Saturday, 23 February 2013
Ayam Penyet at Restoran Zona Ayam Penyet, Taman Maju Jaya, Johor Bahru
Zona Ayam Penyet was often mentioned in Johor Sedap Facebook Group discussions, so we decided to drop by and give it a try, yesterday.
Restoran Zona is located on a second floor unit, along Jalan Maju just opposite the MacDonald's outlet in Plaza Pelangi.
There were three of us, so we had a chicken drumstick, a chicken breast and an ikan kerisi. I wanted pecel lele (catfish) but it was sold out. Total bill with soft drinks was just over RM25.
Ayam Penyet fans would object that this isn't ayam penyet as it was not smashed. Also missing were the crispy batter crumb toppings, to the annoyance of ayam penyet purists. But, even ayam purists would agree that this fried chicken was well executed and tasty.
Wrapped in very thin batter, it was crispy on the outside, and still tender and moist inside. I like this really, as average ayam penyet is often too dry for my liking (I can hear the howls of protests from the ayam penyet purists.)
The anaemic looking sambal chili also failed in the eyes of ayam penyet fans as it was supposed to be red, stinging spicy, and mixed with savoury anchovies. At Zona, the sambal was made with green chilies and various pulpy ingredients like unions. Again, I liked this mildly spicy sambal chili while my companions felt it was a let down with no kick.
But, we all agreed that this well executed fried ikan kerisi was the best of the three dishes we tried at Zona.
Crispy outside, tender and moist inside. Fresh and no fishiness at all.
This photogenic tempeh was rather tasteless by itself but it was delicious when dipped in the mild sambal chili. The same comments went for the small piece of fried tofu.
The fried dishes were served with simple, boiled white rice and a small bowl of soup. There was, well, nothing in the clear soup, just a slight salty taste.
There is also this interesting section of kumpang style seating i.e. low tables and no chairs. Customers sit crossed legged on the raised wooden flooring. Customers are also required to leave their shoes at the door.
I have not qualms recommending Restoran Zona to anyone, except ayam penyet purists :)
Restaurant name: Restoran Zona Ayam Penyet
Address: 1A-1, Jalan Maju, Taman Maju Jaya, Johor Bahru
Hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm
Date visited: 20 Feb 2013
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