Chinese New Year feasting is often a bit excessive and this year, I think I’ve made some effort to control the over eating… but it’s also a good time to also be thankful that our tables are still overflowing with food. There are a lot of others that don’t have the abundance we have — not just in terms of food and filled tummies but also family and good friends. That counts more than any meal.
After all the turkeys (3) during Christmas, we had roast chicken instead and other lovely Malaysian hawker food during New Year’s eve. For sweet endings, we had bread and butter pudding!
The Christmas to New Year’s week has always been a busy one packed with family and friends and a lot of food in between. This year was a bit different since we both had lots of things to get done such as house painting and buying all the needed stuff before February. I had to get some work done in between as well but the week long break was much needed and it was great to be busy doing stuff. I would have hoped for more rest but I guess that’s life.
It was a random day and a random passing that I chanced upon a restaurant packed with people. My guess is if there’s a crowd, the food’s got to be something. So, a couple of weeks later, it was time to get back there and check it out. It’s a pretty neat concept, a restaurant and deli combined. You can get a well cooked steak or you can buy a rack of ribs and broil them to your taste back home. So off we went.
The place is very nicely done with modern touches and a white, cheery interior. Lots of glass and unfinished brick walls surround a cement render floor but softened with the touch of white-washed wood. Pretty neat but it gets a bit messy in some areas where you have marble and stainless steel. Definitely a standout decor but I think it’s a bit overboard. Could have been done better with a tighter theme. This a case where the original theme wasn’t strictly followed and things got a bit out of hand.
We ordered a soup and starter to go with the main course. The flat-bread with was great. The bread was crisp on the outside but soft and chewy inside. The olive and feta cheese and tomato with a hint of smoked flavor went nicely with it like a horse and carriage. Lovely. The mushroom soup was pretty ordinary and could be better but no complains. The starters were served when we had no plates and plates only showed up after we started eating. This service lapse was what foreshadowed what is to come. A serious lack in service quality at the demanded price.
The main course arrived. We had rib-eyes, t-bones and ribs on the table. First thing that struck me was that the plate was a sickly green in color. Eating consists not just the taste of the food when you put into your mouth but also the aromas and the visuals. This isn’t your RM9 “coffee-shop-western-food-corner” so I do expect a visual feast. After all, our eyes are sense number one. A white plate would have allowed the colors and meat to stand out and draw your eye in but I’m left trying to eyeball the dish and my camera’s trying to white-balance the sucker. Thankfully the ribs came on a white plate but the other dishes weren’t so lucky. Service failure number two was not even bothering to put the plates for the right people. We all gestured when the server announced “Medium rib-eye steak” but that guy insisted on pass the plate to me to pass it on. That’s failure number three. Handing your customers the plate to put onto their own table! I don’t think even the coffee-shop western food does that!!
My rib-eye steak was supposed to be medium. It was well done in one corner. Forgivable but can be improved. The greens were seriously undercooked and unless I was bugs bunny, the carrots were a no go. Flavors, well, I might ask “what flavors?” Salt, pepper and not much else. There was a bowl of sauce on the table that the waiter just unceremoniously placed without any word. When asked what was it for and what is it, all I got back was “sauce”. My God! The ribs were nothing to shout about but pretty decent. All in all, the food was average. I would say that the food is a big let down due to the way the MeatWorks is selling their concept and their food. Beeftopia indeed. Far from it I would say. Maybe for some who have not had some really nice steak might be satisfied but I am seriously let down. Honestly, I can name several steak houses who can do better steaks but MeatWorks does not get my recommendation.
Final service failure came when I called for the bill. The waiter is either deaf or does not understand English. Had to raise my volume several times until he nodded. Probably he could also tell that I was a tad annoyed at repeating myself five times. He just disappears and I don’t get the bill for the next twenty minutes. Well, enough is enough. At over RM300 for four main courses, I definitely expected better and that kind of service will never get my business again.
With a recent office relocation came the need to search for good, quick and nearby food. One thing about Kay-El is that you normally don’t find good bread. We did go to LeVain Boulangerie Patisserie a while back and the only problem with LeVain was distance and besides the atmosphere, the food is just above average. Coffee was also down to the individual barista. On two occasions that I was there, the coffee was noticeably worse than the previous visit a week earlier. Their breads, well, pretty great but it must depend on your basis for comparison. If I would prefer a more Asian twist to my breads, LeVain would meet that criteria. If you’re going for the European flavor, LeVain does disappoint somewhat.
So, it was a pleasure to find a little bakery and cafe tucked into the quiet nestles of Bukit Damansara (Damansara Hill) and within five minutes drive from my office. The coffee is consistently good (ten visits in three weeks) and their breads and pastries are simply up to mark. Of course not everything will satisfy everyone but to me, their white bread is simply the best. The cranberry walnut loaf is also good enough to eat it on it’s own… to paraphrase another bread maker’s slogan but this one is really special. I’d rate Bread shop a notch above LeVain. The modernistic concrete styling just complements the aroma and luscious softness of their breads and pastries. I’m a fan for sure!
The prices are also quite fair. It’s no more expensive than LeVain, Bread Story or Delifrance. The only pity is that they close on public holidays and Sundays but I really love it when I can pop in at 8am for a delicious croissant and latte before getting into the office!
The Bread Shop
11, Jalan Setiakasih 5,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
I went to school in the US mid-west. Grain country or beef country and rolling fields in all directions and flat as a table. Besides the occasional tornado, you get scorching summers and frigid winters. When a whole bunch of tweeples on twitter went abuzz about this place called “Betty’s Mid-west kitchen”, I knew I gotta try it.
Knowing and wanting is a big difference from actually doing it. Doing it took about four months but finally I got there on a wet Friday evening where the roads were “car-parkifying”. Learnt that word on twitter. See you do learn something new everyday!
Anyways, I didn’t have any camera with me other than my iPhone for about a hundred reasons. I’ll be going back again anyways with a real camera so for now, here’s all you got. It was a work day and we wanted a nice simple dinner and then head home for a shower so we didn’t order that much. We had their roasted chicken and onion soup shared between us and for mains, we had a pork chop with country sauce and the meatloaf. Dessert was Apple crumble.
Our take; the soup’s pretty good but would be nicer if it was nice and creamy rather than looking rather “chinese” soup like with lots of chicken and onion bits floating about. My pork chop was very nicely done. Sauce is average and pretty much in line with expectations. Nothing special but still good solid food! The meatloaf was good though. Between the chops and the meatloaf, I’d probably order the meatloaf again. Apple crumble wasn’t up to snuff and it was probably the one thing I wouldn’t order again. Maybe I’m biased because I think I make a much better apple crumble but to Betty’s benefit, it’s a pretty generous serving with two large scoops of vanilla ice-cream. It’ll probably be good enough for some others but I guess not me.
Betty’s is definitely good enough to go back for and I’ll definitely be back. Good food, good value and pretty close to home. What’s not to like?
And yes, apologies for the lousy iPhone photos. Better photos to come next 🙂
Betty’s Midwest Kitchen
A-G-40, Jalan PJU 1/43,
Aman Suria, Damansara,