Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Spanish food @ La Cocina, USJ Subang Jaya

teeny weeny bites of awesomely good lamb meatballs (RM8.50++)

I'm still going down my list of places to eat in Subang Jaya..slowly but surely. One of the places that popped up on that long list was this Spanish restaurant. Not a new place, this was located in the quieter Taipan area near the branch of the ever famous Ah Koong fishball noodles.

chicken croquettes - mash potatoes with minced chicken served with garlic mayonnaise

For our first visit, I had zero expectations especially since this place was very quiet (only another table besides us and some people sitting at the bar), even though it was a weekend. In fact, I almost wanted to bolt out of the door but the restaurant was pretty cosy albeit a little cramped inside.

spanish omelette (potatoes with eggs)

I quickly changed my mind when I started tasting the tapas we had ordered before our main dish came i.e. the paella. Being cautious, we decided on two tapas dishes for the night - lamb meatballs (always a must with Splashie Boy) and soft shell crab. The meatballs were juicy and tender. Served with a divine tomato herb sauce, we wiped clean the plates with the bread given on the side. I also loved the soft shell crab - nice and crispy and delicious when paired with the creamy mayonnaise.

scrumptious Paella Negres with squid ink

For our second visit here, we decided to go for the paella set for 2 (RM80++), which came with 2 tapas dishes, paella and a dessert to share. The tapas dishes this time round were the chicken croquette and Spanish omelette. While the taste of these two tapas dishes weren't as fantastic compared to our previous visit, we did enjoy them as they were a light prelude to the main event aka the paella.

I have a love/hate relationship with paella served in Malaysia - most of the places I find just make it too mushy that ruins the whole dish. Here, they cooked the rice just right with taste and texture and best part of it, they have a nice layer of crust underneath. To be honest, it was my first time encountering a crust under my paella that I thought they got it wrong. A quick wikipedia check indicated that this crust is highly sort after - kinda like the crust you get from claypot chicken rice. Hence, I have been hooked on this version ever since. I love the squid ink version, with the clams mixed in to give it extra flavour. And since we knew the crust was something to look forward to, we scraped all those crusty bits and ate them too. Simply heavenly stuff.

saffron yellow crema catalana to end

For desserts, we had a choice of crema catalana or almond tart. We went for the Spanish version of creme brulee. Very creamy and soft, I thought it was extremely rich. Luckily we only had one small portion to share as it was a very filling meal.

Overall verdict for this place - we like it a lot and will definitely keep returning to try other menu items. Service is also very good and attentive but then, most of the time when we dine here it is pretty empty, so it has not been tested much. Upstairs the restaurant, there is a bar and it seems on Friday nights, they have salsa dances here. Sounds very happening.

La Cocina Restaurant & Tapas Bar
38, Jalan USJ 9/5P
Subang Central
Subang Jaya

Tel No: 03 - 8023 2395

(Pork free. Open daily for lunch and dinner. For further details on the location, menu and promotions, see their

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Sang Har Wantan Mee @ Restaurant Fun Kee, Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur

freshwater prawns tops deep fried wantan noodles (RM21 for a single portion)

I was eager to try this place out when I picked up a recently published guidebook that proclaimed it to be one of the best wantan mee stalls around. Hence one day, I drove around the busy stretch of Sungai Besi (which is now a highway) to look for this coffeeshop. While most regular patrons parked in front of the shophouses (next to the shop is an abandoned car showroom), I chose the safer way and went for the side road next to it.

char siu wantan mee

It is amazing I never spotted this place considering I have driven past this road/highway a thousand times. The place is very old school - white ceilings with whirling fans, old marble tables with wooden chairs and from what I gathered from a framed Chinese newspaper extract, they started in 1969! Two signs head the shophouse - an old black wooden one calling it Feun Kee and a larger one calling it Fun Kee. There is even an old California car plate with Fun Kee on one of the front shelves.

wantans with a hint of dried sole powder (chor hau yee)

The place seems to have their own set of regulars - workmen parking their lorries in front, people arriving on luxury vehicles complete with a driver or office workers from nearby looking for a quick lunch.

yummy dumplings filled with water chesnuts, wood ear fungus, prawns and coriander

Here you can order wantan mee with various toppings - the old school char siu slices tinged red, braised chicken feet with mushrooms, braised pork ribs, poached chicken, stewed beef and fried chicken only on Thursdays. They also deep fry the wantan noodles till crisp and top it with freshwater prawns or use it to make Cantonese style noodles and etc. One day, I saw this other table ask for the deep fried wantan noodles topped with just small prawns and vegetables. Looked crunchy and yummy.

