Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bora Asmara, Kampung Sungai Penchala, Kuala Lumpur

I don't think we have ever experienced a really bad food review before, well, unfortunately for us, this would be the first. Bora Asmara easily qualifies as the worst restaurant we've reviewed (and ever been to) so far, in terms of food and price (vs quality of food and service). This place would be a perfect candidate for the show "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares". We read about this place sometime back, in the newspaper, and thought it was worth checking out, what with the promise of a Balinese ambience, soft romantic lights and candles and al-fresco dining. So we took mom-in-law-to-be and the clan to try this place out last Sunday night.
Walking into the restaurant with the warm glowing lights, the water feature in the landscaping, the cosy gazebo/al fresco seating gave us a good first impression. Once we started ordering, that good first impression started to fade really quickly. When asked if we could have iced water, the waiter told us very frankly that "Management does not approve providing iced water. We used to provide iced water, but management has stopped that. Everyone must order a drink from the menu." That was a serious PR blunder as far as we were concerned, it made "management" appear to be very mercenary......"management" has some serious rethinking to do.

I ordered the "Mak Bonda's Special". On the menu it was described as "Tenggiri fish fried rice with fresh ulam kampung". What arrived on my plate in reality was plain pale fried rice (the rice itself had no substance and was quite tasteless; no prawns, no ikan bilis, nothing at all but a few pea/corn/carrot mix - the type you get from the frozen mixed veg bag in the supermarket) with sambal belacan on the side. The "tenggiri fish" turned out to be a single miserly piece of pandan-wrapped chicken (no fish in sight!). "Fresh ulam kampung" turned out to be a few slices of cucumber, tomatoes, julienned carrots and salad leaves (the type you get with chicken chop). This was a gross misrepresentation of what was stated on the menu, especially the missing tenggiri (which was arbitrarily substituted with chicken)! The plate of tasteless, nearly substanceless fried rice with a single piece of pandan-wrapped chicken (and NO tenggiri fish) cost RM10.90!

Uncle CT ordered the "Bangkok Fried Rice with Crispy Beef". As Uncle CT could not eat beef, he requested for the beef to be replaced with chicken (any type of chicken would do). The waiter had the audacity to tell Uncle CT that he would check if the kitchen staff would "agree to this". Apparently, the kitchen staff decided NOT to accede to Uncle CT's request, and omitted the crispy beef from his plate WITHOUT replacing it with any other type of meat, and without telling us about their arbitrary decision. What turned up on Uncle CT's plate was equally plain, substanceless fried rice, with a side of keropok and raw cucumbers, cabbage, long beans and onions. NO chicken to replace the missing beef. No main meat dish whatsoever. Imagine paying RM10.90 for this plain fried rice. We had been ripped off!

Mom-in-law-to-be ordered the "Nasi Lemak Nyonya" which was supposedly a house specialty, comprising of "chicken, prawn sambal, beef rendang and Nyonya acar". Ok, no ingredients missing from this platter, but the pandan-wrapped chicken she got was a backbone with barely any flesh. Normally, in making pandan-wrapped chicken, nobody would use the bony parts with barely any meat. The ikan bilis was hard as nails and not crispy, as if "sudah masuk angin". The portion of the sides were miserly. At RM15.90, we would have expected a dish of better substance and a heartier portion.

Hubby-to-be ordered the "Oriental Chicken Chop". We would have imagined "oriental" to mean grilled or pan-fried chicken chop with savoury gravy. What turned up was heavily-breaded chicken deep fried till the entire piece tasted like a hard, overcooked biscuit. The chicken meat itself was tasteless and dry. The sweet gravy came in a tiny saucer, with not enough for the portion of chicken. Hubby-to-be described eating the hard biscuit-like chicken without gravy akin to eating burnt toast without butter/jam. This culinary disaster took the cake at RM16.90.

Bro-in-law-to-be ordered "Indonesian Pecel Lele" which was 2 pieces of fried catfish with raw vegetables and sambal belacan (RM12.90), eaten with a side order of plain rice (RM1.50). His was the only dish which did not turn out as disastrous and disappointing (though it was by no means great either!).

The cendol was another rip off at RM7.90. The tall slim sundae glass that it was served in made it very difficult for us to mix the plain ice at the top with the syrup and cendol at the bottom. We had to finish the scoop of ice cream at the top carefully, or risk it toppling down. The cendol itself was neither creamy nor authentic in taste, very diluted with the mountain of ice.

Other drinks ordered were apple juice (served in a slim glass) at RM4.90, and mango tea served in a small teapot at RM5.90. We noticed that "management" was really stingy with portions and there was absolutely no quality control. Our total bill came up to RM96.45 (inclusive of a 10% service charge of RM8.77). The prices were over-inflated for food of such poor substance and minimal ingredients, not to mention such bad cooking! We have had cafeteria food which was better than this, in taste and in substance. Service was unprofessional and the PR skills of the waiter was unbelievably below-par.

