Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.

Friday, November 06, 2009

4 Years and Counting

I just realize, the last quarter of the year is like the best time for somebody to start a blog. What? You might ask. Well Tham Jiak, this dear blog of mine, has officially turned 4 years old, one week or so ago, on 27th October. Yes, it had been that long and the reason I said that it is like the time where people start blog is because I found some who are also celebrating their blog anniversary. How cool it is to celebrate together in the blogosphere with the famous llemongrass the queen of food blogs (and DSLR as I have heard) and Bangsar-babe the beauty queen (in all our hearts). It was them who reminded me of my overdue post to celebrate my dear blog's 4th year anniversary.


On reflections on this blog, it seem Tham Jiak has gently nudge itself from a baker who cooks and occasionally dines out to a full fledged diner who bakes occasionally and almost never cooks anymore. Am I happy about it? I guess it is just a phase of life, for I know I would always remember the joy of baking and cooking and someday would have the luxury again to indulge in these favourite activities of mine and stuffed my loved ones silly again. In the meantime, this tham jiak is contented in enjoying her eating adventures outside. Also for this year, one may have notice that tham jiak had came out of her closet and went out to meet the people behind those lovely blogs out there that she had diligently been following, and boy was she glad, as they have indeed added spice and colours to this tham jiak world of mine. Also I am starting to note that a large frequency of the posts are mainly invited reviews, yes I am happy to be able to come out and enjoy free meals who wouldn’t, but certainly the most enjoyable part is actually the companies, being able to eat among food enthusiasts and a what a bubbly bunch they are too.


There would be many more years for this Tham Jiak blog and I hope you would continue to join in the ride with me; it may not be as it always is but I sure do hope it will be an enjoyable one for everyone. For so far it has been an amazing ride for me!


Till then, happy eating!



Cuppacakes from Wondermilk, given to me by my best buddy L

Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Lamb Affair

Quite a while ago, I dined once at Dubrovnik, on a company’s dinner and did not quite enjoy myself with the food served. Either we had all ordered wrongly, or that night the Chef has an off day or they were still new just then, the food did not quite live up to the expectation, especially at the price it was offered in. Thereafter, I have not return to the restaurant again. Then one fine day, I got invited by Frat and Alice George Communication to have a food review at Dubrovnik. My eyes perk up, memory flashes back to my old encounter and then decided to forget that and goes for a fresh start. After all, everyone deserves a second chance. And true enough, this was a deserving one.


Before I head on to talk about the food, let me explain a little of what Dubrovnik is, it is the only Croatian restaurant in Malaysia, named after a city and brought to you by Chef Zoran who has since moved to Malaysia since 12 years ago. Chef Zoran takes pride in making his own pasta and bread and even have a wood fire oven in the kitchen! The restaurant boasts clean and simple design, with clear lighting and plain white and dark bluish grey theme.


So back to the food! At this round of food review, as later also explained by the Chef, is that they are trying to showcase lamb, and how it can be cooked in many ways while holding true to Croatian style of cooking. We are served lamb in many forms from bare baked lamb to lamb baked in cheese to even lamb burger. Are you feeling hungry already? But before that, let us start with some carbs to line the stomach first. We were served with two hand-made pastas in completely different form and sauces.



From left: Spaghetti Ala Buzara and Prawn Orzo


I simply love the Prawn Orzo, because of the pasta. “It is not rice-pasta, it is pasta shaped in form of rice” I keep hearing it from Dina, General Manager of Dubrovnik and daughter of Chef Zoran, as we unassuming bloggers keep saying “oh it is rice pasta” whenever one asks another what is it. Anyway, I digress, this dish is amazing. The pasta shaped like rice is slight chewy yet with bite in small forms, it was in fact a delight to eat and not to mention the sauce complements it really well along with lovely big fresh prawns. Ah, I wish to eat this again! Dina was asking whether it is alright to put this on the menu (it was a new creation), and all of us reply with a resounding ‘YES!’ The spaghetti ala Buzara was quite good as well with lashings of olive oil, garlic and parsley, just that the Prawn Orzo got the bigger limelight.



