Friday, March 18, 2011

Lunching Above The City. Sky Bar, Traders Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

(no pork served, Invited Review)



"When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky..."
~Ancient Saying~


View of the Twin Towers Sky Bridge
Even in the absence of perfection in one's life, it is easy to tilt back the head and laugh at the sky especially when you are at the Sky Bar. Perched on the 33rd Floor of the Traders Hotel, it offers a beautiful, unobstructed view of the sky via the openings of the high walls, framed like a beautiful impressionist painting. But more exquisite than any Degas or Monet, one can witness the cloud being chased by the winds and the colour of the sky unfolding in different hues according to the time of day. A living, evolving, organic feast of shapes and palette that is beautiful visually as it is calming spiritually.

Beautiful view of the "framed sky"
The Clouds and Sky appear so much nearer at that height and the architects have cleverly accentuated the feeling of space with the high ceilings and lots of natural light. Coming from the moribund environment of the office with the awful fluorescent lights and air conditioning, the Sky Bar was an instant relief. There are several sitting arrangements available there from comfortable couches, sunken poolside seats to high tables and bar chairs.

High Ceilings and a Power Blogger cum Celebrity Baker
The Sky Bar is disarmingly charming and casual. It seems like an ideal place to have a casual lunch or an informal discussion in a beautiful environment. There is a new Chef, Alan Wong and he has come up with a very interesting concept of a cross between a Sandwich and a Burger (?Sandburger? ?Burgwich?) which of course comes with more proteins than a regular portion of sandwich.

Grilled Free Range Chicken Sandwich, Melted Brie Cheese and Black Pepper Sauce served on Turkish Bread. RM23++
Unlike most hotel poolside restaurants which serves the usual Burger or Club Sandwiches more as a perfunctory obligation like like a frigid wife, the Sandwiches at Sky Bar are unrelentingly passionate. The interesting pairing of ingredients should pique even jaded palates and when served on some of the most beautiful bread found in KL, it is exemplary.

Grilled Minced Lamb Loin Burger, Pesto Mint and Sour Cream served on Sesame Bun. RM 23++
Take for instance, the Grilled Free Range Chicken Sandwich I had. It was a blissful union of moist chicken and cheese. Like any successful marriage, the Brie was unabashedly compromising and not aggresively dominant. It complemented the salinity of the Meat with it's sweetness and lushly smooth creaminess. Lovingly fondled with some gossamer light Black Pepper Sauce, it was served with delicious Turkish Bread.

Vegetarian Spring Rolls from the Snack Menu
The delightful Lamb Burger came miraculously devoid of gaminess associated with Lamb Patties probably by masterful seasoning. It offered an playful twist to Pesto Sauce with the addition of Mint which complemented the meat exquisitely.

Grilled Black Angus Sirloin, Beef Bacon, Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese served with Door Step Rye Bread. RM 42++
Just a small note about the glorious brute sized French Fries that came with  sandwiches. Those who firmly believe that Fries are evil Sirens who lure dieters sailing to the island of  Sylphic Proportions shipwrecking them to drown in the sea of Obesity, please tell the kitchen to omit them.

One look at the mutants, you will delve into them with careless abandon. I succumbed, and carry a message from the evil side.

A state of euphoric, Nirvanic bliss is easily attainable by ingesting the right proportion of fat and carbohydrates in the form of potato starch. More so if you are 33 floors above ground.

Grilled Australian Sirloin, Beetroot and Eggs served on Freshly Backed Ciabatta. RM 32++
Of the two beef based sandwiches, I preferred the grilled Australian Sirloin. Served with some lightly pickled beets and eggs, it was a lively ensemble of flavours and textural contrasts.

Caesar's Salad from the Snack Menu
The Angus Sirloin, caught bringing home the Bacon was too intensely grilled by the ICAC, who should have subjected the heat treatment to dubious politicians and underworld figures if they were interested in finding out who was skimming the fat from the cream.

Having said that, poor Angus survived the interrogation pretty unscathed save for a slightly overdone meat.

Pan Seared Cod Fillet, Green Pea Puree served with Sesame Bun. RM 28++
The Slices of Salmon were served on perfectly scrambled eggs together with some truffles. It would make the perfect brunch sandwich. Light, sinfully opulent and healthy.

Scrambled Eggs, Black Truffle, Smoked Salmon Sandwich served on White Bread. RM 23++
Belonging to a strange Oriental Cult which believes that Funeral rites of a regal piece of Cod should not involve Sesame Buns and Green Pea Puree, I refrained from participating and will leave the Cod's eulogy to Fat Boy Bakes and Aly.

Chef Alan Wong
The most surprising thing about the lunch besides the lovely vista of KL was the price, which I found to be reasonable.

The Sky Bar is reputed to have a beautiful Sunday Cocktail Buffet, which I hope to try soon if I can escape from my weekly Sunday obligations.

