The one perk about not being saddled with kids is the freedom to go on impromptu trips whenever the travel bug bites. One particular weekend, we suddenly felt like having seafood in Johor Bahru, so off we went!
The last time I drove up to JB was when I was still in law school, and the landscape of JB has certainly changed since then. The Malaysian customs building has shifted to a temporary premises (way into JB, instead of at the opposite end of the causeway from Singapore) while the old one is being re-constructed. We obviously got lost because I don't have any bearings in such unfamiliar territory, but we still ended up at Danga Bay, JB's version of Singapore's East Coast Seafood Centre/Clarke Quay.
Kong Inn was hosting a wedding that night so the only available tables were outside with a view of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore's west coast. The view was peaceful and nice, but the ambience was terrible. We had a huge seafood feast that night, and the mosquitos also had a huge feast of foreign blood, namely, ours. Suffice it to say, we didn't linger after dinner.
The kitchen probably had its hands full so some of our dishes turned out terribly. But there was one fantastic dish, the Butter Crabs (RM$40 per kg). I absolutely loved the aromatic crispy butter bits that was sprinkled liberally over the dish, they were heart-cloggingly good and really addictive. Curry leaves and sliced chili padi were added for a subtle heat and extra fragrance. I practically licked the plate clean of every single last crispy butter bit.
The White Pepper Crab (RM$40 per kg) paled in comparison to the Butter version. The crab was still fresh, sweet and fleshy, but the sauce lacked oomph and the dish was very dull. There was no kick in the pepper.
The Steamed Seabass in Hongkong Style (RM$44) was clean, sweet and fresh, but halfway through the dish, we realised that it wasn't steamed through! We sent it back. The saving grace was that the manager was such a sweetheart, he kept apologising profusely for that mistake.
The Steamed Fresh Prawns (RM$36) were steamed through but they tasted like freshwater prawns, with that typical fishy taste that I so dislike. I had to douse the prawns in soy sauce.
We also ordered a Stir-Fried Vegetables with Scallops (RM$32). Although the vegetables were sweet and crunchy, the scallops tasted disappointingly like fishcakes.
The only other dish that we truly liked was the Fish Maw Soup with Seafood and Dried Scallops (RM$30). This was luscious, with fresh and succulent prawns, fish maw, squid and crabmeat generously added for texture.
I will need to bring in Beeps and/or Mr J along when we go to JB the next time for seafood as they are a lot more familiar with JB than I am.
Kong Inn (Danga Bay) Village
Open daily from 11.30am to 3pm for lunch and 5.30pm to 11pm for dinner
Tel: 07-226 1688