Monday, August 31, 2009

Delucca. Jalan Nagasari, KL. Italian Food. Gelato Masquarading as Tartufo.

(no pork served)

This is a tough post. I have always tried to be objective and fair, and I don't recall having panned any restaurant in my blog before. Within the square kilometer of Raja Chulan, right in the heart of KL, the city I call my home for the last 2 years probably has the highest density of Italian Restaurants in Malaysia. From Italian run Trattorias and Enotecas to Italian Pizzerias and Italian-American fast food chains.

Delucca is fairly new, having being opened for only 8 months along a quiet burrow off Jalan Nagasari at the ground floor of One Residency. The interior is simple and chic, and a simple stage for live band performances on weekends. The elevated open kitchen occupies the left side as you enter the restaurant. The menu had been revised and trimmed down, I was told by the waiting staff. "Would you like to try something special you never tried before?", he asked. My interest was piqued. "What's the special dish you would like to recommend?", I asked in return. "Squid ink pasta!". Tagliatelle al nero is hardly exotic. OK. The waiter was from Myanmar. The dish might be exotic and rare in Dawei (Tavoy), but within this square km from Delucca, there is probably an over supply of it.


I started off with the Prawn soufflé, or Souffle di Gamberoni which was a delightful savoury souffle. Although it was not as light as biting into a piece of cloud, it came topped with some carrot cream and some ?pureed zucchini and infused with thyme. The dish was slighly sourish but the flavour of prawns was not lost in the creamy concoction. Lovely start.


Next was the veal, Scallopina al limone e fughi for mains. Naysayers have predicted that earth would run out space for rearing farm animals and cultivating crops pretty soon. If it were possible to rear veal hydroponically one day, I would imagine it to taste like this. The meat was bland and the creamy and sourish lemon sauce overwhelmed the meat. I was not sure if I was eating chicken, pork or veal.


My main grouse and biggest disappointment. The Tartufo. Tartufo (or tartufi in plural) means truffles in Italian. Tartufo as a dessert item however looks like truffles (the shrooms). Usually made of of two different ice creams, it has a heart either of fudge, or fruits and the irregularly shaped lump of gelato is often covered with with chocolate and dusted with pastry crumbles, chocolate powder or cinnamon.

The most famous tartufo in Italy is arguably tartufo di Pizzio. Those who have been to the beautiful and picturesque seaside town of Pizzio Calambra, south Italy, would have tasted it from Bar Gelateria Belvedere, or other numerous Gelaterias in the town. This Southern Italian version is made with chocolate gelato covering a heart of liquer chocolate fudge, and the gelato is in turn covered by Hazelnut gelato and encased in a layer of chocolate powder. Google Image the words tartufo+gelato and see what you come up with and compare it with the picture above. I can bet you that will be definitely not be what I was peddled that night. Chocolate Gelato, with chocolate syrup, some cream on top, with a quartered strawberry and some crumble on top. Nothing in the centre of the chocolate gelato. Nothing covering the gelato. Nada. Expecting a delectable dessert that required more skill from the Chef and getting served with chocolate ice cream was a major, major disappointment.

Here is a website containing the recipe for gelato tartufo nero, in Italian, with pictures. I rest my case. For more recipes for Tartufo in Italian, Google: Ricette + Tartufo + Gelato.

Sean and Cumi and Ciki was there and seemed to have a better experience than I did. Please click on the bold blue fonts to access the links.

Delucca,
One Residency, Jalan Nagasari.
Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: +6.03.21.44.65.32

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Celadon Royal Thai Cuisine. Level 6, Pavilion KL. Thai Food Deja-Vous?


(no pork served)

Pavilion. One of my favourite places to hang out during precious off days, after my routine of braving the wet market. What's there not to like? Lots of spaces in the mall, boulevard wide retail area and specific allocation of space dining area and easy parking. Off hand, there seems to be a lot of dining choices. In reality, there are not many good places to get good food, despite the numerous and still mushrooming restaurants that have opened there. Nestled among posh looking Asian Restaurants the Fine Dining 6th Floor of Pavilion KL, a distinctive Purple Coloured sign board stands out prominently. Celadon. Royal Thai Cuisine.


Although Thailand has never been colonised by any western countries, since the turn of the 20th century, there has been a lot of European influences in Thai Architecture and Interior Design. King Chulalongkorn, revered till today Architect of Modern Thailand had traveled extensively in Europe during his reign. His first trip was in 1897, and he had opened Bangkok as a trading hub with European Countries. Thailand was negotiated to be a political buffer for the other colonised countries surrounding it. To the north, and West, Burma was being colonised by the British who also controlled the Malay States South of Thailand. Laos and Kampuchea in the North-East and East respectively were governed by the French .

