The brains I've been constantly racking until it started playing sparks on me. The “Cantin” I thought I surely heard it right at Ohana Recipes and Malgudi but the malfunctioning brain said something else. It said – “canteen lah, you don’t know? Remember the school canteen or factory canteen? Oh-okay I computed. Thus, for the next one week, I looked forward to dining at a tuck-shop style restaurant. But as I arrived at the real-real stylish "Cantin”, speechless I was. Upon walking in and looking at the wall full of cans and tins, oh-boy! Indeed, the slip of the mind is not the fault of Nava. And those cans and tins? Absolutely a creative invention for the impressive artistic deco. I then understood why this cantin is known as cantin.
More to that, it is the menu too. Not the banner menu at the entrance but the actual menu which got my niece wired up as she read and pointed to the remarks/readable scribbles for some of the dishes. I of course buzzed up as well. A tough call between the ample choices of the “I Crazily Love” more for the Malaysian dishes while considering the Western dishes. Despite” mugging up” the menu, decision wouldn't come through. Eventually, wild cards were drawn for the Signature Hainanese Chicken chop, Signature Nyonya laksa, Amra Juice, Watermelon Honey and Red Beans Soup With Glutinous Rice.
The red bean soup came so soon, so kindly I ask them to take back because I like hot dessert after the mains. As we looked around at the neatly organized, spacious and super clean dining area with tables, stools and leaning back sofas, came the sour-sweet amra juice and the slushed up watermelon honey. Amra drink many a times I have tasted. This one I liked-liked as well. My niece sipped the watermelon honey and asking her to describe the taste? Well, my patience she tested because the only and only word she repeated was “nice”. Well, perhaps fine tuning the “sweet young thing” logically I should before the next food review.
Just after another five minutes or so, arrived the chicken chop – crispy skin on the outside and tender, soft and juicy chicken, liberally lathered with a vibrant sweet-mild-spicy sauce consisting of onion and mushrooms and paired with fries and salad. Scoring close to 7/10, the chicken was fab whereas the fries, tomato and mixed veggies the happy marriage for this generous meal. The sauce though cannot be faulted, slightly sweet we felt.
The Nyonya laksa caught me off guard. Honestly, upon ordering, I thought it is the coconut milk curry laksa. Still, no regrets. This laksa featured the elements of a popular Nyonya fare. It brimmed in the perfect hint of the spicy-tangy broth with generous amount of thick laksa noodles, fish pieces and topped with salad leaves and onion. Offering a contrast of texture, can you imagine how this typical Malaysian would have reacted? Well, as brimming as the laksa was, I was enlightened with “Joy to the world”. My niece although not a fan of sour food, she agreed on the fabulous taste.
Then came the red bean, another of my favourite. Simplicity in the simplest form, this no frilly dessert we happily finishes off while agreeing to bookmark the black pepper chicken chop for the next visit.
By this hour (12.30pm), customers have packed in and so, we thanked the two staff and left for the drive back to Shah Alam. Cantin - any time is a good time for the reasonably priced traditional Malaysian dishes, drinks and desserts and Western dishes, the creative ambiance and attentive customer service. Thank you Cantin.