From the instagramable Petit Mary to the buzzed about Purple Moon Lover Ipoh. These cafes are no stranger to the Ipoh crowd. Known for their delectable treats and pastries, there are one of the more “not just for looks” café. Mr Phan, the founder of the brand started from humble beginnings by selling bread and cakes at the roadside to opening his first bakery. Step by step, he venture into café and has a few brands under his belt. Petit Mary focuses on pastries and western bites while Purple moon lover has a Japanese touch. Serving Japanese desserts and bento, the perfect place for youngsters to lounge around.
Grass Root 62
Introducing Mr Phan’s latest brainchild, 草根六两. (Grass Root 62). The main dish of this new addition is their Bak Kut Teh. Bak Kut Teh (BKT) is a pork rib dish cooked in broth. In Hokkien, the name literally means Meat Bone Tea. With an ever so slightly medicinal taste, the broth is infused with spices such as cinnamon and star anise. Loaded with pork ribs, dried shiitake mushrooms, tofu puffs, and garlic, this soup fills the kitchen with evocative scents. There are three main types of BKT. Hokkien style has a dark soup, Teochew style uses more pepper while Cantonese has more medicinal herbs. There’s also dry BKT, vegetarian BKT and a halal version with chicken instead of pork, called Chi Kut Teh.
Lunch & Dinner Menu
Mr Phan said that his mom used to cook up his favorite dish, yes the Bak Kut Teh. He then had the idea to bring a hawker food into a posh ambience restaurant. With his mom’s recipe he challenged himself to recreate the signature dish. Operating from morning to night, it has 2 menu choices for breakfast and lunch/dinner. We dine during the night and tried their night menu. The morning menu is made up of noodles with the bak kut teh, both dry and soup versions. For the dinner menu, other dishes such as Pork Knuckle, Batong Octopus and more are available. Besides that, there are a variety of side dishes to accompany the mains.
The 2-story restaurant is decorated with tasteful and oriental charms. Turquoise and gold as the accent colors. We were welcomed warmly at the door and asked if we prefer to dine downstairs or upstairs. Opting for upstairs, we ordered at the counter before heading up. Eventhough The choices were limited it’st good enough. The waiter recommended us to try some side dishes and main dishes with rice. We led the waiter take charge as we wait for what’s coming.
Chinese’s Papaya Salad
Waiting time was around 10 minutes. We started off with Cold Dressed Octopus, Spicy Anchovies, and Bean Sprouts as appetizers. The sour and sweet notes opened up our appetite for the more savory main dishes. Cold Dressed Octopus and Spicy Anchovies is very much like the Chinese version of Thai’s Papaya Salad. Cucumber, onions carrot are julienned and tossed lighty with sweet and sour sauce with peanuts on top. However, with the different main ingredients, there is a distinctive difference between the two. Anchovies were crunchier in texture while the octopus was chewy. On the other hand, Bean Sprouts were quite average when compared to the other two.
Bak Kut Teh
As for main dishes, we had soup version Bak Kut Teh, Sour and Spicy Pork Knuckles, Batong Octopus and the Butter Creamy Sauce Prawn. There were all served in mini claypots. All their dishes are relevantly quite small, allowing us to more varieties. Their version of bak kut the was not as rich as I was expecting. The soup was clearer. I later found out this is the Teochew Version which is more light. Personally, I prefer the soup to be thicker and richer. How do you like your Bak Kut Teh to be?
Batong Octopus was cooked in Assam sauce. A Malaysian way of cooking and favored by all races, Everyone has their own interpretation for the assam There are endless adaptations; suffice it to say, it’s sour, fiery hot, and tastes extraordinary addicting. The Batong Octopus was my favorite. Sotong was added into the dish as well.. Moving on, the Butter prawns has a combination of sweet, salty and spicy flavors which makes it extremely delicious. The butter adds a fragrant creamy taste that enhances the sweetness of the prawns. Toasted grated coconut are added to give the dish an amazing aroma and nutty taste.
Next, the Spicy Pork Knuckles which a traditional Chinese dish. For generations, Chinese love to braised pork knuckles for its tender meat with chewy skin and less fat. Their jelly-textured skins are very different to other parts of pork. Besides that, pork knuckles has collagen that can make us looks more youthful! It is cooked with lots of dried and fresh chilies. The meat is spicy, but the sweetness from the dark soy sauce balanced the dish’s overall flavor. Deserves a thumbs up for this dish! All dishes are best enjoyed with some hot steamed rice. With so much flavor and spices, I finish mine in a jiffy.
& more side dishes..
It did not stop there, the waiter recommended to have lighter dishes for a great balance. Fritters with bak kut the goes hand in hand. A light dipped into the soup will infused it with the herbal scent. Somehow, it makes a perfect combo. Next, we had some enoki mushrooms, extra beancurd skin and tofu, some dried cuttlefish meatballs and Oyster Sauce Kailan. There was definitely some leftover as it was just too much for us to handle. Nevertheless, we tried most of the dishes and had a very satisfying hearty meal.
Overall, we were full to the brim and will return again. Environment was great and the food was very rich and flavorful. Eventhough the main character was the bak kut teh, I really enjoyed other dishes as well. It may not be your cup of tea for those who prefer a lighter and clear meal. The spices in the dishes were a little overwhelming. The bill came down to RM242.50, price point was acceptable for everything. Service tax and SST was void in the bill. I would give it a rating 6/10. Service was good but the food can be improved. Do drop by and give it a try and if you do, remember to leave a comment and tell us about your experience. That’s it from the M Makan Family, stay tuned as we share more of our food adventures!