Alice's labour of love
It’s always a labour of love, whether Alice Tuen is cooking for her family or customers
|Alice Tuen, housewife turned restaurateur
SHE’S a newcomer to the restaurant business but for Alice Tuen, it’s a labour of love. Pantrie in Oasis Square, Petaling Jaya, is only a few months old but for the former housewife, good food has always been a part of her life.
Her fussy-eater sons, says the mother of four, were partly why she went seriously into crafting recipes, to entice them to eat proper meals. But later, she says, she realised that her son’s friends began showing up at mealtimes with alarming frequency. No wonder then, that Pantrie’s tagline is Food For The People You Love.
When the boys grew up, she enrolled in a two-year culinary course at Taylor’s University before she decided this was what she wanted to do. Today, her kitchen crew and serving staff are from the university. No foreign worker in sight.
Asked to describe her cuisine, Alice says: “We serve international western cuisine, meaning we offer the best of French and Italian to British and American.”
Pantrie is casual and comfortable, with intimate settings for small groups and longer tables set along one wall where colourful cushions add colour to the sofa-bench.
We can smell the aroma of chive garlic butter even before the prawn and asparagus (RM24) reaches the table. I’m delighted that the huge prawns, well coated with the garlic butter, are shelled. The fat asparagus are crunchy and the accompanying salad leaves crisply fresh.
|Prawn & Asparagus Salad (RM24)
We order cream escargot (RM25). Expecting these in shells, we’re surprised to see
a pie-like serving topped with golden brown breadcrumbs. This is a more hygienic way to serve escargot as the imported snails are always naked and re-stuffed into empty shells for cooking. The delectable escargots are on a bed of creamy spinach and topped with mozzarella and golden breadcrumbs. Other appetisers include bruschetta and spicy chicken wings. Or you can opt for soup (French onion, pumpkin, smoked salmon cream and oxtail) and salad. Our choice of beetroot, orange, feta and pine nut salad (RM16) is a colourful mesclun mix with a fruity orange dressing.
|Cream Escargot without shells with spinach (RM25)
|Spicy Duck Spaghetti (RM22)
There are six other options: Aglio-olio with prawns, wild mushrooms and cream sauce and smoked chicken or beef bacon, herbs clam sauce, pesto and lamb sausage and a vegetarian version with capsicum and mushrooms.
|Crispy Skin Sous-vide Salmon Confit scented with truffle oil (RM36)
|Pan Seared Cod with Wasabi Mayo (RM68)
You’ll love the fish at Pantrie. Apart from fish and chips, there’s pan seared halibut with mango salsa, crispy skin sous-vide salmon confit scented with truffle oil (RM36) and pan seared cod (RM68).
I simply adore the latter. Cod is always a delight on its own, but Alice gives it an Asian twist with a brush of soya glaze before grilling and then serving it with a mild wasabi mayo that does an exciting tango on the tastebuds.
|Crispy Fragrant Duck (RM56)
There’s chicken and duck. I opt for crispy fragrant duck (RM56 for two to share). A 24-hour pre-order is required if you want to sink your teeth into the crispy skin of half a boneless duck, served with tamarind dressing and cucumber salad.
Duck features in the Asian menu too. The ginger-braised duck (RM15) is served with rice.
|Alice's favourite, Roasted Rack Of Lamb (RM56)
D-G3A, Block D, 2, Jalan PJU1A/7A,
Oasis Square, Ara Damansara, PJ, Selangor
Tel: 03-7859 9920
Open 11.30am-3pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm.