Sunday, August 13, 2006

Just Beach-y

Pantai Seafood Restaurant....its name is alluring enough. For those who don't know, 'Pantai' is the Malay word for beach and, being a seafood restaurant, makes it quite an apt moniker as it conjures up visions of dining to the tune of lapping waves, glorious sunsets and tucking into a mountain of seafood with toes snugly dug into sand. It's been a long time since my hubs Lyndy-Pyndy and I treated ourselves to the charms of a blowout feast on Bali's famed stretch of seafood restaurants on Jimbaran Bay but having discovered this new eatery not too far from our digs, we decided this'll do nicely. My galpals Lish and Pelits brought me here one evening for our customary 'girl's night out' dinner and I've been popping by ever since. Finding it is a bit of a nightmare though, especially if you're not familiar with the Petaling Jaya/Damansara area and it's located smack in the middle of a Malay kampung. If you're keen to find it, take the road that leads to the Damansara PLUS highway, keep left and make a left turn the moment you see a beat-up old VW car workshop....it's deep in there somewhere. We had guests in town over the weekend (from Germany, if you must know) so we decided to let them check out Pantai as well. Here's what we ordered:
  • Fresh red snapper - lusciously steamed in a 'cheng' soya-based sauce (RM42.40)
  • Juicy mud crabs in a tangy tomato-chilli sauce eaten with Chinese mantou buns (RM39.60)
  • Stir-fried vermicelli in XO sauce (not Cognac, mind you - the Chinese like to call their version of a rich, seafood-y gravy 'XO) (RM15 for a medium-sized portion)
  • Chinese kale (kai lan) served in two styles - stir-fried with oyster sauce and cut into sliver-thin strips and fried till crispy. (I'd tasted something like this before at an inventive restaurant in Cheras called 'dragon's beard) (RM10)
  • Salt and Pepper squid (RM12)

Our German friends Peter and Dorte really enjoyed the meal. It was also Dorte's first introduction to the pleasures of eating crab and enjoy it she did. She was unfortunate enough to bite into a morsel of chili padi...although a swig of cold Carlsberg proved the perfect cure. Service was a little slow but we were lucky enough to have had the foresight to call ahead for a table (a caveat - make sure you head there ahead of your booking as they have no qualms about giving it away to whoever's around pestering them). The place was packed, filled with families enjoying a Sunday dinner out, and most tables seemed to be really relishing their meals. We had a super time and when the bill came, it was pleasantly under RM200 for the four of us, including copious amounts of beer....which isn't too bad for PJ prices.

Pantai Seafood Restaurant, Lot 13575, Jalan Cempaka PJU 6A, Kg Kayu Sungai Ara, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: 603-7725 5099 / 1099

Monday, August 07, 2006

Starting Up The Grape Vine

Finally....after many years of mulling, hemming, hawing etc, I have finally set up my blog. I've called it Greedy Grapes in view of my favourite pastimes - eating good food and drinking the best wine i can get my hands on. The blog started after dinner last Saturday night with my hubs, Iggy (a uni mate) and his galpal - Alice In Chains. We ate out at our favourite "secret" babi joint in Damansara Heights (a tres posh enclave, for those of you not familiar with Kuala Lumpur) called Checkers. I'd post the address and telephone number here; but Sam, the owner, is a real pig (literally) when it comes to bringing in the biz. He's one of those super-snobby restaurateurs who apply the Wong Kei rule when it comes to keeping shop - ie: 'treat 'em mean and they'll be back for more'. [In case you didn't get the Wong Kei reference, it's this notorious Chinese restaurant along Gerrard Street in London Chinatown that is famous the world over for its merciless treatment of paying custom]. Anyway, back to dinner at Checkers. After two huge orders of Porky's Best (a divine, artery-clogging combo of spare and back ribs served with mash and salad and an order of pasta with bratwurst, followed by rum-drenched ice-cream topped with almonds), Iggy told us all about his blog and how we should check it out. Hubby and I dutifully did so and this is the outcome. I'll try to keep posting regularly...but with a household and two kids to chase after, I'll see how it goes.