I have been to Brisik a few times now, possibly about 6 or 7 times since 2008, so I am quite well versed with the food and can tell you what’s good and what’s not too good and since they have stood the test of time in an area where it is predominantly Chinese and European Food, I believe Brisik is in the right direction of what they want to present.
So today Dan and I decided to have lunch at Brisik. He has never been there before, although there were a few times we did nearly go but somehow we ended up going somewhere else. Now don’t be fooled upon entering Brisik. Its interior is done up like a comfortable home, and the material hanging off the ceiling gives you an impression that you are under a Souk of sorts. It’s a nice warm feeling when you enter Brisik, and they have made their rather mundane balcony it a separate dining area for people who smoke. It is nicely done up with almost the same furnishings complete with a sofa and all, and they have ample fans to keep you cool on a hot afternoon. Today though it threatened to rain when we got there and Dan decided we should sit outside because it was cooler. So we sat outside of course.
I have to say though service in Brisik is always good. They have extremely friendly outgoing staff that when they gregariously come to greet you and take your order you almost feel at home right away. Their Manager who is always so friendly with me is extremely nice to everyone. He has been there right from the very start of Brisik, and he has seen it grow to what it is today. He told me this himself. He has been through bad times good times and worst times like last year, and still Brisik has managed to overcome it all. So I guess Brisik is still standing because of its food. Also the fact that it is the only Halal and decent restaurant selling a mixture of Malay and other Asian foods, this has enabled it to get through a lot of hurdles in the area.
So here we were on Wednesday afternoon ready for lunch and might I add Dan was really hungry so when Dan is hungry expect a variety of foods to be placed n front of you. So we started out with starters, Dan wanted Satay, so I decided we should try the combo which comes with to Sator, which I have always liked. Now the Satay in Brisik is unlike what we get usually. Chicken meat is wrapped around a stalk of lemon grass and served with peanut sauce and a sweet chilly sauce. One thing about Brisik is they really do a good job with their serving styles. So our Appetizer came along, and in it was four Satay and two Sator. Now Sator is made of Tofu and Vegetables eggs, and it is coated like a cutlet and deep fried. I have always likes Sator more then anything else although it”s fried.
The Satay had its own flavor, I do feel it could have been a trifle bit thicker around the Lemon Grass Stalk, but never the less, they do use lean meat as there is absolutely no traces of fat on it. Dipped in the sauces it does tastes a bit tangy and spicy, but my usually sensitive tongue did not taste the lemon grass at all. I do wish they would give us slightly deeper sauce bowls so that we do not have to double and triple dip.
The accompaniments of this Appetizer was Kerupuk Binjai, which is a cracker derived from a fruit that kind of looks like a cherry, but in this case if I remember correctly the seed is pounded and so you get the cracker. I know a friend of ours who had a few trees in her garden and she told me this many moons ago.
There was also some Mango Kerabu (mango pickle) which I must say was full of mango rather then onions like some places you go to. The sweet and sourness of the mango and the sweetish dressing with a slight hint of birds eye chilly did have its own kick. I thought it was just right for my usually sensitive palate.
Ok here is the list of our main courses, and I am with Dan, so when I am with Dan and when he is hungry, we eat like healthy growing boys.
- Nasi Kambing Lunak accompanied by a side of Gado Gado and desert with ginger tea.
- Kerabu Pucuk Paku
- Kai Lan with Salted Fish
- Ayam Penyet
So one by one I will critique these dishes, first the Nasi Kambing Lunak. Presentation wise it was nice and it made a rather simple dish look appetizing and a food that is usually consumed in a village setting, many places including Brisik sort of brought these foods out of hiding. However, the Kambing which was actually a lamb chop of sorts was not Lunak in anyway. It was tasteless and tasted too Goaty or Lamby! If there are such words. There was no taste whatsoever. Even if it was to be dipped into the sauces provided, it did not make much difference as the meat was tough. The sauces were too spicy for me. We actually shared the main course and did not finish it. We did eat the crackers and the vegetables provided, as well as the piece of fried tempe and the half tofu. I would not order this dish I must say. It was really not to my liking. They need to do something about the lamb.
