What’s old is very much new again: Lao Jiu Lou, or Old Restaurant, is the latest bulwark of F&B emperor Seiji Fujimoto’s dominion over Taman Desa, a ramen specialist that’s poised to become Fujimoto’s fourth suburban smash after Sanuki Udon, Taishu Yakiniku BBQ & Maruhi Sakaba Yakitori. 1 Lao Jiulou Lao Jiu Lou feels like a cool hybrid of an old-fashioned Japanese izakaya & a roadside Chinese hole-in-the-wall; it’s atmospheric without overdoing it, evoking elements of Fujimoto’s earlier eateries to stir up something with triumphantly singular charm. Bravo. 2 Lao Jiulou Fujimoto has repeatedly proven that he’s more than savvy enough to know what works for Taman Desa; Lao Jiu Lou is well-thought-out in every respect. Its food falls unfailingly in the ‘cheerfully cheap’ classification, with RM9 tonkatsu ramen reigning on top of a one-page menu, costing a third of what patrons pay in malls. 3 Lao Jiulou

Ramen

Sure, this isn’t as sumptuous as the best ramen out there, but it’s satisfactory; the broth might not plumb rich, brute-force depths of pleasure, but it’s sweet & tasty enough. Half a seasoned egg & a substantial slice of pork cha-siu round up the fundamentals for a freshly made, fuss-free lunch that’s filling & fulfilling. 4 Lao Jiulou

Pork Gyoza

Pork gyoza clocks in at RM5 (a lamb variation will be available soon), pillowy-plump & juicy, with thick but soft skin, delicious when gobbled up piping-hot with ginger & vinegar. 5 Lao Jiulou

Siu Yok

Chinese components offered here include spiced roast pork (RM12), siu yok that’s nothing if not absolutely addictive. 6 Lao Jiulou Moreish morsels of flavoursome succulence, with a golden-brown topside that’s notable for its firmer-than-expected crunch. Served with melt-in-the-mouth potatoes & crisp carrots. 7 Lao Jiulou

Cha-shu with Cabbage

More meatiness: Cha-shu with cabbage (RM10). Best with rice or noodles. 8 Lao Jiulou

Steam Chicken

Lao Jiu Lou’s menu is less than descriptive: Some customers might dismiss what’s simply typed out as “Steam Chicken,” but they’ll have missed a memorable mix of chicken leg with flat rice noodles & veggies on a platter of salty soup (RM10). 9 Lao Jiulou

Special Rice

Similarly, the cryptically named ‘Special Rice’ is something less ordinary, a balanced meal with minced meat & waxed sausage. Not quite lap mei fan, but comfort food always makes for delightful discoveries nonetheless. 10 Lao Jiulou

Beer

Alas, no sake is available, but Japanese Asahi & Chinese Tsingtao beers are. 11 Lao Jiulou

Final Thoughts

Lao Jiu Lou is on the same street as Sanuki Udon & the two other neighbourhood newbies, The Soda Factory & Encore Patisserie. Look for the lanterns, since the permanent signboard isn’t up so far. It opens all day long, 11:30am-9:30pm, but is closed on Mondays, like Fujimoto’s other outlets. 12 Lao Jiulou 13 Lao Jiulou

Location Details

Lao Jiu Lou Old Restaurant Also known as Bukit Desa Kopitiam Jalan Bukit Desa 5, Taman Bukit Desa, Kuala Lumpur View Lao Jiulou’s directory page here. What are your thoughts about Lao Jiulou? Post a thought in the comments below.

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