What could be better…

My girl wanted to drop by here…

C & C Gallery

…for dinner that evening as she wanted the beef bacon carbonara (RM15.90)…

Beef bacon carbonara

…that her friend was having the last time she was here.

This place started off as a bakery at the chicken rice place round the corner and it eventually moved here. Soon, they started a section serving coffee to go with their bread, buns and cakes and not long after, I heard they had gone into serving food as well. I’ve been to the bakery a few times and my missus too and we’ve tried some of the things they sell. Some were pretty good but so far, I have not come across anything that would get me rushing back for more.

It was a nice place, not one of those pretentiously classy ones and I liked how it was bright enough for me to take decently good snapshots without having to struggle in the dark. The music was way too loud initially and I did not care for what was on their playlist either. Thankfully, they turned the volume down after a while and at one point, the members of the staff themselves were rather noisy but they too piped down eventually.

We went early and got there at around 5.15 p.m. and they duly informed us that the kitchen would only be open at 5.30. That was all right, we said, we would just wait.

In the meantime, I was rather put off by this…

Takeaway box RM0.30

As far as I know, some coffee shop stalls in town do charge for the takeaway boxes and I heard they cost 50 sen each, those flimsy cardboard ones, but at the high prices that they charge here, surely they can absorb the 30 sen instead of adding insult to injury. I am quite sure nobody would order something from here to take away but some small eaters may not finish what they have ordered and would like the leftovers packed for them to take home. Perhaps they do not encourage that here, I wouldn’t know.

We were given an order sheet to tick or to write after which we had to go to the cashier at the counter to pay. Even at those cheap coffee shops, we would be served all the way and there would not be any need for us to go through all that hassle. What was worse was the fact that they do not accept credit cards and I was so pissed off by that. “At those prices you charge, surely you do not expect people to bring that much cash and walk around with it all the time, do you?” I told the cashier to which she diplomatically replied, “You will have to talk to the boss.” End of story.

My missus had their seafood aglio olio (RM20.90)…

Seafood aglio olio

…which was very good, much nicer than my girl’s carbonara – one can only eat so much of the latter before one gets jelak. It was a bit too rich and creamy and unfortunately, the wild creamy mushroom soup (RM8.90)…

Mushroom soup

…that we also ordered was not in any way what its name claims it to be. It was so diluted, very watery, not rich and creamy at all. That is one thing here we would never want to order again…and I wonder what was so “wild” about the mushrooms used. I could detect the shitake in it, not much else.

The potato salad  (RM8.90)…

Potato salad

…was good except that there wasn’t much of it below all that beef bacon and the sprinkling of bottled parmesan cheese.

My order took a long time coming and those customers around us who came a lot later were getting theirs already so I called one of the girls to ask. She was not conversant in English so she quickly roped in the cashier to come to her rescue and the latter said yes, mine would take a little bit longer so I just sat and waited and finally it came – my grilled New Zealand lamb shoulder (RM24.90)…

Lamb shoulder

…which was all right just that I thought it could be grilled a little bit longer for the lovely charred fragrance plus it was so tough that I gave up wrestling with it using the knife and fork and picked up the pieces with my hands to tear the meat off the bone with my teeth. Thankfully, they were all still intact after all that, my teeth, that is!

I wasn’t all that impressed by the barbecue sauce that came with the dish either. Lamb would go so well with mint sauce or like at one place here, the very nice mint vinaigrette.

All in all, inclusive of our drinks, the total came up to RM102.10 and no, I did not leave a tip, not even the 90 sen change – that will be THREE takeaway boxes, mind you! My girl would probably drop by again to hang out with her friends – as for me, unless they work on it to become much better at what they are doing, I think I would be much happier going elsewhere.

C & C GALLERY is located at Lot 62 at the extreme end of the block of shops to the right of Delta Mall, back entrance.

Party…

The nurses in the ward where my missus was attached to before she retired were having their annual party here on Thursday night and some fellow-retirees asked her to join, open to families as well but of course, it was not free – RM40.00 per head. My girl was keen and she insisted that I joined too so there we were, the three of us at the party.

We went earlier lest we could not find a place to park the car and had to walk a long way to the venue but I sure did not have a problem – lots of vacant spaces all around but obviously, most did not feel the need to do the same and a lot of them showed up rather late.

