Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chili Espresso, Sooka Sentral

I was traumatized on Sunday morning when I went for my wisdom tooth surgery. It turned out that I had a deeply rooted tooth that was actually the size of a molar that grew sideways (since it didn't have enough room at the back of my lower left gum!). After almost sitting in the dentist's chair for 2 hours, I was relieved when it finally came out after it was split to 3 parts! I was strong at first but 3/4 way through, the ordeal was just too much for me and tears started rolling down. The dentist stroked my chin to console me...hahaha! She apologised that I had to suffer and later she even called on me when I was back home to see how I was doing and said sorry for making me cry. Hehehe...I was surprised that she called, it was a nice of her to do so. Since then, I've been recuperating from my ordeal and decided that I'll post something that I had done earlier for Food Street Malaysia to save myself some time and work and I decided to pick Chili Espresso from the numerous assignments I had. I really enjoyed the simple and tasty fare from Chilli Espresso and have had another round of Mee Mamak when I went there again on my own time.


Not knowing where Sooka Sentral was exactly except for the fact that it's near KL Sentral, I drove and parked in KL Sentral. Do note that parking around Sentral can be quite an expensive affair, the rates are at RM4 for the first hour with every subsequent hour at RM2.20. One can of course, take the LRT to KL Sentral and make your way across on foot like I did. I somehow manage to head into the right direction and found myself staring at a brand new Sooka Sentral building (almost perpendicular to Plaza Sentral and KL Sentral itself) and soon found Chili Espresso.

Chili Espresso

Turns out there are a few new eating spots here and I looked forward to trying out the food at Chili Espresso as it's also by the same team who's responsible for Isthmus KL. Of course, Chili Espresso is based on a different concept from Isthmus KL; a cafe that serves up favourite local meals (well, not so local if one is talking about the Percik Ayam Siam, more on that later...).

Chili Espresso Interior

Upon entering this 2nd 3 month old Chili Espresso outlet here (their first is in Northpoint, Mid Valley City), I felt the immediate warmth from the reddish hues of their interior. Sitting down with Czar, we went about tasting the food here and with Czar, the “Unearthed Iron Chef” (that's the title I awarded her for obvious reasons), Chili Espresso food was put through the taste test.

Fried Mee Mamak
The Fried Mee Mamak (RM11.50) came served on a fiery red plate. I caught a whiff of it before I took a bite and knew it was going be good. Yellow noodles fried with prawns, tomato, potato, eggs in spiced sauce, I loved the way it tasted. It had the “wok hei” (the result of food cooked in a searing hot wok), which is essential when it comes to ALL fried noodles. Czar said it tasted good but would have preferred the noodles to be “more dry” but it was okay by me. If you like it dry or spicier, let the staff know when you order this crowd favourite.

Herbal Nasi Cina Kampong
Now, this was an interesting dish for me to try. The Herbal Nasi Cina Kampong (nasi ulam) was presented in a lovely way, with the several types of ulam (raw vegetables) surrounding the herbal rice like a “moat” on a banana leaf. I destroyed the “moat” easily, mixing the ulam into the jasmine rice together with the sambal belacan that was served separately. The warm herbed rice and ulam mix turned into a fragrant and flavourful delight.

Ikan Tenggiri
Most of you would know that I'm not a fan of fish and the Herbal Nasi Cina Kampong (RM9.50) comes served with Ikan Tenggiri. However, this fish got my attention as it was fried, topped with chili gravy and wasn't fishy at all (something which I'm quite particular about). Eating the chili Ikan Tenggiri with all the spices, herbs and ulam harmoniously blended together was an enjoyable experience. I personally would ask for extra sambal to kick it up a notch!

Percik Ayam Siam
Next was the “Percik Ayam Siam” (Grilled Thai Chicken) served with Nasi Minyak, Mango Kerabu and some Pappadam (RM14.50) on a banana leaf. The Percik Ayam Siam being the highlight of this dish was put to the comparison test with my favourite Yati Ayam Percik from Kota Bahru. I have yet to find one that comes close to Yati's around Klang Valley and how did Chili Espresso's version fare? It came quite close; a pleasant surprise indeed. The chicken is cooked on lava rocks to replicate the same smoky flavour which was evidently present and the meat was tender. The boneless and cut grilled chicken pieces came topped with spicy coconut gravy (other ingredients remain a secret! Hahaha) and was delicious. The gravy was not as creamy as my Kota Bahru favourite and was also a tad sweeter. Nevertheless, we ate it all up without a single drop of gravy left on the plate (Note to self : Ask for more gravy next time!).

Inchi Kabin
Now, the Inchi Kabin was not on the menu but it seems they do serve this tasty Nyonya version of fried chicken occasionally, so do check on availability. Marinated with spices, the taste of the fried chicken was further enhanced with a special dip; “grandma's” special recipe with added bird's eye chili (cili padi). Czar said it has hints of five spice powder and nutmeg; we couldn't figure out the rest!

