Celebrity chow with Malay progressive rockers Audionauts

It has been more than a year since the sudden death of their former bassist.

But for two core members of local Malay progressive rock outfit Audionauts, their fond memories of bonding over food remain vivid.

Their member, Mohamed Zakie Mohamad, died in his sleep last May at the age of 36 from cerebrovascular accident, caused by an interruption in the blood flow to a part of the brain.

M caught up with the band's frontman-lyricist, Mohamed Rizal "Ryzal" Mohamed Noor, and guitarist-music director Mazron "Malon" Nizam Ayub for lunch at Halal steakhouse Le Steak by Chef Amri at Jalan Kayu last Thursday.

Said Malon: "Whenever we have our meals, we'd just chill out, chit-chat, joke around and laugh."

Ryzal added wistfully: "We miss him a lot, especially on special occasions like his birthday and Hari Raya.

"As much as we like reminiscing about the old days, Zakie wouldn't want us to stop everything just because he isn't here with us. He would want us to pull ourselves together and continue the music journey."

Audionauts also consists of bassist Syed Fahmie and drummer Fairuz Samil, both in their 30s.

"We're currently working on our full-length album, which we hope to release by the end of this year or early 2016," said Malon.

Ribeye Steak (Photo: TNP)

Why is Le Steak by Chef Amri one of your favourite restaurants in Singapore? Do you like the spread we have here - ribeye steak, milk-fed veal spare ribs, creme brulee and waffles with ice-cream dishes?

Ryzal: I brought my wife and five-year-old son here for a Mother's Day celebration and I feel that it serves premium food at affordable prices. The owner, Chef Amri, who was on the Suria reality show Chef Selebriti, is really humble. If he's in, he'd walk around the restaurant and talk to customers.

Malon: I love the waffles here. I used to have a favourite local waffles restaurant chain, but I think Le Steak's waffles are even better.

Ryzal: Creme brulee is my poison.

Milk Fed Real Spare Ribs (Photo: TNP)

Where do you and your family usually go for meals?

Malon: I have three kids, aged one, two and seven. We like going to Spize, Kampong Chai Chee for seafood, and if we're looking for desserts, Cold Stone Creamery.

Ryzal: Personally, I'm a huge nasi padang fan. My favourite nasi padang hawker joint is Latiffa Huri at Jurong West Avenue 1. The queue from 10am to 2pm every day is super long!

Waffles with Ice Cream (Photo: TNP)

Wow, you sound like foodies!

Ryzal: Yes we are! Malon and I are always telling each other about new eating places we've discovered. Malon, you must know this, there's a new Hong Kong dim sum eatery, Kowloon Express, at Clementi. It just opened a few days ago. It's really rare for us (Muslims) to have dim sum, so when new halal dim sum places open, I'm very excited. (Laughs) I'm dying to try halal xiao long bao.

Do you cook?

Malon: My wife is a good cook, her signature dishes would be asam pedas, soya sauce chicken and chicken soup. Me? I better not touch anything in the kitchen.

Ryzal: I learnt to cook when I was a teenager, because my parents were working and I was home alone. I can do simple dishes like nasi goreng, mee goreng and of course, instant noodles. I'm a mean Maggi mee chef. (Smiles)

Ramadan is around the corner. How do you and your family break fast? Do you all go for a buffet dinner spread?

Malon: For my family, the first and last day of Ramadan is the most important. On the first day, we'd eat outside. The last day, we'd have it at home, with all the Hari Raya traditional food.

Ryzal: The usual buffet places would be StraitsKitchen at Grand Hyatt Singapore and Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts. This year, I heard Le Steak is doing a Ramadan buffet. I might try it.

This article was first published on June 17, 2015.
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