Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wendy's Bistro

I read good reviews about Wendy's Bistro recently in some blogs and in a local daily and decided to check it out at dinner. It was touted to be a good non-kosher place for pork lovers. But the experience has reminded me that food reviews are usually subjective and tend to be more complimenting than critical, especially when it's not done incognito by the media, here in Malaysia at least.

The recommended dishes by the blogs and in the menu were the portabello mushrooms with cheese and bacon (appetizer), the grilled pork belly and ribs and chorizo sausages. The four of us adults concluded that while the serving was sizeably worth the price, the taste of their 'must eat' recommendations fell short of our expectations.

Between us four adults and one child (one baby stuck to his bread and applesauce), we ordered the portabello mushroom and bruschetta with cheese/tomato for appetizer/starter. Main dishes comprised grilled pork belly, grilled ribs, mixed grill of belly and ribs, and pork chop. The child had the pork bolognaise angelhair from the kid's menu which had three choices -- the angelhair, fish fingers and sausages, and mushroom soup.

Our review (as usual, the pictures are not too great due to my laziness in not bringing a proper camera and using my cameraphone, anyway they're just to give you an idea of how they look):

Angelhair pasta - the gravy didn't taste 'bolognaise' enough with a light brown colouring instead of the usual orangey-red. Caitlin who is a pasta lover gave it a 'zero' thumbs up. (She has lately come up with her own idea of rating new food/restaurants with zero, one or two thumbs up).

Mushroom soup - lacking the rich mushroomy flavour and thick, creamy texture.

Portabello mushroom - the cheese and bacon stuffing was too runny. The salad accompaniment was too wet.

Bruschetta - passable as it was a simple cheese and chopped tomato topping.

Pork chop - too dry. We felt that it was because the pork was sliced too thinly (1/2 cm thickness only) and had lost its juices during the grilling. Slathering it with the thick sauce that came with it did not help much.

Grilled pork belly - meat was tender as it was the part of the pig that had strips of fat that helped retained the meat's juices better. The marinade was well balanced although it was a bit on the sweet side.

Grilled ribs - Three chunky ribs and good-sized serving to fill a typical guy's belly to the brim with just the regular platter (they have a large one too which has an extra piece). While not too succulent, they were quite tender and well marinated. For those who like black pepper, this dish provides evidence of this spice.

All the main dishes came with coleslaw and a choice of either mash or fries.

The bottled Australian Mountain Fresh natural juice of apple and peach was good. This place also serves quite the usual beverages like iced lemon tea, tea and coffee and Esprit sparkling fruit drinks.

As for dessert, we did not have the tummy space to try but we noticed that they served some cakes and Movenpick ice cream.

The bill came up to RM164 for all that we had. Pricing wise, I would say Wendy's is comparable to the likes of Euro Deli (but the latter has better tasting food in my opinion) and other mid-range western food joints.

Space wise, it is small within one typical shoplot with the front half outdoors for smokers and an air-conditioned section inside. Their kitchen is open, partitioned by glass. Overall decor is simple, clean cut with black, red, and white.

They serve good value set lunches on weekdays. Upon leaving, I noticed a big banner above its signage outside informing the public that soon, it will be renamed "Bellygood" - "the name is changing, but not the taste of its food" or something to that effect.... I wonder why the name change and hope it's for the better, business- and especially taste-wise.

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