We would not recommend this place to anyone if it were the last restaurant on earth (yes, that's how bad it was!). For the unsuspecting victims, expect to pay premium price for the ambience, the small band which goes from table to table, and have "management" compensate that by skimping on food ingredients/portions (to cut cost?) and be served with food that is severely compromised in quality. Having settled the exorbitant bill, we were left feeling very cheated and unsated. Bora Asmara was all style and no substance.

Bora Asmara

Lot 2933, Kampung Sungai Penchala,

Jalan Damansara, 60000 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel/Fax: 03-77260964

No directions will be provided, this restaurant is to be avoided at all costs!

Our rating system for overall satisfaction with what we eat and where we eat....
1-bam = don't even bother
2-bam = good enough to fill the tummy
3-bam = a very good restaurant in its category
4-bam = excellent cooking, worth a detour
5-bam = exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey
We would give this restaurant a 1-bam rating. On second thoughts, a negative-bam would be more apt.
*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are entirely based on our personal experience and taste preference and may vary from others'.


Anonymous said...

I agree with Jessica. I had the worst experience hosting a surprise dinner do there and it turned out as my worst mistake in life. I made the effort to pay a visit and pre-order the appetisers and mains and specifically instructed them to comply with some timing, but what happened was that my guests were left dry til the mains + appertisers came together abt 1hr later. The food was ultimately horrible, tasteless (the Bali fish was served in broken pieces!!!) and the service of the team there was beyond the grave. The manager was absolutely useless, giving excuses that they were busy that night, hence my orders were ALL messed up.

When the bill was presented, the manager had the nerve to display some attitude into trying to force me to pay for things I didn't order nor did my guests ate. WHat the hell is going on there?

Horrible restaurant, bad service, unfriendly people and tasteless food!!!

Anonymous said...

sounds like the restaurant from hell...........................
but must try this before they die die..............................

Rayhana said...

I agree!

We were there a couple of nights back, and we were served the assam fish whereby the fish was actually stinking..! It's odd how the chef did not smell the 'dead' fish while he was chopping it up..
We asked to see the Manager but the Assistant Manager turned up instead.
To rub salt into the wound, he was really nonchalant about it and very 'lan see' and we can even say, rude and downright unprofessional.
We then asked to see the Manager and thankfully, he was so much more professional, although he is going to leave the place end of the month!

Food is not even so-so... terrible... only nice ambience...

So sad. bad management causes its downfall. But still many people eat there though!

adelaine said...

my friend read a nice review in the STAR and I heard a good one on light and easy.. that's why i'm googling up fot it.. but now it seems... better avoid lahhh ;P

megats said...

firstly we spent the whole day looking for the phone number without success.Finally we got them from 103 but no one picks up.Being an internet savvy, i landed here to search for contact.After reading all the comments I decided to cancel our plan and go to Nelly's Place instead!!!

Anonymous said...

I am in the midst of negotiating with this place for a wedding reception but am now having second thoughts. any of you guys out there would happen to know of a suitable Like replacement? if so, if you could contact me at 0123037887 or i would be most appreciative.


Anonymous said...

i read a nice review in cosmopolitan mags and was thingking to have a romantic suprise birthday diner, but am now having second thoughts after read all those bad comments. thanks guys! i better find another place..

Anonymous said...

i'm surprised! i went just about 2 weeks ago. after first time there, i kind of like the place. then i went on with second visit, still like the place. we did not order any main course though. only had lots of coffees and some snacks; chicken wings and onion rings. it was ok. really nice ambience..

oh, i'm not working with them. just used to be a regular Rasta's patron that when they moved nearer to Penchala and have not really get settled, we opt for this new place.

probably someone should send this blog to the management, hopefully someone should give a proper training to the staff and change the chef (if it is really as bad as Jessica commented)!

Ardina said...

we are planning to go there tomorrow night with our collegues.
Let us try first and comment on it later. :) salam..

s_shaziela said...


im going to bora asmara to nite with my korean principle.. hope their service n food r not really bad as what i read here.. my big boss decided to have dinner there.. so what can i say.. ermmm

let me try first n comment about it later..

Anonymous said...

I've been there wif my family. I we really enjoyed our dinner. nice environment and foods. The management is okey la..we have to wait for table, about 30 minutes, and they treat us very nice...
makanan served mmg lambat skit la, coz so many people..huhu..but overall the food is good.

Anonymous said...

Hi all...i was there with my family.. yup, must agree wth oner of this blog.. horrible horrible food. If anyone were to think the food is OK... then i must say to you that you've never tasted 'food' my friend... sigh, what a pitty, nice place, nice enviroment, nice ambience, but horrible food! I hope the management will do something about this!!!

