Breathing the Revolutionary Air @ Publika, Solaris DutamasNovember 3, 2011 | 37,003 views
“Come find me at Publika in Solaris Dutamas okay?”
And I was like … Huh? What Publika? A new business centre (again)? Another towering block of offices? Or another Empire wanna-be? (sans the horrific blast that left me Empire-less for more than a month now!)
A quick search around the web got me linked to a few reviews on Eat Food Village and B.I.G (Ben’s Independent Grocer), both anchor tenants of the relatively new shopping mall in Solaris Dutamas.
Exuding a youthful vibe and unorthodox flair perfect for yuppies, hippies and foodies. You can even imagine them organizing arts festivals, cultural events and the likes in this premise without people raising an eyebrow.
Read on to find out more about Publika; a playground for the creative minds ….
Chatime is the culprit in spreading this undying cravings for Taiwanese-style freshly brewed/roasted milk tea with bites of bouncy (QQ) pearls. They’re EVERYWHERE. (It was Halloween when we were there, hence the cobwebs and gory setting)
EAT FOOD VILLAGE – A quick glance will lead you to thinking that … wait, is this another Hutong @ Lot 10? (Here’s a post on Yeoh’s Bak Kut Teh @ Klang)
You must be wondering why have I never written a piece on Hutong, in spite of this passion for writing about street food.
The fact is, I have been there for a couple of times. Yes, the selection of famous hawker fares from all around the Klang Valley (plus a few modern/clashing elements like Kissaten, etc) seems to be magical on paper, yet the claustrophobic ambience with dodgy nooks and corners (coupled with an unmistakably bad ventilation system) did not leave a fine impression on me.
Okay, maybe they were trying to replicate the exact environment of a glutton street (‘wai sek kai’), but Hutong could do with more space and better lighting. Just personal observations.
BM Yam Rice; Bukit Mertajam in Penang is a place famous for the duck egg char kuey teow, and yam rice. This stall at Eat Food Village serves the classic yam rice without much frills, yet satisfying enough with various options of braised meats. I chose the braised pork set (RM9.90/USD3.20) that came with a side of braised egg and beancurd, a peppery soup lightly garnished with some coriander and of course, a luscious bowl of pork cuts braised in a dark, starchy gravy that brought to mind a very homely, comfort dish.
Hence, can’t blame me for having second thoughts about Eat Food Village @ Publika. Same concept, different execution. And thankfully, the food court was tastefully done; elements of old Shanghai and a bright dining area with comfortable spaces between the tables.
Of course, how could I have missed the chance to sample the famed Kin Kin Pan Mee. After all, they started this chili pan mee craze years ago back when they had only one outlet on Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. And there’s the endless rants on the amazing chili pan mee they serve, balanced with equally nasty posts about the quality of their service.
Personally, I have not visited the original outlet. But the second branch at Pandan Indah got me so disappointed. And that was my first chili pan mee experience. To the extent that I was doubting the positive feedback from various sources.
Of course, a stream of me-too’s ensued; the most prominent being Super Kitchen that I actually enjoy though there were times when the Chow Yang branch failed me. Yet, I found myself going for more “tormenting” sessions.
This one at Publika? Still failed me. Though relatively better than the branch at Pandan Indah. The poached egg was okay, yet a little too cooked rendering the experience more of a lumpy, sticky affair rather than a moist, lubricated one. (Wait, I couldn’t have sounded more obscene.). The plate of chili flakes (THE measuring stick for good chili pan mee) was about 2-3 teaspoons-full. Probably not enough for daredevils/masochists seeking for a scorching experience, but the portion was just right for me.
There was this Sentul Hokkien Mee stall that was doing brisk business and received accolades from my friend who works at Publika. The Lorong Seratus Tahun curry mee and Loke Yun Ampang chicken rice stalls were receiving cold shoulders, surprisingly. The wantan mee stall (sorry forgot the name) was comparatively successful too; the noodles retaining the much-desired crunch and tossed in a savoury sauce.
And of course, what better way to douse the fire (or maybe, lack thereof) from the chili pan mee than a refreshing cup of Chatime‘s signature? The QQ Milk Tea had coconut jelly (nata de coco) and the omnipresent pearls (tapioca balls). At RM4.90 per cup, fire extinguishers don’t come cheaper than this.
Still seeking for more caffeine intoxication, we ventured over to Our Daily Bread next to I Love Yoo! on the same floor as Eat Food Village, but outside of the food court.
They serve Illy coffee, with a myriad of freshly-baked pastries and cakes. A corner tucked hidden away from general view, we walked past this a few times yet Our Daily Bread did not catch our attention.
The Belgian chocolate lifted the unassuming piece of pastry to a different level, while the cupcake was a far cry from being the best that I have tasted. Since the proprietors are Malaccans, you should probably give their homemade kaya a try (not extra smooth and artificial, but with a coarse texture yet redolent with flavours … so they claimed).
Oh, and they make Whoopie Pies on certain days. So it’s best to call up and reserve this rarely found specialty.
Our Daily Bread @ UG1 – 55 (Tel No : +6017-883 4438)
Ben’s Independent Grocer stocks up on various fresh produce (even hydroponic plants ready for harvesting!), and imported goods. There’s a cafe/bistro that attracts a steady stream of patrons … so overwhelming that you have to line up to grab a seat!