[Halal] We recently checked out IT Roo Café – one of two popular places known for their chicken chop in Bandar Johor Bahru (JB).
This is the second post in a two-part series as we try the signature chicken chops at Restoran Hua Mui and IT Roo Café.
JB Chicken Chop Showdown
When we planned our trip to JB a few months ago, a friend recommended we check out Restoran Hua Mui and IT Roo Café.
Both restaurants are considered landmarks in Bandar Johor Bahru, and are particularly known for their Chicken Chop dishes.
Any local will likely point at one of the two as their favourite!
We checked out both restaurants during our trip ( we ate at each establishment back-to-back, no less) to determine which one we liked better.
Read about our visit to Restoran Hua Mui in this post.
IT Roo Café in JB
After our first stop at Restoran Hua Mui, we promptly made our way to IT Roo Café – located less than 100m away on Jalan Dhoby.
Similar to Hua Mui, the interior of IT Roo harkens back to the days of yore with its use of old tiles, wooden chairs, and the grandfather clock that adorns the green wall.
We like that IT Roo has an al-fresco seating area next to the walkway, with a huge tree providing shade from the scorching sun.
IT Roo Café offers more than chicken chop
Apart from the signature Chicken Chop (which it proclaims to be the best in town), IT Roo also offers Western dishes such as Grilled Chicken Chop with eggs, Fish & Chips, and Sirloin Steak.
We note a major distinction between the two: while Hua Mui is predominantly a Hainanese restaurant, we find that IT Roo offers a more inclusive Malaysian experience with dishes such as Fried Rice, Claypot Mee, Sweet & Sour Chicken, and Mee Mamak on its menu.
Coffee and Roti Bakar
And this is where Hua Mui’s Hainanese influence shines.
While Hua Mui’s coffee was fragrant and rich, we found the Kopi (RM2.80) here to be diluted and less robust.
The Toasted Kaya & Butter (RM3.80) was lacklustre as well as we found the bread too dry.
However, we did get four slices of bread here (vs. two slices at Hua Mui for a similar price), and the Kaya had a nice sweet fragrance that went well with the butter.
Finally, IT Roo’s signature Chicken Chop (RM18).
Similar to Hua Mui’s, the chicken chop here is served with a side of wedges and coleslaw.
First impression: the chicken chop does appear to be bigger than Hua Mui with a similar golden batter.
Taste-wise, the chicken was tender although it was not juicy as the one we had at Hua Mui. However, the batter was quite tasty with adequate seasoning to eat on its own.
IT Roo also offers a choice of black pepper or mushroom sauce. We definitely prefer IT Roo’s mushroom sauce to Hua Mui’s Hainanese sauce as the former was more flavourful with a good amount of sliced mushroom in the gravy.
In terms of sides, we found the coleslaw at both establishments to be similar but the wedges here were not as crispy or well seasoned as Hua Mui’s.
So what’s the conclusion?
Overall, we found both the chicken chops at Hua Mui and IT Roo to be good.
Hua Mui’s offering was juicy and tender and served with good wedges, while IT Roo’s chicken chop was slightly larger with a much tastier sauce.
IT Roo also offers grilled chicken chops in addition to the deep-fried variety.
Based on the chicken chop alone, we would rate Hua Mui’s chicken chop a notch higher than IT Roo’s as we thought the chicken at the former had crispy edges and a juicy inside – cooked just the way we liked it.
If we were to compare our overall food experiences, we really enjoyed Hua Mui’s half-boiled eggs and coffee, while IT Roo’s coffee and toasted bread were a bit underwhelming.
From this perspective, our vote goes to Hua Mui over IT Roo for its better coffee, toast, and half-boiled eggs, with a good chicken chop offering.
However, we can say that both establishments are worth a visit as they each have their own fan base, after all.
Which is your favourite?
IT Roo Café
Address: 17, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
Hours: 11am-8.15pm Daily
Phone: 07-222 7780
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