Don’t change…

My girl wanted to drop by here for lunch that day because when we were here a fortnite earlier, it was on a Friday, our no-meat day, so she was not able to order her favourite here, their sizzling beef on a hot plate…

Of course, I did not have a problem with that and off we went!

Yes, it was very good, as nice as ever and to everyone’s liking and for our vegetable dish, we had the butter baby kai lan (Chinese broccoli)…

…which was good too.

There were a few other dishes that we used to order but I thought of trying something different for a change so I asked the young boy taking our orders (the lady boss’ son) if they had any “lok bak“. Unfortunately, he was monolingual and did not know what I was talking about – he did not know what “rusa” or “venison” is and unfortunately, I don’t know what it is in Mandarin so I asked him to call his mum who is conversant in Hokkien but unfortunately, they did not have the meat.

Eventually, I settled for “beef tendon in a claypot” on the menu and this…

…was what we got.

Well, it wasn’t in a claypot – the lady boss said it would be in one, a small one and no, the serving was definitely not small. It would not have mattered much if it had tasted great but no, I was not impressed, not at all. The sauce in the sizzling hot plate beef was heaps nicer!

Other than the taste, I was quite put off by what I could (or could not) find inside! There was hardly any beef tendon at all and just a few paper thin slices of beef. Instead, there were a whole lot of oyster mushroom and fried tofu, cut into thin long strips. Honestly, sometimes, it is better to stick to what’s familiar, things that we know are nice. This is one dish I would never order again.

The bill came up to RM63.00 for the three dishes, not cheap but of course, beef is not cheap and perhaps, that was a sign of the things to come, the rising prices. We just have to expect the pinch when we eat out these days.

After lunch, my missus wanted to go and buy some roast meats for dinner. There is a very popular stall at a coffee shop down the road – if I am not wrong, that is the older brother of the one in our neighbourhood that I frequent quite a lot so I suggested trying the ones here…for a change.

We were here once in 2020 but it did not sweep us off our feet so we never went back again. In the meantime, my good friend/ex-classmate, Robert, said their roast duck (sold out when we went that day) was the best in town so I told my good friend, Annie, when she came home for Ching Ming that day but she said it was salty and not to their liking. Ah well! I guess I would just have to try it myself.

My missus paid RM30.00 for this much…

…and yes, the roast duck was very good, not salty, tender and nice. The char siew was all right, nothing to make it stand out above the rest and the siew yoke (roast pork) would have been very nice but the crackling was so very salty that we had no choice but to give it our thumbs down! All things considered, I think I’d rather go to the stall here that I really liked a lot or I’d just stick to my regular stall – everything there is pretty good and being right round the corner from my house, it is a whole lot convenient to go there and buy.

NICE HOUSE RESTAURANT (2.29201,111.82739)…

…is located in the vicinity of the Tunku Osman shops, opposite Rejang Bookstore.

Light and easy…

I was still feeling full after that lamb shank I had for lunch – I enjoyed that and had the lion’s share but my girl insisted on going out for something light and easy that evening.

She wasn’t too happy to see that my appetite had not been all that good these days and my taste buds had been acting kind of cranky. That was probably why I thought some of what we had for lunch were salty when the ladies said they were all right. In the end, I relented and we ended up here.

She asked for their beef spaghetti bolognese (RM19.00)…

…with their own-made bolognese sauce using lots of fresh tomatoes and Italian herbs. I do enjoy that too…usually, anytime a lot more than the commercially-available bottled sauces that come across to me like tomato ketchup straight from the bottle.

I did not feel like having that, of course and asked for their pomelo salad (RM8.00)…

…instead. This has not been available for a while now, since they reopened fully after the pandemic, so we just went for their Payung rojak most of the time. It sure was nice to be able to enjoy this again, very refreshing, indeed.

I also ordered their mashed potato (RM8.00)…

…which is different from the regular mashed potatoes elsewhere by virtue of the garlic and whatever ingredients added. That day, I was kind of turned off by the taste though so I just left it there. In the end, my girl finished it off for me – she enjoys it very much.

My missus had their mushroom roll (RM9.00)…

…and I did help myself to one. I thought it tasted great but like most of what I had for lunch, I thought it was very salty so I did not have any more.

