I guess the last thing any foodieventurer would think of is driving into Jusco Aeon mall for lunch, when there are so many choices outside but today is one of those days where choices are narrowed down to the size of a palm.
Our meetings ended late and by the time we wrapped up, it was already 3 pm and most restaurants and kopitiams had already closed. So yeah, with limited options, Jusco Aeon Johor Bahru it is!
The mall was considerably crowded for a working weekday, perhaps many worked past lunch too? Hehe.
We went to Lavender bakery cafe, a popular bread brand originating from Johor itself. As expected, us and another family took up the seats of a rather big cafe. With no food since early morning, seated on the table were 4 hungry monsters. Anything would do at that moment.
We hurriedly ordered, with recommendations of some trademark dishes from Lavender. Gotta say, I wasnt expecting much except filling my tummy. But boy oh boy, never stereotype or judge a book by its covers.
The fried chicken wings came. This was my first time eating ’em sliced into half. One wing, cut into bottom and top half. And cut another half from there. Essentially, one full wing, now sliced into 4 pieces.
Deep fried to crispy golden crunchy perfection garnished with thinly sliced fried ginger. Even though it was a “cutting cost” chicken wings dish, but gosh, it was one of the most enjoyable wing moments ever. Juicy delish crazy!
I was told the two must-have dishes is the fried kueh teow and fried rice. Now, that seemed rather odd to me for a bakery cafe to be known for dishes with no bread in ’em eh?
But this local tale is true! The fried kueh teow had a lot of wok hei, exceptionally generous with the bean sprouts! A wee bit oily, but oh well…you can’t save on calories for this dish.
The fried rice was superb as well, and this is coming from a non-rice lover. Filled with wok hei (probably from the same pan as the fried kueh teow) and filled with fiery spicy flavours! Love ’em!
They gave 4 relatively large prawns to compensate for the premium price for fried rice. Oh well 🙂
Finally, a dish that is relatable to the core of Lavender’s business : grilled chicken and onions ciabatta, toasted with cheese and flavoured butter. The bread I guess was alright, but the ingredients combination was good. Can’t go wrong with nicely caramelized grilled onions! I could only finish half a ciabatta and the other half became my supper in the hotel later on.
My localite friends were sharing a little of Lavender’s history starting off from a elderly chinese couple, to today’s family way of running their business had deterred off the support of many Johorians whose hearts belonged solely to the elderly couple, and if not for the lack of food choices at this odd late lunch/tea hours, they wouldn’t have came here.
A real waste I gotta say, as the food was quite good. But if this way of running the business has managed to help the new generation business owners sustain I guess, this is a marketing strategy that targets a certain customer segment.
Nonetheless, I’ll try the fried rice one day in Senai airport! My friend tapaos it for dinner everytime she reaches home through a late flight!
Lavendar Bakery and Bistro,
AEON Tebrau City Shopping Centre,
81100 Johor Bahru,
Tel : 07-351 8966