In turn, the Europeans and the King himself have brought with them prevailing Architectural trends in their home country. For those who have had the opportunity to visit the Vimanmek Palace in the outskirts of Bangkok and the Glai Kangwon Summer Palace in Hua Hin would have been able to witness for themselves the beauty of this intermarriage of Thai and European influences. Beautiful Teak mansions, while maintaining the Thai form and grammar with European inspired French Louvre windows, Bay windows and lovely white flowing lace curtains and numerous Thai object d'arts ornamenting the rooms of the Palaces.


I am seldom effusive about the interior of the restaurants I patron, but the interior of Celadon was breath taking in simplicity and was a beautiful blend of East and West at it's functional best. Lanna styled figure heads stenciled onto the dining chair cushion covers, lovely multicoloured silk cushions used to adorn the walls, beautiful lights and chandeliers and lots of woods, faux windows plus a tasteful addition of glass and steel functioning as wine racks took my breath away. The Blue Elephant in Bangkok is an example of a Thai restaurant with the same interior concept as the Celadon.

The menu, however was not very extensive for a Restaurant that is supposedly serving Royal Thai Cuisine. The ingredients and the dishes used in Thai Royal Cuisine or Aharn Chao Wang in Thai, does not differ much from normal Thai cuisine. It is generally served in smaller portions in addition to being visually stunning with a lot of carved vegetable and fruits used as garnishing. The taste is usually not too spicy (we can't have Royalty breaking out in undignified sweat during meals) and a lot of emphasis is placed on the natural taste of the ingredients used. The meat is usually small bite sized portions and do not necessitate the usage of knives during meals. An example of a Thai Restaurant serving delectable Royal Thai Cuisine would be the famous Bussaracum. Their web site has their menu together with photographs of the dishes served there.


I ordered the Pomelo Salad (Yam Som O) which came fairly rapidly. Pomelo sacs played peek a boo with blanched prawns, coarsely minced chicken meat, shallots, fried shallot crisps, dried chilli (Thai version) and mint leaves. It came bathed in a dressing of Fish Sauce and Lime Juice. Noticeably absent in Celadon's version were peanuts, toasted coconut and dried shrimp. This dish was refreshing for a hot Saturday afternoon. Cool, sourish and sweetish Pomelo sacs juxtaposed with the saltiness of Fish Sauce and Sour Lime. The Mint leaves were an interesting twist to this traditional dish, but I would have loved some peanuts and crispy dried prawns to provide some textural contrast and for some added complexity to the flavour as well. All in all, the tastes are fairly balanced and in all honesty, it was one of the better tasting Yam Som O in KL.


The Tom Yam Kung (Thick Version) or Tom Yam Kung Nam Khon came in an individual bowl with 2 prawns inside. The Tom Yam was thickened with a little bit of coconut milk, giving the soup a slight body and an aromatic, tropical fragrance. Their version of the ubiquitous Tom Yam was piquant, heavily infused with Galagal and Lemongrass but the Chef was slightly heavy handed with the Lime. Normal Medium sized ocean prawns here, which was slightly disappointing, as river prawns would have flavoured the soup more richly.


Next was the Prawns with Tamarind Sauce or Kung Makham, which was 2 pieces of huge river prawns which had been deep fried and then served with Special Tamarind Sauce. The prawns were huge and flavourful and the natural sweetness and succulence of the prawns were well maintained and contrasted with the tangy and slightly sourish Tamarind Sauce. It was served with a fork and knife. Here's the interesting part.

It is common knowledge that Rama V was the king who introduced the usage of fork and spoon in Thai dining. A famous anecdote relates one day, the King was interested to see how westerners ate. He invited the British Consul to breakfast, and observed how the Consul partook his meal . King Rama V (or Chulalongkorn, the present King Bumiphol is Rama IX) then decreed that fork and spoon is good, but added haughtily he has no use for the knife at the dining table at all, since his meat and food has already been cut for him. And so far, I have not dined in any Thai Restaurants serving Royal Thai Cuisine in Bangkok that included knives as their cutlery.


The Dessert at Celadon was really limited, which was disappointing to say the least. I ordered the lychee mint freeze as a substitute. It was good as the mint leaves tasted quite good with the lychee, but was too sweet, even though I have told the waiter that I wanted half the amount of sugar that they usually put into the drink.

The meal at Celadon evoked a kind of deja-vous for me. Where have I had something similar before? Before I could ask the waiting staff whether Celadon shares the same owners as Amarin Thai at Mid Valley MegaMall, I was presented with a customer satisfaction survey form and the listed outlets there include Flying Chillies, Bangkok Jam and Amarin.

