Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tiffin's By Chef Korn @ Mid Valley

Erawan enthusiasts, rejoice: The revered Thai restaurant embarks on its first spin-off this week - a casual soul-food cafe with a pork-heavy repertoire of Chef Korn Yodsuk's cherished family recipes that evoke memories of his childhood.

Tiffin's By Chef Korn is a hideout that's hard to find, on the third-floor mezzanine level of the Mid Valley mall's North Court (on the same side as Celebrity Fitness; take the escalator up from Daiso). It's tastefully outfitted, essentially what we'd expect of the architects of Kota Damansara's Erawan, with the eatery's namesake tiffin carriers occupying a place of pride near the entrance.

Tiffin's is currently more of a showcase for traditional favourites, sidestepping the revolutionary zeal & bravura inventiveness for which Erawan has become beloved (mercifully, this means that pre-ordering - a prerequisite at Erawan - is unneeded). This is a place for the humble pad thai, punchier in flavour than the norm, thanks to Chef Korn's own sauce blend.

 Tiffin's offers mainly set meals - the seafood version of the pad thai costs RM23.80++ (the plain one's RM18.80++), accompanied by a three-tier tiffin carrier that conceals specials-of-the-day surprises. On our visit, we had juicy chicken wings, a salad & simple fruits. The tiffin carriers are a nice touch that'll potentially become this outlet's signature flourish.

Generations-old recipes are sprinkled across Tiffin's selection. Chef Korn credits the classic pork broth (RM18.80 with tiffin set) to his grandmother, who reputedly once cooked in the palace of Thailand's King Rama VII.

The beef noodles (RM23.90++ with a tiffin set) are also a recipe that Chef Korn first created at home; he never went to culinary school, but says he learned to cook from his father, mother & brother, who each passed on a specific gastronomic prowess to him - Dad relished spicy, herb-rich food, while Big Brother was a desserts fiend.

 The broths come with another cute accompaniment - test tubes of fish sauce, vinegar, chilli & salt for DIY seasoning.

 Pork's everywhere here, with several specialities bound to Thailand's north - Chiang Mai's crispy-puffy pork rind strips (RM3++) ...

 ... as well as 'laab moo' (RM19.80++), the Isan spicy 'salad' of minced pork with roasted crushed rice & kaffir lime leaves.

Grilled pork neck (RM16.80++), a prime example of the 'village-style dishes' that Chef Korn recalls savouring at street stalls while walking home from school & hopes to introduce to more Malaysians today.

Stewed pork knuckle with salted egg, preserved veggies & rice (RM19.80++ with a tiffin set) could also prove crowd-pleasing.

 Tiffin's sweets selection is sweeping - the two of us only had stomach space for the house-made passion fruit ice cream (RM5.80++, a tangy perk-me-up), but there are also (take a deep breath) candied banana in coconut milk, black glutinous rice pudding with longan, yam & sweet potatoes in coconut milk, cendol with palm sugar syrup & more.

 Thai milk coffee or tea & sala-flavoured syrup round out the beverage list. Tiffin's By Chef Korn is still a serene sanctuary for lunch right now, but it won't remain a secret for long - it's a unique addition to a sprawling mall that's often accused of being a wasteland for worthwhile F&B options.

Tiffin's by Chef Korn
Third Floor Mezzanine, North Court, Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur

This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.

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35 comments:

  1. Though i like the presentation of having test tubes as containers to chili/ salt and pepper but isn't it hard to control the amount when you are about to add them onto your noodles? The food looks great btw :)

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    1. Ken: ooo, actually we only ended up adding fish sauce to our broths, since we didn't really want the extra salt, chilli or vinegar, and the sauce was easy to pour out slowly :) the menu's mouth-watering ... we totally over-ordered :)

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  2. Are the portions worth the prices? =)

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    1. Ulric: prices are a bit steeper than preferred, but i guess it's OK once we take into account the side dishes that come with each set. hopefully they'll launch their a la carte menu soon, and we can order the pad thai & other stuff without having compulsory tiffin carrier dishes in each set, heh. but ya, each set is definitely enough for lunch or dinner :)

