Little Sungai Rengit town in Pengerang, Johor is renown for it's seafood, especially the local, wild Spiny Lobsters that live among the rocks off it's shores.
Most people know that Jade Garden restaurant is the "king of the hill" over here. Always on the lookout for new options, I have been looking for alternatives, worthy of the rather long drive from JB to Sungai Rengit.
Last year, I stumbled upon Straits View Seafood 海景轩海鲜酒家 while searching for the alternative. The decor at Straits View is very basic, almost bare bones - actually a little uninspiring. It was the mention by the friendly auntie at the corner sundry shop when I asked her for recommendations that gave me a bit more confidence to give it a try.
On my first visit, I was food hunting alone and just ordered one lobster to try. I liked it and wrote a post on it - my first on Straits View Seafood.
Stanley the Boss
Stanley the boss later invited me for a second visit where I tried more of their dishes prepared by Stanley's partner Chef Liew. It was good! This is my second post on Straits View.
Recently, Stanley informed me that Chef Liew has left to work in a restaurant in Melbourne, Australia. A new chef, Chef Chuan 全叔 has joined Stanley. I am eager to try the food at Straits View again.
Uncle Chuan 全叔
Chef Chuan or Uncle Chuan 全叔 as he is known is a veteran with many years of experience including at Pulai Springs Seafood, other well known restaurants in Malaysia, and overseas in Switzerland.
These were the dishes we had at Straits View Seafood yesterday.
The first was Salted Egg Sliced Lotus Root (XL-RM25; L-RM20; S-RM15). While photographing this dish, the breeze from the nearby sea sent the aroma of fried curry leaves and salted eggs towards me. I couldn't wait to try this speciality of Chef Chuan. Taking my first bite into a piece of the lotus root, I know that this would be a hit with the others that were dinning with me. The lotus root slices had crispy edges and a nice firmness inside. The combination of interesting textures gave this dish a very likable mouth feel. Stir fried with a thick layer of salted eggs, curry leaves and spices, this appetiser made us hungry and it disappeared within minutes!
Signature Crab Gravy Bean Curd (XL-RM25; L-RM20; S-RM12). This homemade bean curd looks humble and simple, I didn't expect it to taste as good as it did! This dish surprised me with its sweetness from the crab meat gravy. The homemade bean curd was soft, smooth and almost runny. The slight crispness on the outside was barely holding the tofu together. The bean curd was first deep fried to achieve this crisp outer layer. We finished this "self dissolving" dish within minutes too!
Sizzling Ostrich Meat (RM24). When eating seafood, we all know that freshness is very important. The same goes to ostrich meat! The local ostrich farm just around the corner supplies Straits View with the ostrich meat. The ostrich meat is served on a hot plate and comes to the table pipping hot with bubbling, steaming gravy. The ostrich meat is extra tender, more so than beef. This sounds like a strange description for meat but it felt "light, fluffy and airy" to me. The ostrich meat tasted fresh and sweet with ginger, spring onion and onions.
Sambal Kang Kung (XL-RM20; L-RM15; S-RM10). While waiting for the dishes to come, I sat at the table looking at the restaurant helpers prepare the Kang Kung. Only the leafy parts of the plant were harvested, while the stems were discarded. Such tedious work translated into a very successful dish. This very well executed sambal Kang Kung dish has a rich sambal aroma. It was a little spicy and not too salty. Since only the leafy parts of the plants were used, this crunchy dish didn't require much chewing like other veggie dishes! I like it! Making this veggie dish even more special is the fact that the veggie came from a veggie small holding less than 2 km away! How much more freshness do you get! Must order.
For crab, I opted for something familiar, hence the Black Pepper Crab (imported - RM9.50 per 100g; local - RM6 per 100g). Like its name suggests this dish is power packed with black pepper flavour! Teasingly pungent and spicy, yet not overpowering. The crab is locally fished, just like all other ingredients used in today's meal.
The fresh crab had a natural sweetness which was a good balance for the thick black pepper sauce that covers the whole crab. The sauce is made with flavourful ingredients like oyster sauce and dark soya sauce, and not forgetting freshly ground black pepper. The crab meat is soft but not mushy, just the way it should be. This is a great dish to try!
Cheesy lobster (XL-RM18 per 100g; L-RM16 per 100g; M-RM12 per 100g). This was the star of the meal as Chef Chuan and owner Stanley are very proud of this new dish. I've never seen lobster done this way in this lobster town - Chef Chuan got his liking for cheese and Western style cooking from his chef experience in Switzerland.
By melting 2 types of cheese on this baked lobster dish and baking it just right, I tasted the freshness and sweetness of the juicy lobster.
The lobster flesh was very sweet. The cheese added a slight savouriness and is a very good pairing. I loved this lobster dish.
Sea Disc 海饼
This is a rather interesting dish as I've never seen this type of shell fish before. It's very flat like a computer CD and has a beautiful shell that resembles a scallop (but larger and more flat). The locals call it Sea Disc 海饼 because of it's shape. It's flesh has a smooth and slippery texture that can be swallowed without chewing! Living wild in the local waters, this sea disc is a must try!
Cheese Baked Sea Disc
Garlic Steamed Sea Disc
There are two ways of cooking this, either baked with melted cheese (RM4 per disc) or steamed with garlic (RM3 per disc). I really enjoyed the cheesy version but the others liked the garlic version more. Both types of cooking were well received! I would come back for this dish again!
After our meal, ready to go home, a man came in on a motorcycle with a sack of wrying lobsters. Small fishermen just take their day's catch and sell them directly to the restaurants. Today's catch was 5 kg of lobsters. Stanley just took them all - can't tell you how much he paid for this pile (business confidential mah :P ).
Humble Straits View Seafood - well executed fresh seafood at competitive prices - worth a try, definitely.
Restaurant name: Straits View Seafood Restaurant 海景轩海鲜酒家
Address: 84, Jalan Besar, Sungai Rengit, Pengerang, Johor
Hours: 11:00am to 11:00pm
Dates visited: 12 Jul 2013