Tucked along Petaling Street sits a blink and you’ll miss it eatery simply known as Chocha Foodstore. The hole in the wall restaurant serves modern Malaysian cuisine, with a focus on local and quality ingredients. From their smoked mackerel pate to their goat char siew, the flavours are both foreign and familiar, served in styles that speak of true modern Malaysian.
Cho Cha takes its name from chodai yumcha, which is the act of sitting and sharing a drink or two (or three). The dishes at the restaurant are generally meant for sharing in a casual ambiance, with pairings of natural wines and cocktails from sister bar Botakliquor. The latest menu has pivoted in direction just a bit, with a focus more on Malaysian ingredients sourced from local farmers.
The Chocha Foodstore Menu
Chocha Foodstore is headed by Chef Mui Kai Quan, who has a collective 10 years of experience from across the globe, spending some time in Osteria Mozza and Esquina in Singapore, Ledbury in London, the famous Maaemo in Oslo and Sprout in Johor Bahru for 4 years before settling down in Chocha.
“Chocha was born out of a passion for quality food and ingredients. The main focus is on sustainable ingredients from small local independent farmers, fishermen and foragers as well as artisanal products such as locally harvested honey, Pahang chocolate, wild river fish from Kelantan river and Perak slim river, Sarawak heirloom grains, locally-brewed soy sauce, Semporna abalone, locally farmed flowers and herbs. One of the highlights of Chocha menu is being able to discover your local landscape through your meal. Especially in Malaysia, many of our native or local ingredients have been overlooked in the search for foreign foods. Freshness is something irreplaceable and the best way is always sourcing from the shortest distance possible. We strive to make each meal with us a happy and fun occasion. We feel that to cook for people that we love and respect is one of the most incredible things. We hope to leave every guest inspired.” — Mui Kai Quan, Executive Chef of Chocha Foodstore.
Fermented coconut oil
A simple dish, the bread was soft, fluffy and went well with the fermented coconut oil.
Yam Mille Feuille
Another simple appetiser, the technically complex method of layering and deep frying is quite hard to achieve. The mille feuille makes a nice starter.
Spanish mackerel pate and eggplant chips
Another of their new dishes is the smoked tenggiri pate and is one of the best dishes on the menu. The simple fish pate is smoky and spreads like butter on the eggplant chips. Definitely a must try.
Tempura Banana Blossom
Another simple yet unique dish, banana blossoms have a certain sourness to them, that’s why they made a nice starter as a tempura. The sambal adds a layer of pungency and spice to it. Creamy and flavourful.
Soy caramel and sesame seeds
The chicken feet is one of the most discarded parts in most cuisine, but is what the Chinese have excelled at using. The ones here are painstakingly deboned, so what is left is a crunchy cartilage in crisp skin glazed with soy caramel and sesame seeds. One of the more moreish dishes on the menu.
Golden snapper, kedondong and jalapeno vinaigrette
The golden snapper is quite a lean fish, with the kedondong adding a layer of fruity sourness and heat from the jalapeno. This dish was quite light and refreshing, but has since been replaced with the grunt instead of the golden snapper.
Cucumber, pomelo and black bean
The beautifully plated biter gourd is layered with cucumber and pomelo, with bursts of bittersweetness from the pomelo itself. The black bean added a umami depth to the dish.
Flower and leaves, jackfruit seed cream, cincalok dressing
A staple in Malay cuisine, ulam is a way of having salads raw, usually dipped with a form of sauce. The ones here use a selection of local leaves including sweetcorn, cucumber, sugar snap peas, eggplant and fiddle leaf fern, with a creamy jackfruit dip and a local spicy fermented shrimp called cincalok dressing.
Laksa leaf, fermented chilli soup
One of their most delicious plates, the baby octopus sits daintily on top of a fermented chilli soup. The tentacles were tender, with the herbaceous flavour of the daun kesum permeating the dish. The umami and heat from the fermented chilli balanced it quite nicely.
Deep fried Indian mackerel and budu mayo
A simple dish that is meant to be eaten whole, the fish was breaded and crispy fried in one of the simplest forms in presentation. The texture of the fish was firm, with the budu mayo adding moisture and umami sourness from the fermented fish budu.
Salted duck egg yolk, curry leaf and mustard seed vinaigrette
The mushrooms were a nice vegetarian dish, with shaving of salted duck egg yolk adding that unmistakable flavour. The crispy curry leaves add a bitter pungent texture balancing out the dish.
XO Butter and chives
When it comes to fresh prawns, a little bit of XO sauce goes a long way, and that is what this dish has done. However, by making an XO butter, you not only get the punchy seafood flavours that XO sauce is known for, but also the buttery texture lifting the prawns a little bit.
Silver catfish, mango sambal and kadok leaves
Patin is usually steamed in Chinese cuisine, so it was exciting to see a preparation of it that was quite different, grilled. This helped the lean fish a lot by crisping up the skin, with the kadok leaves (also known as lolot) and mango sambal adding an additional layer of flavour, but in all honestly, the patin itself on its own was already great.
Goat shoulder char siu, spring onion and ginger relish
The goat was interestin as it was char siu is normally made with pork or in some cases chicken, but never goat. This is why the dish came of as something quite interesting, with its sweetness that balanced out well. The spring onion and ginger relish really pulled the dish together.
Heirloom Red Rice
Chicken wings, chicken skin and sweetcorn
A sharing dish, the heirloom red rice has an interesting texture, using red rice from borneo. The dish also has bits of chicken wings, arguably one of the best parts of the chicken, with crispy chicken skin for crispy texture and sweetcorn for a sweet and chewy bite.
Tamarind glaze and pickled mustard leaf
A decent roast duck that is served with a tamarind glaze, uplifting the common roast duck with flavours that are familiar yet not commonly had. With rather complex flavours, this dis is great for sharing.
Dried shiitake broth and Chinese celery
A unique take on a traditional Chinese dish, the winter melon had a hominess to it, with rustic Chinese flavours from the shiitake. The Chinese celery added a layer of sharp freshness to it.
Pahang single origin chocolate and figs
The chocolate comes from the Pahang single origin cocoa, the dish is a fairly decent example of how to pair local chocolates with local figs. What’s unique about these figs are that they come from an artisanal producer, which had a sweet and earthy sweetness.
Puffed rice, jackfruit and coconut
This dish has all the elements you want in a dessert, crispy puffed rice, jackfruit for its funky sweetness and dessicated coconut for that texture. Sweet fragrant and textural.
The Chocha Foodstore Experience
The entire restaurant has an artistic rustic vibe which speaks to having good taste and good food. The dishes are clearly well considered, and is a great place to have a casual night out with close company, and is one of the restaurants that pay attention to SOPs, especially at a time like this. We highly recommend you drop by to taste for yourself.
156, Jalan Petaling,
50000 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2022 1100
Tuesday to Thursday, 6.00 pm to 12.00 am
Friday to Sunday, 12.00 pm to 3.00 pm; 6.00 pm to 12.00 am
| PHOTOGRAPHY: CHOCHA FOODSTORE | WEBSITE: CHOCHA FOODSTORE |