People say…

…it is expensive to eat here or at least, that was what I was told and she heard that from a friend just like what some people said about this place as well but personally, I feel that is a broad generalisation as there are many things one would need to consider – the place, the ambiance, the comfort…and of course, the food. If you order a whole lot of things including fish and prawns and lobsters or exclusive exotic stuff you can’t get elsewhere, surely you do not expect it to be anything but…cheap.

Let us look at what we had when we dropped by for lunch the other day. My girl wanted the phad thai (RM13.90)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen phad thai

…so that was what we had. This was the small but it was enough for the three of us so that would work out to RM4.00 something each. Expensive? You can see there were a lot of prawns and other things in it…whereas as some coffee shop stall, you may pay around the same for a plate with a whole lot of kway teow and soy sauce and lots of msg and egg, no prawns and even if there are any, you may just get a couple of miserably tiny ones.

For want of a bit more protein, I ordered the oyster omelette (19.50)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen oyster omelette

Not cheap, right? But wait a minute! There were a lot of oysters in it and those crustaceans sure do not come cheap.

For a bit more vegetables other than the taugeh ( bean sprouts) in the phad thai, I ordered the paku or wild jungle fern (RM13.50)…

Flavours Thai Kitchen paku

The small serving in a chu char restaurant would cost around RM10.00 but in this one, there was a lot more so much so that in the end, it was quite a struggle for us to finish all of it…plus it was much nicer too!

They charge 50 sen per head for iced water now and for that, they served us a big glass each plus a big jug full of ice cubes and water. They would charge you at any cheap coffee shop if you ask for ice cubes, don’t they? After all, they actually have to buy those from the factories these days – they do not make their own ice blocks anymore. The overall total on the bill came up to RM48.40 which would be more or less the same as what I had to fork out here or here and at a lot of other places in town and at times, even more!

In the meantime, we went to check out this place in town that is relatively new but I shall not mention the name nor show any photos of the place to avoid any unnecessary “complications”. It has some kind of coffee shop setting, maybe a little nicer than most, but at the end of the day, that is what it is – a coffee shop, non-air conditioned, no pleasant ambiance, nothing much really. Business looked very good that day – there were quite a lot of people eating there and that certainly showed a lot of promise.

Of course, what would be most important would be the food and I had their nasi bryani with mutton curry (RM15.00)…

Nasi bryani with mutton curry

…and it came in those stainless steel trays used in school and college hostels. Yes, I would say it was quite nice and yes, it was RM3.50 cheaper than here but the latter is a very much nicer and classier place right down to the way it is served there plus we do feel that the rice and curry there are way nicer than what I had here and the servings are more substantial as well. The tomato and egg and the cucumber pickle by the side were an added bonus but no, I did not think those were enough to save the day. Other than that, I saw some other people getting a piece of papadum with theirs but I did not get any with mine. No, I did not bother to ask for it – I just added that to the minus points I was giving to the place.

At this place that we frequent quite a lot, the nasi bryani with mutton curry, minus the sides but with a piece of papadum, is only RM8.00, up from RM7.00 in 2012 and I would say I like the one there a lot more, not just because of the price difference, of course – it is nicer and besides, the boss and everybody there are all very nice and friendly, all the smiling faces – something that I do not see here, not at all. I have never seen so many unhappy-looking people, to the extent of looking fierce or angry, at one place before and it made me wonder why they all looked that way.

My missus ordered their Sarawak kway teow (RM9.90)…

Sarawak kway teow

…that she said was nice and she enjoyed that though it got me wondering as to how it would qualify as “Sarawak” kway teow seeing that it was nothing more than just any other fried kway teow and with those two prawns on top and the banana leaf lining on the plate, I would think it was indeed way over-priced…for a coffee shop.

My girl wanted the ikan keli

Not available

– she loves catfish but we were informed that all the fish selections were not available that day. That is one thing that puts me off, my beta noire – to have an elaborate menu and in the end, this and that are all not available.

She wanted the Penang fried kway teow instead but I said that might have soy sauce in it so she picked the tom yam seafood kway teow (RM18.90)…

Tom yam seafood kway teow

…in the end. Yes, you read that right – RM18.90!!! At that price, I was expecting it to be teeming with fish, prawns and sotong (squid) but no, there wasn’t much seafood in it. “Mostly vegetables,” my girl said and I did see quite a bit of tofu puffs and some three or so not-very-big prawns…and though it tasted all right at that point in time, she complained about an unpleasant lingering taste on the tongue as we were going home, probably the result of an overdose of msg or whatever, I wouldn’t know.

The drinks were extremely slow in coming out – I had already finished my rice when they came and if I had known that the kopi-o-peng (iced black coffee) would be that bad, I would have just ordered a small bottle of drinking or mineral water instead.

The total on our bill came up to a shocking RM49.50 so compared to the place I was talking about earlier in the post, with its more pleasant and comfortable surroundings, better service a thousand-fold and very much nicer food, it would be pretty obvious which one would give better value for money and besides, with the music blasting at ear-splitting volume at this place (which reminded me of the time I took the wrong turn and walked straight into Little India in Penang), I could not wait for the ladies to finish and make a run for it…out of there as fast as I could.

So honestly, when people want to say that some place is expensive, they should qualify their sweeping remark and specify exactly why they feel so, compared to what and where, to substantiate and validate their opinion…but at the end of the day, the money is theirs. If they feel a place it is expensive, they are free to go elsewhere. I would…especially when I see no good reason whatsoever to come back for more.