I would like to extend my gratitude to Theresa Goh, the Communications Manager of Traders Hotel for hosting beautiful lunch, and to FBB and Aly for the invite.

Fat Boy Bakes aka FBB

Slim Girl Eats aka Aly

Aly and the affable Theresa Goh from Traders Hotel

Waterfall at the KLCC Park, just in front of the entrance to Traders Hotel

Sky Bar
Level 33
Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088
Malaysia
Tel: +6.03.23.32.98.88

Parking is easily available at the KL Convention Centre.

Disclaimer: The cost of the meal was entirely borne by Traders Hotel. There was no coercion for me to do a favourable write up nor did I receive any other compensation in cash or in kind.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

5 Excellent Risottos in KL.

Girolle Mushrooms Risotto
with Foie Gras and Sauce Périgueux from Sage
Friends come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes, it take ages for me to warm myself up to another person. But when somebody shouts "Love!" when William Blake is mentioned and simultaneously scream "Yucks!" at the Robert Burns and Wordsworth. That is the moment of kinship. An Epiphanic moment of discovering a fellow weirdo who is probably a slightly more perfect image of myself.

Likewise, traipsing along Italy with a very very limited budget meant that meals would have to be spent inevitably at humble restaurants, where meals are made from simple ingredients and a lot of heart. Hence, the discovery of Risotto, which I warmed up to immediately. Thick, rich and filling, and made from some glorious stock, it was the perfect dish for keeping an insatiable glutton filled up for the day.

Pancetta Risotto from Osteria Real Blue (Non Halal)
Risotto is deceptively simple to make. The choice of rice is important, as it must be made from starchy strains and the common varieties used is Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone Nano. The tostatura involves toasting of onions and rice without browning and subsequent steps are the most time consuming. The addition of stock ladle by ladle and constant stirring of rice to milk the starch out of them until it is al dente. Almost like haveing a tiny bit of uncooked portion in the centre to give it a bite.

The last step will be the mantecatura, which is the blending of Parmesan, butter or olive oil to the blend. The richer blend of classical Risotto which had a firmer consistency and allows a punged spoon to stand erect in the risotto has given way to the lighter all'onda. All'onda risotto gives ripples on the surface when scooped and has a softer and looser texture.

Truffle Risotto from Osteria Real Blue. Both Risotti were all'onda
The best place to sample the best Risotto prepared in the more modern all'onda styled Risotto will be at Osteria Real Blue, located directly above Papa Rich Cafe at Solaris Dutamas. Beautifully light with starch lovingly coaxed from the rice, blended with lovely stock and aroma of lovely soffiritto onions make both Risotti a carnal delight. The rice was almost translucent and the heady aroma of both the Truffles and Pancetta made me swoon deliriously. And as all things carnal, they are hidden and hence off menu. Do ask Mirko, the Chef and Sherry, his wife for advice. This lovely little place deserves a full post, and I will do so after I snap out of my Risotto coma.

Mushroom Risotto from Diet Cafe
For those who prefer a denser, creamier and hence a more classical Risotto style, Diet Cafe serves a wonderful textbook perfect Mushroom Risotto. Another gem of place that deserves it's own post, it is located in Cheras and priced at RM20 thereabouts, the cheapest among the risotto featured here. Served with some Parmesan Crackers this was the richest tasting, heavy and the most al dente of the lot.

Wild Mushroom Risotto served with Shirako Beignet from Cilantro
The Risotto served from Cilantro was probably the most luxurious. The stock was balanced and the Beautifuly Tempuraed Shirako (Cod Sperm Sac) enhanced the creaminess of the dish with the and crunchiness of the batter was an interesting textural contrast. Another carnal dish to lust after since it is only seasonal, with the excitement of encountering some DNA from Male Cod Y.

Konbujime of Hamachi with Ebi and Soy Truffle
The Risotto from Sage was lovely and Richly flavoured with chunky bits of Chanterelle and Madeira infused Périgueux Sauce and topped with some perfect Foie. This is avaible only this week for lunch. Other items for this week's lunch is the beautiful Hamachi and the Fresh Fig tartlet (with some coconut and sago) with Ricotta Ice Cream. Absolutely divine, and for Sage Virgins waiting to get deflowered, this week will be the perfect week.

Baked Fresh Figs Tartlet with Ricotta Ice Cream
Five excellent Risottos in two weeks while in KL, the most unlikely place to find Risotto and somebody who loves Blake.

Osteria RealBlue
A3-UG-06, Solaris Dutamas
Jalan Dutamas 1.
Tel: +6.03.62.07.97.99

DIET Cafe
27, Jalan 3/101C
Cheras Business Centre
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6.03.91.30.17.00

Sage
The Gardens Residences Level 6,
The Gardens, Mid Valley City,
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +6.03.22.68.13.28

Cilantro Restaurant & Wine Bar
MiCasa All Suite Hotel,
368-B, Jalan Tun Razak,
50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +6.03.21.79.80.82

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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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