New broom…

New brooms sweep well, they say, but no, it is not necessarily always so.

Last Saturday, by some stroke of good luck, we were able to find a parking space so we decided to check this place…

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 1

…out. I asked the guy if this was the same place moved from the old location or a totally brand new outlet altogether and he said it was the same one.

I think the decor was a whole lot nicer formerly – all that iron roofing used for the walls…

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 2

…makes the place look like some kind of warehouse.

While there were some sweet young ethnic girls running the place before very smoothly and efficiently, there was just this young man here who seemed to be at a loss as to what was going on. Everything that I asked, he had to go to the kitchen to ask somebody inside and after a few times of that, my patience was wearing pretty thin so I just decided to order whatever they had.

No, I did not want the laksa as I had that the one and only time I dropped by this franchise place and I was not at all thrilled by it, to put it mildly. I wanted to try the chicken rendang

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 3

…so the guy went into the kitchen and came out saying that it was not available.

They had a lot of choices in their menu and on the banners…

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 4

…but it appeared to me that all those with the prices covered up were currently not available…and I guess that also applied to anything where the price was not stated at all…

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 5

…which left me with no choice, no…not the otah – the price was covered up too…but the nasi lemak

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 6

I asked the boy what the difference was between the standard and the premium and in he went into the kitchen again…and when he came out, he said they were the same except that for the premium, I would be getting a larger piece of chicken.

The couple at the table next to ours ordered the nasi lemak, standard and all three plates were served together. I noticed that they only had a chicken wing each while everything else was the same. For my premium (RM12.90)…

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 7

…I got one chicken thigh which I felt was not all that much bigger. Thankfully, it wasn’t one of those frozen chicken with the bland, soft and almost mushy meat…so this one was all right but of course, one can’t expect too much from deep fried chicken and that was exactly what it was.

The egg…

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 8

…obviously, was flipped in the pan, I think and looked nothing like what I would dish out. Indeed, it is quite hard to splash the hot oil over the top while frying an egg unlike when using a kuali but it was all right as the yolk was runny…

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 9

…just the way I would like it.

Eeeeeee….look at the ikan bilis (dried anchovies)…

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 10

This is the much cheaper white bait variety with those big black beady eyes staring at you…and they were not all that generous with the sambal as well. All in all, what I was served sure did not look anything like what they had on the banner…and the ones here, with or without the chicken curry or masak hitam beef, are a whole lot cheaper and a whole lot nicer, no question about that.

Both my girl and the mum had the standard Katong laksa (RM9.90)…

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 11

…and not only did it look nicer than what I had at the old place but it tasted better too. However, the two ladies said that the enjoyment was only temporary as the richness of the broth with all that santan in it was kind of overpowering and they did not think it was all that great towards the end.

We saw this on the banner outside the shop…

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 12

…and so we ordered two for the two bowls of the laksa that we had and we did confirm with the young guy that we would getting them at 99 sen each and he said yes. However, we wanted it cold/iced and I am not sure whether that rendered the offer null and void or what but he never said anything to that effect. When I checked the chit from the cash register…

328 Katong Laksa, Sibu 13

…upon reaching home, I found that I had been charged RM2.50 a glass.

Well, all things considered plus the fact that finding a place to park in that area can be such a pain, I certainly would be in no hurry to go back there again anytime soon.

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

20 thoughts on “New broom…”

  1. Does not seem to have a good time eating there though the katong laksa is tasty but will get “jelak” halfway due to its “richness”.

    Nowadays I always ask to clarify because I don’t want to get any surprise. If the photo shows hot coffee on promotion, adding ice would most probably nullify the offer although some places would be kind enough to still maintain the offer price.

    I would have asked if I had checked the itemised prices upon settling the bill but I only noticed it when I was writing this post and I wanted to indicate the prices.

    The guy who had to go into the kitchen everytime we asked something did not say anything. He could have said that it would no longer be 99 sen when we asked for it cold/iced, wouldn’t be so difficult for him to do that and the onus would be on us to have it hot or pay the full price per glass. As it is, I can only assume from the photo that the offer is only for a cup of coffee, hot and black – no milk. Maybe he did not even know, seemed like he was quite lost…dunno if it was their first day – just pressed the keys in the cash register, probably would have to press another key to include the discounted price offered.

