Celebrity Chef Ismail (see bottom pic* - on the right) and his business partner, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, the famous local Angkasawan (pic* - left) opened a restaurant named Rebung in 2004. The restaurant which occupies a 1960s-style single-storey bungalow is located in Bangsar Park, KL.
We reached Rebung at around 9.00pm. Well, it was a bit too late for us to enjoy the "lauk-pauk" spread as there was nothing much left for us to look at.
Since it was drizzling, we opted for indoor dining. The indoor dining section was empty. Five minutes later we ordered Nasi Goreng and Mee Goreng. We were expecting a "tasty" Nasi Goreng & Mee Goreng but to our dismay, the nasi and mee were totally tasteless (by our standard). I asked my wife "How's your Mee Goreng?" and her respond was "Hmmmm..." She then immediately asked me "And your...?" I cut her off before she could finish her sentence by saying "Urrrghhh..."
Short while later, we left the restaurant. I had a quick chat with Chef Ismail at the payment counter. He was promoting his outlet and dishes etc etc etc. I wanted to tell him that his dishes didn't live up to expectation but I guess, I have to be fair to him as I have yet to try any of his signature dishes.
Next time perhaps...
* Snapshot is taken from The Star
**********Extract From The NST**********
When people think of mum’s food, they head for Restoran Rebung where chef Ismail Ahmad cooks in the style taught him by his mother, writes SHANTI GUNARATNAM
“MY life is all about hard work and dedication, and I enjoy working the graveyard shift to ensure the smooth running of my restaurant,” says celebrity chef Ismail Ahmad. His is a familiar face in the country as he has appeared in many cookery programmes on television as well as dramas.
His Restoran Rebung in Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, opens from 11am till 11pm and the jovial Ismail and his eight-member kitchen staff are kept busy all the time. Actually, he says, he works 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
“There is so much to do – organising the day-to-day running of the restaurant, planning the menu and cooking the dishes.” His customers come because they want home-cooked food just like what their mothers and grandmothers prepare for them. The slightest mistake with ingredients or cooking methods will find them complaining. “We are kept on our toes all the time.
In this business, it is important to give customers what they want and not what we think they want,” he says. “The secret to good savoury dishes and desserts lies in the coconut milk which must be fresh.
When I was growing up, my mother and grandmother constantly drilled into me the importance of using freshly-squeezed santan. “My late mother was a fantastic cook and she could whip up anything including kurma, briyani and other traditional dishes. Her butter cakes and pineapple tarts were the best,” he adds.
Besides running the restaurant, Ismail also caters for weddings, corporate events and family functions. Since the restaurant opened in October 2004, it has enjoyed brisk business. During the Ramadan, it has full bookings for the whole fasting month.
Ismail has leased the building next door to hold cooking classes for anyone who is interested in Malay cuisine. “During the school holidays, children can also come in and learn to cook. An academy such as this is a good idea because many chefs want to give classes but don’t have a suitable location to do so,” he says.
What To Eat
Customers of Restoran Rebung look forward to dishes such as daging salai, brinjal cooked in chili, the various types of masak lemak, sambal tempoyak, rendang, pecal and ulam. Also popular are kampung style fried rice, fried noodles, soups and other dishes.
“The buffet is popular. On weekends, especially Sundays, lots of people come in the afternoon and stay on till closing time. Some even go home for a few hours and come back later for more food,” he says.
The buffet lunch at Restoran Rebung is RM35 and the buffet dinner which comes with satay and entertainment, is priced at RM40. Those opting for a la carte dishes usually pay RM5 for a portion of daging salai, RM4.50 for tempoyak sambal, RM4.50 for a piece of fried tenggiri and RM3.50 for a plate of ulam with sambal belacan.
Traditional cakes such as kuih lapis, koci, talam, onde-onde, anak dara dua bilik, sepang rebus etc, are sold at RM1 per piece while a bowl of sweet green pea porridge, pengat pisang or bubur pulut hitam is RM3.50 each.
The restaurant also offers a fine selection of Cuban cigars from RM27.
**********End Of Extract**********
4-2, Lorong Maarof,
Bangsar Park, Kuala Lumpur.
Rating: Food = D (based on the dishes we had)
A = Recommended
B = Worth A Visit
C = Average
D = Below Average
E = Waste Of "Hard-Earned" Money. Seriously, I'm Not Kidding!