Sunday, June 24, 2012

Butter Cake @ Section 17, Petaling Jaya

butter cake from Section 17

I have been slowly exploring Section 17's food joints and one day, I stumbled on this discovery, a drinks stall that also sold homemade butter cake by special order.

Spurred on by some regular customers who had sampled the cake before, I decided to take a risk and order it to try.

butter cake unassembled

Each block was sold for RM10.

I loved the cake's soft moist crumb. Very old fashioned with a bright yellow colour.

While the texture was top class, admittedly it fell short in the aroma department. Not buttery enough with a slight artificial tinge I felt, so maybe they used butter spreads instead of actual butter.

Butter cake from OUG Market
butter cake from OUG market

Coincidentally, a friend of mine had bought butter cake from the OUG market (1 box is RM8). While that cake has a strong distinctive buttery smell, the texture is rather firm with a fine tight crumb.

Even though I preferred that OUG version for its taste, in comparison I found it a little too hard versus the other cake that had such a moist loose crumb.


Too bad, I can't get the best of both worlds - the moist crumb from the Section 17 place and a lovely buttery aroma from the OUG market one. I guess I should really just bake my own.

Despite the not so aromatic taste, we did enjoy the cake with maple flavoured ice cream made from rich Hokkaido cream. Simply oishii when paired with the cold treat. 

Butter Cake
corner drinks stall (see sign above for shop)
Jalan 17/1A Foodcourt
Next to the Section 17 wet market
Petaling Jaya

(Pork free. One cake is RM10. Prior order is needed. Click on this link for the full set of Flickr pictures.)

*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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Japanese Food @ Matsuya, Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur

uni (sea urchin) tofu

I never get sick of Japanese food.

Despite stuffing my face silly with sushi during the weekend, I still had lots of tummy space for the exquisite dishes from this 1-month old Japanese place.

grilled gindara

Regulars of Mizu Bangsar would have heard through the grapevine (or more likely tasted the difference) in their old favourite.

It seems the ex-chef and ex-manager had decamped up the street to this new place under the same management as Gin Shui Tei, the Japanese place in Tropicana Golf & Country Club.

matsuya salad

Some of the old favourites from the Mizu menu can be spotted here. Notably the signature foie gras and daikon radish. In fact, lovers of that delicacy will be happy to see loads of the ingredient peppering the menu, whether in the form of fried rice or maki.

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assorted sashimi

I had high expectations for the Matsuya Sarada (RM25) since it sounded gorgeous with pomegranate, pine nuts and passion fruit dressing but it felt a tad ordinary when the flavours hit the tongue.

Luckily our next dish, the uni tofu (RM25), a soft wobbly soybean milk creation topped with uni that is grilled and served with a delicious broth restored our faith in the place. Simply brilliant as we slurp down the broth.

salmon ikura cheese maki

The assorted sashimi (RM190 for three persons) was lovely too, a chef's creation on what was freshly flown in today. I loved the sweet scallops and the hamachi slices.

The salmon ikura cheese maki (RM25) was also an interesting combination of cream cheese, salmon, garlic crisps and is topped with those eye popping ikura roe. Swipe a little of the teriyaki-like sauce on the bottom to give it a teeny weeny sweet taste.

Next came, the star dish of the night that had the longest name, gindara saikyomiso zuke yaki (RM55). 

Wrapped in an ohba leaf that lent it a smoky flavour, the fish was beautifully cooked. Dipping each piece of the cod with the white miso seems to make it even tastier.

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Japan Wagyu Ishiyaki

Then came something I have not had for years, Japan Wagyu Ishiyaki (RM240) or meat cooked on a hot stone. Strangely enough, I remember eating this kind of hot stone cooking in Soave, Italy. 

This version is wonderful since it features the incredible melt in the mouth texture of the Japanese wagyu. Within a few minutes, all the cooking is done and we can slowly sink our teeth in the meat to savour.

goma ice cream

Last but not least, even the sesame ice cream (RM8) was exceptionally good. I liked the bits of aromatic sesame seeds I found inside the creamy ice cream.

And like I always say, I reckon we will keep returning here. Plans are underway to do a repeat visit with my mother who is a stalwart fan of Mizu. I'm curious to try out their hot pot rice including ne that uses mixed mushrooms and truffle oil.

Matsuya Japanese Cuisine
No. 19, Jalan Telawi 2
Bangsar Baru
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2202 2618

(Pork free. Place is open for lunch and dinner daily. Fresh fish is flown in from Japan on Tuesday and Friday. It is right opposite Swensens. They also do omakase and special set dinner courses like sushi, sukiyaki, teppanyaki, and tempura from RM80 to RM95. For more pictures, see the 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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Revisiting Japanese Food @ Ju.Ne Japanese Restaurant, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur

chirashi sushi


It is going to come up to one year since I first posted on Ju.Ne Japanese Restaurant at Solaris Dutamas.

