Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

Sandias. Food Bloggers. Pressure.

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

FBB and 3meals.com
Blurred out all the faces as per our agreement except for those who don't mind

Jackson et moi ;-)
Gorgeous bread - freshly made from Sandias

The atmosphere was quite frenetic. It was one of those times when it felt like you had to squeeze toothpaste back into the tube. So many people to meet, so little time.

Poor Fredo. He must have felt some nerves.

After all, it's not every day that you have over 60 food bloggers in your establishment. Knowing that each one will write something about your place. And your food.

Mind you, he seemed to be handling the pressure well. I was really proud of him. We know Fredo and it's a measure of who he is and where he comes from that he doubled as a waiter that night. ;-)

Sandias' ambiance is carefully crafted to make it a comfortable, casual experience. And in that, it achieved it in spades.

Everyone - all the food bloggers - was in fine form. Bumping into old friends, introducing yourself as your blog name, then your real name. Some even asked to be referred to by their blog name and when they told you their real name, they had - half jokingly - hoped you would forget it after your 4th glass of martell in as many minutes. Isn't that true, Xiao Long Bao? ;-)

Somehow or other, I had managed to score myself a place in the light. Literally.

I was sitting under a spotlight and the reflection off the top of my head must have been blinding to those on my table. Sorry lah , Char Siew Bao, Jackson, Xiao Long Bao, Joe, Fatboybakes (he's not fat, only modest...well, somewhat! hehehe >;-) ), Vincent, and of course, the redoubtable boo_licious who organised this. Many thanks boo, and I didn't mean to spoil the surprise honest! ;-) I'm just a nosy parker who doesn't like to be kept in the dark. (Boo wouldn't tell me her name and I had to do quite a bit of poking around to find out. Eventually, someone blurted out her name not knowing I wasn't supposed to know. *rubs hands together in glee* bwahaha)

Our table had great service, the martell girl who was helping us, Julia, was very sweet, and of course, Fredo was taking care of us, like the good restaurateur he is. Thanks babe. I had heard of patchy service on the other tables, but being in the service industry, consistency is a tough thing to achieve. I hope the others who had a less than optimal experience would give Sandias another chance. It was an unusual night after all.

With regard to the food however, I've had Patrick's best. And this wasn't it. While I understand the problems associated with set menus to a particular price point, some of the items could have been better.

My food;

Taquitos Fritos (Tah-kee-toes Free-toes)

Deep fried Taquitos (corn tortillas) wrapped with chicken and served with sour cream and salsa

I enjoyed this dish the most. It was a touch greasy but I attribute this to the corn tortillas (tor-tee-yas) which are like sponges. I've also got a sneaky suspicion that the oil was a little cool and therefore they just slurped up the oil and held it.

The difference in textures, the crunch of the taquitos, the full bodied savoury chunks of chicken, the herby salsa and the piquant, cool sour cream all added up to one great little bite.

Pollo a la Castellana (Poh-yo a la Cast-te-yah-na)

LOVED the rice. I'm wondering if the rice was given a quick stir fry in a little oil before being cooked. It had that slightly sticky rice texture and consistency. Flavour from the cooking stock was good as well.

The chicken was good. A nice balance of flavours and the sauce went a way to ensuring that the breast meat wasn't too dry. There was also chicken leg which many western chefs are embracing for the simple reason that it does not dry out. About bloody time too.

The vegetable side dish was not to my liking. I felt it was Greasy, stringy, and some pieces were not identifiable and not in a good way either. Twice I had to remove bits from my mouth because it felt like I was chewing the string of celery. The tough bits.

Postre Helado de Limon

I've had Patrick's other desserts and this was not stellar either. The flavours were not well melded and the texture was not quite dry. The scoop of citrus ice cream on the side was good though.

Two dishes I tried on the side. Stole a bit of Jackson's actually. :-)

Sopa de Calabaza Con Salsa with pico de gallo (peeko de gah-yo)

Pumpkin squash soup with salsa. Jackson opted for this. Rather nice. But with the intensity of flavours that I'm used to, you would need a sweeter pumpkin or a stronger stock to make it fabulous. The texture was lovely. Coarse enough to be rustic but smooth enough to have some sophistication. The pico de gallo added interest.

Pescado a la Veracruzana

If you're not a fan of olives then you wouldn't have liked this one. The fish was fresh and delicate but I felt the olives combined with the tomatoes was too strong a flavour. Local tomatoes are extremely acidic and so this dish, in my opinion came out unbalanced. Too sour, and too strong on the olives.

While the food was alright, the star attraction of the evening was really meeting all the food bloggers. Unfortunately, with 60 people, it's tough to meet and chat with everyone on a more involved basis. So, it was a bit like speed dating. "Hello, how do you? What do you do? Oh, and hello, how do you do? What do you do?" Sort of thing.

