Monday, July 17, 2006

oOo On The Top Of The World oOo

Pssst. Have taken the time to upgrade this to a proper restaurant review.

The Dinner

Topspot is reputed to be the best, most convenient place to eat decent (Halal) seafood in the Kuching town area. There, you will find a large variety of fish, jellyfish, prawns, crabs, lobster, shellfish and many other sea creatures, (apparently) fresh off the fisherman's boat and onto your dish.
A view of TopSpot

There are about 5 or 6 big restaurant/ stalls to choose from, all displaying their array of seafood for you to pick. Each restaurant/ stall will have their own crew of wait staff around to recommend what to choose + the different styles you can have it cooked.
(Note: There are also some other smaller stalls selling Western Food/ "Ikan Bakar"/ Beverages/ etc)

That night, we tried out the Bukit Mata Seafood 25 restaurant/ stall:
The Bukit Mata 25 Restarant/ Stall @ TopSpot

In actuality (we've been told), most of the restaurants'/ stalls' cooking style and quality are about the same - the thing that makes this one different is the nice view from a part of it's "territory":
View from the water's edge @ TopSpot

The way it works is that each restaurant/ stall has a designated territory in both the covered and open air areas which they mark by the colour of their tableclothes (red/ blue/ orange/ green/ etc). So, if you sit at a "red" table, then you can only order from THAT particular restaurant.

Moving on to the food, we tried the Mongolian Prawns and Meedin fried with Belacan:
The Mongolian Prawns and The Meedin Fried With Belacan

The Mongolian Prawns, touted as the specialty of this restaurant/stall, was quite good - juicy prawns fried with onions and a sweet black pepper sauce... I didn't like it at first (I rarely like sweet sauces) but it kinda grew on me and I was enjoying it by the 2nd or 3rd prawn.

The Meedin (Erm,.. not sure how to spell it actually) is a must try, if only for the fact that you can rarely find it in West Malaysia. It's a kind of fern with a crunchy texture (at the leafy end) and a slightly "gummy" texture (in the stalk) at the same time. It pairs off well with the belacan, which is thankfully neither too spicy/ salty/ oily here (just nice).
:)

We also tried the Teo Chew Style Steamed Fish...
The Teo Chew Style Steamed Fish

The fish was fresh and delicious!
It's not the all out best Teo Chew style sauce I have ever tasted but their combination of the salted vegetables, tomatoes and "assam" was salty and sour enough yet not overpowering, which complemented the fish well.

Later on (we actually came back for Round 2 on another night), we also tried the Hot & Sour Soup, Butter Fried Prawns and Deep Fried Garoupa with Black Pepper Sauce:

Clockwise from top left: The Hot & Sour Soup, The Deep Fried Garoupa With Black Pepper Sauce and the Butter Fried Prawns

Mmmm... the Hot & Sour Soup was disappointing - spicy but otherwise starchy and bland. The Butter Fried Prawns were also not so great - fragrant but not crispy enough. The Deep Fried Garoupa with Black Pepper Sauce was only OK - also not crispy enough and the black pepper sauce wasn't that tasty.

So, overall, the food only tasted OK.... but for the price of RM140 for all that (i.e. RM70 on average for both nights we went there) it's really worth a try.

Do book/ go there early to get a nice table as this place is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. You'll find that service levels will drop and waiting time will increase drastically after 7.30pm.


So it's: Simple open-air concept (beware of the mozzies tho), convenient location, great variety of fresh seafood at affordable prices BUT mediocre/ average quality of cooking and erratic service level


Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Bukit Mata Seafood 25 @ TopSpot Seafood Center, Kuching

Taste: 5
Ambience : 5
Service : 6
Price** : RM30/++ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - typical Chinese meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 019-8899 838/ 019-8891 266/ 016-8711 062
Opening Hours: 4pm - late (closed on alternate Mondays)

NO PORK SERVED




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8 comments:

Merv Kwok said...

Always thought it was bilin with belacan. At least that's how my family would order it haha

J said...

to Merv:
Bilin?
Meedin?
So, which one is it, really?
*confused*

Anyway, I was told it was Meedin...
If all else fails, then there's always the whole "just point at the bundle of fern-like veggies and say:"ITU!"" routine to fall back on.

Merv Kwok said...

Haha I think pointing to it and saying itu would work best for now. I'm pleasently confused now as well. Lol

J said...

to Merv:
"ITU!"
Haha.
Yeah, it's a tried and true method.
:)

Best we both stick to that then, or risk getting some mysterious vegetable/ animal cooked up on a platter instead of a yummy fern.

Anonymous said...

Stayed in Kuching for about a year.. truly missed Top Spot. It was 'Midin'. Almost similar to 'pucuk paku' in West Msia but 'midin' much bigger! The taste definately 'Simply Sedap!'
Did u try the pandan coconut? arghh...nyamannya! :)
The egg also nice..they cooked it and served it in a shape like a wok! hehehe...

J said...

to anonymous:
Stop ittttttt.....
You are making me crave for the Midin....
:(
I didn't manage to try the pandan coconut or the egg though - I was only in Kuching for about a month and had to divide my time equally between work and Kolok Mee, Sarawak Laksa and the seafood!
:)
(I'll make it a point to try it out the next time I'm in the area though)

Blackboard Art and More said...

im greg going to kuching next week thanx for your blog .ill be trying the midin and the pandan and the egg :)ect ect

J said...

to Greg @ Blackboard Art and More
No worries. Glad to be of service. :)

Hope you enjoy the sight, sounds and flavors of Sarawak... Ooh, and don't forget to also try out the Kolok Mee while you're there, ok?

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