I had ended last year's post to say I'll be back.

Well, we did return but not in a Terminator fashion with guns blazing.

Instead visits to this place have been peppered with a chorus of approvals from my friends.

This included a particular friend who missed her regular hangout place, Kampachi at Equatorial Hotel since the hotel closed down.

Love the hamachi here, so fresh!

Everyone is of the consensus that the sashimi served here is super fresh. A favourite order is the hamachi sashimi (RM38 for 6 pieces), each thick piece that we slowly relish.

On another occasion, we sampled the assorted sashimi (RM48) that was a good mix of fresh fish on a bed of seaweed.

I'm always partial to rice and sashimi hence I had the kaisen chirashi don (RM35) that comes in a zen-like white bowl. It is a nice assortment of raw fish such as ikura, prawns, salmon and cuttlefish. 

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negitoro yukke garlic toast

I do like their balanced menu, a mix of innovative appetizers served side by side with traditional Japanese favourites.

The garden salad dip with anchovy sauce (RM19) is a nifty way to get you crunching down on your greens. The fresh vegetables are kept cool on a bed of ice and served with a creamy anchovy sauce kept warm over a burner. The sauce is so addictive that you find yourself unconsciously finishing all the vegetables on the platter just to scoop up that moreish tasting item. 

Another interesting salad is the tataki kyuuri momotaro (RM10), a mix of smashed up Japanese cucumber and the sweet Momotaro tomato with a red miso dip and mayonnaise.

minced prawn with lotus root 

Multiple visits have also let us zoned in on some favourites such as the negitoro yukke garlic toast (RM23). Think minced tuna tartar that is used to top crunchy thin garlic toast. Yummy indeed.

Then there is the minced prawn with lotus root (RM19), an interesting stuffed fritter with lotus root that is served with green tea powder, salt and Japanese pepper. 

torino shioyaki

We also enjoy crispy fried chicken or torino shioyaki (RM18) served with salt, red miso and deep-fried garlic pips. On another occasion, the toro toro, a kind of soupy beef stew (RM16) with tendons and potatoes was a big comfort to the tummy.

Some of the stalwart favourites such as saba shioyaki (RM17) is also done well here, juicy piece of fish that you eat with grated daikon.

tataki kyuuri momotaro

Not everything hits the spot for us. Some of us felt the chanko nabe (RM64), the pot of vegetables cooked in either a salt, soy or miso based broth was a bit strange. We had sampled the soy version and instead of the sweet broth we are used to for sukiyaki, this one has a slight bitter aftertaste. 

Nevertheless, that pot makes an excellent one meal for 2-3 people as after you have almost finished, they add either udon or rice to make it in a porridge or zousui, as it is called in Japanese.

cold al dente cooked soba noodles

End the meal with a cool one - dipping soba noodles (RM13) in the soy sauce. The texture of the noodles is perfectly al dente, that reminds me of Kampachi's exacting standards long ago. Even the soy sauce dip is a nice balance of salty flavours with the heat from the wasabi and the sliced shallots.

And yes, we will definitely be back many more times. Not to only sample new items but to revisit all those old favourites. Give it a try the next time you pop into the maze of the complex. 

This place definitely qualifies as one of the better Japanese restaurants in town. And yes, there is a slew of Japanese men outfitted in their suits eating away here so it has the expatriate crowd's stamp of approval too. Japanese Restaurant
Block A4, Level G2
Unit 4A-G2-3A
Solaris Dutamas
No. 1 Jalan Dutamas 1
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03 - 6207 9923

(Pork Free. Closed on Tuesdays. Open from 12-3pm, 6-11pm. Last order is 10.30pm. For more pictures, see the 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.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dining Out @ Soup Restaurant, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Petaling Jaya

Soup Restaurant's ultra Chinese setting with faux bamboo and red wooden carved panels

In recent months, Singaporean restaurants seem to have invaded our shores.

The Paradise group first started their onslaught with Paradise Inn at Sunway Pyramid. This was followed by brand new openings at Paradigm Mall such as Paradise Dynasty that boasts those rainbow hued xiao long baos and Kungfu Paradise, their casual eatery offering. They are expected to also open Taste Paradise, their luxe offering

In 1 Utama, the space was conquered by Heng Hwa heavyweight Putien and this place, Soup Restaurant that serves homestyled food including their specialty Sansui chicken.

