Friday, November 30, 2007

Review: Pagi Sore

This must be sort of the ridiculousness that a new parents feels. This is my new baby! Yay...I should have got it years ago, it has brilliant functions complex enough that I actually have to learn.

However, you guys are in for a treat as all the gorgeous photos on this post are contributed by Ivan, who has an even bigger, handsomer baby. (Envy)

I had been looking forward to Friday the whole week, not because it was Friday, well, perhaps a bit because of that, but also because Mia had kindly arranged lunch for some of us bloggers with See Wah, also known as our Personalite de Paris from the blog Umami.

We had arranged to go to Pagi Sore, which is an Indonesian restaurant popular with the Raffles Place/Shenton Way bloggers. Karen, Sam, Ivan and Andrew also came to join in the pre-Christmas festivities. This restaurant serves up halal Indonesian delicacies and is a 23-years old family business, which was started by Liyana Kwan- I believe the original was and probably is still in Jurong.

It was wonderful to see them all again and the conversation flowed as quickly as did our ordering. I think I over-ordered for us though becuase I somehow thought that the three people sitting at the edge of the table were unfamiliar bloggers. They aren''s just that this place has become so crowded and so popular that they make you share tables (and don't even try coming without a reservation at lunchtime, the food is good and those bankers have lots of cash to throw around especially at the end of the year).

The service, as usual, was slow, we feasted for a long time on these keropok and sambal belachan (which they by the way, charge you for).

That wasn't really a problem though for the bloggers are as talented and high-powered as they are beautiful. These are very strong, capable, successful women!

The first dish to arrive was the ayam bali (marinated grilled chicken), which you pay for by the piece. Two of these dishes were 4 pieces and the omelette. Ivan commented that the chicken was very good, which it was, crispy and tender, though a little oily.

The omellete was also good, though pretty much a plain but well-cooked Malay one.

They also brought us the sambal kangkong, udang pedas (sambal prawns with petai), ikan otah kukus (steamed fish with otah seasoning). I liked the sambal kangkong, it had a good stingy taste, but I generally feel its a pretty generic dish and while well-fried enough, there wasn't much stem to the kangkong, so you didn't get that lovely hollow water-turgid crunch. The petai, I guess I'm biased and not a big fan but I didn't like it that much and it was quite drowned in chilli.

The steamed fish on the other hand, I can never figure out how they make it taste so good! This is by far my favourite dish at Pagi Sore.

I used to make something similar at university with chilean sea bass and a laksa sauce but it wasn't milky and smooth the way this one always is. Apart from tasting great, it is always consistent, which I truly appreciate. The otah part tastes very light and I think they mix egg in, so that as it steams the sauce-curd kind of sets around the fish. It's so super tasty ....and while they call it ikan, the fish is a smooth white fish but far too long-tailed to be pomfret.

We tucked in happily to all this food, while being regaled by Ivan's tales of cooking Marmite pork ribs and financial advice from our in-house consultant! We're definitely looking forward to more meals and samples (hint, hint).

The last dishes to come, probably the most complex or something, were the cumi bali (grilled squid with sweet sauce) and tahu telor (fried tofu with egg). I know you guys are going to laugh at me but I've only recently learned how to eat squid. Not that I couldn't before, but growing up, there was something I didn't like about the turgid, almost wriggly feeling of squid rings, especially, in your mouth.

They tasted like they were still alive, or could come alive. These squid however, were a revelation. Trailing tastes of spicy barbeque and sambal, as well as sweet black sauce and supple yet nuanced squid meat, this was definitely my new-found favourite at Pagi Sore!

The Tahu Telor is my old favourite...yes, I do like the food here... and it's quite a production. They bring it steaming hot to your table and proceed to stream a trickle of black peanut-laden sauce over it. You can then tease it apart and serve it up with the grated carrot topping. While I like the version of this dish at Rumang Minang Makan more (which is why this is not my absolute favourite but my near favourite!) theirs is also very yummy. Crusty on the outside, soft and almost sweet on the inside.

We ended the meal with some avacado shakes (with gula meleka) and some very satisfactory ice chendol. A great end to a great meal, at a cost of $30 a head (a Lot of food). Yay...December! This was the kind of meal and company that makes you happy and I made a mental note to make a reservation to bring my family here when Colin's back for his holidays.

Pagi Sore
No 88/90 Telok Ayer Street
Singapore 048470
Tel: 65-62256002

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