Adly from friedchillies.com was very sweet. He distributed AND autographed his tome on food for anyone who asked. Am waiting for him to become famous and auction the book on Ebay. ;-)

In any case, after Sandias, we decided to adjourn to The Attic for the "after party." An intrepid few (11) made the gargantuan trek of 5 mins by car and sat down for another bout of jawing. To tempt people to come, I'd snagged a Choc & Cheese from the shop and from all reports people enjoyed it very much.

Thanks again boo and thanks all for a great time.

Lastly, I would like to encourage everyone to visit Sandias and give it a go. While our experience on THAT NIGHT was less than optimal, I've been there on other nights and I know that the food and service is there can be very very good.

Sandias Restaurant
44 Plaza Damansara
Jalan Medan Setia 2
Bukit Damansara
Kuala Lumpur 50490

Tel: +60 3 2095 8431
Fax: +60 3 2095 8502


The "gargantuan" trek of 5 minutes turned out to be 15 minutes of frustration thanks to all the road diversions from Damansara Heights to Bangsar! Hey, good writeup..thanks for the pronunciation tips...and I do intend to try Sandias again because I'm sure their food would fare better on a normal day. So the cute bald guy's name is Fredo? :-)

Ha ha ha....and during that 15 minutes, I was thinking..."Please let us find our way to The Attic. We can't be that close yet so far to Nigel's Choc & Cheese!". LOL...

Not a good idea to visit a food blog before breakfast... :D

I finally saw a pix of your cake sliced! OMG!! That layer of cheese frosting on top of that dark luscious choc cake!!!

Hahaha.. is Jackson going to pester you to update your blog quickly again since his big hansem photo is up again..?? LOL

Riz is kinda a hottie. Better than the food even :)

hi nigel (or was it allan), thanks for dropping by my blog. will give this place a try when my vege diet days are over, which isnt far away.

send my regards to allan. he will know who i am.

Great meeting u Nigel! I thought Sandias' food was rather disappointing :(

Would definitely go back for a second try. Do agree that the service is good. Was kind of surprised actually that they managed very well with the so many people there that night. What else is good there?

Hey zewt
hello..call me. Sorry about your loss...it took us a while to figure out who you were...but alas we did.

its stressful to prepare a meal for 70 pax, with more than half of them are food bloggers that give you reviews!! hahaha

LL; Actually Alfredo. But FrOdo for short! ;-) hehe don't tell him I said that. ;-) Fredo for short dear.

wmw; aiyo. But you made it! ;-)

kat; hehe shoulda come. ;-) He hasn't said anything yet. And he is handsome isn't he? ;-)

savante; Riz is married with a daughter. Admire...from AFAR! ;-)

Zewt; Allan's got a reply for further on. ;-)

Xiu Long Bao; You're right. That night it was. But truly, I've had great food there before. Their Ceviche (Sir-vee-chay) is really fantastic as is their Mole (Mo-lay). Mole is a traditional Mexican Turkey stew made with spices and chocolate. But I think they use chicken at Sandias.

Teckiee; see above. ;-)

kampungboycitygal; no sh*t. ;-) I was scared when the doyens of the flogging community were going to try my cake. Had palpitations I tell ya! ;-)

Hey zewt
hello..call me (allan). We had to read through your blog and play detective.

Sorry about your loss...it took us a while to figure out who you were...but at last we did.

Allan (If you don't have my number, email us at justheavenly.my@gmail.com. Thanks)

Heard about their Mo-lay in the Le Prestige mags before and it does look tempting. Probably will go there again for 2nd round :)

wow! U really wrote a good review about them. I hv to agree with you on the "stress" they facing when preparing food for food blogger. The place was a bit hot for such a big function. But they managed to served us with courtesy and we all enjoyed the night!!

Jason; hehe yeah their food is actually quite good

Jackson; I thought it was an honest review. ;-) The food wasn't that great that night but service was good. And I know they're capable of better, having been there before.

Ahh what a gathering! It does look really crowded in the privacy-blanked photo...

sneexe; it was, let me tell ya. :-) But its cool. Everyone's getting to know each other and the food, while important, seemed sort of secondary, for that night.

actually, i tot the tacos were not bad lar hor, and the bread was yummy. trust the girls to pin point that the tacos were oily.

thanks again for the lovely dessert, and twas a blast meeting you.

poor alfredo (hubby asked him for his name hehe..) was perspiring all over serving us and imagine we just lounge around complaining it's hot :p

FBB; the tacos were a touch oily. But not greasy. Which was good. And it's obviously a good quality oil.

;-) Good meeting you too. Looking forward to the next time. Forgot to ask you re Nigella's DVD. ;-)

babe_kl; yeah, poor fredo. ;-) hehe he works hard for the money! ;-)

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