Old-fashioned Hainanese coffeeshops (that are not part of a chain) are hard to come by in the city these days so I remember being pleasantly surprised on my first visit to Yut Kee. Sure, I'd heard the name uttered before, but I never knew what it really was about until I was greeted by the plates of Hainanese-style chicken chop when I stepped into the coffeeshop one Sunday morning.
"Oh my, it's a Hainanese coffeeshop! With Hainanese chicken chop!"
I suppose, to say that I was pleasantly surprised is a bit of an understatement.
35, Jalan Dang Wangi,Kuala Lumpur
One doesn't doubt how long the coffeeshop has been around for, with its rustic interior and menu boards. Deciding on what to order is a pretty simple task, especially for first timers, as all one has to do is to look around to spot the trend.
To start off, some roti bakar with homemade kaya. There's a choice between steamed bread and toast, though I'm personally more of a toast person.
The Hainanese-style chicken and pork chops are clearly the popular dishes at Yut Kee, with one (or more!) at every table. Unlike some other Hainanese-style chops, the ones here are served not with a tomato based gravy but with an onion-y brown sauce-like gravy. While the tender chicken was delicious, the pork won my vote for being the juicier and more flavourful of the two.
The roti babi is another favourite - a slab of french toast (for lack of better term) with a pork and onion stuffing. The Worcestershire sauce present on every table truly complements this dish, giving it the kick that it needs.
Meehoon soup - because my dad is partial to meehoon soup. This was surprisingly good, with clear, flavourful soup that's sweet from the chinese cabbage. It had that taste of home in it.
Some ice cold glasses of coffee to wash it all down. Perfect brunch material.
We noticed freshly baked batches of marble cake being brought out from the kitchen and couldn't resist buying one. We had to wait a couple of minutes for ours but once the warm package is placed in your hands and you get a whiff of that delicious, buttery aroma coming through the slightly ajar box lid, you know that it was worth the wait.
Yut Kee is one of those places that has probably seen generations come through the door and you get that sense of history everytime you walk in. The restaurant is particularly crowded at brunch and lunch times so expect a queue (or go a a little earlier in the day). The place runs like a well-oiled machine, though, so it's never a long wait, whether it's for a table or for food. Getting there early is also a good idea if you want a taste of the popular pork roll and apple sauce as that runs out pretty quickly.
My parents declared, after their first visit, that they'll gladly come back again. The dishes served here are perhaps not the best versions you'll ever taste but you'll go back - for the simple, hearty food of your childhood.
I'm always, always on the look out for Hainanese kopitiams like this (perhaps, its the Hainanese in me) so if you have a recommendation, you'd be my hero.