I really like the deep fried wantan noodles - crunchy and delicious especially after it has soaked the sweet prawny gravy. While the gravy here is not as eggy as Pan Heong in Batu Caves, I like the fresh taste minus any MSG. The regular char siu wantan mee was average tasting probably because I don't like the old style red coloured char siu slices. Even though it was tender, I kinda crave the sticky black version. I liked the wantans they served the noodles with as it has a slight aroma from dried sole powder used. The dumplings are also delicious - not super crunchy but filled with water chesnuts, carrots, wood ear fungus and prawns.

This place may not qualify for the best wantan mee place in town but I reckon it will remain a favourite for me whenever I hanker for crunchy deep fried wantan mee.

Restaurant Fun Kee
No. 174-5, Jln Sg Besi
Kuala Lumpur

Tel No: 03-9221 1267/1246

(Non Halal. Open from 9am to 9.30pm. Closed on Sundays. The shop is at the same row as CIMB Bank and opposite the Perodua showroom. If you are coming from KL and driving down Sungai Besi, it is on your left hand side and before the old Nichi showroom which has been torn down for new development.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dining Out @ Sage, The Gardens Residences, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur

so many rules ah????

Ever since Cilantro closed for renovations last year, there was a void in the fine dining scene. When rumours started on their sister restaurant i.e. Sage was opening, everyone was waiting with a bated breath. First it was scheduled to open its doors in July. However, July came and went but still there was no sign of it opening. Then it was pushed to another date and another until it opened with very little fanfare in October. However word got around that the place had opened and without any publicity....everyone in town was buzzing about it. Seems news of it opening even got down south, as my sister was asking me what was Sage all about, as her friends were raving about it.

bread to tuck in while waiting for the food, I like the softer whole grain one shown at the back

Splashie Boy and I decided to check the place out one night on the pretext of celebrating one of those forgotten occasions. Being together for so long, means both of us have amnesia when it comes to celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and etc. At the moment, we run a virtual "buku 555" on presents and celebration dinners we keep missing between both of us. Based on my ledger, my slate is clean but Splashie Boy's ledger still owes a couple of debits in terms of Valentine and birthday dinners and presents.

the amuse bouche of tempura prawn didn't amuse me much

Finding this place can be quite daunting, if you are a first timer here - probably because the Gardens Residences has yet to fully open. Walk through the front door of Gardens Residences and all you see is a security guard sitting at the lobby. However, once you arrive on the sixth floor, you can breath a little better as the front entrance of Sage beckons. (I found out later that if you take the lift from the Isetan side of The Gardens to the 6th floor, you will avoid all these hassles. Shame on me, on not reading other blog posts properly.)

chef's special for the night - very fresh sashimi with a piquant yuzukoshou sauce

Once you settle comfortably at your table - the menu is pretty simple to understand. A list of a la carte choices is available - appetizer(RM58), main course(RM78), dessert(RM30) and specialty items (a whopping RM178). Either choose individual items or go for the Sage Dinner (RM120) with appetizer, main course and dessert or the Gourmet Dinner (RM140) with the same three items and an additional Chef's Special of the Day. (Postscript - we rushed to make this dinner by the end of October amid rumours that the prices will go up. Betty, a friend just smsed Splashie Boy and told him the prices have gone up by RM20. Wonder if it will go up further or not...?)

my blue fin tuna carpaccio with asparagus topped with a parmesan wafer

There is also a Chef's Table - a counter in front of the open kitchen where Chef Takashi Kimura cooks behind a clear panel. You can order the degustation menu (with 7 items) for around RM240 there or at your table. The degustation menu items change weekly and sometimes depending on the availability, certain items on the a la carte menu may also change (for instance the guinea fowl, previously blogged by A Whiff of Lemongrass is not in the menu anymore)

the delectable cold fedellini with thin slices of hon maguro and bottarga

We settled down to our choices - the Gourmet Dinner for Splashie Boy while I decided to go for the degustation menu. While Splashie Boy was veering towards his favourites like beef rump, I did steer him to try the highly recommended Cold Fedellini with Hon Maguro & Bottarga for his appetizer.

creamy melt in the mouth roasted foie gras with duck and kabu

We started with a little amuse bouche, which I thought was kinda weird - tempura prawn! Didn't taste like any kind of tempura I have eaten before and it felt very ordinary tasting. I was a little worried after eating that, expecting the worst to come next.

pan fried fish with kobashira and ginnan

Luckily we were saved by Splashie Boy's chef special of the day - very fresh sashimi garnished with a piquant yuzukushou sauce, green chillies with yuzu juice. My first course from the degustation menu - the blue fin tuna carpaccio may have been a classic one but again the fish was very fresh. I loved the crisp parmesan cracker served with it - must make these one day as I remember they're pretty easy to make at home.

