A branch of the old faithful Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman Coliseum Cafe opens today at Plaza 33...
So we're not usually the ones that will be lining up outside a restaurant before the opening bell on the first day, but when we saw the big banner that said Coliseum was opening this afternoon, we had to go! =D
Truth be told, we've never been to the original Coliseum Cafe downtown. But then ask any KL-ite in their 30s or 40s onwards and chances are they would have heard or been to Coliseum before! That's because Coliseum has been operating in KL since 1921, longer than the average lifespan of a man. =D
Even so, there has never been another Coliseum outlet in town, until now! Coliseum occupies a corner lot on the ground floor of the new Plaza 33, next to Jaya 33. It's clearly visible from the main road of Jalan Kemajuan, which is how many people have been informed of its opening we're sure! The banner said the opening was at 3pm, and we arrived just before 3.30pm it was already quite crowded. Goes to show us urban folk are actually quite sentimental in nature to experience the old days.. Lots of loyal Coliseum fans. =D
We weren't very hungry since it was more like tea time than lunch, but we wanted to try as much as we could! Beginning with the French Onion Soup (RM 9.90), this was billed as a homemade soup on their menu. Alas, homemade seemed to refer to using lots of oil, as a sheen of oil obviously glistened on the top. Other than that, the taste was okay, but that layer of oil stopped us from finishing the whole bowl.
Presentation was also a bit sloppy as the soup had messily spilled all around the side when they served it to us. But then since this is just their first day of operations, service hiccups are still excusable, in our book.
For tea time, we thought the Coliseum Club Sandwich with Chips & Salad (RM 18.90) would be a wise choice since it also bears the cafe's namesake. But again, we felt let down by the average quality of the sandwich. Skip this in favour of some other sandwiches, or other local delights. This also went largely unfinished.
But what we were most excited to try was the Hainanese Chicken Chop (RM 23.90), topped with special homemade sauce and served with crinkle-cut fries. Old-timers reminiscing about prices at the first Coliseum might balk at the prices in this place, but we think the food is priced reasonably considering its location amidst more expensive eateries like Noble Mansion & Kampachi. The special homemade sauce leans heavily toward a sweet, tomato base, topped off with button mushrooms, red onions and peas.
Thankfully we were both satisfied with the chicken chop, which saved our afternoon "tea" session! The chicken was quite a big, juicy piece, and the batter wasn't too thick. The appetizing sauce was nice, a good throwback and example of what Hainanese Chicken Chop looks and tastes like! Although price is slightly steep, we foresee this becoming a crowd favourite. =D
In fact, Coliseum is most famous as being one of the earliest steakhouses in KL (having recently entered the Malaysia Book of Records for the Longest Operating Western Colonial-Themed Restaurant, in business since 1921), so of course, their sizzling steaks were the popular order here. We were seated near the extractor fan, where all the sizzling preparation takes place.
Just for the duration that we were there, we could see sizzling hot plates being brought out in threes from the kitchen, where a small cube of butter is first melted onto the plate, and then a tomato and steak is placed on top! All very fascinating, and we were particularly thankful for the extractor fan placed there since we don't particularly appreciate smelling like sizzling steaks all day long. =P
(For those who are curious, steak prices range around RM 40-50. Not too bad for a steak at today's prices though definitely higher than the prices of the old Coliseum era, but we'll have to return again to taste it ourselves. =D)
Oh yes, another unique addition at Coliseum - Lingham chilli sauce! None of that Maggi or Life sauce here; if you've been a fan of Lingham sauce growing up, you'll be pleased to see a bottle on every table at Coliseum. =D
Sadly, while we can understand the higher-than-average food prices, we're disappointed with the obvious mark-up in drinks! In front is an Iced Tea at RM 4, while behind is an Iced Milo at... RM 5.50! I've mentioned before that overpriced drinks are one of my pet peeves, and here it has reared it's head once again. For what we got in those slender glasses, I'd have paid RM 3 at the most for the Ice Milo. Just a rough indication of what to expect at Coliseum.
So while our first visit here hasn't been exactly fantastic, we'll definitely be back to try out the sizzling steaks themselves, and other local dishes! The menu here is very wide, with plenty of common rice and noodles dishes available. If you want to impress your parents or some old relatives, definitely think of Coliseum, if for nothing else but the memories it will conjure for them! (But, be prepared for lots of conversation gearing towards, "back in the day ah...")
Coliseum Cafe & Grill Room
Facing Jalan Kemajuan/Section 14Unit PG-02, Ground Floor, Plaza33,
No. 1, Jalan Kemajuan,
Seksyen 13, 46100 Petaling Jaya,
Tel: +6 03 7932 3228
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am-10pm
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