Dining ambiance and service was very good. For me, the food was just good compared to the other Thai Dining outlets in KL, but not exceptional. And I would be hard pressed to classify it as Royal Thai cuisine. Prices here are slightly higher. All the dishes above plus a Coke Light and Plain Rice came up to RM 115.70 (plus taxes), which would have bought me a three course lunch at Sage with a welcome drink, a bottle of San Pellegrino and coffee.

Celadon
Lot 6.37 Pavilion KL

Tel: +6.03.21.48.87.08

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tai Zi Heen. Prince Hotel, KL. Another Recessive Phase Dining Alternative.

(no pork served)

All you can eat for RM45++. You gotta be kidding right? Swanky Chinese Restaurant in a Five Star Hotel. Table service, mind you. Not queueing up like you are in some Salvation Army Soup Kitchen. I could hardly believe it when I called up Tai Zi Heen to make a reservation for breakfast and was told that they were having this promotion. Saturdays and Sundays only, 11.30am to 2pm.


The interior is lovely, with lots of wood. Posh Spice would have felt right at home here. Unfortunately when I was there, there was only one other table occupied. The Marketing Team may not have promoted it well enough.


For Starters I had Cold Marinated Mexican Raw Clams with Szechuan Paste. This came with celery, sliced red chilli, white and black sesame seeds and some sliced scallions. The Szechuan Paste was salty and had a touch of spiciness. I found the clams a bit bland tasting. I had expected it to taste something like Pacific Clams or Sea Asparagus. It only shared the consistency, but tasted much blander.


The Steamed Crystal Dumplings (Har Kow) was good. The consistency of the skin was correct. Not too thick or doughy and not sticky, nor too thin and flimsy. They lifted easily from the paper and were filled with big, succulent prawns. This is probably my "Control" dish for any restaurants serving Dim Sum. Any mistakes here and it usually means a bad meal, but the ones I had at Tai Zi Heen were good.


Pan Fried Pancake with Prawns and Chives came in a thin crispy batter that was very very light with almost no trace of greasiness. Lovely skin, but unfortunately the filling was very salty and obscured the taste of prawns.


Deep Fried Crispy Chicken Dumpling with Dried Shrimps was also fried to perfection. This restaurant's frying technique is superb. Again light and crunchy skin, with minimal trace of oiliness, it was not heavy at all. The skin is probably made from glutinous rice flour and the filling was good here. Minced chicken bathed in savoury sauce with bits of deep fried dried shrimps inside. Very enjoyable and satisfying.


The Braised Shark's Fin Soup was not too watered down despite it being offered at an "All You Can Eat Menu". I shall not discuss about the political correctness and controversies of indulging in this delicacy here. The version at Tai Zi Heen came in a rich stock with the right consistency.

The Mini Egg Tarts will probably disappoint foodies who like their egg tarts rich and oily. This version is probably for the more health conscious. Very light skin and not bogged with oil, the filling was also not very sweet, but richly flavoured with egg and custard. I liked this version. And finally, the Aloe Vera Jelly with Lime Sorbet was also a welcome relief as the tangy sourish sorbet took away the heaviness in the tummy after being loaded with Dim Sums.

The service here was very good and the dining ambiance was also good. The menu is quite extensive for this promotion. They had rice fried noodles, simple dishes and dim sum plus desserts. Excellent value for money at RM 45.

Tai Zi Heen
Prince Hotel and Residence
No: 4, Jalan Conlay
50450 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: +6.03.21.70.88.88


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sage. Gardens Mid-Valley, KL. Lunch Menu 24th to 28th Aug 2009.

(no pork served)

I'm really horribly predictable. Creature of habit, my friends can actually guess the colour of my undergarments based on the day of the week. I did not want to put up this post for fearing of boring all of you to bits with my lunch escapades at Sage. But this week's lunch menu was so good, I could not resist sharing this with you guys.


Sage's 3 course lunch menu are rotated on a weekly basis. There was also a huge crowd there today. Noisy diners. Can't they speak with muted tones? Not everybody in the restaurant would like to know where they spent their holiday playing golf, and neither am I interested to hear them pronounce Moulin Rouge wrongly. *cringe* OK, OK. Now that we know you are rich, can you show some class please, and lower down the conversation by 50dbs?

There goes my quiet reflective, peace and quiet lunch. Tuesdays are bad for me. I have to work for more than 16 hours, and I need my fix at Sage badly.


I started of with their excellent Tagliolini Pasta with Fresh Water Prawn and Mozarella. Lovely freshly grilled fresh water prawns sprinkled with pepper and full of roe, with some cheese added to enhance the creaminess of the sauce. Very intense prawn flavour in the sauce which went very well with the pasta. Imagine Sang Har Meen, but double the intensity.


