)

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  4. We thought we'd see you here today! Guess we went at different times..=P Still need to come back to try the steaks!

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    1. Drops Of Contentment: ooh, ya, we were in and out in less than an hour (though only 15 mins was actually spent eating, the rest of time was spent waiting for the food!) =) i think i'd come back for the baked stuffed crab, heh =)

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    2. oo, wait for me! I love baked stuff crab. Ultimate comfort food

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    3. Footfringe: i love any crab where we don't have to peel painstakingly through the claws ourselves! :D

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  5. Hey...just passed by here yesterday at 1:45pm...was thinking surely you were there...haha =)

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    1. Ulric: heh, they officially opened at 3pm but i think many customers arrived even before that :D

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  6. A neat looking place, Sean! I like the fact that they have their name on the dishes. Nice touch.

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    1. Linda: yeah, i like how this place gets a lot of natural sunlight. and yup, the logo on their plates makes it quite distinctive =)

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  7. Been to the TAR one a few times...just for the feel of it! Love the place. This one looks...new. No Ah Peks serving diners...

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    1. Suituapui: heh, yeah, 80 percent of the servers at this PJ branch seem to be under 30 years old! :D

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  8. Didn't have Hainanese chicken chop for long long time......

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    1. DevilCK: heheh, if u want a very luxurious chicken chop, the restaurant at KL's new Majestic Hotel serves a RM75++ hainanese chicken chop! :D

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    2. That is tooooo luxurious for me! LOL

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    3. DevilCK: ya, we will become very poor if we eat that type of chicken chop! =)

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  9. Yeah when I saw they were opened, first thing I thought was Sean would be there! Hehe!

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    1. Baby Sumo: yaa, they were actually supposed to open in May, but they kept postponing the date. am glad it's finally open! :D

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  10. wow....the both sizzling meat and hainanese chicken chop looks good!

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    1. Melissa: heheh, old-fashioned comfort food! :D

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  11. they open a branch? I thought they will be forever the same. interesting..

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    1. Jean: ya, it looks like there will be a few more coliseum branches after this as well. will be interesting to see how it affects their overall business, including at jalan tuanku abdul rahmah =)

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  12. I haven't yet been to the original. I've heard different things over the years but I guess it's an institution.

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    1. The yum list: yeah, the food's not exactly up to the level of most other contemporary steakhouses in kl. I guess on one hand, some people might accuse them of coasting on former glories, but I think they still work hard to try to please, heh =)

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  13. yet to try this new outlet but I miss the old grumpy waiters at Jalan TAR. A little costlier than Jln TAR perhaps because of rental?

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    1. Missyblurkit: heh, but there used to be a fairly friendly captain at the Jln TAR outlet (if my memory hasn't failed me). It'll be interesting to find out which branch has the higher rental cost, since it might be quite pricey to rent that prime-location space in downtown kl too. though ya, plaza 33's ground floor is a very high-profile spot now =)

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  14. Hmmm somehow.. This place doesn't attract me. I think I'll go to the kl one just for the feel, if nothing else.

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    1. TNG: ya, i think it's more of a heritage thing when it comes to coliseum. which is what the current management might be trying to capitalize on. i guess on one hand, it's good to try to keep the name/brand vital and relevant =)

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  15. where's the smelly, stained table clothes and the bibs for the sizzling steak? LOL. Still this place is worth a review:)

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    1. Ciki: oh ya, the bibs have vanished! hmmm, i wonder if bibs are still used at other old-school outlets like lobsterman nowadays. but ya, coliseum is a hot bet right now =)

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  16. It was a long q and everyday I passed there and I failed to try them :(

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    1. Pamela: yikes, ya, the crowds are big during the peak lunch and dinner hours. Try to come before noon or between 3pm-6pm maybe =)

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  17. Hi, do they still serve Pork Chop or has that disappeared from the menu as well? Any idea?

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    1. Adrian: oh, this branch does not serve pork =)

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    2. disaster for not serving pork...ask gordon ramsay or heston blumenthal not to serve pork in their restaurant and they will probably kill themself..

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  18. Coliseum cafe has gone through thick and thin till today not because thoroughly on their brand its the cuisine that is a fusion of eastern influence spice and method of cooking that even attracts foreigners cos its not authentic western its hainanese western.Do give us a chance to see how we fare in the coming days.Thanks for the feedback we will try to improve.

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    1. Paul: thanks for taking the time to explain your vision to us. wishing you all the best in the years ahead. am sure coliseum will continue to have many faithful and happy fans =)

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  19. I've been to the KL one years ago but not since due to parking and it's not a place to go on a whim.

    I saw the announcement banners every time I drive past the place and I had wondered whether they'll close the KL one and move to PJ. Good to hear that it's just expansion.

    The sizzling steak looks so good right now... argh..!

    Dumb question: Have they started charging for parking yet? If yes, how much? Or is it same parking rate as Jaya 33?

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    1. Lifeasacynic: yeah, the KL branch has that parking problem that keeps me away too. i'd happily just stick to the new PJ branch except that it serves no booze, heh :D yeah, they charge for parking at plaza 33 now. sorry though, i can't recall the rates. not too high though, probably similar to jaya 33's =)

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  20. Hi. Can i know if this place is halal?

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    1. Nadiah: coliseum does not serve pork and it welcomes muslim customers =)

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  21. my first visit to PJ branch was terribly disappointing today .....more because of the local young Malaysian waiter's "attitude" (totally unlike the pleasant "oldies" from KL branch). Food was so so, it would have probably tasted better if the waiter wasn't so rude and cocky. Maybe the "3 day oversubscription" success got into their tiny heads. Totally disappointed!!

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    1. KLcolisuemloyalist: yikes, i hope they take your feedback into consideration

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  22. Why they do not want to apply for HALAL certificate? Becoz Pork Free doesn't mean its a HALAL restaurant.

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    1. Tiga: i might be wrong, but it might be because they traditionally serve alcohol at coliseum

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    2. Big mistake when colisuem turn pork free..kills their original recipe..their pork chop and roast was fantastic in those days..and they have stop using pork broth for their sauce which kills the food..

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  23. finally managed to book a table for dinner, but only available at 5:30pm. wow, so good business. hopefully it will obtain alcohol license in future.

    btw, i like your restaurant review. tq to share nice stories.

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    1. Rieko: hope you enjoy your meal, and thank you =)

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  24. coliseum is never the same when they went halal..i miss their pineapple pork ham.

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    1. After halal we still sell turkey ham pineapple until 2 years ago!

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  25. you must be joking...turkey is not pork la...the turkey ham taste horrific..its a shame because halal makes your restaurant loses its identity as it should be for the sake of profits and not for the food taste..

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  26. PJ outlet horrible. Australian sirloin (medium) was toughest I've EVER tasted.

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