Sunday, September 1, 2019

163 Retail Park, Mont Kiara: East Asian Extravaganza

From Korean barbecues to Chinese mixian noodles, Malaysian lor bak to Japanese shaved ice desserts, 163 Retail Park is cooking up a storm for fans of East Asian fare: Our latest exploration of Mont Kiara's most vibrant mall takes us on a culinary voyage through crowd-pleasing favourites that span the breadth of this region, from Penang to Seoul, Kunming and Tokyo.

QingHeGu
QingHeGu wears its Korean bona fides more proudly than the typical BBQ joint, with charming illustrations and anecdotes about South Korea's history on its walls - an effort by the brand's Korean founders to offer Malaysians more insights into the Land of the Morning Calm. So while waiting for your feast to commence, you can learn a little more about the  last Empress of Korea or the royal robes of Crown Princes.

With more than a dozen outposts in South Korea, plus other offshoots in Shanghai and other locations, QingHeGu has perfected the art of Korean barbecues - the selection is encyclopedic, but the ideal starting point is the QingHeGu Special Set Menu. For RM188, customers can savour 150 grams of U.S.-imported seasoned beef ribs (worth RM130 a la carte), 170 grams of crunchy pork belly (worth RM30) and pork ribs (worth RM40). These are seasoned and grilled at the table, with flavours that pack a real punch in every tender bite.

Add on some roast pork if you want more meat that's lusciously moist (RM30 for 150 grams) or bolster the variety with a cheese egg roll, layered with onions, carrot, and sticky, stretchy cheese for indulgent satisfaction (RM30).

Ordering any meal here will secure you a seemingly infinite set of sides and condiments, including the salads, radish, smoked bean sprouts, pumpkin and eggplant, each one furnishing new dynamics and dimensions to the protein. We particularly like the chilled kimchi soup, an authentic wintertime staple prepared with imported kimchi.

Complimentary drinks are also available, such as coffee and sikhye, a fermented sweet rice beverage that's personally prepared by one of the owners. Alternatively, order a pineapple soju rita for an pleasurable liquor-loving kick that gets more and more potent as you drink deeper into it.

Hong Kong Ban Jeom
Korean and Chinese cuisine come together at Hong Kong Ban Jeom, paying homage to the history of Chinese communities that moved to South Korea and opened restaurants there that eventually evolved into Korean restaurants. The chef here was raised in a family like that, and he has been cooking since he was 12. With nearly half a century of experience under his belt, he's an expert in both Korean and Chinese cuisines, with a penchant for open-flame cooking that brings a bit of smokiness to seafood and meat.

The restaurant's specialities showcase both everyday fare as well as celebratory cooking traditionally served for milestone occasions, from jajangmyeon noodles in black soybean sauce, originally introduced in Incheon Chinatown in the early 1900s by a migrant from Shandong (RM20) to soupy sensations that surface with the ocean's bounty, such as samsun udon (RM25; seafood udon) and samsun jjampong (RM25; spicy seafood noodles - the noodles are house-made as an assurance of quality).

Whether you're here for lunch or dinner, with family, friends or colleagues, there's a platter for every communal meal, from chapssal tangsuyuk (sweet and sour pork) to kkanpunggi (deep-fried chicken in hot pepper sauce), capably executed renditions that effectively channel their Chinese counterparts. Complete your visit with gun mandu, fried dumplings that make for merry munching (RM20).

YU Noodle Cuisine
YU Noodle Cuisine's latest location has fast become a popular pick at 163 Retail Park, with patrons flocking for their familiar fix of noodles amid vintage vessels of Chinese rice wine beneath a ceiling of lanterns and lit fish-shaped ornaments.

The house-made rice noodles emerge thickly in a choice of spicy or non-spicy soups - the former evokes Thai-influence tom yum, while the latter is prepared with anchovies that have been boiled for over six hours for briny sweetness. Both prove smooth and clear-tasting, complemented by complimentary splashes of rice wine and a punchy sambal. Possible orders come with options like pork slices and grass prawns or with pork slices and bursting meatballs, for fulfilling comfort food.

