Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nyonya Breeze @ Abu Siti Lane

First of all,when you walk in,you might wonder if you had just walked into a Nyonya joint or a Taiwanese/Hakka/Beijing Peasant diner.
While the service is top notch,the thing that will set your alarm bells going is...
"Why is almost every diner spouting a foreign accent?".
Die already.
Too late to back out.
You flit through the menu and have a hard time ordering because there are many dishes that are only sold on certain days only.
Tut tut so many rules and regulations like I were ordering dishes from a Nunnery.

Whip out the godamn iphone and do a quick search.
Mostly good things to say,until I come across the group of bloggers that came here for "INVITED REVIEW"
See liau lar.....

Anyway my chum has started ordering and once we finish,we start engaging in the most popular activity while waiting,which is to look around the sparsely decorated surrounds made up in such a way as if they were terrified of children messing up the place.
Read the many reviews plastered around the walls and jeng jeng jeng...I see a familiar face on one of the center columns again.
A cloud of gloom engulfs me completely.

After a few,the food comes.served by extremely polite male servers.

I can tell you that the owner should have stuck to her floral business or should plan a relocation exercise to KL like in the footsteps of Hot Wok.

Every dish feels experimental as though it has been cautiously made,not carefully made.
Even if one professes to Nyonya ties,they probably scorned their kitchen duties when they were young or were prohibited from entering the domain of their overtly protective amahs or harimau moms.
Churned out like one were to confide in a cookbook each time for confidence or like one were trying to earn another Girl Guide badge for cooking.

There is nothing that you can quite put your finger on and declare it as authentic Penang Nyonya....which explains the void of locals patronising it.
The dishes are NOT hot,NOT overtly spicy,NOT gonna make you drop dead from accelerated heartbeat,which also explains why its just so perfect for foreigners and the chinese diaspora.
You won't pant for much water here,there's simply no excitement,no food orgasm.

Though I do like her gulai tumis that feels strangely Malaccan,I want to say that she is a complete failure at the watery gulais especially those that involve fish.
Big zero for skill.
Almost all her gulais have some pineapple juice in it.
Boy does she love pineapples.
However reliance on this ingredient does not mask fishiness.
Spices do that,but here they use such a thin layer for fear of upsetting the uninitiated that by employing this prickly fruit it amplifies refrigerated specimens staleness to the core.

Ever watchful of other diners,I notice a gaggle of geeses fishing out their main watery gulai draw,the centrepiece of the occasion.
They each attempt a sip,and crinkled up their noses.
We followed suit.Nose wise that is.
Not a masterpiece in the least.I think I can find better from a morning wetmarket.
The colour is not only,not right,it is so bloody sour,it could turn your nipples turgid in an instant.
Wayyyyy too sour.

Same goes for the kerabu.The sheer sourness is not delightful.Instead it becomes a pain to finish.

Her sambal goreng veges are not pungent in the least.Sigh.No zing.
Heck where is the belacan in it?Did it melt or vanish into thin air?I can't even taste it.
Which Nyonya worth her salt uses this little belacan?
Vegetables are undercooked to maintain crunchiness,and not finely cut.
It may look perfectly alright to you,but the mark of a real Nyonya lies in the finesse of the cut.
Again she flunks in this department.

Penang Nyonya?I think not.
Cater To Tourist Nyonya... more likely I will agree.

Pluses?What seemed to be initially exorbitant prices for a small dish is more than matched in value by the sheer portion of it all which is a rare find.The most surprising part is that this restaurant has decided to absorb all taxes,so what you see is what you get.There are absolutely no taxes.

Still dining here is rather stiffling,one feels rather uncomfortable in an unexplainable way.You don't want to linger,you just want to leave ASAP.