Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

The Pink Sage is my new obsession.

July 10, 2010

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio: Fair enough and Of Iceland and inspirations.

Slash of Guns ‘N’ Roses live @ Sunway Lagoon, 5 Aug 2010. Buy your tickets now!

—–

It’s not even a question. It’s on the lips of your lover. It’s the love you discover. (See what I just did there? Heh).

Relocated not too long ago to Solaris Dutamas, just a little bit down the road from Solaris Mont Kiara, The Pink Sage has created quite livelihood in the still developing centre. The diner is far from being exaggerated by perky pink walls, but it has all the creativity the fun-loving colour possess.

With a simple interior that houses many laughters their customers bring in groups and packs, The Pink Sage serves breakfasts, lunches and dinners daily. From signature favourites to familiar dishes, take it easy here over the weekend. Believe me, it will be love at first sight.

The Pink Sage serves breakfasts of all sizes that will satisfy all kinds of appetites, including the Stacked breakfast (RM17.50). Your choice of beef, chicken or lamb sausages, juicy beef brisket, with the side of toast, beans and mushrooms to go with eggs cooked any way you want. Packed with protein to give your morning a good headstart.

One of the must try’s here is their homemade burgers. They have a pretty good selection, but if it’s your first time, order the Classic cheeseburger (RM21.50). A thick patty of beef, oozing with avocado sauce, you can smell it on its way from the kitchen, even before the waiter places the platter on your table. Although quite petite in size, but it is enough to fill the tummy until the next meal.

Also with a decent selection to choose from are the tacos and quesadillas, such as the Ribeye steak quesadillas (RM24.00). In bite-sized forms, these pockets full of beef served hot from the oven drenched in spicy sauce, are suitable for a mid-day brunch for those who aren’t looking for overbearing dishes first thing in their morning, or afternoon.

Make a meal out of this, or share it with your friends. Whatever you do, The Pink Sage’s 3 stack buttermilk pancakes (RM8.50) is one dessert you would make room for even if you’re stretched to the brim. Although it’s merely three stacks, sprinkled with snowy powdered sugar and topped with a strawberry, it holds a great deal of sweetness to its name, being a household favourite to many. It definitely makes for a good start for your day at the diner, as well as an end to it all.

Also on the menu is the pancakes’ dessert sister in arms, Classic waffles (RM9.50). Baked to a good browning crisp and crowned with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, add some flavouring maple syrup and jam on the side to sweeten things up a bit.

So, how about spending your Sunday a little away from town here at The Pink Sage. Just drop in anytime, and they will greet you with a smiley…

… hello.

* The Pink Sage is a pork-free establishment.

++
The Pink Sage
A4-UG1-01
Solaris Dutamas
1 Jalan Dutamas 1
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Opens everyday @ 8AM-11PM
T: +6 016 205 2023
F: +6 03 6207 9908
E: hello@thepinksage.com
W: http://www.thepinksage.com

Advertisements

Pulse of The Press Room.

June 6, 2010

Here comes the beginning of the month, when paychecks have just been cashed in. It is also the middle of the year already. Oh, how time flies. The good news is, half of the year’s worries and troubles are over and done with already.

How about a little ‘celebration’ to give yourself a pat on the back for surviving the first 6 months of 2010? Or perhaps just something to treat yourself and your friends to since you now have some extra dough with you?

The Press Room is no stranger for fellow Bangsarians, as well as any KL-ites who enjoy good Anglo-French cuisine and a good atmosphere to be in over the weekends. It is also a commonplace for wine enthusiasts with the restaurant’s abundant collection of the world’s best wines hanging off the shelves.

For starters, there is Escargot Gratinés with Bleu Cheese Butter (RM26).

Or in English, snails.

OK, I know it does not really sound appeasing knowing what it really is. Fact is, I did not even know what I put in my mouth that day either until I babelfished what ‘Escargot’ meant today. But I suppose it was quite an interesting dish. Just as long as I do not eat too much of it.

The dish is prepared in a famous French culinary technique known as gratin, whereby it is cooked under an overhead grill until the toppings of breadcrumbs, bleu cheese and butter is brown and golden. The texture is slick and juice, and the gratin toppings just make everything go down smoother.

There is also Salmon Tartare (RM32) for starters. What better way to start off your course with some finely chopped raw salmon that tingles your tastebuds with its sweetness? The juicy meat, heightened by the seasonings, will awaken your senses to get you all ready on what is to come.

If you are up for some seafood, might we suggest Moules Marinières, Frites (RM30), or fried marine mussels.

I have never been a fan of shellfish. I have to at least be eating them with something else, like pasta or risotto, so I do not throw up. But surprisingly, I loved this dish. The buttery and cheesy sauce kept things fresh for the palette and I am gunning down one after another pretty fast. Definitely something to share with a friend or two.

For something from the grill, Duck Breast à l’orange (RM45) is the dish to go for.

If you have never been a duck fan (because of that ‘duck smell’), you will probably learn to love it here. The so-called ‘duck smell’ is pretty much non-existent – not that I have a problem having it around anyway, and the zesty orange flavour highlights the juicy and tender meat texture.

The Cheese Platter for two (RM42) is perfect to kick start or finish up your meal, or even just to have something to chew on.

Feta cheese, goat cheese and bleu cheese, with complements of crackers, nuts and fruits to reset your tastebuds to end things pretty like the pretty bow for the final touch of your Christmas present.

Too bad we were not given any desserts to try out. It already sounded so yummylicious on the menu itself. So, perhaps some other time, I shall stop by solely for their Crème Brûlée or – gasps – Chocolate Volcano (RM16 each), Lemon Meringue or Peach Melba (RM12 each). Yums.

Also, being called The Press Room and all, wine aficionados will definitely have a field day with their wine list is extensive and superb with a wine collection from all over the world. Reds, whites, champagnes, sparklings, magnums, desserts – you name it, they will probably have it.

Call for any of the waiters or waitresses in The Press Room, as they are all trained to help you with recommendations on what to go best with your selected dishes for the day/night.

