When good friends KJ Goh and Hayden Wong had spare time on their hands they usually drove up to KL from Seremban, to search for some good food locations.
“What can I say, we both love to eat,” laughs Hayden who left a safe occupation to follow his passion in the food and beverage industry.
It was on one of those journeys last year that the pair thought about opening a restaurant that would be unique in Seremban, but couldn't see a viable opportunity at the time.
KJ was already established in the S2 Uptown area, owning and managing a wine and beer bar called the Otheroom, an upstairs, veranda style pub that was the first of it’s kind in Seremban.
KJ’s idea was so good that others cottoned on quickly and followed his lead with more than seven pubs and clubs just like his now operating in the area.
As a youngster Hayden had learnt butchery skills from his father, who owned and operated a pig farm, and he went on to study culinary arts after secondary school before he entered the financial sector, so he knew a little about the ”in’s and out’s” of the F&B industry.
After leaving the finance world Hayden established a shop in Seremban that offered a butchery service in the region, supplying top quality imported beef as well as those hard to find recipe items and ingredients used in top-class restaurants.
“We were doing a feast once per month at the Otheroom serving wagyu beef, oysters, lamb rack and other luscious menus but an offer out of the blue from a shopkeeper came.....,” and as KJ says ” it was a deal that was too good to be true”.
“We thought this is a good chance. Let’s try, as it creates synchronicity between our businesses. We can supply meat from my butcher shop to this business and the Otheroom supplies wine and beer to this business, it is better as we save a lot of time not looking for good suppliers, said Hayden.
The result is Margaret T, a restaurant less than 500 metres away from the Otheroom, and the source of what has to be one of the best steaks in town.
The boys wanted a strong female name and the choice of the former UK Prime Minister, the "Iron Maiden" Margaret Thatcher seemed fitting; And it is, as is the laid-back, cool and chic feel of Margaret T.
“This is not a “fine-dining” dress up in a suit environment,” says Hayden, “look at me, “ he laughs, wearing jeans and a grey T-Shirt.
But make no mistake about the meat on offer.
"It is top class, with most of the beef purchased from Australia, including grain fed, Angus and Wagyu which is halal certified," says Hayden.
“We don’t just cut it and serve it, either,” says Hayden who carefully explains the process they go through at Margaret T of vacuum packing and ageing the beef cuts, for sometimes up to two weeks before it lands on your plate.
“Ageing is the best way to prepare quality meat like this. Firstly, it makes the beef more tender and secondly, the taste is much stronger, “ he asserts.
Margaret T doesn’t just serve beef, offering a full range of choices from salmon, to lamb, chicken and pork options with salads and pasta dishes too. Added to that are some appetiser choices, a selection of sausages, or perhaps a mixed grill platter which gives you a difficult, but wonderful decision to make - the boys trips to KL to scout for ideas has paid off.
Chef Hayden’s choice from today’s menu is a Cajun style chicken.
“It looks simple but it has all the home-made spices you can’t find in any supermarket and we have modified the flavour to suit local Malaysian taste buds and palates, “ he said.
As well as set meals there is an ever-changing blackboard monthly menu with this month offering Katsu Don Curry served with Jasmine rice, Soup of the day, or a Beef stew with baguette.
You will also need to wash down your meal and Margaret T has that covered too with a variety of wine choices, beer, juices, coffee and teas to choose from.
“The restaurants name, Margaret T, also correlates to some of the wine we have on offer which originate from the Margaret River region of Western Australia,” says KJ.
“We have a selection of wines from the old world areas of Spain and Italy plus new world wineries like Australia and New Zealand, more than 100 labels,” says KJ.
If you are not sure which wine or beverage to take with the meal, KJ or Hayden can recommend something that won’t over power the taste of the food chosen or break the budget, with prices ranging from RM95-400 a bottle.
As Hayden says, he wouldn’t classify Margaret T as “fine dining” and wants the feelings a customer takes home with them “to be more of a memorable dining experience, having eaten good food in a great place.”
“Now people don’t have to drive all the way to KL to eat top quality Wagyu meats, we have it here, and at a more affordable price,” he said.
From my eating experience at Margaret T where I tasted the salmon, Wagyu and beef dishes, he is right, I’ll remember that succulent Wagyu for a long time yet.
Try them out you won’t be disappointed.
For more info on the Margaret T menu and open hours check out their Face Book page.