I did not encounter a similar problem with the jelly pisang (RM9.00)…

…though when I helped myself to the jelly and the bananas (and the milk) but no, being on a low sugar diet, I did not touch the ice cream.

My missus and I just had drinking water on the house while my girl had their coconut milk shake (RM9.00). She insisted on picking up the tab, her treat for Father’s Day, and the total came up to RM62.00 altogether.

We finished early, at around 6.00 p.m. by which time, there were already three other tables – probably families there to celebrate the special occasion and there was a private function on the top floor upstairs that night, an appreciation dinner for the volunteers at the recent Sibu International Dance Festival 2022 so everyone was kinda busy at the time. I was glad to hear that they did enjoy brisk business over the two-week Gawai Dayak break too.

PAYUNG CAFÉ (2.284049, 111.833014) is located at No.20F, Lanang Road, Sibu, Malaysia, back to back with the multi-storey car park of the Kingwood Hotel which faces the majestic Rejang River.

Today’s special…

Yesterday was Father’s Day so we decided to go out some place for something special for lunch.

Ever since my sister shared a photograph of the lamb shank she had here

…on Instagram, we had been waiting for the chance to go there and give it a try ourselves.

We had the M (medium), RM39.00 and it was served with this what-they-called nasi mandi

The lamb was so very good, fall-off-the-bone-tender and so very flavourful, bursting with the fragrances of the herbs that it was stewed with.

We felt the rice was very fragrant too like one of those nasi Arab or Indian biryani rice but unfortunately, it was a little on the dry and hard side and there wasn’t much gravy/sauce to mandi (bathe, in Malay) it with and because we had ordered a lot, we left quite a bit of the rice behind.

Actually, we had no idea what nasi mandi was but a reader was kind enough to post a comment to enlighten me about it (See comment below). It seems that according to Wikipedia, mandi (مندي) is a traditional dish that originated from Yemen, consisting mainly of meat and rice with a special blend of spices, cooked in a pit underground. A Malay friend commented on my sister’s aforementioned photograph asking if it wasn’t nasi Mandy, whatever that was. Well, at least, we now know it is indeed something along those same lines as nasi Arab or nasi biryani, thank you, SW in the UK, whoever you may be.

The grilled chicken with ayam percik sauce (RM18.00)…

…would have been very nice too – we particularly loved the sauce/gravy, if only they had given us a lot more of it. The ladies thought the chicken was all right but I found it somewhat salty plus it was overdone, a little on the dry and hard side. I certainly enjoyed the lamb shank a whole lot more.

This plate of plain rice…

…came with the chicken and just as in the case of the lamb shank, it would have been a whole lot nicer if they had given us a lot more of the very nice ayam percik gravy to enjoy the rice with.

The sotong goreng ala tempura or fried calamari (RM16.00)…

…was, to me, a little on the salty side but the ladies were fine with it. It turned out that they used the giant frozen sotong (squid) which is usually a little hard and rubbery and not all that sweet and nice.

The Penang-style char kway teow (RM12.00)…

…never came and in the end, we asked for it to be packed for us to take home. I never got to try it so I can’t say how good it was but actually, I insisted on ordering it as when we entered the restaurant…

…I saw somebody eating fried kway teow with a whole lot of prawns and it sure looked very enticing! It turned out to be another item on their menu – the seafood noodles where you have a choice of noodles and whatever seafood you would want in the dish. Perhaps I will order that next time.

Service was excellent – the young Malay girls were very nice and friendly, very efficient and fast and there was a Chinese man in charge (the girls told me he was the manager and the place is Malay-owned).

We did not have to wait very long for the dishes to come out of the kitchen (except for the char kway teow) and if I had a bone to pick about anything, the thought did cross my mind that they could vary the presentation of each dish a bit. All of them had more or less the same things by the side.

There was a huge cauldron of chicken soup – I went and asked and yes, as I had suspected, it was complimentary but nobody ever said anything about it and there wasn’t any sign to let the customers know. There was a jug of iced water with slices of lemon and glasses by the side – I think one can help oneself to that FOC too…but nobody said anything about that too. My missus’ teh tarek (pulled tea) was RM6.00 a glass while the plain water that my girl and i had was on the house.