Things are quieter in daytime at The Press Room. Although it is located by the busy traffic light of Jalan Maarof, the greeneries that surround the mall seem to filter out the gridlock like a solid wall, leaving patrons in the restaurant  a serene and tranquil atmosphere to enjoy your morning coffee or tea.

Spend your early hours at the al-fresco area enjoying a cuppa while flipping through the Sunday papers alone, or with plenty of company over a feastful luncheon after a fun Saturday night out.

By nightfall, it is said that The Press Room is the place to be to see and to be seen. So guys, give yourself an extra dab of that musky cologne and polish up your charming smile, and ladies, it is the time to put on that sultry body-hugging black dress and dreamy mascara – go all out to look your best while you are dining in one of Bangsar’s bests.

The deep red timber wood complements the sensual colours of golden orange bouncing off the walls set you in the mood for love – or lust, if you must – as you toast to your friends and loved ones the clink of their best house wines meticulously selected from their brewery.

It does not matter whoever you are and whomever you are with: whether you are a guy and you are out with your guy friends for a guys’ night out, or a lady with your lady friends for a girls’ night out with good food, wine and company; someone who would like to lavish your date with something above the class, or a special family dinner to celebrate your grandpap’s 50th birthday – The Press Room fits the picture perfectly.

++
The Press Room
Bangsar Shopping Centre
Lot G110, Ground Floor
Jalan Maarof
Bangsar
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Opens everyday @ 12PM-2AM
T: +6 03 2095 8089
F: +6 03 2095 1089
W: http://www.gastrodome.com.my

Jolly Frog goes ribbit, ribbit.

May 22, 2010

It’s been a while since I last posted something on food. Now that the concerts and events have died down a little, I think it’s time to get back to that. Just don’t drool all over the keys, alright?

The last time I was down in Singapore for Stereophonics’ concert, I had my friends take me around for some nice eating spots in the fine city. After a late night of club hopping, we kickstarted our Sunday morning with some hearty breakfasts. And we chose this cosy little gourmet cafe – Jolly Frog, around the Chinatown precinct.

A bit of love on my Cafe Latte to brighten up my day as I flip through the morning papers. Heh.

Despite being a late riser, I adore breakfast platters. The sausages, the buttered toasts, the scrambled eggs, the crispy bacons – oh the bacons. So, of course I went for the one on the menu that screams the loudest, “Eat me! Eat me!”

I suppose you can’t go wrong with the Jolly Big Breakfast (SGD15). It’s got everything you ever need for a filling breakfast: toasts, eggs, sausages, roasted tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, and did I mention – bacons?

Another yummylicious breakfast to try out is the Eggs Florentine (SGD11.50). Drizzled in Hollandaise sauce that drips onto the plate sensually, poached eggs, toasts, baby spinach and – why yes – bacons.

But if you’re not up for a big appetite so early in the morning, or you just want to eat healthy or watch your weight, try out the Cinnamon French Toast with fair trade bananas in organic yogurt (SGD7.50).

Or the Roasted Portobello Mushroom Bruschetta with goat’s cheese and wild rocket (SGD10.90).

They don’t have no bacons though. Boo.

I thought Jolly Frog was quite cosy. Small but spacious enough to fit in enough people for a cheery morning. There is also an al-fresco dining area for someone who would like to have their morning meals outside.

Sure, the weather in Singapore can get quite unbearable sometimes, but lucky for the patrons, Jolly Frog’s cooling system on the outside and inside is good enough to keep us comfortable as we drag on our breakfast sessions well into the afternoon.

So, if you’re looking for some place to cure the hangover from the night before, or if you may, bring that someone you bedded the night before for some nice breakfast, Jolly Frog would be an appropriate place to visit. It is located along an almost deserted road, and the cafe is low key for that quiet moment.

And look, they have fresh and bright gerberras – one of my favourites. Now, who would not want a tint of sunshine on your table as you enjoy some jolly ol’ brekkie? Heh.

++
Jolly Frog Gourmet Bistro Bar
81 Neil Road
088905
Singapore
Opens weekdays @ 9AM-11.30AM; weekends @ 9AM-2.30PM
T: +65 6222 9227
E: enquiry@jollyfrog.com.sg
W: http://www.jollyfrog.com.sg

Xensually Xenri.

November 4, 2009

I am saving the best for last in my little MIGF adventure. Out of the few restaurants I have visited for the 2009 Malaysia International Gourmet Festival last month, Xenri D’Garden Terrace would have to be my favourite. Partly because I love Japanese cuisine, so don’t mind me if I seem a little bias.

A name synonymous with ‘a thousand miles’, Xenri begins their journey in 2004 with Xenri D’RiverView in a reserved location along Old Klang Road. Since then, they have spread their kimonos to Hong Kong with Xenri No Tsuki at Causeway Bay, and in September 2008, Xenri D’Garden Terrace in Menara Hap Seng.

Xenri is famous for their all-you-can-eat buffet spreads during the weekends to larger parties. And this year, for the first time, Xenri D’Garden Terrace participates alongside 23 other restaurants for MIGF 2009 to appease fine diners’ thirst for something Japanese.

What Xenri has planned for the MIGF menu works from mild to strong for the taste palettes. And throughout the menu, if you care to notice, a lot of the ingredients are seasonal and available only during the Fall season, which made the menu a tad special like that.

For an appetiser they started off with the novel and refreshing Homemade chilled silk bean curd with hotaru squid ink sauce. Now, before you get turned off by the prejudicing black sauce, wipe that grimace off your face because you’d definitely like to take a chance on this.

It’s a perfect composition that moulds the smooth bean curd into tiny pots with a cap on, bellying the squid ink sauce that spills out when you break the bean curd. There is a mild saltiness for the sauce that brings taste to the bland bean curd, which I thought started the menu on a very appropriate note.

Complementing the dish is the equally mild Chitose Tsuru Hunmai Tachoizuru Sake, a famous Japanese alcohol with an aftertaste that hits your senses, but yet at the same time, not too overwhelming that it shoots straight into the nostrils.

Let it be known here and now that I am a fan of sashimi. So, it is only right that I anticipate with bated breath for the Sashimi Platter to come next. When it did, it literally blew me away with its adorable igloo sculpture, an extra step taken to preserve the freshness of the raw seafood.