In the meantime, somebody brought this pulut kuning (yellow glutinous rice)…

Pulut kuning

…to share and this cheese cake with chocolate, fresh strawberries and kiwi fruit on top…

Cheese cake

…so we were not all that hungry and did not mind the wait.

When most everybody had arrived, the food was served and we had this…

The Five Seasons

…something like what we call “the dome” at Malay banquets where all the food would be served at one go.

I was thinking to myself that if that was all we were going to get, I would have to go across the road to the burger stall opposite for something more filling. Fortunately, that was supposed to be The Four Seasons, the first dish at Chinese banquets, except that there were five and it was served in a compartmentalised plate, not a flat one.

Rice was served by the side and we had a very nice soup around that same time, something like sharks’ fins minus the offensive stuff and no, I did not spot any sea cucumber nor fish lips in  it either.

This sweet and sour fish…

Sweet & sour fish

…came next and yes, I loved it – it was very nicely done, I must say but the steamed chicken…

Steamed chicken

…was just steamed chicken, no ginseng or any of those so I thought it could have been better.

The mixed vegetable dish…

Mixed vegetables

…followed and these lovely creamy prawns…

Prawns

…came last before the pudding and watermelon…

Dessert

…were served for dessert.

I had not had a sit-down dinner here for a long while – usually, we had their buffet so I asked the waitress, my ex-Kanowit student, who has been working here for as long as I can remember. Working here must be very good as I’ve noticed that the staff members here stick around till like…forever! I was quite surprised when she told me that the cost per table that night was RM371.00 only. I told her that at most hotels and restaurants, for around RM800-1K, more often than not, the food is quite disappointing or at best, quite ordinary…and she told me to just wait and see.

Needless to say, I was VERY impressed – that was so very good for less than RM400 and of course, if you would like to handpick the dishes that you like, you may need to fork out a bit more. I wouldn’t want to miss their daging masak hitam, for instance, that many feel is the best in town.

Everyone sure had a lot of fun that night, partying away with all the singing and dancing – those ladies sure deserved the break from their daily routine at the hospital. Personally, I feel that when you’re working with sick and depressed people all the time, it can’t possibly be something one would enjoy.

LI HUA HOTEL RESTAURANT (2.284477, 111.8316940) is located on the 1st floor of the hotel at the T-junction of Lorong Lanang 2 and Jalan Maju.

What she likes…

My girl likes Japanese food a lot, that’s for sure, so of course, she was delighted when I suggested dropping by here for lunch that day. I think the last time we were here was in June, the day she had left her school in the jungle. She did come here with her mum though, on one of those days last month when I was in Kuching and in the meantime, we did drop by the other Japanese franchise in town, here and here.

The mum did not want to order anything from the à la carte menu and was quite happy to just pick the plates with her favourite sushi from the carousel. Personally, I think the ones here are nicer than at the other place and there is a very much wider variety to choose from too.

I did not take snapshots of all that we had, just this one with the raw salmon…

Sushi Mentai salmon

…and this one with the prawn…

Sushi Mentai prawn

I liked this one…

Sushi Mentai egg & bean curd skin

…a lot – I think there was a layer of egg and bean curd skin on top.

My girl wanted the takoyaki

Sushi Mentai takoyaki

…and she had that all to herself and also her pick from the menu, the unagi don (RM20.40)…

Sushi Mentai unagi don

…that came with a complimentary bowl of miso soup.

I ordered the sashimi salad (RM10.20)…

Sushi Mentai sashimi salad

…to share and it came in a HUGE bowl with the kewpie salad dressing to go with it.

I also asked for their chuka idako (RM4.90)…

Sushi Mentai chuka idako

…RM6.00 at the other franchise place and for myself, I had the salmon teriyaki don (RM15.20)…

Sushi Mentai salmon teriyaki don

…and of course, I did give a bit of the salmon to my girl – she likes the fish very much too, alongside the unagi and yes, I did get the miso soup too!

The bill came up to RM90.15, inclusive of  a jug of genmaicha/green tea (RM3.00), RM77.70 actually if we do not include the 6% SST and the 10% service charge but I would say that I was pleasantly surprised as we did have quite a lot and I was expecting the total to go over a hundred. Well, everybody tells me that this franchise is cheaper than all the rest…and the best part, of course, is I do enjoy what they dish out here compared to the rest that we have in town.

