Han Sen Hau and Monica Tindall
It was a torrid summer afternoon that demanded tank tops and flip-flops to be worn by every civilian, though I somehow managed to pull off a dark sweater with skinny jeans against my better judgment. I had looked up pictures of this place that Monica and I had planned to visit: images of a funky interior with steel blue ceiling lamps and baby blue folding chairs contrasting a strong white palette in the restaurant amidst mouthwatering photos of massive burgers filled the page. I knew I had to arrive here hungry. Looking back, I was glad I starved myself for the occasion.
|Buns and Meat|
|Buns and Meat|
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a small clapperboard on our table with “The Yum List” written on it. We felt truly special—for about five seconds—before we learnt that this was done for all reservations, which is still undeniably a really nice touch from the management, represented by Robin Lim who came out to welcome us. As we got snap happy with our cameras around the premises, Robin indulged us with a history of the place: before Buns & Meat achieved its porky fame, it was once known as The Library. Vestiges of this bygone past include surviving dart machines glowing in a corner and dark leather booths that would fit perfectly in a pub, though most of these have been traded off for more cheerful furniture and fittings, the kind that would drive Instagrammers into a frenzy. Now, the establishment adopts a more family-friendly position and has revamped its menu to reflect its new direction, featuring radically non-halal options and making you feel like a pig for eating like one. The phrase “you are what you eat” has never rung truer in our ears.
Before we dove into the sublime, we were entreated to three refreshing milkshakes, the Black Sesame, the Thai Tea, and the Earl Grey. The team at Buns & Meat was quick with this as we were parched even before the review began and a refreshing trio of milkshakes was just what we needed. The Black Sesame was incredibly decadent—almost as if we were slurping peanut butter right from the jar, only smoother—and the Thai Tea was pleasant, but the trophy goes to the Earl Grey for its addictive floral fragrance and aftertaste. Once we were sufficiently cooled by the drinks, we were pumped to go the whole hog.
The first dish for the day was something I never expected to ham over: a serving of Pulled Pork Fries. I’ve never really been a fan of pulled pork ever since my exposure to them at tailgating parties in the U.S. Back then, since they were usually prepared fast and haphazardly, the shredded meat would still be a challenge for my teeth and are usually dripping in its own fat; it’s amazing how some still think the freshman fifteen is a myth. The delectable appetiser served at Buns & Meat, however, was none of that. The meat was fragrant, juicy, and irresistibly tender. The crisp fries were a great compliment to the pulled pork, though my only comment would be to separate the two so we could savour the pulled pork with the fries like a dip, instead of having the meat soak the fries. A great snack for sharing and a great option with beer, I’d definitely return with friends for this.
|Pulled Pork and Fries|
Our next item, the Crispy Roasted Pork Pizza, was also a delight. A thin, crusty base with roasted pork on top and crowned with acar made from julienned carrots and cucumbers, the pizza was basically chicken rice on a pizza dough, minus the rice. Like the Pulled Pork Fries, the pizza is great for sharing and its size works well as an appetiser, though you could have it as your own personal pizza. The acar works well to balance the savoury roasted pork, which crackles at each bite, and I also appreciate the decision to serve the pizza without a sauce as I felt that would’ve made it a little overpowering.
|Crispy Roasted Pork Pizza|
After we lapped up our starters, we then tackled two burgers that threatened to pop our buttons and to bust our belts: The Runny Mess and the Char Siew Pork Burger. Both burgers come with a pork patty, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, with fries and a pasta salad on the side, but The Runny Mess has the additional appeal of an egg yolk oozing its way down to the plate while the Char Siew Pork Burger contains some of the best barbecued pork cuts you’ll find squished salaciously between two buns. Incidentally, the fluffy buns used for the burgers are butter rolls, which were a little too rich for my liking considering everything else that’s going in between them. That said, the two burgers thrilled us at every bite, and my favourite of the two would be the Char Siew Pork Burger, because I never imagined something I pair with rice so frequently would taste even better as a burger.
|The Runny Mess|
|Char Siew Pork Burger|
By the time we moved on to the following Hot Dog with Jalapeños BBQ Slaw, we were beginning to get a little worried: we came in thinking we look like gazelles but the reality of walking out the restaurant looking like hogs suddenly dawned upon us as we were only halfway through the day’s menu. All of us at the table were massive eaters, but for once, we were concerned for the wellbeing of our digestive system. The gourmet hot dog was topped with onions, mustard and jalapeños; better than your average food truck variety, we ended up being a little obscene trying to see who could fit the whole thing in their mouths. Caning was the undisputed winner.
