When this was announced on The Butterfly Project, I almost died! This was truly a dream come true. I've mentioned my love for 1Utama countless times on my blog, but primarily with reference to how awesome it is as a shopping destination. Needless to say, a mall has to feed my soul to gain my undying loyalty, and so the food has to be insatiably endless and fantastic, and both these boxes have always been checked in terms of my adoration. So, when I didn't get a spot, I was quite frankly heartbroken. So I cajoled and extorted the lovely Sharon Sree's spot from her, and I will be ever grateful to her for it!
And, of course, I popped up bright an early. 1Utama opens at 10 am, and you know I was there by 10:15 am, parked and ready to roll!
Now, what's going on in 1Utama at present is a month of food-loving! They're promoting themselves as a foodies' one-stop shop, and it truly is because you can get everything from comfort food to the daintiest desserts under one roof. And so, all month, you would have found, or you will find, posters to that effect all over, and a trail (not unlike the Yellow Brick Road) leading you to tantalising wonders!
There are, of course, some additional fun activities ongoing which just makes the whole experience all the more interactive.
[The Butterfly Project's Booth - Check out the gleaming goodie bags!]
We were given a "Food Passport" which allowed us to sample the signature dishes at 15 of 1Utama's food outlets, and we could pick as many as we would like to visit. This was as close as I was going to get to being allowed to slather the building in peanut butter and chew my way threw it. And because I am a cow with 4 stomachs, I was hell-bent on visiting all 15, a majority of them I was already familiar with, and eating my way through 1Utama. Did I succeed?
[For the record, I did try to do them numerically according to what was given to us, but I faltered due to uncontrollable temptation...]
Outlet #1: Ninja Joe
Ninja Joe is a joint I'm all too familiar with. I've been to all their outlets, multiple times, and I truly feel that their 1Utama outlet is one of the few which has maintained its standards in terms of consistency of presentation, size and flavour.
They are famous for being the only fast food joint to sell pork burgers as their staple and making the food as it is ordered, but they have recently extended their menu rather extensively to include a lamb burger, rice bowls (good char siew) and even a vegetarian option which is actually quite delicious.
I adore the fact that their food is preservative-free because I'm rather sensitive to MSG. It won't stop me from eating something, but the effects are proof that the stuff simply isn't meant to be in food.
[All of these are delicious!]
[Much prefer this to Kate Moss' ideology...]
[A crowd, even at 11 am!]
[What would you pick?]
They were recommending their Hikkori BBQ burger, which I had no tried prior to this visit, so I was more than happy to try it.
[Hikkori BBQ Burger]
If you do order any of their burgers, do take note that the little flags are souvenirs you should hang on to.
The burger wasn't too big, which was perfect for the day ahead. Other than the misguided addition of a pickle slice, it was excellent. The bacon was just slightly crispy while still remaining chewy, and the burger itself was juicy, tender and sweet, which contrasted perfectly with the smoky BBQ sauce. Love!
Their fries are thick-cut and have all the goodness of potato in them. They're not spectacular, but they will definitely fulfill a fry-craving well.
Yes, the shape on these is adorable! I wouldn't suggest throwing these are anyone, however. Why would you share them? They're made of pork and mashed potato...which is quite possibly the post overlooked combination in history!
Other Recommendations: Teriyaki Ninja, Big Boss, Chuck
Outlet #2: Ko Hyang Korean Country Delights
This is a restaurant I've only discovered during this year, and prior to this I wasn't really a fan of Korean food because it's always too heavily flavoured with unnecessary (and unauthentic) seasoning in most places. Here, they stay true to their name and give you a good home-cooked meal which will leave you very happy.
[No preservatives or MSG - Check!]
[Their Signature - My Order]
[Dol Sot Bi Bim Bab]
If you order a main, it comes with 3 small side dishes, as well as a soup.
None of these additional dishes should be tossed aside lightly, either. They are packed with excellent flavour and complement the main dish very well.
[Check out the purple rice peaking through...]
[Sauteed Beef & Onions]
[Perfectly Cooked Egg on Chilli Sauce]
The balance contained within the dish is fantastic. It pairs all the different flavours so well with individual elements which are cooked to perfection.
Other Recommendations: Stir-Fried Glass Noodles
Outlet #3: Oyster King
Comfort food at its best! I know a lot of people avoid this joint because they aren't fans of oyster, and neither am I, but you are truly missing out!
