In the mood for Italian

A girls night out, something I hadn't really done with my cousins before. We had tickets to a church production one Sunday night and after finding the perfect parking spot (we decided to head out early to make sure we beat the crowd and got a parking space within sight of the church - yes, hello, kiasu!), we walked to Jaya 33 for dinner. After the usual ping pong of "You choose," "No, you choose", we settled on the first thing we saw as we rounded the corner to Jaya 33:

d'italian kitchen
PG-01B Ground Floor,
Jaya 33,
No 3 Jalan Semangat,
Section 13, 46100 Petaling Jaya.
03-7956 3684

Determined to have dessert, we thought we'd order on the light side - a few this and thats to share among ourselves.

To start off, mushroom soup. Personally, I'm not a big fan of mushroom soup, probably the result of one too many instances (pardon the pun) of instant soup. It's always a let down when you find lumps of undissolved soup mix at the bottom of the bowl. I have to give the place props for some pretty authentic-tasting mushroom soup - creamy, with the subtle taste of fresh mushroom, there was nothing instant about it.

The Sicilian Chicken Salad that along with the mushroom soup, kicked off the meal. This was something I randomly picked out of the menu. "Well marinated chicken, pine nuts, mango and grapes" - that really caught my eye. The (what seemed like) random mix of things really went well together, and pine nuts are always a plus. We really loved this one. Goes to show that a little creativity can go a long way.

Spicy crab linguine. Despite what the name might suggest, it wasn't too spicy and was really quite a pleasant balance of flavour. The slight punch made the tomato based dish a little more interesting.

Giant River Prawn Arrabiata. As you can see, we were in the mood for shellfish that night. This one had more sauce to it, had a stronger tomato flavour and tasted not unlike a marinara sauce. Traditionally, arrabiata is made with red pepper flakes but one couldn't really make out the red pepper in this one.

As you probably would have guessed, we ended up being much too full for dessert. The size of the portions surprised us somewhat, as did the overall quality of food - and in a good way. If anything, I'd go back for the Sicilian Chicken Salad anytime and perhaps another shot at trying to make it to dessert.

Stop. Refuel.

We're the type of people who plan our journeys to make sure we have time to stop for a meal, if nothing else then to break the monotony of the journey. I remember looking forward to the meal breaks when I was young - time to stretch those legs, get food and if I was lucky, refill the snack stash. We make the Kuantan-Kuala Lumpur trip pretty frequently so it's no surprise that we've found a favourite along that route.

Garden View Restaurant
Bukit Tinggi

Just a little way up from the first row of shops that you'll see upon turning into Bukit Tinggi, this Chinese restaurant has a gorgeous view at the back and is surprisingly cool despite its open concept. It's especially nice in the evenings with the setting sun.

We usually go for the typical Chinese fare but once in awhile, we mix it up a little.

Ginger chicken beehoon. Having grown up loving all things that involve steamed chicken and ginger (Hainanese chicken rice, anyone?), I immediately took to this dish. For someone whose all-time favourites include her dad's chicken rice and chicken-ginger soup, this was like having all of that rolled into one. It may be a tad too strong for some, though - I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't wild about ginger.

Black pepper prawn/shellfish glass noodles. Black pepper and ginger - it would appear that I like strong, distinct flavours. The glass noodles had soaked up the gravy quite nicely, like they should have and were soft but not overly mushy of sticky.

While we do get a little adventurous at times, we almost always get the stomach soup. It's a no-fail here with all its peppery goodness. I appreciate that in all the times that we've had the soup there, not once did it have the strong, unpleasant smell that the soup can take on if not properly prepared.

It's a good place to stop for a pleasant journey-filler meal. With ample parking space, fruit stalls surrounding the restaurant, decent prices, a nice view and some pretty friendly staff, we always leave feeling refreshed and ready to hit the road again.