[编辑 Editor 吕大人 英译 Translator 刘大人 摄影 Photographer 刘大人]
So familiar, yet so different from what was used to be.
The name, the surroundings, and the people, everything about the place is still so surreal from 3 years ago when we first step through the tall cast-iron gates into what feels like a secret enchanted garden. Having changed ownership after a year of review and reflection, we could be excused for wondering what exactly is taking so long..
With words going around on social media on its impending reopening since early this year, one could now get their carnivorous cravings fixed. Not about to jump on the bandwagon, we took to the enchanted garden much later, not knowing what to expect. Our worries were unfound six months on, as everything about the space is still growing strong, and well alive.
Rowan & Parsley 这饶富两者绝妙平衡之意的命名原出自於他，更不遑里头的方方面面，「当初从麻坡带回来的小树苗 (比掌心还小呢)，现在都已长得那么高了。」绿荫们的来龙去脉，问他最知悉。
The reopening of Rowan & Parsley (RnP) could be described as a triumphant return to the local casual dining scene. The outdoor landscaped garden still providing the source of many organic ingredients that go into their carefully crafted plates. In fact, many of the early seedlings from Muar to Masai has now outgrown their creators, with abounding creepers etched into the walls forming a unique green scape.
Beauty is everywhere. Perhaps, “it is not that she is lacking to our eye, but our eyes which fail to perceive her” by François-Auguste-René Rodin, the French sculptor best sums up how we feel about this 9,000 sq ft space. Little did we know RnP was born from the ideation of their interior designer that first gave the food atelier its character before the culinary identity took over. From the shape of the dining tables and chairs to the exact mood of the lampshades; or the texture of the wall fixtures, the native from Ipoh, with over 2,000 collector’s items revealed the lengths that go into recreating the interiors of the restaurant that continues the previous legacy. Dishing slow-cooked specialities that combine traditional wood fire smoking and grilling techniques of Texas, RnP hopes to reintroduce barbecue that epitomises the American style with a modern and innovative culinary twist.
常有人说，新山真是个蛮微妙的地方，各行各业的生存空间相较其他城市而言，颇难捉摸，尤以餐饮业为甚。纵观 Rowan & Parsley Smokehouse 的方寸气质，老早已有耳语传递，感叹生在吗塞这小地方委实被小觑了，若是摆在新加坡、曼谷、槟城或马六甲等地，定已自带光芒。「我常在想，为什么新山就不能拥有这样一个地方呢？」大人这时猛然记起作家友人 Peggy Loh 曾在其书中谈起同伴们总爱以传奇天团 The Bee Gees 的那首经典 Massachusetts 戏谑她返回吗塞 Masai-chusetts 的一段往事，「Feel I’m goin’ back to Massachusetts，Something’s telling me I must go home…」
When we think “barbeque“, we tend to think of meats slathered in sauce and placed over a grill to cook. Rarely do we consider the American style with meats marinated with dry rubs and cooked in a smoker. That’s where the new Rowan & Parsley Smokehouse comes in, amid challenging conditions in a soft market and not in the best of locations. Even without the range and diversity of culinary capitals like Singapore and Bangkok; or foodies’ destinations such as Penang and Melaka closer to home, we are sure RnP would have thrived in cooking up the perfect American-flavoured storm. Perhaps, it’s the calling of our friend, Peggy Loh’s “Masai-chusetts“, from the classic Bee Gees’ tune that inspired them in making a difference to the local F&B scene.
The Island, Lemongrass Tea & Cafe Latte
The Island (RM15), Lemongrass Tea (RM8) & Cafe Latte (RM12)，各有所爱，「大人的那一杯，非 The Island 莫属。」
To each our own, the three of us ordered the “best-in-class” thirst-quenchers from their beverage menu. Namely, The Island, Lemongrass Tea and a Cafe Latte, the signature The Island, in particular, stand out for its refreshing and chilling factor!
Smoked Tomato Salad
远观尚以为是鲑鱼刺身，啊原来是 Smoked Tomato Salad (RM19)，「是烟火让让它如初阳。」红色素发挥至极致，上镜真好看，从没想过熏烤后的番茄滋味，犹如倒吃甘蔗，渐入佳境愈吃愈甜。碟子里的碧草如茵，水灵馋人，嚼在口中爽脆地痛快，红花再好也要绿叶扶，「我着迷了，烟熏番茄沙拉。」
Resembling a smoked salmon appetiser from the offset, the Smoked Tomato Salad was quite impressive in presentation and texture, which is kind of crispy. With its smokiness and sweetness, we swear the smoked tomato tastes just like “bacon” and has to be one of our favourite vegetables at the moment.
Texas Hot Wings
嘴里尝着 Texas Hot Wings (RM24)，脑海里突然勾起的是，旧日的欢聚时空。年少时最爱与友人们到当时红极一时的美式西餐厅享一份鸡翼，在那个零花钱都得存上一些日子的年代，一份上桌，每人或许只能挑一个部位解解馋，滋味却如此深刻。「如今，到了可以独享的年岁，啃着一份鸡翼也有如斯情怀。Rowan & Parsley 的鸡翼以 Franklin 辣酱入味，辣得温和，蘸点Cucumber Yoghurt 酸酱，嘴里一嚼的香嫩，滋味更甚记忆。」
Wanting to relive some nostalgic past through food, we ordered one of our childhood favourites, but with an American twist. Nevertheless, the kind of memories and feelings chicken wings bring back is priceless. Fast forward to RnP, the Texas Hot Wings served here seems to orientate more toward the expat crowd. More tangy than spicy, these “hot chicks” are marinated with Franklin’s Texas Barbecue Sauce before being cooked. Still crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, dipping into the Cucumber Yoghurt sauce gives the wings a refreshing sour flavour. The only non-authenticity, though, is the lack of celery sticks and blue cheese, but we’ll make an exception because they are so damn gobsmacking delicious.