SUSHI MENTAI, Sibu (2.303279, 111.843161) is located at Wisma Sri Minyak, Lot 3065, S/L4, No. 23&25, Ground Floor, Pedada Lane 7 (Now Jalan Dr. Wong Soon Kai).

Why don’t we go there…

Last Friday, over the long Deepavali weekend, we were out and about doing this and that. Despite the fact that it is not a public holiday here, the schools were given that day and also the following Monday off. It was already around 1.00 p.m. when we were through and started thinking of going some place for lunch.

My girl suggested going for the fish fillet…

Ruby fish fillet with mayo

here. We had not had that for a very long time as being bread crumb-coated, we could not order that during those days when my girl was staying off anything that was not gluten-free. Yes, that was very nice and my girl sure enjoyed it. I only had a slice and the mum probably had one too and she had all the rest!

We wanted tofu but we did not want it deep-fried served with mayo, just like the fish fillet, and we did not want their sizzling plate version as the bean curd would usually be buried under a lot of minced meat and it was our no-meat Friday.

In the discussion, I thought the boss said something about mixed vegetables and they could leave out the meat and I was expecting a dish of tofu served with that. However, what came out of the kitchen in the end was just a plate of mixed vegetables…

Ruby mixed vegetables

…no tofu. Thankfully, it was very nice and a welcome change from the usual vegetable dishes that we would order at such places.

My girl wanted one of our usual, the butter scotch prawn balls…

Ruby butter scotch prawn balls

…and needless to say, it was very nice, as always.

We also ordered their cangkok manis or mani chai fried with egg but it never came. When we asked the boss, he said he did not hear me asking for that so it was not in our list of orders. We were almost done by then and was already quite full so we just cancelled the order.

The total for the food came up to only RM41.00 – I must say that this is one of the places in town where the food is nice and very reasonably priced and it sure comes as no surprise at all that there are always quite a lot of people everytime we drop by.

RUBY RESTAURANT  is located at No. 71, Jalan Kampung Nyabor right next to HOME COOK CORNER  (2.292756, 111.825335) with the AmBank Tunku Osman branch in the very next block.

Enough to go round…

We decided to go out for dinner one Sunday evening and since we had not been here for quite a while, not since January, if I am not mistaken, I suggested that we went there and of course, my girl jumped at the idea.

This was my late father’s favourite restaurant and their lemon chicken…

Y2K Cafe lemon chicken

…is my girl’s favourite – the best in town, she will insist. She went out for lunch at some Malay restaurant in town with her colleagues once and she said that everyone commented on the small serving of the lemon chicken there but when all of them had tried a bit, they left all the rest on the plate untouched – it was that bad! I guess this one that we had that night more than made up for the disappointment and as a matter of fact, she had most of it that night.

I also ordered another one of her favourites here – their sweet and sour fish fillet…

Y2K Cafe sweet and sour fish fillet

Personally, I prefer this to the lemon chicken but generally, both were good. I guess that was dory but I liked how they sliced it so very thinly and had the slices pre-fried till very nice and crispy and the sauce was, in my opinion, a cut above the rest elsewhere.

We had their tofu with salted vegetable soup…

Y2K Cafe tofu salted vegetable soup

…before and we all enjoyed it so that night, we had it again.

We never had their kangkong (water spinach) fried with belacan (dried prawn paste)…

Y2K kangkong belacan

…before so we asked for that for a change. It turned out to be really very nice – we sure would want to order that again the next time around.

No, dinner was not cheap, RM56.00 altogether for the food for the 3 of us – this place is not known for being cheap unlike the restaurant next door which is forever packed and noisy.

However, for one thing, I did not ask for smaller servings that night and there was more than enough to go round, enough for 5, I would say, except for the soup, just nice for 4 individual bowls but if everyone gets a little less, there is every possibility that it could be stretched to 5. Anyway, I do not mind forking out a bit more to be able to dine in comfort plus in comparison, we do like the food here a lot more.

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

Indulgence…

When we were here for lunch that day, I felt like having cake so I had a look at their menu. Well, it wasn’t in their regular menu, just one laminated A4-sized card with photographs of the four types of cakes available.

