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Review: River Garden Restaurant

>> Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Date: 28 August 2010, Saturday
Venue: River Garden Restaurant, Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur
Occasion: Invited food review
Overall comment: Restaurant-style ("Dai Zhau Lau") Chinese food at a conducive environment in the city center. They have pretty good lunch & dinner promotions from time to time as well :)
Halal: No

I had a great time meeting a bunch of lovely foodies at the recent food review at River Garden Restaurant. Thanks to Jocel of FoodnTravella, I had the opportunity to formally review a Chinese restaurant for the 1st time! Yeah, all of my food reviews were previously at Western & Japanese food places only :P

Being a strictly PJ person, KL is like a foreign place to me & driving there can be quite a challenge...hahaha. I don't really know my roads & directions in the city centre & rely very much on the GPS/maps. Thankfully, River Garden Restaurant on Jalan Ipoh is quite easily located as it is located next to the Old Town Kopitiam, on the same side of the road as Dynasty Hotel.

River Garden Restaurant officially re-opened on the 8th June 2010 (after going through some renovations). This outlet is associated with the Mandarin Palace Restaurant at Federal Hotel, & serves a wide variety of Cantonese & Szechuan dishes. The restaurant offers rice, noodles, dim sum, & seafood of all sorts, appealing to people from all walks of life with various preferences. The restaurant is large enough for breakfasts/lunches/dinners, & even banquets!

We were warmly welcomed by the restaurant manager, Mr. Calvin Thi for the food review event, & were introduced to TEN of their famous/best-sellers. It was one full-fledged meal indeed!

I came across some other bloggers who have blogged about this restaurant & from what they've written about, the food (through the photos taken) looks good! I was quite excited to try out 10 of their best in 1 evening!

Other bloggers who have blogged about this place prior to the renovation:
Eat Drink KL
Careless Little Hamster

Here's introducing the dishes we reviewed that evening:

Bamboo Cup Soup
In each bamboo cup contains a block of meat consisting of dried scallops, minced pigeon meat, minced chicken, water chestnut bits, & course white pepper in superior soup. I personally found the meat too pepperish & has a strange taste/smell, but it's just my personal taste ;)

Steamed Green Kelah in Superior Sauce
Green Kelah is a type of expensive fresh water fish found mainly in East Malaysia. Garden River Restaurant gets their supply of this fish from Sabah & serves this fish steamed with its scales! Interesting presentation. The scales were said to be edible, but I found it too hard to chew & swallow. The fish has quite a lot of bones, but the meat is definitely "sweet". This fish served by this restaurant has a slight "mud smell", but if you're not too particular, it's actually not too bad.

Tong Bo Spare Ribs
Pretty tender pork ribs served with a slightly sweet thick sauce containing white cooking vinegar, rock sugar, some star anis, & other ingredients that we're not told of by the restaurant manager ;) It's very different from the "Tong Bo Pork" (very fat) that you'll usually find in restaurants. I reckon this dish is specially for those who are slightly more health-conscious, yet want a taste of "Tong Bo Pork".

Drunken Prawns
Tiger prawns cooked in Chinese cooking wine, wolfberries, ginger, & black fungus. 
We also found this soup slightly too pepperish for our liking. A suggestion for the chef: It would be better to have more wine/alcohol in this dish since it's served as "drunken prawns" and not just "prawns cooked in wine" :) Somehow the prawns could be "fresher" although these were still swimming in the tank...hmm...

Braised Home-Made Beancurd with Angle Loo Fah Gourd
This is basically white beancurd (the usual ones that you can find in the market) "braised" long enough 'til they start to dry up & turn "holey". Dried shrimps were tossed on top of the normally bland beancurd to give it an added fragrance. The gourd used to accompany the beancurd is locally known as "petola". It's quite an easily found vegetable & it's not an expensive veggie too, if I recall correctly :P I just fried this veggie with eggs a few weeks ago...

