Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Star Chef Seafood Restaurant 星名廚 at Gelang Patah (near Legoland) in Johor

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Dropped in on Star Chef seafood restaurant 星名廚 at Gelang Patah yesterday. It has been more than half a year since my last visit.


Disclosure: Alex, the boss is a good friend. Our first meeting was purely chance.

I was at 822 Roast Duck in TUTA and as the tables were all taken, I asked to share a table with Alex, whom I had not met before. When my roast duck arrived, I soon become self absorbed in taking pictures and scribbling notes about the taste on my little notebook. Alex was curious about what I was doing and we started to chat - that's when Alex told me that he is the owner of Star Chef. I had since visited Star Chef a few times from its old location in Skudai and now in Gelang Patah. So now, I am more like a friend visiting than the usual customer.

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What to eat? Alex scanned his orange colour ice box to see what was available today. I was lucky, there was this huge ocean fresh wild Sea Bass head in the box. Alex told me that this fish weighed about 5 kilos whole (before it was cut up).

Let me explain a little. The stock of fish at Star Chef depends literally on the fishermen's catch of the day - Alex's stock are mostly wild catches from nearby Sungai Pendas. So the fish available is like a kind of lucky draw. Today was a good day. Alex had a large wild Sea Bass in the ice box.

If you are coming, to be safe, I suggest giving Alex a call at +6012-775-6313 to check what fresh fish is available.

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Our Sea Bass was steamed and then blanketed with a tangy, sweet and subtly spicy Nyonya 娘惹 gravy.

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The flesh was tender, refreshingly sweet and enhanced by the Nyonya sauce. The sauce was loaded with cherry tomatoes, onions, pineapples, lady's fingers, and lard crackles here and there. I love the tender flesh especially around the belly and under the pectoral fin. Needless to say, there was no fishy or muddy smell at all. Fish price is seasonal and Alex is selling this at RM60 per kilo now.

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Lala clams in Superior Broth 上汤啦啦.

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The live Lala clams were cooked just right - juicy and sweet.

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There were lots of these browned diced garlic in our Lala clam dish. I like. The broth was thickened with evaporated milk. Next time, I shall try Lala clams with an unthicken gravy.

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None of the seafood restaurants here in Gelang Patah offers live lobster but Star Chef does offer frozen Spiny Lobsters imported from Indonesia. The lobsters are cooked in a variety of ways like with Superior Broth, salted egg yolks, battered and deep fried, or stir fried with chopped garlic which was what I had.

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The frozen lobster flesh is slightly drier and less bouncy than live lobsters. It also doesn't have that delicate flavour that makes live lobsters special. But at RM100/ kg for 300-400 gram sized lobsters, I feel that this is a very interesting option. Next time, I would try the Superior Broth version and see if it tastes closer to live lobsters. I would also want to try it cooked with Marmite sauce - never tried Marmite lobsters before, just curious about how it would taste.

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And finally, crabs, which is what most people come to Gelang Patah for. I asked to try Star Chef's Marmite crab.

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The crab is fried, tossed in Marmite based sauce, wrapped in aluminium foil and then briefly baked. The sweet crab meat is complemented by the savoury and sweet caramel-like flavour of Marmite sauce. Some might find this too sweet but it was good to me as I have a sweet tooth :)

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Alex told me that he is having a crab promotion till end of Aug 2013. Star Chef will be selling crabs at 1kg for RM48. These are not those large crabs but those weighing in at around 300+ grams each. So each kilo will be around 3 crabs. The crabs can be prepared in any style stated in the menu e.g. steamed, cooked with salted egg yolks, black pepper, chili crab, with Marmite and so on. At RM48 per kilo, it is a good deal.

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Remember to ask for this special rice. It is good quality rice cooked with braising sauce and there are added bits of pork lard crackles, dried shrimps and long beans. This is a delicious alternative to plain white rice at RM1.40 a bowl.

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After our lunch, Alex took me in his pickup truck to Sungai Pendas to show me where he gets his fish supply. It is at the end of Jalan Tangung Kupang, at the mouth of Sungai Pendas (about 30 minutes drive from Gelang Patah. Map GPS: 1.379144,103.634778). The fish, crabs and prawns are caught by Orang Asli fishermen in those mangroves you see in the background of the picture above. The catch are landed at the jetties here in the morning and sold direct to restaurants and also members of the public. There are also a couple of seafood restaurants here, right at the jetty. The well known Yeo's Family Restaurant is also nearby. However, this afternoon, the place was very quiet as the market closed early for Ramadan. I am definitely coming back for the fish market and will also try out the restaurants here at Sungai Pendas.

