Sunday, May 24, 2009

Calm your Zens-es

You know what is even better than being enlightened? Being enlightened repeatedly. I guess that must be what they are trying to achieve at Zens Korean Barbecue at One Bangsar. I haven't been to this area in a while and I was surprised to see quite a few changes. Notably the closure of Rick's Cafe and the opening of several new restaurants, well new to me anyway. Zens is not your typical Korean looking restaurant. It is sparse, zen-like with some pretty touches. If I have to fault the place, it does come off a little cold and the A4 framed pictures of golf courses is questionable. My guess is that the proprietor is a keen golfer. Run by a Korean family, the service is warm and friendly. I had seen father and son(?) during my first visit with Cuz. Last Thursday I think Boolicious, Splashie Boy and I saw mum and grandma. The best part of this place is that fellow Koreans dine here. Surely that is always a good sign. And oh, they have pork! 

There isn't anything new or surprising on the menu here. The usual barbecue offerings, bulgolgi, bibimbap, etc... What they do well here is the pancake which is filled to the brim with spring onions. The result, a crispy and fragrant pancake that is unlike the usual stodge. Thats probably my favourite dish here. I hear from Cuz that the bibimbap is very good. As for the three of us, we tried the fresh rib eye which looked fantastic in the picture. I must say, the real thing looked just as appealing. Although we felt it was not worth the RM62 for the three Kate Moss-sized "steaks". Boolicious and I chanted "No pork" three times to get the point across when we ordered the spicy kimchi soup. Once the hot steam evaoprated, chunks of fatty pork bobbed up to the surface of the feisty red soup. No means no people! So poor Boo and I had to eat it all by ourselves. Honestly Splashie Boy didn't miss much. It was surprisingly like tom yum but more sweet and less tangy. Still, it was very tasty and full of pork and clams. I was telling them how much I enjoyed the cold noodles when I was in Korea several years back. Eventhough it was spring and slightly chilly then, I had cold noodles for lunch everyday while my mother and late-aunt watched on in horror, muttering something about "gastric", "indigestion" and "rheumatism". Sad to say the one here doesn't quite match up but it is a fairly good substitute. The noodles are extremely slim and impossibly springy! It was tricky to eat. Please do not order this if you're on a date. Heck, you shouldn't even be having Korean if you're on a date. Garlic and fermented bean paste, how well do you want to know each other on your first date eh? 

For dessert, Cuz (who happened to be celebrating her friend's birthday in the other room) gave us a slice each of Peanut Feuillantine Cake from Le Meridien. This is a hidden gem of a cake that is only available by special order from Le Meridien Hotel. Layers of japonais, peanut butter, peanut brittle and chocolate, freaking hell! Multiple orgasms people! One tiny square of this sinfully rich cake is enough. Patting our distended bellies, we were still dissecting the Peanut Feuillantine when the proprietor came over with complimentary dessert which consisted of shaved ice, red bean and diced pineapple. Eventhough we all said we were too full, we still ate it anyway because it was so refreshing and light after that heavy meal. We spent RM150 between the three of us. It isn't cheap but its not anymore expensive than other Korean barbecues in KL. I would definitely come back because the restaurant is properly sectioned to set apart smokers from non smokers, ample parking and I want to try the hot pot in the cosy outdoor dining area. Ommmm....

Zens - One Bangsar, 63G-G, Jalan Ara, Bangsar Baru 59100, Kuala Lumpur. Tel 03 2282 9007

Monday, May 11, 2009

RORO Retro

I don't know about you but when I was a in school my parents never gave me pocket money nor did they pack me any snacks for recess. Come to think of it, it was never really necessary since recess was at 10am and we finished school a couple of hours later anyway. But then I realised that I was missing out on the glorious junk food available at the school canteen. Satay ikan, Chickadees, Twisties, Nutella, Sumi jelly, Moh Fah Goh and Mamee to just name a few. The all contain the nutritional value equivalent of cardboard but they were oh so irresistable. Incidentally, right up until I was in my late teens, I thought it was Mr Moh's fah goh. Yes, thats what you get when deprived of chinese education.

While wandering around Wisma MPL (formerly HLA) I chanced upon one of my favourite childhood snacks of all time! RORO! I don't even know what the hell these are supposed to taste like. Shell shaped crackers of some sort. I don't remember them being so "airy". I got the feeling they were more dense before. Anyway, they taste like...Well, they taste like... Nondescript seasoning of sorts. Kind of like chicken  salt mixed with seafood flavouring. According to the package, it contains wheat, starch, potatoes, vegetable shortening, salt and permitted flavourings. And only 60 calories per pack! Well its quite a lot considering a bag of these are only 12g. I'm glad I found them, it was fun but it didn't quite live up to all my memory of it. Its always like this isn't it? Memories start to fade and to compensate the details get more embellished over time. Now, it only I can get my hands on Arctic Roll. Mmmm....