Strangely enough in the wake of all these new eateries emerging from the little red dot, the forerunner Crystal Jade seems to have retreated from the KL dining scene. They have now closed all their outlets in Mid Valley and the Gardens, leaving only one outlet at Pavilion KL. Quite a sad thing indeed as during its heydays, it had 3 outlets in the Mid Valley area, one in Lot 10 and two places in Pavilion KL.

Not sure if there is a lesson in there for Singaporean investors on the fickle taste buds of KL diners.

Sansui ginger chicken 

This place rides on the Chinese heritage to promote its homestyled dishes.

Hence it is all decked out in ultra Chinoserie. From the moment you walk past the moon gate, you enter faux bamboo land that will make any Chinese kungfu movie fan happy. The interiors are divided into different areas like a Chinese house with pavilions and hidden nooks for private rooms and etc.

One good thing about these kind of interiors, it means you can dine at one cosy corner without the whole restaurant staring at you.

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Steamed hand chopped minced pork with salted fish 

The must-have is the Sansui ginger chicken (RM38 for half, RM68 for whole).

The smooth poached chook is deboned so there is no worry about messing with finicky bones. A bowl of minced ginger flavoured with chicken oil and broth accompanies the chicken for extra flavour. The ginger tends be mild versus fiery that may not up to true blue ginger fans. Nevertheless it still offers a good balance with the chicken.

Strangely enough, you are given crispy lettuce (sang choy) leaves, that you are supposed to eat the chicken with like a sang choy bow dish. It makes an excellent one stop meal, as I paired it with a dollop of rice, a piece of chicken slathered with minced ginger. The refreshing greens give a nice crunch to the whole ensemble but can mean your hands need to get down and dirty.

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Teochew olive rice

Marketed under their Chinatown Heritage dishes, the steamed hand chopped minced pork with salted fish (RM16) has a nice rough edge to it with the mix of pork fat and meat. Chopped salted fish is sprinkled on top for extra flavour.

Eat the pork patty with the Teochew olive rice (RM10), steamed rice mixed with preserved olive leaves. Those savoury tasting leaves add a umami-like and addictive aroma to the rice grains. My only pet peeve would be I would have preferred longer and fluffier rice grains but I guess it is a matter of food costs.

double boiled yuk chok and kei chee with chicken soup

And living up to its moniker, the place serves a variety of double boiled soups that use Chinese herbs. Served in individual bowls, there are seven varieties with each offering different health benefits. We sample the refreshing double boiled yuk chok and kei chee with chicken soup (RM14.80) that is said to relieve irritation.

The soup is packed with lots of flavour as they are rather generous with the herbs and chicken in each bowl. Drink every last drop since it's rather good for the soul.

Ah Por Fan Shu leaves

Last but not least, the customary greens in the form of their signature sweet potato leaves (RM15.80). Once a wartime ration, these leafy greens are now found on restaurant menus. It is offered in a few ways, doused with black soy sauce, spiced up with sambal or like this version, just plain fried with garlic, a healthier way to enjoy the smooth leaves.

For those allergic to MSG, you will be happy to know that they attest to no MSG in their kitchen.

Overall, I liked the food here since you can't go wrong with such comforting dishes. Amid all that plasticky stuff in the mall, it is nice to find a slice of home. Quality is also definitely on par with their Singapore outlets. Their success rate with KL diners though may not be as high as Putien since their dishes can be easily replicated at a cheaper cost at home, tai chow and hawker stalls.  

Soup Restaurant
G210A, Ground Floor
1 Utama Shopping Centre
Bandar Utama
Petaling Jaya

Tel: 03-77272788

(Non halal. Restaurant is opposite Petite Millie and Sun Moulin. For the full set of pictures, see the 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.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Breakfast Idea - Croque Madame Muffins from Rachel Khoo's The Little Paris Kitchen


I love Sundays. 

Things really start to wind down with Sunday. That works for me since the busy Monday is just round the corner.

For me, the best thing I love about this day is it is time to explore the kitchen and whip up something indulgent, like these Croque Madame Muffins.


I'm currently reading my latest cookbook acquisition, Rachel Khoo's The Little Paris Kitchen and she inspired me to get cracking on this cute recipe.

Even though most of Rachel's recipes are French in the book, there is a local connection as her dad is Malaysian. The book is pretty good with simple recipes and eye catching pictures. 


These "muffins" definitely are cute and even though the bechamel sauce takes a bit more time to make, it was rather easy to whip it up. I love how the baked eggs are runny so when you split them open, they spill out their golden richness on the plate. Super yum!

