Grandma's Restaurant, Paragon

The food basement of Paragon seems to be undergoing an overhaul. New restaurants have sprouted up in place of old ones (Big O Cafe is now where Spaghettis used to be). Tenants are revamping themselves (Thai Express) or shifting to a bigger premises just a few steps away from their old location (Soup Restaurant).

We almost walked right past Grandma's Restaurant because it seemed so similar to Mum's Kitchen, which coincidentally, is situated where Mum's Kitchen used to be. A quick glance at the menu told us that the restaurant serves food similar to Madam Kwan's, a famous restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. But it was the relatively cheap pricing that made us step in to the new restaurant.

The Paragon branch is the 3rd outlet of the chain of Grandma's Restaurants, the pioneer being the one at Orchard Parade Hotel (which I remember eating at while preparing for an arbitration on a Sunday). The restaurant must be doing something right, to have opened 3 outlets in a relatively short span of about 2 years.

The BF got the Nasi Bukhari ($14), savoury pilaf rice with fried chicken thigh, half a boiled egg (yes there was an egg, although it's hidden from view), and sides of beef rendang and prawns with sweet onions.

The chicken thigh was huge. The skin was battered very well and the spice rub reminded us of KFC chicken in its glory days without the frozen chicken taste. The chicken thigh was fried very well, crisp on the outside but retaining its juiciness on the inside.

The prawns were fresh and sauteed with sweet red onion. This was sweet, tangy and delicious.

The beef rendang was tender and rich but the portion was a little tiny.

I got the Ipoh Kway Teow in clear broth with shredded chicken and prawns ($8.80), sans bean sprouts and spring onions. Obviously they forgot my requests. The soup was predominantly the essence of chicken, with the sweetness of prawn giving depth, this was very light. I love the smoothness of Ipoh kway teow and this did not disappoint, each strand slipped down like a dream. This dish was simple but very palatable.

We also got the Claypot Beancurd ($8.80), braised deep fried egg beancurd with squid, prawns, pork slices, cauliflower, snowpeas, and garlic. This had a homecooked taste to it. Seafood was fresh, vegetables were cooked through but retained some crunch. The garlic was the best part, medium sized cubes of garlic were fried to remove their pungency, leaving only the fragrant, tart taste of garlic.

If you order a main, you're entitled to desserts like Chendol at only $0.60, so of course we got one. This was slurpalicious. Green jelly, red beans, coconut milk, atap seed, and bits of sago, slathered in rich and sweet gula melaka (palm sugar). The good thing here is that they don't add the gula melaka into the desserts for you. Some people have a sweeter tooth than others. Just remember that with gula melaka, a little goes a long way.

We also got the Sago Gula Melaka ($3.80, not part of the dessert-at-$0.60 promotion), pearl sago drenched in coconut milk and gula melaka. This was served cold.

The bill was $42.37, which was alright for upscale Malaysian cuisine. If you don't have the time to make a one and a half to 2 and a half hours (depending on how fast you're speeding and how many rest stops you make) roadtrip to KL to eat at Madam Kwan's, this local restaurant really is the next closest thing to Mdm Kwan's.

Grandma's Restaurant
290 Orchard Road
#B1-42, The Paragon
Tel: 6737 7931
Open daily from 11.30am to 10pm

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