Having had so much meat in one sitting, we were glad for the occasional pauses when we had to get up and snap pictures of the food outside. The brief walk from our booth to the al-fresco area helped shuffle the food down lower in our digestive tract, or so we hoped. At this point, we were introduced to some of the drinking options available to patrons when they visit, and are happy to announce that you can enjoy wine with your swine. The house pours here are only charged at RM9.90 per glass and RM79 per bottle—a steal seeing the Dusky Sounds 2013 Sauvignon Blanc we had was easy drinking with its crisp notes. We also enjoyed a glass of Somersby Pear Cider, and an intriguing bottle of Gekkeikan Kirei Umeshu that’s advertised to be packed with collagen. A rather peculiar option on the shelves but I suppose it’s popular enough among the youth-obsessed to be up there.
|Beverages at Very Reasonable Prices (Only RM9.90 for a glass of wine!)|
Our eyes widened and we heaved a sigh as we saw the waitress walking over with the Spicy Korean BBQ Pork Ribs in her hand, and just as we were about to dig into this beast—surprise! It had a twin, and the BBQ Pork Ribs settled right next to it. Our eyes searched for Robin’s, and they beseeched him, “please, no more… lest we require an oinkment to soothe the stretches on our bulging bellies”. The BBQ Pork Ribs was a classic hit, while the Spicy Korean BBQ Pork Ribs would’ve been better enjoyed with a little less heat, especially since we’ve had so much to warm us up before. We’re unafraid to say that we could only afford a bite for each, and resorted to having the delectable ribs packed for later.
|BBQ Pork Ribs|
|Spicy Korean BBQ Pork Ribs|
But alas… the pork ribs weren’t the final meaty affair, as we heard the rumbling footsteps of a colossal Porkzilla making its way from the kitchen. Swine/11 was on its way, and salvation was nowhere to be found… for a good few seconds at least; when Robin told us we didn’t actually have to eat it (thank the hoggy heavens!), we were one bite away from genuflecting before him. Comprised of three pork patties, crispy roasted pork belly, pork char siew, pineapple slice, tomato, lettuce, poached egg, and cheese sauce, the Porkzilla lives up to its name: it slays all those who attempt to conquer it single-handedly, and we believe this, in spite of Robin’s insistence he has seen a couple of guys who’ve mowed it down with ease.
… but the BIGGER question is: where are they now? *whispers conspiracy theories*
Of course, the irony of this entire adventure was that we still miraculously had room for dessert. It’s almost as if we’re, by default, bloated after two appetisers, two burgers, one hot dog, two pork ribs, but perfectly alright when cakes and ice cream are involved. We’re such hypocrites; we had three cakes—Bailey’s Cheese, Salted Caramel, Cendol Cake—, two Affogatos with Earl Grey Ice Cream and Pandan Kaya Ice Cream, and a latte. Admittedly, the latté was ordered simply because Robin promised cute latté art, though the stimulant proved rather decent. The affogato went brilliantly with the Earl Grey Ice Cream, resonating our earlier choice with the Earl Grey Milkshake earlier, and all three cakes were a delight to our palates with the different textures and consistency: The Bailey’s Cheese was soft and fluffy with a melt-in-your-mouth consistency; the Salted Caramel was thick and silky, reminding me of the Black Sesame Milkshake because it was similar to eating peanut butter straight from the jar; and the Cendol Cake was light and fragrant, bouncing in our mouths with its jelly-like layers.
|Banana Peanut Butter Cake|
Needless to say, by the end of it all, we were all pleasantly surprised we didn’t need three stretchers to transport us out of the restaurant. The meals were divine, and the proportions were equally astronomical, which made us wonder if we should’ve invited an extra friend or two to join us. So whenever you’re driving around Sungai Besi with the appetite of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, be sure to drop by Buns & Meat and pig out. This pig is officially out, though the people at Buns & Meat can rest assured that this pig will be bringing his friends there for a casual night out in the near future.
Hogs and kisses. I’ve been dying to say that.
Reasons to visit: cool place for casual dining in groups; come here to see all the different ways you could eat pork; the Porkzilla is a sight to behold, so share it with a friend if you can’t tackle it alone; the milkshakes; Tea Time Special for the cakes: order a slice for RM13.90 and top it up at RM1.90 for an Americano or a pot of tea.
Buns & Meat
Ground Floor 72A, Jalan Tasik Utama 7
Medan Niaga Tasik Damai
57000 Kuala Lumpur,
+6 03 9055 3378