There is seriously a lack of pork serving eateries in our local malls. However, some newer malls have taken the effort to allow non-halal outlets within their properties to attract a larger clientele. Take the newly established Ninja Joe at Tropicana City Mall for instance.
I first got wind about it when I was heading to the mall to catch the year’s most disastrous movie, 2012. I hated the movie by the way. Anyway, I’ve left a tweet earlier in the day asking if anyone knows of a good place to eat within the mall. But nobody replied in time. So, my friends and I decided to eat away from the mall. It was only after the movie that I saw 6 replies, of which Frat Mustard‘s recommendation of Ninja Joe’s pork burger stood out. I later found out that the place is jointly owned by Frat’s colleague. Jotted the name down on my iPod Touch application ala 555-notepad. Couple of days later, I was joint by adventurous Ciki to discover this new outlet.
If you are a lover of pork and Japanese-Anime, you’re definitely going to love this outlet’s concept to bits. Bold red walls donned with a R2D2 looking Ninja decal on one side and a Robotech-like visual plastered on the other. It’s hard to go unnoticed in a quiet mall like this. Mini Pork Burgers are their specialty and they come in 6 different flavours (Original, Black Pepper, Teriyaki, Oriental, Sweet & Sour, and Spicy). If you are guessing just how mini the burgers are here, they are slightly smaller than my palm (if that’s any help at all) and you’ll need to eat at least two to satisfy a decent appetite.
The pork patty is decent and one could tell that they were seasoned with salt, pepper and mixed in with onion bits before going on the grill. I was told that this is the Original flavour by the manager. While we can see the appeal of the patty, we can’t quite say the same about the quality of the buns. They were hard, crumbly and somehow felt like they were left on the counter far too long. We weren’t impressed with the yellowed lettuce bits and skinny tomato slices either. And as far as the flavours go, my order of Teriyaki tasted sweetly ordinary and Ciki’s Spicy sauce was nothing more than garlic-chili sauce topping. We left within minutes searching for other things to eat the mall.
Generally, I do not like giving bad reviews. If I have nothing good to say, I’d just rather not blog about it. But, given the fact that they were just barely 3-days old when we were there, I thought they deserved a second chance to get their act right. Just didn’t realise that their second chance came very soon after. I found myself back in the restaurant 2-days later with McCutie and Chiselstone in tow after another movie.
This time round, I’m glad to announce that the buns were much fresher and softer than the last. The patty was also much more juicier as well. I must say, it does make the whole burger experience a better one. I also ordered a few different flavours to try too. Out of all six, the best they have to offer is the Black Pepper (which reminisced of a milder version of McDonald’s Prosperity Burger) and Sweet&Sour (not too sweet, not too sour – a right balance), neither overpowered the taste of the meat patty. I like. Another interesting thing on the menu would be the Shurikens (RM4.95/5pcs), which are breaded nuggets made out of mashed potato and pork bits.
While the business owners may have a good concept in their hands, it may be too soon to say how far they can go with it. As the brand is wholly owned by Malaysians, I’m rooting for them to grow bigger. They would, however, need to iron out a few teething problems first. The few things they can look into are the size versus the pricing (currently it’s a sliding scale of 1 burger at RM5.95, while 6 burgers are offered at RM24.95). Some may recall the story of White Castle in Malaysia in the 90′s which didn’t go down too well with frugal Malaysians. There is also the issue of ingredients used, perhaps the use of better buns, fresher lettuce, thicker tomato slices and maybe even Japanese mayonnaise? Or a better way to prepare and keep the burgers fresh. I know all of these are cost factors, but if they have already invested so much into its branding, shouldn’t they start concentrating on the food as well?
By the way, if your name happens to be Joe or starts with Joe, present your identification (I/C, driving license or business card) and receive RM1 off your total bill.
LG18, Tropicana City Mall,
No.3 Jalan SS20/27
47400 Petaling Jaya
Note: Movie stills taken from 2012 remains the property of Sony Pictures and its affiliates. All rights reserved.