Malaccan Portuguese Cuisine where everybody know’s your name…
Country Barn Pub + Restaurant
Where everybody knows your name
With a shortage places to enjoy Country & Western music in the early 90’s, Hedley Westerhout took matters into his own hands and opened his own place. 13 years later, Country Barn has evolved from a Country & Western Pub to a restaurant that is a staple part of the community. Off the main road in USJ 11 and minutes away from the bustling Taipan area, Country Barn is a retreat by day and a showcase of talented bands after dark. A different band plays every night, and at one point for a Charity Music Fest, they all played one after another for 24 hours straight.
“People have suggested that we change our name to Charity Barn,” laughs Westerhout. I nod in agreement, impressed with the effort they have put into charity drives for local causes and orphanages. “There is a shortage of decent family pubs, and that’s what we are. We used to be called the Subang Jaya old Folks Home.” I look at him in shock, for it is anything but. Patrons have access to Wi-fi in a cozy atmosphere with unconventional deco, and most importantly, the authentic Malaccan Portuguese menu at their fingertips.
Terry (Red FM Drive) and I sit down at the most sought after table.
“It’s at an equal distance from the dancefloor, the bar, the pool table, and the restrooms,” explains Westerhout. Lucky for us it was a Saturday afternoon, so no scuffle for the honour of dining at the best table in the house. Margeret De Silva (or Aunty Margaret as she is fondly known), assumed the role of Chef here just over a year ago. “Is it hard to cook for so many people? I ask her. “It’s what I would do every day at home!” she answers candidly. “For many more family members!” chirps in Terry helpfully.
Being both half Eurasian, Terry and I were no strangers to the cuisine and family atmosphere that exudes from Country Barn’s four walls. “This is just like my mum used to make, God rest her soul,” he sighs with satisfaction as he tucks into the Cencaru Sumbat. Crispy, deep-fried Cencaru fish stuffed with sambal.
I find myself mimicking his satisfied noises as I savour the Chicken Pong-teh, a Malaccan Portuguese stew. Slightly sweet, slightly salty and utterly scrumptious. Add kick to the food with traditional Malacca homemade Saltfish Pickle. If you can’t get enough, take home a jar like Terry and I did.
One of my favourites, the Brinjal Soy Limang, did not disappoint.
Pan Fried Aubergines saturated in dark soya sauce, chili, onions and shrimp paste.This was followed closely by the addictive Bendi Pas’agu which are stir fried ladies fingers smothered in a belachan chili sauce.
The delectable Pineapple Prawn Curry is also a must try.
The most popular dish on the menu is the much sought after Debal Curry. There are many versions of this curry. You can call it Devil, Devel, Debil or Debal. The basic ‘rempah’ is the same, it’s the hands that cook it that give it variety. The Debal Curry at Country Barn is a blend of chilli, onion, lemongrass, galangal and mustard seeds, cooked till fragrant and as authentic as it gets.
If you crave something a little meatier, try the Dry Mutton Curry which is similar to an Indian mutton curry.
Terry and I yelped with excitement as we were presented with a plate of Pang Susi. I haven’t had these in years! Biting into the soft, fluffy sweet bun to reveal a savoury mince filling, I was transported back to my childhood days at my grandmother’s place in Malacca.
Because of the labour involved in making these delicious buns, they are available by special order only. Don’t miss out on the delightful pineapple tarts and make sure you have a cup of sweet tea to wash it down.
From Charity Drives to home cooked Malacca Portuguese cuisine, this is a place with a story to tell, and a place where everybody really does know your name. If they don’t, it’s only because you haven’t been there. Yet….
Tune in to the Big Red Food Review with Aly for your chance to win RM 100 worth of vouchers to Country Barn Restaurant + Pub.
Country Barn Pub & Restaurant (NON-HALAL) 3, USJ 11/3,Subang Jaya Tel: 03-5637-6818. Food served from 11.30am till 10pm