Restaurant, Reviews

[34/365] A Review: Al-Fatah

Serving ‘authentic Arabian cuisine’, Al-Fatah has several chains across Selangor and KL, with this one in TTDI Grove, Kajang, apparently being their latest. According to the flyer we found in our mail, they also do deliveries which is great if you’re peckish for some wholesome Kabsah lamb with rice but too lazy to go out yourself.

This flyer is a LOT more detailed than their actual menu.

The first thing you see when you reach the restaurant is a table set up with hookahs and cases of flavouring – evidently one cannot offer an authentic Arabian dining experience without hookahs, so the outside seating area is for customers partial to that.

If you’re a smoking fan, you’re in for a treat, one supposes.

The interior is a little bare, with almost all the furniture from IKEA – it’s amazing how I can practically tell the table is from IKEA just by its scent alone – and lightbulbs strung from the ceiling. It’s probably the whole hipster concept that’s real hot lately, although there’s nothing remotely warm about the restaurant – bring a jacket if you can, because the air-conditioning is cold enough to freeze over hell.

Brick walls, bare lightbulbs – the industrial hipster feel is strong with this one.

The food is standard Arabian cuisine fare, with appetizers, lamb and chicken dishes either with rice or bread, pizzas, and other such things one would expect to find in an Arabian restaurant. The dessert is a little lacking, although I suppose no one comes to a restaurant like this looking for baklavas. I ordered a Beef Tikka with bread and some hummus to go with it, because I love hummus and can’t be bothered to make them myself at home. The menu said they had Vimto, which is a thing I dearly love, but apparently they didn’t have any today so I settled for a can of Sprite instead.

My fridge was stocked full with these back then.
Beef Tikka w/bread and hummus also w/bread
I almost mistook this for rendang.

The Beef Tikka was succulent and flavourful, but the garlic yoghurt that came with it could use a little more garlic – it was a tad underwhelming. The tomato garnish? sauce? thing that also came with the Beef Tikka was spicy as hell, which was a bit of a surprise since it’s not often I find super spicy condiments in Arabian restaurants. The hummus was a little on the dry side and could’ve used more olive oil, and there was a slight bitter aftertaste that I was not very fond of. For RM7, you might as well go for Nando’s hummus with warm and fluffy pita bread at RM10.90.

The bread that came with the Beef Tikka and hummus were cold. They weren’t even fluffy – just the cheap, thin kind of flatbread you find at supermarkets. I probably wouldn’t have minded since I had to eat four slices of those and if they were even the slightest bit on the fluffy side I would’ve gorged myself into a food coma, but the fact that they were ice cold was a real downer. The least they could’ve done was throw the bread on a pan to warm it up or something, but no the bread was colder than the atmosphere at a dinner table where two exes have to sit next to each other and attempt to be civil but end up bringing up all the missed anniversaries and forgotten I-love-yous that led to the breakup.

I have an odd sense for metaphors.

It didn’t help that the air-conditioning, as mentioned previously, had the entire restaurant freezing. Anything piping hot delivered to the table ended up cold and unappetizing in mere minutes. Service was also rather slow – I wagered we waited almost twenty minutes for our food.

My dad’s Lamb Kebab w/rice.

The Lamb Kebab was passable, with the lamb fresh and flavoursome, but the portion was a little lacking compared to other Arab restaurants we’ve been to in the past. Usually they come in portions so huge you’d have to share with a friend if you didn’t have much of an appetite, but here it’s just nice and manageable for one person. My mum, who’s the pickiest eater I know, finished her entire plate and for her that’s either a goddamn miracle or the serving portion was really tiny. She had a Lamb Kabsah, which was okay by her standards, but I could tell the serving portion bugged her somewhat, especially given the price.

Having said that, Al-Fatah is a passable restaurant with decent food for a decent price, but pick your menu wisely or you may end up with an unpleasant dining experience. Dress warmly and eat as fast you can, too.

5/10 would go ehhh if you ask me to recommend.

Al-Fatah Restaurant, No. 62A, Jalan TTDI Grove, Kajang, Selangor

Facebook: alfatahrestaurant

Restaurant, Reviews

[7/365] A Review: Ben’s

Right, so I was about to write a post on the Korean entertainment industry (and in the process get all salty about how my faves aren’t being treated right because I am the softest stan you’ll ever know) but I went out for lunch with my best friend earlier today and I wanted to talk about it! Danni and I go way back, we’ve been cursed together since high school and it’s been a long time since we met up, so today was a long time coming.

On a whim, we headed to KLCC and decided to try out this place called Ben’s – Danni’s been around it a lot and I’ve never been, so might as well! It’s got a nice vibe to it, almost like Plan b. over in Mid Valley (which is no surprise, since they’re from the same company. Plan b. is also quite a nice place, will do a throwback post on it some time soon!) – almost hipster-ish with its steel chairs and tiny tables and free lemon water.

The menu was nothing out of the ordinary – your normal selection of salads, sandwiches, pasta, burgers, Asian cuisine (laksa and pho were several that caught my eye) and standard Western fare (steak, beef stew, fish and chips, et cetera). Danni ordered a Hearty Wagyu Beef Steak with strawberry milkshake, while I got a Classic Carbonara Spaghetti with cafe latte.

Contemplating life and beef stews

Apparently the stew, according to Danni, did not taste like stew. Tasted more like bolognese sauce, rather, but considering the menu did say Hearty Wagyu Beef Stew in tomato and beef jus (and given the fact that most beef stew recipes I’ve tried out do in fact use enough tomato paste and/or sauce to rival the most tomato-ey pasta sauce in existence), I’d say that’s not really surprising. The beef was tender as all hell though, I’ll give them that at least. The strawberries in the milkshake were sour, but at least there was an actual fruit in the milkshake, which is more than what I can say for some restaurants I’ve been to.

Ignore my powerbank over yonder

My Classic Carbonara Spaghetti, on the other hand, was absolutely delectable: creamy and cheesy with beef slices and bits of turkey bacon. Needed a little pepper, although that might have just been my personal preference. The cafe latte too was pleasantly flavoured – I’m the kind of person who believes that a little sweetness is needed to bring out the very complex and subtly nuanced taste of coffee, so I added some sugar and it was just nice. Nothing too amazing, but pleasant all the same.

All in all, given the mixed reaction we both had over the course of the lunch, I’m of a fair mind to recommend Ben’s if you are: a) in possession of ample cash you will not regret spending (main courses range from RM30 to RM78, and the service charge makes it all worse); and b) of an adventurous nature. Seems it could be a hit and miss, depending on your order, and I certainly seemed to have the better luck today.

From my experience alone, 7.5/10 would recommend.

Ben’s, Lot 140, 1st Floor, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur