Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

Follow our 6 day, 6 night adventure in these lands of amazing food, awesome culture and astounding sights. See how we ate, shopped and laughed our way through Macau and Hong Kong! :)

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Food: Serai @ Empire Shopping Gallery

On June 11, Wendy and I, along with two friends of ours, ChingZhen Han, joined the Empire Shopping Gallery Beginner's Motor Hunt! It was the first time for all of us except Ching in joining a motor hunt, so it was all very exciting. It was a great experience and I dare say we'll be back for more hunts in future!

The Thursday before the hunt a briefing was held (which Ching couldn't attend), and after briefing we were all so famished having eaten nothing after work. Which is why we promptly made a beeline for Serai.

The eatery, oft packed with diners.

Serai has been on mine and Wendy's go-eat list ever since we came the first time and tried Opera Bakery & Coffeehouse. Serai is just opposite Opera, and I daresay is one of the most famous eateries at Empire Shopping Gallery

Nice ambience, for both family and friends or even a date night out. 

Serving mainly local Malay cuisine with a touch of other cuisines, Serai seems to be targetting the crowd of diners who frequent Madam Kwan, and I dare say they are close to achieving that. Why do I think so? Take a look:

Nasi Ambang (RM 20), rice served with a multitude of flavours and textures - rendang tok, prawn sambal, ikan kering, fried mee & meehoon, tempe and mixed vegetables. Check-in to Serai on Foursquare and you'll see a lot of tips that recommend this dish, and it's not hard to see why. With seven (yes seven!) different things to eat on this plate, you'll be literally spoilt for choice. Zhen Han ordered this so I didn't get to taste much of it, but the mee and meehoon was good, and the rendang was excellent! For just RM20, we felt this all-in-one dish was definitely well-worth the money.

Wendy went for the Serai Platter (RM 25), a delicious platter of serai rice served with ayam goreng berempah, oxtail asam pedas, honey sotong & a side of acar. I would consider this the direct rival of the Nasi Bojari at Madam Kwan, since that also comes with a whole chicken leg and beef. The chicken was well-marinated and tender with each bite. The oxtail was also perfectly done but certainly packed its own punch in terms of spice, far spicier than the rendang in Zhen Han's Nasi Ambang. I thought the rendang tasted better than the oxtail, but that's just me. The honey sotong here was crispy and sweet, the only complaint I could have is there wasn't enough!

I didn't know what to eat, and usually when that happens at a new restaurant, I follow my principle of "choosing the expensive dish" (depending on the amount of damage to my wallet lah of course!). In this case I went for the Middle Eastern Medley (RM 37) which was Moroccan lamb shank served with spiced rice, cucumber raita & Serai's signature Turkish relish.

Being pricier than the other items on the menu, I was expecting this to be something special, and I'm glad to say it was. Moroccan food generally carries a lot of spices and flavours (see: Plan b meatballs), and this was no different. With a sprinkling of cashew nuts, a small serving of yogurt and fragrant rice to top it off, there isn't much else to be improved here. Serai gives you a knife if you order this dish, but trust me you won't be needing it because the meat just falls off the bone with the touch of the fork and spoon. I thoroughly enjoyed this, even though it cost nearly double of the Nasi Ambang. I highly recommend it if you are craving for some lamb shank or something more unique. =)

The main courses tasted great and filled our tummies, but that meant dessert had to be amazing too! So being the gluttons that we are, we committed ourselves to not one, but two servings of dessert.

First, we had the Pandan Banana Fritters (RM 13). A simple dish that doesn't really go wrong, it came with some (I'm guessing) pandan drizzle and vanilla ice cream. We all enjoyed this; the presentation was neat and the batter was light and crispy. However, we couldn't taste much pandan anywhere in this dish, hence not setting it apart from other pisang gorengs (Wendy thinks her favourite pisang goreng aunty in SS2 does far superior ones). Having banana fritters with ice-cream was nice however, and surprisingly, it didn't melt quickly either. Wish they had given a bigger serving of ice-cream though! 

Wendy was adamant about trying the Berry Pavlova because some friends of hers and many people on Foursquare had said this was a must-try. Try it we did, but it fell a bit short of my expectations. The Berry Pavlova at Serai was made up of meringue layers sandwiching sweet, juicy strawberries and grapes amidst light, fresh cream. Served chilled, this was a lovely and refreshing end to a good dinner. Unfortunately, the meringue crust was too hard around the edges, which was a bit of a let-down for us. It was good, but I somehow believe there are better pavlovas lurking around out there in KL somewhere. (Did I just set myself up for a pavlova hunt?)

For drinks, I had a Milky Bandung (RM 7), a mixture of rose syrup with fresh milk and a hint of pandan, and the clincher -- soda. I was craving a bandung that night because I tried ordering one during lunch and I got sirap instead! But Serai's bandung was what I had been looking for;  filled with 2 parts milk and 1 part syrup, the added soda gives it a bit of fizz that makes the taste even better.

We also tried the Honeydew Blast (RM 8.50) which was a concoction of fresh honeydrew, lychee & fresh lime all ice-blended into a glass. It was certainly a thirst quencher, but the lime far outpowered the honeydew and lychee, which we were expecting more of.

All in all it was an enjoyable dinner after a long day of work and an hour long motor hunt briefing. If ever you're in Empire and don't know what to eat, Serai shouldn't be too far from mind.

LG37, Empire Shopping Gallery,
Lower Ground floor, Jalan SS16/1,
47500 Subang Jaya.
Tel: 03-56370706

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