Friday, 3 February 2017

A Taste Of Tranquillity (And A Little More) At Tujoh

My drive for culinary escapades have diminished these days, no thanks to a persistently sore throat and a shrinking appetite. But I was soon well enough to resume the hunt for new tasty stuff.




Tujoh at Section 17, Petaling Jaya is shaping up to be a favourite
after-work haunt


Picking up a lead from a Facebook friend, I snuck into an enclave in Section 17, Petaling Jaya. This was not a new place; some of my colleagues occasionally come here for lunch at one of the Chinese restaurants, and I tagged along several times.

From the dates of certain posts on its Facebook page at the time of my first visit there, I concluded that Tujoh was less than a month old. Its white façade was mostly unadorned, save for the black fixtures and the signs that bear its name.

I studied the menu, intent on picking my order before stepping in. The phantom of my red pen hovering above my ear alerted me to kinks on the single-page bill of fare, which made interesting reading.


The sauce for the carbonara fettucine could use a little more flavour


I placed my order at the counter and paid. My attention was drawn to the water dispenser. Slices of lemon floated atop sprigs of mint.

"It's cold water," the cashier told me. "Would you like it warmer?"

"It's fine," I replied. Lemon in water is common, but not the mint. The combination would be good for what I was about to dine on. As it was evening, I avoided the coffee, which I heard was not bad.


Wild mushroom ragout, as good and "infamous" as the herbs in it


At my window seat, I drifted off into that semi-fugue state that follows a long day at the office. Pictures of German industrial designer Dieter Rams, jazz great Miles Davis, and American photojournalist Dorothea Lange adorned one section of the wall.

The courtyard at the back was converted into a skylit nook. French songs poured out of a pair of speakers mounted at ceiling height - a calm little slice of continental Europe in a Chinese corner of PJ (the other slice, 2 Scones 1 Cup, is nearby).

I was in no mood for seafood, so I ordered the carbonara fettucine. A mistake, in hindsight, to have two things with cream in them. They flubbed the poached egg in the carbonara, and the sauce was insufficiently seasoned. But oh, g*d, the wild mushroom ragout made up for it in spades.


Wafu hambagu, the avian version of the Japanese take
on the Salisbury steak


Don't call it a thicker version of mushroom soup, no matter how much it looks and tastes like it. This mix of at least two kinds of mushroom with the odd slice of carrot and celery and "infamous herbs" in a thick, smooth creamy base of essence of mushroom is ambrosial. With two- no, four more slices of buttered toast and a salad, you'll have a meal.

On subsequent visits, I tried a few more things. Tujoh's version of wafu hambagu, a Japanese bunless hamburger, is a patty of minced chicken with a sunny side-up egg inside and drizzled with a thin shoyu-based sauce. They seem to specialise in Asian fusion stuff.

The hōjicha latte was a taste I've yet to acquire. Roasted in a porcelain pot over a charcoal fire, this variant of Japanese tea has a "toasty, slightly caramel-like flavour" and is said to be lower in caffeine and therefore good for anyone who wants a good night's sleep.


Thank goodness for all-day breakfasts. The eggs Benedict at Tujoh
aren't half bad.


"We tried it and we liked it, so we hope the customers will like it too," said Terence, the co-owner of Tujoh, who was there on the afternoon of my third time there. The name, he explained, was derived from the venue's address: 6+1=7. He and his partner in the business spelled it the way it would've been in the 1970s.

As I had guessed, the place was several weeks old and still not ready. The upstairs floor, which would be made a space for hosting events, is being sorted out. And Rams, Davis and Lange would be joined later by film director Stanley Kubrick and singer Janis Joplin.


The counter inside Tujoh (left); the hōjicha latte takes some getting used to


On the food side, I had to settle for eggs Benedict on toast instead of the ricotta pancakes (which they ran out of) and caramelised bananas when I was there one afternoon with my laptop. Terence said that the bananas were better paired with the pancakes, which was perhaps why the kitchen compensated with an extra bunch of red coral lettuce.

I loaded myself with more lemon-and-mint water (to which they added slices of cucumber this time around) and reluctantly packed up my laptop. After the excitement over the past few weeks, leaving this oasis of calm was hard.



Tujoh

617 Jalan 17/10, Section 17
46400 Petaling Jaya

Mon-Thu: 11am - 11pm
Fri-Sat: 11am - 12:30am
Sun: 9am - 9pm

+603-7932 3611

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Tujoh-182244098884300/

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