Anonymous said...

I was there last night with hubby, daugther and in-laws after the downpour. We didn't have a reservation, however they managed to pull a few tables together under the canopy.

Once seated,tThe waitress gave the menu and as my hubby began to place an order from the a la carte menu, she said "tak ada, lepas raya'. He asked what did they have that night - basically nothing.

My hubby blew his top and threw the menu on the table launching into expletives. Needlesss to say, we were out of there in quick time.

The ladies toilet is shocking, they had a plastic container cut in half with jadded edges to collect water and it had floaties in it. Gross!!!

This place is to be avoided at all costs. I pray they lingkup very, very soon.


Anonymous said...

aiyo i am so horified reading all these. my hubby actually plan a suprise dinner (yg dh tk jd surprise now ;p) for our anniversary tomorrow. his best fren recomended the place, so we already booked a reservation for two tomorrow. since comments are majority for ala carte menu, what about the buka puasa buffet??? it will cost rm45++. i dun want to be dissapointed.

Along Zakaria said...

I think you have to try this for yourself to experience it rather than make decision based on 'anonymous' input.

Had dinner with my fiance. While we were eating the 4-piece band approached and sang a perfect song for the night.

The comment after we ended the night, good food, nice ambiance, excellent entertaintment and perfect companion.

Anonymous said...

hi.....heard about the idea. anyway i have booked for buka puasa with a lot of friends...Will give my opinion later

Lan Panjang said...

hi guys, i haven't been to this place, but with all the negative comments from past customers, i'm really surprised that these are people out there who still patronise this joint?

i appreciate that some people's tastebuds aren't as developed as others, which explains why they can accept mediocre food.

if a place charges value for money prices, has an interesting menu with a good selection, serves delicious food with an acceptable portion size, provides warm & attentive service, plus has nice & tasteful decor and a convenient location, then lets recommend such a place like crazy.

as for BA, let's exercise our consumer rights and boycott such a place.

goldnugget said...

I went to BA twice for dinner n once for lunch. I guess I was luckier, the food was not that bad n the service was okay to me. I think that the best food you can get is home-cook meal cos it will definitely suit ur taste buds nway. So I'd say give it a try first n make up ur mind later. But there's always a room of improvements.

Anonymous said...

I juz thinking to have a romantic anniversary dinner there, but I'm now having 2nd thoughts after read all those bad comments.Thanks guys..better avoid..find another place lah!

Anonymous said...

after read thru all the good and bad comments i've thing d' owner of BA needs to made immediate decision on change of the key position at BA.. then hire good outsider trainer to give service and systems technic skill.(how, where, when...)
the more you wait for making decision the more u are suffer.."changes need for better improvements and margins"
If you can consider my proposal, i'll things.. your price are standard "3 star" hotel..and unfortunely your service is like "kills your inviroments" and overall foods quality "NO STAR"only your ambience make peopple come..(for first and last) yo've such of heuce space and i'll believe 500 peopple easily you can thru in but why must griddy you still can make money...your prices are shocking me.....needs improvements.

Anonymous said...

My hubby decided to surprise me with a romantic dinner at Bora Asmara just now. The place is nice with Balinese atmosphere... The food was not bad. For appetizer, we order the chic wings. The inside part was not cooked properly... quite raw. For the main course, I ordered Grilled Chicken and the portion is quite large. Taste is OK. Hubby ordered the house speciality... erk... what's it called again... hmmm can't recall cos I don't like the "dry" taste. As Jessica said, "WHERE'S THE TENGGIRI FISH"??? Ordered for my son China Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng Cina!) but my son only ate the keropoks... Taste... I think hubby cooks better! The watermelon juice was quite tasteless. The choc shake was OK (I prefer McD's!). The lemon grass chillers is something that I won't ever try again! The service is quite OK. I don't really dare to recommend it to others but if you're the adventerous type and willing spend some money, WHY NOT?!?

Whatever it is, I think for the price that hubby paid, I rather eat at Chili's, TGI Fridays or Italiannies! ;P

HUBBY, just in case u read this blog, I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH for bringing me to this new plc and trying new food! ;D

Jolie Mendes said...


Anonymous said...

Oh my God, is it very horrible place. I just plan to do my wedding dinner there. But, when i read all these bad comments, its like to think about it again.....

Ain Kalam said...

Dear All

I hv been reading all the comments. If you noticed, all the bad reviews come from 'anonymous' which to me, it is not genuine. A real complainer should write their names, nothing to hide. This looked more like someone trying to ruin BA's biz by giving bad review on food and service. A competitor maybe.

As for me, I am thinking of having a Wedding Cocktail there this year.. perhaps I shall pay them a visit and give my comments later.

