Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ – Hainanese Heavenlicious

When I hopped in for the Valentine Day’s buffet at Armada Hotel earlier this month, I got acquainted with Executive Chef Chew Teik Chye, whose Hainanese roots has inculcated him with the coveted skills and knowledge of whipping up authentic Hainanese cuisine.

Now, there’s no way I’ll pass up any chance of tasting authentic cuisine, be it Asian, Western or Middle Eastern. And we all know how too often we were mislead by tantalizing advertisements of “authentic” Nyonya, Hainanese,  Cristang cuisine, all of which are fast becoming lost art, and hence its popularity. Willy businessman capitalise on this void, and we consumers unknowingly paid hard earned cash for meals that may or may not as advertised.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-008

While I can’t vouch 100% for any outlet to be serving their cuisine as traditional as it was eons ago since I certainly haven’t walked this earth as long, all I can hope is as I live each day, I would be able to savour each cuisine as authentically as it is possible NOW, before it is lost forever.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-003

Upon the discovery of Chef Chew, we wasted no time to drop in again at Armada Hotel, this time strictly for his culinary prowess in the Hainanese department.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ

And when it comes to Hainanese cuisines, this bubbly chef learnt it from his hero; his grandmother.

The Hainanese cuisines have rich history dating back to the British Colonial era of which many of the Hainanese served the British Colonial as cook back then. That was when the inspiration to fuse the Hainanese dishes with the English cuisines, came about and lead to the revolution of the Hainanese cuisine. And for that reason, Hainanese are best-known-for their western specialties today.

The enduring favouriteThe Hainanese Chicken Chop (RM24++). The chicken fillet is chopped and hit with the mallet until flat, a distinguish difference it holds from your regular Joe. Though deep-fried, it was barely greasy & remained moist inside.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-004

The slurp-worthy gravy, where I was tempted to request for bread rolls to dip in and go into a carbs induced coma.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-005

And of course the Hainanese Chicken Rice (RM20++) made it appearance. No Hainanese themed meal would have been complete without it and I was told that you can hardly get a Hainanese Chicken Rice as original as this.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-007

Well, like I had said above, I can’t vouch for its authenticity 100%, but I can tell you if I liked what I tasted! So here goes…

Chef’s Hainanese Chicken Rice does not consist of roasted chicken but instead, of well simmered chicken. The correct heating technique and the précise cooling-off method were adopted to create the smooth chicken texture that he is prized for.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-012

To me, a good chicken rice dish has to be a combination of the chicken, the condiments; the ginger and chilli sauce and the rice.
The Hainanese Chicken Rice here aced in certain areas while was shaky in some. Then again, I’m not a Hainanese so take my review with a grain of salt. 🙂

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ

The rice was fantastic; fluffy, non- greasy and fragrant. It was so good that one could just eat it on it’s own! The chicken was tender yet firm but the accompanying ginger and chilli condiments was too mild. I was disappointed that the chilli lacked pungency and was sweetish instead of spicy. I have always prefered my chilli with a bit of heat. Perhaps this is done the Hainanese way, and being ignorant, I didn’t know how to appreciate it. Same verdict from me for the ginger. It wasn’t as pungent or “acrid” as I would have liked.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-001

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-006

Meanwhile, meat lovers will fall head over heels with the Hainanese Braised Lamb Chop (RM46++), braised with potatoes and it comes accompanied with steamed white rice and vegetables.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-010

I love my lamb & that’s no secret 🙂
The lamb chop was superb, full flavoured & tender. The stew-like gravy was aromatic & delicious. Chef prefers using lamb leg and the meat is cut into cubes and braised for minimum 1-2 hours prior to serving.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-011

Here’s Chef’s Fried Hailam Mee (RM20++), cooked over slow fire for the best of flavor and jam packed with crab meat, seafood and vegetables.This noodle dish is the Hainanese version of fried Yellow Noodles.
Frankly, I find it a bit too salty and the gravy a bit weird.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-002

Freshly baked Hainanese Chicken Pie (RM20++) made it’s way to our table before we finished everything off with a very old-school dessert.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-014

The pie was hearty, again a lovely stew-ful mix of chicken meat, potatoes, carrots onions & crispy pastry. I recommend tearing & dunking the pastry into the stew; letting it soak in the flavours & slurping it up in mouthfuls! Remember to have the napkin on standby! :DD

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-015

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-017

And does anyone remember this? 🙂
This dinner was a trip down the nolstagia lane. Of old favourites forgotten in this fusioned, modernised culture we are in.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-020

Everything (except the dessert) is available ala carte from11am-11pm, daily at Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada Petaling Jaya.

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-019

For reservations, please call (03) 7954 6888 ext. 4557

Utara Coffee House, Hotel Armada, PJ-021

Hotel Armada Petaling Jaya
Website: www.armada.com.my
Tel: (03) 7954 6888

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. kianfai87

    From the long historical Hainamnese Recipi heh??? :O

    Sounds so far away from my hand but it is actually in ARMADA HOTEL lol!

  2. Nikel

    Wah.. is time for Hainanese CHicken chop!!!

      1. rebeccasaw

        If u wake up early enough! 😛

      2. Akulah Pak Lan

        Sleep is boring kot. Sleep late, wake up early. =p

  3. Sean

    ooh, i’m half-hainanese (my mom’s side is), but unfortunately i’ve not learned any hainanese recipes! but ya, the rice in the chicken rice looks very tasty 😀

    1. rebeccasaw

      Hahah..can’t wait for you to do so! Pls share the recipe w me! 😛

  4. The Yum List

    Oh my, I might be tempted to slurp the gravy right out of the bowl before it even landed on the chicken. 🙂

    1. rebeccasaw

      I think you will 😀
      it’s really good. Just stay away from the mee hailam.

  5. FiSh

    out of all, i love the chicken pie the most 🙂 is it RM20++ each?

  6. akuzle ayu

    wawwiii!! all menu are really portrays the name of the restaurant…

    1. rebeccasaw

      Hahah..Have you dined here before? The buffet spread is good as well!

  7. Jason Wong

    Was suppose to attend the event last month, but our schedule was delayed by a day. So had to miss meeting you and trying the food there.

    1. rebeccasaw

      oH I see .. no worries. The hotel is still there. I’m hopping in soon to try other stuffs too.

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