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Ryo Zan Tei in Berjaya Hills

Sunday, January 28, 2007
Berjaya Hills (formerly known as Bukit Tinggi Resort) is just 40 minutes' drive from Kuala Lumpur and 10km off the East-West Karak Highway. Berjaya Hills covers 16,000 acres of rugged hills and mountains crowned with lush tropical rainforests.

Stepping through a rustic gateway and a winding Japanese footpath leads you through a beautiful garden to a waterfall, over a bridge spanning a Koi pond and up to a Japanese Tea House. Further down the path, you will come across Ryo Zan Tei Japanese Restaurant. At 2,700 - 3,500 feet above sea level, the air is cool, fresh and rejuvenating. The only Japanese restaurant in Malaysia that is located in the midst of a tropical rainforest high up in the hills of the Main Range.

My last visit to Berjaya Hills was on New Years Eve and not surprisingly, the place was crowded. As we hiked along the Japanese Garden, we arrived at Ryo Zan Tei slightly early and the place was pretty quiet. But within 30 minutes, which is around lunch time .. the place was already swarmed with people.

We placed our orders and waited patiently for our food to arrive although the tummy is already growling. But sitting there in the restaurant that is surrounded by the cool jungle really makes your feel peaceful and relaxing. Sounds of chirping bird and buzzing insects adds to the natural 'feel'.

Tori Teriyaki Set (RM30.00)

Finally our food arrived, the first being the Tori Teriyaki Set which is Grill Chicken with sauce. The set comes with Miso Soup, pickles, salad and Chawan Mushi (Steamed Egg Custard). The tender pieces of chicken cooked with teriyaki sauce was pretty good since I cleaned off my plate within minutes !

Unagi Set (RM45.00)

The next item on the list is the Unagi Set. Grilled unagi is a delicacy in Japan, popular not only for its flavor but also for its stamina-giving properties. The ingredients in the sweet basting sauce are important to the final taste of the unagi, and different restaurants have their own secret recipes. As for Ryo Zan Tei, the Unagi set was favorably rich with an appetizing texture, crisp on the outside but tender on the inside. It takes an experienced chef with the right cooking process to really make the eel both crisp and tender. And of course, lightly sprinkle your unagi (or dojo) with sansho, a powdered aromatic Japanese pepper for added taste.

Saba Shioyaki Set (RM35.00)

Saba shioyaki or grilled mackerel is the most commonly ordered dish in a Japanese restaurant. Slow grilled to perfection, the flesh of the mackerel is thoroughly cooked yet retains the juiciness from the fat. The skin of the fish is intact, brown to a crisp yet not burnt. Doused it with a squeeze of lemon to cut the oiliness, a complete meal with japanese sushi rice.

Contact Details
RYO ZAN TEI Japanese Restaurant
Japanese Tea House
Berjaya Hills Resort

OVERALL RATINGs : * * * (Good food, but weighed down by lousy service)
Environment Ratings : * * * * (High score for nature 'feel')
Food Ratings : * * * * (Surprisingly good)
Service Ratings : * (Poor fellows working in the jungle, no motivation?)
Value Ratings : * * (Quite pricey)

Operation Details
Average Price : RM30 & above
Business Hrs :
Accepted Cards: major credit cards accepted

Miscellaneous Details
Halal : Yes
Dining Method : Dine in - who would wanna go all the way to Bukit Tinggi to 'tar pau' ?
Food/Cuisine : Japanese a la carte and set
Ambience/Features : Japanese setup wannabe with nature surround
Reservations : No

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Wendy's Bistro @ Sunway

Thursday, January 25, 2007
I am finally back after taking a looooooooonnng break. Nah ... it's just my excuse to get away for being lazy to logon to the computer. After all, I am behind the console 8 hours a day .. anymore than that, I'll go cuckoo.

But what the heck, as someone wise once said .... The Show Must Go On ... so here it is.

Another new venue that I've tried recently... although I don't believe I am the first to feature them, and rest assured .. I won't be the last too. The mentioned place Wendy's Bistro is located somewhere near Sunway Mentari. It's not hard to find at all, once you turn into Sunway Mentari, you'll spot the outlet almost immediately.

So, what's so special about this 'Bistro' ... ? Cafe's ... bistro's ... they're a 'dozen-a-dime' especially in Subang/Sunway area but one which serves non-halal food, now that's something to 'chew on'.

With a tag line that reads "Where People With Good Taste Meet" ... one would really like to find out more about this place. Wendy's is pretty well decorated ...black and white tiles form part of the interior, lending contrast to the tall, imposing wooden-framed glass door. Jefri Cheong, the chef in Wendy's works in an open concept kitchen. The kitchen occupies a small corner filled with all the required utensils for him to create his masterpieces.

Although Wendy's has a variety of dishes in their menu, Jefri's specialties are from the pork menu. Pork belly, pork chop, pork rib and even pork sausages are served to satisfy the craves of porky fans out there ... only regret is they don't serve Bah Kut Teh, that would complete the collection.

Now, back to our meal ... we decided on our food, ordering as many varieties as possible. Finally, after some hard-thinking (the food looks delicious from the menu) we decided on our meal.

Grilled Portabello Mushroom

The first order served is the Grilled Portabello Mushroom with garlic butter and melted cheese. I heard it's one of Wendy's favourite .. but unfortunately I am not really into mushrooms and definitely not cheese ... by the way, there is also another option for the Portabello - that's with bacon bits and melted cheese.

A little something about the The Portabello mushroom (sometimes Portobella) ... It's a large brown strain of the same fungus, left to mature and take on a broader, more open shape before picking. Portobello mushrooms are distinguished by their large size, thick cap and stem, and a distinctive musky smell. Because of their size and the thickness of their fleshy caps, these mushrooms can be cooked in a range of different ways, including grilling and frying.

Next on the menu list that is served is the Grilled Streaky Bacon. This consists of 5 pieces of well-grilled Streaky Bacon served with mashed potatoes. A little on the dry side, but otherwise .. it's a beautifully crafted dish.

Grilled Pork Chop

Chef Jefri prepares his Grilled Pork Chop the traditional way, with pepper rub and salt and served with either Apple or Creamy Black Pepper sauce.

My favorite is the Grilled Pork Belly, this is marinated with Maripur sauce, a sweet sauce made from a mixture of onion, tomato and garlic that gave the meat it's savoury appeal. And this is served with side salad, mashed potato and harissa chili.

Grilled Pork Belly

A little bit of heads up though ... there's a little bit of fatty on the meat, but remove the fat bits and you can still enjoy the juicy and tender taste of this dish. Trust me, don't skip this item ....

Generally, I would summarize this article to 2 words. MUST TRY. After all, how often do you find a place that serves pork ... with style?

And here's my review ...

Contact Details
20 Jalan PJS8/18,
Dataran Sunway Mentari, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-5630 1699

OVERALL RATINGs : * * * * (Decent value, good food, nice ambience. What more?)
Environment Ratings : * * * * (Classy, I like the open-kitchen concept)
Food Ratings : * * * (Some dishes do really score high)
Service Ratings : * * * * (Chef Jefri does good PR job)
Value Ratings : * * * * (Decently priced)

Operation Details
Average Price : Ranging between RM20 - RM40
Business Hrs : Daily 11am - 11pm
Accepted Cards: All major credit cards

Miscellaneous Details
Halal : NO ! Porky, porky.
Dining Method : Dine-In . Takeaway
Food/Cuisine : Grilled Pork Belly (must-try), Portabello Mushroom (good stuff)
Ambience/Features : Stylish
Reservations : Yes

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I'm Timothy From Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
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