With GPS Coordinates
The furthest I have been to in Melaka is Umbai – a town famous for seafood, notably ikan bakar. As far as I know there are two places you could go to satisfy your seafood craving here. It could be either at the older Medan Ikan Bakar (in which the Parameswara stall is most popular) or at the spanking new floating complex blessed with a nice view of the sea known as “Perkampungan Ikan Bakar Terapung“, or PIBT in short.
We decided to check out the latter for no particular reason. And no, that’s not my Kancil.
It was only 5.30pm so there weren’t many people there yet. Only a handful of stalls were operating while the rest was just starting to open up for the night. Of course, as expected there will be a few stray cats lingering around, but generally the place seemed clean and well maintained.
After surveying the options available, we chose to order from stall no.5 Enak Rasa Ikan Bakar. Like any normal ikan bakar stall, you get to choose the type of seafood you want and the cooking style you fancy. If you are undecided, the cooks are friendly and happy to recommend according to your preferences.
Panchor is a small town within Muar district in Johor situated approximately 30km north east of Muar’s town center. Back in the older days when road networks were not as developed as they are today, Panchor was a busy river port used to transport inner agricultural and plantation crops on the Muar River. Fresh river prawns are aplenty too, which is why some outstation people would make a special trip off the beaten path for a quick meal here.
We did not have the coordinates of the restaurant so we could only rely on the GPS to route us to the address we found online. After driving along some questionable roads through a dense oil palm plantation for a while, we managed to find Han Thoy (the restaurant famous for fresh water prawns) easily once we reached the town. It was literally just a stone’s throw away from the big river. Our first impression of the town was that it is quiet, clean and seemed to be stuck in the 60′s.
This was meant to be a light meal before we continue our journey to Muar so we only tried two of their signature dishes. There are many cooking styles available for the river prawns but we opted for the steamed version (with ginger and scallion in egg white) because we thought it was the best way to enjoy their natural flavor to the fullest.
Based on Happy City‘s popularity and their ability to offer good value for money to steamboat lovers, it comes as no surprise to me that a new branch has opened in Kota Damansara (occupying the now defunct Dragon Gate Dim Sum) to expand their business. As a matter of fact, I had been wondering when a second branch would appear ever since my first steamboat meal at Happy City Kepong about 2 years ago.
If this is your first time hearing about Happy City, just know that it is a slightly upmarket steamboat restaurant that features live seafood in their set menus. Since most seafood like tiger prawns, clams and fish are kept in the live tanks and only served at the dining table upon order, freshness could also be guaranteed.
Cheaper and more affordable run of the mill steamboat sets are also available (RM33 for 2 pax)
Based on my two visits to Ril’s Steakhouse, my conclusion is that the food coming out of Ril’s kitchen is just consistently inconsistent. And no, I am not going to sink any more money into this place when there are better alternatives in town. It almost feels like you are taking a gamble just to eat here, it might be good or bad – you will never know.
Anyway, we actually had this meal at The Warehouse even before our visit to their Bangsar branch. Remember when I said I seem to have bad luck with steaks? Well my Wagyu Rib-Eye @ RM168 is overcooked no where close to medium rare (and at Bangsar branch as well) while my wife’s Rib-Eye was perfect. Couldn’t they at least get the more expensive meat done right?
I would have been more forgiving if Ril’s is a normal Western food restaurant, but the fact is that they are a premium restaurant specializing in steaks and their main starts at RM76 the cheapest! And let’s not forget again they advertise themselves as the best steak restaurant in KL too. So it is just simply disappointing to be served dry and chewy meat amidst all the hype and expectation.