Nong & Jimmy needed no introduction to me... again another heavily blogged and well known seafood place infamous for Thai influenced grill dishes! Of course, I have been dying to visit N&J but never could find the right time and the right crowd for this crustacean house, which unfortunately, is located at one of the most horrifying traffic-crazy-jam-to-the-pack-everyday-area in the city.
Oh well, the time came and I gathered that traffic should not be that bad during Sunday evening but then again… I was so wrong… sigh! As I slowly inched my way through Jalan Ampang all the way to Taman Cahaya, I withheld my patience, consoling myself that it would be worth the crawl. Arriving almost an hour late, my family of eight greeted me with supreme happiness indicating that the holy-moly crustacean meal could now begin its ritual… hahaha!
Barely at 6pm in the evening, N&J is packed to its max! Talk about hungry humans, there were people everywhere and cars honking at the parking lots with inpatient drivers either leaving or arriving. Sun was setting with its bright glare shooting into the fairly large restaurant with zing roof, causing squinting eyes and temperature to rise. Although the place was packed with fans, the al fresco dining restaurant was humid and hot as I could feel the trickling of sweat in me. Fear not, us humans have more restraint than we know when it comes to food as huge crowds of customers continue their galore of picking and sucking freshly grilled crustaceans whether standing up or sitting down despite the ambience!! (The picture above purposely blurred out else I would be shot for posting faces of hungry humans tearing up the crustaceans in a cavemen manner!)
Let’s cut my crap and head down to marine business.
Before our order came, I ‘kay poh’ around with my camera as the kitchen area is viewable to the public eye. Basically, there are two main sections of the kitchen. First section is the barbeque grilling station. We have a table displaying fresh marine options with another table for grilling while a smaller stall was used for cutting up the grilled items. Second section is responsible for the other non grilled items like soup, fried rice and other stir fries. Fairly large numbers of chefs and wait staff were all scurrying like a speeding bullet to accommodate the orders of the patrons.
A big barbeque pit lined up with delectable crabs being grilled was certainly a sight to behold for my eyes! The crabs were lined up ever so neatly like a platoon of army folks performing line duty… hehehe! Flashing amber flames constantly shoot up among the crabs turning them a bright orange red while hot coals beneath cooked the crabs till their juices run from its shells.
Prawns were given the same grilled treatment and brushed with house marinade constantly to boost up its flavors.
This basket loaded with cockles caught my eye as it was depleting fast due to the hungry customers ordering this bivalve by the baskets. The cockles were also grilled on the hot coals.
I spied a small little table selling cute size pieces of piping hot cruellers or ‘Yau Cha Kwai’. The shapes were bite size compared to the usual long twin sticks. Guess what they are eaten with?
… Green Pandan Kaya! I was told that the kaya or egg custard is homemade. These are ready pack as customers tend to buy them after snacking on them here at N&J.
The ‘Yau Cha Kwai’ with Kaya (RM6 per plate) faired average only in my books. Although it was fairly crunchy, the overall taste was ok as it was sweet from the custard without the eggy flavors.
We were served lots of small plates of the house chili sauce with two flavors. One had crushed peanuts in it while the other was the basic Thai chili sauce. Love both flavors as it had a good balance of sourness and sweetness and I definitely enjoyed the addition of crushed peanuts.
We ordered three baskets of the BBQ Cockles (RM5 per basket). Slight smokiness, the cockles were cooked till just right without the usual bloody mess. Dipped these little babies into their house sauce and you will end up ordering more baskets of this bivalve just like us! We packed in our iron quota for the whole week at just one meal that night… J
Mango Salad with Crispy CuttleFish (RM9 per portion) was amazing with its burst of sourness and crunch. The mango shreds mixed with peanuts and garlicky spicy and sour dressing was definitely one of the better salads for me and I also love the fact that the crispy cuttlefish gave the whole salad a good run of flavors and textures. Thumbs up for this salad as we polished two plates of this salad!!
