I'm sure anyone from JB would have heard of Food Republique. Two weeks ago, I was invited for a foos tasting event at Food Republique. Special thanks to Kim Tan for the invitation. I even got to meet Tony of JohorKaki blog, one of the popular food bloggers among Johoreans!
Food Republique is located in Taman Pelangi, just directly behind Leisure Mall. They have been around for a few years now and are prided as one of the best Western food restaurants in Johor Bahru. Food Republique offers authentic Western food from all over the globe, hence the name. You can have American, British, Tex-Mex and Italian food all in one place! Not to worry, this place is certified Halal and is one of the recommended restaurants on TripAdvisor! Apparently the Sultan's relatives have visited here before and even actor Dolph Lundgren from The Expandables has visited this place too! :p
The owner, Ben, is a passionate chef who has travelled around, learning how to cook these unique dishes. He told us that most of their raw food are imported. Most Western restaurants are quite pricey, but the pricing at Food Republique is indeed reasonable, without compromising on taste.
Watch out for this blue signboard when you drive past Jalan Kuning!
Ooh look, they even appeared in the papers.
Btw, Food Republiqe has an ongoing lunchtime promotion from 12-3pm! For RM25, you get a refillable drink, soup of the day and a main course, plus you get to choose one of the desserts for half price. Very worth it and trust me, you will be full because the food comes in big portions!
The very simple and cosy interior. It's clear that the owner is a huge fan of movies!
The 'conventional' menu. Let you in on a secret.. Food Republique actually has a "Secret Menu" which has yet to be released! You can request that they introduce you to new food that are not on the menu, which are what we had that day. It's just as yummy!!
This is a special Tex-Mex sauce called Texas Honey Glazed Sauce invented by Ben. Most of the food can be paired with this sauce and even though it is off menu, they will ask if you would like to try this sauce instead of the conventional ones. It is 100% vegetarian and made of pineapple juice, onion, garlic, spices, and some other secret ingredients. What's so unique about it is that with different meat, the sauce will display different characteristics to bring out the taste of whatever dish you cook it with.
When you taste it like raw this, it is tangy/ sour, sweet salty and leaves a lingering slightly spicy taste at the same time. It's like nothing I've ever tasted before!
Ok, time to try out the food! Be warned, you will be very hungry after this :p (i hope my photos do these dishes justice)
First off, appetizers. Make sure you have someone to share these with, otherwise you'll be too full for mains!
Tortilla Nachos with Salsa (RM 12.90)
The salsa sauce is made of the freshest tomatoes, onion, garlic, etc. The sweetness and tanginess of the chilled salsa is perfectly paired with crispy USA imported nachos! Very enjoyable and once you start, you can't stop. :)
Behind the scenes lol. Look how dedicated and professional Tony is. He even brought his own table lamp for better lighting in pictures XD
Fried Polenta (RM 8.90)
Haha these are actually served in 6. :p
Polenta are basically Italian creamy cornmeal are fried to little balls of perfection like these <3 At first I thought it would be gooey and cheesy like mozarella cheese balls, but one bite and you will feel how fluffy these are instead. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. It tastes even better when you dip it in chilli sauce! Even the chilli dip is specially mixed, which makes this dish one of my favourites.
Italian Bruschetta Appetizer (RM6.90)
This is the most basic bruschetta ever. It is topped with generous amounts of vegetables and drizzled with some homemade balsamic vinegar reduction, served on crunchy French loaf. According to the menu, "Bruschettas is a wonderful way to capture the flavours of ripe summer tomatoes, fresh garden basil and garlic". What makes this different from other bruschettas I've tried is that it is served CHILLED. However, I found it a little too "garlic-ky" for my liking. Remember to eat this with your hands as it can get messy!
Finally, it's time for the main course!
Salmon Ala' Carbonara Pasta (RM 26.90)
The creamy carbonara sauce complements the salmon well. They definitely did not skimp on the ingredients, look how much salmon there is! I loved this because the salmon doesn't have any fishy smell. The sauce is milky and leaves a slightly sweet aftertaste. However, as with any other cream-based pasta, I can't take too much without feeling sick of it. It is a huge portion, and this dish is also not stated on the menu. Good for sharing!
