Kuala Lumpur - "Champ's, D*mn Shiok Bistro" at Bangsar SC
I was tipped off by fellow KL-based Chowhound, mikey881, on the opening of the new branch of Champ's (which called itself "D*mn Shiok Bistro) at Bangsar SC, after the success of its original outlet at Centrepoint, Bandar Utama.
I popped in to check out their new spot this evening. At first glance, the eatery actually looked more like a pub than a proper bistro. Low-slung tables were interspersed with high tables-tops with bar-stools. The food:
- Starter: The so-called Eastern-style pork bacon with wasabi dressing. I found the dish rather dry & chewy - simply couldn't continue after the first couple of tentative bites - the stringy strands of dried "bacon" was too stubborn and I'm not about to spend the rest of my meal chewing cud.
- My entree was their house specialty - the highly-recommended Prawn Noodles (Champ's take on Penang-style Hokkien noodles) - a combination of yellow "Hokkien mee" and thin rice "bee hoon" in a spicy prawn-pork broth, topped with 2 large prawns (un-shelled, oops!) and a few pieces of pork ribs. The soup was authentic "Penang" to a 't' - you can taste the dried shrimps & chillis used in flavoring the broth. The prawns were very fresh. The pork-ribs were under-cooked and not fall-off-the-bone which I'd expected. "Kangkung" (water-spinach) and beansprouts complete the picture. My main complaint was the price - an eye-popping RM26++ (5 times what one would pay in a Penang hawker stall for the same dish). Not really unexpected since the place also charges RM10++ for a Coke Light (which retailed at RM1.40 in the supermarket a floor down).
- Chendol dessert - very generous amount of red beans besides the requisite green "noodles". But I couldn't really taste the coconut milk, nor the Gula Melaka (brown sugar/molasses). At RM7++, this was a "bargain" of sorts.
Service by the waiters/waitress was fast, efficient & cordial, but the restaurant manager seemed cold & stand-offish.
One thing which I simply couldn't understand - Champ's was rated one of the top 30 restaurants in Malaysia by the (rather unreliable) Miele Guide (?!). Not in a hurry to come back, if at all.
Lot 136, 1st Floor
Bangsar Shopping Centre
285 Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya
59000 Kuala Lumpur
That pork bacon dish and the chendol looked unappetizing to me. Weird. This place wouldn't be an attempt at "Hip/chic" quasi-Western glossing on local establishments, would it? I initially thought you meant a takeoff (or an outpost) of the USAmerican chain "Champps" but I guess it is not.
BTW - this post and the recent one of yours on lunch in Malacca depicting the chendol you sampled has me wondering why the "chendol pieces" are all FLUORESCENT GREEN now. I remember chendol with muted green stuff, sort of with a brownish tint, definitely NOT the bright green shown in your pics of the dish as presented nowadays.
Heh-heh, huiray - obviously, muted green color = fresh, natural pandan extract. Bright green color = artificial coloring. Sad state of affairs with regards to food production in KL ... and Malacca, huh?
I think they actually *tried* to create a hip/chic pseudo-Western atmosphere - forgot to mention that half of their menu was dedicated to steaks, Texan BBQ stuff & pasta dishes.