I was enthralled and as I made my way through the jewel pieces, I shut the world out as if I were an Eskimo hiding in my own igloo in the middle of nowhere. And I was genuinely sad when the platter was all cleared out, regardless of how slow I took my own sweet time with them.

Starting things off light is the Hokkaido wild catch scampi, the lightest for the taste buds and the softest with a texture that seems to melt in the mouth; the Japanese green sea urchin with a heightened saltiness harmonised with the scallop; and lastly, the Premium tuna belly that is slightly thawed in its own oiliness to capture the exact taste of the high quality fish.

This platter also comes with a perilla leaf (known in Japan as ‘aojiso’), which is often paired with sashimi, and a stem of its flower buds that are mixed in the soy sauce to provide a fragrant and herbal kick.

Next up is the simmered dish, featuring the Slow poached salmon skin roll with Tsubame ginger broth. Again, another lovable and cute presentation that serves the broth still bubbling in a small pot over a slow fire of a tiny stove. It keeps the soup warm as you take your own sweet time savouring on the supple cod fish and salmon and the firm radish slices. It also contains green slimy but sweet substance made from blended lady’s fingers together with the herbal elements of the soup. Definitely the perfect dish to relish on as you watch the auburn leaves fall in your Japanese garden.

Moving on to something heavier is the featured grilled dish – Kobe Wagyu housyou yaki. Xenri uses Grade A5 wagyu beef, the highest grade available in Japan, wrapped in a layer of fresh soy yuba skin parcel before hitting the grill. This method of cooking is called housyou, and it is tried since the olden Japanese days, which keeps the beef from overcooking and traps the oil and flavours in the meat.

Because of the the skin parcel, the beef is served a tad bit raw and garbed in its own extracted oil. By itself, you cannot really taste the meat, but when paired with Xenri’s homemade sauce, it seems to magically accentuates the wagyu beef.

For the main dish is Xenri’s beloved Chirimen jyako okowa hoba meshi, attributing Japanese rice with bits of baby sardines wrapped in magnolia leaf, plucked from the autumn trees in Japan and flown straight to the Xenri kitchen.

This is not exactly an outstanding dish for me, compared to the others on the menu. The presentation is as exquisite, but it seems to me to be another Japanese rice dish, as sweet and grainy. The baby sardines stood out, however, in every bite with its peppered saltiness, making the dish somewhat unique.

I was a little iffy when Xenri stated their dessert as the Xenri special homemade sunny side up. I mean, are they going to serve us eggs as a finale, or is it a kind of Japanese sweetie of the same name I do not know of? It was neither.

Xenri went out of the box and presented a culinary masterpiece that although appears like the breakfast favourite, is actually a sweetie in disguise. What looks like an over-fertile egg holds dear the many elements that make a dessert a, well, dessert.

The ‘egg white’ is made from panna cotta, a famous Italian pudding prepared from simmering cream, milk and sugar and the slightest tinge of Brandy flavouring; the peach puree as the ‘egg yolk’; grounded sesame seeds as the sprinkled ‘black pepper’; and the dribble of black honey sauce as the ‘soy sauce’.

It is definitely a sweet delicacy that is out of the ordinary and one that ends Xenri’s MIGF Menu for this year with a spectacular finish.

The wine selections recommended for Xenri’s MIGF Menu were the La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc 2008 from Cape town, South Africa for the Sashimi platter and Simmered dish, and the Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir 2005, also from South Africa for the Grilled and Main dishes.

The former is made from organically grown grapes, which contains a rich flavouring of tropical fruits, such as passion fruit, melon, apples and litchi that awakens the taste palettes with its slight tinge of sweetness. It displays a firm structure that is both tempered and well-balanced, with refreshing acidity in the foreground and a steadfast minerality in the background. An apt wine that washes down the saltiness of the dishes. And I like it that it is not acidic and jams up my nose.

As for the Pinot Noir, it is served best to diners chilled and under 11ºC to preserve its fragrant and not turn sour. This red wine displays whiffs of pungent raspberries, cherries and ground black pepper, and dark berries with perfectly integrated tannins on the palettes.

Alright, so I may be a little bias towards Xenri because I love Japanese food. But I have had my fair share of less than perfect Japanese food, and I am all for a restaurant that makes things perfect for the cuisine. I suppose it is safe to say that Xenri is one of them, and I would have to say they have done a pretty good job for their debut into MIGF.

Not only are the chefs and kitchen crew dedicated to what they are cooking, even the waitresses are knowledgeable on what they are serving too. The waitress that served us was patient in introducing each dish to us – the ingredients, the cooking method, why this white wine is chosen, why specifically the red wine is chilled… she knows it all. And I am quite impressed by that.

From the lush green grass padding, to the perfectly symmetrical stepping stones, to the quiet fall of water from one level down the next in the mini fountain, to a restaurant that serves a blend of authentic Japanese recipes with contemporary ingredients and tastes… everything that’s pure and true from the Land of the Rising Sun. Why would you not feel like you are in Kyoto?

Festival Menu
RM230++ per person with sake/wine
RM180++ per person without sake/wine

Light Festival Menu
RM160++ per person with sake/wine
RM120++ per person without sake/wine

++
Xenri D’Garden Terrace
Podium Block
Menara Hap Seng
Lot No. 2-04, 2nd Floor
Jalan P Ramlee
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Opens daily 12PM-3PM for lunch; 6PM-11PM for dinner
Tel.: +6 03 2078 6688

Bunga Emas, for the Majesty in you.

October 30, 2009

From the golden curtains hanging off the ceiling to the golden carpeting beneath your feet, from the golden cushions you sit on to the golden table settings displaying your royal dishes. Bunga Emas Restaurant is the newest restaurant in town that provides an ambience and delectable fine Malay dishes that is fit for a king.

Bunga emas plays an important role in traditional Malay customs during special occasions and wedding ceremonies. With that, Bunga Emas Restaurant would like to highlight this beloved Malaysian trademark via the interior designs, as well as the food served on the table.