Smoked Grilled Chicken Burger (RM20.90)
How can you visit Food Republique without trying out their signature burgers?
I never knew they had chicken patty burgers until the chef told me, cos it's off menu as well! This can be ordered with beef patty too for RM16.90. Another one of my faves! The chicken patty was very nicely and evenly grilled and it's so juicy & flavourful! One bite, and I'm sold.
LOOK AT THAT CHEESE MONSTA!
Check out how thick the patty is. The sesame buns, which are imported as well, are nice and soft too, but the bottom bun was slightly soggy lol. For me, this set is worth the price as it comes with grilled maize and fries which makes it quite a big portion. Did I mention that I like the crisp fries and sweet corn that is buttery as well? :D And that's coming from someone who doesn't usually take french fries.
I love eating corn, but I can't seem to cut it right, so Ben helped me. Take note, THIS is how you cut corn with a fork and sharp knife ;)
Texas Honey Glazed Ribeye Steak (RM 55.90)
The most expensive dish of the night, which I couldn't try cos I can't eat beef -_- From the looks of this thick slab of meat, it's enough to make me drool...
This is 8 1/2 oz of steak is medium well-done (about 70%), grilled to perfection. The others described the meat as juicy, quite well-cooked and when paired with the sauce, it is salty with a hint of pineapple taste.
Texas Honey Glazed Beef Burger (RM24.90)
Another dish Hui Ying and I had to give a miss cos it's beef. :(
Kim nicknamed this the "evil burger" as it's so sinful! This is also 70% medium well-done. The beef is tender and juicy and the bacon actually makes it taste better. According to the rest, this was voted the best dish of all.
Texas Honey Glazed Salmon (RM 52.90)
Yay I can eat this! XD I love salmon! I like that the huge slice of salmon is served with some grilled prawns. To spice things up and thrill your tastebuds, it is recommended that you take a bite of the salmon, followed by the prawns. The crispy crust of the salmon tastes even better when dipped in the Texas Honey Glazed Sauce. Overall, it has a sweeter taste and less tangy/ sour as compared to when I tried the sauce on its own. So unique!
I have a weak spot for garlic mashed potato and I can safely say their homemade one is sooo creamy and meets my standard! :p The grilled seasonal vegetables are really yummy too, especially when paired with the sauce. Instead of the usual capsicum, cauliflower and carrot, there's sweet potato in this.. Surprise!
The first time we tried the prawns, it was too spicy so Ben prepared another skewer for us to try. Only the freshest prawns from the sea are used and they're grilled with black pepper so when you dip it in the sauce, it tastes sweet, followed by spicy.
Finished off our meal with dessert!
Hot Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice-cream (RM 9.90)
By far the best and cheapest brownie with ice cream I've ever eaten! I would rate this 5-stars. Here's how you should eat it:
Take a bite of the plain brownie first. Then take another bite, this time with the ice-cream.. Slowly let the cold ice-cream and warm brownie slide in your mouth and down your throat.. Mmm..
The chocolate is not too sweet and that's what I like about it. The ice-cream complements the brownie well and excites the tastebud as you an feel the sweet taste of choc and vanilla burst in your mouth. Even the ice-cream is imported. The chef personally baked the brownies so that is has a crispy outer layer and as you work your way to the center, it is soft and moist. Perfect way to end the meal.
With Kim, Hui Ying and Lerler! It's getting quite fun choosing stickers for Ler's face XD Read about their experience at this food tasting event on their blogs too!
With chef and owner, Ben!
With Tony! :D
Overall, I find that Food Republique is a versatile place seeing as it's quiet enough for a date yet spacious enough for a family dinner. The food does not disappoint and even though most of the ingredients are imported, the price is not shockingly high because Ben believes that money should not be the priority, but the quality of the food is. Plus, the food is served in huge portions so it's good for sharing! I would definitely go back for a visit and maybe try out their other signature dishes next time :)
For more information, please check out:
Telephone: 07-331 1718
72, Jalan Kuning,
80400, Johor Bahru,
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 12pm - 10pm
Disclaimer: Even though the post is sponsored, the review is based on my personal thoughts, experiences and preference after trying out the food.
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