Of course, what else could I order but O-Chien?
While I've never tried to make it, I do believe it's oyster bulked up with egg and some sort of starch. It's amazing. I can't even describe it.
The decor is so intriguingly hawker-y in its own way as well. With these tables that remind you to put your phones away and actually socialise with those around you. I'm not entirely sure how they would react if I do bring seeds from a checkers board in though. I'm presuming it's just meant to be a conversation starter.
As is the food...
[O-Chien or Fried Oyster]
In all honestly, I always eat around the oyster in this dish, and I'm a very happy camper. It's absolutely amazing on its own, but the chilli just gives it a bit of a kick if you need to break the taste up a bit.
Other Recommendations: Lala Fried Rice
Outlet #4: SS2 Goreng Pisang
By this point, I was definitely craving something sweet, and what hits the spot like goreng pisang, right?
[Sweet & Savoury Options]
[Savoury: Curry Puff, Fish Ball, Fried Yam Cake with Dried Shrimp, Prawn Fritters, etc.]
[Sweet: Banana Fritter, Sweet Glutinous Rice Cake Layered with Yam & Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato, Tapioca Ball with Coconut, etc.]
This was my first exposure to this place, so I kept flitting around with my decisions. It was terrible. Eventually I settled on 2 sweet options, and I have no regrets whatsoever! I will, however, be back to eat everything else!
[Banana Fritter and Sweet Glutinous Rice Cake Layered with Yam & Sweet Potato]
While it's somewhat impossible to get the flavour you would from some random cart in the middle of Petaling Street or SS2, this was definitely no slouch. Crispy without being too greasy, with a fluffy and delicious middle. Both of them!
Outlet #5: Eat & Happy Yong Tau Foo
For a YTF place that's in the middle of a mall, the variety here is quite astounding.
I've been here on a couple of occasions, and the food isn't spectacular, but it would satisfy a craving quite nicely.
While everything on offer is always excessively fresh, neither of these sauces really hurt. They are both very well balanced and perfectly complementary to everything served up.
Outlet #6: I Love Yoo!
Is it wrong to admit just how excited I was that this was on the menu? I Love Yoo too! Whenever I need my tau foo far or sesame ball fix, this is where I get it, and it was a real treat, as always!
[Cauldrons of Goodness]
[Tau Foo Far sans sugar]
[Tau Foo Far with brown sugar]
Honestly, you need this in your life. The tau foo far is warm, smooth and silky and it breaks up into gorgeous little curds as you run your spoon around the bowl. Delectable! Truly!
[Peanut Sesame Ball]
Their lotus sesame ball is fantastic as well, but I was going with my basics for this round. This was, as it always is, divinely satisfying. Crunchy and gooey and peanuty...yum!
Is there a more perfect accompaniment to cut through the sweet?
You need all of these now, don't you?
Outlet #7: Bisou
Bisou has exploded all over KL, primarily because of how pretty their cakes are. I've never been an ardent fan of theirs because their cupcakes are always too sweet or dense or cloying. Then again, that is the nature of most cupcakes in KL.
The decor is absolutely adorable. Considering that it's smack dab in the middle of a square of Asian delights, this holds its own as a little space which is styled as a chic cafe, and it does it very successfully.
Considering how tiny the space is, they offer a very good variety of decorative options from boxes to little paper umbrellas. It's truly a lovely touch.
What goes better with cake than coffee? They do offer a good variety here, so it would be a good place to have a seat and fuel up while you're shopping.
[A Plethora of Cupcakes]
I got to try their cupcake of the month, which is Chocolush, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised!
Because it has cream cheese frosting, it was a rather different addition to their stash. Most chocolate cupcakes tend to come with chocolate ganache or chocolate buttercream, so it was nice to taste something different. It was, however, still far too sweet for my liking. I prefer my chocolate dark, so this didn't really do it for me.
Of course, they do have some "Luxe" offerings, which are their fancier (and pricer) cakes.
I'm particularly intrigued by the Orange Poppyseed Loaf, and I feel like I need to go back there for it!
[5 of their most popular cupcakes]
Outlet #8: Mr. Cendol
This is a joint I've never noticed before, and I'm kicking myself a little since I adore cendol! However, I'm one of those people who likes it without any beans or nuts or corn. The same way I like ABC.
Interestingly, they also have savoury options here, but I had my heart set on cendol after seeing it on my passport, so no deviation was going to take place!
