March 17, 2011

Restoran Bukit Tinggi BBQ

It has been my fourth trip to this place and I am just about to blog it. Qwazy Monkey introduced me to this place, and it instantly become one of my favourite place, despite it’s arrogant flair. VERY.

About 40 minutes drive from Damansara to Bukit Tinggi, (not Klang) through Bt. Caves then Karak Expressway (towards Genting Highlands), you will quickly escape the bustling city and be greeted with greeneries as far as it goes. You will come to a small very-Chinese village which is easy to spot on your right and soon after it’s the exit to Bukit Tinggi/Janda Baik on your left. The restaurant is right behind this BHP petrol station. Confusing? I’ve  attached the goog-map for your convenience at the end of the post.

So the 10 of us arrive at noon, and we quickly being asked to sit. They don’t allow you to choose where you want to sit, and you have to follow their instructions instead. Being a regular, Qwazy Monkey ordered their signature dishes (almost all of them actually) till the captain stop us for ordering more. Yeah, they stop you.There’s a policy of no over ordering as the crew just do not tolerate wastage, and there is no take-away policy too. Cannot tapau!

While waiting for our food, I was drawn to the ceiling. They are filled with umbrellas. No idea what about it and I dare not to ask why either. All the umbrellas had signatures and messages on it and they are hung upside down. I couldn’t stop imagining if there is a sudden strong gush of winds blowing and how the dust, debris and possibly dead insects that has been accumulating would fall upon us. Since no questions allowed, the hanging ceiling umbrellas remained mystery.

The walls are pretty ‘bare’ where it’s constructed by sandwiched planks of wood with empty wine bottles, liquor bottles and sometimes bicycle’s rims. Interesting shades of greenish-colour they form. And looking at the conditions of the bottles, it could tell that the restaurant has been around for quite a while. Again, no questions asked, so the age of the place is equally a mystery.

Then first dish is served, spotting this quirky Cantonese name: “wu li dan dou” which means ‘chapalang’ or very-mixed matched. Doesn’t look as appetising, but this rice dish took me by surprise. With a mystery (you will see frequent use of this word throughout the post) stock, and grilled vegetables and gourds, it's comforting. It’s a lovely consommé with cooked rice and it is paired with the earthy flavours from the cabbage, mushrooms, grilled peppers and pumpkins.

Proteins are served next , and we have the “hoi sin bou”, roast juicy chicken and roast rack of lamb.

“ Hoi sin bou” which is a pot of seafood is a simple steamed seafood dish. On different occasions, you get different potpourri of sea produce, depending what’s the fresh the cook could get. It is steamed over a refreshingly mystery stock and I can definitely taste a hint of chinese cooking wine. Served along with the steamer pot, it is kept warm till you finish the last bit of it.

Then the roast chicken came. I love the smell, the color, the charred-crispy skin and the ohmygod-juicy meat. I am guessing that it involves a two-step cooking process here. First it is cooked in a hot oven covered with a foil. This helps to make the meat juicy and produce more essencely-sauce. And toward the last cooking mile, the foil is removed and with a honey glaze rubbed on the top, and a high oven heat,  it gives a lovely skin-crisp hot chicken! And the chicken-juice. Itellyiu, it’s awesome!

Then, roast lamb is served. The rack of lamb used is imported from New Zealand, and it is given an interesting twist; to me it's like a combination technique of the West and Chinese way of roasting. The meat is superbly tender with it’s distinct lamb-slightly gamey and the skins reminds me of skin of a Chinese roast duck. And that zing! from the homemade mint sauce. It is sharp yet tangy and cuts very well with the lamb fat. Zinggg!!

And with that much meat, we need some green balance. Something unusual from your regular veggies, this is stir fry green chillies with garlic and a dose of soy sauce. It spots a lovely crunch with a mild heat and a surprisingly sweet after taste. When the dish is being served, a friend forgotten about the no questions policy and he started to ask if this is “yong toufu” (stuffed bean curds/veggies) dish, and he got the sharpest gaze from the server and in her high pitched fortissimo reply, my friend was warned, if he ever wanted “yong toufu” he can go have it in some other restaurant! And then there was a moment of silence!

Chomp Chomp Chomp!

And remember the earlier “hoi sin bou'”
…once we finished the seafood, they took the steamer pot back to the kitchen and the cook make a lovely water cress + oyster mushroom + “tien chat'” ( seeweed-like) soup. With the earlier stock plus the excess sweet drips from the steamed seafood, this is really good.

And that was almost the end of the dishes, and we wanted more. We asked to have another dish added, but the captain refuse to put our order in. He insist that we should finish up everything on the table first. And when we did, we asked for him again. This time after inspecting our table, he just walk away after we said we wanted another tofu dish. The thing is, there were no acknowledgement of our order, no eye contact and he just walk away. That left us wondering for the next 15 minutes until they brought us the signature tofu.

Looking simple, this is one of the best tofu dish I had so far. The tofu as fresh as the morning dew (quoting Iron Chef’s dub, as I am typing this) is paired with a kungfu-fried sunny side up (or INSIDE, in this case) and a generous drizzle of the local Bentong soy sauce. Spoon a sandwich of tofu + egg + soy sauce, and you will get the silky runny egg yolk oozing out with glory. I can’t help but to order a bowl of rice to go with it. Ah, heavenly!

Despite their eccentric and arrogant flair, this restaurant is one of the best kept secret. Be prepared to deal with the not-so-friendly and in-your-face service staff and the cook, but for the great food that they have, I’d say it’s worth the tolerance.

Here’s a summary on how to deal with the restaurant:
1. Sit wherever you  were told to, even if there is aplenty of tables to choose from or even if you wanted a table with good ambient lighting for photography, you can’t choose. Just sit as instructed and sit quietly.
2. DO NOT walk into the kitchen! Friends who was curious walked in to take pictures and they were chased away by the cook that was watching some HK TVB drama on his DVD while he grills the fish.
3. DO NOT make comments about the dish in front of the service crew.
4. DO NOT tapau or takeaway. It’s strictly prohibited
5. DO NOT be surprise if they walk away out of a sudden, abruptly. Even before you finish your sentence.

Restoran Bukit Tinggi BBQ
PT 15792 & 15793, Jalan Bukit Tinggi, Bentong, Pahang, 28750
Tel : 09- 233 0330

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