All in all, we did enjoy the lunch and yes, we would not mind going back there again…especially for the lamb shank that I did enjoy tremendously.

OLE OLE KAMPUNG by ROOK 3 (2.291155, 111.821081)…

…is located at Lot 8, Lorong Lau King Howe 1.

Nobody cares…

That day, after we had had our lunch here, I placed an order for their Foochow fried noodles, wet (with sauce/gravy)…

…for three to take home for dinner so my missus would not need to cook anything for the rest of that day.

I dare say the one here is among the best in town and there are not many of them – some of those wannabes aren’t worth the calories at all. We particularly love buying the noodles home as they would have absorbed all the sauce/gravy and that makes them a lot tastier. No, they are still quite firm, just a little bit bigger than usual but no, they are not soft and soggy – perhaps if you buy the soup version home, they will be like that but so far, we’ve never tried.

They used to be RM4.50 a plate in 2017…

…and we had to add 50 sen for the extra slices of char siew (barbecued pork). I did mention in my post the other day, that the price for the noodles has gone up to RM6.00 a plate (without the char siew), an increase of over 30%, not that anybody cares!

I tried their kampua noodles…

…before and yes, it was very nice. It was only RM3.50 a plate before. I did check the menu on the wall that day and it has gone up to RM4.50.

So far, the most expensive at the coffee shops and stalls in town would be the ones here…

– RM4.00 a plate.

Despite the fact that it is RM3.50 or less elsewhere, every day (except Tuesdays), you can see the crowd here even though I have heard people complaining that the quality has dropped and lately, self-service/do-it-yourself is required or so I’ve heard. You have to get the cutlery yourself and the hot boiling water to dip them in to sterilise them and take them to your table.

There were two Foochow-speaking Iban ladies who had been working for them for a mighty long time – I wonder what has happened to them. Perhaps they went home for the Gawai or they have decided not to employ them anymore, now that they have raised the minimum salary in the country to RM1,500 a month, beginning June the 1st.

For one thing, the aforementioned is a nice and comfortable, air-conditioned restaurant, not some hot and noisy coffee shop, so I guess it is only right that things there should be a bit more expensive. There too, they have their following – though you may not see the customers spilling onto the road, there are a lot of them there in the morning for the noodles.

I guess if quality is assured, never mind the increase in prices, nobody will care and people will still come back for more, of that I am very sure! What about the prices of noodles over where you are? I gather that it is worse at some places, still cheaper around here.

Y2K CAFE (2.294220, 111.825753)…

…is located in the Tunku Osman area, round the corner from that block of shops where the branches of AmBank & RHB Bank are located with its back entrance facing the side (right, not the main one) entrance/exit of Methodist Secondary School.

Didn’t feel a thing…

The two-week mid-year school holidays here started on the 28th last with a couple of extra days, one that they had replaced on a Saturday and another, an occasional holiday. It did not matter one bit that it was a bit longer than what the schools in the peninsula had and even though we did not go anywhere, the days flew by so fast that it didn’t feel a thing. Before we knew it, we were down to the last day of the holidays last Sunday.

I told my girl that we would grab the chance to go out for lunch before school reopened as we would not be able to do that much on school days. Even on weekends, she would still be bogged down with all that work and would not be in the mood to go out and eat.

This is one of the regular restaurants that we frequent but throughout the two weeks, we did not manage to drop by here so that was where we went that day.

My girl did not feel like eating rice that day so we agreed to order a plate of fried kway teow (flat rice noodles)…

…to share. This is our local Foochow style, wet (with sauce/gravy), enough for three and because we asked for a big serving like this to share, it did not come cheap at all and I had to fork out a total of RM18.00 for that. The usual price for a plate here, single serving, is RM6.00 now while elsewhere, the standard prices are around RM4.00-4.50 but of course, do not be surprised if the meat and the green vegetables are not visible to the naked eye.

I posted this photograph on Facebook and mentioned in the caption that it is now RM6.00 a plate but no, nobody commented that it was so expensive. As a matter of fact, my brother in Auckland, New Zealand (like our late father before, he too loves the fried noodles at this restaurant) said that it was so cheap and looked really good compared to what they would get there for NZD18.50 and it wasn’t even nice!