The main course was equally amazing. Pan Fried Hokkaido Scallops with Foie Gras and Sauce Marinière. Marinière Sauce is made from seafood base, usually fish and/or mussels and reduced with white wine and shallots and spices and the version today is thickened with a bit of butter. The scallops were pan fried, but the centre was still slightly raw. The creamy foie gras with the creamy marinière sauce enhanced the natural sweetness of the scallops making every mouthful a joy.


Dessert was Feuilleté of Caramelized Apple with Vanilla Ice Cream. Caramelized apple with puff pastries served with a dollop of ice cream. The pastry was light and fluffy and slightly charred bringing out the smokiness of the caramel. Lovely.

Other choices:-

1. Seared Wagyu Beef with Sauteéd Mushrooms and Wild Rocket for Starter, and

2. Roasted Rack of Lamb with Ratatouille and Thyme Jus for Main Course.

Frangipani. Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL. Fine French Dining. Part 2 : Main Course and Dessert.


(no pork served)

After a delectably wonderful start, it's now time to meet the Star of tonight's preformance.


Firstly, my palate was cleansed with a tart and tangy complimentary Orange Sorbet that was wonderfully light and refreshing.


Pan Roasted Duck Confit with Mustard Cream and Mashed Potatoe on a Crisp Potato Courrone. I purposely ordered this to compare between the confit I had at Hakka and Alexis. Confit means to preserve in French, and Duck Confit is usually prepared using the leg (Just like the salty chinese waxed duck, which is available duing Chinese New year Celebration). Usually the duck is cured with salt and spices (which may include cumin, nutmeg and pimento) and slowly basted in duck fat before preserving the confit in referigerator. Frangipani's confit was marvelous. The confit was panfried, with a delectably crispy outer skin, but the meat was soft and moist. Not greasy at all. As you can see, the duck was still plump and full, not shriveled. I actually asked the Manager how did they manage to maintain the succulence of the meat. Apparently the secret is to slowly poach the duck in it's own fat for 8 hours! Normal poaching time is usually 3 hours.

The small little clumps were Mustard Cream Sauce. And the duck sat on a bed of mashed potatoes which in turn sat on a ring of Crispy Potato Courrone. I found the Mustard Cream slightly too salty, as the duck had been cured in salt as well. Otherwise this dish was perfect. The wine you see on the top left of the Duck was the 2006 Zind Humbrecht Riesling. An unusual pairing, you may say, but 2006 was such a wonderful year for the Alsace region. And this wine did not disappoint. This medium bodied wine was big and fragrant, the bouquet was floral and some oranges and some pear. The Riesling was dry and acidic with a sweetish after taste.


Desserts are always a very indulgent treat that I look forward to after dinner. And the choices at Frangipani are marvelous. I ordered a trio, which was 3 types of dessert at tasty (minuscule) portions. It was minuscule to me because it was really good!


Dark Chocolate With Pistachio Terrine with Passion Fruit Mascarpone and Forest Berry Coulis. Terrine would be any food, usually loaf shaped made in a Terrine mold. This was again a beautiful creation. Lovely, rich dark chocolate. Just so slightly sweet, but more bitter than sweet. In the mouth, the stickiness of the chocolate blending with the rich creaminess of Marscapone is a sensation beyond description. I closed my eyes and I was reminded of my first love. The excitement of tasting something forbidden, the sweetness of a first kiss and the bitterness of rejection which is part and parcel of this lush menagerie we call life.


The French Toast with Rum and Raisin Sauce and Freshly Baked Apple was rich and came covered in a thin layer of caramel. The Baked apple was slightly tough. I should have tasted this first before the Chocolate Terrine as the richness of the Terrine overwhelmed the more subtle taste of the French Toast.


The last dessert forming the trio was Pistachio and White Chocolate Cheesecake with Irish tea roule, tasted pine nuts and Pistachio Cream filled Russian Cigarette. Lovely and decadent, this was The Dessert to end the evening with a blast. The cake was excellent. I've used up too many superlatives in this post and have run out words to describe this.

Overall dining experience was superb. lovely ambiance, good attentive service from fairly knowledgeable staff (but their accent can be a bit difficult to understand) and the food was marvelous. But prices here may seem a it steeper, and it will definitely be just an occasioanl indulgence.

Frangipani
25, Changkat Bukit Bintang
50200 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia

Tel: +6.03.21.44.30.01

Part One of Frangipani Post here.

Sean's Post here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Frangipani. Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL. Fine French Dining. Part 1 : The Starters.