Side dishes add texture, comprising deep-fried squid balls, fried fish skin, fu chuk, sui kao and bean curd ring rolls, crisp enough to relish as snacks on their own or to dip into the soups. Fried fish cakes are also recommended to round out the YU experience.

For the best value, breakfast meal sets are available from 10am to 1130am on weekday mornings, portioned as generously as the a la carte items. Noodles with fish balls, sui kao, pork slices and bursting meatballs or minced meat clock in at just RM10 for the morning sets; add RM1 for a drink.

The Brew House

With its alfresco area beside 163 Retail Park's indoor 'waterfall', The Brew House is where folks unwind with a scrumptious meal, refreshing drink, scenic view and chilled-out vibes.

While The Brew House might be best known for its Western gastropub recipes, the selection also spans plenty of East Asian efforts, with hearty Korean-style kimchi-jjigae (RM12.80), wild boar curry with rice (RM14.80) and char siew rice with onsen egg (RM19.80) for soulful, fuss-free sustenance that'll make any workday or weekend feel exuberantly brighter.

Local Malaysian favourites also please the palate here, infused with playful flourishes. The wine-infused lala noodle soup will make customers as happy as clams at high tide (RM15.80), while the Nam Yue pork is beautifully balanced in a invigoratingly leafy salad (RM16.80), and the Penang-style lor bak (RM15.80) and salted egg fish skin with pork floss (RM15.80) both make for terrific snacks to share with your favourite people.

Exclusive to this 163 Retail Park branch is a special premium menu that's unavailable at any outpost of The Brew House. Here, you'll find seared foie gras served with duck sausage in a pan with smoked bean cassoulet and ciabatta, furnishing primarily the flavours of Franch (RM48), and Canadian scallops blanketed in bacon, rounded out with pomegranate sauce and pea puree (RM38). Other highlights include Japanese wagyu steak, lamb rack, and lobster thermidor.

Delving deeper into the Western section, carnivorous caveman offerings should be satiated by the sink-your-teeth-into-this succulence of the signature pork steak with cherry peppercorn sauce (RM15.80), bacon steak that's pure primal pleasure (RM20.80), and the Cajun-scented roasted pork belly that's memorably spiced for a tantalising twist on typical pork belly (RM22.80).

It's easy to envision returning to The Brew House over and over again, since there's so much to devour here, ranging from East to West as well as concoctions that draw inspiration from both sides. Soy-glazed salmon topped with tomato sauce and salsa will perk up the appetite with its vibrant, vivid dynamics (RM29.80), the vongole chilli clam pasta is guaranteed to spice up your day, loaded with clams galore (RM15.80), the pork bacon and peach thin-crust pizza brings together savoury and sweet in cheat-day-indulgence harmony (RM19.80), and the Porky Platter of sliders, sticky ribs and roast pork will hog attention until every slice has been polished clean off the plate (RM25.80).

Even if you're a regular at The Brew House, there's consistently something new to sample - seasonal specialities like the truffle scallops and bacon pasta, showered with ebiko for briny umami (RM28.80), and the truffle bacon pizza, drizzled with mushrooms and broccoli (RM28.80), bring earthy elegance to the offerings.

Wrap up your visit with the perpetually trendy burnt cheesecake, a house-baked recipe with a delightful dollop of whipped cream (RM14.80). If you're here for lunch, look out for weekday midday menus that start at RM10.80, accompanied by a drink, ice cream, and soup of the day. On weekends, a special roast menu also seizes the spotlight - watch for honey-baked ham and pork Wellington.

Of course, a multitude of thirst-quenchers are available, with colourful flagship beverages like the iced peach tea, Ribena lychee soda, and pandan cooler (RM13.80 each). We're also happy to endorse the thick, tall mango lassi (RM12.80).

For more complex offerings, the Tropical Splash is a mocktail blended with fresh strawberries, mango juice, orange juice and Sprite (RM14.80). Cocktail hunters can aim for the classic Cosmopolitan, confidently toeing the line between strong and sweet (RM21.80).

Kakiyuki
The newly rebranded Kakiyuki (formerly Kakigori) is clearly 163 Retail Park's happy place, rocking a ravishing garden interior and exterior, making it a soothing sanctuary for the sweet tooth. Fun fact: The name is a portmanteau of kakigori (Japanese shaved iced desserts) and the brand's mascot Yuki (a name that means snow).