    1. I think you are right. That guy did not say anything because he himself does not know. Just like the other day, when I ordered the set, the girl taking the order went and key in the codes for each individual item and the price is so, so much higher. Lucky I checked and told the girl that I ordered the set and she had to ask her supervisor for the code for the set. I really think in your case the guy is blur blur sotong. If you had asked him earlier during the time you were making the order, he would have to make another trip to the kitchen to ask someone inside whether or not having ice in the coffee still qualifies for the promotion price.

      I am pretty sure he would do that. I wonder if he owns the place or is the son or what. If he’s an employee, obviously that has been no prior training. A waiter or waitress at any no-class-at-all coffee shop does his or her job a whole lot better…for prices, very very much less.

      Lucky you!!! I know they programme such things into the cash register – you press one key for the item, normal price…and then you press another to get the special discounted price. They do it at the big supermarts – all the items on offer.

  2. Your opening line made me very curious. They have the same saying in Spanish – new brooms sweep well.

    They do? But some brooms do not feel so nice when brand new, stiff…unseasoned. 😀

  3. Nasi lemak looks good except the egg. If they have fried the egg till the edges are cripsy, then it would be a lot better but hey, according to the pix it should be hard boiled egg but anywhere, photos are for illustration purposes only. I can make do with the ikan bilis but not the sambal.

    Yes, the standard condiment for nasi lemak should be hardboiled egg not egg fried or cooked in any other way even though many of the Malay stalls here do it that way which should not be the case…and yes, they do not fry the egg the way I would love it, the old school way with the golden crispy frills – can only get that using a kuali with a bit more oil. Thankfully, the egg was still runny.

    The sambal was not all that great, not bad…but not great, tasted a little like the canned ones. I sure would not want to order the nasi lemak again…nor the Katong laksa.

  4. Ouch! Extra Rm 3 for 2 cups of coffee!

    You’re telling me! Enough for one nice plate of kampua…plus what they dish out, those that I’ve tried, weren’t all that great. It’s a wonder these franchise places actually do well enough to stay in business.

  5. That certainly isn’t overly economical in pricing.

    Expensive…and not nice…service sucks and the place is like a godown. Fails on all counts! 😦

  6. Haha, I agree.. New broom sweeps well, and sweeps clean.. I don’t mind the egg, the nasi lemak looks good.. The ikan bilis looks very crispy+crunchy.. But the Katong laksa broth looks a bit pale.. But if you said it’s good, means it’s good..

    Good for a while, halfway, you will feel like throwing up already, so so so lemak. My missus thought it was good though – like those made-in-Singapore Prima Taste instant noodles, she said. I am not a fan of those either and they are not cheap as well, far from it. Eeeeee…the ikan bilis!!! Those beady eyes!!!

  7. Not like a nice place to eat. The staff was not informative. I wouldnt want to go back there.

    I sure would not be dropping by again, that’s for sure.

  8. Yes, I hate it also when I don’t get enough sambal with the nasi lemak. This place not so good after all!

    I dunno if they get the sambal from Singapore, this being a franchise place. It tasted a bit like the canned ones – not that bad but a bit.

    I do think the franchise owners should come and check and inspect and refuse to let them open unless they meet the standards set – like this, it really gives them a bad name! Such a disgrace, especially when they are quite famous…and from Singapore some more.

  9. yikes … sounds like not quite the ideal meal … the nasi lemak does seem pricier than expected, though i do like the look of the chicken (seems potentially juicy!) and the egg … hmmm, they call it singapore nasi lemak but it looks pretty much like malaysian nasi lemak 😀

    You can get the same at one other place that I like very much and drop by regularly, for half the price…or instead of the fried chicken, RM4.50 only for the regular – no fried chicken, you can opt for the masak hitam beef or the curry chicken – around RM7-8.00 only. Cheaper…and so very much nicer!

