Grand Beef Restaurant was mentioned a few times by Johor Yummy friend Melvin Wu. Melvin once said that the beef noodles here is one of JB's "best kept secrets". Indeed, Grand Beef Restaurant is tucked in a quiet corner of Taman Melody, yet it is just a stone's throw from the bustling KSL City Mall and Taman Century.
Today, I "finally" found my way to Grand Beef Restaurant. "Finally" was Ben Ting's comment when I posted about my lunch at Grand Beef Restaurant on Johor Kaki Facebook page.
The understated Grand Beef Restaurant obviously has many supporters online and also at the restaurant as I saw during lunch.
If anyone wonders how come Grand Beef is located in this part of town, which seemed out of place for a restaurant, this shoplot used to be a spectacle factory. This gets even more intriguing. The boss MR Ong's family used to operate a spectacle frame manufacturing factory here. But, ten years ago, the family decided to switch business due to competition from low cost imports from China. As the family patriarch is passionate about cooking, MR Ong's father decided to open a restaurant. And, hence, Grand Beef Restaurant was born.
So, how was the food?
To start, it's a little different from the other Hainanese beef noodles that I have tried. I was looking forward to that gooey, beefy gravy made by boiling beef bones and cut offs into a jelly like syrupy gravy. This goo was "the thing" in Hainanese style beef noodles that got me hooked.
But at Grand Beef, there isn't this signature Hainanese beef gravy. Instead. the kway teow was garnished with a blend of dark and light soy sauce and shallot oil much like what we will find in Teochew kway teow soup stalls.
The boss MR Ong explained that they use the same sauce for both the beef noodles and pork noodles which Grand Beef Restaurant also serves. Many customers do not eat beef, so they decided that both the beef and pork noodles shall use the same sauce. At first, I wasn't excited about this compromise.
Any reservations that I initially felt was quickly forgotten once I tasted Grand Beef's beef. The pieces of beef, innards and tendons were so tender and tasty.
The savoury and subtle herbal flavours were mild and easy on the palate. It appealed to people who like their beef without the "beefy" taste, yet for those who like that bovine flavour, it is there when you pay attention to what your taste buds are feeling. MR Ong said that they used local cows 黄牛 to make their beef noodles. Overall, it's a very pleasant taste and flavour, and mouth feel.
Grand Beef's soup is another distinguishing feature which is unlike the beef soup I have tasted elsewhere. MR Ong said the soup is made by boiling chicken and beef bones. The soup was cloudy, not too oily and it was full bodied and soothingly smooth. I like its savoury umami flavour. It's like a beef version of good savoury prawn soup.
Grand Beef's beef noodles are quite different from other beef noodles that I have tried, and I like it. If I am in the area, I would be glad to pop by to have this beef noodles for lunch or mid afternoon tea.
Restaurant name: Grand Beef Restaurant 牛肉王之家
Address: 89, Jalan Beringin, Taman Melodies, Johor Bahru
Hours: 11:30am to 5:00pm (Closed on Mon. Closed at 3:00pm on Sundays)
Date visited: 3 Jan 2013