When Soup Restaurant first opened, it had to markings of becoming the next big thing; long queues outside the front, lots of people checking out the menu, and a full house all through dinner time, especially on weekends. Now that Putien has come along (which we will cover in a later post), Soup Restaurant seems to have taken the back seat a little. But don't say it's not worth visiting though!
From outside the restaurant it's hard to see what the interior looks like, but step inside and be instantly greeted by a charming replica of a traditional Chinese village, complete with walkways lined with bamboo plants!
There are some private rooms at Soup Restaurant, so it's good for those wanting more privacy. Not sure if they have big tables though, so it's probably a better idea to keep groups with 5-7 people.
We sat here in the corner at a medium size table with stools. Yes, I said stools, so if you're the kind that needs support for your back at all times, wait for a table with proper chairs. Or perhaps just try somewhere else. =P
We started off with Traditional Boiled Soup of the Day (RM 20.80 for 2-4 pax). For us, the soup of the day was pork soup with corn and carrots. It turned out to be very sweet, with very strong corn flavour! Soup Restaurant promotes itself as a place with no MSG. Though we can't say for certain whether that's true (because we got really thirsty after dinner), we can confirm that a lot of stuff goes into the soup.
.....And here's the proof! That's a serious amount of sweetcorn that we didn't expect to find. The pork was still tender and juicy, which could have become a dish on its own! In case you're visiting in a bigger group or flying solo, never fear; there are smaller and larger versions are available, RM 7.80 for 1 pax and RM 27.80 for 5 pax and above. They've got it all thought out. =)
The Tofu Prawns (RM 33) looked interesting enough to try. Prawns in a chilli and tomato egg drop gravy, akin to those you get with your chilli crab! We kid you not; if you like chilli crab sauce, then you would probably want to try this. We felt the sauce was just slightly thicker than those used with crabs. The prawns were a let-down though, because there were only 5 prawns with the tofu and it was very obvious from the texture that it was all frozen prawns.
Another interesting dish that we added on at the last minute - Hometown Fried Fish Belly (RM 22). This was a much bigger and satisfying portion compared to the tofu prawns. Each piece of sweetly glazed fish was big and chunky, with more than enough to go around. We felt it was a bit dry on the whole though, because of a lack of sauce (unlike the tofu prawn, that was drowned in an olympic-sized pool of sauce. -__-).
Not forgetting the Hometown Tofu (RM 14), a block of fresh handmade tofu sprinkled with mini shrimp on top. This was one of the more affordable and value for money dishes, as the piece of tofu was quite big and filling. The tofu was also smooth, while the outer layer had just the right amount of crispness.
For more meat, we had Steamed Hand-Chopped Minced Pork with Salted Egg (RM 16). The texture of the pork was fine, but we found the pork to be more on the bland side than actually salty. I put this down to it being topped with salted egg instead of the more often-seen salted fish. Soup Restaurant also actually has another version with salted fish, but they only serves 30 dishes of it per day! So just imagine how hard it is to get an order. According to the menu, it's "painstakingly hand-chopped".
Soup Restaurant tries to be the home away from home, serving dishes another family might cook for dinner. The names are also important, like this Ah Kon (grandfather) Fan Shu Leaves (RM 15.80)! In this case, we'll forgive Soup Restaurant for generalising that all grandfathers like spicy vegetables. We were served a plate of young shoots, simply fried with some chilli. Surprisingly I didn't find this spicy at all though, even though I already have such low tolerance to spice. But just in case you're not feeling adventurous, there's a non spicy version called the Ah Por (grandmother) Fan Shu Leaves.
After all that, you might wonder what is the real signature dish at Soup Restaurant. The answer to that is the Samsui Ginger Chicken (RM 38 for small, RM 68 for large), prepared in the same traditional way as the olden Samsui women used to do (or so we are told!). For me, I felt the chicken tasted like a regular 'kampung' chicken, lean and tough. The x-factor in this dish is actually the ginger that thoroughly enhances the flavour of the chicken! It was so good we wished they would let us tapau (takeaway) a bottle of the sauce! Lettuce is also provided on the side to wrap, but we didn't touch it much because the chicken and ginger tasted perfect with rice already.
And last but not least, not being content with 4 normal bowls of rice, we chose to try a small portion of Penang Fried Mee Suah (RM 16)! Littered with taugeh, shredded meat, and cabbage, this was a satisfying, though slightly too salty, addition to the meal. Though if compared to the Mee Suah found at Putien a few doors away, this sadly pales in comparison. =P
The tea at Soup Restaurant deserves a special mention here. We had Homemade Chrysanthemum Tea (RM 3.50), which certainly cost more than the standard price of tea elsewhere. However, the tea was lovely and soothing, with the natural fragrance of chrysanthemum. Free refills are available, and they also have the ones without sugar added, which was great for mum.
Soup Restaurant clearly executes classic home-style Chinese food very well. There were strong hits, and there were near-hits with the Tofu Prawns being the weakest chink in their armour, but I have to say that our dinner that night was satisfying. We still aren't completely sold on their "no MSG" tagline, but if that's really the case, then kudos to them for that as well.
Lot G210A, Ground Floor,
1 Utama Shopping Centre,
No.1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
47800 Petaling Jaya,
Tel: +6 03 7727 2788
Fax: +6 03 7727 2755
Tel: +6 03 7727 2788
Fax: +6 03 7727 2755
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am-10pm