Perched along a sleepy row of shoplots in a commercial area in Subang Jaya in Selangor is T Bob’s Corner. Upon a cursory inspection, the restaurant may look disarmingly nondescript and benign, but take a look further into its recesses and you’ll discover a glass encased outdoor area where all the action happens. The show-stealing spectacle guaranteed to change your perception of the place takes shape in the form of the gleaming smoker that the eatery’s co-owner Mohammad Arizal and his business partners devised as a DIY project.
“We learnt how to make it from YouTube videos and experimented with different shapes using recycled items. Most of it is fashioned out of old tongs (drums), ” he says nonchalantly.
T Bob’s Corner originally began its life as a steakhouse in Singapore, reputedly the first halal variant of its kind. After five years in the business, Arizal (who is Malaysian) and his partners decided to venture into the Klang Valley, opening a Texas barbecue-focused restaurant.
“We think there is more of a demand for Texas-style barbecue in Malaysia, ” says Arizal, who only uses halal-certified meat.
Arizal and his team took a whole year to do the R&D required to perfect the art of smoking.
At T Bob’s Corner, items like the brisket are smoked for 12 to 16 hours at a low temperature using local wood from mango trees, rubber trees, rambutan trees and durian trees, among others. The smoked meats are also marinated in a dry rub made up of components like cumin, coriander powder, mustard seeds and chilli powder.
To begin your meat-venture here, loosen your belts and tuck into the all-hands-on-deck BBQ Platter (RM249.90) which is designed for two to three people. Made up of 250g smoked brisket, 150g pulled lamb, 250g to 350g smoked beef ribs, a smoked sausage, grilled corn and mashed potatoes, this mammoth meal is designed with gluttony in mind.
It’s often the case that when there is so much choice on offer, the mind finds it near impossible to decide where to start. So let me help you along: start with the smoked brisket, which is phenomenally good. The meat has a delightful outer crust that yields to tender, juicy meat inside, although the fat-to-meat ratio does depend on which part of the meat you get (the flat has more meat and the point has more fat). The star of this show though is definitely the amazing smoky components that come through – the meat seems to luxuriate in it, every pore, fibre and muscle evoking a rugged smokiness that resonates in every mouthful.
The pulled lamb is just as good – velvety soft and accentuated with smoky, undulating notes.
You should also try the house-made smoked sausage which is fashioned out of sheep’s intestines and off-cuts from the brisket. The sausage is really yummy – bursting with meat and packed with flavour (although some pieces are a tad drier than others).
You can enhance all the carnivorous options on this platter with the eatery’s house-made barbecue sauce, which packs a sweet-sour-spicy punch.
“We use demi glace (beef jus) and chilli sauce, apple cider vinegar and paprika to make the barbecue sauce – it’s our own creation, ” says Arizal proudly.
The equally gargantuan BBQ Surf and Turf (RM169.90) holds the same amount of beef brisket as the BBQ platter. It also comes with spaghetti aglio olio and most alluringly, 400g of lemon butter lobster. The brisket once again lives up to all the tender, loving smoking it has been given, but equally revelatory is the lobster, which has been cooked to perfection and offers plump tufts of naturally sweet lobster meat slathered in an enticingly good lemon butter sauce.
The BBQ Back Ribs (RM74.90) are another hearty temptation, made up of 450g of back ribs caramelised in the house made barbecue sauce, with side dishes like mashed potatoes. The ribs are pretty good, although the barbecue sauce could be a little more assertive here.
As Arizal hates wasting good meat, he also came up with a series of menu options that make good use of brisket cast-offs and other meaty bits and bobs. The Sloppy Bobs Burger (RM24.90) is a prime example of this and is put together using a 180g homemade beef patty, onion rings, cheese sauce, chilli beef, salad, barbecue sauce and fries. The burger is oh-so comfortingly good, the sort of thing that tastes best when you pick it up in your hands and let the entire messy, juicy concoction run down your chin as you sigh in satisfaction and ponder the possibility of ordering up another one, diet be damned!
Moving forward, Arizal says there are already plans in place to open more T Bob outlets in Malaysia as well as another outlet in Singapore.
“Actually we plan to open another branch in Singapore’s Orchard Road, so I think the Singapore outlet will be first, then we hope to expand to Kuala Lumpur and maybe even Penang, ” he says optimistically.
T Bob’s Corner
26-1, Jalan USJ9/5P
Subang Business Centre
47620 Subang Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03-8011 7309
Open Monday to Friday: noon to 3pm; 6pm to 10pm; Saturday to Sunday: noon to 11pm