Behind the rows of storage shelves, you'll find a large open kitchen ready for some heavy duty cooking, led by chef and owner Ahong. There is also a casual dining area on the ground floor, for those who'd like to watch all the action from the kitchen.
On the first floor, there is a larger dining area that is air-conditioned; a welcomed respite for diners from the afternoon heat.
Both floors have a self-service station where you can get your own cutlery, plates, condiments, soft drinks, ice in a cooler tub etc.
Even the menu is a simple clipboard with a personal message from Ahong, telling us to adjust our expectations on the service provided by the mostly foreign help with limited English ability. Grub’s unpretentious and homely feel has a sense of charm to it. You can tell that Ahong wants his customers to have the best dining experience possible with what they can provide.
An interesting aspect of Grub is the numerous works of art that decorate the walls of the restaurant. It looks somewhat like a mini art gallery with copies of renaissance paintings and modern art pieces framed all along the walls, serving as a subtle reminder that this is not your run-of-the-mill local kopitiam.
So we sat at a table on the first floor and ordered from their lunch menu. We had two starters - the Roasted Beetroot, Fresh fruits & Feta Salad (RM13.50); and the Quail Salad (RM16). The salads arrived quickly, much to our delight, as we were hungry.
If you ask us, it is definitely worth getting your lips stained to the Beetroot Salad, mixed with green herbs, honey and nuts. The combined flavours from the roasted beetroot, jackfruit and feta in this salad makes it one of the best that we have tasted. Also, it does not have a harsh acidity from the salt and vinegar found in most salads. Feta cheese is a classic ingredient that compliments the salad beautifully.
What turned heads for us was definitely the Quail Salad. The butterflied boneless quail was a contrast of flavours and textures - sweet, savoury, hot, cold, soft and crispy - which made the dish so much more than just a salad. Chef Ahong added his hint of personal touch by placing a Chinese tea leaf egg in the middle of the dish. Marvelous, a breath of fresh heritage!
For our mains, we ordered the New York Strip (RM25) and the Local Seafood Bouillabaisse (RM22).
Grub nailed it once again with the New York Strip; a 150g striploin steak with steak-cut chips and jambu ulam. Our well-marbled steak was tender and flavourful. Perfectly cooked medium rare and sliced to 1 inch thickness; every bite of the juicy steak delighted our taste buds. We also enjoyed the steak-cut chips which were crispy and warm.
The Local Seafood Bouillabaisse is a dish made up of grilled white fish fillet, clams, squid & prawns in lightly spiced seafood soup; sprinkled with fresh coriander and served with sourdough bread. The flaky and sweet fish is boosted by the spiciness of the chili paste; while the seafood soup is flavorful, yet not overpoweringly so. This is our favorite dish, a must-have when you visit Grub.
After all the wonderful savoury dishes we tasted, we craved a little sweet dessert for a satisfying end to our meal, so we ordered the Hummingbird Cake (RM9). It's a light and fluffy Banana cake with pineapple chunks. Simply delicious.
Our takeaway is, Grub is truly a hidden gem that deserves its good word of mouth. While we didn't get to meet Chef Ahong, we could see his personal touches in the way the food was prepared. It is clear that a lot of thought and care went into every single dish.
In terms of value for money, we were beyond pleased. You won’t find another place with such reasonably priced steaks. The place is admittedly a little short-staffed at the moment, but we didn't mind having to trot down to the ground floor to place our orders at the counter. Our food arrived promptly, and the staff pleasantly obliged us when we asked them to open up their metal sliding doors so we could take a photo out in front (they were closing as we were about to leave).
So, if you're looking for a pure gastronomic experience minus the frills, then Grub is your place.
By the way, there is a Friday lunch promotion at Grub for the ladies. Make a date to have a long leisurely lunch with your girlfriends at Grub on Fridays, because all ladies will enjoy 20% off!
- Grub by Ahong & Friends
- 608, Jalan 17/10, Section 17, Petaling Jaya.
- Opens Tuesday to Friday 12pm-3pm & 6pm-10.30pm, and on weekends 12pm-3pm & 5pm-10.30pm.