Headed by Chef de Cuisine Khairul Ghazali, this is his latest culinary concerto in The Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur, after Sutera Harbour Resort in Sabah, and Langkawi Four Seasons in Kedah, where he became good friends with Executive Sous Chef Sabri Soid, who is just a door away at L’Heritage. (As you follow through, you will see similar usage of ingredients in the menu).

And this is Chef Khairul’s second time participating in the 2009 Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF), first time when he was in the Langkawi Four Seasons, in which he had also won the Most Creative Food category.

As the appetiser is the Udang kara kerdil limau Bali, a baby rock lobster salad topped with a tangy variety of fruits, such as pomelo and orange slices, pandan fronth, and are’nkha caviar pomegranate compote.

This is a weird combo for me. It consists of all four flavours that hit you at one go: sweet from the orange, bitter from the pomelo, salty from the caviar, and spicy from the tomato sauce. We were definitely off to quite an interesting start at Bunga Emas.

The starter is another novel composition of both land and sea – Darat dan lautan. Representing the sea is a ball of grilled salmon with a surprise pineapple and sambal filling, and the land, roulade of quail dressed in peppercorn seasoning that pops like little firecrackers in your mouth, and a dollop of – get this – purple mashed potatoes.

Again, quite an unusual piece. I was a little distracted trying to get used to something so uncalled for. I am not used to eating purple coloured food, and it did not really taste like those golden yellow mashed potatoes. But I like the effort put into the grilled salmon. The stuffing definitely put me off-guard, and it was a just flavour to go with the fish.

For the soup course is Sup ketam labu kundur, made from little spoonfuls of flower crab broths sailing on winter melon rafts on the feather light tomato consume.

This is a very overwhelmingly pepperish dish for me. So much so that it drowned out the taste of the winter melon cubes, as well as the freshness of the tomatoes. It did accentuate the crab meat, but overall, it was too much for me to enjoy.

For half-time, I thought perhaps I can take a breather from the Dadih mempelam, a silky smooth mango custard. Stated as a sorbet course, it is not exactly sorbet since it is a kind of pudding.

I did not think it is a right choice for a half-time sweetie, because the custard is a little heavy on the palettes. Thus, it did not really reset the taste buds properly, especially after the peppered soup. Although it is sweet nonetheless, a good thing after the two spicy dishes prior, but I would still like an icy cool sorbet to refresh things.

But when it comes to the main course, one would feel like they are having another serving of Hari Raya.

On the Festival Menu as mains are the Kerapu merah pais kelapa, baked grouper fish rolled up with a good touch of chilli coconut paste stuffing on the insides, and Chef Khairul’s signature dish, Sendi kambing briyani, lamb shank in briyani gravy. Accommodating the dishes is Nasi pandan gajus, savoury screw pine rice with a tinge of sweetness, and chopped cashew nuts revealed in every bite.

The fish was ecstatically spicy. I thought the chilli coconut paste filling was a good touch – I have not really tasted spicy coconut paste before, so don’t mind me. This dish is guaranteed to awaken your senses with an explosion that is oh so pleasurable.

No Malay meal is complete without a curry dish, and the lamb shank definitely filled in the blanks for the menu. Chef Khairul’s famous is not made famous for no apparent reason. Cooked in briyani gravy with the smooth and tender meat that seems to fall off the bone as you run the knife gently down in between, and the curry gravy that is not too spicy as to overwhelm diners after fighting through the grouper fish.

Concluding this year’s MIGF dining experience in Bunga Emas is their dessert platter – Manisan Bunga Emas, with a plethora of delicacies to bring it home in a sweet note.

The Warm chocolate hazelnut pudding, which was not really warm when it was served to us, was a tad bitter, but the generous drench of strawberry syrup balanced things up and all is well again. As for the Anise tea cream and young coconut ice cream, it is a touch of innovation with coconut slices hidden at the bottom of the refreshing scoop, turning every-day used ingredients in traditional Malay cuisine into a dessert. Not bad at all.

Wine selections recommended for Bunga Emas’ Festival Menu are one of Australia’s best, Kangaroo Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, displaying hints of blackberry and well integrated oak and soft tannins, and Kangaroo Ridge Chardonnay, flaunting aromas of the vivacious melon and succulent white peaches.

It is quite evident that Chef Khairul has put in much effort in originality when it comes to his food composition. He pinpoints the traditional dishes in Malay cuisine, tweaks it with some fusion styles and presents it in a way that would bring Malay food a fresh breath of air. One that might even appease the foreign crowd.

It may get a little too heavy for the taste palettes – i.e. the appetiser, the starter, the soup – but I suppose that is how the Malays like their food, strong flavouring and all, no?

I guess I am more towards traditional Malay food; that would explain why I am trying so hard to get used to the appetiser and starter. Although, it would definitely have been good if beef rendang is on the menu. Heh.

Festival Menu
RM239++ per person with wine
RM159++ per person without wine

++
Bunga Emas Restaurant
The Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur
6 Jalan Conlay
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Opens daily 12PM-10.30PM
T: +6 03 2688 9688
W: http://www.royalechulan.com.my

French lessons with L’Heritage.

October 23, 2009
Kick start your MIGF experience this year at L’Heritage with the appetiser – Salmon trout tartare, made from finely chopped raw salmon, smoked salmon and cucumber, set off with a crispy piece of parmesan tuille, topped with a spoonful of caviar, rucola (arugula) and sorc-l’tranche juice.
Next up is the starter of Quail leg confit with beetroot, prepared in one of France’s oldest ways of food preservation. The quail legs are cooked in a very slow fire of 60ºC for three hours to preserve the seasoning alongside the rendered fat in the softened meat. Served with the dish is Languedoc gratin and avocado volute, a traditional food preparation for French cuisine, where sliced eggplants, tomatoes and zucchinis are topped with a layer of melted and browned grated cheese.
For soup, L’Heritage takes things lightly with the Herbs tomato consume with moref seafood dumpling, one that does not weigh down the senses with its fluffy water-based form and bits of moref dumplings. Simple in preparation and without any hanky panky.
Before delving into your main course, L’Heritage provides you a moment to lighten up your palettes with Lemon sorbet with a tinge of the bitter basil and a dash of Calvados, an apple brandy. It provides a quick way to reset the taste buds with a minty sourness that almost makes your eyes water.
For the main course, diners have two choices at L’Heritage.
There is the Stone-grilled wagyu beef, with petit romaine (cos lettuce) drenched in old pot green peppercorn juice. Slice your way through the layer of meat and relish on the juicy saltiness that tingle the senses.
Alternatively, try the Oven-baked red mullet with a crispy outer layer followed by tender soft insides. The dish is also harmonised with a crunchy sweetbread paillaid, capers relish and showered with duck foie gras emulsion.
For dessert, sample on the French’s well known sweetie Mille fuille, made of several layers of crispy pastry alternating with a variety of berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, and sabayon, a very light custard made with sugar, egg yolks and sweet wine. The dessert is also complemented with a scoop of fragrant mint ice cream to give the taste palette a refreshing finale.
Recommended wine for the L’Heritage Festival Menu are France’s Albert Bichot Cotes du Rhone and Albert Bichot Cotes du Rhone Blanc.