(no pork served)

Frangipani Restaurant
. Funny, I always thought that it was a bar, until Sean blogged about it. Totally stuffed yesterday from my indiscretion at Engka Portobello, I wanted something lighter for Dinner. Called up to make a reservation, and was surprised by the totally professional way they took my reservation. Positive signs! I was totally knackered from my second job, and wanted some gastronomic therapy. Some people get high from retail, and I get my kicks from food.


The lobby had a very industrial feel. Lots of steel and metal, dark, muted lights. Waiters in black and the door to the main dining area totally obscured except for a door handle. Slightly intimidating, but très chic.


The interior was fabulous. I've never seen anything like it in KL. A large, dark reflective pool in the centre with huge columns that allow you to play hide and seek with the other diners. Why is this place such a closely guarded secret? I felt as if I had entered the inner sactum, the holy of holies for foodies. I could have got down on my knees and kissed the ground. I was blown away.

The menu was extensive. One could sense that French Nouvelle Cuisine (although thought abandonned by some) had influenced the chef. Lighter sauces, emphasis on natural flavours, fresh ingredients from the local community incorporated in the menu to make for a new take on French influenced dining. An example will be Angus beef wrapped in betel leaves and cooked with buah keras! The menu is extensive. I was having palpitations and felt very excited at once. I was seduced and hope that the food will turn out the way I expected. Wine list is very extensive, with a lot of house pouring by the glass.


The complimentary rolls (huge choice of rolls served) came with olive butter which was herbal, minty and intoxicating. Lovely start.


Amusement bouche. Duck Mousse playing menagè a trois with light and crispy toasted wafers and a mini salad with garliced pine nuts. Duck mousse is made from duck liver. Creamy, but less opulent than foie gras, it was light and rich at the same time.


Complimentary starter of Leek Jelly and Tempura Prawns. The leek jelly was both savoury and sourish. Very refreshing, and almost functioned as a palate cleanser. The tempura prawns was nothing to shout about, though. Until this point, I was still enjoying the freebies and have not delved into the meal yet!


For starters, I ordered the Kumamoto Oyster with White Miso Vinaigrette. These Oysters were from Portland. Small (less than 5 cm), yet plump, this variant is usually flavourful and briney. Recommended for novices and sought out by seasoned oyster lovers, the version at Frangipani come with their signature White Miso Vinaigrette. The oyster I had were creamy, lush and filled with the flavours of the sea. The Miso vinaigrette did not overpower it, but complimented it in a lovely manner. Slight sourish with a beany taste together with lush smooth oysters, I was in Heaven!


Tired of the normal offering of escargot with cheese and garlic, I found the next starter to be refreshingly different. Presented with Sweet Pea Puree, the escargots were grilled with Basil infused Garlic and glazed with tart Dried Tomato and served with garlic peanut crumble. OK, you can't separate garlic from escargots. But the Sweet Pea Puree lent a very interesting play of taste, imparting a sweetish touch to the garlicy escargot and the peanut cruble enhanced the dish. Lovely! Standing ovation please.

I had the oyster and escargot with Billecart-Salmon Brut NV which was a lovely straw coloured non-vintage champagne with refined mousse and slow rising bubbles. The bouquet was definitely floral with Apricots and Pear. Rich, elegant and strong palate. Fresh and dry, it was a delightful companion to the starters.


Next: The Mains and Dessert, Contact Info. Click Here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Engka Portobello. Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL. Part Deux. The Android Economic Cycle.

(non halal)

Economic Cycles. Those who are interested in Macroeconomics would be familiar with the Juglar Cycle, Kuznets Cycle, Kondratiev Wave and the famous Milton Friedman's no real cycle cycle. Let me introduce you to the Android Cycle. Scrimp and save and then bust it all on some gadget that you probably don't need. Then the recession from a deflated account, and scrimp and save again ad infinutum, ad nauseam. Just blew my savings on a desktop and for the next two months, there will no more posh and swanky places posted on this blog.

'Twas one of those lazy Saturdays when I decided to get a desktop unit to match my fabulous 24 inches flat panel monitor (who needs a 24 incher anyway?). My partner in crime and I scoured the most dangerous shopping mall in town. Low Yatt Plaza, with their famous catchphrase, "Come in a Millionaire and go out a Pauper". For the benefit of those who have never been there before, that place is filled with millions of outlets selling every gadget you can imagine. Computers and their gadzillion peripherals, mobile phones, cameras and PSPs etc...