Anonymous said...

I just came back from there after doing a food tasting with a friend, as we plan to organise a hen party there.

We ordered Bangkok Fried Rice,Kiasu Fried Noodle with Crazy Mango drink,Blueberry Wild and Passion Fruit Tea to wash it down.

The food was OK although I do agree with some reviewers here that the Bangkok Fried Rice was a bit dull and "colourless".
However,it was the drinks which irk us as the Blueberry Wild was full of milk rather than blueberry.There was not even a hint of blueberry in it.We had the drink changed but unfortunately it was the same.So we ended up ordering for Passion Fruit Tea which was much better.

After chatting for a while,we ask the waiter to add in hot water to the tea for us.At first they obliged.After we ask for a second top up,the waiter bluntly told us that "the management" only allowed 2 top ups.So we argue and said this would be our second top up.In the end, the waiter came back with a mug of hot water instead!

When the bill came,we were surprised to notice that we were charged RM3 for a small bowl of tit bits and RM0.50 for the mug of hot water!

I am now thinking if I should even bothered to come back,even if the ambience is nice!

Jessica said...

Hi all, thanks for the comments. I'm glad some of you didn't have as horrible an experience as I did at BA. I've never been back there since the episode I blogged about, and you can judge the food quality (and lack of ingredients) from the pictures I took. I don't refute the fact that the ambience of the restaurant was cosy, with the candle light and al fresco dining, but the calculativeness of the "management" and service staff, and the food quality was truly, exceptionally off-putting. Anyway, anyone who has been there, pls feel free to leave a review/note, good or bad, to share with all of us.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. I guess reading the comments I'd steer away from the fried rices then.

My family frequented the shop about 4-5 times already and we always have little to no complaints.

We usually order fried rice, creamy butter prawn (the sauce is sooooo nice and creamy!), tom yam and bali dancing fish (crispy and the fish is sweet).

They have plain water now which is 50cent. :p Typical la.. high class place, plain water also nak charge.

Try to call the Malay waiters. They're not bad.. and do not order the ABC. It's called rainbow but it's predominantly blue. ew.

My siblings ordered western once. I can't remember what it was.. but it was good too. I guess if you want to go there.. you need to ask someone with experience what they usually order then.

Anonymous said...

hmmmmm, actually the dude tht owns tis join and the one in kl (Bora Omabak) owns a Interior Designing Company...hence all the nice decor u see at bora asmara. but interms of restaurant business i'm sad to say he sucks. i've neva set foot in bora asmara b4, but bora ombak in kl first they employed almost 80% shemales dresses in black pants and white polos..which i heard tht ppl started complaining (in think due to them hitting on the customers)...i ws there only for the food...i didnt really gave so much tot as the place was lit dimly and can't really see what was on my plate..order sum nasi goreng sumting(not worth remembering.

ooh forgot to mention he wife is a pain, anyways i wonder she has anything to do with the restaurant aswell...

Anonymous said...

I'm going there tonite to attend a friend's wedding.
I hope for her sake none of the bad (atrocious?) encounters will happen.
To the management of Bora Asmara (if you're reading this) - I hope my friend will have the wedding reception of her life. 20 years from now she'd be saying "that was a wonderful reception!"

Anonymous said...

..opps my friend and her friends are there now hoping to chill out after their finals..she's suppose to call me about now to say what a wonderful awesome time they're having there..haha i wonder..p/s i've not been to BA but just wanted to check it out since my friend is going there tonite ..suprise..suprise

Anonymous said...

"at first they employed almost 80% shemales dresses in black pants and white polos..which i heard tht ppl started complaining (in think due to them hitting on the customers)"

This kind of comment concludes how narrow minded most people esp Malaysian are. For those working in FnB industry would know that they are the most hardworking staff that you can ever employ. Ppl always typecast them and do not give them a chance to do halal work and once given the chance, they really prove themselves worthy.

My friend's uncle purposely hire them as waitress because of that. They might at most tease some ppl, I doubt they will hit on you...just as much as the any other girl for that matter. Just because they are not natural woman doesn't mean they have less better taste and will simply hit on any guys.

Sharon said...

I went there once as it was highly recommended by my bf. The food was up to our expectations and the ambience is great. Since it was only 2 of us, we can't really order much except a main course and dessert. So far, no issues for me and I'm planning the second trip.

Most of the bad experiences are stated by "anonymous"... How true is that? Hmmmm...

Anonymous said...

THe manager sucks...we ask for the bill after the shit meal, and to our suprise after half an hour nobody came to our we took a decision to go the counter to settle the bill, and with suprise they yell to us telling us that the bill had been given to one of their fucking waiter...BORA ASMARA please dont spoil the good name of BORA OMBAK!!!!!!!!!!!