By See Foon Chan-Koppen
The title of this tongue-in-cheek book Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, by American Bruce Feirstein, a bestselling book in the 80s, satirizing stereotypes of masculinity, came to mind as I was tucking into Quiche recently at Tammy’s Kitchen in Ipoh Garden East.
Tammy Tan, the enterprising proprietor and pastry chef, with her brother Robin Tan helming the kitchen, has created a small but comfortable cafe in this little neck of the woods on Hala Bandar Baru (take the road behind Jusco going towards Tambun, past Citrus on the right). Although the signboard is a tad difficult to read with its black lettering on red background, with the name Tammy’s Kitchen, a visit to the cafe itself is worth the effort.
As I mentioned right at the beginning, the homemade Quiche (a sort of open pie on a pastry shell) which is a meal in itself, is a heaven-sent thick chunk of melt-in-mouth pastry, eggs, cream, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, cheese and very tasty sliced sausages and chicken ham. As I watched my friend Chris DiGiovanna, who often helps me out with the food shots, tuck into it with gusto and enjoyment, I couldn’t help but think about the book that had given me a good chuckle in those days. The Quiche, which is one of the best I’ve tasted, sells out very quickly and is made fresh for both lunch and dinner RM12.90 per portion.
I was determined to sample as many of her dishes on the simple menu as possible and so I rounded up a group on two occasions to do just that. So here are my recommendations.
The Chicken Pie (weekends only) is quite small and can easily be eaten by one person RM6.50. Her Cornish Pasty (only 8 pieces a day and sells out quickly) is much larger, stuffed with carrots, potatoes, onions, chicken, fresh button mushrooms and is served with a salad – RM12.90. Both of these use short-crust pastry which gives them the crumbly texture which I love.
We tasted the Grilled Chicken Salad which was unanimously voted by our group as excellent; morsels of grilled teriyaki-flavoured chicken pieces topping a crisp mixed salad with a subtle balsamic vinegar dressing – RM10. The Seafood Pasta (RM14.90) came with baby tomatoes and the Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti (RM12.90) was delicious. We also had a Seafood Spaghetti with pesto sauce which my dining companions enjoyed but I found, overly garlicky. While Tammy’s spaghetti was more ‘al dente’ than most other cafes, I still found it softened for local taste buds and not quite to my purist Italian standards; nevertheless a good effort which will appeal to most local diners. With more than 23 different styles of pasta to choose from, diners are spoilt for choice.
For those into larger portions of meat, their Australian Sirloin Steak served with vegetables and french-fries was tender and great value at RM20.90. Their Lamb Stew, which is available only on Fridays and weekends, is a wholesome portion with gravy served with a piece of garlic bread to soak up the sauce – RM16.50. For those into cheese and fish, there is the Cheesy Salmon which is an interesting fusion, quite delectable – RM14.50. The one anomaly on the menu which features all western-style dishes and which I found absolutely irresistible was the Asam Seafood Rice, made from their own secret recipe for the paste; a must-try for those who love a good asam taste.
Desserts and Pastries
A review of Tammy’s Kitchen would not be complete without mention of their desserts and pastries. Highly recommended and top of my list is their Tiramisu which has to be one of the best I’ve ever tasted (RM12) followed by their Banana Royale, a tall wedge of sponge, cream and huge chunks of banana – RM7.50. Noteworthy and definitely worth dropping in for coffee are their muffins which vary between blueberry, banana walnut and cherry-chocolate. These are moist, crumbly and definitely worth the RM3.50 for each.
This is one restaurant that combines quality with value. Well worth visiting.
17 Hala Bandar Baru Tambun 18, Desa Tambun Indah.
Pork Free. Closed Tuesdays.