After the jaunt, my friend commented that he had read about Engka Portobello from my blog and would like to visit. "Why? You don't even like Mushrooms. You are such a freaking fussy eater!", I said. "But the food there looks scrumptious. I want to try....", he pleaded. "After dinner you can leash me with your DVI cable and flog me with your HDMI!", he cajoled. The thought of being a Dominatrix with an electronic fetish was so repugnant that I promised to dine with him at Engka if he promises not to repeat what he said about the cables.

The restaurant was packed when we arrived at 9.30pm. I still remembered the lovely cocktails I had that day and plonked down on the chair. We decided to have tapas and a mains.


The grilled bacon wrapped around pineapple. I ordered them not so fat. And I got 4 lovely pieces of grilled glorious bacon, still warm, wrapped around 4 pieces of sweet grilled pineapples served with some peppery sauce topped with Rocket (Arugula) leaves.


OK. Don't roll up your eyeballs and say, "Not rolls again!". Ok. I am crazy about rolls. These were multigrains with sun dried tomatoes. Smells heavenly and tastes divine.


Sauteed scallops Bruschetta with Basil and Capers. This was my least favourite dish for the night. Nothing wrong with the flavour, but the sauce that was used to sautee the scallop was really too moist. It soaked through the toast and the sensation of putting a gooey gunk of flour into my mouth was not very pleasant to say the least. Bruschetta is an inter-play on the various consistency of ingredients used to top it, together with the fragrance of toast. Cold, wet, oily tomatoes/other toppings with warm, dry toast. None of that here.


The Ceasar Salad was a different story. Fresh, crunchy Romaine lettuce, quail's eggs, Pecorino cheese and Boursin Cracker Capers was served in the traditional lemon/Worcestershire based dressing. Instead of bacon bits, you get the whole strips of bacon. Lovely and rich. This could be a main course by itself!


Sauteed Chorizo with Chives and Sun Dried Tomatoes. This is a comfort food that will probably please everybody. From Kids to Grannies. The Chorizo was seasoned with Pimento and sauteéd to perfection with the slightly sweetish sun dried tomatoes. Simple.


The Spice Moroccan Grilled Pork Escalope with Salads was a surprise. When the dish was presented to us, it looked like the left picture. When we tried to toss the salad a bit, it reveled a piece of grilled pork escalope drench in a beautifully red tomato based Milanese sauce with a herbal edge of basil and oregano. the salad on top was drizzled with grated Manchengo Cheese, roasted pine nuts, Red Onion Toast crusty bread, Arugula, onions and lettuce. Lovely.

At this juncture we were stuffed to the brim, but have yet to encounter the Main Course yet. We had to tell the waitress to halt for a short while, for 30 minutes!


The last course was Charred Pork Steak with Hickory Pepper Sauce with sauteed Portobello Mushroom (hidden underneath the meat). Grilled lovingly, moist but not oily, it tasted delicious with the bed of Portobello mushrooms that were sauteed lightly with butter. We were glad we ordered only one main course because we were both stuffed. No room for desserts in the tummy!

Why I love this place? Simple, fuss free comfort food. Unpretentious cooking. And the price. Food alone (excluding drinks) was less than RM100. This really helps during the recessive phase of the Android Cycle!

Previous Post and contact info here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bangsar Seafood Garden. Bangsar One, KL. Selamat Berpuasa To Muslim Friends and An Epic Gathering.

(no pork served)

"Tweet-tweet! Tweet-tweet!", my phone rang. "Eh! Whatcha doing? Sleeping ah?", a gruff voice on my cellphone barked. "Ermmm, no? Who dat?", I answered, still trying to figure out who was on the other end. "Me, la. Your baker. Want to go eat @ Bangsar Seafood or not? My treat. If you don't go ah, I will throw the fruits I am marinating for your fruitcake into the jamban!", he threatened. I grudgingly agreed, but with suspicion. How could this man, not exactly famous for generosity buy me dinner at a swanky joint?

And I turned up, 15 minutes before the appointment time and found LL and Frat Mustard already waiting. It seems I have been had. Not only the seafood was complimentary (from Jade Wong), he also had not started preparing my fruitcake. I promptly deleted my facebook account and took my name off FBB's fan club. You could have 500 fans, FBB..... Now you gotta live with 499...... (evil laugh).......

Unfortunately for me, the punishment for being evil was to be relegated to the status of wallflower for the rest of the evening. Faced with 19 other glittering personalities, the big wigs, if you may, of Malaysian food blogging (flogging) community, I was in completely in awe. I had Unka Leong, Nigel from Just Heavenly, FBB, Lyrical Lemongrass, Joe.who.is.constantly craving, Bangsar Babe and lots of other power bloggers as dining companions. Also present was Jun, the Cordon Bleu chef, who was charming, delightful and very well mannered.

