Thursday, February 27, 2014

Memphis Bistro

A friend mentioned this place to me. I had no idea it existed even though it is quite near to where I live. It was my wife's birthday and we decided to give the place a go. A couple of days before that we drove around the area looking for the restaurant. It took us awhile to find it.

The Memphis Bistro is located in the Pusat Perdagangan Dana 1, on Jalan PJU 1A/46 in Petaling Jaya. The address can be just mumbo jumbo, for it is not easy to locate. If you drive along the Subang Airport road, in the direction away from the airport towards Subang Jaya, you would pass Citta Mall after going over the flyover at entrances into Ara Damansara and Saujana. Drive a couple of hundred meters from there and you would see PAWS (the dog sanctuary) on your left side. Just before PAWS, turn left. After several hundred meters, you would see some shop lots on your right side. That is Pusat Perdagangan Dana 1. Turn right into this quiet, almost dead commercial centre. The restaurant is in a remote corner of the centre.

Inside, it was quite vibrant and crowded. It is apparently a popular place. It was fortunate that I had made prior reservation. It was her birthday, and I had to ensure nothing went wrong.

However, our experience there was not without hitches. Soon after we settled down, a small cockroach crawled across our table. My wife and Crystal almost became hysterical. The boss lady came over and apologised profusely. By then the roach had been swept down to the floor. She took off her shoe and dully smashed it to smithereens. I do not know if she washed her hands. She certainly handled food and served the customers after that.

No Memphis would be without Elvis. And sure enough, he was there.

We made our menu selection. There was one thing good about birthday meals. There was no inhibitions. We went for the best. We started with half a dozen of garlic baked French escargots. It was served with 2 tiny slices of garlic bread. They could be more generous on that. The escargots were rather dry. They did not look very appetising but the flavour was not bad at all.

We asked for fresh oysters. The boss lady said sorry, they had just sold the last lot to the customers in another table. OK, never mind... A short while later, she rushed back to our table and excitedly told us she still had four more. Did we still want them? But of course. She said one of them was rather small and she would only charge us for 3. Why? Was that supposed to be compensation for the cockroach?

Anyway, the oysters were absolutely marvellous. They were super fresh and look at the size of them. I wondered where they had imported them from and how they manage to keep them so very fresh. These were some of the best fresh oysters I had in Malaysia. They were cold and felt so nice in the mouth. Brilliant.

This was a plate of crispy squid nuggets, served with salad and topped with remoulade dressing. It was supposed to come with jicama (sengkuang) slaw. But they were apparently out of sengkuang and substituted with salad. The squid nuggets were very good. They were crispy outside, yet not over-done inside. The squid were not at all rubbery. They were soft and succulent.

This large single grilled portobello mushroom stuffed with tomato, garlic, herbs and mozzarella cheese. I did not find it to be fantastic, but Crystal loved it.

We also had a plate of their house salad with a French dressing.

After finishing 5 starters, we were ready to share our entrees. The first one was a grilled chicken with "wild southern sauce". The southern thingy was actually chilli mustard paste and BBQ sauce. The thigh of the bird was rather overdone. The french fries accompaniment was somewhat basic. There should had been some salad to moisten this quite dry dish. Still it was quite tasty.

The spaghetti was very good. It was supposed to cooked with mussels. But they were also out of that and substituted with seafood - shrimps, squid and some pieces of fish. That aside, the pasta was really very nice. The texture was good. Perfect al dente. The flavour was chilli, herbs, garlic and olive oil.

Our final dish was a pan fried tooth fish. I really do not know what is tooth fish. This was the first time I had heard of and savoured it. I googled and found 2 different types of tooth fish - the Antarctic tooth fish and the Patagonian tooth fish. I have no idea what this was. In any case, the fish was very good. It was very fresh. The meat was sweet and tender. It was cooked in a white creamy sauce with some spinach as accompaniment - a very good combination indeed.

The fish and fresh oyster were not offered in the menu. They were the "Chef's specialties" - written on a wall board and subject to availability. I heard they serve a very goat soup. It wasn't available that day.

I wondered what they had to offer for dessert. But we were too full. We decided to skip. In any case, there was a birthday cake at home. Perhaps next time. It most certainly will be a next time. In spite the various hitches - cockroach, being out of this and that - this was really a very satisfying meal. The food was good. The oysters were difficult to forget. And the price was decent. Once in a while, we find a good bargain like this.

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