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163 Retail Park, Mont Kiara: Colourful Cuisines, Fun Flavours

October 8, 2019


There's no stopping the rise of new restaurants at Mont Kiara's 163 Retail Park, from a Malacca-born cafe for cherished classics to a Sarawak-loving kitchen for spicy specialities, plus eateries for everything from Hong Kong hot pots to Hakka lei cha, Shanghainese xiao long bao to American doughnuts. Check out our latest exploration of this increasingly exciting mall for food enthusiasts.

MAMEE JONKER HOUSE KL

Mamee's first concept store has been a popular stop in Malacca's vibrant tourist enclave of Jonker Street for the past six years, but KL's residents now have another opportunity to taste what Malaysia's beloved Mamee Monster has to offer, thanks to this newly launched outpost, perched at the top of 163 Retail Park in Mont Kiara. 

Mamee Jonker House KL is a cutely captivating, family-friendly space that children of all ages will adore, filled with marvellous Mamee memorabilia to make each meal even more memorable.

True to its name, Mamee Jonker House KL promises a true, triumphant taste of Malacca, particularly in daily set meals (available for lunch and dinner) that include the richly aromatic ayam pongteh (RM17) and the succulent tiger prawns in a fragrant coconut pineapple broth (RM25), prepared with fresh produce that the chef hand-picks from the Selayang market. Every set meal surfaces with white rice, house-made acar (either cucumber acar or pineapple acar), cincalok omelette and sambal, as well as the drink of the day.

Nostalgia beckons in Malaysian temptations like the signature Hainanese chicken rice, a recipe handed down by the grandmother of Mamee Jonker House KL's founder - tasty rice steamed in chicken broth, buoyed by ginger and garlic paste, perfectly partnered with tenderly poached free-range kampung chicken (RM18). 

Also recommended is the Mamee mee goreng mamak, blanching the noodles before they reach the wok for frying to achieve that ideal texture with a bite, given a protein boost with moist, savoury chicken satay (RM15). If you prefer something lighter, try the rojak, tossed with squid and kangkung for lively, well-balanced sustenance.

The menu stretches beyond our local shores to also showcase East Asian, Italian and even Canadian inspirations. The chicken boxing features five crisp drummettes drizzled with soy garlic for a lip-smacking snack (RM16), the aglio olio is irreproachably al dente, crowned with tiger prawns, scented with lemongrass and torch ginger flower (RM20), the seafood cartoccio has its foil unfolded at the table to reveal an ocean's bounty of prawns, mussels, clams and squid in smooth, sultry tomato sauce (RM22), and the beef poutine brings a bit of Quebec to KL, a heap of moreish fries with terrifically tender beef, sprinkled with cheese and unmistakable truffle oil.

Desserts are a delight too, from the durian creme brulee with that unmistakable Musang King flavour (RM14) to the tiramisu that's thick and decadent (RM16). Drinks are refreshing and crowd-rousing, from the kaw signature Melaka coffee (RM8) to the King Cola float (RM14) and tall, soothing glass of strawberry milkshake (RM13) for the young at heart, or a wholesome orange-carrot juice for the nutrition-minded (RM12).

Aside from eating, visitors can find cheer in a playground in the back of the restaurant, plus a space for two workshops: the Lil Monster Kitchen and Noodle Doodle. 

Lil Monster Kitchen is a 90-minute workshop where you can learn to make the famous Mamee Monster snack from scratch.

For the Noodle Doodle workshop, you can personalise your cup noodles and go through the process of filling in your very own cup noodles, just like how it's done in the factory. Once you complete the workshop, you can take the cup noodles home in a cute monster box. 

Mamee Jonker House KL is also available for events; for 30 persons and above, a buffet line can be provided, comprising any dishes from the cafe's official menu. For more information, enquire by calling 03-20225588

SARAWAK D'LIGHT SIGNATURE

Sail straight to Sarawak for the best of Borneo at Sarawak D'Light Signature, a fast favourite among the working crowd for a hearty, wallet-friendly meal. Fun fact: The restaurant's recipes are crafted by a Sarawak-born chef for authenticity at its most delectable.

Sarawak laksa is, naturally, at the top of the list, brimming with prawns, chicken and beansprouts in a broth of Sarawak-prepared laksa paste that's rich with coconut - as a bonus, the broth is boiled for five hours everyday for the ultimate freshness (RM15.90). The kolok mee is equally enticing, a pork-free interpretation, complete with chicken char siu (RM13.90); for an extra-striking version, the tomato kolok mee stands tall, proud and crisp (RM15.90). Other intriguing treats for noodle devotees include laksa with cuttlefish and century eggs (RM15.90), mee jawa chicken (RM13.90) and chicken mee sua (RM15.90) - clearly, something for everyone, especially if you hail from Malaysian Borneo.

