Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Dining Out @ Soup Restaurant, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Petaling Jaya
Soup Restaurant's ultra Chinese setting with faux bamboo and red wooden carved panels
In recent months, Singaporean restaurants seem to have invaded our shores.
The Paradise group first started their onslaught with Paradise Inn at Sunway Pyramid. This was followed by brand new openings at Paradigm Mall such as Paradise Dynasty that boasts those rainbow hued xiao long baos and Kungfu Paradise, their casual eatery offering. They are expected to also open Taste Paradise, their luxe offering
In 1 Utama, the space was conquered by Heng Hwa heavyweight Putien and this place, Soup Restaurant that serves homestyled food including their specialty Sansui chicken.
Strangely enough in the wake of all these new eateries emerging from the little red dot, the forerunner Crystal Jade seems to have retreated from the KL dining scene. They have now closed all their outlets in Mid Valley and the Gardens, leaving only one outlet at Pavilion KL. Quite a sad thing indeed as during its heydays, it had 3 outlets in the Mid Valley area, one in Lot 10 and two places in Pavilion KL.
Not sure if there is a lesson in there for Singaporean investors on the fickle taste buds of KL diners.
Sansui ginger chicken
This place rides on the Chinese heritage to promote its homestyled dishes.
Hence it is all decked out in ultra Chinoserie. From the moment you walk past the moon gate, you enter faux bamboo land that will make any Chinese kungfu movie fan happy. The interiors are divided into different areas like a Chinese house with pavilions and hidden nooks for private rooms and etc.
One good thing about these kind of interiors, it means you can dine at one cosy corner without the whole restaurant staring at you.
Steamed hand chopped minced pork with salted fish
The must-have is the Sansui ginger chicken (RM38 for half, RM68 for whole).
The smooth poached chook is deboned so there is no worry about messing with finicky bones. A bowl of minced ginger flavoured with chicken oil and broth accompanies the chicken for extra flavour. The ginger tends be mild versus fiery that may not up to true blue ginger fans. Nevertheless it still offers a good balance with the chicken.
Strangely enough, you are given crispy lettuce (sang choy) leaves, that you are supposed to eat the chicken with like a sang choy bow dish. It makes an excellent one stop meal, as I paired it with a dollop of rice, a piece of chicken slathered with minced ginger. The refreshing greens give a nice crunch to the whole ensemble but can mean your hands need to get down and dirty.
Teochew olive rice
Marketed under their Chinatown Heritage dishes, the steamed hand chopped minced pork with salted fish (RM16) has a nice rough edge to it with the mix of pork fat and meat. Chopped salted fish is sprinkled on top for extra flavour.
Eat the pork patty with the Teochew olive rice (RM10), steamed rice mixed with preserved olive leaves. Those savoury tasting leaves add a umami-like and addictive aroma to the rice grains. My only pet peeve would be I would have preferred longer and fluffier rice grains but I guess it is a matter of food costs.
double boiled yuk chok and kei chee with chicken soup
And living up to its moniker, the place serves a variety of double boiled soups that use Chinese herbs. Served in individual bowls, there are seven varieties with each offering different health benefits. We sample the refreshing double boiled yuk chok and kei chee with chicken soup (RM14.80) that is said to relieve irritation.
The soup is packed with lots of flavour as they are rather generous with the herbs and chicken in each bowl. Drink every last drop since it's rather good for the soul.
Ah Por Fan Shu leaves
Last but not least, the customary greens in the form of their signature sweet potato leaves (RM15.80). Once a wartime ration, these leafy greens are now found on restaurant menus. It is offered in a few ways, doused with black soy sauce, spiced up with sambal or like this version, just plain fried with garlic, a healthier way to enjoy the smooth leaves.
For those allergic to MSG, you will be happy to know that they attest to no MSG in their kitchen.
Overall, I liked the food here since you can't go wrong with such comforting dishes. Amid all that plasticky stuff in the mall, it is nice to find a slice of home. Quality is also definitely on par with their Singapore outlets. Their success rate with KL diners though may not be as high as Putien since their dishes can be easily replicated at a cheaper cost at home, tai chow and hawker stalls.
G210A, Ground Floor
1 Utama Shopping Centre
(Non halal. Restaurant is opposite Petite Millie and Sun Moulin. For the full set of pictures, see the Flickr set.)
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.