Rump steak with carrot puree and anchovy sauce

Most of the dishes have Japanese elements in them - a touch of konbu seaweed on top of my asparagus served with the blue fin tuna, yuzukushou - a type of paste made from yuzu and green chillies with my Wagyu beef, a type of turnip known as kabu with my foie gras, gingko nuts known as ginnan with my pan fried fish and etc. A mix of Japanese and Italian - you find pastas and common Italian ingredients like bottarga and parmesan incorporated here.

chargrilled wagyu beef with sauteed mushrooms and yuzukushou

Splashie Boy's appetizer, the cold fedellini (a type of pasta) with melt in the mouth thin slices of hon maguro (tuna) is tossed with bottarga, a roe considered as a delicacy by the Italians. I like the flecks of wasabi on top of the tuna slices that wrap the delectable cold pasta.

bucatini pasta with lamb ragout and piment

I was equally impressed with my next dish - the roasted foie gras. Literally melting in my mouth, the creamy foie gras was excellent and something I have never tasted before. It felt a bit weird though, paired with duck and the kabu, a type of Japanese turnip. However, the duck jus (from the roasting) pooling on my plate was good stuff. Nothing could stop Splashie Boy from ordering beef - the rump steak served with carrot puree and anchovy sauce. Cooked medium (the way he likes it), there are 2 parts to this dish - the sliced beef rump and fork tender beef topped with the carrot puree. I didn't taste any anchovies though so it may be quite subtle or just not in the spoonful I had as a sample from Splashie Boy.

excellent almond blancmanger, kinda like a creamy and very wobbly panna cotta

I had a lot of catching up to do, since I had more courses - a pan fried fresh fish (suppose to be Suzuki Seabass but it was not available) served with a slightly chewy kobashira, a type of clam and greenish tinged gingko nuts. I liked the light taste of the dish paired with the very delicate flesh of the fish. Next was an perfectly charred Wagyu beef (nicely charred with a crust) but still medium inside. It is served with a spicy and citrusy yuzukushou (yuzu mixed with green chillies) and sauteed mushrooms. Really good stuff, which I quickly finished as I was lagging behind Splashie Boy. Last but not least was the bucatini pasta tossed in a rich earthy tasting and spicy lamb ragout and piment chili.

light but kinda ordinary tasting chocolate and grand cointreau souffle with vanilla ice cream

Just before my dessert, I was served a palate cleanser - sweet cubed rock melon with a cold tangy sorbet. My dessert - the chocolate and cointreau souffle was nothing fantastic and tasted kinda ordinary to me but Splashie Boy's highly recommended almond blancmanger was excellent. The waiter recommended this for dessert hence we knew it must be good plus we heard rumblings from Lyrical Lemongrass on how good it was.

At first I thought the transparent pieces on the side was ice cubes to keep it cold - a closer examination of it revealed black specks. Turns out it is vanilla gelatine. Really delicious when paired with the creamy blancmanger (that kinda reminds me of an excellent just wobbly panna cotta), mango sorbet and tangy passion fruit. I didn't get to try the wafer, since Splashie Boy chomped it all of as he loved it. We were served tea after that with little biscuits.

While some items didn't impress me, I thought on an overall basis I was very happy with what I got especially the roasted foie gras, wagyu beef and the lamb ragout pasta. Splashie Boy also loved his food. Both of us felt, for what we ate was excellent value for money. Definitely better I reckon from the other gourmet places in town. Another very big plus point is the excellent service and the best thing is, the waiters can answer my numerous questions here. I guess you can see me making more excuses to return here for lunch and dinner more often.