[Cendol Mangkuk & Gula Melaka]
[All I can think of is, "Green Lantern"]
Yes, I did end up picking the beans out, but thankfully there weren't too many.
It was a very satisfying bowl of goodness, which lovely semi-chewy strands of jelly. I'll definitely be going back for more! It's not the best you're going to find in KL, but it's definitely one of the better versions in my area. Yay for new discoveries!
Outlet #9: Seaweed Club
Another new discovery! This was the joint I was most apprehensive about because I'm not a fan of seaweed.
I love the fact that they tell you exactly what goes in it, and that they do have a vegetarian option of the roll. In fact, they have a number of options including, tuna, wasabi and spicy. The lovely lady in charge, Jane, said she'd make me 2 of their bestsellers - Tuna and Spicy.
[That's Jane in pink!]
What I was most fascinated by was their range of teas! Never in the multitude of occasions that I'd walked past this little nook would I have imagined that they would serve up speciality teas!
[WHY HAS NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT THIS?]
[Jujube, Longan, Wolfberry Tea]
[Pakistan Rose Tea]
[Japanese Genmai Green Tea]
[Peach & Pineapple Fruit Tea]
[Raspberry & Strawberry Fruit Tea]
While the majority of these are tisanes, as opposed to tea, it's all still very exciting to me! I asked Jane what her favourite was, and she recommended the Jujube, Longan & Wolfberry tea, which is what I went with.
[Little Glass Bottles of Tea for Sale]
[Jujube, Longan & Wolfberry; Pakistani Rose; Genmai Green]
[Tuna & Spicy]
As I mentioned, I'm not a fan of seaweed, but these were exceptionally delicious parcels of goodness! Never in a million years would I have imagined myself making comments of this sort, but there you have it. I'm a convert and I'm already craving more of this stuff! I sense a new obsession in the making. While their "Spicy" isn't actually spicy, it's still delicious. I do love tuna, and I am happy to report that there was no disappointment to be found here. The tuna was fresh and extremely tasty and it paired perfectly with the crisp vegetables. So much love! So much!
While I felt it might have been a bit much to steal the tea, as well as the picture, from the bloggers at the next table, I did get my own pot, so I was a happy camper.
[Jujube, Longan & Wolfberry Tea]
I know...even I can see that terrible pouring involved in this. I am not a coordinated human. More importantly, however, I was not steered wrong with regards to this option. It was quite a lovely blend. While I have no clue what jujube is, the flavours harmonised very well and it's a naturally sweet brew from the longan and wolfberry. I would definitely go back for more tea as well, and to try the rest of them!
Outlet #10: Pao Xiang Bak Kut Teh
Did you know they had BKT in 1Utama? I did! But I've never been to this place because there have always been other outlets screaming out for my attention. I'm so, so happy this was on the list!
[Their Lean Cuts]
I will confess that I am a BKT-ordering novice since I always have someone who knows better on hand when I'm inhaling the stuff, so I asked Sam (the wonderfully helpful dude attending to my BKT needs) which cuts were lean and recommended. Clearly, the lean cuts weren't a choice based on health, but purely because that's how you know whether the pork is actually good. Fat is salty and delicious. It's a lot harder to fake lean meat! So, I went for their Pan Fei Soul, which was boneless (Yes, I'm also one of those people! Don't judge!).
This oolong brew was of a somewhat smokier variety than most people serve, and it wasn't watered down at all, which I truly appreciate. Absolutely lovely tea, and the smokiness paired very well with the herbal broth of the dish itself.
Since I didn't order rice with it, they kindly threw in a couple of thin slices of you tiao for me.
The you tiao itself was excellent. It's texture was spot on with just a hint of crunchiness, while remaining fluffy and chewy on the inside. It ensured the perfect texture for soaking up all the herbally goodness.
[Pan Fei Soul]
The broth was extremely earthy, but not overpoweringly herbally. It's definitely quite a meal to wake up to any morning.
The meat itself was tender and full of flavour. I was pleasantly surprised and a little miffed that I hadn't come here prior to this. Besides the fact that the meat is excellent, the servings are really quite generous as well. This will definitely be an upcoming weekend regularity for me!
Outlet #11: Lammeeya
I do love Lammeeya! Their food is simple, uncomplicated and always very satisfying!
