Jaya Shopping Centre opened/reopened this week, positioning itself as 'The Heart & Soul of PJ' in a canny, nostalgia-coloured campaign to lure visitors. But with more than half this mall's tenants still racing through renovations, there's scant shopping or eating to be conducted here for the next few days.
Many of the F&B brands here are familiar mall-based ones, from Chili's Grill to Kenny Rogers Roasters, Serai to Soup Restaurant, Heritage Village to Ah Cheng Laksa. The cherished exception & chief attraction: Bari-Uma, a ramen restaurant with a handful of branches in Japan (plus one or two in Singapore).
Bari-Uma's signature ramen, elegantly striking, with relatively light, pork-flavoured shoyu broth flanked by crisp seaweed sheets, crowned with reasonably thick slices of tender flame-cooked cha shu. RM27 before taxes, sufficient for a not-very-heavy lunch.
Customers can select a preference for the firmness of their noodles (our 'regular' boasted a pleasant bite), but otherwise, variety is not Bari-Uma's forte. A spicy soup is available, as are add-ons such as a seasoned egg & corn (RM2 each), but that's about all there is to say about the ramen here.
Two Japanese chefs currently oversee the kitchen, keeping a close eye on how the gyoza turns out; ironically, there's a wider-than-usual assortment of chicken-stuffed dumplings here, from the negi-mayo version with a mildly spicy sauce (RM12 for five) ...
... to pan-fried ones with teriyaki sauce & sesame seeds ...
... & boiled ones that probably won't linger very long in the memory. Kushiyaki will be offered by next week _ skewers of pork belly or chicken breast & thigh with leeks.
Customers will probably be satisfied with how this aburi salmon salad tastes. But it's the one dish here that could benefit from a more appealing presentation. RM19.90.
Ishiyaki chaofan forms the final component of the menu _ rice in hot stone bowls with plenty of pork & accompaniments like salmon or shrimp (RM15.90).
Dessert revolves around ice cream. And with that, it's a wrap for Bari-Uma's menu. All in all, since fans of porky ramen in Petaling Jaya have comparatively few options, this is a welcome entry to Section 14.
Basic sake should be offered by next week; for now, there's beer (RM20 per can).
Bari-Uma's service team works hard to live by this creed; not a simple task & sometimes a thankless one, so we salute them.
Bari-Uma Ramen Malaysia
L3-11, Level Three, Jaya Shopping Centre, Jalan Semangat, Section 14, Petaling Jaya
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