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Restaurant name: Star Chef Restaurant 星名廚
Address: 51, Jalan Gelang Emas 1, Taman Gelang Emas, Gelang Patah, Johor Bahru
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/qTJV6
GPS: 1.450726,103.585367
Hours: 09:30am to 10:30pm (Closed on alternate Thursdays)


Non Halal

Date visited: 28 Oct 2012, 28 Nov 2012, 29 Jul 2013


Return to Johor Kaki homepage.

14 comments:

  1. i really like the story on how you met him!

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  2. Was there on 09/08, waited for an hour for food. Was quoted disappointed with crab as it is very small. End up we have second round at other place.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, these are local crabs weighing about 300grams each.

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  3. Following your blog, we went to the Star Chef Retaurant last Saturday, 10th Aug. Not only we waited for more than half an hour for our meal, the crab we order came out totally wrong. Wrong because the crab look, felt and tasted unfresh. They got the style wrong too (we asked for 1kg of sweet sour and 1kg of salted egg but they did it all in sweet sour style). There was a portion where the body of the crab that had all of its legs unattached. Did not know until my guest told me in the car after we left. The crab meat texture felt powderish and tasteless. And what the owner Alex told about the offer of RM48 per kg offer until end of Aug was crap. I was charged RM60 per kg and the reason was they ran out of the "on offer" crabs. The best part was, the blog was written by you and it is not their official blog. So the creditability of your blog is indeed questionable. Anyway, it was a lousy experience for me after driving all the way from kuala lumpur.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kai Hock, from your comment you did not have a good experience. I am sorry to hear about it. I assure that you I always do my utmost to describe my experiences as accurately as possible. There are readers who wrote to me about their good experiences at Star Chef and others who told me personally how much they enjoyed themselves there. I even have at least one reader writing to me to tell me that Star Chef is the best in JB. I shall visit Star Chef again in the future and update you about the food there. Thank you.

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    2. Hi Kai Hock, you may also want to try the other restaurants in Galang Patah, e.g. Tian Lai which I also featured in my blog. It is also very popular.

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  4. Hi, I think we have to be fair to the people who have put in so much effort to write and post blogs. We take each outing as an adventure. If it turns out wrong, we just don't go back so you really should not be slagging the people here.

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  5. What Kai Hock have feedback is nothing wrong also. This is base on what he have encountered and he have every rights to point out the problems. There's nothing fair or unfair.

    I personally have also encountered some different experiences as opposed to what was being blogged.

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    Replies
    1. Differences in experiences and preferences are expected and accepted graciosuly. Thank you.

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  6. I'm new to this website. Just wish to share my experience on this outlet. Was there yesterday night (Aug 24, 2013) at their Gelang Patah for dinner. 4 dishes were ordered.

    東坡肉 – A excellent dish. I’m fan of this dish and I would recommend anyone not to give this dish a miss.

    鎮江排骨 – The ribs were deep fried and coated with a thick sauce. The taste was good however the presentation of the dish was just the ribs on a plate without garnishes, making it somewhat empty and not at any level impressive.

    紫菜海鮮湯 – Son’s must have. Ingredients used in the soup were good however the soup was a little salty to our comfort.

    古汁王煎蝦 – This was recommended but it was a disappointment. The shells were stuck to the prawns and making the removal of shells extremely difficult. Never did encounter trouble removing shells from the prawns before until the encountering of this dish.

    Service provided by the crew were pretty normal, I guess it was a late Wednesday night and the team were tired. Even chanced later in the dinner over a “debate” between two staff over some disagreement and a loose gas fitting near the cashier counter that the crew were trying to fit. =P

    Overall, we’d left with a mix feel on the dinning experience.

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    Replies
    1. I wish correct the date on my post dated Oct 24, 2013 @ 1151. The correct date on the first paragraph should be Oct 24, 2013, and not Aug 24, 2013. Thank you.

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  7. Hi, all these comments makes me wanted to go and try it myself :-) May i ask if they also cater to tour groups ? Is there any number that i can contact them directly for this request ? Many thanks !
    Betty

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    Replies
    1. Dear Betty, I suggest giving Alex a call at +6012-775-6313. Thank you.

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I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is the same as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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