Buttered Mud Crabs with Curry Leaves
I must admit that I have been eating quite a lot of crabs lately! Just 2 days before this food review, I had steamed crabs + Marmite crabs at Soon Lee Restaurant, Seri Kembangan with some ex-colleagues. Then the day before this review, my dad cooked the family a whole kilo of mud crabs in sweet, sour, & spicy sauce. Wow, superbly high in cholesterol :S

The fried man tao that came with the crabs were of no complaints. You can't get fried buns wrong unless it's over-fried 'til charred! The Indonesian mud crabs that evening were somehow not as fresh as the ones my dad bought & cooked. Taste-wise was not too bad. It would be nicer if the sauce was more fragrant. Something's missing or lacking...but for once, I've no idea what it is!

Venus Scripts with Superior Soup & Ginger
Venus scripts are just the larger type of the local "lala". It tastes slightly different from the lala; sweeter & more juicy. This dish was once again slightly over-powered with white pepper & chili padi, making the dish too "pungent"/"chook" in Cantonese. It would have been better to just leave the superior soup & clams as it is with the ginger for a clear, simple, "original" dish :)

Fried Rice with Otak-Otak
I thought this dish was quite interesting. You'll rarely find such fried rice at Chinese restaurants, but River Garden serves a number of otak-otak dishes. I saw a Steamed Fish with Otak-Otak dish featured on their blogsite! Looks interesting. This fried rice could do with more flavour & certainly more otak-otak! I'm a fan of otak-otak Muar, so this couldn't make the mark just yet...much room for improvement ;) But keep up the good effort, chef!

Steamed Korean Pear with Fungus
Hmm...frankly speaking, it could do with a tad more rock sugar (coming from a foodie who orders all her drinks in "kurang manis" form). Throwing in some red dates may give it an added natural sweetness as well...just like how the Tong Sui stall at Section 17, PJ makes their tong sui...I thought those "street stall tong sui" rocks & beats restaurants!

Banana Pancake & Custard-Mango Rolls
The pancakes were by far the nicest to end the night's feast. The custard-mango rolls were not as appealing as the pancakes. They were quite good to the extend that we wanted more! Hahaha... 

Map to River Garden Restaurant

View PerutBesi in a larger map

On the overall, the 10 dishes reviewed were average. There were people saying that the food here was good, so I can't just judge River Garden Restaurant by this 1 visit. Perhaps it'll be good to try out their roast duck & pork...*salivates*

All the food bloggers with restaurant manager, Calvin Thi & chef Kong
p/s: Except Ken from Food POI, who was photographer

Believe it or not, some of us actually left the restaurant & headed over to our next makan-stop for bah kut teh! My new-found food blogger friends recommended that place & it sure rocks! Stay tuned with PerutBesi to find out more!

Other food bloggers who reviewed this place:
Jocel @ FoodnTravella

River Garden Restaurant

468-B2(B), Batu 3, Jalan Ipoh
51200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 40438868
Business Hours: 11:00a.m. - 10:00p.m. 
Blogsite: Click Here 

Presentation: * * *
Price: * * *
Environment: * * *
Taste: * * *
Service: * * *


 - Ruth


Sin Tai Lim September 8, 2010 at 1:54 PM  

This place is new to me, would love to try it out. thanks for sharing.

PerutBesi September 9, 2010 at 12:52 AM  

->Sin Tai Lim: Hey!! Long time no hear! Good to have u back again :D Hope u're doing great! It's not a "new" place, but a newly renovated place :) Try out their roast duck/pork & let me know if it's any good :D

FOODnTRAVELla September 10, 2010 at 8:14 AM  

The Steamed Ikan Kelah was the star of the nite!

PerutBesi September 13, 2010 at 12:12 AM  

->FOODnTRAVELla: Jocel! Yup yup :) But somehow the impact of the fish wasn't enough to give the dinner a "wow" factor la :P

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