We also ordered the kiam soh pai kut (salty & crusty pork ribs), RM18.00…

…which was a tad too salty to me but it was all right and for our vegetable dish, we had the midin, ching chao (plain fried wild jungle fern), RM12.00…

It was pretty obvious that the prices of the two dishes had shot up as well but that was not in the least surprising, considering that everything is so much more expensive now.

I bought some midin at RM13.00 a kilo not too long ago and a few days later, my missus paid RM16.00 a kilo for it. The lady boss said that it is now RM23.00 a kilo and the worst thing is it is not easily available. Gosh!!! Considering how lucrative the going price is, it is a wonder that those people have not bothered to come out in full force to pluck the ferns growing here, there and everywhere (for free) for sale. I am quite sure they will make quite a bundle!

Yes, the price of pork went up recently and yes, the prices of cooking oil and everything else too…and right now, there is a shortage of chicken and eggs so I shall just count my blessings and not complain.

Y2K CAFE (2.294220, 111.825753)…

…is located in the Tunku Osman area, round the corner from that block of shops where the branches of AmBank & RHB Bank are located with its back entrance facing the side (right, not the main one) entrance/exit of Methodist Secondary School.

Take a break…

This is one of the regular places that we would go to for our lunch or dinner but it was closed for over a week because of the Gawai. Most of their waiting staff members are Iban ladies so of course, at this time every year, they let them take the week off to go back to their longhouses to celebrate.

Well, we were out for dinner last Friday and I decided to drive past to see if it had reopened after taking a break. Much to our relief, it had and there were ample parking spaces right in front. I guess we were a bit too early – it was only 5 something but there were already two or three tables of customers inside! I don’t know now but before the pandemic, if you go at the usual time, around 6 or 7 something, there would not be a table available for you unless you made a reservation early as most of the time, it would be full.

Yes, it was our no-meat day so we had the honey prawn balls…

…one of their signature dishes, and yes, it was as good as always.

My girl did not want one of her favourites here, their salad calamari – deep-fried batter-coated sotong (squid) served with mayonnaise so we had those fried with dried chili and Bombay onions…

…instead. It tasted great but I thought the sotong was too big and a little hard. That is why when I buy squids, I would go for the medium-sized ones. The small ones would be too tedious to clean and would take ages so I never bought those.

The braised own-made tofu

…was so good even though we asked them not to add the bits of chicken in the dish. The tofu was so so so smooth and soft – whoever handled the slices to deep fry them for the dish must have been a very gentle and delicate person. I am sure they would be a mess if I were the one doing that!

For the vegetable dish, we asked for the midin, ching chao (wild jungle fern, fried plain)…

I guess they fried it with ginger as we could see the very thin strips of the root among the ferns.

Of course we enjoyed that delightful dinner – the total came up to RM50.00 only for the four dishes. Yes, it was a bit more expensive than what we had here and here but this is a full-fledged restaurant, clinically clean and comfortably air-conditioned and all, not some coffee shop nor a stall in one of those and personally, I would say that the dishes served here are a class above those there.

NICE HOUSE RESTAURANT (2.29201,111.82739)…

…is located in the vicinity of the Tunku Osman shops, opposite Rejang Bookstore.

A good time…

Normally, it would be near impossible to find a place to park the car during their opening hours but I was thinking that perhaps it was a good time to try our luck at this restaurant last Sunday evening at around 5, seeing how dead the town is on Sunday afternoons plus I seemed to notice fewer cars around probably because many had gone back to their longhouses for the Gawai or on a holiday some place.

True enough, when we got there, there were a few vacant spaces available so of course, I picked one that was closest to it. Unfortunately, the restaurant was fully booked, just that it was too early (it opens for dinner at 5.00 p.m.) – most of the reservations were for 7.00 p.m. so the lady at the reception counter said we could just take any table we liked. There was just another table with 3 persons on the ground floor and it sounded like somebody was having a birthday party upstairs. We ordered what we wanted and waited.

