Saturday, 2 September 2017

Bert's Keller - Last Old English Pub in Johor Bahru

Bert's-Keller-Johor-Bahru

Hung out with the Yaps last night at Bert's Keller, an old school English style pub and bar in a quiet backstreet in Taman Century just next to Holiday Villa hotel.

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Stepping into Bert's Keller, I felt I was transported back to the early 1980s, to the bar at Tengah Air Base Officers Mess in Singapore. The smells, the sounds, the lights. There, I had my first cocktail, a gunner. Only the aviation memorabilia is missing.

Bert's-Keller-Johor-Bahru

Bert's Keller is an institution in Johor Bahru, the only one of its kind left. Most folks here are decades long regulars but they are very friendly and warm to any stranger that steps in through the heavy wooden front door. 

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Some guests engaged in friendly banter perched on high stools at the well worn bar while others amused themselves with karaoke to the accompaniment of psychedelic disco lights complete with those iconic spinning globes with little mirrors 😂 They were singing oldies by Bee Gees, The Beatles, Carpenters and other greats of that era.

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Teresa has been running Bert's Keller for over 25 years now. She is assisted at the front by Hilda while she also manages the kitchen. We had a few of Teresa's signatures with whisky and beer.



Teresa is famous for her Oxtail Stew. Give Teresa a call at +607 3358 788 two days ahead of your visit. She will get Australian oxtail and vegetables like carrots and celery etc and stew it for you like mum would. She will let the cooked stew rest for a day as it tastes best that way.

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When you come, you will enjoy the oxtail's tender juicy meat which still has a subtle chew to the bite. With each bite, you will taste a gentle beefiness and sweetness.

The stew consists of stock and sweet juices from the vegetables dissolved by hours of slow cooking. The carrots, celery etc are almost dissolved to a lumpy paste and are held together by melted gelatin and collagen from the oxtail. You can imagine the heavenly taste of the sweet, savoury beefiness of the resulting stew. Teresa's oxtail stew is served with crispy buttered toast.

(Price RM30 for a generous serving.)



Teresa learnt this Indonesian snack from a guest at the pub. Teresa's jemput-jemput is made by hand mixing anchovies, slivers of julienned carrots, beans, onions and other vegetables with rice flour batter. It is then deep fried. In itself, the slightly crisp and spongy bite sized snack is savoury sweet - quite delicious.

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Woohoo... when you eat Teresa's jemput-jemput with her house made fresh sambal balacan chili, it is something else. The savoury spicy sambal chili has a pretty sharp sting that lingers pleasantly for a couple of minutes on the tongue and lips. I like it like that lah 😋

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Teresa's chicken wings, no frills, no gimmicks, simply delicious. The mildly savoury golden brown skin is crisp and the flesh inside is juicy and sweet.

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Teresa's stir fried bee hoon is just the way it is done at home. Simple yet wholesome, complete with eggs and vegetables. Delicious on it's own and complements the oxtail stew perfectly.

While we were enjoying our food, drinks and time together, Edi pushed open the pub's wooden door slightly from outside and popped his head in, flashing a smile. Someone inside, called out "satay!".

Ah.... Edi is the satay man and he is making his rounds in Taman Century. With pen and paper, Edi made his round among the guests and took down their orders.

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Edi sells his satay from his motorbike and is outside Bert's Keller at around 10pm.

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Edi grills his satay a la minute on a charcoal grill right there at the back of his motorbike 😄

We ate Edi's satay in the comfort of the pub and bar - outside food is allowed 😄

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I especially like Edi's mutton satay as it is tender, juicy and saturated with savoury sweet spices. I can also taste a little bit of lamb gaminess which I enjoy. The accompanying peanut sauce is good too - just the right graininess with well balanced savoury sweetness and mild spiciness.

Thanks buddy Kenny for the delicious satay 😄

Dr Peter was also telling us about the excellent prawn mee outside but we had to keep that for next time as we had too much food already.

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Gracious hosts Teresa and Hilda.

I enjoyed myself a lot at Bert's Keller - it's one of a small handful of quaint intimate old English pubs left in Malaysia and Singapore. Actually, I know of no other than the Spotted Dog in Kuala Lumpur and the soon to be demolished Sloan Court in Singapore. If you like to indulge in a bit of nostalgia, drop by Bert's Keller in JB. It has the best oxtail stew in town, great hosts and friendly folks.

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Restaurant name: Bert's Keller
Address: No.23, Jalan Pelanduk, Taman Century, Johor, Malaysia
GPS1°29'13.4"N 103°45'39.6"E | 1.487066, 103.761000
Tel+607 3358 788
Hours: 4:00pm to 1:00am (opens at 5pm on Sat and Sun)

No pork, no lard, no Halal cert

Date visited: 31 Aug 2017

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2 comments:

  1. hi Teresa, does the outlet have a whastapp ? ... i would want to placed booking for 5 pax on 19 sep 2017 about 6pm the oxtail stew. please whatsapp me +6590666428 thanks sim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe alternative is to reach them on Facebook.

      Delete

I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints as it makes this blog better :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is unethical in the same way as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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