Thursday, May 20, 2010

Silver Spoon Trattoria, and the Return Of Chef Ken

Mid 1990s
Back in the mid-90s, a place opened in Manjalara, called CHEF KEN. I have fond memories of the place, having had many a dinner there, at very reasonable prices. I recall aglio olios for RM12, or so, fresh mushroom soups below RM10. Ah, good times. Then, it was said that Chef Ken himself sold the place, packed up and left for Australia.

Fast Forward...Present Day

Many years have gone by. In the days I was going to Chef Ken, my fellow diners at tonight's dinner were still in Primary School, and it would have been socially incorrect to have been mingling with them. I might even have been thrown in jail.

Last week, I got an invite from Jessica, the lovely proprietress of Silver Spoon Trattoria (it's an informal restaurant, where you can wear slippers and casuals.... (Nipple Joe and I both were)), to sample the food there. At that point in time, I could not make it, and heavy heartedly declined the invite. Yesterday, I found out my original plans had been scrapped, so I was free. Unkaleong, through our daily MSN chats, asked me if I was going, and I told him the whole sob story about how I had declined, and surely it would be wrong to approach Jessica and say, OH, I CAN MAKE IT NOW. BUT, as luck would have it, Unka pointed out to me that Nipple Joe had tweeted that he was looking for a date for this event. Shamelessly I text him, and offered to be his man-date.

The whole Manjalara-Kepong landscape has changed so vastly, with buildings sprouting faster than the government gives out campaign promises. Nevertheless, with my in built GPS, (in my head), I navigated my way without problem to Wisma Manjalara, with is at the crossroads ..almost, of Jln Burung Hantu and Jln Taman Bukit Maluri. The place is quite noticeable, and Silver Spoon is located above the bank....(Ambank)... which metaphorically is quite accurate. I mean, you need a Bank to have a Silver Spoon.

I was one of the last to arrive. Always amazes me how punctual food bloggers are for food tasting. Malaysians in general are not known for that trait. In the course of the conversation, I mentioned my regular visits to Chef Ken, not expecting anyone on that table to have heard of the place, when it turns out that CHEF KEN IS THE CHEF of Silver Spoon! Fancy that!!!

The crowd was a rather interesting one. Lots of people I had not met before, like Blushberry, (special para for her at the end of post) Myhorng (Too slim to be a food blogger), Shaolintiger (Is it possible to sound more Malaysian than him?), Kimberly (I have to get a pair of her Chicken Little Spectacles) and Skyburial (who has more art on him that the Sistine Chapel ceiling). I felt like I was in a Marvel comic. The usual suspects were The Nomad Gourmand, Mr Nomad Gourmand, Nipple and Mrs Nipple Joe, and the famous KY Speaks.

To start off, we had the Feta & Olive Foccacia.

The bread was nice, crispy almost. But at this point, looking at the extensive menu ahead of us, I thought I should refrain from filling up on bread. Plus the beer I was having, bread would probably expand like a pufferfish on heat.

Mozarella Sticks and Arrancini, which are smoked salmon Italian riceballs stuffed with brie. I loved the mozarella sticks. Creamy yet chewy strings of goodness, it was like eating a Goreng Pisang without the pisang, but with cheese instead.

Prawn & Avocado Stack, chargrilled garlic pranwns on avocado and stuff. The prawn I had was fresh and crunchy, but like most Malaysian prawns, somehow lacked flavour. The condiments surrounding it helped to enhance the entire dish.

Stuffed Portobello mushrooms. One of my favourite dishes for the night. Mushrooms were cooked just right, and the toppings not overpowering so much as to drown the natural taste of the portobellos.

Smoked Salmon Pizza, dough made from scratch, according the manager, Kelvin, and using fresh yeast. I'm not sure what exactly that was supposed to mean, (the stress on the fresh yeast), but the crust was delightfully crispy, and thin enough so as not to fill you with dough. Again, when the menu is extensive, one has to avoid any unnecessary intake of carbo, that would deprive you from other goodies later on.

There was lots of this unpronounceable foreign beer circulating around, thanks to the generosity of our hostess. There is supposed to be banana flavour, which I can't taste. Call me a pleb, but I prefer our cheap local Tiger beer than these fancy smancy beers. It's too gourmet for me.