If rice is your preferred carb, dig into the nationally popular nasi lemak with fried chicken, notable for sambal that's spicier than KL's conventional sweet sort (RM15.90). There's also your choice of steamed or roasted chicken rice, with more than sufficient meat to merit its price (RM13.90); the red curry chicken rice and the rendang chicken rice, meanwhile, are for customers seeking more gravy to drench their meal with (RM13.90 each).

Desserts are vibrant, emerging in all the hues of the rainbow, starting with the delicate White Lady, a concoction of lemon syrup, condensed milk and jelly (RM6.90), to the full spectrum of the kek lapis (RM21.90 per block), the cendol (RM5.90) to the classic ABC (RM6.90) to counter our current haze and heat.

Beverages are potently reviving - pick from three-layered tea (RM6.90), chrysanthemum tea (RM5.90), green tea (RM5.90), peppermint tea (RM5.90) or wheatgrass tea (RM5.90). Hot drinks are also available, like the can't-fail honey lemon tea that generations have relied on (RM5.90).

FEI FAN HOTPOT (non-halal)

What makes or breaks any hotpot place is often its broth, and Fei Fan Hotpot's is a smash hit, particularly with a pork bone base that's been boiled for at least eight hours before serving for full-bodied, robust dimensions. Customers can sample a duet of differing varieties - perhaps the pepper pig stomach soup, with a lingering aftertaste of pepper, and the tomato soup, a sweeter and tangier variant of the pork bone broth.

What makes this Hong Kong-style hotpot specialist increasingly renowned is the inclusion of pork liver and pork intestine for its refillable flow of ingredients, alongside pork shoulder and belly for the porcine pleasure of patrons. The feast is protein-packed, from red wine chicken to house-made fish noodles, dumplings, and handmade meatballs of all types, in addition to an array of sauces as well as a full salad bar.

In recent months, Fei Fan Hotpot has also added more seafood a la carte options (not part of the hotpot buffet), such as prawns (RM4.90), fish (RM4.90), black mussels (RM4.90), scallops (RM.9.90), brown squid (RM4.90), white clams (RM4.90) and abalone (RM9.90 each).

The Fei Fan Hotpot buffet clocks in at RM35.90 for lunch and RM45.90 for dinner, for 120 minutes per session (children under 130cm tall enjoy 50 percent off). A worthwhile birthday promotion is ongoing - the birthday celebrant receives a free meal if accompanied by at least three paying customers.

SIMPLE LIFE

Vegetarians, vegans, and the health-conscious can savour the Simple Life at 163 Retail Park, the culmination of its founder's quest for healthier living. She first embarked on her efforts in the early 1990s; stemming from health issues, she went on a vegetarian diet, sharing recipes with friends who recommended she start her own food business. It has become a successful chain, but she still approves all the recipes on the menu, which evolves yearly, with seasonal items also available.


Simple Life deals in none of what it calls the five whites: no white sugar, salt, bread, flour or rice. Nevertheless, its food is crafted to be healthy yet filling, defying the skepticism of some non-vegetarians. Portions are large, ingredients prove varied, and the flavours and textures taste fresh. Vegans, note that while none of the following dishes highlighted here have egg in them, some other items on the menu do contain egg, which you can omit by request.

The Hakka-style lei cha comes highly endorsed, its thick and fragrant green tea paste showered over a 10-grain rice mix that's been curated for a delicious diversity of flavours and textures, slowly digested to leave you feeling fuller for longer. The lei cha's assortment includes peanuts, cabbage, choy sum and organic seaweed beancurd, nourishment that we certainly relished (RM20.90).

A newly launched dish here hails from 2018's seasonal selection: The dry XO paste soya noodle with dumpling soup is blessed with brown rice noodles made in-house, buoyed by a vegetarian XO sauce built with shiitake mushrooms and chillies (impressively emulating the original dried shrimp texture and taste) and delightful dumplings of cabbage, soy protein, mushrooms and carrots (RM18.90 with soup and side dishes that change daily).

We also like the spicy miso lion's mane mushroom, comfort food that's perhaps the closest thing to chicken but more tender (RM27.50 with soup and side dishes). As for drinks, the fruit tea is rejuvenating, featuring tea mingling with passion fruit puree, orange, apple, watermelon and mint for a hot drink that calms the soul (RM19.90).

PARADISE DYNASTY (non-halal)

Paradise Dynasty promises a panoramic first-floor view with first-class Oriental cuisine in 163 Retail Park. This is a refined yet casual dining experience that's endowed with natural light and surrounding greenery galore, a gorgeous setting for a feast with family and friends.

The ideal introduction to Paradise Dynasty is the vibrantly hued Xiao Long Bao set, eight differently flavoured steamed soup dumplings that have become the flagship offering of this brand (RM28.50, with original, garlic, ginseng, Szechuan, crab roe, cheese, foie gras, and black truffle). Each bite is a burst of tasty broth that whets the appetite for more, sliding smoothly from elegant, time-honoured Chinese flavours to contemporary European-inflected inspirations.