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio: NME, not a music enemy.

——

Recently inducted to the fine dining scene in Kuala Lumpur is the new French guy, L’Heritage Restaurant, at the equally brand new hotel in town, The Royale Chulan. This French restaurant opened its doors on the very day of the 2009 Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2009 launch on October 1, 2009.

Although the restaurant may be new, the walls still stank of paint and the surrounding still eerily deserted, the people behind the scene is not, especially Executive Sous Chef Sabri Soid. (Why yes, it is not a Frenchman running the kitchen, but a local Malay). He has seen glory days when he was cooking up a storm in the Langkawi Four Seasons, with guest lists as famous as Mel Gibson, Tony Blair and Michael Schumacher themselves.

Although he has never been to France himself, or pick up a ‘French for Dummies’ as he stirs his pot of soup, Chef Sabri seems genuinely knowledgeable in what he knows about the French cuisine. So, it was quite an interesting feat for me too, to learn about the kinds of traditional food preparation in France.

L’Heritage’s Festival Menu starts with the appetiser of Salmon trout tartare, parmesan tuille, rucola and sorc-l’tranche. The tartare is made from finely chopped raw salmon, smoked salmon and cucumber dices, which is paired with the crispy piece of parmesan tuille, topped with a spoonful of caviar, rucola (arugula) and sorc-l’tranche juice.

I am a fan of raw salmon so naturally, this appetiser works for me, especially when there are bits of refreshing cucumber dices hidden in the tartare. I thought the parmesan tuille was a good touch. Although it has this heavy saltiness going on, I still like it.

For starter, the Quail leg confit with beetroot, languedoc gratin and avocado volute. Confit is France’s oldest and most common way in food preservation, and it is now quite luxurious since it preserves meat without actually refrigerating it.

For this dish, the quail legs are cooked in a very slow fire of 60ºC for three hours to preserve the seasoning alongside the rendered fat in the softened meat. Served with the dish is Languedoc gratin and avocado volute, another traditional food preparation for the French, whereby sliced eggplants, tomatoes and zucchinis are topped with a layer of melted and browned grated cheese.

The quail legs are ecstatically soft and they just fall off the teeny bones when you run your knife through it gently. Too bad quails are not bigger, eh? Heh. As for the volute, in my opinion, anything with melted cheese on it is a good thing. Enough said.

L’Heritage takes things lightly for the soup course with Herbs tomato consume with moref seafood dumpling. Fluffy and water-based with floating bits of mushrooms and sliced moref dumplings, it does not weigh down the senses. It is simple in preparation and without any hanky panky.

Nothing really out of the ordinary for this one compared to the previous two dishes, save for the moref seafood dumpling, which has a texture that is quite similar to a – fishball.

At this point, my taste palettes are getting a little tired out with the constant saltiness from the tuille and the confit and the consume and the cheese. I have lost count of the times I grasp for my glass of water.

So, to take a break from it all, there is the Lemon basil sorbet with calvados. Served in a cylinder shotglass, it is – for a change – sour, with a tinge of the bitter basil and a dash of Calvados, an apple brandy. It provides a quick way to reset the taste buds with a minty sourness that almost makes your eyes water, literally.

For the main course, diners have two choices at L’Heritage. First one being the Stone-grilled wagyu beef, petit romaine old pot green peppercorn juice. I did not really like this because it was really, really salty, so much so that I could not taste anything else on the dish but that lingering taste. And juicy as it was, it sort of bothered me that the beef was oozing blood still. Meh.

Alternatively, there is the Oven-baked red mullet, sweetbread paillaid, capers relish, duck foie gras emulsion. It has a crispy outer layer blanketing the tender soft insides, it is harmonised with the sweetbread that reminds me a lot of hashbrowns. Once again, salty is the main flavour.

Right about now, I was longing for something sweet, and I can definitely count on that for dessert: Mille fuille of berries sabayon with fragrant mint ice cream. Here, we got to sample the Frenchmen’s well known sweetie, mille fuille, a kind of layered pastry alternating with a sweet filling that is usually cream or jam.

Chef Sabri did a bit of self-composition here, changing the pastry to a kind crispy cereal Middle Easterners have for breakfast (which I did not quite catch the name), and having a variety of berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries together with sabayon, a very light custard made with sugar, egg yolks and sweet wine. I thought it was quite a job well done.

However, the complementing mint ice cream seems a little out of place for me. It did not quite give the refreshing finale it was aimed for. And I felt like I need another shot of their lemon sorbet to do the palette reset properly.

It is my first time trying out French cuisine, so I am not sure if it is common for the meals to be taken with extremely heavy flavours. It was a little too much for me to bear palette-wise, to be honest.

The one thing that really did it for me was the dessert; it was original, blending French cuisine’s traditional sweet delicacy with the chef’s own imagination. Other than that, they might need to tone down on the saltiness for me to really enjoy the menu.

Recommended wines for the L’Heritage Festival Menu are France’s Albert Bichot Cotes du Rhone and Albert Bichot Cotes du Rhone Blanc.

