Monday, June 2, 2014

Fresco, Jaya Grocers, Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Jaya

High-end supermarkets are springing up around the Klang Valley. Jaya Grocers is one of the pioneers in this segment opening their first outlet in Bangsar Shopping Centre. More often than not, these Supermarkets usually have an eatery within the supermarket. This brings us to Fresco, an Italian eatery inside Jaya Grocers in Empire Shopping Gallery (Coordinates 3.082253, 101.582712). They serve the normal Italian fare like, pasta and pizzas. They do have a proper pizza oven though not the wood fired type.  

Work in Progress

Into the Oven it goes

Bar and Kitchen
 However, what differentiate this eatery from others is that you can actually make your selection of meat or seafood from the supermarket and request it to be cooked on the spot at Fresco. Yes, this is as fresh as it gets. This is the same concept as those Chinese Seafood restaurant where you pick the fish from the tank and they will cook it for you. The only other Western style eatery that does this that I know of is Ben's Independent Grocers  at Publika. Selection of fresh meat is actually quite limited being beef, lamb and seafood. Beef you will have the choices of normal imported beef, grain fed and if you are filling indulgent, Australian Angus beef. As for seafood you can basically have a choice of prawns, squids, salmon or cod fish. You are out of luck if you are looking for chicken. They do have in house prepared chicken dishes though.
From the shelf.....

From the chiller
After making your selection, remember to bring it straight to Fresco instead of the supermarket cashier. What will happen is that Fresco will charge you the price of the fresh meat and also a service charge of either RM4 (meat priced below RM20) or RM8 (meat priced above RM20). No, they did not say what will happen if the meat is exactly RM20. Tell them your preferred style of cooking (grilled, pan fried or deep fried) and they will get it done for you in no time. Not sure why anyone would want to deep fry a perfectly good slab of steak unless you are American (Chicken Fried Steak....shudderssss). There was a guy in front of me at the queue who paid for it at the cashier then brought it to Fresco and kicked up a big fuss because they double charged him. Feel like telling him off to read the notices next time. You can choose sides to accompany your meat at RM6.80 per sides. They have spaghetti aglio olio, grilled vegetables, mash potatoes, some form of rice and some form of Italian salad which I forgot it's name.

Agnes went for a slab of Australian Grain Fed Sirloin. You can tell the meat is fresh because they basically just seasoned the steak with some salt and pepper before slapping it on the grill. Agnes said the meat was tender and was not overcooked. She ordered it well done as she is not allowed rare meat for the time being. It is easy to grill a steak rare or medium but it is an art to grill it well done. There is always a danger of overcooking it turning a good slab of meat into a tree bark. So kudos to the chef.
To the table....Grilled Steak with Aglio Olio and vege

As for myself, I wanted to eat healthy (besides the fact that I am not allowed red meat) so I went for the cod fish. Could have opted for the Salmon but it is a bit mainstream. The Cod Fish was frozen and I was a bit cheesed of when they weigh as it was. I am quite sure frozen fish weigh more than thawed ones due to the liquid content. Anyway, I ordered it grilled and I feared for the worst when it arrived at the table. There was a whiff of fishiness from the Cod. I thought I just paid RM30++ for piece of fish that was not fresh. However, the fears disappeared when I had my first mouthful. The fish was flaky and flavourful, enhanced with a dash of freshly ground pepper. I don't know how they do it so fast. From dead frozen to table took a little bit less than 20 minutes. 

Grilled Cod Fish with Aglio Olio and Vege
For anyone at the vicinity of Subang Jaya, I would highly recommend this place. Definitely worth a visit just for a different dining experience. Prices are a bit steep though since you would have to pay for the fresh produce, the service charge to cook it and also sides. It would be a better proposition if they give a free side with every order. I have yet to try the pizzas and pastas (except for the Aglio Olio side, which does not serve as a bench mark as they are cooked in bulk then slapped on the dishes when ordered) but there were quite a number of diners ordering them. Besides that, I always have confidence when doughs of pizzas are freshly hand kneaded and built from scratch. I would try them my next visit there and report.

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