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Published: Sunday June 15, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday June 15, 2014 MYT 9:51:27 AM

Dining derring-do with Dad

Try this, Dad, we dare you!. - Photos RAYMOND OOI/The Star

Try this, Dad, we dare you!. - Photos RAYMOND OOI/The Star

Dad’s that old guy you can have some fun with and trade a friendly punch or two. You can drag him to another big, nondescript buffet this Father’s Day, or try something way more adventurous.

HOLY CRAB: Dig in without ceremony

Mayhem. That’s one way of describing the scene at the Crab Factory after you’re done.

If Dad’s the sort who loves getting his hand stuck into his dinner – you know, really dig into his food with his fingers without feeling shy or being embarrassed that other people are watching – this is the perfect place for him.

The sheer savagery of the Crab Factory dining experience – no real plates, no proper cutlery, just plastic bags of food, scattered across the table – make this the perfect place for you to display your mastery of cracking, peeling, yanking and tugging at your meal with your bare hands and teeth.

Social graces? Dining etiquette?

Start from the outside and work your way in when you can’t differentiate your dessert fork from your salad fork? Please. This isn’t dinner at Downton Abbey. The only manners you need here is to finish your food. Besides, with what your meal will cost you, you don’t want to waste a thing.

Yes, seafood doesn’t come cheap. Crab Factory’s king crab from Alaska costs a whopping RM229 apiece, and two meat crabs go for RM159. But that’s probably no more than what you’d fork out at any other seafood joint in the city. And you won’t get anything that tastes like Crab Factory anywhere else.

Crabs aside, there are also prawns, mussels, scallops, baby octopus, Japanese snails and yabbies (or crawfish) on the menu.

To complement your order, you have a choice of four sauces from mild to wild – zesty lemon pepper, garlic butter, signature Southern bang and Death Valley – all made according to Louisiana recipes.

And then there’s the secret “underground” sauce called Atomic. According to Crab Factory’s co-founder and creative chef, TY Ooi, it’s a sauce so hot and so spicy that it’ll burn a hole right through your soul. It’s not on the menu, but if you ask for it, be prepared to leave the restaurant with a fat lip.

Finally, there’s the whole communal dining experience. Everyone knows Malaysians are fond of hogging tables at a restaurant, or setting a place at the table for their handbags. Not at Crab Factory. Duos and groups are seated next to each other at the same table without fuss or fight, much like in a backyard BBQ.

This is the kind of place to bring Dad for Father’s Day – it’s exactly the sort of place where your mother can’t say a word about his eating behaviour. Besides, she would like the fact that the first 50 customers for the day can get an Alaskan king crab for half price.

And while Dad’s at it, make him try the snails. After all, it’s part of what little boys are made of. – LENNARD GUI

Crab Factory: Original Louisiana Boil
21 Jalan SS2/64, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7865 5850
Open 3pm-11pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday; 11am-11pm Friday-Sunday; closed on Tuesday

MOUNTING A CHALLENGE: The monster burger

For all the burgers that Dad has treated you to, you can return the favour in a big way with the Matterhorn, a ginormous burger named after one of the tallest mountains in Europe.

Euro Deli’s Matterhorn burger is dinner-plate size – some 23cm in diameter and 15cm tall!

This crazy 3kg burger contains 1.5kg of minced pork, 11 slices of Swiss cheese, bacon, tomatoes, pickled gherkins, and lettuce. And served with a secret sauce.

It feeds five to six adults – the poster on the wall says a Matterhorn is equivalent to 10 regular burgers. So it’s definitely a burger for sharing.

For dining in, it’s RM112++, inclusive of a Polaroid photo with the mother of all burgers.

But if you want a real kick, take the challenge: Sign up for the Matterhorn Challenge by paying RM88++, and if you – or Dad – can chomp down the Matterhorn (solo of course, dude) within 45 minutes, you get to take home RM300 cash.

That means you can treat Dad without having to pay for it. If. You. Finish. The. Burger.

Before you rush there, remember the rules: Throughout the challenge, you cannot go to the restroom (so don’t think you can throw up and resume), or share the burger. At the end of it, your plate must be clean.

Your face will probably be quite green at the end of it, but the management insists on giving you a complimentary Polaroid photo, and the honour of going on display on Euro Deli’s “Wall of Fame”.

For the record, just three persons have won the challenge since its inception in 2009. – YEOH SHU WEN CASSANDRA

* The Matterhorn requires one day’s advance booking.

Euro Deli Restaurant (non-halal)
39 & 41, Jalan SS20/11
Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7726 7495
Open 10am-11.30pm

BEASTMASTER: Raw for real

There’s something about man and meat; so most dads dig a big, juicy steak. But how about a raw, bloody steak? That will make most Malaysian dads swallow.

But really, it’s not “beast and meat”. Steak Tartare is not quite the barbaric dish some make it out to be. It is a most civilised dish when you think of its execution requiring the best piece of meat and the utmost of hygiene in the kitchen.

It’s sophisticated even – hint: you can only find it at the more upmarket restaurants in Kuala Lumpur.

What the beast is Steak Tartare? It’s a classic dish of raw minced beef dressed with pickles such as capers, cornichons (pickled gherkins) and olives, and a piquant dressing of olive oil, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and chilli flakes, or Tabasco sauce. And to crown it, a raw egg. It’s popular as a starter or main, usually served with French fries or chips.

Where to find it: Cilantro serves an appetiser of Wagyu tartare with egg mollet and toast (RM88). The raw beef has a metallic and umami taste and chef Takashi keeps it safe with a half-cooked (mollet) egg yolk. Stirred into the salty anchovy butter, it’s a starter that many rave about.

For the real deal, La Vie En Rose has a main course of hand-cut beef tenderloin tartare with rocket and shaved parmesan (RM88). The cut is chunky – the way it should be, they say – in a generous 180g serving. The dressing and chopped condiments have been mixed in with the beef and raw egg when it is brought to the table, topped with a mound of rocket salad and parmesan shavings, and served with roasted potato.

The Lebanese version is on the menu at Al-Amar in Pavilion – but it has not been available for the last couple of months apparently due to machine malfunction (it involves a meat grinder), so do call first if you intend to visit. Kebbeh Nayyeh (RM38, mezze portion) is a mound of raw minced lamb mixed with bulgur wheat and spices, served with spring onion, and mint and garlic sauce – which you scoop with their freshly minted flatbread. There’s also the more basic version minus the wheat and spices, Tableh Nayyeh. – JULIE WONG

Cilantro Restaurant & Wine bar
MiCasa All Suite Hotel
368-B, Jalan Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2179 8082

La Vie En Rose
39 Jalan Raja Chulan
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2078 3883

Al-Amar Lebanese Cuisine
Lot 6.10, Level 6, Pavilion
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2166 1011

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, father's day, steak tartare, matterhorn, crab factory

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