Festival Menu
RM239++ per person with wine
RM159++ per person without wine

++
L’Heritage Restaurant
The Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur
6 Jalan Conlay
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Opens daily 12PM-10.30PM
T: +6 03 2688 9688
W: http://www.royalechulan.com.my

A Hong Kong encounter at Tai Zi Heen.

October 18, 2009
Festival Menu
RM180++ per person with wine
RM120++ per person without wine
Light Festival Menu
RM120++ per person with wine
RM80++ per person without wine

Time does fly, and already we are in the midst of another year’s Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF). Which means, another round of fine dining tasting is expected of.

First off, we stopped by the award-winning Tai Zi Heen Chinese Restaurant at Prince Hotel and Residence Kuala Lumpur, and they have themed this year’s menu as ‘A Hong Kong Encounter’, which features their Chinese Master Chef Ricky Thein Yiew Ming’s signature Chinese cuisine dishes with an extensive combination of homemade dim sum.

Tai Zi Heen starts off the Hong Kong encounter with bite-size teasers on its Appetiser Platter. Move around clockwise starting from the Wok-fried prawn with Asian tomato and black sesame dressing, given an accentuated tangy taste that immediately opens up your taste palettes; the Steamed cod dumpling with crabmeat glaze is like the Cantonese’s own har kao which everyone is familiar with; the Crispy yam puff with foie gras and minced chicken that envelopes a savoury of roughness and heaviness on the tongue; and lastly, the Shredded beef with dried tangerine peel that adopts much of a Vietnamese cuisine with its fruity ingredients of orange peel, sour plum and pomelo – interestingly refreshing to reset the taste buds and to get you ready for the rest of the menu.

For starters, Tai Zi Heen opts for the healthy Duo of duckling and organic yin choy broths with sun-dried seafood, prawn and hairy gourd. The broths are a recipe of concoction that cools your system with its herbal elements, surrounding the towering seafood ingredients like moat to a castle.

For the mains, there is the Honey and soya baked salmon with fragrant crab roe, soya beans, broad beans, honshimeji mushrooms and wolfberry sauce. The salmon used in this dish is the authentic Norwegian Salmon, which has a smoother texture compared to the salmons commonly used in Japanese cuisine. However, the sweetness of the meat is overlapped by the sweetness of the sauce, which some purists find quite a waste.

Another main course to savour on is the Citrus marinated rack of lamb roasted with white sesame seeds, wok-fried baby cabbage, fresh lily bulbs and a spicy minted plum sauce. The minted plum sauce does not go overboard with its chilliness, and the citrus marination provides an unusual tangy juice that extracts from the meat with every bite you take.

Tai Zi Heen also offers a noodle dish of Dan mee with soy-braised beef, carrots, radish and leek with a splash of red wine. Dan mee is a popular noodle served in Cantonese cuisine and it is said that it is best eaten with a spoonful of vinegar. Here, it is harmonised with a spoonful of red wine, which you drizzle atop the crispy noodles to soften the texture. Wrapped in the frizzy layers of dan mee are slices of wagyu beef that comes as a surprise for the taste palettes.

Lastly, savour on the final touches of Tai Zi Heen’s menu with their Dessert Dim Sum, a culinary art that the restaurant takes pride in. There is the sweet and savoury Vanilla ice cream with fresh mango puree, sago and pomelo; the chewy Chocolate whisky siew mai, which is quite an interesting piece of work, but is a little too flour-ey for taste; and the filling Crispy water chestnut spring roll.

This year, Tai Zi Heen complements their Festival Menu with Pernod Ricard Malaysia’s fine selections of Jacob’s Creek Reserve, one of Australia’s premium wines from Barossa Valley.

To go with the appetiser and starter, there is the Jacob’s Creek 2007 Reserve Riesling with a wine style that demonstrates rich characteristics of citrus and floral fruits. It is an ideal wine to partner with seafood dishes, which is perfect in emphasising on the sweetness, sourness and saltiness of the appetiser and starter courses. It is a little too much for me to take because the acidity goes straight to my nose and bites on my tongue.

I much prefer Jacob’s Creek 2006 Reserve Shiraz, selected to go with the main courses. It displays rich fragrant blackberry and plum with a slight hint of spice with integrated toasty cedar oak notes. And unlike the Riesling, this red wine is much smoother and sweeter on the palette with its velvety tannins, which is easier and sweeter to down alongside the meat dishes.

I thought it was quite a good fusion menu. Throughout, you can see how obviously Tai Zi Heen infused common Eastern ingredients on Western ones, kind of like giving a gwai lou a traditional Chinese garment to put on.

I cannot say it was an outstanding piece because here and there, it did not quite work well enough for me. But the restaurant has been known to think out of the box, and I thought they have done pretty good for this year’s menu.

Festival Menu
RM180++ per person with wine
RM120++ per person without wine

Light Festival Menu
RM120++ per person with wine
RM80++ per person without wine

++
Tai Zi Heen
Prince Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur
4 Jalan Conlay
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Opens for lunch Mon-Sat: 12PM-2.30PM, Sun & public holidays: 11.30AM-2.30PM; dinner Mon-Sun & public holidays: 6.30PM-10.30PM
T: +6 03 2170 8888 (ext 8200)
E: restaurants@princehotelkl.com.my

Three-in-one at Crystal Jade Meal³.

