Saturday, August 22, 2020

AUNTIE SIM KITCHEN LEVELS UP CLASSIC FAVOURITES WITH DISTINCTIVE DIFFERENCE

Claypot Braised Tilapia with Bittergourd. Dry-fried Hong Kong Yee Mee with Freshwater Prawns. Szechuan Style Salt & Pepper 3 Combo. Traditional Teochew Prawn Balls. These are but a handful of the recipes inherited from the Sim family’s grand matriarch, now showcased with pride at Auntie Sim Kitchen.

Never underestimate the enduring appeal of timeless dishes rustled up by a humble Teochew housewife with self-taught culinary skills. Luckily for food-loving enthusiasts, the grand matriarch’s revered recipes are no longer confined to a private kitchen but served for public enjoyment at the established restaurant in Damansara Uptown. 

The carefully curated menu also highlights distinctive Canto-Teochew specialities by a Hong Kong chef, enticing new and regular diners to return for more. Ambience-wise, the set-up is simple, modern and functional; large posters and ambient lighting evoke a no-frills albeit welcoming feel. Private dining rooms are available upstairs, with a similar pragmatic approach.

Brinjal, squid and fresh shimeiji mushroom form a harmonious trinity in the show-stopping Szechuan Style Salt & Pepper 3 Combo (RM25-small, RM35-medium, RM45-large). Sheathed in an airy, crisp batter, the fingerlings of brinjal, cross-cut squid and dainty fungi teasing our tastebuds with their diverse textures amidst palate-pleasing bursts of briny-peppery accents.

 

The delicate sweetness of minced prawns amps up the gastronomic experience; leaving us revelling in the delightful QQ texture of the Traditional Teochew Prawn Balls (RM35 for 10 pcs/portion) enveloped within an outer layer of crispy deep-fried beancurd skin. 

Imported dried pitaya flower from Hong Kong together with dried scallops, dried figs, top shell and pork are painstakingly double-boiled with mineral water for no less than 3 hours, resulting in the restaurant’s signature broth of Double Boiled Dried Pitaya Flower Soup with Top Shell Cubes (RM58 per pot for 4-6 persons).

According to the lady boss, Elaine Sim, the dried pitaya flower is a rare commodity; brought in specifically for her own resto use along with her own source of premium dried seafood from Hong Kong. Avid soup lovers will enjoy savouring the heartwarming, sweet broth – it’s a concentrated essence brimming with complex sweet-savouriness that satisfies one’s heart, soul and tummy.


Should you crave for more downhome fare, the Teochew Seafood & Tofu Broth (RM33-small, RM53-medium, RM73-large) is rib-sticking good. Thick, unctuous without being overly starchy, the humble albeit slurpilicious broth comes luxed up with squid, prawns and fish maw.

A dash of fragrant Chinese wine drizzled onto a piping hot claypot, to release the wine’s heady aroma heralds the arrival of Claypot Braised Tilapia with Bittergourd (from RM38 upwards) to our table. The appetising scent builds up our anticipation of the signature dish, making it a nice precursor to us savouring the actual speciality.

Scattered liberally with slivers of bittergourd and salty black beans, the fish garners plenty of plaudits around the table. We enjoy every mouthful of the flavourful fish; the attendant ingredients complementing its natural sweet taste. In stark contrast, the gentler nuances of Stir-fried Poh Choy (spinach) with Organic Mushrooms provide a welcome balance.


Sim also reveals lemongrass and wu sou gai (listed as prime chicken  a.k.a. naked neck chicken in the menu) make the eatery’s newly introduced Mun Cheong Chicken Rice (RM58++ ½ chicken, RM98++ whole chicken) stand apart from ubiquitous versions elsewhere. She emphasises the jealously guarded chicken rice recipe and the house made ginger and chilli sauces ensure the dish will gain favour with anyone seeking to nourish themselves with familiar comfort food.



We deem it a notable attempt: the tender chicken has a great bite to it and the rice richly flavoured, with the sauces giving the ensemble punchy robustness.

Sang har meen at Auntie Sim Kitchen also comes with an unexpected slant. Forget about the usual viscously eggy sauce as here, the Dry-fried Hong Kong Yee Mee with Freshwater Prawns (seasonal price, minimum 2 prawns) is presented gravy-less.

However, every strand of the toothsome noodles is thoroughly imbued with the inherent sweetness of freshwater prawns. Solid proof of the chef’s judicious braising skills, to ensure the noodles are soft enough to absorb the crustaceans’ sublime nuances yet retain the right doneness.


Simple, light and refreshing aptly describe the dessert of Ice Cold Thai King Coconut with Avocado (pre-order required, RM16 each). Tiny sago pearls lend some textural interest to the mildly sweet treat although the whole coconut the avocado puree is served in veers between young and tender or old and fleshy. In this case, Mother Nature calls the shots but a miss out of so many hits at Auntie Sim Kitchen means diners are still on a winning streak.


For reservations, please call Auntie Sim Kitchen, tel: 012-224 8206. Address: 24G, Jln SS 21/58, Damansara Uptown, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. https://www.facebook.com/pg/Auntiesimkitchen/

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