Hello by Kitchen Mafia is helmed by Shearson Lian a Celebrity Chef. So let’s just start out by saying that the bar is now placed rather high.
It was a lazy cool Sunday. Have you noticed how this weather just makes you hungry all the time? Well two friends and me decided to go out for a late lunch and I decided on Hello by Kitchen Mafia because someone told me about it. So once again having no expectations except that it belonged to Shearson Lian and also Johnny Fua, we went a couple of rounds and found a park. And who should be outside his restaurant as we waited to go in, The MAN himself.
The restaurant was crowded because of Father’s Day so he told us we had to wait for a few minutes. So Shearson handed us three menus and we perused through it looking at the rather comical names like Apek Fried Rice and Kampung Boy Fried Rice and the likes, so we had to make sure we didn’t order something ordinary with a funny name.
So finally we were seated. I’d like to mention that tables were quite small and I got worried because of what we ordered. After paying and just getting ready to chat half expecting the food to take a while since the place was full… out pops the Crispy Banana Blossom with Spicy Mango Kerabu.
So of course we did the obvious and took a few photos, I mean it was less then five minutes of ordering I should say. And before we could figure out what we were about to eat, the three main courses came. Now we had four dished on the table coupled with three drinks and glasses of water and it was beginning to get suffocating.
We quickly took photos and and started to eat and as we were starting with the Crispy Banana Blossom, half guessing it might be the soft shell crab, the Duck Egg Calamari came. So I told the waitress to please slow down and before we could breathe, Shearson himself comes with the Salted Egg Butter Milk Squid and the Soft Shell Crab. He looks at the table and does nothing to ease the situation. I got a little peeved with this because as the owner of the place and having been overseas countless times as seen on TV, he should have done something. Don’t ask me what, I’m sure he could have figured out something!
Then we start eating as fast as we can, the Tortilla Pizza comes.
We were so overwhelmed that we had to rush to have space. In fact I had to pick my little tin plate in my hand and eat from it ala old Chinese style. That was how rushed and how fast the food came.
My followers would know by now, I never ever have the whole list of food ordered, but this was how it was yesterday. Everything came so fast that we were left breathless rushing through our meal. This might have affected the whole meal experience, however in all due respect, the food was good.
So let us begin.
We rushed to finish the Banana Blossom and kerabu. This was nice and flavor some, and frankly speaking we had trouble wondering if the kind of tempura’d Banana Blossoms was actually the soft shell crab we ordered. It was that mysterious. The Kerabu was excellent and the addition of thinly sliced long beans gave it that much needed crunch. The sweet and sour taste along with that tiny hint of spiciness gave this dish that extra kick. This is how anything sweet and sour should be. I was not too fond of the peanuts, I am not a peanut fan so this was just me. I would have preferred whole peanuts so I could pick at it.
By this time they took away our cutlery container and we were left with just chopsticks to eat the kerabu and pick at the long beans which I thoroughly enjoyed. We couldn’t eat up the whole dish because there was no spoons and we had to move forward to the next dish as quickly as possible.
We had to strategize this meal to make sure we still enjoyed ourselves. So friend and I suggested we eat all the small plates first. So we started with the Soft Shell Crab with the Siracha Mayo. The crab was well done, and crispy and juicy and when you bit the middle there was still that water sac inside. That is always the case with soft shell crab unless it is chopped in the middle. I think the Siracha Mayo did not do justice to the Crab. I think the sambal belacan that came with the main course gave a better flavor. I think perhaps if they mixed the sambal belacan with the Mayo, it would have been something rather special. Ok plate cleared!
The Duck Egg Calamari. This was an interesting dish so to speak. I must say by now we had forgotten what we had ordered. We knew it was calamari something but we forgot it was even duck egg. We just ate and commented that some of the pieces were tough and hard to chew but the bigger pieces were perfect. Perhaps if the pieces were a bit bigger, then it would have been perfect. I didn’t taste anything Ducky with the duck egg topping and all. I remember eating Char Koay Teow with Duck Egg once and there was a pronounced after taste. The hint of curry leaf probably took away any duckiness. I like curry leaves. I just enjoy eating them like this. I wish there was a bit more curry leaves.
All in all still very good.
Next was the Tortilla Pizza with 3 cheeses as topping. Now I must say this was what the doctor ordered so to speak. It was a good blend of cheese with just the right ratio of Parmesan, Aged Cheddar and Blue Cheese. Nothing was overwhelming and those blue cheese haters would have never detected blue cheese at all. As we were beginning to have breathing space now with plates and all being removed, we started to enjoy our meal much more. I could have had two plates of this and would still long for more.
I am not a fan of heavy pizza, and while a Tortilla base might sound fast food, it was perfect. Had they decided to use thin crust pizza base, it would have totally spoilt this dish. I loved it! And so did the other two.
Now we had the main courses to reckon with.
Ok by now, main courses were a tad bit cold. The Salted Egg Butter Milk Pesto sauce kind of started to get the pasta all stuck together. This needs to be eaten hot or fresh from the stove. Flavor wise, it was excellent as sticky and bunched up as the pasta was, it was nice. I loved it and so did the rest. I think I could have had it even without the Soft Shell Crab which was cooked to perfection I might add. Ok.. As I am typing this, I can still remember the flavors so avidly. Well Done!
Spicy Thai Beef was next. The fusing of flavors together with the fresh basil gave this heavy looking dish a sense of lightness. The spiciness took it to another level. It was a wonderful flavor and by now there were three father full boys and yet we all enjoyed it. One little setback for me anyhow was the use of minced meat. I figured for some reason it would be thinly sliced beef a la Pho Bo style. The noodles were eaten rather quickly and in the end all the meat was below. Note too, we still used chopsticks as everyone was too busy to take any notice of our need for spoons. In the end when the middle of the restaurant long table cleared, we saw the cutlery thingy and got three spoons. We needed it now to taste the meat and also to scoop the last dish which was the Ginger Beef Fried Rice.
Now before I end with the Thai Beef, I have to say eating the meat on it’s own was not too enjoyable. The mince was dry, obviously Shearson uses good quality and low fat, but it became hard to swallow and don’t forget it was cold. Perhaps if we had eaten it together with everything in the bowl, then it would be different. Still very enjoyable.
Finally, Ginger Beef Fried Rice. I like Ginger Beef. Now as a fried rice, this was truly something else. The gingeriness gave it a nice flavor. Now I love anything ginger, so I have no complaints. The meat was perfectly flavored and it was not tough. I liked it. It was a nice comfort food kinda flavor. Nice on a cool to cold morning. The sambal belacan had a nice flavor too, but we kind of forgot to eat more of it because we were quite full. All that rushing had taken it’s toll on the once three hungry boys. I did find the fried egg to be a tad over fried though. Perhaps if the yolk was a tiny bit runny and so we could mix it with the rice and it would break easily into pieces. This didn’t happen.
All in all, the food was very good. We will go there again and REQUEST A BIGGER TABLE.
I think if you sell Tapas, you need to provide bigger tables. I have a tendency of going over board with Tapas when I am really in the mood and could have ordered a few more, but we didn’t because I knew the table would be a problem.
I love those cute enamel plates. I mean it made me feel very retro and gave an old feeling to rather modern food.
The staff were excellent. Everyone had big smiles and one of the girls had the most prettiest smile I’d ever seen. This just made up for the food piling.
Now the Coconut Latte I feel could have had more coconut. I had it in my head that it would be served with coconut cream. I wonder how that will taste? This might be something to try out I think.
So there you go. Hello by Kitchen Mafia.. a sure to go again restaurant. Well Done Shearson Lian and Johnny Fua.