The last time I was here was before the pandemic but I did drop by once to buy their curry puffs when word went round that they were making those to supplement their income during those difficult months. Unfortunately, they were made to order so I was not able to get hold of any but I did manage to buy a few packs of their celebrated local Sibu sio bee (meat dumplings)…

…to heat up and enjoy when we felt like it.

Of course, parking wasn’t all that difficult during the pandemic but we were not keen on eating out plus they were really serious about the restrictions and even laid down their own rules and regulations for diners. I saw on their door that evening a sign that said, “Please do not take off your mask until the food is served!

My girl and I love their checkerboard duck…

…but we did not want to order that as the mum would not touch duck with a 10-foot pole. Instead, we asked for their special pek chio/ikan bawal putih (white pomfret)…

…filleted and deep fried till nice and crispy…

…served with its lovely sweet and sour sauce, another one of their signature dishes that we enjoy a lot.

Yes, it was as good as ever and I was glad that the nice lady taking our orders said that they would cook for 2 persons only. I suppose that was why we got a smaller fish, just right for the 3 of us. At most places, they would just give you a big one even though there would be enough for a table of 10 – you want it, you pay for it!

My girl spotted this special own-made spinach tofu…

…in the menu and she suggested giving it a try. It turned out to be very nice, very much to our liking but we did not know at the time that it would be served on a bed of spinach so we ordered this plate of baby kailan with prawns…

…because we wanted a plate of green vegetables. Here too, midin (wild jungle fern) and cangkok manis were not available over the Gawai season, out of stock.

The total for the food came up to RM118.00 only (exclusive of 6% SST), so much cheaper than what we had here and needless to say, we enjoyed what we had here a whole lot more. I did not expect it to cost much less because that fish costs a bomb around here and they were very generous with the pretty big prawns too – those sure do not come cheap either. Both were really fresh and very much to our satisfaction.

While we were having our dinner, a lot of people came in but were turned away, disappointed as they did not make any reservation and many resorted to buying some dishes home instead. We finished before 7 and the crowd had not come in yet so we left quickly but the car park outside was full already by then and as I was reversing out, I noticed that a car was right behind us, waiting to grab my space, lucky bloke!

New Capitol Restaurant 新首都酒家 (2.288619, 111.830057)…

…is located at No. 46, Lebuh Tanah Mas, off Jalan Kampung Nyabor, in the block of shops opposite the Sarawak House/King’s Trioplex/Premier Hotel at the very far end on the right

Where do we go now…

I was shocked when I heard that one of our favourite chu-char restaurants in town would close on the 1st of June because those recent times when I went there, there were quite a lot of customers so I did not think they were doing too badly despite the pandemic. A friend told me that they had difficulty recruiting workers which, of course, was quite obvious because for sometime now, all the family members had to be roped in to help the boss run the show.

Gosh!!! That would mean one less restaurant that we can go to whenever we feel like having something nice outside. That was why I decided that we should look for some alternatives, other places that we hardly ever went to but the food was very nice too.

We did drive past this place…

…a few days earlier at around 5 something, before 6 and we saw a lot of people there. My girl remembered going there for steamboat a long long time ago when she was little, with her late grandparents, her aunt (my sister) and Uncle Lim and the late Uncle Jimmy those happy times when they would be in town and staying at my house around the end of the year.

I am not all that fond of going there as there are no proper places to park the car – you just park anywhere you like on the grass by the side of the road…

…and on wet days, it can get quite muddy and messy. As a matter of fact, the last time I went there was in 2015!

Well, the other evening, we decided to go out for dinner and since we were real early, 5 something in the evening, I decided to stop by here to see if it was still as good as before seeing that there were a lot more people going for it these days. To my horror, when we got there, the place was packed with customers spilling onto the road. There were a few empty tables but those were reserved. I managed to persuade the lady boss to let us sit at one of them, promising to leave as soon as we finished and in the end, she relented.

I requested for one of their signature dishes, the sweet and sticky spare ribs, coated with sesame seeds…

…and yes, it was indeed really very nice! My friend in Perth, Australia says they call it Peking spare ribs there.