Overall, it was a pleasant dining experience at Chili Espresso and I told myself that I will dine here again (which I did!). Added with the pleasant environment and friendly staff, I won't mind paying the pricier parking charges. Chili Espresso : A welcomed “fiery addition” to the local food scene!

Chili Espresso
G-5, Sooka Sentral
Jalan Stesen Sentral
50470 Kuala Lumpur

Opening Hours : Monday-Saturday 8 a.m to 8 p.m

Contact : 03-2785 1938

First Outlet : Unit B-G-5, Ground Floor
North Point, Mid Valley City
No. 1, Medan Syed Putra Utara
59200 Kuala Lumpur
Contact : 032282 6113


And here's my quote on my recent trauma...

Some tortures are physical
And some are mental,
But the one that is both
Is dental.
~Ogden Nash


Anonymous said...

I feel for you, dear. I had not one, both wisdom teeth removed a couple years back for the same reason... they were growing sideways. And I insisted on having them both done on the same day when my dentist said this was normally done on different days...

Guess I was braver than I was smart. It hurt like [expletive deleted]! But we survive, don't we? :)


Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

i know how it feels cos i had a similar experience but doc never apologised. this gives u a chance to blog about food for ppl who can't chew. hope u r fine by now! :D

J2Kfm said...

hehe, is there such a quote after all? I dread dentist visit when I was small, and still do now.

never realise the existence of this restaurant in MidValley though. Reasonable, if the food is good. talk about Nasi Ulam, there is one cafe in Ipoh which serves this dish.

LianneK said...

urggg .. dentist! ask me to eat worms anytime! hope you coping well *hugs*

Beachlover said...

I hate dentist when I was in Malaysia,I guess they didn't put any local anesthetic to numb my teeth first.I would love to try nasi ulam..look soooo good especially the spicy dish!!

New Kid on the Blog said...

are you feeling better now??? poor thing... me too scared of going to dentist...

btw, 11.50 for a plate of mamak mee... expensive lor.

Anonymous said...

J2Kfm, it's at Sentral lah, not MV!
So, has the wound better yet?

HairyBerry said...

oohhh, i certainly didnt know that nasi ulam is also called Nasi Cina Kampong. pair it with a nice belacan sambal, shiok!

i hope the trauma (and pain) will not affect THE VOICE. take care, ya!

tigerfish said...

Gosh, I scrolled to the bottom of the post but still, could not find an Espresso with sprinkled chili powder on top! When that was what I was expected when I saw the name "Chili Espresso". :O

Cynthia said...

OMG, that surgery sounded scary. Your doctor is so thoughtful to call...

I am so happy that you at least have great food to look at even if you can't eat it. Thank heavens for cameras huh :)

Anonymous said...

Ouch..!! hope you are feeling better now.. :) love the light decor in the restaurant.. :)

wmw said...

Kenny : sis was worse! She removed all four! She was carried back to the car and recuperated on the sofa the 1st day. She took the opportunity when my mom and I went over to San Francisco to visit her. Yup, we all survived! "What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger!"

Terri : Yes, much better. Thanks!

j2kfm : It's the building across from Midvalley, linked by a bridge.

Lianne : Err...I might choose the dentist over the worms though! Hahaha...

Beachlover : Dentist are a bunch of 'unloved' professionals! :o)

NKTOB : RM11.50 okay depending on where. Furthermore, lots of "liu" in the noodles. But food here sure more expensive than Penang ;o)

Jason : You didn't read properly ah? Northpoint Midvalley is the first outlet, Sooka Sentral 2nd.

Nic : Hahaha...well, I can't open my mouth that wide, so no power songs for now.

Tigerfish : Hahaha...I thought along the same lines too when I heard the name. Expecting some spiced up local espresso!

Cynthia : Well, it goes both ways. Good to look at or it can also be torturous to look at! :p

Mama Bok : Thanks...yes, nice and cosy place.

jasmine said...

ooh, very keen to check out this sooka sentral now!

Anonymous said...

well, they don't call food "comfort food" for nothing and in your case, it is good food not just ice cream. Hope you are feeling much better. Nasi Ulam is very interesting looking .. i don't know if i would find it appetizing ... the "raw vegetables" surrounding the rice looked liked they should be stir fried with the rice :) - mp

wmw said...

Jasmine: Don't forget there's another outlet at Northpoint, Midvalley.

MP: I'm surprised, I thought food like the nasi ulam with it being so "fat free" and natural would appeal to you!

JoinMe said...

Hi wmw
Kindly be informed that this post has been reprinted on, thanks. ^^
P/S: We have put your name and link credit back to this article.