Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Hello! The Kitchen Mafia's Offers Are Hard To Refuse

One evening, a bunch of us went to Hello! at Section 17, Petaling Jaya, and had a good time. The four of us: Sam, Wendy, makan kaki Melody and I said hello to Hello! on a whim. Like many Klang Valley-dwellers, we were looking for something different, and the place delivered.

♪ Hello! from the outside~ ♫ Meet Happy Mansion's new dining hotspot.

Getting a seat, however, was difficult. When we'd decided to dine there, Melody was tasked with booking (yes) our table. Our schedule probably clashed with the dozens of others looking to have a taste of what the founding chefs had to offer.

Both had appeared on TV, it seems, and they ran an ultra-swanky place in Publika - is it still around? This restaurant in the Happy Mansion area was apparently their attempt at something different, too.

After some nail-biting minutes, Melody WhatsApped us with the good news.

The makeshift buffet, before we had to rearrange
the table. Photo by Samantha Fong.

"We have the bar seats. By the window. Look, it's SATURDAY, okay?"


Though intrigued by the menu, we opted to combine a bunch of smaller items with one or two mains for an evening buffet of sorts. Sam and Wendy tried moving the furniture a little to enhance the experience, but our first layout blocked the counter.

Surprisingly tasty Duck Jerky (left) and the Lamb Massaman.
Photo by Samantha Fong.

The hostess, Amelia, suggested another way that worked for everyone, and applauded the duo's idea. "Bravo, you get points for creativity."

I don't think she was being sarcastic. And we ordered quite a bit.

The only thing I believe we weren't impressed by was the salted egg calamari. The batter coating was dry and there wasn't much salted egg sauce to begin with. Somebody in our group even thought the watercress soup was better in comparison. "At least it tastes home-made." Sadly, I didn't get a sip, so I can't say if it was.

The after-dinner brownie was a tad dry, probably because it was left out in the open (despite being covered) for too long. Maybe if it was fresh out of the oven...

We were sorry the nice Tortilla Seafood Pesto Pizza was so small.
Photo by Samantha Fong.

The Duck Jerky was a surprise. This posh version of a survivalist's staple is slightly chewy, smoky and sweet, with the burnt bits lending a little crunch. The pork-free menu marked the jerky and one other item as containing alcohol.

The Tortilla Seafood Pesto Pizza, which was just the right size for four, scored high among us as well. We also liked the Lamb Massaman, which was served with chunks of soft-centred bread. That allowed us to stuff the good and not-terribly-spicy lamb into the bread, like filling a pita pocket.

Hello, if it's mee you're looking for, Pak Johnny's Mee Rebus
should be up your alley. Photo by Samantha Fong.

If it's mee you're looking for, I believe Pak Johnny's Mee Rebus might be your thing. Sam and Wendy were particularly taken by the gravy, which was poured into the bowl of noodles and assorted garnishings from a pretty and tiny teapot. "It's just like pasembur gravy," Wendy noted.

The Drunken Chicken Liver Pâté came late, but it was worth the wait. I think the others arrived first because they were still preparing the pâté. It arrived on a wooden serving board with a stack of bread. But why decorate the board with shavings of Parmesan? That stuff isn't cheap.

Think they added a bit too much Chinese wine in the Drunken
Chicken Liver Pâté... hic! Photo by Samantha Fong.

By the time the pâté arrived, we were mostly full. I liked it most of all, even with the bitter, piquant tang of Chinese wine (Wendy confirmed it). That was a nice touch and an appropriate nod to the Chinese drunken chicken dish. I can't remember if I had polished the ramekin clean with my fingers - probably the wine.

We were also treated to more drama at the counter, where the manageress (I think) apologised to callers and patrons, citing lack of space ("Our weekends are quite busy!") and menu items. That evening, the "Asian Staples" were apparently sold out, except the mee rebus.

I was disappointed; I really wanted to find out what the chow mein was all about.

If you think this piece sounds rushed, that's because it is, to match that evening's dining pace: frenetic and kind of electric. That we had to sit at the window mattered little once our tongues were teased and bellies were filled.

Saying goodbye to Hello! was hard, but more guests were waiting at the door and sweeping their gazes across the dining room, resting longingly now and then at the empty tables with "Reserved" signs they probably hoped weren't there.

So, guys, who's booking for the next round?

Hello! by Kitchen Mafia
BG7, Jalan 17/13
Happy Mansion, Section 17
46400 Petaling Jaya


Wed-Mon: 12:30pm-11pm

Closed on Tuesdays

+603-7932 1929

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  1. Replies
    1. Okay. Let us know when you're free. But let's visit another spot before going back there.


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