The Accompaniment of Gado Gado was to me a little bit overcooked as I like my vegetables a bit crunchy. Maybe this is the Pasunda style but somehow the overcooked water convolvulus was too distracting. Once again it was served with the same peanut sauce.
I did think the whole baby Brinjal, the Four angled Bean and the Mini Cucumber provided was a little unsexy to be consumed in public. I believe it should have been cut. And the Daun Pegaga, while it looked nice all bunched up like that, somehow should have not been bunched up with a rubber band.
I have often heard my clients and students say lamb and mutton have a smell that they cannot stand, I think this is the typical example.
The Kerabu Pucuk Paku while nice and all was again too spicy for my liking. I thought it was a tad too red for a dressing because you never get chilly to be so red unless something is added. From afar it looked like kim chee. But I know Kim Chee uses red peppers so lets hope these are the same red peppers used in Brisik’s Kerabu Pucuk Paku. I did eat it though, it was nice, the vegetables were cooked just right and the pieces of onions added a nice sweetness to the dish.
The Kai Lan with salted fish is always my favorite and this is what I enjoyed most. The last few times I was there they used to put really big pieces of salted fish and the shock it gave your taste buds every time you bit into it was rather not enjoyable. I did mention it to Wati who is the owner and now suddenly the Chef of the place. Hopefully she did something about it because of my big mouth. I liked it, it was just the way I wanted my Vegetables to be.
By the way it was raining Cats and Dogs and sitting on the balcony was rather daunting as I was getting wet. No one came to ask if I was ok though, not that I am some big ladida, but still, I feel someone should have come and asked because they did see the rain beating in. Also everytime I took a photo, I’d see the next table jump thinking my camera flash was lightning. So I think I did irritate them a tiny bit.
The Ayam Penyet came last, and well it was nice, again too spicy for me, it was about ½ chicken so to speak which came with the same dipping sauce as the Satay, the Nasi Kambing Lunak and I thought this was rather strange. I think the fact that you know the sauces are going to be repeated, either don’t serve it or have a variety of sauces to play with. This was unnecessary. I think the Chefs, Wati included should look into this. Being served the same sauce with three different dishes shows lack of creativity. While the Ayam Penyet was rather photogenic, but the sauce that was poured over it was a tad too thick. This is just a personal thing. Perhaps Brisik should consider giving the sauce separately instead of giving more chilly sauce and this other green chilly paste three times in a row. It was a waste of sauce really because we did not finish the sauces all three times.
Dessert was served as part of the Set Meal, so Dan got his Sago Gula Melaka which nice. Am not a fan of this so I shan’t comment. I think though dessert should be something lighter after serving Kambing which is considered hot and heavy. And the Ginger Tea… for heavens sakes, how hard is it to make ginger tea, and if its difficult go to Indonesia and get Teh Jahe Wangi, its 13500 Rupiahs or the bigger box is 20000 Rupiah. You cannot go wrong with that kind of costs. Do not attempt to make ginger tea that does not have any ginger taste whatsoever. The Tea was all wrong, Too Strong Tea and To Light a Ginger.
The bill was RM75. I thought it was a nice meal. I may complain but as a cook you know everyone cannot be pleased. Brisik serves this very nice plain carrot noodles that I have eaten a few times when I just wanted something oil free and plain. It was really nice but somehow I did not find it in the menu. They have revamped their menu twice I think.
Brisik is a nice little getaway, although the traditional music can drive you balmy by dessert time. Its cosy, its neat, and it’s a nice place for executives to hang out for a nice homely meal. Do try Brisik, I do recommend it but perhaps just be more selective of what you choose and expect.