It also needs to be said that their decor makes me feel like I'm in their menu, which I love! Their walls are plastered with their dishes so you can be productive while staring at a wall!
Because I am a creature of habit to some extent, I ordered their Oil & Vinegar Pork.
I love the fact that when they serve you soup, it isn't just soup. There's meat in it! [Meat > Soup]
As for the dish itself, it's like having a good home-cooked meal. It's simple, uncomplicated and there are no surprises involved. It's just straight up tasty, without the artificial/excessive flavourings which many restaurants of this sort enjoy piling on.
Outlet #12: BBQ Chicken
I've never actually been into BBQ Chicken because I've always thought that deep frying anything in olive oil made the concept of using olive oil moot. Not because it's deep fried, but because olive oil has a low smoking point, and deep frying would far surpass that point. I was to be taught a valuable lesson...
The decor is not something I would have expected from the outside, either. It's so pretty and lounge-y, much more like a cafe than a KFC.
One of their managers was present and explained to me that they had a proprietary form of olive oil that has a smoking point of 220 degress, while their frying only hits 160 degrees. Sense! This just opened up a whole new world to me.
On top of that, they're going to be revamping their 1Utama outlet soon to a Premium Cafe where they will be serving something called "Spoon Pizza" which is the most amazing invention I can think of. Basically, the base is made of pancakes, and it is topped with chicken slices and cheese. And you eat it with a spoon. Yes, you read that right: Pancake Pizza. I'll help them rebuild the store to get it sooner.
[Iced Lemon Tea]
I'm also very happy about the fact that their iced lemon tea isn't watered down. It's got terrific flavour, without being too sweet.
[Spicy Fried Chicken & Jerk Chicken]
Not at all like the mass produced stuff, you could taste the onions in this, and it was very tasty.
Their fries are thick and actually taste like potatoes, which makes me very happy.
As for their chicken, they don't use frozen meat, so there isn't a discrepancy in flavour. They refrigerate their meat, so it lasts for only up to 3 days and is fresher and more flavourful than it would be when it's frozen. The meat is tender and cooked to perfection here. Definitely an option you would want to consider the next time you need your hit of fried chicken.
Outlet #13: Vivo American Pizza & Panini
I've been to Vivo a number of times, but it's always left me feeling a little uninspired. They did, at some point in the past, have Mushroom Toast on the menu, and it was amazing. I do hope they bring it back!
Their specialities are grilled chicken chop, pizza and molten chocolate cake.
As I've had their pizza before, I opted for the grilled chicken chop. As for their pizza, it's decent, but nothing to make the trip about.
[Grilled Chicken Chop]
You have an option of gravies with this: Mushroom or Black Pepper.
[Black pepper Gravy]
The chicken here was surprisingly good. I wouldn't have expected it based on past experience with the restaurant. It's cooked to perfection with a crispy outer skin, while the meat remains tender and juicy and full of flavour.
I love molten chocolate cake, but there aren't many places that do a good job of it.
[Molten Chocolate Cake]
Much like a poached egg, the test to how well made molten chocolate cake is is whether it oozes chocolate when cut into.
[Oozing River of Chocolate + Capsized Cherry]
[Oozing River of Chocolate - Capsized Cherry]
Aesthetically, this ticks all the boxes. Taste wise, it's good but I've had better. I'd stick with the chicken chop.
Outlet #14: Food Box
Food Box is like a sedated version of Lameeya in that the food is very much in the style of being home-cooked and simple.
Their menu is small but specialised. They offer a limited number of dishes, but they do a decent job of their food. I opted for their Butter Pork, which is a dish I haven't tried on any of my other visits to Food Box.
All their meals aim to provide some balance with greens and a small slice of omelette. The pricing is rather steep for the portion you're getting, but you're paying for pure food without the fillers.
[Perfectly cooked omelette atop fluffy white rice]
The meat itself has a lot of flavour, there just isn't a lot of meat in this tiny bowl. As you can see from the picture, the fork spans the diameter of the bowl. This place is good if you want an uncomplicated, simple and home-cooked meal, but not if you're expecting to be wowed.
Outlet #15: Molten Lava
And our final stop on this spectacular adventure is Molten Lava! I know, for a fact, that I will always get good churros here, so I love it! I've never actually tried anything else on their menu, so I can't really comment, though their macarons are not the best in KL, they aren't the worst and they come in a huge variety of flavours.