Sage Restaurant
The Gardens Residences
6th Floor, The Gardens
Mid Valley City
Lingkaran Syed Putra
59200 Kuala Lumpur

Tel No: 03- 2268 1188

(Pork free. Currently only available for dinners and closed on Sundays. Lunch should be starting anytime soon, call ahead and check if it is available. Expect more changes to the menu, pricing and the whole look of the place as they are still tweaking it.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Char Kuey Teow @ Lorong Selamat Char Kuey Teow, USJ 14, Subang Jaya

tiny portion for RM4.50

I'm slowly going through all those places to eat in USJ Subang Jaya, so if any of you have suggestions where to eat, do enlighten me! This particular stall had eluded me for quite some time, as I never could figure out where exactly it was. Luckily a quick google search led me to find a map leading the way here. Once I figured out Restaurant Meisek from the main road, I found this place easily.

Located in a corner coffeeshop, this stall is not in any way related to the famous char kuey teow stall in Penang. Instead the owners of this stall used to live on Lorong Selamat, hence the name. A couple run this stall with the help of their son. While the lady fries the kuey teow, the husband will be seperating each kuey teow strand or sprinkling pieces of fried lard on top of the finished plates of kuey teow.

Each portion is priced at RM4.50 - quite an expensive amount as the portion served is quite tiny but each bite yields a mouthful of ingredients - fat crunchy bean sprouts, tiny lard pieces, tiny lap cheong and egg.

Although I wouldn't rate the kuey teow here as the best in town (as it seems to lack that smoky "wok hei" aroma I love), it is still a pretty decent plate of lardy heaven to indulge in especially when you're down with work. For those with larger space in their tummies, I suggest you load up from the other stalls as you will definitely get hungry by 3pm after a small plate of these noodles. Be prepared to also wait, as the noodles can take up to 15 to 30 minutes depending on the lunch crowd and takeaway orders.

Lorong Selamat Char Kuey Teow
Restoran Lam Hing Leong
Jalan USJ 14/1L
USJ Subang Jaya

(Non Halal. Open from 7am to 2pm, closed on Sundays. To get here from the Elite Highway, exit the USJ highway exit, take a right at the first traffic light. Keep left and turn the first left. Go straight and at the second traffic light, make a U turn. Make a first left where there is a Petronas station, then another left. Drive straight down and Restoran Lam Hing Leong is at the right hand side, at the corner. A few coffeeshops are available here also.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Burgers & Sausages @ German Deli Imbiss, Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya

chopped meat burger with beef bacon and cheese (RM11.80+)

Mention sausages and Splashie Boy's eyes will light up immediately....hence when he saw the reference to this place in a local paper, he jumped up and declared we had to eat this for lunch. Since we rarely venture into Ara Damansara, we got a little lost looking for the deli. Among the car workshops, an NGV installer, coffeeshops, you have this place that looks similar to a fast food joint.

french fries that won't give McD's a run for their money

There was quite a decent crowd of people hanging around tucking into sausages, so I left the ordering to Splashie Boy. We decided to share a sausage set and a burger with beef bacon and cheese. First, we were served french fries. Nothing fantastic, these were slightly soft and not crisp like the ones they serve at McDonalds.

oozing cheese filled Balkan Cheese Krainer with mashed potatoes (RM10.50+)

The sausage didn't impress also - thick rubbery skin slathered in a very dark brown sauce, which I felt was too salty. Personally, we both felt this failed the sausage test as the skin doesn't have the crunch we both like nor did it taste anything similar to a bratwurst. Since the mash potatoes was also drenched in that "oh very salty" sauce, I didn't really enjoy it also.

Instead what impressed us was their gourmet burger - purely for its texture, as this place chops the meat versus grinding it. The coarse texture of the burger makes it a better bite but it does lack the juiciness I like in my burgers probably due to the size of the patty (about 150 grams). It will be interesting to try their Cordon Bleu burger, which is 300 grams instead ( I just saw another blog's picture - looks like they stack two 150 gram patties on top of each other, so I guess size will not matter). One word of warning though - the buns are not toasted enough so the bread tends to be quite soft. Moreover, they slather on the sauce here so expect a very soggy burger and trouble handling it especially if you eat with your hands.

Final verdict for this place - go for the burgers but ask them to go easy on the sauces (unless you like soggy burgers) or ask for the sauce on the side. Do give the sausages a miss, as they aren't worth it since they taste very similar to Ayamas Premium sausages. However, if you do insist on ordering them, I suggest you ask for the sauce on the side so the saltiness does not kill your tastebuds (and appetite).