I loved the fried kway teow with see ham (cockles) here, another one of their signature dishes, so I ordered that only to be told by the lady boss that they no longer add the cockles to the dish…

It turned out to be rather disappointing – for one thing, it looked kinda pale and my girl said it could do with a lot more wok hei fragrance, nowhere near the very nice one that we have here.

The lady suggested their hot plate tofu…

…which turned out to be deep fried Japanese egg tofu…

…buried under a whole lot of fried shallots and garlic slices and chopped spring onion. I guess this must be one of their most popular dishes as I noticed every table having that as well. Personally, it did not sweep me off my feet – I prefer how they do it elsewhere with thick egg sauce, covered with minced meat and salted fish.

I don’t know if my appetite has been affected by my not-so-good health these days and many things do not come across to me as very nice, including the cangkok manis fried with egg…

…that we had that evening. Perhaps the vegetable was too old so it was a bit hard and not very sweet and other than that, it was too salty for our liking.

It dawned on me later that the next day was the Dragon Boat or the Chang Festival and that probably explained why there were so many people there – many prefer to celebrate a day earlier these days to avoid the crowd.

The bill for the four dishes for the three of us came up to only RM45.00 which I thought was inexpensive compared to what we would have to fork out elsewhere. However, seeing how we were not exactly thrilled by what we had, other than the spare ribs, we probably will not be heading back there again all that soon.

YING SIANG CORNER (2.305035, 111.839888) is located at No. 1A, Lorong Merdeka 15 at its junction with Jalan Teruntum, Rejang Park.

No class…

My girl would not want to drop by here because she said that everytime we went, I would always end up getting very angry over this and that. I got quite pissed off by their chipped crockery, their poached egg that was raw and only the yolk was left yet they served it like that, how the staff could not converse in English even though it was a western restaurant and so on and so forth and yet they try to project themselves as a high class joint, a place for fine dining, serving the most exclusive expensive cuts of beef.

Well, after all this time, curiosity got the better of me and we did go over last Sunday evening to see if things had changed for the better. All this time, whenever we passed by, we would see the crowd inside and also all the cars outside so we decided to go early before dinnertime, at 5.00 p.m. thinking that there would be fewer people around.

Unfortunately, the place was packed. There were only a couple of tables available but service was good, very prompt and it was not noisy or rowdy until a couple of guys came and the whole time they were there, they talked as if they were delivering a speech to everyone in the room. Why on earth would people talk so loudly, really? It would only take a couple of the likes of these to ruin the nice ambiance of the place. No class at all!

Going back to talk about the service, they had so many young boys and girls on their waiting staff. One approached our table the instant we sat down and he would key in our orders in his smartphone. Hmmm…impressive! Very high tech! He was quite comfortable speaking in English, no problem at all.

Despite the crowd, the food came VERY fast, starting with this plate of Ceasar salad (RM26.00)…

…that we ordered. We were very impressed by how generous they were with the poached chicken (which was a little bit warm when they served it – I had expected it to be cold like everything else in the plate). Unfortunately, when we started eating, I was horrified as to how salty the dressing-coated lettuce was – perhaps if we had shredded the chicken and mashed the egg to mix with the veg, it would help a bit but no, we had no intention of doing that ourselves.

My girl said her spaghetti carbonara grana padano (RM38.00)…

…was good but aside from the extra creamy pasta, there was nothing much else other than that thin slice of bacon for that kind of money. She said that the serving was bigger than what she had before so she was not able to finish all of it…and I had to do that for her, not that I enjoyed the richness all that much.

The mum went through the Asian section of their menu – she does that all the time as she is not really into the western stuff and she ordered this claypot seafood pasta (RM26.00)…

…which I would say was inexpensive considering that there were all those prawns, mussels, clams, cuttlefish and so on…compared to the pasta my girl had. My missus said it tasted something like our char chu mee (the Foochow fry & cook noodles soup) and was very nice – she enjoyed it very much!

By the time the pizza prosciutto e funghi (RM38.00)…

…came, we were already very full so we just had a slice each (and yes, it was VERY good!) and had the rest packed away in a pizza box for us to take home. That was done in a jiffy, no problem at all.

