Bubor Cha Cha open
Just past this new Malaysian/pan asian restaurant in Chinatown (45 Beach street) and the doors were open with paper menus outside. The menu is similar to Penang but a tad pricier. A few unusual items. Several crab dishes (pepper crab, indonesian crab), frog dishes, coffee flavored and strawberry flavored marinades for meats, Bah Kut the (pork rib soup) and Durian chicken soup. Limited lunch offerings but did notice a Hainanese chicken on rice for $7.50. Busy week but might try it out later.
Being every inch a chowhound, I went to Bubor Cha Cha 20 minutes after I posted saying i was too busy. I ordered the Hainanese chicken on rice and it was very good. This is a simple homey dish of steamed chicken, on a soy/sesame oil sauce with cold cucumber slices and cilantro and a side dish of chili sauce with a bowl of rice. i mist admit that i've never cared for this dish at Penang and Pearl Villa and the closest to delectable is the similar steamed chicken rice plate at Wai Wai. Limster loves this dish and I trust his chowish palate and first hand knowledge of this dish in Singapore. It's a hard dish because its simplicity demands top quality ingredients, perfectly prepared and it suffers in the US from the poor taste of chicken compared to Asia (where it is a delicacy and not a cheap source of protein). Bubor Cha Cha's version was tasty and the sauces were both excellent. The chili sauce had a nice complexity to it with the heat coming later. The chicken was good but not as tender as Wai Wai's version. The rice was terrific, flavored with a hint of spice (galangal?, lemon grass?) and chicken as if the steaming juices were added to the rice before serving. By 12:15 the place was packed. I will certainly return.
Went today for lunch. For a restaurant that just opened on Saturday, it was packed to the rafters! My companion and I really liked it a lot. We had the Basil Chicken and the Strawberry Pork. We are already planning on going back to try other dishes. It's pan-Asian with Singapore, Thai, Malaysian dishes. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. One caveat: there was no lunch menu, so prepare to spend dinner-ish money on lunch.
I took a peek at the place last night. The exterior is really nice, with an exotic feel and lots of plants all over the front (I posted a picture on my blog if anyone wants to see what it looks like). The place was pretty crowded even at 9:00 at night, and a lot of people seemed to be milling about the street, simply to look at the place. I didn't eat there as we had just come back from Cafe Jaffa, but I definitely want to try it soon.
went yesterday with The Kid.
i really liked the room, very bright and airy, a far cry from the usual CTown spaces.
service was a little awkward as we had two or three waiters taking orders and checking on us but the overall effect was managed chaos and confusion.
we started with the Mango Salad. it arrived not looking anything like the picture menu (yay picture menus!) and was just julienned green mango dressed with a sweetened fish sauce and garnished with halved cherry tomatoes and ground peanuts. decent, but boring.
next were the shrimp puffs. the usual ground shrimps that have that springy bite wrapped in thin bacon and deep fried served with (possibly) Kewpie mayo. pretty good.
the Char Mee was the only real standout. thick noodles done with a little chewiness left and tossed with a soy sauce type sauce with a few shrimps (overcooked), U-Choy and sliced squid bodies (cooked perfectly). we really liked it.
the next two things we got were just not that good. the Volcano Pork Chop was just a thin sliced pork chopped cooked in Ah-So sauce, no heat at all so i guess the 'Volcano' was referring to the red color of the sauce. and the Salt & Pepper frog was just so meh. the frog was chopped and full of a myriad of tiny bones and the coating was a bit leathery.
as i mentioned down up-thread they did a pretty aggressive up-sell on the rice. we asked for just plain white rice but were persuaded to go with the Chicken Rice which boosted the flavor aspect while diminishing the chop-stickability.
we did see some nice soups and stews as well as a whole crab dishes around us and we'll probably be back to try those out soon.
the bill was $62 not incluiding tip.
btw, the place has no beer/wine.
Went there for lunch today with a Malaysian colleague. We ordered the roti canai app - overly crisp but quite edible. Not enough bite to the gravy and not enough "pull" to the dough. Probably it was under-kneaded. As for entree - yes, they charge for rice (the cheek of them) and the okra was not selected for old yellow out-of-date etc - mix of the good and the bad and we paid good money for that. The balacan 'sauce" on the veggies was exceptional - oh if only the vegetables themselves were fresh! The noodles (char-kway-tiau was also good if not memorable - and did I mention the prices). Finally a plate (yes a PLATE) of Ais kachang which promptly melted. My Malay friend tried to speak malay - but to no avail (did I mention the price?) due to the fact that everyone was not actually Malay but Chinese (the cheek!). I would be very surprised if this resto lasted through the winter. Overall, I would not go back. There is authentic to be had within a short walking distance to Penang (where the staff actually speak Malay). I can understand the glee of other posters who enjoyed the Hainan (that is Chinese) chicken rice - probably the only "authentic" dish on the menu.
Finally got to try more items and I concur with cornFusion. Overall very disappointing and not nearly as good as Penang. We had the roti canai (sauce was mediocre), seafood yam pot (greasy taro nest) and strawberry short ribs (just plain weird). Thai basil noodles and char kway toew dishes were the best of the lot, but just comparable to Penang. I'm starting to sound like I own stock in Penang, but really it's just the disappointment talking! Oh well... onto the next chow adventure.