Friday, August 27, 2010

The Hunter In The Suburbs. Restoran Richwell, Section 19, PJ.

(non halal)


Lucky life isn't one long string of horrors
and there are moments of peace, and pleasure, as I lie in between the blows. - Gerald Stern, Lucky Life.

Memories are amazing things. Fleeting, always changing, ever evolving, elusive, fickle. Sometimes we are unable to recall in detail what had been a good time for us and evoked so much happiness and laughter. What was the actual conversation about? We seem to amplify the memories of tragedies that befall us, but yet memories of good times are usually watered down with loss of details but just a warm, fuzzy memory associating a particular person or event with good memories.

"Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose." - The Wonder years

Perhaps one of the reasons why I continue to forage for food in the sprawling urban jungle of KL and very occasionally into the suburbs as well is most of the good memories I have are related to food. Being an intrinsic Asian thing, food is associated with happiness, companionship and love. Gustatory Memory comes second to olfactory memory in leaving lasting impressions in the brain. Restaurants and food are places that most people seek solace as thew rest in between life's blows.

Fatt Theu Cheong ~ Buddha Jumped Over The Wall

Unlike the hunters of yester-years, the modern foodie is equipped with a GPS, bankcards and credit cards, mobile phones as he makes his way through the urban jungle. Being a blogger, he too has to carry a camera as his hunting companion. I do not consider editing my pictures and a short write up to be a chore that comes with certain self entitlement and recognition, but just a chance to share with you what little gems my forays into the gastronomical world may unearth. Unfortunately, you have to bear the pain of suffering from my ramblings which usually is not related to food at all.

I had read about Richwell from other luminaries in the food blogging circle in Malaysia, and had been dying to try it out. My first impression of the place was that it was rather kitschy and the decor had a dated, sad feeling to it, despite it being open for less than a year. The Chef, Ah Yau, had a long and illustrious history with Teochew Restaurant in Pudu, which was the place for dim sum in the 80's and 90's. I was pleasantly surprised with the food.

Braised Chicken in Three Wines

I do not usually blog about Chinese food. Simple down too earth Chinese food with reasonable prices and above average taste and can be found in almost any neighbourhood in KL. As with simple western fare. It is the exceptionally good ones that demand attention and the effort put in to drive across town in heavy traffic and suffer the indignity of circling around looking for a parking space in the badly planned townships where town planners assume that humans are born with wings and can fly to their destination without any means of transportation.

Richwell is one of he exceptional ones. The Fatt Theu Cheong (Buddha Jumps Over The Wall) is a beautifully rich clear broth that probably has seen the superior stock sitting for many hours in the stock pot. Prepared in the traditional style, it contained dried abalone, dried scallops, fish stomach and black chicken as part of the ingredients. It was simply divine.

Sauteed Lotus Root and Celery

The braised chicken in three wines was lifted out of mediocrity by the beautifully fragrant rice wine and the epiphanic inclusion of Mint Leaves. It is a very clever innovation by the chef because it added an extra dimension of fragrance which will greet you the moment the lid is lifted from the claypot.

The Sauteed Lotus Root with Celery was delectably crunchy, especially with the addition of water chestnuts, leek, french peas and asparagus which was lightly sauteed and then starched. Some almond flakes sprinkled on top for some textural contrast. How all these crunchy yet usually bland ingredients can be rendered flavourful bears testament the skill of the chef.

Sang Har Meen ~ Prawn Noodles

The Sang Har Meen or Prawn Noodles came with mutant prawns the size of a baby's fist, swimming in delectably rich roe which anchored the flavour of the slightly crunchy "made in house" noodles. The sauce was slightly starchy and satiating, but did not adversely affect this dish.

Roasted Pigeon

The Roasted pigeon was meaty and beautifully succulent after being marinated in wine and the flesh tender and smokey. The miraculous thing about the pigeon was the skin was beautifully crunchy as well. It was served as an appetizer and I felt it rivaled the Roast Pigeon at Shatin amd Dai Wai in Hong Kong. No time for formalities and untensils here, as a finger bowl was provided.

Fish Maw

The fish maw used in the Braised fish maw with dried beancurd was excellent. Unlike the insipid, low quality fish maw, this one was beautifully soft and retained some fish flavours. We devoured each morsel with pleasure and sighs of contentment.

Tung Po Pork

The Tung Po Pork was soft enough to put a grin on an edentulous octogenarian. It came soaked in a thick caramely sauce and was served with some rice crackers. I am not a big fan of Pork, especially park with lard. But my dining companions seemed to enjoy it very much.

Fruit Platter

We also had the Thai Style Pak Choi which came lightly sauteed with onions and chillis and drizzled with squeezed lemon. It was too tart and sour, rather unlike the Thai Style Salads which I am accustomed to.

Clockwise from top left: 1. Marian 2. Signboard 3. Ciki 4. Cumi

Dessert wasn't too spectacular, a yam paste mooncake with salted egg yolks. On another occasion, I tried the fried waterchestnut with corn which fared much better. But then again, desserts are usually an afterthought in Chinese restaurants.

If you happen to be there, do try their Lo Hon Go juice which was really beautiful flavoured (their lo hon go is imported from Taiwan) or the Pomelo Juice which was refreshing.

Clockwise from top left: 1. Patin Fish 2. Signboard 3. Mooncake with Yam 4. Thai Style Bak Choy

Be prepared to spen about RM70 to RM100 if you are goung to splurge on Prawns and maybe more if you are ordering some fancy fish. Otherwise, RM 50 to 70 will buy you an excellent dinner. Service is is extremely pleasant and the staff very helpful. The menu comes translated in English and I found the Chef to be very affable and friendly, which is rather rare in a Chinese restaurant.

Restaurant Richwell
24G & 26G, Jalan 19/3
Petaling Jaya

Tel: 03-7955 5855


thule a.k.a leo said...

Ah! It seems that a KL-ite has beaten me to this place... I live just about less than 10min drive from Richwell :P

fatboybakes said...

wow, android, i've rarely see you give such high accolades, if ever, to almost any establishment...chef yau should frame up this post.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

it is a good place, too bad i forgot to take my camera here. had a bomb of a meal here, to the stomach and to the wallet too.

J said...

Gah. So torturous to look at ur photos!
(I wasn't even hungry to start with n now my tummy n tastebuds r screaming out for some of that sang har mein n that succulent looking porkkkkk)

Ciki said...

larvely.. i died and went to pigeon heaven.. and then ATE EM ALL.


boo_licious said...

Fantastic pictures that make me want to lick the screen!! Glad you liked Richwell and the pigeon.

hyl57 said...

On the contrary, your ramblings outside is like entertainment while we feast on the food. Reading your post is most pleasurable and satisfying indeed. Thank you PA.

qwazymonkey said...

OMG! What have you done to my friend, who hardly likes Chinese food, let alone praise Chinese food! Who are you?

Paranoid Android said...

@Thule: Ha ha! You should go, at least try their pigeon.

@FBB: Sarky...

@Joe: You probably ordered some exotic mermaid. LOL.

J: You can have my portion.

@Ciki: I know. I witnessed the massacre.

@Boo: Thanks...

@hyl57: Thanks. And welcome to the blog.

@Qwazymonkey: LMAO. Getting to be as sarky as your ahpa.

J said...

You know I'm very thick skinned when it comes to yummy food - I won't say no... :P

Thailand Club said...

Wow the roasted pigeon is one of my favorites. Miss those in HK.

Paranoid Android said...

@J: Tell me about it! :D

@TC: Yes. Especially love those from HK.

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