Grilled Baby Snapper. I guess it's better to call it baby snapper than suckling snapper (as in suckling pig)... well, fish is fish....and taking fish pictures is always so difficult, coz if they're alive, they don't stay still to pose for you, and if they're dead, they look so ..... dead.
The fish was fresh, and cooked just right. Not over, or under done.

KY demonstrating to Skyburial how to properly cut and serve a dead fish.

The dish that Myhorng was waiting for, the Duck Confit. I hope he was satisfied. I loved the taste, but found the meat a bit dry. At least the bit I had was, coz SOMEONE had swiped all the skin. Chis. Incidentally, I love duck confit, so I will be attending the HTC Class this Saturday titled Duck A-Z. I hope its not a quack class.

Marinara... very good. Pasta just right, for me, not TOO aldente, and not soft. And I loved the tomatoey sauce, which was the perfect marriage with all that seafood. It is a huge portion though, I thought. I'd order this again for sure.

Wild Mushroom Risotto. Risotto must be to the Italians what congee is to chinks. Some like it grainy, some like it soft.... this particular version I heard Mrs Nipple Joe exclaim was great, coz she doesn't like aldente... I myself, not a risotto fan, but found it palatable because of the lovely mushroomy flavours.

Dessert. There's always room for dessert. The creme brulee was nice and smooth. I would've preferred it if they had used fresh vanilla bean.

The chocolate pot was nice. Heavier than a mousse, but lighter than clogging cream.

The signature tiramisu, sufficiently doused in alcohol. Not sure if the chef was under special instructions to do so, but hey, one can never have too much alcohol, in dessert.


I LOVE KY's expressions in photographs. That's why I voted 5 Chillies for him on his Hunks and Babes (I can't find the link now) post.


Silver Spoon has a lovely interior, tastefully decorated, and a lovely private dining room for a table of 15 or so. That there is the famous Chef Ken.

Skyburial (I must find out the meaning of this name) and Shaolin Tiger doing the honors of finishing the last of the wine.

Just when we thought we could go home, Jessica's dad very generously gives us a bottle of THIS!!!! Argh, there went my "NO DRINKING ON WEEKDAYS" policy.



I think I need to have a special mention here, coz I've never met one of these before. This girl can solve a Rubik Cube in a matter of minutes, while chit chatting, the way a granny might knit you a sweater while telling you her cookie recipe. Despite the numerous glasses of alcohol, her mind stayed as sharp. And, on top of that, she's an artist, a designer, and God knows what else, which BEGGED the question..... and this was the conversation:

ME: I know this might sound really rude, but can I ask you a question?
HAZE: Yup, [looking a bit worried], what?
ME: Does it hurt?
HAZE: Huh?
ME: Your head. All that brain, does it hurt, in your head? Because your head looks quite slim. How does it all fit in there?

Apparently she was rendered speechless.

Anyway, thanks to Jessica and family, for a lovely time, and for being such gracious hosts. Wishing you great success in Silver Spoon. Can't wait to return with my other friends.

Pricing: Very reasonable, RM38 for eg, lamb shank, RM12 for soups, RM29 for the marinara pasta...
Other Reviews: The Nomad Gourmand


KY said...

hahah yah la how do u answer to "slim head" comment?

that was a super nice session with some awesome food though. :D

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

yes may slim head forever be stuck in my head as the most unique compliment ever

CUMI & CIKI said...

hahaha .. haze is a darling inn she? LOL

so.. it was like a MANDATE or a man- date? both ways work too:P haha

UnkaLeong said...

Glad I managed to convince you to come, else we would not have got to hear the slim headed compliment ;) Larvely dining with you, as always *hugs*

Life for Beginners said...

Slim heads and silver spoons, oh what more can a foodie want, eh? Looks ever so loverly. :)

vialentino said...

wow...the food looks good lah ... the chef must be very geng in cooking...will go and try it...too many restaurant in my list to try...

for the kissaten...dunno lah the mushroom soup is warm only ...but luckily the taste ok...else i sure sai kao one...kekeke

thenomadGourmand said...

As usual, a great read ;)
*my office colleagues are wonderin wht's wit hthe silly grin & sniffled laughter!*

Can't wait for you to enlighten us on hw to cook a duck confit.

Hv fun at yr quacky class!

Sean said...

chef ken looks really young, eh, despite so many years of slaving in kitchens. i woulda thought all that heat and stress would take its toll, causing skin creases, crow's feet, a receding hairline, etc. but he looks younger than me, even though i had only taken my spm when he opened his restaurant. sigh.

