Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ma... I am still hungry!

It was my first time at Restoran Ma Ma's and would probably be my last. The restaurant boasts of home style Penang nyonya cooking - presumably like Mum's as its name suggests. But...

The restaurant is located on Jalan SS22/25 in Damansara Jaya, near the Atria Shopping Centre in PJ.

Seven of us were there for dinner a few days before CNY. I was quite open minded and had no expectation at all on what they had to offer. I was quite impressed with the decor and ambiance of the place. It was typically Chinese with some nyonya paintings and artifacts, and a good feel of the coming festivities.

There was a small crowd. The table next to us was a big group. From the chatter and laughter, I could gather that they were familiar with the proprietor. A lady came and took our order. We ordered 6 dishes and the lady told us that we had enough and suggested small servings for all the dishes. After taking our order, she got herself immersed in the group beside us.

The first dish was the nyonya yee sang (娘惹鱼生). It was quite good. The ingredients were unlike those of the ordinary yee sang. It had the fragrant of lemon grass, bunga kantan and plenty of mint leaves. The sauce was also quite different. I quite enjoyed it. But the serving was rather small.

The inchi kabin was next. The serving was totally insufficient for the 7 of us. There was hardly a piece of the chicken for each of us. The chicken looked over-fried and except for the crispy exterior, there was nothing good about the dish. The chicken meat was rather tasteless. I think it had not been adequately marinated.

The perut ikan was pathetic. It came in a small bowl. Serving for 7! In it was a mess of unrecognizable mushy vegetable and pieces of soggy, what appeared to be fish bladder. The taste was odd. I do not think any of us liked it. In spite of the small bowl, there was plenty left over. I do not know how they could even consider serving that in a restaurant.

Next was the fish head curry in a claypot. It was OK. Not exceptional. It had the usual tau fu pok (豆腐薄), brinjal, long beans, okra, etc.

The spring row was good but in such small portion. There was only 2 rows for the seven of us. How meager can it get. Each of us had just a mouthful.

The four angled bean or kacang botol was stir fried in sambal and small pieces of shrimps. It was not bad. But the serving is again small.

Then we waited... and waited... for the last dish. That almost did not come. And when it appeared, it was not what we ordered. We asked for sambal petai minus prawns. We had specifically told the lady that we did not want prawn in our petai. Up to the end of the meal, there was no sign the sambal petai. We asked a waiter and he had no clue what we wanted. He was probably a foreigner who did not understand us. The lady who took our order was too engrossed in the next table to be distracted. The shortfall was finally made known to another waitress. And when the sambal petai finally arrived, it had prawns in it. The dish was sent back to the kitchen. A few minutes later, the same dish reappeared, with the prawns removed. I did not enjoy the petai because by then my rice plate was empty. How can one enjoy sambal petai without rice?

Dessert was bubur gandum and pulut hitam. They were so very ordinary, there is nothing to write about.

The meal was so wanting. The taste of some of the dishes was really not that bad. But they come in so very small portions. There was not enough to get to enjoy the dishes. I do not understand why they cannot ensure there is sufficient for every diner in the table.

I came out of the restaurant still feeling somewhat hungry.

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