The so-called red moist cake with cheese whatever looked like red velvet and I wanted that but the lady said it was not available. In fact, all the cakes were not available which got me wondering as to why that card was placed with the menu and everything else on the table. Since they did not have any of those cakes, they might as well put them aside for the time being till fresh supplies arrived. Sometimes I really wonder at these people – no common sense whatsoever.

Anyway, I was glad that I did not get what I wanted as I had it before at their other outlet in town…

Cafe Cafe red velvet
*Archive photo*

…and we did not like it – moist would be the last word we would use to describe it. That was three years ago and I had forgotten all about it.

It was my good friend, Richard‘s birthday a few days later and he shared a photograph of himself and four different types of cakes that he had here…

Secret Recipe

…and lo and behold! One of them was a red velvet!!!

Of course, I simply had to drop by and get myself a slice(RM11.21)…

Secret Recipe red velvet

…and yes, it was so good…but of course, at that price, I do not think I will be going back there for more all that soon. Perhaps I shall wait till my birthday and I can go and order one whole cake to indulge to my heart’s content.

And talking about being indulgent, my girl, for reasons unknown, kept mentioning her favourite here, their Chocolate Indulgence but when I asked if she wanted to drop by for that, she said no. Of course, since I was there already, I bought her a slice (RM9.01) and one of their white chocolate macadamia (RM9.01) for my missus and while I was there, I saw this…

Secret Recipe buy 3 1 free

Gee! That was on a Tuesday and if I had gone one day later, Wednesday, I would have been able to get another slice of cake on the house. Sigh!!!

SECRET RECIPE, town outlet (2.303270, 111.849253) is located along Jalan Pahlawan, round the corner from the Sibu Bus Terminal.

One and one…

I saw their post on Facebook – you buy one and you will get one free. I scrutinised the ad carefully and no, it did not state anywhere that the promo would only be on weekdays, not available on weekends. I commented on the post, asking them regarding this so as to confirm but unfortunately, just like that previous time, there was no reply – sometimes I really don’t understand these people. Why bother having a Facebook page when you do not bother about customers’ queries? That really puts me off, I must say!

Anyway, that Saturday, we dropped by their town branch and my worst fears were confirmed – it was available on weekdays only! Probably they have these promos for the sole purpose of luring the lunchtime crowd from the offices but since we were already there, we decided to just order something from their regular menu. I guess you can categorise us as “unsuspecting victims”, there because we were attracted by their BUY ONE, FREE ONE offer.

My girl had their lamb chop with mint vinaigrette sauce (RM26.00)…

Cafe Cafe lamb chop

…that we had before at their other outlet and liked very much.

The mum had their grilled chicken with homemade brown sauce (RM19.90)…

Cafe Cafe grilled chicken

…while I decided to try their Cantonese seafood yee mee (RM18.90)…

Cafe Cafe Cantonese seafood yee mee

The ladies enjoyed their orders and yes, my yee mee was nice too.

I gave some to my girl to try and yes, she liked it – she said she would want to order that the next time we drop by here. However, for that kind of price, I would expect a bit more than those slices of fish, Dory, obviously…and thankfully, it had the fish texture, not jelly-like and it did not have any unpleasant smell. There were some tiny shrimps, not many – in fact, there were so few that they were barely noticeable and no, there wasn’t any sotong (squid) even, so do not expect a mussel or two!

There was just one piece of the yee mee in that huge plate flooded with the gravy so if you think the serving was big and there was a lot to eat, take my word for it – it was merely an optical illusion.

Iced water was RM1.00 a glass and the total came up to RM68.70 and just as in our previous visit, they stamped on the cashier’s receipt our entitlement for a 20% discount on our next visit. We had that too when we were there last and I gave that to my girl but she never got to use it. I don’t know if we will ever get to use this one but I have that gut feeling that when the time comes, there will be some terms and conditions creeping out of the woodworks and we will not be able to claim that 20% in the end.

Incidentally, if you are going there for the promo, do be forewarned that when you order an item from the list, you are NOT going to get another one of the same free. There is a list by the side, not all that obvious, I must say, and you will have to pick one of the not-so-attractive items there.

CAFE CAFE, Sibu  (2.287387, 111.826487) is located somewhere in the middle of the block of shops along Jalan Chew Geok Lin – the Tua Pek Kong Temple and the Seven-storey Pagoda is to the left, across the road from the bank at the end of the block.