Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Deli @ MiCasa All Suite, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur

Hidden gems are often hard to unearth in the dreary food and beverage scene in Kuala Lumpur but this place definitely trumps since its under the skillful hands of Takashi Kimura, a name familiar with fine diners. Usually overseeing Cilantro Restaurant, the talented Japanese chef is also dabbling in a little down-to-earth gourmet comfort food like sandwiches and salads at The Deli.
          Even though it has been in existence since last October, not many know of this place. Judging from its setup, it shares the same kitchen as Cilantro (it is right behind the esteemed restaurant). Even those homemade ice creams we often see gracing our dessert plates in the restaurant are sold here by the scoop.
          For main meals, you have a choice of salads (nicoise with tuna sashimi slices, caesar, duck leg confit, baby spinach), onion soup, a pasta of the day, fish and chips and sandwiches (grilled beef, salmon gravlax, chicken pate, mushroom). Desserts like apple tart, pithivier and homemade ice cream at RM10 per scoop (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mango, kiwi, caramel, chestnut, green tea, pistachio and earl grey) Prices are very reasonable considering the quality of the food served ranging from RM10  to RM20.
          We sampled the grilled beef ciabatta sandwich (RM20) and it was gorgeous - thick juicy pieces of steak on top of a soft and lightly toasted ciabatta bread with cherry tomatoes, rockets and slow cooked onions. Beef jus with onions and french fries are served on the side. The sandwiches come with a choice of baguette, ciabatta or wholemeal.The duck confit salad (RM17) was equally good, tender and juicy with a healthy dose of greens on the side. Those who love homemade ice creams will fall in love with the wonderful selection here. That particular day, we tried flavours like caramel, pistachio, chestnut and vanilla. While the chestnut was a little icy, the rest were very creamy. Incrediby good stuff that had me hankering to return here again and again. If only my office was nearer, you will see me here everyday.

The Deli
Micasa All Suite
Jalan Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur

(Pork Free. Open from 11am to 6pm. Closed on Sundays. Take aways are available. Prices quoted above are not inclusive of the 6% government tax. For more pictures, see my Flickr set.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Myungpum Chicken BBQ @ Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur

Desa Sri Hartamas is on track to be a bustling Korean town like Ampang with its numerous restaurants, boutiques, grocery stores and even hairdressing salons from the Land of the Morning Calm. Unlike the atypical Korean restaurant, a new culinary phenomenon has recently cropped up in the area - two places serving Chicken BBQ: one at the old Exotic Restaurant and another first floor place on top of Celicakes. Not to be confused with the fast food place (the one that fries in healthy olive oil!), we decided to give the bigger place a try one night since it was well patronised by many Koreans. It seems the place only started business about four weeks ago.
          It was a good choice as the food was delicious. Their main star was the galbi or chicken ribs. You have a choice of original dark or spicy dark, each are priced at RM22 per person. Once you place the order, they bring over a platter of vegetables (cabbage, onions, sweet potatoes, spring onions), rice cakes aka tteoksari and chicken. Topped with a fiery red gochujang paste, it's tipped into the large cast iron pot and cooked till cooked. Side lettuces, scary looking chilli peppers, kimchi (cabbage and radish) are served on the side. The menu is relatively limited, there's galbi, pajeon (pancake with seafood and green onion), chicken cutlet and diet noodle tray (looked very colourful). Available for lunch is Korean chicken soup (gamasot dartgyejang), and handmade noodle with chicken (dark sonkaiguksu). Extra sides such as the rice cake, rice, noodles can also be ordered.
          We love the chicken, it's spicy but not overwhelming and its piping hot since you pick it up from the pot. The pajeon (RM20) is good too, not too floury or oily with lots of spring onions. Our only complaint would be we kinda picked up the scent of the cooked food. Maybe next time we'll sit outside as the airconditioned area is not equipped with suction fans. I reckon another visit is in the works during the weekend as I want to give their lunch dishes a try. If you love Korean and you're looking for something new, drop by for something different.

