Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / Damansara

In my memory, the rustic row of shops by Jalan Batai is home to a couple old school kopitiam in an otherwise pretty luxurious residential area, but my memory of the place hasn’t been updated for a while. Batai Village now houses some of the more trendy restaurants in town, and the old Hock Lee has since became Ben’s Independent Grocer.

Progress I guess, and to be honest I think it is in a good way. There’s still a sense of close knit community presence, and they’ve even managed to retain many of the hawker stalls operating in the corner kopitiam, upgraded of course.

We were there at night on a promise of good Japanese premium steaks at Torii. As it turned out, the promise was delivered with excess.

Torii at Batai Village, Damansara Height
Torii at Batai Village, Damansara Height

I’ve talked about the excellent yakitori offered at Torii at TTDI previously, similar menu is offered here at Batai branch, but now with the addition of Japanese Premium Steaks, which is what we were there for.

I was told that the branch at TTDI is closing down as they shift their focus to Batai.

Matsusaka or kobe beef? Take your pick
Matsusaka or kobe beef? Take your pick

The steak comes in 5 different choices and are priced per 100 gram:

  • Matsusaka, RM 310
  • Kobe Zabutan A5, RM 250
  • Kobe Sirloin A4, RM 180
  • Kobe Sirloin A3, RM 150
  • Kobe Sirloin F1, RM 120

You may have read on wikipedia or other sources that Kobe beef is usually not exported (or only to limited countries) from Japan, in a way that is true, so some of these Kobe beef found in “unofficial” countries are actually hand carried over borders, but they are true 100% Kobe beef regardless.

sauteed spinach, green bean with black sesame, egg yolk croquette
sauteed spinach, green bean with black sesame, egg yolk croquette

Additionally, Torii also offer several sides to go with those red meat

  • Shaved fresh black truffle, RM 15
  • Pan-seared foie gras, RM 29
  • Grilled Japanese scallop, RM 19
  • Truffled mashed parsnip, RM 25
  • Sauteed Spinach, RM 25
  • Egg yolk croquettes, RM 19
  • Green beans with black sesame sauce, RM 18
  • Cream of spinach, RM 18
  • Heritage salad, RM 15

kobe sirloin A3, kobe zabutan A5, matsusaka, pan seared foie gras
kobe sirloin A3, kobe zabutan A5, matsusaka, pan seared foie gras

For the session, we worked through Kobe Sirloin A3, Kobe Zabutan A5, and Matsusaka, a 100 gram each and served with pan seared foie gras & grilled Japanese scallop.

As you can see from the picture, marbling goes up from each grade, and to be honest you really have to find your sweet spot. While I love the super fatty Matsusaka and it’s melt in your mouth texture, Haze found her sweet spot to be around Kobe Zabutan A5 or even the A3. You get a bit more firmness as you go “down” the grade. There’s really nothing wrong if your favorite is at F1.

The steak is served with black truffle sauce, they are basically match make in heaven for the beef, so rich, full flavor, and ultra satisfying. Yes, 100 gram is plenty of beef when they are of these quality and so rich in fats (in a good way).

Needless to say, the foie gras and scallops were both on point and served as perfect companion for the steaks.

KY & Haze at Torii Batai Village
KY & Haze at Torii Batai Village

Together with the steaks, we also sampled three different side dishes. Sauteed spinach was simple and refreshing while staying true to its Japanese identity, green beans with black sesame is a little stronger tasting and perhaps needs a bit of getting used to, while egg yolk croquettes were perhaps a bit of an culinary experiment that I myself may not 100% agree at this point of my life.

Torii Premium Japanese Steak price list (as of Oct 2016)
Torii Premium Japanese Steak price list (as of Oct 2016)

I hope this menu is going to be offered on a permanent basis at Torii. A certain treat for anyone who loves steak, and to be honest, at this price, they do offer pretty decent value for money, especially considering you don’t have to fly to Japan for it.

P/S: interesting useless fact, Kobe beef is so good the basketball superstar’s parents named him Kobe Bryant.

map to Torii at Jalan Batai

 

Address:
Torii
8, Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.149612, 101.661402
Tel: 03-2011 3798

A couple days prior to General Election 13, we were invited to a food review session at PLOY to sample some dishes from their new menu.

