Nong & Jimmy Thai Seafood BBQ @ Ampang – Shades of Its Glory Days?January 19, 2013 | 3,105 views
The famous Nong & Jimmy’s grilled crabs (RM60/kg; the two crabs weighed 1.2kg = RM72)
Okay, now don’t dismiss the thought that Motormouth ain’t coming back with a slurry of posts, leading to the festive month of Chinese New Year. A scary notion knowing that it’s less than a month away and I have yet to plan for my homecoming this year. Imagine the horror when I can’t make it back in time for the Reunion dinner!
But I shall refrain from babbling about CNY this early in the morning. The past week has been nothing but chaotic (in a somewhat positive way; peppered with slight melodramatic moments here and there) and I’m glad that Monday will be a brand new start! Fingers crossed, fingers crossed …
No more craps? Fine. Here’s a crabby story for you to munch on; the place almost everyone (KL-ites at least) has been to …..Nong & Jimmy Thai Seafood BBQ.
Now I remember about half a decade ago, we tried to search for this place in Ampang. Well, if you know Ampang; it’s a HUGE area that extends beyond a state actually. And then there’s Jalan Ampang which leads to KL city centre …
So happened that I was staying around Pandan Indah that time; and Nong & Jimmy was supposed to be a ‘stone’s throw away’ (too liberal use of that phrase actually), we ventured on without a map, GPS or any navigational assistance.
Then we got lost within the maze of neighbourhood alleys and non-existence signboards. And frustratingly settled for dinner in Ampang instead.
Fast forward to 2012; and TA-DA! Chauffeured by good old aunt who stays in the neighbourhood, we arrived at the doorsteps of the restaurant. Well, not exactly doorsteps though, since the entire premise was sheltered by overlapping zinc roofs (a maddening heat trapper; and that’s why they’re only operating for dinner all this while); and opens up to an open space carpark adjacent to the grounds and right beside the main road.
Come early would be my sole advice, and don’t don the tuxedos and long pants. If the heat doesn’t kill you, the fiery chillies would.
I wont’ go into details of how the restaurant was set up ages ago since this place has been blogged to death (another liberal use of a phrase; only when I am lazy to Google up the story). And it’s a Saturday morning + still nursing a hangover from the night before. So there.
Started off with their signature deep-fried dough fritters (mini ‘you tiao’ or ‘yau char kwai’) served with homemade pandan-infused kaya; a sweet condiment made up of coconut milk, eggs and perfumed by screwpine leaves extract. At RM7/USD2.30 per plate; this has to be the most premium platter of youtiao I have come across! The kaya was smooth, creamy and fragrant though the fritters lacked oomph. Not as greasy, but rather bland.
Then the onslaught of dishes arrived. Mind you; service is not exactly rapid here; dependent on how big the crowd is on that particular evening. We waited for slightly more than half hour, if I recall.
The Stir-fried Chili Clams with Basil Leaves (RM10/USD3.30) came first; and started off well. Don’t dismiss the tame, orange-y coloured gravy though. The fire kicked in after a few slurps of the succulent morsels. Fresh, sweet and paired off well by the spicy, sweet and savoury flavours.
Then the Steamed Fish (RM30/USD10) came in a gravy that appeared light but hinted of a spicy base with zest from the squeeze of lime juice. Although the fish was fresh and steamed to a right texture; the gravy lacked the oomph of some Kaengsom (Thai-style steamed fish) I have tried; in particular the Khuntai in Butterworth or the restaurant in Betong (though this needs extra planning).
The Dry yellow curry Squid (RM17/USD6) with basil and red chillies was a creamy mess of mild curry powder-laced gravy with eggs. We chose this over the other more popular choice of Grilled Squid as we were going to have the crabs done in similar manner anyway. The squid was good, though not exemplary for a stir-fried curry seafood dish. In this category; Bangkok Chinatown’s T&K Seafood trumps the competition with their delicious curry crabs. But then again … needs a passport and more effort than it seems.
I shall skip the Sweet Potato Leaves (RM10/USD3.30) which was horrible really. Very fibrous greens and hard stems leading to half of the portion to waste.
Then we were served last with the Grilled Crabs. A signature of Nong & Jimmy’s, and you’d do yourself harm (and shame) to miss this here!
Now, don’t have this mindset that the crabs here are done in an extravagant, pompous technique with crazy-load of condiments, spices and effort involved.
The grilled crabs here are well, grilled like they are. Only over charcoal fire and served with the deadly condiment of chili, vinegar, garlic, sugar and maybe fish sauce and a squeeze of lime. I could not remember the exact taste now (this being months ago), but the combustion of flavours packed into this small saucer plate was astonishing.
Yes the crabs were fresh; reasonably large and grilled to the right degree. But the winner was the sauce. And to be charging RM60/kg can be a little steep in my opinion. But then again …. tables after tables of diners come for the crabs alone. And that’s saying much about Nong & Jimmy’s crabs.
We paid about RM150/USD50 for a table of four, including drinks and rice. Not a small sum I’d say, especially when the dining environment was far from your elegant establishments or even pleasant enough for a family reunion dinner.
Yet, the charm lies in their grilled crabs, and some say Tom Yum Seafood (though we gave that a miss this time). No point to convert the hawker-like ambience to a full-fledged restaurant, in my most humble opinion. Though I need more convincing than the crabs alone to drive all the way from PJ for this.
What do you think?
Nong & Jimmy Thai Seafood BBQ (pork-free)
Lot 27363, Jalan Cahaya 1,
Taman Cahaya, Ampang,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Contact Numbers : 0342511807, 0192611345, 0122738069
GPS: 3.142669, 101.754727
(From KL and along Jalan Ampang, turn right at the traffic light after Ampang Point towards Kg Pandan. The stall is 1km down on the left near a block of flats.)
Business Hours: 6.00pm till 11.00pm (Closed On Mondays)
*info taken from the Facebook page.