Mar 11, 2017

A Weekend Of Camaraderie And Eats In Johor Bahru.

Believe me when I say that travelling partners are crucial, when it comes to the success of a trip.

Me, JM and CL have known each other for more than a decade. Despite spending much of our childhood years together, we have never gotten around to travelling as a trio. This trip was our first. Needless to say, it was a great weekend of genuine camaraderie and plenty of eats to add. I'm sure it would not be our last.

This was also my first time visiting Johor Bahru.

If you're looking for Places To Visit in Johor Bahru or Places To Eat in Johor Bahru, the list below may come useful. Mentioned in this writeup - in chronological order of visit:

Restoran Ya Wang | Erika Hotel | Johor Bahru Old Chinese Temple | Faculty Of Caffeine | Bev C | KSL City Mall | Ikan Bakar Tampin | Dessert Library | WW Laksa House | Roost Recycled & Repurposed Cafe | Otak Otak | Johor Premium Outlet

Our weekend excursion down south took off at slightly pass 9.30am, from Puchong KL. The drive was smooth and took us just slightly over 4-hours to reach the heart of Johor Bahru. It started pouring heavily when we arrived however.

Not letting mother nature deter us from the original plan, we made our way to Restoran Ya Wang (28, Jalan Segget, Johor Bahru) for lunch. A local eatery that was famous for it's herbal roast duck.

To note, there's another popular duck restaurant in JB, named Taika Huat Braised Duck (Jalan Kilang Nenas, Skudai, Johor Bahru).

We really enjoyed the Herbal Roast Duck. The roasted duck had toothsome textures and the herbed gravy was sweet with a hint of bitter aftertaste. The bean curd in a claypot too, was delicious. At the side, vegetables and soup of the day. We paid RM51.00 for the food, excluding drinks. Our meal felt exceedingly hearty, especially on this rainy day.

We checked in to our hotel after our meal.

I'm not that particular when it comes to hotel rooms, for real. It's really just a temporary shelter for a few hours of sleep. My essential requirement? Comfortable bedsheets and air conditioning. We stayed at Erika Hotel (Jalan Tenteram, Tanjung Puteri, Johor Bahru) for one night.

After the short detour, we made our way to the next agenda on the list, the Johor Bahru Old Chinese Temple (Jalan Trus, Johor Bahru). We parked at Galleria @ Kotaraya. The temple was merely 5-minutes walk away.

We took a couple of photographs then scurry to our next location before it started pouring again.

We made it Faculty Of Caffeine (106, Jalan Trus, Johor Bahru) just in time.

From what social media depicted, the cafe was famous for it's waffles, especially the Tiramisu Waffle (RM19.90), which I'd highly recommend. We also nibbled on bite-sized servings of Korean Fried Chicken (RM19.90). It was delicious and had a nice crunch to it, served with gojuchang mayo at the side. The cafe was also popular for it's Signature Unagi Tendon (RM28.90), which we didn't have.

We spend the next 2-hours just chilling while waiting for the rain to stop.

Not satisfied with our food endeavor just yet, we hopped over to possibly one of the most popular cafe in JB, Bev C (54, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Johor Bahru).

We ordered 2 cakes to share. The desserts were delectable no doubt on the pricier side. My personal preference leaned towards the Lemon Strawberry Pie (RM16.85), over the Chocolate Mint Pie (RM17.91). We also had a Latte (RM10.50) and Rose Tea (RM10.50).

For those who find joy in dining on a bed, there's one here.

After all of that (the food), we took a short stroll along Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, one of the popular hotspots for cafe hopping. The other would be at Jalan Trus, situated just a stones throw away.

To be honest, I was somewhat expecting the Johor Bahru scene to be a bit more livelier and well... happening. You know... a bit like Jonker Street. Tuning down my expectations, I actually liked that the place weren't saturated with people and I found the majority of cafes here to be very hipster-ish. It's either you like it or you hate it.

KSL City Mall (Jalan Seladang, Taman Abat, Johor Bahru) was probably where the crowd was.

Here, there were plenty of restaurants, spa and massage parlours, hair saloons and strangely... handphone stalls, or at least I noticed a fair number of it.

There was nothing much that caught my eye here however. I was more keen on heading to our next location in planned, for dinner.

Dinner at Ikan Bakar Tampin (84, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Abad, Johor Bahru) was clearly a feast. And what I really meant by that was - we overordered, though we had no qualms in polishing everything up.

There was only 8 dishes offered in their menu and you'd get to pick your own fish. My favorite? Sotong with Sambal. Our meal came up to about RM140.00. It was worth every penny.

Note that the restaurant opens from 5pm-12am and is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Tip: Come early or be prepared to wait.

With just a fraction of our energy remaining, we drove to Mount Austin for dessert, located just 15-20 minutes away from where we were.

For me, Mount Austin was definitely worthy of visiting. The place had bounteous of eateries, notably of Chinese and steamboat restaurants, cafes, mamak hangouts, bars and entertainment outlets.

It was bustling.

We ended up at Dessert Library (35, Jalan Austin Heights, 8/8 Taman Mount Austin, Tebrau, Johor Bahru) for dessert. Our Mango with Pomelo & Sago (RM11.80) and Milky Ice with Grass Jelly & Sago (RM8.80) felt like a refreshing treat after a tiresome day of exploring town.

We drove back to our hotel steadily before calling it a night,.

Day 2. Sunday. We didn't have enough sleep.

Before checking out, we grabbed quick breakfast (mainly just coffee for me) at the hotel. It was only wise to save tummy space for our subsequent food adventures.

We stopped by W.W. Laksa House (36, Jalan Kolam Air, Taman Water Works, Johor Bahru) for a quick one. The laksa was quite good and affordably priced at RM6/bowl. We didn't finish the dry noodles on the other hand. 

We drove around after that, in search of the best otak otak in town. Frozen ones which we can bring back home. We ended up at a Chinese Shop (Taman Sutera Utama, Skudai, Johor Bahru), in which I don't remember the name of unfortunately, that sells really-really good Famous Muar Fish Otak.

Tip: Frozen otak-otak can only be kept out in the open, no longer than 8-hours. Plan your agenda wisely.

We then head back to JB city square and had lunch at Roost Cafe (9, Jalan Dhoby, Johor Bahru).

Despite being known for it's nostalgic interior of recycled and repurposed furniture and settings, I wasn't a huge fan of it. There were too much  natural lighting streaming through that made me felt a tad exposed and the mismatched furniture wasn't exactly the most comfortable to sit on.

Having said that, our lunch was delicious. The Breakfast Bowl (RM18.00) and Meatball Bowl (RM16.00) resembled a poke bowl, both served in paper containers. The Mixed Berries (RM12.00) and Passionfruit Smoothie (RM12.00) too, was fantastic and worth the happy mention. At the side, Americano (RM8.00).

The last leg our JB journey was to drop by Johor Premium Outlets (Indahpura, Kulai, Johor Bahru) on our way home. An accidental wrong turn took us 50km away, taking us close to 45-minutes to reach the outlet, for what was supposed to be a 5-10 minute drive.

We stayed at the outlet for the next few hours, mostly just window shopping then had dinner. It was about nightfall before we began our journey home.

Our journey was an extended 6-hour drive back into the city. 

An unanticipated standstill halted our journey for close to an hour.

My girlfriends - were really life saviors. Seriously. One took over the wheel for about an hour, before passing it back to the other, who then battled the roads like a warrior - yes warrior - driving all of us back home safely.

I, on the other hand, was clearly the useless one who kept on dozing on and off throughout the entire ride home.
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