Houz Warming Cafe @ Bandar Puteri, Puchong

Incongruously named ‘Houz Warming Cafe’, this three-month old restaurant may seem like a run-of-the-mill cafe from the outset. With its fuss-free and minimalist decor, the interior certainly offers no tell tale sign of its hidden treasures until one intrepidly stepped into the restaurant to sample their signature Peranakan dishes. “All our gravy and sauces are laboriously prepared from scratch daily,” Ms. Celine, co-owner of Houz Warming Cafe said.

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Celine is no stranger when it comes to cooking Nyonya cuisine. On many occasions, she will rustle up a slew of delicious tasting dishes for her friends to tuck into over the weekends at her own house. “This is how the name of this cafe came into being,” she explained.

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The House Special Sambal Fried Fish (RM 10.90) brings back a lot of nostalgic memories for Celine as she eat this dish routinely during her childhood days at Malacca. “I miss eating this dish so much that I decided to learn how to cook it again using my own family’s recipe,” she explained. With an assortment of chillies, the sambal was stir-fried with galangal, lemongrass, turmeric and other ingredients to yield a pleasantly spicy flavoured sauce.

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Claypot Asam Nenas Prawns (RM 25.00) came with a delightfully sweet tasting gravy contrasting with a zestful spicy and sour taste. “The sweetness comes from the use of imported pineapples from Philippines,” she explained. Being someone who is adamant about the quality of the food, Celine will not cook this dish if she can’t get fresh pineapples from her supplier.

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Other highlights include the Asam Pedas (RM 13.90), a popular Malacca Nyonya dish featuring cencaru, aka hardtail fish cooked with lemongrass and dried chilli. The piquant gravy was suitably sour and spicy; a perfect companion with a warm plate of rice.

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Named after the popular beach at Phuket, the Patong Chicken Chop (RM 15.00) is Celine’s rendition of Kapitan Chicken. “Most of the time, you will find restaurants serving Kapitan chicken akin to dry chilli chicken. The real Nyonya Kapitan Chicken should be cooked with spicy chilli paste, tamarind, turmeric and other spices,” she lamented. Recounting fond memories during her vacation at Patong beach, Celine came across a restaurant serving seafood with the similar sauce that she use for her Kapitan Chicken. “I named it Patong Chicken Chop so that it sounds more glamorous,” she joked. The inclusion of crispy deep fried chicken drumstick was a unique twist to the classic dish infused with the aromatic sauce.

DSC_9852 The Asam Bandung Seafood (RM 10.90) was another top-scoring dish cooked with prawns, squids, fresh chillies, garlic, asam paste and coconut milk. According to Celine, the sauce has to be stirred thoroughly using low heat for two hours during the cooking process, a chore which is painstakingly repeated daily to give the sauce a flavorous spicy taste.

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Houz Warming Cafe also offers ‘today’s special’ starting with the Golden Egg Wrap XO Fried Rice with Fried Chicken (RM 13.90). Similar to Nasi Pattaya, the fried rice came wrapped with a layer of egg. Celine mentioned that the XO sauce is made using a mixture dried shrimps, fried shallots and chillies to perk up the taste of the dish. The fried chicken was adequately fried with a crispy skin on the outside while retaining a pleasantly moist and tender texture inside. Taste wise, it has a subtle flavour of fermented bean curd giving a ‘yeasty’ aroma to the fried chicken.

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The richly prawn-flavoured soup in the Special Prawn Mee (RM 8.90) was another highlight at the cafe. Using an abundant amount of shrimp shells, the soup is slow-boiled overnight together with other ingredients to bring out the flavour of the prawns. Celine, who is a die-hard fan of Penang Prawn Noodle finds it very difficult to locate a good bowl of the prawn noodle in Klang Valley. “I decided to offer the Special Prawn Mee using the same ingredients and cooking techniques from Penang so that my customers can enjoy that taste that I love,” she smiled.

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The Pork Noodle (RM 6.90) has a long history with recipe that traces back to her in-law parents running a stall at Ipoh Garden Kedai Kopi Kam Hor for almost 30 years. Unlike the KL version of pork noodle, the soup has a clear and sweeter characteristics without the overwhelming porky taste from the use of excessive stock of pork bones.

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Celine also mentioned that her Hakka Vinegar Pork (RM 9.90) differs from the conventional ones as she adopted her auntie’s recipe which does not use any ginger. She reckoned that her version of vinegar pork originates from China which has a clearer broth from the use of white rice vinegar to give the gravy a surprisingly sweet tasting flavour compared to the darker version that we commonly seen here. To add sweetness to the dish, Celine also uses slices of white radish.

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Houz Warming Cafe’s Black Fungus Braised Pork Belly (RM 18.00) is another well received item in the menu, cooked with nam yee (fermented bean curd) to flavour the meat.

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With an array of Nyonya dishes meticulously prepared by Celine everyday, one will certainly find comfort in tasting her ‘home-cooked’ delights that are hard to find nowadays. Being a fussy foodie herself, she has understandably set a high standard for her own kitchen thus ensuring quality dishes that will bound to be please fans of Peranakan cuisine.

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Houz Warming Cafe
No. 5-G Jalan Puteri 1/6
Bandar Puteri Puchong
47100 Puchong
Selangor Darul Ehsan

Tel: 03-8060 0722

Business Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HouzWarmingCafe

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