See this ordinary looking Fried Rice (RM5 per person)? Don’t let it fool you as its one the best fried rice I’ve had in a while. The ‘wok hei’ was so distinctively present and the rice was fluffy with an eggy edge. Small fresh prawns hid beneath the mountain of carbs. I think this dish took all of us by surprise as we finished off nine person portions of fried rice as it was so delicious!! How to reduce carb consumption ah… I got no will power when carbs like these are so addictive… sigh…
Ok… time for our lovely sea of delights. Claypot Tom Yam Prawns (RM22 large portion) is a must as we saw this on every table. Despite the heat, we slurp the bold spicy soup which had a good aroma of lemongrass and kaffir leaves. The red sour soup was well balanced and had a good kick of spiciness level with sourness which I like. Fresh big prawns added the sweetness to the overall but I would have downed this soup alone without the prawns anyway… muahaha!
I saw mixed reviews about the Grilled Squid (RM16 per portion) at N&J. Some said it was tender and juicy while others described it as rubbery. Lucky for us, our grilled squid was deliciously tender and juicy. The cook must be having a good day that day! Anyway, we also polished off two servings of the succulent squids with slight salty flavors which I suspect it was from fish sauce. Did I tell you the fact that I also loved that they served grilled squid tentacles while other places only serve the body? Yummy grilled squids in my books that night. Just order and pray the cook don’t overkill the squids… J
Grilled Prawns (RM40) had similar flavors with the grilled squids but lean towards a bit more sweetness probably due to the prawns. This was only mediocre although it was juicy.
Grilled Stingray (RM12) was my only let down among all the dishes that night. The cook really over killed this dish as the fish was dry, and the texture was rather chewy and stringy. I felt the stingray was not as fresh and the flavors were just not there. We didn’t finish this dish albeit the small portion. I did however saw better reviews on this in some other blogs… guess the dishes really depends on the cook’s skills to ensure consistency in the cooking time.
All is forgiven when our Grilled Crabs (RM124 for 4 large crabs) came! Ah….. let me drool first at the sight of the gorgeous bright red crabs…
Peel them open and a whiff of salty sea aroma enthralled us with excitement. Check out the lovely mustard yellow rich creamy roes which we all fight for. The crab was really fresh and baked just enough to spellbound our taste buds. Baked in all its natural glory, I can now understand why I saw customers manhandling these crustaceans like cannibals… hahaha. I have to admit, I joined the manhandling in the end to savor the true epitome of eating crabs!!
Who says size isn’t important? Size does matter here… J
Oh… do order Fresh Coconut (about RM5 plus each) to complete the meal to cool down the heat with the ambience and food. Drinks are paid separately from food and be warned that coconuts here are quite pricey compared to norm.
What’s my verdict? Pretty good for seafood if you can stand the traffic, the sweat and the rustic dishes here!! Go for the Fried Rice, Cockles, Mango Salad and Crab. Others faired decent except for stingray. I saw chicken feet salad and huge pieces of fish cake on the next table. If I make it back through the traffic, I will definitely try other dishes as they looked really good. Great Thai sauces and don’t snack too much of the “Yau Cha Kwai’ with kaya to save room for the crustaceans!
Service faired decent taking into account the hungry customers swarming this place. Do put in your order fast and do not be afraid to remind the staff if your dishes don’t come. Other than that, Nong & Jimmy seems to have the whole ordering system and timing managed quite well.
Total damaged for nine gluttons:
RM 312 (seafood) + RM60 (drinks) + RM6 (snack) = RM378
Ten tips to enjoy Nong & Jimmy:
1) Make it here EARLY. The night crowd is horrendous especially on weekends!
2) Patience is required in HUGE doses when dining here when it comes to traffic, parking, and waiting time for table/food.
3) Wear minimal and comfortable clothing to combat the heat & humidity.
4) Washing hair or shower before a meal here is a waste of effort as you will need to do it all over again after the meal. :P
5) Come in big groups as big groups = more dishes to sample.
6) Don’t bring pets… I guess some do, hence the sign!
7) Reservations allowed but only one day before the actual dining date.
8) Bring Cash… plenty if you love seafood!
9) If you are worried about cholesterol & hygiene, don’t come here!
10) Dive right in and forget the politeness to enjoy the full epitome of the meal!!
Nong & Jimmy Thai Seafood BBQ
Lot 27363, Jalan Cahaya 1,
68000 Ampang, Selangor
Contact: 019 261 1345 / 012 273 8069
Business Hours: 6pm to 11pm
Closed on Mondays
P/S: Maybe, it’s a good thing after all that this area is always suffocated with traffic… else I would be visiting this quite often!! (wink!)
Big thks to my dearest niece & hubby who footed the bill!