Hawker Fare Meets British Pub Grub
Wow, it’s a first for me to devour our Malaysian favorite hawker fare on the same table as British pub grub. Hawk & Fish, which stands for hawker and fish (fish & chips that is…), is located at TTDI right beneath The Pound Pub and is set on bringing both gastronomical worlds of street food and pub food together under one roof. Sharing the same management as The Pound, which has been operating for 2 years already, Hawk & Fish is barely few months old but has garnered quite a reputation of its unique name and concept. I like the concept. In some ways, our street food is right up the alley along pub food where a mug of beer and some hawker fare may be the perfect partnership to unwind at the end of a long work day. Its comfort food for both in many ways where hawker is our Malaysian comfort fare as British pub grub is to the British.
Walking into Hawk & Fish, the ambience projected minimalist raw appeal. Lots of grey, slate and black are seen all over. A mural of Uncle Chee, the chef that whips up the hawker fare, is boldly displayed at one corner. The jovial chef prepares economical rice and dishes (local chap fun) for lunch and other hawker dishes for the regular a la carte menu served throughout the day. Diners can expect over 20 dishes for the chap fun and other street favorites like Bakuteh, Herbal Wine, Char Kway Teow and more in the menu. The pub grub side of the menu features fish & chips, burgers, pasta, snacks and more. Basically, diners can also order the menu from The Pound Pub as well if you are dining at Hawk & Fish.
Dinner commence with a cute named snack called Dogs in a Blanket & Quilt (RM25). Its Hawk & Fish’s own take at the western snack of Pigs in a Blanket which is sausages wrapped and baked in puff pastry. Dogs in a Blanket & Quilt is essentially one super large sausage wrapped in chive omelette and bacon, then fried till crispy and golden and served with yellow mustard. I swear my heart skipped a few heartbeats when I saw this awesome looking snack.
The savory and smoky sausage really paired up well with the oniony chive omelette and salty moreish notes of the crispy bacon. It is juicy and has an overall good bite. When dipped into the mustard, more flavours of the tangy hit of nostril-tingling sensation of piquant mustard worked extra wondrous on the taste bud. Damn shiok bar snack… I could easily wolf this down by myself and maybe order a few extra ones…
We were immediately attracted to The Pound Pork Balls (RM18) when we saw it in the menu. Meatball is such a universal favorite food all over the world. This one is oozing with cheese when we cut it open. I enjoyed the flavours of the juicy meatball as it is tasty. This one is also served with yellow mustard.
Spicy Wings (RM20) are not really spicy in heat but has lots of spices in its marinade. The wings are a good choice to order anytime. Crispy skin, juicy inside and delicious, sinking your teeth into a few of these wings are simply a no-brainer when you visit The Pound or Hawk & Fish!
I always enjoy a good recipe for fish & chips. Hawk & Fish Red Snapper Fish & Chips (RM30) had all the good intentions of a delicious fish & chips with its golden crispy beer batter, thick cut fries, tartar sauce and mushy peas but the snapper didn’t taste right. It was a little chewy for some reason. We did feedback and were assured that they will look into this. If the snapper was good, this would have been an awesome fish & chips as everything else was good down right to the batter.
The Pound Pork Burger (RM30) is quite a hefty dish. Half pound pork patty nicely seasoned and grilled is topped with melted cheese, ham, fried egg sesame seed bun and the usual suspects certainly make a full meal on its own. The pork patty is pretty decent with a nice moist note while I certainly attacked the thick cut fries happily as well as the burger.
After all the pub food, we were ready for the hawk part of the restaurant. Leading the pack was a delish Char Kway Teow (RM15). This version is different from my usual preference but nevertheless really scrumptious. It has a good wok hei and the kway teow is nicely moist and bursting with a lovely soy sauce flavour. The kway teow was adorned with seafood and sidekicks of chicken wings and fried egg. We asked for the normal heat version but were told that we could always amp up the heat level with the sides of cili padi sauce and a kickass dry chili sambal. That kickass chili is super-hot and rocks in flavours!
Homespun Fried Rice (RM20) has three variations from Pound Special to Thai style and Chinese style. We opted for the Pound Special and were delighted with it happily. The fried rice had nice fluffy grains with a good breathe of wok. I can taste lovely spices and heat as well as bits of bacon bits. I added the kickass dry chili sambal again to take this fried rice to another level of taste. Together with the chicken wings and fried egg, the fried rice makes a great single dish meal anytime of the day.
One of the house signatures of Hawk & Fish is Uncle Chee’s Ancestral Orinigal Bakuteh (RM15). Though it may not win any big ravings in my books, it is still sufficiently comforting. The hot herbal soup has a good calming effect while the cuts of pork belly are well braised in the soup. It has a nice balance of lean and fat, tender and yet has a good bite. The accompaniment of tau foo pok, enoki mushrooms, greens and coriander added more flavours and textures. It is still kudos to Uncle Chee for his effort in this favorite street food of mine…
I am also a huge fan of Dry Style Bakuteh (RM15). I am always on a look out for this version as I really enjoy the deep dark richness of the lightly sweet and caramelized notes of dark soy sauce with herbal soup and tainted with dry chilies and bits of ladies fingers. I felt that this one was missing an ingredient of dried squid to add more pungent flavours. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed this happily with my rice. I am glad Uncle Chee used a fatty cut of the pork belly because it really makes this dish taste even better.
Though the BKT & dry BKT was decent, the Herbal Wine Chicken (RM15) was super yum! Don’t be fool by this ordinary looking pot of chicken. It is gorgeously intense in flavours as the herbal wine is powerful in flavours. The rich herbal wine broth is what makes me lust after it as I keep spooning the broth for pure satiation. The chicken was decent together with the red dates and coriander but it was the broth that took center stage in this dish. A must order if you love bold punchy broth laced with strong Chinese wine like this one!
Apple Pie was nothing to shout about but it did make a nice ending with the crispy pastry and sweet apple pie filling.
Hawk & Fish has certainly more hits than misses. The concept of hawker and pub grub is pretty unique and they seem to nail it all pretty well. Price is decent as well. Head on over for their spread of Chap Farn during lunchtime to sample Uncle Chee’s dishes or during the evening for a spread of hawker favorites and pub grub. Highlights for me are the snacks of The Pound Pork Ball, Dogs in a Blanket & Quilt, Spicy Wings, Homespun Fried Rice and Herbal Wine Chicken.
HAWK & FISH
No. 50, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60 11-3738 8993
Lunch –11am to 2.30pmDinner – 6pm to 11pm