[Macarons & Swiss Rolls]
[Assorted Swiss Rolls]
It is somewhat unfortunate that on a handful of occasions the churros have been a little soggy, but most of the time they are perfect little bundles of joy, and I have a rather thorough love affair with their cinnamon-y goodness. Molten Lava also offers dipping sauces such as chocolate or caramel as add-ons, and they are good, but I love them in their pure form!
A little known fact about Molten Lava is that they do absolutely fantastic eggless cakes. Since I live in a house dominated by vegetarians, I am well-versed with what qualifies as good eggless cake, and this is the place to go. However, they are by special order only, but they are worth it if you are having trouble finding good options of this sort.
[My Nephew's Birthday Cake - Eggless Butter Cake]
LG Promenade: SS2 Goreng Pisang, Ninja Joe, Seaweed Club, I Love Yoo, Eat & Happy Yong Tau Foo, Oyster King, Bisou, Mr Cendol, Pao Xiang Bak Kut Teh, Ko Hyang Korean Country Delights.
LG Highstreet: Lameeya, BBQ Chicken, Food Box, Vivo American Pizza and Panini, and Lava.
And, of course, 1Utama sent us home with some goodies!
[My Bag of Swag]
[Brochure & Eco Bag from BBQ Chicken]
This pillow is actually of excellent quality and it's very comfortable to use! Not just decorative at all, though it's one of the more tasteful Christmas pillows around.
Fluffy and absorbent! Happiness!
Seriously, one of the best gifts ever. My Powerbank had failed spectacularly on me not 2 days before receiving this and it is much appreciated because it works like a dream!
[My Completed Passport
[Vouchers to partake in activities]
[RM50 One Card Points]
For those of you unfamiliar with the wonders of One Card membership, listen closely. I've been a member for years, and it has served me spectacularly! For every dollar you spend at the majority of 1Utama's outlets, you get points and these can be accumulated for spending on items of your choice or even converted to prepaid parking dollars. I haven't paid for parking in over 5 years due to the points I have, which makes me very happy. I had a Bumblebee One Card prior to renewal a day before this event which was limited edition in conjunction with the release of Transformers 2 (if I recall right), but sadly it's gone now. But apparently I got my membership renewed for free anyway because I basically live in the mall. It IS afterall the 4th biggest mall in the world...how could you get bored of it?
As an added aspect to this post, there are a few categories which weren't really covered in my food adventure, so I thought I'd throw in a few extras which I personally love.
Bonus Outlet: Whisk, Outpost
This is for the caffeine junkies out there. Whisk's first outlet is located in Empire, and this is their only decant from that, and a joint you should definitely visit!
[Cakes, Macarons, Bagels]
Not only do they have the best coffee in 1Utama, they have some of the best coffee in KL, and their baristas are always very nice.
They do bake all their cakes in-house as well, and they are well worth the try. Spectacular stuff!
[The Cold Brew Fridge]
If you've not heard of cold brew coffee, you are missing out on an entire spectrum of caffeine ingestion. Basically, cold brew in milder in flavour but higher in caffeine content because it's brewed for 24-48 hours. This ensures that all the underlying notes in coffee is more pronounced in the brew.
[Cold Brew with Milk]
Cold Brew comes with or without milk, according to your preference.
[Cold Brew with Milk]
If you are looking for a good cup of coffee, this is where you should be headed.
Other Suggestions: Nutella Latte (Yes, the glass is coated with Nutella before the latte goes in...)
Pasta & Pizza: Dave's Bistro (Dave's Deli's Non-Halal Cousin) - 50% off on certain dishes from 12-3pm on weekdays.
Recommendations: Carbonara with meatballs, bacon and mushrooms is to die for! They also do whole roasted piglets which makes me very happy!
Vegetarian Cuisine: Yishensu (Right next to Dave's) - No MSG and consistently fantastic. Recommendations: Golden mayo prawns, Mongolian bacon, Tom yam fried rice, Preserved black bean fish, Curry mee, Teriyaki duck
Comfort Food: L. Table by Lander - It's set inside the bakery and the atmosphere is lovely. Try their four-cheese grilled cheese sandwich. It's definitely the gourmet version of your traditional grilled cheese, but you won't want to miss it if you love cheese and bread!
Dim Sum: Canton-i & Ying Ker Lou. The latter is severely underrated, but they do some fantastic dim sum!
[All of the outlets mentioned here will accept your One Card for point accumulation, or to pay with]