Friday, October 30, 2009

A meal with a view - By ESTHER CHANDRAN

WE WERE out of luck that night as the skies were hazy, not the best to feast one’s eyes on the diamante of lights dotting the landscape from our vantage point at the border between Hulu Langat and Ampang.

Nevertheless, from far yonder at Look Out Point, we witnessed dusk creeping in as the sun bowed out, leaving streaks of red, orange and yellow against the clouds with the outline of the Petronas Twin Towers, Menara Kuala Lumpur and vastness of the city lines fading, replaced by the shimmer of lights.

The magnificent view and attraction of dining closer to the skies explains why dining here is popular.

Yummy mee: The Mamak Mee Special is truly a treat for those who cannot get enough of mee mamak!

Deeper into the night, more people headed up to Look Out Point, especially young couples, as the place appeals to romantics.

When we arrived, car jockeys were on hand to make sure we parked at a designated spot although there was ample parking.

When we left past 10pm, the car park was packed to the brim.

It takes a little know-how, especially if one is unfamiliar with the roads, to get to Look Out Point, which sits at the border between the Kajang and Ampang Jaya municipalities.

Although its location is roughly a 20-minute drive from the Petronas Twin Towers, newcomers to these parts might just get lost when venturing here for the first time.

Chicken delicious: If you dig spicy dishes, this meal of Spicy Chicken with Spicy Sauce is a real treat.

It is best to keep straight on Jalan Ampang towards Bukit Belachan, turn right to Jalan Taman Putra and then look out for the left turn to Jalan Hulu Langat.

The drive uphill on Jalan Hulu Langat is worth the while because the breathtaking panorama of Kuala Lumpur will surely calm your nerves.

We were dining at the Haven, an open dining outlet and among the elite few in the Klang Valley that can boast a location 280m above sea level.

Having been in operation since mid-March, the outlet serves up an array of comfort food ranging from local to Western specialities, with off-the-charts dishes like Mee Mamak Special, Tom Yam Fried Rice and Spicy Chicken with Spicy Cream Sauce.

Tasty soup: Tom Yam Gung for those who enjoy spicy Thai soup.

Not a fan of Mee Mamak of any sort, I found the Haven’s version truly enjoyable as the mix of black sauce, oyster sauce and tomato sauce stir-fried with meaty prawns, bean sprouts, egg, chicken and tofu and yellow mee was lipsmacking!

Even the spicy chicken offering was hard to resist as we kept digging into the chilli sauce which was a spicy wake-me-up blend of cili padi, garlic and fresh cream.

Pasta delight: Shrimp Alfredo Spaghetti is a cream-based dish that will definitely fill you.
The Tom Yam Fried Rice with its spicy savoury appeal is a staple for co-owner Yohani Yusof, and after eating several spoonfuls, I understood why she liked it so.

Yohani said although most of the outlet’s patrons were locals, there were also foreign diners, especially Middle Easterners, so sheesha is available should you enjoy puffing away after dinner.
“We have local and Western food, something for every one,” she said.

Indeed, they do! There are simple snacks like fries and Spicy Buffalo Wings, chicken nuggets, tempura items and even salads, to more serious stuff like Penang Char Kuey Teow, Kung Fu Chow, Mamak Mee Special, Mango Fried Rice, Nasi Lemak Rendang, Chicken Alfredo Fettuccine, Grilled Herb Lamb Chop, Haven Egg Sandwiches, Fish and Chips and Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Sauce, just to name a few.

“We took over the outlet in January this year and cleared up part of the jungle by the side, which was thick with undergrowth and shrubs, to reveal the majestic beauty of the age-old trees,” she said, pointing to the open area to the left of where we sat.

To maintain the rustic element, wood is the preferred choice, with wooden floors painted a striking green, dark green and white to add to the overall colour concept of the restaurant.
“I always think that Look Out Point has a magical element to it because of the many things that have happened to us along the way since we began operations here. In setting up the place, we’ve met so many people who have helped us in making all of this possible,” Yohani said.
Because of its unique location, the Haven is the preferred venue for birthday parties, anniversaries and other celebratory events.

“You’d be surprised how many people come here to propose to their girlfriends. It would be wonderful to be able to hold a wedding up here,” said pint-sized Yohani, showing off the romantic in her.

Yohani’s highlight each week is to place long-lasting fresh flowers on each table as she never tires of commuting from Subang, where she lives, to Ampang to relish in the ambience.
“I want people to experience the air, the sunset and the beauty of this place while dining here,” she said.

HAVEN, Lot 1A & 1B, (Look Out Point), Pusat Pelancongan Menara Tinjau, Jalan Ampang-Hulu Langat, Bukit Langat, Hulu Langat, Selangor (Tel: 019-773 8965 - Thelis). Business hours: 11am to 2am daily.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.