JB Malaysian Cuisine
My previous visit to this very same location on the corner of Kingsway and Royal Oak Avenue just east of Metrotown in Burnaby was not an overly memorable or gastronomically exciting one. I think its even had more previous incarnations as a restaurant, which brings me to the conclusion that it has some kind of curse on it, preventing this location from really grabbing hold as an ideal spot for dining out. The geographical setting with limited street side parking might be another mitigating factor causing the negative results. Such turnover in a spot must raise red flags for any prospective leaser, but I guess everyone wants their kick at the can…
At the beginning of this year, JB Malaysian Cuisine set up shop replacing the defunct Miki Japanese Ramen. So much for that loyalty stamp card I received from them, during my one and only meal there. :) Oddly enough though, there didn’t seem to be a lot of change done to the interior… the furniture and even the bookshelf with the dated Japanese comic books still sat near the front door entrance from when Miki existed. A loud playing of some Chinese music over the portable stereobox filled the otherwise lonely feeling air of this place. Not very welcoming, almost felt like I was intruding in a private establishment.
On a chilly weekday lunch hour, I had dropped in wondering if I should eat in or take out. The latter seemed to be the choice of others who dropped in while I was mentally debating my decision. Not only was it freezing outside, but there didn’t seem to be a heater on inside either, but out of sheer stupidity, I made the call to sit down and eat quickly. I left my coat on the whole time.
Lunch specials were listed prominently on the menu booklet I was handed (by the lone female server, coincidentally also bundled up in a warm looking down jacket), including things like their house special Hainan chicken, Singaporean Laksa, Malaysian Mee Goreng and others. A lot of noodles and/or rice-based items really, representing very common dishes from that part of the world that I adore so much to visit. For the under-ten-dollars price point, these kind of mid-day specials are appreciated. Granted you do get what you pay for. Even more interesting is seeing the full prices of the same dishes as listed for the dinner hour.
The Indonesian Curry Brisket with Rice was my eventual selection, as I wanted something hearty, almost stew-like to warm me up from the inside. I was hoping for some spiciness to help with that as well, hence my selection of the curry. The service style was very bare bones. A bowl of this, with a plate of steamed rice. Now cheaper, fattier cuts of meat are best for things like curry, but at the same time, I do appreciate the effort a kitchen puts into at least trimming some of the more grisly bits. Unfortunately, there were too many chunks with inedible bits of fat stuck along the edges. The heat level needed to be upgraded a few notches, as I was not getting that spicy impact that I was hoping for, and for that matter, I wasn’t really getting the richness of the curry broth either. All in all, a pretty disappointing combo, even if it was for about seven dollars and over lunch.
As this was just a single serving from their full menu, I’m comfortable in holding my final judgement on this place until more is seen, known and tasted. However, this first volley was pretty bland and weak in my opinion, so I certainly won’t be in any rush to return. Let’s hope for their sake that when/if I do, that it doesn’t fall to the same fate as Miki did and its housing some other restaurant that has taken its place…