For dessert, I asked for the panna cotta (RM12.00)…

…and I sure wasn’t pleasantly surprised to see that it was served with matcha (green tea) sauce. If it was stated in the menu, I did not notice it and since I am no fan of matcha, I did not really enjoy it. It was a bit bitter but the saving grace was that it was not sweet which was good for me now that I am on a low sugar diet.

We had their complimentary bottled water and the total came up to RM148.40 (inclusive of the 6% SST).

All in all, I must say that the waiting staff members are a whole lot better than the ones we encountered before but there were so many of them. Perhaps they should be stationed at strategic points so they can pay a lot more attention to the diners, instead of just leaving them to their own devices to loiter around here and there.

For instance, when we had finished the Ceasar salad, nobody came to take away the plate that I had placed by the side of the table and by the time the pizza arrived, I wouldn’t mind getting a new plate to replace the one covered with the creamy dressing from the salad and the carbonara sauce from my girl’s pasta. I had to go through the chore of getting their attention to get them to come to our table to do that.

Well, we may drop by again and all the time I was there, I was thinking that it would be good to dine al fresco – they have all the tables and chairs outside but nobody sat there. For one thing, I am not fond of the air-conditioning and I sure would love to take advantage of the natural daylight outside for more flattering snapshots of the food served.

CAFFEINE CAFE (2.302620, 111.842988) is located on the ground floor of Wisma Liberty, Block 3, Lorong Dr Wong Soon Kai 7, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai (formerly Jalan Pedada) – on your left, past the Jalan Ulu Oya Road (Sacred Heart School) traffic lights if you are coming from town.

He is here…

Yes, he is here! The authentic North Indian chef has come back from his month-long break. I did mention in my blogpost the other day when we dropped by the café last month that he had gone back to India and would resume his duties here in Sibu by the middle of May.

We actually thought of going some place else last Sunday but there were massive jams all over town, probably because the Gawai Dayak Festival was around a week or so away so I used an alternative route (without passing through the main roads and going through the town centre) to get here. Well, my girl sure was delighted that the chef has come back and it was business as usual that day.

Not too long ago, I was watching this show on TV where they were talking about those banana leaf meals at the Indian restaurants. We do not have that here but yes, we did go for it in KL and also in Kuching. Well, at one of those places featured, they were singing praises for their chicken vindaloo and I could remember they have that on their menu here so of course, I wanted to give it a try (RM24.00)…

I had the kambing (lamb/mutton) vindaloo

…with the biryani rice…

…and yes, it was VERY nice! It was a bit sourish, not like the mutton masala (which is simply Indian curry, more or less), a welcome change from the usual. I let my girl try a bit and yes, she too liked it a lot. She probably will want to order this the next time we drop by here.

This time around, she stuck faithfully to her butter tandoori chicken biryani (RM20.00)…

…which did not look as red as before…

…from what was used to marinate the chicken before cooking it in the traditional tandoori oven and using it to cook this curry. As a matter of fact, I thought the taste of the tandoori chicken was not as strong but my girl said it was all right and yes, she did enjoy it very much.

For one thing, we were seated inside the dim and dark and gloomy restaurant – they removed all the tables and chairs on the very much brighter pavement outside during the pandemic as they did not want to block up the whole place to ensure physical distancing and what not. Hopefully, they will put them back again soon so I will be able to take more flattering photographs of the very nice food here.

Another thing that I’ve noticed is how the Indonesian chef would serve what she dishes out – in a bowl, with the rice by the side. My missus had the seafood curry rice (RM19.00)…

…and yes, it was, as always, very very nice and they were very generous with the serving too. I guess it is neater this way and some people are not that fond of their rice being drowned by the gravy but I actually like the way they used to serve their dishes, everything by the side of the rice in the plate…

The total for everything we had, inclusive of drinks, came up to RM78.00 but the nice boss collected RM75.00 only from me – not only was this cheaper than what we had at the Japanese franchise the other day but it was more filling and we sure enjoyed it a whole lot more too!

The CAFE IND (2.290813, 111.829294) is located along Laichee Lane, right behind one block of shops facing the main road (Jalan Kampung Nyabor) where the Bank Simpanan Nasional, Sibu branch (2.290561, 111.829071), is.