I was out early in the morning today. A friend of mine had some errands to run and she needed a big man to accompany her for security reasons, but for some strange reasons, her hubs was not available, so I became her temporary husband for the day.
The errand was done quickly, so we decided to have lunch before heading back. The friend suggested a noodle shop in Gurney Paragon that she said was very famous. I rarely come here for meals (or rather, for anything), so I quickly agreed.
The search for this elusive restaurant was rather stupid, on our part. We didn’t know where the restaurant was located in the mall, and the only piece of information that the friend had was that the restaurant would be visible from the outside. So, we went from the 4th floor (our car park level) to Ground floor, headed outside, and found our target.
Here, zoom in closer…
Except our target is on the 5th floor, just directly above where we were at 4th floor. If we had been more attentive to our surroundings, we wouldn’t have needed to make that blind detour.
Here’s where we went: 正斗粥面专家 Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop. Apparently, this is a very famous noodle chain from Hong Kong, with outlets in Hong Kong, Shanghai and now Malaysia. This outlet in Gurney Paragon, Penang, is their first (and at the moment, only) outlet in Malaysia.
I think fellow blogger Mun was the first to tell me about this restaurant a few months ago. When I saw the words Gurney Paragon, I never really expected to be coming here for a meal at all.
Also, it appears that this restaurant chain has a rather heady title…
A one Michelin star restaurant, huh? Although I think, it is their main outlet in Hong Kong that has the Michelin star, not this new outlet in Penang. But it did somewhat raise my expectations to extraordinary levels.
They offer a wide variety of food items in their menu. Noodles and congee (of course), dim sum, roasted meats, and all sorts of Hong Kong/Cantonese cuisine. But really, we came here specifically for this:
wanton… wantun noodles are supposed to be the bomb. If you go to Tasty’s website, you will realize the origin of this restaurant chain is all about wantun noodles. In case you are too lazy to click into their website to read, here’s some snippets.
Tasty originated from Hung Kee. Tasty’s owner is the son of Hung Kee’s owner.
Throughout our time here, we did experience certain characteristics of Michelin star which I would term bad-assery.
First thing was the ordering of beverages. When I tried to inquire about their selections of Chinese tea, the waiter promptly replied: (translated) “Oh, we don’t carry those different types of tea leaves. We only serve one type of Chinese tea, and it is our own special blend of tea from 香港正斗 Tasty Hong Kong. If you don’t want tea, then the only other thing we have is freshly brewed herbal tea.”
Okay… such arrogance even on such simple matter as tea. Must be a super bad-ass blend or something. So I ordered that special Tasty tea.
I don’t know. I could not feel the difference between this tea as opposed to, say… Dragon-i’s Chinese tea. Or those 50 cents Chinese tea from food courts. Maybe it is just me. As we all know, my tongue is somewhat broken when it comes to fine dining flavors.
Still, it was just RM 2, so no big deal there. I would’ve been pissed if the tea was RM 20.
Then our noodles, the coveted wantun noodles soup arrived.
Come on. Honestly, how do you feel when you see this picture above? This is how a Michelin star wantun noodles soup looks like.
The first thing that came to my mind was: “Where the f**k are the wantuns??“. The next thing that came to my mind was: “Why is the bowl (portion) so small??“. The third thing that came to my mind was: “Is this just plain noodles with soup and nothing else??“. And the fourth thing that came to my mind was: “Is this how Michelin star restaurants do their thing??“. Seriously, I was extremely underwhelmed.
Luckily, before I
made a scene called the waiter to ask questions, I decided to dig around the noodles with my spoon. The mystery was solved immediately.
I don’t know why those chefs did this, but the wantuns and chives were hidden beneath the noodles. I counted 5 wantuns. And they were all large wantuns, customary with what you would expect of Hong Kong style wantuns, and the exact opposite of pathetic Penang style wantons. Great! Now we’re talking!
Anyway, I thought this is a decent bowl of wantun noodles. The noodles were slightly on the al dente side, the wantuns were great, and I thought the soup was of good flavor. But I think the elevated expectations did me in. While I felt this is a good bowl of noodles, it did not really blow my mind away. I was expecting a stronger impact, but it did not materialize. Still, this is a million miles better than all those crappy wanton mee that Penang used to serve me. Okay, maybe just a hundred thousand miles.
It is nothing like KL style wanton mee though. To answer Mun’s curiosity: no, this did nothing to ease my cravings.
Oh, yeah. I think I am generally a bad and biased food reviewer. But I do have an independent source of review this time. Apparently, my temporary wife‘s daughter is a resident noodles expert who has ample noodles eating experience. In fact, all day today, after we asked her what she wanted to eat for lunch, she kept repeating “noodles, noodles, noodles”…
The resident noodles expert said the noodles here is good, and she liked it. She even gave her thumbs up. So it must be good.
But, as mentioned earlier, it was really small in portion. RM 15.80 for such a small bowl of noodles! Two bowls of these would not be enough to feed two adults and one hungry toddler. So we had to order more food.
That pork trotters was yum yum in terms of sauce and flavor, but… and this is a big BUT… no meat. They were basically bones and skins. No meat. Man that was disappointing!
The lau sar pau was alright though. As usual, I made a mess when eating this, with the salted egg yolk custard bursting out, much to my chagrin but to the delight of the little one.
We ordered those buns specifically to make us feel full. Thankfully, they did the job admirably well.
Total damage for the meal?
I don’t really know how to do the wrap up for this restaurant. Did I enjoy the meal? Yes I did. Is the food good? Yes, I think it is. But I guess, don’t pay too much attention to the words Michelin star. That’s their main outlet in HK, not this one. You won’t get a Gordon Ramsay-esque fine dining experience here.
Will I come back again? That’s a pointless question. It’s Gurney Paragon. I won’t come here unless there are special reasons or special circumstances…