Everything in this restaurant looked old and worn. The outside smoking area had a couple of tables and chairs that appeared to be discards from some second-hand furniture shops.
The main doors were worn with faded and peeled paint. The welcome decor were several old planks nailed to the the wall.
Inside, the theme was likewise old and simple. Tables and chairs were varied and haphazard. They appeared to have been randomly taken from everywhere to make up the restaurant. It really was not a bad idea. The place looked charmingly rustic and perhaps comparatively cheap to furnish.
I particularly liked this cosy corner. It reminded me of the old days when we made do with whatever we had to furnish our homes. The only difference was the soft lighting. In the old days, we only had fluorescent tubes.
We had one of these kitchen cabinets before our parents could afford a fridge. The doors had mosquito netting to keep out flies, lizards and cockroaches; and yet airy enough to prolong freshness of food. The latch for the doors was a simple wooden peg with a nail. Simple yet so practical.
These were some kitchen appliances we used to have. The tiffin carrier and thermo flask can be museum pieces now. They certainly brought back lots of childhood memories.
The menu of the restaurant were pasted on pages of these children books. Who can forget Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn? In our primary school days, we also read lots of Enid Blyton - Secret Seven and Famous Five. That evening, we read the menu.
We snapped ourselves back to present day reality. This was their menu blackboard. They now have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And dishes were at prices that could perhaps feed a whole family for a week in our childhood days.
The staff in the restaurant were cheerful and friendly. A charming young lady helped us with the food selection. She was surprised at the number of dishes we ordered and tried to stop us. Until we told her we were a bunch of big eaters.
We then settled down to some Chinese tea.
Our first teaser was this popiah. It wasn't the greatest but we enjoyed it nevertheless. The 2 rolls were certainly not enough for the 6 of us.
Then we munched on some crispy pumpkin fritters. It was very well done. The pumpkin was shredded and deep friend in a batter. This was my first time with pumpkin fritters and I liked it very much. An innovative yum.
This was sayor paku. Very ordinary and not much innovation in this plate. Still, we liked it.
Next was the tamarind prawn. It was a wonderful dish. The flavour was spicy and sourish. I had not had this dish for a long long time. I remembered my late mother used to prepare this. This plate was so very like what she prepared.
This was the ulam omelette. Ulam is a mixture of fresh nyonya spices. This was the first time I had tasted it in an omelette. And I liked it very much. The flavour was slightly tangy and very pleasant.
Perut ikan (literally translated to mean fish stomach) is a very popular nyonya dish. But I am not a great fan of it. I think this recipe is somehow over-rated. It was a mushy mash of I-don't-know-what. It was definitely over-cooked and I didn't know what exactly I was eating. And the flavour was a bit weird.
This simple fried chicken was delicious. I think it was done with just salt and perhaps a tinge of turmeric. The skin was crispy (and sinful) and the meat tender. The portion was too small. I wished we had more of it.
This was another simple dish - a cucumber acar (spicy salad). I really have not much impression of it in my mind now. I guess it wash't too bad.
We shouldn't had order this tofu with minced meat. It was a soupy dish. Quite mundane and ordinary. We could had ordered something more interesting.
The fried sotong (squids) was delightful. The batter was nice and crispy while the squid inside was succulent and not overdone. Again the dish was rather small.
The nasi ulam (rice with fresh spices) was very very good. It was small pot and naturally not enough for 6 people. We had to order a second pot. The ulam provided a really nice aromatic flavour to the rice. I particularly liked the fresh flavour of the bunga kantan (etlingera elatior).
And the sambal was superb. From the look of its texture, it was obvious they had hand-pounded the sambal in a "tumbuk" and not mashed in a blender. The flavour was perfect.
We shared 3 different desserts. First was sago with a scoop of ice cream. OK but nothing compared to the next 2 to come.
The first of the next 2 was a durian caramel. It was so very very rich. Almost out of the world. It was like a whole musang king (the top durian species in Malaysia) condensed into a small cup. It was sweet. It was smooth. It had a very strong durian flavour. Almost the holy grail for durian lovers.
We waited a long time for this last dessert. It was cempedak (jackfruit) spring rolls. Apparently they ran out of cempedak and went out to buy. We had to wait because one of the reasons Crystal brought us here was to try this dessert. And we were not disappointed. The rolls were served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and they were very good. The fresh cempedak was crunchy when we bit into it. Combined with the crispy roll skin, it made one heck of a dessert.
We had a lot of food that evening - 11 dishes and 3 desserts. No wonder the waitress tried to stop us. But the servings were all quite small. Nyonya servings are normally small. I don't see any reason for that. Anyway, this restaurant is worth a visit. We will definitely be there again. I wonder if they will still serve the durian caramel if it is off season.