Yup. It’s time to crank up the old blog. After two and a half years, it’s time to dive back into the pool. I’ve returned to my old stomping grounds and it seems to have come alive with a variety of interesting and inspiring venues. New Westminster looks to have been revitalized and I can’t wait to check out what’s new and visit some of the better, long-standing spaces I have neglected.
Longtail Kitchen is a cozy resto of about twenty seats located in the Quay at New West. I’ve yet to dig in to their mainly Thai menu but from the word on the street and this wall of deliciousness, I know I will soon.
Every so often Chef An opens his space for an interesting variety of dining experiences.
This past Saturday, Chef Alex Chen put together a five-course Malaysian feast. His bio states that “He enjoys re-creating dishes from his childhood that were cooked by his mother”. Judging from this night’s menu, it appears Chef Chen was paying full attention to his Mom’s repertoire.
Although being a small space, the folks at Longtail made the most of utilizing it. Two long tables sat the crowd quite comfortably. The close proximity made for quick introductions and good conversation. I was seated next to Chef Chen’s wife and their two wonderful little kids. When their daughter was asked what her favorite food was, she responded immediately, “Steak!”. Awesome.
Another great part of the set-up was this.
For this past week’s Sunday brunch we decided to mix it up a bit and veer away from the usual dim sum. Jefe came up with JB Malaysian in Burnaby. He hails from Malaysia, has visited JB several times and gives it a solid thumbs up. On that recommendation, Matty and I joined him for a mini-Malaysian feast.
JB Malaysian’s location is rather unfortunate. It’s just on the east side of the Royal Oak/Kingsway intersection. Traffic tends to fly past it’s tiny storefront. The lack of street parking isn’t helping neither. This particular room was the location of Penny Farthing many moons ago. Sure miss their killer fish ‘n chips…the real deal, right down to the newspaper wrap. Asian 54 and Miki Ramen then came and went in rapid succession.
The room is quite small seating maybe 25. We arrived Sunday afternoon to nearly a full, bustling house. Great sign, that.
We started with a couple orders of Roti Prata. Right about average, these were. Nice and greasy, a good chew but not near enough of the stretchiness of Bo Laksa King’s heart-cloggingly amazing version.
The accompanying curry dip was also workmanlike. A good depth with a hint of heat. It reappeared in the Kari Ayam (Malaysian Curry Chicken).
A fairly solid bowl. A bit too mild for my liking. I was hoping for more flavor bursts i.e. fennel seed, ginger, lemongrass to jump out…coconut, maybe? The chicken itself was OK. A few more minutes braising time would’ve done this dish a world of good.
The only other time I’d had Gado Gado was at Kedah House. Because it was part of their buffet, all the items were separate. So, if you’re like me, and had no idea how it’s assembled, your first try would be a minor, albeit tasty, disaster. JB’s Gado Gado was truly delicious. Big hunks of chewy, fried tofu covered with bean sprouts and julienned cukes, smothered in a rich peanut sauce and sprinkled with powdered peanuts. Great fresh flavors and textures. It’s not the most authentic version but it’s got enough decent elements to make it work.
I’ve been meaning to hit up Penang Delight Cafe for some time now. A couple of weeks back, a trusty colleague went on a scouting mission and returned with two thumbs up. This past weekend I gathered three very hungry cooks together for a Saturday brunch.
Penang is located at Rupert & 23rd in East Van. Over the last couple of years the location was a Filipino restaurant then a Pakastani joint and is now a purveyor of “fine” Malaysian cuisine.
This is a small room. The best way to describe it is “cozy”. The tables are adequate, almost. We got, I think, one of the bigger booths but things were very tight knit. With our hefty appetites and me crazily wielding a DSLR, we made full use of our space. The room was pretty near full and buzzing. Being near mid-afternoon, I was surprised by the crowd. Gotta figure that’s a good thing.
Our server was a very enthusiastic young chap. After we ordered seven or ten dishes he started in with recommendations. Dude! We’re hitting maximum table capacity here! No need for the up-sell!
The Penang Satay were very solid. Four big skewers of beef with a rich, well-made peanut sauce. Tender chunks, these. The chicken version was very close (it’s just not beef!). A great start.