Myungpum Chicken BBQ
No.2, Ground Floor
Jalan 24/70A
Desa Sri Hartamas
Kuala Lumpur

(Non Halal. Open from 11.30am to 11pm daily. Place is the same row as RHB Bank, the other corner of Burger King. More pictures including the interiors are in the Flickr set.)

Note: mas-issneun means "delicious" in Korean

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dry Chilli Pan Mee @ Madam Chiam Curry Noodle House, Taman Connaught, Cheras

I've not been poking around places for good food these few weeks being busy with work. However, last Saturday, the prospect of working that day plus the combination of an early wake-up call (a miracle for me since I'm part-owl), I decided to explore Cheras for some good food.
         Cheras is one of those places I inevitably get lost in. I always seem to stumble upon a maze of highways that gets me bewildered and confused. Surprisingly, that morning saw relatively jam free roads, which made my spur of the moment driving around a breeze. I had read about this place from After Giovanni. Always at the back of my brain to give it a try (it's been tagged in a guidebook I've flipped through), her blog post was a juicy wake-up call to the tummy to wander here for some noodle satisfaction.
          Even though Madam Chiam toots her horn about her curry noodles, it's her dry chilli pan mee that graces almost every table here. Unlike the other establishments in town, her noodles are a different bowl game. Expect to slurp down thin strands with kinks that seemed to scream instant noodles visually but once bitten, there's little of the starchy gumminess that sticks to your teeth or even the springy taste you associate with your 2-minute noodles. It seems the good old madam had tweaked the recipe omitting yeast hence the textural difference. I was expecting springy noodles like a sprightly bunny on Energizer batteries but I felt that my strands were lacking like an old man without Viagra. Maybe it was a dud day. Nevertheless, the whole ensemble of minced meat, poached egg, dried chilli flakes, deep fried anchovies and a squeeze of the calamansi juice, when tossed together makes it a tummy satisfying brekkie.
           Even her greens are different here as she serves the more commonly found spinach versus the usual sweet tasting pucuk manis or Sabah vegetables. Those obese looking dumplings aka. the sui kow are also available here per piece. While they're plumped up, these ones seem to lack much textural taste with the lack of crunchy ingredients like water chestnuts and black wood ears fungus within even though their skins are silky smooth like a baby's bottom.

Madam Chiam Curry Noodle House
No. 20, Jalan Cerdik
Taman Connaught
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 016-2107559

(Non Halal. Closed alternate Monday. Note that they're close this Monday. Open from 7am-5pm.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Favola Italian Restaurant @ Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur

