After driving 3 hours in the rain and in Friday KL traffic any meal you're going to have needs to be really good. Like really-good-otherwise-I-turn-into-Wendi-Deng good. And BStation, probably the best Korean meal I've had (not having been to Korea mind you) fulfilled that need. It's ultra-kiddy and kitsch cool theme definitely added to the experience as well.
Before that night I'd never even heard of the Ampang Waterfront where BStation is. Pardon the horrible ignorance. There is a large Korean population here (another fact I learnt that evening) and has been well integrated for several decades. Mr. Lee who runs this outfit with his family is one such resident, arriving 23 years ago from Korea. He was posted by a publishing company to Malaysia before setting up a restaurant offering homestyle Korean food to the Ampang KLites.
Dear Mr. Lee must have painted this place with a thick old coat of oestrogen. Even for a non-girlie girl like me I was strangely taken to the fake flower and soft toy emporium that surrounded us. I thought I'd have my reservations though I found this harmonious naivety slowly taking my fancy.
Led through the restaurant to the outside, we felt like we were in a dollhouse's backyard. There was only so much the cuteness could do to placate the appetites, our hideous drive up had made our eyes bigger than our tummies so we decided to order a befitting spread. The menu was broken up into Korean and Western items, the Western items being snacky bites taking influence from Korean food like a "Bulgogi Hotdog" or "Chicken Meatball Spaghetti".
Our Italian hotdog didn't really taste particularly "Italian", I suppose we enjoyed the novelty of it coming in its BStation paper holder and looking like how a cartoon hotdog would look like, the zigzag squirts of mayonnaise so evenly done on top. Points for real meat sausage in that bun and not the nasty reconstituted chicken ones so rampant in Malaysia. The kimchi rice was satisfying with that familiar spicyness running through it and with a fried egg on top it was like a Korean rendition of nasi goreng.
The real star dishes were the Korean Spicy Seafood Soup, Korean Black Beef Noodles and Kimchi pancake. The Seafood soup came with a bowl of steamed rice, perfect to soak up the broth thick with seafood richness. I could taste the clean and pure fishy flavour from a bouillon lovingly simmered for hours. Filled with prawns, tofu and cabbage it was quite hearty in itself.
Mr. Lee himself came over to our table specifically to tell us that the Black Beef Noodles was the best-selling dish in Korea and wanted to know our thoughts on it. For someone like me who really only knows bulgogi and bibimbap, I was very happy to learn about non-spicy Korean dishes. I still can't put my finger on what made the sauce quite so dark but it definitely had a deep soy sauce element, laced with a good beef stock and slightly starchy from bits of potato in it. The thick noodles were my favourite kind: firm, springy and a perfect magnet for any sauce. Shreds of cucumber on top didn't just act as garnish and served to cut through the hefty beefiness.
The kimchi pancake was devoured in no time once we had our first bite. Just a touch of bounce to it reminded me of the texture of a top drawer oh chien (oyster pancake) and we became hooked onto the familiar kimchi spice and accompanying soy-vinegar drizzle.
As in all Korean eateries, a side of kimchi and sauteed vegetable is customary. BStation's kimchi was noticeably different in that it was rather delicate and not just loaded with vinegar like many I've had before. Mr. Lee also treated us to a off-menu side of fish intestines after sussing out our adventurous palates. Alot like jellyfish served in Chinese restaurants, it had bite, was quite garlicky and had sweet chilli heat.
BStation is also known for their baked items - I was advised to have their cream puffs which were as light as a feather and softly sweet. We had another off-menu treat of Korean rice cakes that were actually quite tasteless to begin with. As we finished our pieces, we slowly found ourselves liking the bitty fluffiness and appreciating their plain nature. They would have been perfect with coffee.
The combination and balance of all these elements made me love this place: the childish joyfulness in the decor, the lovingly prepared food that was a mixture of familiar and unexpected and the sheer amiability of Mr. Lee and his son who take great pride in looking after their customers. I'm certain that if the restaurant was located more centrally in KL it would be completely overrun though the fun is in discovering these haunts. BStation serves extremely satisfying comfort food which I'm sure the Ampang neighbourhood are thankful for and is certainly worth a drive to. For all our dishes and a drink each, the bill was a very reasonable RM75 amongst three people. Thank you D & B for driving me all the way here!
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