    Call them what they want – I have had enough nasi lemak, good or otherwise to know when it is not up to the mark and way too expensive! Lots elsewhere to choose from minus the pinch and the hole in your pocket!

  10. The coffee, they should have inform you of the price if you had the cold one…

    It was clear that the obviously-very-lost guy waiting at the tables did not actually know what he was doing or had to do. 😦

  11. Now that you’ve mentioned, I took a closer look at the ikan bilis.. hahahaa… yeah, they seemed to be staring back at me too! hahahaha… So those are cheaper type? Real big eyes they have… About the coffee, I guess you are right.. iced ones are charged.. and not so for hot ones….

    Yes, half the price, at least…and they’re so small and thin, you cannot remove the head and the insides. Only thing to do is to tear away the heads and throw them away…so you would not have all those eyes staring at you while you eat.

    The guy should have told us. When we asked, he said yes, 99 sen…and when we asked for it cold/iced, he said ok. He did not say that it would not be 99 sen anymore, if that was the case. But frankly, I do find a lot of young people like this nowadays – not very smart or in their lingo, blur-blur one…and they may have their string of A’s in the exams to show you!

  12. I tried to access your blog since this morning and could not get in. So here I am now 🙂 This 328 Katong Laksa does not seem very encouraging. Did they just move recently and are having teething problems? And they did not honor the promotional price for the add on coffee. I would have been very sore and won’t go back again.

    Sorry, I am having problems logging in too at certain times of day and I encounter the same problem logging into some wordpress blogs. Been like this over the past few days – before the weekend but no problem getting into Facebook, youtube…all the rest, just wordpress. Dunno what is going on.

    The old one has been around for quite a while now but this one at their new location just opened – that very day we went, I think. I am very sure I would not be going back there again…even if I had had my coffee for 99 sen.

  13. Wah…so there’s a Singapore cafe in Sibu. Aiyo…Singapore food where got nice, besides the Katong Laksa, which I still don’t quite fancy.
    OK la… I guess they are still very new to the setup and need time to settle down. Probably a first timer to the eatery business and maybe the main guy not around at that time you are there. Maybe you can go again a month later and see how organise they are.

    This one so very famous wor. Bourdain went and ate…and I think he even tried cooking it – a competition to see if he could do it better. Obviously he did not like it enough to include it in his menu for his place in NYC – Sarawak laksa is in the list! Yaaaaaaaa!!!!!

    Food not great, so expensive…place not nice like godown…even if the service is excellent, I will not want to go back again plus it is quite impossible to find parking in the daytime in that area.

  14. where is this new branch?

    Tunku Osman, facing the back of the Hong Kong Bank (HSBC) building in between Singapore Chicken Rice and Tea Street Bakery – Rejang Book Store at the other end of the same block of shops.

  15. I’m a bit puzzled by this place…

    A friend of mine likes it and I’ve been there a couple of times. They also serve big head prawn noodles at around the same price!

    However, my brother in law came back during CNY and we saw this place and he was wondering if it was the same chain in Singapore and we couldn’t be sure. My sister was unsure too. We went to the one in King’s Cineplex.

    Yup, the same franchise chain. They have all the photos on the wall there to show. It’s a love-hate thing – my missus loved it, my girl too though it was too rich and she could only manage halfway. I am ok with it but with that kind of money, I think there are other things I would enjoy a lot more. I’ve read about their outlets in KL too – some seem to like it a lot, others do not share the same opinion. To each his own, I guess.

  16. New broom…don’t know why I have the mind set that you was gonna to talk about a actual new broom, hahaha….

    Btw, yea oh, why they didn’t remove the ikan bilis head…I thought that’s supposed to remove one as in common.

    You can do that if you have the regular ikan bilis, the big ones. These cheap(er) ones are to thin and tiny – the only way would be to just pull off the top end, cannot remove the heads and the insides.

    It is an English proverb: “New brooms sweep well.” You’ve never heard of it? It means that when someone, an employee perhaps, is new, they do the work very well but after sometime, things may change.

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own.

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