Being face to face with all these intelligent, flamboyant and verbose personalities drove me deep down into my shell. Accustomed to topics like Austrian and Chicago schools of Laissez Faire Economics, Kantian vs Nietzschean Ethics and whether Nilssen or Flagstad was a better Brünnhilde during dinner with pompous Wagnerians, I was at total loss when the conversation revolved around popular culture and anthropological oddities like foreskins and their weight.

Clockwise from top left : Butter Crabs, Fried Red Snapper With Bean Sauce, Stewed Cabbage with Dried Scallop, Boneless Chicken with Fruit Sauce.

We were treated to a generous spread of Old Skool comfort food, with a modern twist. The Butter Crabs stole the limelight with it's rich buttery sauce and the table lapped it up with the Man Tous. Stewed Cabbage came bathed with a naturally sweet sauce from the generous amounts of dried scallops that was stewed with it. Sweet, flavorful and nutritious. The Red Snapper was fresh, as if it had just been taken off a fisherman's boat and the bean sauce served to enhance it's natural flavours. The Boneless chicken was fried to perfection, with a crispy outer layer and succulent, tender chicken meat inside. However, I found the fruit based sauce slightly bland.

Clockwise, from top left: Omellete with Crab Meat, Fried rice with Crabs, Tiger Prawns Stir Fried in Special Curry, Mango Sago Cream, Braised Bean Curd Combination.

The Eggs Omelette with crab meat was beautifully presented and the fried rice was faultless. The stir fried Tiger Prawns with Curry was fresh and succulent. The Tofu came in a ghastly shade of yellow, but tasted fine and the Mango with Sago Cream was rich and opulent.

The conversation became more and more animated and boisterous until the end of the meal. Time flew so fast that we did not notice that it was past their closing time. Thank you, FBB, for the invitation. You have made a wretched and lonely old man very happy that day. Thank you to other bloggers for a wonderful and laughter filled, memorable dinner, and shout outs to Jade Wong and the folks at Bangsar One, who were kind enough to take us in for the night!

Bangsar Seafood is having a Ramaddan Buffet with 1 kilo of crabs thrown in free if you order their Ramaddan Dinner. This place serves Halal Food.


RM 498+: Appetizer, Shark’s Fin Soup, Chicken with Ginger, Spicy Fried
Fish, Lychee Prawns, Signature Beancurd, ‘Kampung’ fried rice, Custard
Buns, Dessert

RM 598+: Appetizer, Sharks Fin Soup, Chicken with Plum Sauce, Pomfret with
Bean Sauce, Prawns with Sweet Corn Sauce, Steamed “Sang Gan”, Tom Yam
Noodles, Banana with “Gula Melaka”, Dessert

RM 698+: Appetizer, Double boiled soup, Roast chicken, Red snapper, Otak
Otak Fried Prawns, Braised Sea Cucumber, Oyster Fried Rice, Chinese
Pastries, Dessert

RM 898+: Homemade appetizers, Sharks Fin Soup with Pumpkin, Boneless Duck,
Curried Garoupa, Braised Seafood, Mango Prawns, Garlic Fried Rice, Banana
& ‘Gula Melaka’, Dessert

Bangsar Seafood Garden Restaurant
63, One Bangsar
Jalan Ara
Bangsar Baru
59100 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2282 2555


Hakka Republic. Menara Hap Seng, KL. An Evening With The Pinot Noirs.

(no pork served)

My previous visit to Hakka Republic gave me such a good impression of the place that I have planned a re-visit many weeks ago, but never got around doing it until last Sunday.


This time around, I was there at about 10pm, just 30 minutes before the kitchen closes. The place looks really different than when I was there in the late evening. The sun was shining directly into the main dining area, making it very bright and excellent for photography. At night, the dining area was so dimly lit and was very, very romantic. Unfortunately it made photography a nightmare and I had to use long shutter speeds and many shots were killed due to shaky hands.


Dining there at night, means I would have the opportunity to try out their brilliant wine pairings again! For starters, I had the smoked duck salad that came in a dressing that was specially prepared by the chef.


The Salad was paired with Stonier Reserve Pinot Noir 2004. Firstly, the wine. Ruby Red, as opposed to the normal Garnet/Orange hue of Pinot Noirs, this delightfully balanced wine gives has a bouquet that is slightly reminiscent of a Cabernet. Rich blackcurrant/ cassis with strawberries. Very interesting. Dry, slightly sweetish at the end, medium bodied, it paired excellently with the smokey duck breasts that were slightly rare.


Look at the colour o the wine in the picture above! Lovely pairing.

For mains I had Angel Hair Pasta Alia Oglio, served with Pan Fried Salmon with Seafood.