These temptations showcase a meticulous dedication to details - the handmade radish pastry, with about a hundred layers within its light, fluffy yet crisp folds, is a paragon of painstaking preparation (RM11.80 for three). Lettuce rolls, a lovely source of fibre, come partnered with a house-made sesame sauce that's the chef's own original recipe (RM14.50), while prawn-and-pork dumpling emerge as plump, protein-packed treats, spiked with an unmistakably spicy chilli vinaigrette produced with imported Szechuan chilli oil (RM16.80).

The parade of fiery pleasures continues with a gargantuan portion of poached sliced toman fish, smooth and flaky, in Szechuan chilli oil, conveying so much captivating peppercorns that you might start feeling the heat as soon as this bowl lands at the table (RM52.50; also includes bean sprouts, black fungus and glass noodles). The seafood hot-and-sour soup is a smaller concentration of the same Szechuan spiciness, packed with prawns to fulfil crustacean cravings (RM15.90), while the spicy Szechuan chicken is a potent coupling of deep-fried crispy chicken with dried chillies and peppercorns for the ultimate tongue-tingling sensation (RM24.50).

The Beijing-style stir-fried shredded pork provides indulgent DIY playfulness, perfect for communal meals, for wrapping with thin Chinese crepes (RM24.50). Share and spread the gastronomic gluttony with scrambled egg white with fish and dried scallops (RM23.50; originally inspired by Empress Dowager Cixi's desire to eat a crab-like dish - pop the egg and pour over a bit of the yolk for best effect); fried rice with egg, a confidently executed classic (RM14.90); or slender la mian with scallion oil, rounded out with eight-hour-boiled pork bone soup that's the essence of a  beautiful broth (RM15.90). Finish off with tried-and-tested desserts like the hot pan-fried pancake with red bean paste (RM12.50) or chilled aloe vera in osmanthus honey juice (RM9.50).

WHISK

Beside 163 Retail Park's waterfall is its coffee hideout, Whisk, a homegrown cafe that serves up satisfying baked fare and coffee. With a little surrounding greenery, the gentle sound of fresh-running water and a friendly service crew, this is the mall's ideal venue for caffeine and conversation.

Beverages seize the spotlight with a bevy of possibilities: For coffee, Whisk rotates its single-origins and blends whenever they run out, typically by the end of the month at the latest. When we visited, we sipped on an Indonesian blend that was simultaneously nutty and chocolaty, equally enjoyable as an espresso (RM7) or cappuccino (RM10.30).


Speciality drinks also entice and excite: The moccachino is a mocha variation with Nutella fringing the glass (RM15), while the Dominator is a signature coffee-citrus mocktail made complex with zesty lime juice and sugar syrup, shaken with espresso and ice for verve and vigour (RM13.10). And even if you don't drink coffee, you can down a ginger shot here for digestive benefits (RM5).

The selection of warm fare and cakes includes a spicy chicken sandwich, toasty with cheddar cheese, sriracha and mayo (RM14.50), plus sweet treats like apple cakes (RM13.20; rich with morsels of apple, layered lovingly with buttercream, also recommended for fans of apple pie) and carrot cakes (RM10.50; a favourite for Whisk's regulars, laced with pecans and raisins for nutty-fruity nuances).

KRISPY KREME

Krispy Kreme first made its name in North Carolina with the Original Glazed, a classic sugar doughnut that's been an American culinary treasure since 1937. Eight decades later, Malaysia has become as besotted with founder Vernon Rudolph's doughnuts as the rest of the world. At 163 Retail Park's outpost of Krispy Kreme, the consistent attention to quality rings true in every doughnut - ingredients are imported from the U.S. to ensure a crisp bite and a fluffy chew, the hallmarks of Krispy Kreme. Bakers prepare their batches precisely timed to be completed in the morning, ready for delivery everyday to assure customers of genuine freshness.

You'll find at least 20 varieties of doughnuts here at any given time, from Almond All Over to Chocolate Peanut Butter, to Malaysian specials like the Cream Cempedak, and premium pleasures like the Chocolate Mud Pie and doughnuts with Kit Kat, Famous Amos Original Cookies, or Oreo Cheesecake, each fine-tuned to bring out the best in the flavours. Recent Malaysia Day-themed doughnuts for September included the Onde-Onde and Kaya Toast; keep a lookout for Halloween-inspired ones soon, scheduled for mid-October. All in all, these are great gifts for surprising your colleagues with or bringing home to the family.

Many thanks to 163 Retail Park and these restaurants and cafes for having us.

163 Retail Park is at 8 Jalan Kiara, Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.


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