By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
Pubs used to have the most boring food. Some peanuts, a bowl of potato chips or other nibbles and that’s that. Today, with the competition becoming increasingly intense, pubs have become a lot more innovative, and serve interesting food to seduce their customer’s palate. So instead of customers coming in for an evening cocktail or two, before heading somewhere for dinner, they can now come in for a cocktail or two or three and stay right there for dinner. Especially when the menu is temptation itself.
Little Village is just one of these pubs. Located on a corner lot in the busy Ipoh Garden East area on Jalan Medan Ipoh 5, this pub is not only tempting customers with its karaoke and drinks menu but is moving strongly into the restaurant business with its food offerings.
Their menu is an extensive one, complete with snacks, appetisers, mains both western and oriental and of course their very big drinks menu with many beer offerings at very competitive prices and my favourite, apple cider Somersby available in draught form, at RM15 for one pint and RM36 for 3 pints.
Some of my dear readers may not be much into drinking. In that case, worry not, as Chong Teik Kee or simply Kee as he is called, the young proprietor, has taken that into consideration and has provided for a large covered outdoor patio complete with ample fans for you to sit out and enjoy dinner before the loud music begins. So bring your kids and your grandparents too to enjoy the food. And who knows, maybe your ‘grans’ or parents may even enjoy the music and sing a song or two!
For starters, their egg and bacon salad is jolly good, with a very smooth, sesame flavoured dressing, generous on the bacon (real pork) and topped with toasted sesame seeds; RM12.
Or have it with duck breast (same preparation); RM18. Another “picky” as I like to call them, meaning finger food, is the fried chicken wings, crispy on the outside and juicy and succulent inside (eat your heart out KFC!), and served with a tangy chilli sauce; RM14.
We were a very large group that day so we had the opportunity to try many different dishes. Of these I would recommend the following:
Their Iberico spare ribs are second to none. Marinated very simply as explained to me by Kee’s mother Ngai Yee Kun, who is the main chef in the kitchen, these ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, juicy and utterly delectable. Eaten with fingers of course (!!), gloves are provided so you won’t have to end up with grease all over. RM128 will serve 3-4 pax.
And using the same Iberico pork their homemade Char Siew is similarly yummilicious. Dripping with honey, fat marbling throughout the meat, the slices melting as they slide down your gullet; RM48 for a serving for 2.
They also have a pizza menu at very reasonable prices from a Margarita to the Bacon and Boiled egg; RM10-RM16. But the piece de resistance came when my foodie kaki Ginla Chew challenged Kee to produce a “Chu Yow Char” (pork lardons) pizza. Kee rose to the challenge and sure enough, there it was, oozing with cheese and topped with these crunchy bits of rendered pork fat. Totally satisfying to those with pork-raised taste buds. In fact, it was voted unanimously by all at our table as a “must have’ at Little Village. Must order in advance; RM16.
Now for some of the Asian offerings. Kee’s mum is a formidable cook, dishing out home recipes with an inimitable flavour as in their “Lo Kai”, a soya sauce braised chicken leg with flavour that permeates to the bone, the sauce a rich umami coating quite unlike the thin soup found in other places; RM13. We also checked out their fried bihun, rice vermicelli fried with the usual garnitures and served with their homemade sambal; very tasty and the sambal lent the perfect touch; RM12. The same sambal used to fry rice is also delectable. RM12.
Other mains worthy of mention include their Chicken Chop, the fried chicken still slightly crispy at the edges and a choice of sauces from Black Pepper to Mushroom. Also, their Mongolian Chicken Chop, spicy with sesame seeds and a tinge of sweetness is delicious. All RM19 each. While their Pork Chop with onion sauce at RM22 is particularly good.
So bring the family, have an early dinner and leave when the music gets too loud. And for the clubbers and younger people, don’t bother with dinner reservations elsewhere. Spend your evening at Little Village and eat, drink and be merry all evening.
Most family-run food and beverage outlets thrive because of the closeness and loyalty of the family unit. In Little Village’s case, with mum in the kitchen, Kee out front and dad Chong Ah Kong keeping a keen eye on things, Little Village will be around for a long time. Keep up the good work Kee.Little Village Jalan Medan Ipoh 5, 31400 Ipoh.Tel: Chris 018 288 2142 for reservationsBusiness hours: Sunday-Thursday 4pm-1am; Friday/Saturday 4pm-2amOpen: 24/7