This was paired with the Duval Leroy Rose De Saignee which is a Rose Champagne. This is also pressed from Pinot Noir grapes using the saignee method. This involves separating the grape juice from the skin after a short period of time and just gives a blush of red to the extracted juice. This method is thought to be superior from the blending of whites and reds to produce the pinkish hue.


This little beauty was magnificent. The colour was not really pink, but a pale yellowish pink. Bouquet was strawberries and the taste slightly jammy reds and creamy, again slightly sweetish yet acidic. Marvelous. The pasta was al dente, salmon perfectly pan fried and the seafood composed of mussels, prawns and scallops was bathed in oglio and some dried chillies. Lovely. On it's own, the pasta would have been quite rich and boring. But paired with the wine, it was wonderful.

I skipped dessert. Hakka should really look into their rather limited and boring dessert menu which is mainly pastries and warm pastries with ice cream.

Invariably, I will be asked about the difference between Sage and Hakka Republic. I have yet to dine at Sage for dinner, due to their early closing times. And this blog is probably not the right place to compare them. Anyway, my previous posts should be able to guide you to draw your own conclusions.

My previous post on Hakka Republic is here, together with their contact information.




Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bosphorus. Level 6, Pavilion KL. Of Fainting Imams and Beautiful Brides.

(halal)

The Strait of Bosphorus divides up Turkey into two, separating the European side from the Asian side. Due to it's location, Turkish cuisine offers a blend of western Mediterranean cuisine with the exotic spices such as cumin, parsley, oregano and thyme from the Mediterranean and Central Asia. Eggplants feature prominently in Turkish Cuisine, together with Olive Oil, green peppers, onion, lentils, tomatoes and nuts.


There is a restaurant offering Turkish cuisine, right in the heart of the city. Located at Level 6 of Pavilion, at the central court, I can't help but oogle at it admiringly every time I pass by. Tastefully decorated interior with beautiful prints on the wall, high backed chairs and curtains beckon me with an enticing charm.

Turkish Food are often given very romantic and very exotic names. It is no uncommon to discover dishes named Dainty Fingers, Lady's Thighs and Beautiful Lips in the lexicon of Turkish Food. One of the starters in the menu of Bosphorus is Imam Biyaldi, or stuffed eggplants.

Imam Biyaldi means The Imam's Favourite and according to Turkish Folklore, there was an Imam who married a very pretty wife. On the wedding night, she cooked some stuffed eggplant for him with lots of olive oil. The Imam liked the dish so much and demanded that she cook him this dish everyday for him. On the 13th day, she told him that there was no more olive oil in the house to cook his favourite dish, and feeling very disappointed, the Imam fainted. There are many versions of this story and this just happens to be one of them.


The dish is actually braised eggplant stuffed with onions, garlic, chopped tomatoes, chopped parsley. Green peppers were served separately instead of being stuffed into the eggplant. Generously drizzled with olive oil, the version at Bosphorus was unsalted. The eggplants had a slight bitterness which could have benefited from some light salting which could have removed the bitter edge.

I had sauteed chicken with wild oregano, served with buttered rice (Dag Kekili Tavuk Sote) for mains.


The chicken was sauteed in a tomato based sauce and nuts and was rather fragrant, but again was slightly bland. It came with some buttered rice and grilled tomato and green pepper. I should have ordered the lamb instead.


For dessert, I had Damla Sakizli Firin Sutlac
which is Turkish Rice Pudding. The pudding had been broiled in an oven until the top is slightly charred. The top crust had an "eggy" taste underneath the crust was a milk based (chilled) rice pudding, flavoured with cinnamon and rose scent. Almost like "Turkish Delight" kind of rose scent. Interesting.


Their coffee was interesting. It came in an authentic Turkish Espresso kind of cup and filled with bitter, aromatic, 100 proof caffeine that left me jittery for the rest of the day!

Be forewarned that I personally found the food here is bland by Malaysian Standards and you will need some time to appreciate the myriad of flavours that Turkish Cuisine has to offer. I'll probably try their lamb kebab the next round. Service was excellent, and the staff fairly knowledgeable.

Bosphorus
Lot 6.33.00 and 6.34.00
Level 6
Pavilion KL
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: +6.03.21.42.40.00

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Unless stated otherwise, all the posts and food here is paid for by the Paranoid Android. He dose not receive any financial compensation for posting in this blog. The views expressed here are an opinion and as usual, taste is subjective and varies among people, time and mood as well! Please feel free to contact me at humanist dot philo at gmail dot com. Unless otherwise stated, the photos here belong to the owner of this blog. You are free to use it for any non commercial purpose. As courtesy, just drop me an email and credit the photo to the blog. Thanks for dropping by!

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