At the press conference held on Wednesday evening, pressmen and guests were given talks by the 3 founding partners, including Patrick Teoh (@ Niamah and author of Teohlogy). Local celebrity, Jack Lim (whose character Ah Beng, in security guard uniform, has become a household name, and is being used in DV@LW advertisements) was also present to provide some glamour and humour.
We were told of how the first restaurant was first set up in Damansara Jaya. As Patrick described it: 'About 7 years ago, we tokkok and someone suggested opening a restaurant in PJ. But none of us were chefs. After months of tokkok, we found that there are many steamboat restaurants, which means it is a favourite form of eating out among Malaysians. But how to be different from the many such restaurants around? So we decided on the idea of having a special herbal soup instead of the usual. It was at Mr. Poon's house where we tried out different concoctions before we decided, 'This is it!' That was how they discovered their DV's signature Drunken Herbal Pot soup.
That DV@LW is their third restaurant with the same theme is a sign of success of their earlier two restaurants (second one off Jalan Imbi in KL). From pictures, many local celebrities like former Miss Malaysia, Yasmin Yussuf, top model Amber Chia, as well as some HK actors have been to DV in PJ or KL. Having a well known radio and television celebrity like Patrick Teoh must have been a great help in attracting customers.
At the press conference, we were shown the best way to dine using a steamboat. We were told that despite well meaning advice, some customers still prefer putting everything in! Well, since 'customer is always right', they are welcome to their own ways. Briefly (from my observation without taking notes)...
The steamboat with basic stock of soup is put to boil. Then the house speciality concoction of herbs are added into it. The first item of food to put in are the pieces of crabs, then the live prawns. These should be taken out as soon as the soup starts to boil, and shared among the diners. The reason for this is to prevent overcooking of the two items. Then clams are added and similarly taken out and shared. This is followed by fresh fish cutlets, and again, taken out as soon as the soup starts to boil. By now, the soup is certain to be very tasty. The other items provided are the usual fish balls and other 'yong liu', quail eggs and so on. To fill the tummy, meehoon and noodles are added last and these go well with the tasty soup. Vegetables should be added last (if possible) because they tend to affect the taste of the soup.
Update: video of demo by Allan Phoon (in Cantonese), courtesy of Emily Lowe...
I have a very good impression of the restaurant in Lost World Tambun. The natural ambience 'au naturel', next to some limestone hills has a calming effect. Patrick said he liked it most when he could switch off the lights at night and listen to the forest symphony. The food is good because of its special herbal soup and the freshness of its ingredients like live crabs, prawns, clams and fish. When asked about the price, what was shown at the demonstration was meant for four persons, at Rm135++; for 2 persons, at Rm68++. Customers have a choice of having the set menu (basic set items without the live items) at Rm18++ per person only; or having the set menu, with choice of live items at extra charges. There is a big car park which means no parking problem and which charges Rm1 per entry. I am sure most people who have the time to unwind and with the right company would enjoy their meals at this restaurant.
I was lucky to be seated near Patrick because he wanted to have an English speaking table of diners, but more to accomodate Harry Seggu (Spider Publishing), even though Harry said he can understand Cantonese. With Patrick up close and personal, and as a long time fan of his, I took advantage in asking him some personal questions. He is only 3 years older than me, but his long career started years ago as radio announcer, news reader and DJ which earned him the nickname of The Voice. His voice was used in countless 'voice-overs' in radio and tv advertisements. Many older people knew him as the DJ in Kee Huat Radio's Fantastic Facts and Fancies. He was surprised when I mentioned about his duck joke (which upset some listeners who thought he was really torturing a duck!) because I remembered he was doing it for Grey's Advertising. When asked about St. Michael Institution's reunion dinners, he said that he had stopped attending because those who taught him before had passed on; most of his schoolmates have migrated; and he hardly know anybody. But this cannot be said about others not knowing him! I told him about the old Sinhalese Bar which he mentioned before, that the man did not seem to know him when I mentioned about it. Patrick said, 'He might not know me, but each time I entered the bar, a few customers would call me and I ended up not having to pay for my drinks!'
Pic courtesy of Christine Digiovanna
Later, Jack Lim came over to our table for some photo-sessions with him. He was seated next to me and I had the chance to get to know him better. I got to know he is related to the late ex-President of Gerakan, Dr. Lim Keng Yaik. To make it for the event, he told us that he left Cyberjaya, where he had an earlier engagement, at 4 pm. Using the NSE, he exited at Tambun and it took him less than 10 minutes from there to reach the place. As a comparison, it took me almost an hour (leaving my house in Batu Gajah at 5.10pm) going through the many traffic lights through Pasir Puteh/Pasir Pinji at the time when most people were leaving their offices after work. By the time I left DV just after 10 pm, it took me lesss than half an hour going through Jalan Sultan Iskandar (formerly Hugh Low St.) and taking the Ipoh-Lumut highway.
Besides Patrick, those present at our table included: Blogger, Emily Lowe (www.emily2u.com) and her brother; Anthony (RePerak); Paul Yii (World Trend Group); Harry Seggu (Spider Publishing); Colan Kong (i-GenXYZ Group); Christine Digiovanna (Ipoh Echo) and her friend, Anthony.
For some excellent pictures of the event: From Emily To You...