According to their website, PLOY means Gem in Thai. It is then this pretty unique contemporary fine dining restaurant’s aim – to have their dishes be true gems of Japanese and Thai cuisine.

PLOY at Clearwater, Damansara Height
PLOY at Clearwater, Damansara Height

PLOY is located at Clearwater Residence in Damansara Heights. Parking is a pretty painless affair, there’s an underground car park in the building, and it also seems like you can park on the streets just outside of it, though legality in that is questionable.

The restaurant itself is tastefully decorated and has two separate dining halls, a fully air conditioned area, and another half outdoor for alfresco dining.

there are some interesting drinks on the menu
there are some interesting drinks on the menu

There’s a full bar at PLOY. Beer, liquor, cocktails, coffee, and several other rather interesting drinks can be ordered. My drink for the night was Apple Sour, basically fresh apple juice with sour plum in it, very refreshing. Fraps, cappuccino, and Thai ice tea were reportedly pretty good as well.

tuna wakame salad, golden needle salad
tuna wakame salad, golden needle salad

Dinner started out with a couple different types of salad. Tuna Wakame Salad (RM 23) comes with chunks of tuna cubes, avocado, and sesame in shoyu dressing, while Golden Needle Salad (RM 15) with tofu, avocado, broccoli, and wafu dressing.

Due to the pretty distinct taste of avocado, the two salads ended up more similar than different, but not in a bad way. I love the way they deep fried the string mushrooms, and if you were to choose a salad, I’d recommend the golden needle, tastes as good, and cheaper too.

tempura surprise, kabocha tempura
tempura surprise, kabocha tempura

Tempura Surprise (RM 15) is a dish with questionable usage of one of my favorite fish – seabass. The fish is wrapped in oba leaf, and then deep fried. It was a surprise alright, but not exactly in a commendable way. The combination did not work well even though I’m a fan of both major ingredients. I think they should re investigate this dish.

On the other hand, Kabocha Tempura (RM 8.50), or salted egg pumpkin tempura, fared much better. The pumpkin were delicious, and would scored even higher marks if those salted egg yolk sticks to the gourd better. I like it.

crab in wrap
crab in wrap – a maki with a hint of tropical influence

Most of us have tried Spider rolls, or soft shell crab maki in Japanese restaurants, this is PLOY’s interpretation with their Crab in Wrap (RM 28). Other than soft shell crab, avocado, sushi rice, and spicy kani, mango can be found in this roll.

To me, this is a perfect blend of Thai & Japanese influence, and one that works very well. I love the taste of Thai in the maki, very well executed.

magic puff - with goat cheese, truffle oil, and wild rocket
magic puff – with goat cheese, truffle oil, and wild rocket

Magic Puff (RM 32) does not come cheap, but it’s got truffle oil and goat cheese in the homemade crispy pastry with wild rocket. This is a dish that had to be consumed ASAP before the cheese melts into the pastry, and oh it tastes very good! Truffle oil, made all the difference, yums!

the godfather special, pasta from heaven, smoked duck breast with chicken ham pizza
the godfather special, pasta from heaven, smoked duck breast with chicken ham pizza

The trio of main dishes we shared were the Godfather Special (RM 22), Pasta from Heaven (RM 28), and Smoked Duck Breast with Chicken Ham Pizza (RM 28).

Godfather Special is a fancy name for a salmon ikura don with avocado, royu and nori (seaweed) in tempura flakes. The flakes gave it a crispy texture in an otherwise pretty average dish. It felt.. healthy.

Pasta from Heaven is angel hair spaghetti with sakura ebi (small shrimps) and flying fish roe  in truffle oil. Again, the truffle oil proved to be the salvation in this one, and I love angle hair pasta, so it worked for me. Though I’d love to have chunks of something else in it, like prawns or .. just something.

The pizza was awesome, I really loved the pizza! For RM 28 this is the real deal, plenty of real yummy duck breast on the really thin crust pizza with avocado sauce. The sprinkle of flying fish roe gave it that extra pop. It was delicious, if you love duck breast, you’ll absolutely enjoy this pizza. I wanted to have more!

sticky date pudding, durian panna cotta, creme caramel
sticky date pudding, durian panna cotta, creme caramel

When we thought the dinner was over, our host brought out these three types of desserts.