Anyway on to the real limelight of the night that is the lamb, the lamb and the lamb. Yes you heard me right, the lamb! First up was the Lamb Peka, where the lamb was present at its most naked glory. The lamb is seasoned with pepper and salt and some special Croatian spice mix call Vegeta (mentioned in the brief recipe provided to us) and then placed on top of potatoes, carrots and celery and then slowly baked in the wood fire oven covered by an iron bell. Just writing the recipe makes me want to eat it again, though I must say the lamb was slightly on the salty side, other than that it would have been great! Then onslaught to the next lamb, which is lamb buried in mounts of cheese and tomato sauce and baked till it is all soft and ready to melt in your mouth – Lamb Goulash.



And it was oh so good, actually my favourite lamb (yes, of ALL the lambs) of the night, soft, tender, smooth, with the lamb taste still very strong through the rich sauce! Though I do wish I had better companions to eat with this rich dish or maybe to have a bread to mop up all the saucy goodness. After that came the youngest, or rather cutest lamb of all that is the Lamb Burgers. I just can’t help but smile at the plateful of mini burgers huddle together on a plate.


Smile!


So cute but still we need to eat it right, and chomp it down I did. It was good burgers I say! Love the mini buns which were like home made style, and the lamb was flavourful and good (though after a while it was slightly too salty again) and with the surprise feta cheese in the middle was a good finishing touch to this miniature delight. After when all was devoured and we rest a while chit-chatting, Frat nudge me and whispered “Do you want to have another burger?” My eyes lifted and look at them beckoning at me, so I whispered back excitedly “Yes sure!” So he took one of the babies and passed to me, everyone asked “Whoa, how many you had?” I answered cheekily “Just one and a half”, as my first one I shared with Ruth because I was afraid there weren’t enough to pass around (ok, I admit I was not sure if it would be good and I want to save my tummy for the rest of the food, ahem) but since it was good and we have more than enough left, I have another again. Besides, Frat offered me.


From Left: Cream Spinach, Sautéed Mushrooms, Baked Potatoes with Cheese and Spices, Sautéed Spinach with more Mushrooms


Along with the lamb, lamb and lamb, we also have some side dishes to go along with it. All of them were alright, not screaming creation, and truly just as sidelines. Among all the best were the baked potatoes, mainly for the flavourful crunchy cheese bits on the top. Then finally before we end the meal, Chef Zoran came out to meet us in person, gave a little speech and then proceeds to showcase the preparation of a dessert for us – Crepe Suzette. Just then I thought of my colleague who not too long ago asked me (yes, he found out this that I was tham jiak) where to get good crepe suzette in Malaysia, and so I look on with interest to find out if the one here would be good. I love the idea that Chef Zoran lavishly pour in the liquors of Cointreau and Brandy. When he pours in the alcohol everyone holds their breath for the flambé and boy, was it fiery! Though at that time the preparation seemed really simple but indeed I can see that the crepe has been prepared beforehand and to know cooking each crepe perfectly would have been time consuming. I enjoyed my crepe suzette very much, partly thanks to the generous liquors but also for the fresh and strong zest of orange that were added. (yoohoo, colleague reader of mine, yes you can come here to answer your cravings for crepe suzette!)



Ending with a sweet note, overall individual dishes as it came, I would recommend you to try out the Prawn Orzo (if it gets onto the menu), all the lambs – Lamb Peka, Lamb Goulash and Lamb Burgers, and ask for some bread or something light to accompany, call some good wine or cocktails, and then end with a sweet note of Crepe Suzette. Lovely! So if ever you decide to splurge and to taste Croatian food, do give Dubrovnik a try.

Restaurant Dubrovnik

J-0G-14,
2 Jalan Solaris, Mont Kiara,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tues-Sun 11.30am - 11.30pm
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