Friday, 6 April 2018

Cheap & Very Good Western Food in Johor JB. Big Brother 2 二师兄 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Big Brother 2 二师兄 is a little hidden gem serving restaurant quality dishes in a humble shop lot in a quiet section of Taman Seri Austin, JB. To me, it's worth the effort to seek out Big Brother 2 as the food is nice, reasonably priced and I find eating good food in unexpected places a special pleasure 😂

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Big Brother 2 is a bootstrap operation. Owner brothers Brian and Sam made most of the furnishings (tables, counter etc) in the restaurant themselves with discarded wood. The floor is raw cement. The murals on the wall were drawn by one of their staff with a gift for drawing. Crucially, brothers Brian and Sam are not only talented self taught chefs, they are passionate about their craft.

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Brian is a 20 year veteran in F & B, having worked in Japanese and French restaurants in Singapore, KL and JB. Never been to culinary school, Brian's teachers are the chefs he worked with through the two decades. But, from my conversations with him, I think his best teacher is his own thirst for knowledge and drive for constant improvement. I have met a few such self taught chefs and I always treasure conversations with them - as I am awed by their insights and inspired by their passion.

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Our grilled mushroom appetiser got us off to a great start (price RM16 nett). I am a mushroom lover, so this dish is great for me. The savoury sauce layered with the mushroom's natural savoury sweetness was so delicious. There was an underlying subtle toastiness from the slightly browned, grilled mushrooms. I also love the spongy bouncy bite of fresh mushrooms.

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For mains, we started with a Chicken Ala Piccatta (price RM22 nett).

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Chicken Ala Piccatta is a homely dish often served in Italian families. This was my first time eating chicken piccatta.

In Big Brother 2's rendition, a slab of fresh chicken breast is butterflied and lightly seasoned. The large piece of chicken breast is then lightly battered, and coated with beaten eggs. It is then sauteed in a greased pan till the outside is well browned.

The chicken piccatta is served in a little stack with sauteed spinach at the base, and mashed potato in the middle.

The dish comes with a splash of cream sauce presented in a thick flamboyant swish.

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I love this chicken piccatta.

I tasted a lot of eggy flavour from the browned outside and subtle chicky sweetness from the slice of chicken breast inside. It's the best combination of eggy and chicky taste that I have tasted.

The chicken breast was moist and tender. It was not much stiffer than the egg wrapping it 😄

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The eggy chicky chicken piccatta is eaten with smooth cream sauce made with butter and olive oil.

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The lightly sauteed spinach was soo.... good with natural savoury sweetness in its soft green fibres. I like the soft grainy hand mashed potatoes too.

Big Brother 2's Chicken Ala Piccatta is a delicious full and complete meal for lunch or dinner.

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Big Brother 2 Grilled Pork Belly RM28 nett.

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The strips of pork belly with layers of meat and fat were marinated with savoury house blended sauce and grilled to a deep brown before serving.

The well browned outside had deep layers of savoury flavours with underlying hickory taste. The savoury hickory sauce complemented the natural subtle porky sweetness in the pork belly's fat and meat.

I like the pork belly's texture as it was firm yet tender and juicy. The fat layer had a slight soft crunch, almost like biting through a juicy fruit.

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All mains come with creamy mushroom soup made with a blend of coarse chopped mushrooms and butter.

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Big Brother 2 has one of my favourite chocolate lava cakes (price RM8 nett). Nice sweet cake with sweet lava and underlying chocolaty taste. The cake was thin, so it was like a bulging balloon holding the molten chocolate inside which gushes lava when we puncture it.

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4-Stars (out of 5). I first tasted Brian's cooking when he was operating a hawker stall in a coffee shop in Taman Setia Indah. My second taste was at Ratatouille restaurant which Brian set up with partners. I visited Brian a third time when I got news that he had set up Big Brother 2 with his brother Sam. This was my fourth visit.

Every visit to Brian's eateries has always been a pleasure. Brian's approach is to minimise frills, and maximise quality ingredients (I once bumped into Brian at the wet market when he was personally shopping for his restaurant). But, I think his main ingredient is the wholehearted dedication he puts into his cooking. It's not lip service as I have tasted his food through the years and it is consistently delicious. I always get the taste, feel and smell of expensive restaurant food in Brian's humble eateries.

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Restaurant name: Big Brother 2 二师兄 
Address: G-28, Jalan Seri Austin 1/1, Taman Seri Austin, Johor Bahru 
GPS: 1°34'43.9"N 103°44'54.1"E | 1.578847, 103.748350 
Waze: Big Brother 2 
Tel: 016-755 0868 
Hours: 12:00 noon - 10:30pm  

Date visited: 1 Feb 2018, 5 Apr 2018

Return to Johor Kaki homepage.

2 comments:

  1. We went to Brian's Ratatouille a few years back. Food is good and ambience wasn't too bad. In fact we met Brian who came out from the kitchen during a break and spoke to us. Too bad his first two operations weren't too successful. If his eatery were located in Singapore I am sure it would have been a huge success. But JB may not be ready for such avant garde food as yet. Either that or bad Feng Shui or one is spoilt for choice in JB :-(

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Vietnam Mari for your sharing. I feel Brian had so far been handicapped by location because of the high cost of rental at the prime locations. Hope that he will eventually find the resources to locate in more accessible locations so that more people can enjoy his food.

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I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't.

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