The kakigori here is a multi-layered affair in every sense, combining time-honoured techniques and ingredients with whimsical imagination. The Classic Tiramisu unites Japanese and Italian influences (RM18) - a base of shaved ice, some espresso cream and cocoa powder; then more ice, then chocolate sauce and more cocoa powder; then a third layer of ice, with a final run of espresso cream, cocoa powder with chocolate caviar. The result tastes as gorgeous as it looks, swoon-worthy and sumptuous, the perfect cooling treat on the sultriest of afternoons.

Other flavours have just as much attention to delicious detail. The Blue Dream brings together vanilla with blue pea for colour, with a zesty core of yuzu curd and orange candy peel, plus elderflower jelly on top for a fragrant uplift (RM23). The Watermelon Kiss is a vegan-friendly creation with a ball of watermelon sitting in its base, crowned with rejuvenating grapes, strawberries, pistachios and rose bud petals for a ruby red top that's simultaneously fruity, nutty and floral (RM17). The Matcha Colada balances out the glory of green tea with chunks of candied walnuts, plus a tropical trinity of coconut milk, coconut jelly and lime (RM20).

Beyond kakigori, Kakiyuki also serves the Klang Valley's finest warabimochi jelly-like confections, in green tea or roasted soybean varieties or a mix of both (RM14). The green tea warabimochi can also be relished in the matcha anmitsu, agar jelly surrounded by green tea ice cream, red bean paste, dango dumplings and fruits, an elegant ensemble of Japanese desserts in one bowl (RM22).

Freshan
If eating at 163 Retail Park's Korean restaurants isn't enough, you can even shop Korean here to prepare your own authentically Korean meal at home, thanks to Freshan, a Korean-owned supermarket that imports the vast majority of its produce from South Korea.

Shoppers will have plenty for their carts. You'll find fruits from Sangju, an area famed for its agricultural harvest, including apples, dried persimmons, grapes and peaches. The next aisle boasts an assortment of kimchi for different kinds of meals. Fresh produce comes in weekly, while other non-perishable products are flown in once a month, such as noodles, cereal and frozen meals.

A seating area by the supermarket's entrance enables shoppers to prepare a simple snack here, with a microwave set up nearby, as well as an instant noodle induction cooker machine - perfect for patrons who want to dive right into the diversity of noodles sold here. Otherwise, munch on a cute fish-shaped ice cream sandwich, or nourish yourself with Korean yogurt and cookies packet, washed down with the milky creaminess of a Woongjin morning rice beverage.

Exciting Mid-Autumn
The East Asian extravaganza comes to a celebratory climax with 163 Retail Park's Exciting Mid-Autumn, feting the festival with a colourfully lit, photogenic backdrop. On the evening of Saturday, 14 September, the mall will feature fun-filled activities for the entire family, including a giveaway of mooncakes and other goodies as well as a Chinese fan dance at 630pm, a Chinese orchestra at 750pm, an LED dragon dance at 845pm, and more, on the third floor of the mall.

Many thanks to 163 Retail Park for having us back.

163 Retail Park is at 8, Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

6 comments:

  1. Wowwwwwww!!! That fire! Sure will be nice, the wok hei fragrance! I wouldn't know where to start here, so many to choose, all nice...but the wild bar curry caught my eye!

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    1. Suituapui: yeah, the kitchens here are definitely on fire! :D

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  2. I've not been to this new mall...and there seems to be a lot on offer (if only it wasn't so far from where I live). The first one, the Korean BBQ (cooked by them and not by me), attracted me the most. Yu Noodles looks rather similar to Go Noodle except this one come with complimentary rice wine...yay! Brew House's menu has also evolved to include a lot more stuff but I remember the salted egg fish skin with pork floss as one of the most addictive things I've eaten.

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    1. Contact.ewew: yeah, if you lived within three kilometres of here, this would definitely be a good mall to makan at! :)

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  3. I want that bowl of kakigori.

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    1. KY: there's still three more hours this evening until the outlet closes :)

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