Paranoid Android said...

It is always a big challenge leaving a comment on your blog, as I am usually overwhelmed by your effortless wit and charming writing. It was the perfect panacea for the dreary events that has befallen my second home.

If you are interested, after your duck class, I will be holding a quackery class in the vicinity. Being a licensed quack myself, I am sure you will learn more than the mating call of the Malaysian Duck.


Happy weekend, my friend, and may it be filled with more good food, good company and excellent booze.

J said...

Takes one slim head to be able to stump another slim head? :)

fatboybakes said...

who's the other slim head you're referring to, J?

paranoid, you are my idol when it comes to wit, sarcasm and hilarious prose. i look forward to quackery with you.

fatboybakes said...

sean, yeah, he's youthful looking. err, you are referring to the correct person right? the guy in black in not him ya.

TNG, yup yup, i shall definitely update all on the cooking class

fatboybakes said...

vialentino, yalar, go and try it out. the ambiance is also very nice.

slim heads and silver spoons? gosh, that's just calling out for a limerick, LFB

fatboybakes said...

unka, hugsss too..yes, [wiping away tear], thanks for asking me...

ahmei, yup, haze is anything BUT hazy! she's like a clear blue sunny sky!

fatboybakes said...

nipples, it is hor.

KY, yup it was huh! nice to see you again...and your fab gang.

Tummy Rumble said...

boss, can you recommend the best tom yam place in selangor/kl area?? as long as its not in the golden triangle lah.. thanks

Frat Mustard said...

Interesting... I used to dine at Chef Ken too! Always wondered what happened to the restaurant... I discovered Chef Ken back in the day because we were driving around Menjalara looking for steamboat.

babe_kl said...

i used to dine at Chef Ken's too but wat happened to him, migrate and come back ka or wat?

fbb said...

babekl, yup, he migrated then came back. afterall, there's no place like home maaaaa.....

frat, i didnt know you were that old. it opened in 1997. did you even have a driver's license yet, you naughty doll?

FBB said...

tummy rumble...tom yam ah? urm, not sure wor. i quite like the one at MY ELEPHANT in Section 17. the thing about tom yam is, its very subjective. some like it hot, and thick, some like it sour, some like it coconutty, ...

Julian Si said...

Sir FBB : Another brilliant write up , and I love that the shot of the beer was slightly off focus ... hic hic!!

Babe_KL : Taken out of context, this could be rather rude or misleading at the least ... Some like it hot, some like it thick ... Uh :-)

AugustDiners said...

haha i agree with the "dead" looking fish.
I'm glad you came in the end because you definitely made our night an entertaining one.

PureGlutton said...

That's a lot of food in one sitting, haha! I like the warm ambience of the place.

Anonymous said...

Really? A pufferfish puffs up when on heat??

Ever since I saw David Rocco making Arrancini on TV, I've always wanted to try them. Nice or not?

gfad said...

Whoops.. solly. Forgot to sign in.

fbb said...

well, gfad, its a metaphor. who knows how a puffer copulates. must be tough though, both bloated up, prickly, and all. one prick and its gone! much like a nun.

pure glutton, you been oridi ah? that was fast! didnt they just open not too long ago?

FBB said...

august diners, thanks for having me, so nice of you. hope to be heading that way again soon with other friends.

jules bro, u are too kind in your praise. i dun understand what your reply to babekl means though?

CUMI & CIKI said...

you're so popular ahpa. young and old praise u alike.. sigh.. hope to grow up like "DAD" one day :P

babe_kl said...

kekeke i think jules thot i was tummy rumble in reference to tom yam

Haze Long said...

i miss you already T_T i need to see you drunk and have you talk to me. *hugs*

FBB said...

HAZE LONG, where you been, i been pining here, sitting all by myself waiting for your response to this tribute to you!!!

babekl, hahaha, oh ya ya, you're right!!! aiyo, JULES, you ah, misled me.

ahmei, what talketh you?!! i am not a world famous blogger leh, unlike my ah girl...

qwazymonkey said...

I'm all for man-dates! LOL

Lovely dinner it seems. feel bad for missing out while I was away. Could have been fun to meet up with the clever-rubik-solving-girl

ShaolinTiger said...

Hahah sky burial is a Tibetan funerary practice.

Nice post, and nice to meet you :D