Last year, Italian food captured the hearts (and tummies) of KL-lites, hence we saw a flurry of homestyled trattorias, fine dining places and etc. flinging open their doors in the city.  Recent closures like Il Divo and Chiaroscuro (they're looking for a new premises) make one wonder whether the city's "amore" with Italian fare is waning a little. Nevertheless for Italian stalwarts such as Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur's Favola, things are going strong with monthly specials and from I hear, a new menu is also in the works. It has been a while that I dined here that it was lovely to find aesthetic changes recently added to the restaurant - the nostalgic fable of Strega Nona and her enchanted pasta pot on the ceiling, the new bronze chandeliers hanging from the rustic wood-like ceiling and cosy little private dining rooms tucked on one side of the restaurant. 
        Even the menu sports new favourites, like this month's special, the decadent Kobe beef lasagna (RM108). Unlike their signature wagyu beef lasagna, which I felt the meat was overshadowed by the cheese and bechamel sauce, this dish boasts of seared melt-in-the-mouth Kobe beef slices tucked within loose layers of pasta sheets. A wisp of grated cheese and a hearty dose of a hearty tomato sauce round up the whole ensemble to give it a tummy warming sensation with a touch of decadence. Some changes have also been made to the menu as instead of the unusual seared sea scallops (RM45) with the faux risotto (made from cauliflower), they have replaced it with a lighter version that tops a cauliflower flan and sprinkled with jewel-like green and yellow zucchini cubes. I'm always partial to hearty soups hence I enjoyed their zuppa di pesce alla marina (RM35), chockfull of seafood and tomatoes even though one can't really taste the saffron within. The insalata di buffalo mozzarela e pesca alla giglia (RM35) with grilled peaches and locally made buffalo mozzarella went well with the peppery rocket and raddichio salad topped with shaven Pecorino cheese.
      Comfort food is risotto, the creamy versions of course and I thoroughly enjoyed the risotto con cappesante (RM50) with seared sea scallops. A touch of softened leeks, lemon zest, chillies and basil adds a tinge of zing to the risotto to give it a difference. On the other side of the fence, the potato gnocchi and crab dumpling (RM40) wasn't a big hit with us since it did have a strong marine twang that didn't go so well with the roasted bell peppers coulis and Italian parsley foam. Instead, we found solace in the gamberetti ai pinoli (RM45), cappellini pasta tossed with seared prawns, chilli, garlic, parsely, pine nuts and mushrooms dressed simply in olive oil. A shake of the chilli peppers gave it all the zing it needed to make it a crowd pleaser. Being a big fan of Italian cookbook author Marcella Hazan, I was swayed by the crespelle di pollo (RM45) since she describes them beautifully in her books. This version is hearty with chicken, spinach and ricotta with a roasted Roma tomato sauce.
       We end the meal with sweets. No wonder they say, life is sweet (la dolce vita) in Italian since they make wonderful tiramisu (RM30) soaked with Illy coffee and lashings of sweet mascarpone cheese. Chocolate lovers will enjoy their warm chocolate cake, budino di cioccolata (RM25) with the icy cold vanilla ice cream and divine chocolate sauce. On another occasion, we choose canoli (RM25), crispy sweet dough filled with chocolate and nougat mousse. While there's no trace of nougat, it's a pleasant dessert with the slightly tart fruit sauce served on the side.
      Portions are hearty here so come with a big appetite or a large group to share. There's also a decadent beef consomme risotto to look forward to for March's special with foie gras cubes and oil (it's just the oil rendered from pan frying the duck liver). One must admit that an earlier visit yielded a heavy hand with the salt but this time round, my two visits here seems to prove that they have rectified that little issue hence the meal was thoroughly enjoyable.

Favola Italian Restaurant
Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Stesen Sentral
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2263 7888

(Pork Free. Antipasti and dessert buffet is available for RM98++ every Sunday. For more pictures see my Flickr set.)

Italian phrase, "Mangiare per vivere e non vivere per mangiare" means eat to live and not live to eat.

*Notice: The reviewer declares that part of this review was by invitation from the restaurant. Some items were paid for by the reviewer in the second visit to the restaurant.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Jelly Koi Fish for Chinese New Year

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Apologies for the long blogging holiday but I decided to take a break from writing that my notebook started to collect dust at home. Am sure some of you are still enjoying the long break or have gone back to work today. This is definitely the best time of the year - 15 days of celebrations with family and friends. Eat, eat, eat away...

It's been great homecooked feasts at home or at friends that I'm so stuffed from good food. To kick off the Lunar New Year instead of a rabbit, I thought I'll introduce you to these amazingly good and gorgeous looking koi fish jellies, a friend brought for a party yesterday. It consists of a family of medium sized koi fish and 18 baby koi fish jellies that are arranged to mimic them swimming in a water lily pond (it's actually edible blue food dye). Each of the koi fish jellies are made from Japanese Konnyaku jelly with bits of ginger and nata de coco. The jelly is not too sweet with a nice bite. I especially liked the ginger bits that give it a nice aroma. Best of all, we loved the whole presentation of the jellies since koi fishes are auspicious.

This seasonal jelly is available from Jelly-Lah (a very cute name since it's been Malaysianised) until Chap Goh Meh for RM38 per set. If you wish to order, call 012-3095660. They also have other types of jellies available like ketupat jelly, jelly cakes including durian and mango flavours, and etc. Definitely makes a big change from cream and cake for that special occasion.

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. This review is time sensitive; changes may occur to the place later on that can affect this opinion. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from this place for writing the review.
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