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    2. Good to hear...thanks! =)

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    3. Ulric: heheh, i guess if you're ever in mid valley... :)

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  3. Tempting, but I'll still go back to Erawan for the full dining experience. Right now I have candied tapioca on my mind, mmm

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    1. Suanie: ya, i think they meant to make this outlet as different as possible from erawan - there's pork here, and nothing's too fancy (all appropriate for a mass-market mall). so customers who want to eat erawan's specialities (like the candied tapioca) have to keep returning to kota damansara, heh :)

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  4. This looks like typical homecooked stuff, not the usual Thai stuff. Ooooo...love those enamel bowls and tiffin carriers. Wait a minute! Why that one has two whites and a yellow? Tsk! Tsk! Must keep the sets together, make sure they match. And I certainly love that tray they use to serve...so old-school. I like!!!!! Yup...why testtubes? Stick out like a sore thumb!

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    1. Suituapui: haha, ya, there was one mismatched tiffin set. it was fun photographing all the stuff here. very pretty, and the food was mostly photogenic too. the test tubes were a bit weird, but we still liked them ... no other thai outlet does test tubes, heh :D

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  5. Do we get to keep the tiffin carriers? LOL! I kid. But I noticed some of the enamel ware in one of the pictures. Are they for sale?

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    1. UnkaLeong: ooo, i actually assumed that all the tiffin carriers stacked up on the shelves were part of the permanent decor, but you raise an interesting question about whether they could be for sale. maybe they are! now i'm curious too :)

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  6. Replies
    1. Footfringe: especially if the surprises involve tasty food! :)

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  7. Ooooo super-friendly location for me - we go to MV almost every week so I will definitely be paying this place a visit soon :)

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    1. Baby Sumo: ooo, me too ... MV is just a 15-minute drive from my place :D

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  8. Replies
    1. Happy walker: yay, sounds like it would be a tasty snack :)

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  9. I just love the look of this place!

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    1. Linda: it has a nice feel, a refuge from the remainder of the mall :)

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  10. There's something very charming about tiffin tins.

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    1. The Yum List: they do remind me a bit of some of my school-year meals ;)

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  11. I like the old-school tiffin carriers - so nostalgic... but why test tubes ah? Test tubes, so "molecular tech" kinda image & so contradictory to tiffins, no? :P

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    1. Pureglutton: heheh, that might be a good question to ask chef korn :)

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  12. Thai food, my most fav cuisine! I'm gonna give a try for their Stewed pork knuckle, see if it is taste better than Lai Thai Market!

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    1. Audrey: hope you enjoy the food at tiffin's! :)

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  13. This one much nearer to our place. Hehehe.
    I haven't had Thai food for long long time, I miss tomyam and pad thai.

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    1. CK: heheh, ya, convenient location (though finding parking during lunchtime is still not easy, heheh). ooo, tiffin's also has some tomyam noodles on its menu. hope you get to have some thai food soon :)

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  14. The ordinary dishes become so unique when they are served in tiffins, nice!

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    1. Choi Yen: ya, a good way to make the presentation more interesting :)

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  15. Pork heavy repertoire...I like that theme!

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    1. Missyblurkit: oink oink! :D

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  16. I went to try this as soon as you blogged about it. But my first experience was a bit 'meh', we ordered the pork noodles, seafood green curry and grilled pork neck. It was really nothing to shout about.
    But I decided to give them a second chance, afterall it's from the same people who runs Erawan. This time round, appetisers are the same, but no longer served in tiffins, and there were more customers, and I ordered the pork knuckle rice, which came with the perfect hard-boiled egg, yummy pork knuckle (serving a little small though) and I really enjoyed it. Hubby still think it's not worth the money, but I couldn't get this dish anywhere else... if only they serve teochew kueh chap too :-P
    And the waiter said 'welcome back' to me, which really surprised me

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    1. Yun Qi: thanks for the feedback on tiffin's ... glad to hear the pork knuckle was a highlight for you, and hopefully if there's a third time for you, the hits will outnumber the misses :)

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