The sticky date pudding was alright, the creme caramel will satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth, but the durian panna cotta is what I really want to talk about.

It might look uninspiring, but the durian panna cotta was awesome. It’s rich, it’s pungent, and it’s an absolute must for anyone who even remotely like durian. It’s the stuff that should make some people go to PLOY just for the dessert. Try it!

Ivy, Haze, KY, chef Daniel, Marc, Hitomi and others having a good time
Ivy, Haze, KY, chef Daniel, Marc, Hitomi and others having a good time

So if you’re up to something slightly out of the ordinary, PLOY is a definitely a place to check out. While I can’t say that everything is awesome, there are quite a lot of bright spots in their latest menu. I would also say that prices are pretty competitive for the setting PLOY offers.

Thank you Lennie for the invites.

map to PLOY at Clearwater

Address:
PLOY
G-2, WORK@Clearwater,
Jalan Changkat Semantan,
Bukit Damansara, KL
GPS: 3.152327, 101.666762
Tel 03-2095 0999
Webploywithyourfood.com

I’ve heard about Checkers for a while and always wanted to try their famous pork ribs, years after I was first recommended by a friend about this place, we finally went there for dinner over Pearl’s (belated) birthday.

Checkers at Damasara Heights, there isn't a sign board
Checkers at Damasara Heights, there isn’t a sign board

Located at a pretty quiet part of Damansara Heights with ample parking space, Checkers is very small family run restaurant that gives you the homey ambiance with the stern looking proprietor and his friendly wife. Most everyone that shared the other 5-6 tables in the dining hall seemed to know the owners on first name basis.

Equipped with plastic chairs and basic white table cloths on square dining tables, interior decoration at Checkers were probably done in 5 minutes. In fact, the restaurant doesn’t even have a sign board. But we’re here for food, right?

village bread, served with a side of sliced tomato & salami
village bread, served with a side of sliced tomato & salami

Menu is a simple one page A4 sheet with choices of pasta, appetizers, grilled meat, and a few types of desserts. There are also usually some off-menu dishes you could order, all you need to do is ask.

We started the night with an order of village bread (off menu) and it turned out to be surprisingly good. The bread was steaming hot and served with a side of sliced tomato and salami as well as olive oil and vinegar. Perfect to munch on while waiting for the main attraction. The bread might look deceptively small in portion, but it’s good enough to serve a table of four.

Lord of the Ribs, the main attraction
Lord of the Ribs, the main attraction

The aptly named Lord of the Ribs (RM 120) is what we came here for. A giant slab of pork ribs expertly seasoned and grilled with perfection. While the exterior looks a bit dry, it was prepared so to seal in the juices within. Home made bbq sauce (I think), and an olive oil based sauce comes with it. While some have complained about the ribs being a little dry, I thought it was lovely and not over powered by too much sauce (then all you taste is sauce instead of meat).

The dish also came with generous portion of salad and mash, if there’s only two of you, this slab of ribs should be the only thing you order.

some chicken pasta, grilled pork tenderloin and sausage
some chicken pasta, grilled pork tenderloin and sausage

We also shared a chicken pasta dish (off menu, can’t remember the exact name) which could have been lovely if we didn’t wait till it was cold to consume. I did like the way the poultry tasted though.

The grilled pork tenderloin and sausage (RM 39) is something I wouldn’t mind having if dining alone at Checkers. The thin sliced pork  were tender and lovely, and I particularly love the way they served the potato, in thin slices with onions mixed in. This dish is as porky as it ias tasty.

Pearl, David, KY, Haze at Pearl's birthday dinner
Pearl, David, KY, Haze at Pearl’s birthday dinner

If you’re to pay Checkers a visit, do call for bookings to avoid disappointment as they have less than 10 tables even if you count the two non-weatherproof tables on the balcony. Prices aren’t cheap, but quality of food is good, and that homey feeling and very personal service is something you don’t get in most restaurants these days.