极爱茄子，自然得点这道以 Roasted Eggplant (Vegetarian, RM25) 的蔬食料理。薄脆的吐司，燃柴的棕木色，堆叠圈围在烤茄子旁，有种生火的意境，「那火苗是不经意蹿出的大红豆吗？」看似朴实无华，唯茄子就像食蔬界的海绵，自身极易吸取辅佐的日月精华，淡雅中带点调皮的小滋小味，搭着口感鲜明的大红豆，「绵甜鲜香，细腻爽口。」一个人完食，绝非难事。
Made up of ground-up Roasted Eggplant which gave it that satisfying savouriness, this is a welcome surprise given that the restaurant serves mostly meat items. The creamy consistency of the hummus, in combination with crunchy lightly browned toast, allowed for a close-disintegration in the mouth. The hummus accented a contrasting tanginess, while the addition of red bean did well to add range and accentuated the sweetness of the dish.
Beef Brisket Benedict
Brunch 之于我的意义，爱它胜过正经八百的三餐，能畅意享用早午餐的幸福人，吃的从来都是一份悠闲。Beef Brisket Benedict (RM40)，蛋白质、膳食纤维、碳水化合物、脂类一起唤醒五味，「微甜的烟熏牛腩风味、疗愈的班尼迪克蛋汁液与荷兰酱、软绵的英式玛芬，我的双眼在发光，嘴里在疯狂。」
Craving for some oozing poached eggs smothered in glorious hollandaise sauce any time of the day? The Beef Brisket Benedict delivers proper nutrition and a hugely satisfying punch for our ultimate wake-up call. With the right amount of collagen and “tender” loving fat, we also finished the accompanying beef brisket before being reminded that we had more meats coming up.
With such a wonderfully irresistible combination, we could eat this breakfast food all day!
「只溶在口，不溶在手」不仅能形容巧克力，亦能在 Pork Belly (Lunch, RM36) 里觅得象征意义。美拉德反应 (Maillard Reaction) 的加持后，「带着烟熏妆上阵的肉质，浑身的烟火气息，外焦里嫩，是道上乘得意之作。」
Blame it on the “Maillard Reaction” for making meat look ever-so mouth-watering, our main course arrived with a train of thick and succulent Pork Belly slices that were addictively sweet and piquant. The glistening layers of fat that interlaced in between the flesh was undeniably soft and chewy, and definitely worth our calories.
Honey Glazed Spare Ribs
那乔装成奶油姿态的薯泥，绵密滑溜地，与 Honey Glazed Spare Ribs (Lunch, RM52) 牛肋骨的粗犷美，游走在同一个圆形空间里。「360g的微辣烟熏风味，让同桌们吃出了肉里的灵魂。意式欧芹与日本黄瓜适时出来解腻后再战，这牛肋骨滋味一举带我跨越太平洋。」话说当年，来自德州的布什总统正是用美式烧烤接待了不少国家级领导，「烧烤外交」的魅力可想而知。
Finally! This is what we’ve made the return pilgrimage to RnP for. Slowly gaining a loyal following hooked onto the meat like bees to honey, this solid 360g Honey Glazed Spare Ribs was braised for many hours and smoked with applewood chips. Not only was the exterior stickily sweet, but the meat inside was permeated with sweetness throughout and taste divinely good. The balanced, flavour-packed combo of Italian parsley and crunchy Japanese cucumber was also straight-up satisfying. To derive maximum enjoyment when eating ribs, we did not hesitate to eat them the right way, with our hands, of course.
Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Ice-cream
隔着太平洋的另一边，Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Ice-cream (RM19) 可是人尽皆知的家常美洲滋味,「比烘饼湿润、比蛋糕结实的甜食，轻轻一拨，如微风轻拂的肉桂香，飘摇而出。」玻璃外的绿境，与被大人昵称为烤哺乐的这一味，养眼养胃。
One of the best Apple Cobbler we have ever had, the crumbles were so fragrant, buttery, and in proportion to the amount of apples and cinnamon. Not to forget that the refreshingly cold scoop of Vanilla Ice-cream on top, the dessert isn’t just a course to end off our meal, but an edible piece of art and a complete experience by itself.
嗜食者老马识途，「傍晚六点，Rowan & Parsley 享用烟熏肉食的最好时刻。」只因那是柴火用生命缓缓自燃绽放的最美瞬间，成全了桌上的风景。
The familiar semblance at RnP evokes a sense of deja vu in us. But, for the effort the new owner has put in to perfect the authenticity and art of American barbecue, we’ve no qualms this would be our go-to place to kick back and relax, get our hands dirty and have a down-home BBQ dinner from 6pm onwards.
By the way, the portions at Rowan & Parsley are also American-sized too, so you will get your money’s worth!
Rowan & Parsley Smokehouse
📍 17, Jalan Cenderai 20, Kawasan Perindustrian Kota Putri, 81750 Masai, Johor
📞 +6012-727 5717
🕙 11:30am to 11:00pm (Tuesday to Thursday & Sunday), 11.30am to 11.30pm (Friday & Saturday). Closed on Mondays
💻 ROWAN & PARSLEY food atelier