September 20, 2009
If you are a fan of the stylish food composition Crystal Jade is good at, you might want to stop by another of their restaurant at Pavilion KL for a whole different set of menu to feast upon.
Established in October 2007, Crystal Jade Meal³ (pronounced ‘cube’) serves up spectacular arrays from three types of cuisine for the bustling crowd in the heart of Kuala Lumpur city. Unlike its sister restaurants all across the city and in neighbouring countries like Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and Korea, Crystal Jade Meal3 provides diners with Asian, Eastern and Western delicacies with Crystal Jade’s tinge of food fashion to appease the customers’ appetite.
Non-veggie eaters, rejoice! The Golden Pumpkin and Potato Salad (RM11.90) is a fresh and healthy way to start off the meal. The pumpkin and potato are mashed together with diced cucumbers and dribbled with sweet mayonnaise. It is tender and welcoming on the tongue, one spoonful is just not enough.
From the soup menu, there is the Meal³ Signature Soup (RM13.90) with three types of mushrooms (button, shitake and black dried), simmering in thick sinful cream soup under the puffy pastry roof. It is very filling so you might want to share it with a friend, to leave some stomach space for other delicious Crystal Jade morsels.
Be sure to try out the Lemongrass Hot and Spicy Soup (RM15.90), filled with seafood such as mussels, squids, clams, dory fish and prawns. It is sweet yet spicy to awaken your taste buds, yet not too spicy to kill off the palettes.
The unique Stuffed Chicken Roll (RM26.90) is served with Crystal Jade’s signature brown sauce of onion and black pepper corn. This dish has the insides of the roasted chicken cleaned out and stuffed with Holland onions, carrots and basil. It is a complete meal by itself as it comes with spaghetti cooked with brown sauce.
One of the must tries in Crystal Jade Meal³ is the Wok Shallow Fried Fish Fillet (RM26.90). Served with in-house fish sauce, a big scoop of mashed potato and some steamed vegetables, the pieces of dory fish are succulent with a tang of saltiness to its softened meat. For a usual spicy kick, try it with the yellow mustard.
For those who are not feeling adventurous, there’s always Crystal Jade Meal³’s Hainanese Chicken Rice (RM18.90) to fall back on.  This dish comes with the expected chopped up chicken drizzled in onion oil and Hainanese soy sauce with complementing ingredients like cucumber slices, spring onions, Chinese parsley and ginger vinegar. It is accompanied by a bowl of steamy Hainanese rice and chicken soup.
If you would like something quick and to go for lunch, the Club Sandwich (RM18.90) would surely do the trick. It comes with a side of French fries, coleslaw and a selection of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, Melbourne super sliced cheese, sliced chicken and fried egg. Whether you would like to have it there and then or pack it back to the office, it is enough to last you till dinnertime.
For desserts, Crystal Jade Meal³ has some Thai-oriented sweeties you can finish off your meal with. There is the Mango Sago and Jelly with Pomelo (RM10.90), which is a kind of substitute for Thailand’s water chestnut dessert. It comes with three layers: mango cream pudding, followed with strawberry jelly in the middle before topping it off with cream caramel and bits of fresh pomelo and sago.
You can also order a nice helping of Glutinous Rice with Mango and Custard Sauce (RM10.90), which is a simpler version of the famed mango sticky rice. Keeping in mind that this would be the last course for the day, and that diners may already have their brims stretched, the dessert comes in a small portion of white glutinous rice capped with dices of fresh mango sitting in a pool of warm custard sauce. You would want to make room for this delicious dessert, even though there is no more left!
Crystal Jade Meal³ is located at Level 3, Pavilion KL. The restaurant is open daily from 11AM till 1AM, and can seat 85 pax comfortably. For bookings, kindly get in contact with them at +6 03 2148 2116, or fax them at +6 03 2148 3116.Although established in October 2007, Crystal Jade Meal³ (pronounced ‘cube’) is often overlooked, what with the commercialised chain Coffee Bean as well as bars serving beer as neighbours.

If you are a fan of the stylish food composition Crystal Jade is good at, you might want to stop by another of their restaurant at Pavilion KL for a whole different set of menu to feast upon.

Established in October 2007, Crystal Jade Meal³ (pronounced ‘cube’) serves up spectacular arrays from three types of cuisine for the bustling crowd in the heart of Kuala Lumpur city. It represents three cuisine they serve in the restaurant – Asian, Eastern and Western. All with Crystal Jade’s tinge of food fashion to appease the customers’ appetite.

Non-veggie eaters (meaning me, heh) can rejoice now! We rarely find ourselves ordering salad dishes as our entree, but here, we can definitely ring up the Golden Pumpkin and Potato Salad. The pumpkin and potato are mashed together with diced cucumbers and dribbled with sweet mayonnaise.

It is tender and sweet, both welcoming on the tongue, and the cucumbers are like refreshing treasures hidden in the comfy blankets of golden yellow. I would have finished up the entire thing, if I was not expecting a line up of dishes to come next.

From the soup menu, there is the Meal³ Signature Soup with three types of mushrooms (button, shitake and black dried), simmering in thick sinful cream soup under the puffy pastry roof.

As you can see, no originality here as the idea derives from Dome’s very own menu. And the soup is not any better than the latter’s, either. It tasted more of cream rather than soup. So, you can imagine how quickly it got too much for me to finish.

The Lemongrass Hot and Spicy Soup is much easier to stomach. Filledseafood delights such as with mussels, squids, clams, dory fish and prawns, it is sweet yet spicy to awaken your taste buds, yet not too spicy to kill off the palettes.

The unique Stuffed Chicken Roll is served with Crystal Jade’s signature brown sauce of onion and black pepper corn. This dish has the insides of the roasted chicken cleaned out and stuffed with Holland onions, carrots and basil. However, their spaghetti has an overwhelming flour taste that just kills off my intention of finishing up this dish.

The Wok Shallow Fried Fish Fillet is a must-try in Crystal Jade Meal³. Served with in-house fish sauce, a big scoop of mashed potato and some steamed vegetables, the pieces of dory fish are succulent with a tang of saltiness to its softened meat. Not to mention the mashed potato was fluffy and addictive. It is also served with dribbles of yellow mustard for an unusual spicy kick.

For those who are not feeling adventurous, there’s always the Hainanese Chicken Rice to fall back on.  This dish comes with the expected chopped up chicken drizzled in onion oil and Hainanese soy sauce with complementing ingredients like cucumber slices, spring onions, Chinese parsley and ginger vinegar. It is accompanied by a bowl of steamy Hainanese rice and chicken soup.

The usual suspect. Nothing to shout about.

Established in the heart of KL city, there are bound to be bustling yuppies running back and forth. Before their seats could grow warm, they are already getting jittery to get up and leave for an appointment.

So, if you would like something quick and to go for lunch, Club Sandwich would surely do the trick. It comes with a side of French fries, coleslaw and a selection of cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, Melbourne super sliced cheese, sliced chicken and fried egg. Whether you would like to have it there and then or pack it back to the office, it is enough to last you till dinnertime.

