Ever since Outback Steakhouse closed down a few months ago (which we were very sad about!), we've been wondering what restaurant would dare to take up that prime spot in Bangsar Village. Now the wait is over with Wondermama having opened its doors recently!
Since we were in Bangsar with our friends Ching and Zhen Han that night after the New Sunday Times Motor Hunt briefing, we suggested Wondermama for dinner, having heard about it prior to this. Reaching at about 8:30pm, the place was quite empty, so no worries about getting a table.
Compared to the the old Outback Steakhouse, Wondermama has changed the interior till it's almost unrecognizable! While Outback had the traditional enclosed restaurant feel, Wondermama has opened up the sides and front with more glass windows and sliding doors. Long tables not unlike Ben's General Food Store are also the trend here. The interior design is also quirky, with small interesting details.
It's hard to describe the food at Wondermama; it's Western, but neither is it truly Asian.
Take these Beef Nachos for example - an obviously Mexican snack, but turned into something else with the presence of sweet garlic sauce and mince meat instead of the usual salsa sauce. There was also grated seaweed sprinkled over the top, but it was very poorly done, with a chunk of it in the middle and nothing on the sides. The meat tasted nice on its own (though beware the chilli padi it contains!), but we couldn't get into the whole combo, and for RM14 felt this was more expensive than it was worth.
Ching chose this D&L Nyonya Laksa costing RM 13.90 (Not sure what D&L stands for, could it possibly be Donald & Lily, the famous Nyonya establishment in Melaka?). It looked good on the menu, and it did look good when it was served, but further investigation revealed an unsatisfying bowl of laksa in less-than-creamy soup, coupled with a few pieces of tau foo pok, some fishcake, half an egg, a small prawn, and scarcely much else. Again, the price charged for this could be considered exorbitant, since a better laksa can be had at any nearby hawker stall, for much less.
Zhen Han went with the Beef Fried Rice, and that's when the night reached it's lowest point. Its presentation was fine, but taste-wise it was a bit hard to rate....because we couldn't taste anything! If I was kind I would say the fried rice, consisting of minced beef, bacon, egg and long beans, was extremely healthy, but if I was nasty I'd label this as completely bland.
Zhen Han said even his own recipe of XO Fried Rice from poor uni days (nothing but xo sauce, rice, and tons and tons of shallots) tasted better than this, and Wendy agreed, having been his housemate in Melbourne and the only one who had tasted a product of his cooking. Not even the fried bacon could save this, since it wasn't full of flavour either. We've noticed others haven't raved about the fried rice here either, so we wonder if this should be kept on the menu.
Wendy took a gamble and decided to try an obviously simple dish that can be made at home - the Special Seafood Maggi Mee Goreng (RM 14.90). Thinking perhaps the price was worthwhile due to the presence of seafood, we were left disappointed when the noodles came with only a small piece of salmon and one prawn.
Sadly, the only thing that was in abundance turned out to be lots and lots of chilli padi, chopped up and mixed into the noodles! It confounded us how they expected a normal person to eat that much chilli padi - it was the culinary equivalent of walking an Iraqi road full of landmines - you never knew when the next explosion would come! But thanks to all that chilli padi, it did have a little more flavour compared to the bland fried rice, though the noodles were a lot "wetter" than we usually prefer.
Bet you're all wondering what I had right? I chose a homely D&L Super Chicken Pongteh (RM 15.90) with rice.
The first thing that came to our minds was the colour didn't look dark enough, not as dark as the other Pongtehs you get in Nyonya restaurants. I was scared it might be another bland disaster, but it turned out to be very salty! Thankfully there was enough rice to balance the flavour out. A small plus point is the rice came in a big bowl, so it was easier to mop up all the sauce compared with using normal plates.
Sadly even the drinks didn't fare too well. My Macha Latte (RM 8) wasn't too bad, with a distinct dash of honey/syrup, but Wendy was utterly disappointed with her Black Sesame (RM 6.50). The Black Sesame wasn't mixed well, and ended up being watery with lots of clumps of black sesame at the base.
|Wondermama has a lot of fun touches like this one, but the food unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired.|
So what was supposed to be a good dinner with friends at a new and quirky restaurant turned out to be a wanton disappointment. The other two were so unsatisfied, we had to quickly head over to Baskin Robbins to set things right again. It has everything going for it, the decor, the location, the crowd, but the food that night was sadly subpar. We wish Wondermama all the best, but we really don't think we're going to be one of the repeat customers here.
Wondermama | FacebookGL-6, Bangsar Village,
No. 1, Jalan Telawi Satu,
Bangsar Baru, 59100,
Kuala LumpurTel: +6 03 2284 9821
Opening Hours: Daily, 12pm-10pm