My only complaint was I could not get my hands on Gruyere cheese so I settled for the less pungent Emmenthal that seemed to not add any dimension to the creamy sauce. I guess next time, it will be a stronger cheese. And since I could not find my rolling pin, I substituted using a bottle of extra virgin olive oil to flatten those bread slices. Since I had leftover sauce and the bread crusts, I used them to make a savoury bread pudding with a sprinkle of melted cheese.

Croque Madame Muffins (Makes 6, adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen)

cheese sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
200ml milk
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (used champagne mustard instead)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
30g Gruyere cheese (had to use Emmenthal, you can use Comte or Parmesan)
salt and pepper to taste

6 white bread slices, crusts cut off and flattened thinly
3 tablespoons melted butter
75g ham, cut into strips
6 small eggs

To prepare the sauce: Melt butter in a pan, add flour. Beat to form a smooth paste. Take off heat, cool for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, until there is no lumps. Place pan back on medium heat, add mustard and nutmeg, simmer gently for 10 minutes, whisking to prevent burning and clumping. As it thickens, remove from the heat. Add the cheese, stir till it melts. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in some milk. Sieve if there are lumps.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Brush each flattened bread with melted butter. Press in a 6 hole muffin tin (I used a silicone one). Press down with a small glass. Divide ham between muffins followed by the egg. If egg is too much, pour away a little of the egg white. Put 2 tablespoons of sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on how runny you like your eggs. Serve immediately.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Fish Head Noodles @ Restoran Teo Chow, Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah, Pudu, Kuala Lumpur

Mix of deep-fried fish head and poached fish slices with noodles

Getting back into the groove of blogging has been a tad difficult these few months.

I've been nagged by many who have been wondering why I've decided to just stop. I guess it's a combo of things. Firstly the lack of time with the crazy work schedule that one has no time to breath anymore. Once that was over, it was the lack of good places to blog about.

Nevertheless, despite a week's break, it has taken me quite some time to "get back into the groove". As a friend nagged last weekend, I really should just grit my teeth and start doing it. I guess after a long absence, it's like riding a bicycle, you know you can do it but it scares you a little.

Hopefully as I embark on a brand new adventure, it will get easier as time goes by.

Bubbling pots filled with fish stock that is prepped a la minute

So tada, as I emerge from the cocoon, I present to you this hidden gem of a place located right smack in the land of Teochew porridge.

This particular street seems to be deluged with the biggest contingent of Teochew porridge stalls in town. If it not a Teochew porridge stall, it's probably some Sichuan food place. Even the stall is located within a Teochew porridge stall, an old school one that my Mum remembers frequenting a while back.

At first I was a little worried about this place since it didn't have many customers but as the lunch crowd swelled up, more customers started ordering their noodles.

Don't play play, I use Carnation evaporated milk, okay??

But one slurp of the soup in my bowl of noodles confirmed that this place was a hit. The soup tinged white with a dash of evaporated milk is fragrant with just a hint of Shao Xing wine. Everything is well balanced and there's no fishy smell. The lady owner adds ginger shreds, quartered tomatoes and sliced preserved cabbage (ham choy) to alleviate the fishy aromas.

My bowl was a mix of the deep-fried and poached fish slices. While the poached ones were smooth, I did find the deep-fried ones sliced a bit too thinly and over-fried. Nevertheless, the crispy edges were aromatic. To counteract the dry taste of the fish, I dunked it in the soup for a while.

Fish paste (yee wat) noodles

According to the owner, she uses Song fish to make her noodles. Since my mother is never partial to Song fish, she ordered the fish paste (yee wat). The homemade paste is scooped in a quenelle like shape and cooked in the soup. The texture of the fish paste is nice but not exceptional. The star of course for these noodles is the delicious soup that we both slurp down to the last spoonful.

The stall offers two kinds of noodles, the thin beehoon variety but I like the thicker version she has. Unlike other places, she does not overcook the strands, hence they are a bit al dente and resemble slurp worthy spaghetti strands.

And for those big eaters, you can also order bits and bobs from the Teochew porridge counter. We greedily added a plate of braised pig's intestines as we waited for our noodles to be cooked.

Give it a try the next time you hit Pudu as these noodles with its gorgeous soup is definitely worth a trip here. A small bowl of noodles was about RM7 each for the different variety. No wonder, everyone calls Pudu, the food wonderland since just round the corner is crispy siu yoke at Robert's and there's also siphon coffee at Typica.

Fish Head Noodles Stall
Restoran Teo Chow
No. 276 & 278, Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 013-3454418

(Non halal. Open from 8.30 am to 3pm daily. Closed on the 15th day of the lunar calendar. Stall is located within a shop that has the signboard Man Siang Yuen but it shares the same premises as the Teochew porridge shop. The Flickr set is here.)

*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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