Checkers at Damansara Height

Address:
Checkers
19 Lorong Setiabistari 2,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.143856, 101.65728
Tel03-2095 3304
Hours: 6-10 pm

Checkers

Jarrod and Rawlins is one of the first non-halal “western food” joints that I was introduced to. Their pork burger and dynamite chili sausage sausage are two of my favorite dishes. After a long hiatus, I went to their Damansara Heights branch (they have four locations now) with Elfie to get some dinner and Guinness lovin’.

In case you haven’t found out yet, it is also because Guinness is running their Merry Guinness promotion this time around, more on that later.

guinness stew pork, jarrod & rawlins at damansara height
Guinness beef stew meat with mash potato

I really like the set up of their branch at Damansara Heights over other locations. The restaurant takes the space of an old bungalow, with tables sprawling within the former living hall, balcony, and back yard. As such, it offers several different ambiance according to taste, I typically favors the backyard especially when the temperature is favorable.

open seafood sandwich, soup, guiness stew pork
open seafood sandwich with bacon, Guinness stew with mash potato

Jarrod and Rawlins is one of the restaurants that offer several Guinness infused dishes in their menu on a permanent basis. For dinner, I ordered the intriguing Guinness beef stew with mash potato while the lady asked for open seafood sandwich with bacon, and tomato soup.

We also ordered a couple sausages – dynamite chili and something else that is non-spicy, as Elfie is a noob who can’t take anything spicy.

Of course, I got me a pint of Guinness to go with dinner.

tomato soup, pork sausage
tomato soup and J&R’s sausages

The Guinness beef stew was better than I had expected, the slight bitterness from the black beer compliments adds character to the beef and goes really well with the mash potato. This was even better than the Guinness infused beef ribs I had at SevenAteNine during last year’s promotion.

The soup and open seafood sandwich received no complaints at all from Elfie (who is often critical), and the sausages were very tasty as usual. We left happy and very well fed, with my stomach full of a whole pint of Guinness goodness too.

KY, Guinness, Elfie
KY, Guinness, and Elfie

Dinner came to around RM 160 with the four dishes and a couple drinks. Jarrod & Rawlins is one of the participating outlets that offer a free pint of Guinness Draught free of charge when you order from the Guinness Infused Menu. For more information and other outlets, check out Guinness Malaysia facebook page.

All my previous posts with Guinness (including last year’s promotion) can be found here.

jarrod rawlins damansara heights map

Address:
Jarrod & Rawlins
No. 6, Lorong Dungun,
Damansara Heights,
50480 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.153693, 101.665077
Tel: 03-2093 0708

I think off day for most people involves sleeping till at least 11am and then have a lazy brunch.

I am on leave today, I woke up at 5:50 am to the phone call from Mell saying that her plane just landed from Melbourne, almost a full hour ahead of schedule. Hello MAS, what’s with the whole ON SCHEDULE promise? =/

So I quickly got myself ready and drove to KLIA in total darkness, it felt weird a bit weird to be driving in the morning with almost no traffic.

Char Kueh Teow at Restaurant Seng Lee
wholesome char kueh teow

The journey back to her place fixed that tho, the Sprint highway was a bitch and we got stuck a good extra hour on the road jamming to The killers, as well as other morning commuters. The former is always awesome, but the latter, heh.

So after she dropped off everything and got freshened up, we decided to stop by Restaurant Seng Lee for breakfast and let the traffic ease up a bit before heading off.

I’ve heard a lot about this particular char kueh teow stall, and the reputation was not unfounded. Bean sprouts were fresh, crunchy and juicy, prawns were relatively big, the kueh teow fried to the right moisture content, and with the egg, chives, and the bits of  “chai poh” (preserved turnips), garlic. Everything was done just nice, it would have been perfect if only the cockles were bigger and juicier, but I guess you can’t have everything everytime.

Mell and KY at Restaurant Seng Lee
Mell is back!

The Penang’s favorite hawker food at this place goes for RM 4.50 a plate, and I’ll be back for more! This is the place that can replace my then-favorite PJ state keuh teow stall that went missing (anyone know where they’ve moved to?)

p/s: Apparently I’m supposed to be exploring the Damansara Heights area more. hehe

Damansara Height Map
Restaurant Seng Lee is behind Klimts and Hock Lee

Address:
Restaurant Seng Lee
8-6, Jalan Batai,
Damansara Heights
50490 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.149558, 101.661386
Tel: 03-2094 2154