Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Honest Review:Secret Garden, Kuching

Secret garden is a bistro and bar nestled in the city area , neighboring the Civic center and Jambu restaurant. Greeted by beautiful landscaping of palm trees, golden lights and what seems to be like a private outdoor banquet dining area gives high hopes that perhaps the night would be perfect. 

The outdoors

The Interior Design

We decided to rate the restaurant  a 6/10 for the ambiance and service. The great thing about this bistro is the large spaces available for groups of 15 or more perfect for birthdays. Decorations and lighting are nice and creates a warm friendly atmosphere. Negative points go towards the chairs which are mostly unstable or old and the environment which can be too warm at times. Not being anti-religious, it was also awkward halfway through the dinner when the Muslim prayers were blasted through the night. It was hard to talk and communicate during that period. The waiter was impressive handling a large group and remembering most of the order placements. However, he can improve by speaking louder and communicating clearer. Toilets are clean too which is super!

Let's tuck in shall we?

Longkang Water, I mean... Mushroom Soup. Rm5.90
Rank: 3/10
The first thing that we ordered was the mushroom soup. When it first came in its flimsy plastic bowl, we were apprehensive at best but decided not to judge it until we've tasted. However, it was very bad. Tasted like longkang water + salt. Im sorry. Mistakes goes toward the lumpiness of the cream and using Shiitake mushroom stock which is pungent to the taste.

We wanted to rate it 1/10 but decided that since we (unbelievably) finished it in the end, we'd rate it 3/10.Reason being it has mushroom, cream and it is edible though unpleasant.

Note: One of our editors have tasted the Mushroom Soup at Gormet Sausage and insisted that THAT should be ranked 1/10 instead, but it is a story for another day.

Aglio Olio

Aglio Olio Rm15.90  poorer
Rank: 4/10
Next up was the Aglio Olio. It did not look appetizing at all when it came messed up on a plate. One taste of it confirmed our beliefs: bland, tasteless, wetter than it was supposed to be. Nothing more can be added to increase its food rating. Pasta wasn't al dente and lack the olive oil , garlic, parsley, chilli flakes and good ol' parmesan cheese.

Secret Garden Salad

Secret Garden Salad Rm6 .90
Rank: 7/10
 The Secret Garden Salad was well needed for the bowel movement to excrete previous food mentions. We ordered the house salad because it was important to judge the restaurant by their signature dishes. Presentation was above average and came with a wide selection of fresh veggies and my favourite olives. Well done! A refreshing start to the night . The portion is great for the price and the plate was licked clean.

Negative points were due to the long strips of carrots and cucumber which made it hard to eat (like noodles)  which often flicks the dressing around. Besides that, I was a bit apprehensive whether the dressing was watered down or homemade. Still tasted great nonetheless.

Lamb Chop

Lamb Chop RM24.50.
Rank: 8/10
The lamb chop arrived and we were impressed by the quantity. Usually restaurants are rather stingy with their meat, but Secret Garden served up two beautiful pieces over mashed potatoes and boiled carrots, with black pepper sauce on the side. Cutting into its tender juicy meat assured us that it was going to taste good, and indeed! We licked it clean off the platter.

We wished it could have been served with mint sauce. Also, the restaurant should give the choice for the cooking of the meat. Across the table, we could see inconsistencies in cooking times some being medium rare and some being well done. Great thing is that none was raw, PHEW!

Cordon Bleu
Cheesy goodness stuffed in fried chicken breast, it fared well at Rank 6.5/10 . As we didn't try it but trusting in the diner's ranking, it's an above average dish to try.

Fish and Chips
Rank: 5/10
The Fish and Chips was not so much an actual meal than a filler. Covered with a thick layer of bread crumbs, we were having a hard time fishing for the fish proper. In our opinion, Fish and Chips are either amazing or bland, and these ones were amazingly bland.

In defence of Secret Garden, we know of other fish and chips out there that taste worse. And we still licked the platter clean. Its just very hard to please us.

Tomato Bee Hoon RM6.90
Rank: 8/10

Secret Garden also serves a wide array of Asian Cuisines so  we decided to give it a go. A Kuching gem, the tomato sauce noodles is hard to cook but Secret Garden fared well. Good amount of carbs ratio to the sauce of perfectly balanced salty and sweet with golden nuggets of fried onions , the dish was great! The chicken breast and accompanying condiments were succulent and fresh which is a great surprise. It seemed Secret Garden had a great asian food strength other fellow diners were raving about their Fried Rice. 

I didn't rank it 10/10 because that would mean i died and went to heaven over a Tomato Bee Hoon. It's not there yet. Haha

If you would like to patronise this place

In a nutshell, this place is great for big dining parties and for selective food. We would recommend the steak  or chops and the Asian cuisine as we can say for sure that those would be safe options for a great evening. 

The Food for Thrones moderators
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