For desserts, Crystal Jade Meal³ has some Thai-oriented sweeties you can finish off your meal with.

There is the Mango Sago and Jelly with Pomelo, which is a kind of substitute for Thailand’s water chestnut dessert. It comes with three layers: mango cream pudding, followed with strawberry jelly in the middle before topping it off with cream caramel and bits of fresh pomelo and sago.

This one did not get me going. Probably because I was turned off by the caramel topping.

But for the Glutinous Rice with Mango and Custard Sauce, I like. It is a simpler version of the famed mango sticky rice, and don’t you just love the food presentation. Keeping in mind that this would be the last course for the day, and that diners may already have their brims stretched, the dessert comes in a small portion of white glutinous rice capped with dices of fresh mango sitting in a pool of warm custard sauce.

Even though I was full, I could not help making room for this dessert, when there is no room left to make. The warm glutinous rice was like a good pat on the tummy, and the mango slices were extra refreshing especially after the mouthfuls of rice. I would definitely skip right to the end for this dessert in my next visit.

At the end of the day, it is a restaurant you could choose to go to, if ever you are not sure where else to head to for lunch. Most of their food are not hard to stomach. Just make sure to stay off the obvious choices like the chicken rice and sandwiches, then your trip would not be that mundane.

++
Crystal Jade Meal³
Level 3
Pavilion KL
Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Opens daily @ 11AM-1AM
T: +6 03 2148 2116
F: +6 03 2148 3116

Crabbing in Labuan.

July 28, 2009

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio: Till the end barline do us part.

—–

According to the locals, a trip to Labuan is not complete if you did not visit Anjung Ketam. As the name suggested (literally translated as ‘Crab Cape’ – I think), you would be expecting an endless supply of flower crabs while you are there. Or at least, while stocks last.

After the Seremban crab-out a while back, I was quite ready to swear off crabs from anywhere else, really. But, being a crab lover, that sounds silly. So, as the smaller crabs looked back at me with such convincing inkdropped eyes, how could I say no?

We ordered two types of crabs that night. One was the original one without any flavouring, and another one with spicy recipe. And I decided that the original one tasted better. Flower crabs are sweet by themselves, I suppose, and it was fun to peel their white skins off the shells and savour on the sweetness. With flavouring, I guess it killed off the sweetness of the crabs.

Granted the crabs were nowhere as good as the ones we had in Seremban (besides the fact that they are flower crabs and not mudcrabs), and even one of them bit me, but I suppose it was quite a nice meal too because of the sweet originality. Also, any excuse to eat crabs, no? Heh.

Anjung Ketam is located next to Tanjung Aru, just off the trail of Jalan Tanjung Aru. The humble restaurant clings onto the edge of the Eastern shores of Labuan, and can seat about 50 pax comfortably.

Here, you are guaranteed the freshest catch of the day – every day. No day-old crabs or cold storage ones; it is straight from the sea to the kitchen and onto your plates. There are even different stalls available in Anjung Ketam, where diners get to sample different kinds of recipe for different kinds of taste each stall has to offer. Not too shabby for a shack, eh?

Anjung Ketam is open daily from as early as 3.30PM. Peak hours are during dinner time around 7PM. Timing just right after watching the sunset at the beach. Booking is strongly recommended as it has a history of being over booked – even on weeknights!

You can ring up Anni, one of the stall keepers at Anjung Ketam, at +6 016 819 8296, latest in the morning of the day you will be visiting for dinner to secure a table there.

Sunday’s Marmalade matinee.

June 15, 2009

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio: Aimee Mann live in Singapore @ 29 August 2009.

—–

It was another Sunday of nothingness, as I lay in bed trying to decide where to go for a quiet meal for one, when I recalled a sweet little place at the corner in Bangsar Village II, where Leng and I last met up for some afternoon tea a while back. It was also a day to try out new joints and see if I like it, instead of heading for another round of waffles at Deli.cious Cafe.

The place was already rowdy with expats and locals with friends, families and kids. Children were running around the wooden floor, as parents engaged in conversations with one another and read the day’s newspapers while sipping on coffee getting cold, cross-legged.

It was already well past noon when I arrived and the breakfast menu has ended. When at a new place and wary as to what to order, delve for the Chef’s Recommendation. You have half a chance of getting it wrong. So, I ordered a Smoked Salmon Quiche, a baked slice of battered smoked salmon, eggs, peas and whatnot, and a glass of Day Starter, a fruit juice consisting of apples, bananas and strawberries blend.

I stole the cherry tomatoes from the cute salad bowl, and delved into my quiche as I continued on a few more pages of Keruoac’s On The Road.

The quiche was just right: it was not too heavy, the eggs were fluffy on the tongue, and the salmon added a sweet tinge in every bite. I was about to finish it when I wondered if I would ever get filled with this slice, then the tummy took up the stop sign and I was suddenly filled.

The Day Starter was refreshing. Every gulpful was a different taste, sometimes apple, sometimes banana, sometimes strawberries. I could still sip the seedy texture of the strawberries. It was nice and thirst-quenching.

I like it that they have cutesy designs on the wall, and they do not go overboard with it. Even their counter and the cakes they serve are a real eye-catcher too. It definitely gives out an atmosphere where you would see yourself in a sundress, sipping iced tea and enjoying your favourite book.

I also managed to catch some familiar tunes playing in the background. Songs like The Boy Least Likely To’s Be Gentle with Me, The Feeling’s Fill My Little World and The Moldy Peaches’ Anyone Else But You. You know, those adorable and indie ones.

Granted it was first built a family-oriented cafe, so if you cannot stand kids running around and screaming, you may want to avoid the place, especially during weekends. But if you are not too picky, and you like doing funny faces to the babies in trolleys when their moms are not watching, may we suggest our next Sunday matinee at Marmalade?

++
Marmalade Cafe

1F-18, 1st Floor
Bangsar Village II
Jalan Telawi 2
Bangsar Baru
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Opens 10AM-10PM
T: +6 03 2282 8301
E: contact@ilovemarmalade.com.my
W: http://www.ilovemarmalade.com.my