I have found my fetish du jour.
Dining in Kepong, that is.
This old neighbourhood has been the playground for most of my childhood and is often the place for traditional, no-frills Chinese fare, be it in under the zinc roof of the wet market or nearby family restaurants. With so much development within the vicinity, such as Metro Prima, Bandar Manjalara and DesaCity Park, people (myself included) seemed to be only interested in the burgeoning eatery scene in those areas.
So, kudos I say, to Regal House for braving the stereotype by opening a restaurant in the now defunct Parkson Ria shopping center in Kepong Baru. In fact, it’s now occupying the whole building itself. Wet market by day, hawker center by night, this is one of the busiest areas in the whole of Kepong Baru. Not forgetting night markets on Sundays too.
I chanced upon this restaurant while driving around the neighbourhood after getting some egg tarts and kaya rolls from Tong Kee. The size of the restaurant itself spelt confidence and with that, I knew I had to give it a try. At least once.
Dining was comfortable on a Saturday, perhaps due to the large area (2 floors, by the way). We assumed that the locals are still unaware of this place as only half of the tables were filled.
Next came the sinful-looking Braised Pork Belly (RM28). How much more luscious can that cut be? The meat was flaky while the fatty portion was soft. A great combination. The braising sauce, however, was quite a letdown. Sweet was the only adjective that I could find to describe it. I could not sense even a hint of herbs like star anise, cinnamon or peppercorn. A sliced mantou or steamed bun was included for dipping.
The Claypot Fish (RM35) was perhaps the most interesting dish of the night. It was basically fried fish cooked in a sweet sauce. With ingredients such as wood ear fungus, enoki or golden needle mushroom and ginger, I thought it was a close resemblance to Wong Zhao Gai (chicken cooked in Chinese wine). The thinly-sliced fish was well-cooked and tasted slightly sweet, thanks to the infusion of the sweet sauce. Greens for the night came in form of Stir-Fried Chive Buds With Garlic (RM12). Quite a generic tasting dish, which I wished the stems were softer.
Probably the most photogenic dish of the night, the Tofu With Mushroom (RM10) was quite an interesting dish. The fried tofu was topped with finely chopped bo choi (spinach), cooked in oyster sauce and decorated with brown beech mushrooms. The tofu was very soft with a taste of egg while both the mushroom and spinach added interesting textures and tastes (mildly) to the tofu. I enjoyed the subtlety of it.
Wrapping up the night was a complimentary fresh fruit platter, consisted of watermelon, papaya and mango.
The dinner cost RM110.50 for 5 pax. Inexpensive, I'd say, as the ambiance, quality of food and service were on par with those typical air-conditioned, plate-changing restaurants in town. No government tax nor service charge were imposed to the bill too. Service was commendable at best and the staff seemed rushing to clear our table. What's the hurry?
For all the good points mentioned above and the convenience of getting a parking space, I'm sure I'll be back to savour more dishes.
Regal House Restaurant
Lot 491, Jalan 77 (Jalan Bangau),
Tel: +603-6280 2119