German Deli Imbiss
DG31, Jln PJU 1A/20B
Dataran Ara Damansara
Petaling Jaya

Tel: 03- 7842 3477

(Halal. Open from 9am to 9pm. Closed on Sundays.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Pork Noodles & Porridge @ Restoran Ten-Tien Fatt, Subang Jaya

incredibly comforting - loh shue fan or mouse tail noodles pork soup

I tend to get quickly bored with Shah Alam's food selection, hence one of the ways to perk up my lunch is to search a little further. To get beyond Shah Alam, I rely on the highly efficient (but pricey) highway system to get to the Subang Jaya/USJ area. Thanks to SC from Food4Thot for writing about this place - ever since she wrote about this place, it has been my all time favourite must-have almost every week.

if you can't do without rice, ask for their porridge version

The super busy coffeeshop located within the Goodyear Court flats is always perpetually packed with people. Usually they order the economy rice, but I head towards the Penang Pork Noodles stall for my comforting bowl of pork noodles or "porridge". There's no queue here and the bowl of noodles will arrive pretty quick. That works for me, as I tend to take my time to savour the hot sweet soup laden with minced pork, pork balls, pork slices and liver. Here, "porridge" is done differently - cooked rice grains is mixed into the soup, similar to the Kelantan nasi air. Both selections are equally comforting especially when mixed with the deep fried chopped garlic. Drop by for a comforting meal but be prepared to sweat it out, since the soup can be quite hot especially during our crazy tropical weather.

Penang Pork Noodles Stall
Restaurant Ten-Tien Fatt
Goodyear Court 3
Subang Jaya

(Non Halal. Open daily from breakfast to lunchtime.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Autumn Hokkaido Fair @ Isetan Suria KLCC

huge scallops with teriyaki sauce

The fair is back! This time, it is the Autumn fair with items like pumpkins, Royce chocolates, perilla drink, cheesecakes, burdock, salmon, various types of candy and etc. There is also fresh scallops (large ones that the grill and slather on this sweet teriyaki sauce - 3 pieces for RM8) and dried scallops. For those sashimi and sushi fans, the counter is open with a wide selection. Today's special is ikura salmon roe going for RM30.80 per 100grams.

The fair is on until 12 November, 2008. For more details on the fair's offerings, click on
Isetan's current newsletter.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Dry chili pan mee @ Golden Egg Noodles, Puchong, Selangor

the unusual dry chilli pan mee (RM5.30)

Feeling adventurous yesterday, I wandered into Puchong for a meal. I have been reading quite a lot about the various pan mee cafes in Puchong. There's one cafe serving pan mee with unsweetened soy bean milk, another one serving it with a thick broth like loh mein and this particular place that serves various flavours of pan mee.

dumplings served with laksa broth (6 pieces for RM4.80)

Located in between Old Town Kopitiam and Grill King, Golden Egg Noodles serves 12 varieties of pan mee. The golden term for the egg noodles seems to refer to the pumpkin flavoured pan mee. Other pan mee flavours are also available: seaweed, chili and coriander. Most of the dishes use the pumpkin flavoured pan mee, but you can ask for the different flavours at an extra cost of 50 cents.

Aside from the usual dry and soup version, they have pan mee served with Singapore laksa broth, seafood clear soup, pork slices and curry chicken. There is also pan mee fried Hokkien or Kam Heong style. I decided to try their dry chili pan mee version - chili flavoured pan mee topped with minced meat, sliced Chinese mushrooms, wood ear fungus and blanched sayur manis leaves. Deep-fried ikan bilis top the noodles, which is served with a generous dollop of dried chilli sambal.

While the flavour of chilli in the pan mee is not distinct, the noodles was quite tasty with the generous amount of minced meat topping. Unlike Kin Kin's dried chilli sambal, this version was grinded finely and not as spicy even though it had a lot of chilli seeds. I suspect they added sugar as it was sweet. Aside from the dried chillies, I reckon a little dry prawns was added to give aroma to the sambal. Even though the noodles was quite tasty, it can be quite oily. I guess the oil is what they toss the noodles in, to prevent it from sticking together. The dried chilli sambal also emits oil, hence you will find a pool of oil at the bottom of your plate after you finish your noodles.

I also ordered the laksa dumplings, which is essentially dumplings stuffed with minced pork and vegetable and served with the Singapore laksa broth. The taste was not bad, but I felt it was a little pricey at 80 sens a piece.

Overall, I thought the food was pretty good and wouldn't mind returning to try the other varieties. The place was packed during lunchtime, so business was very good. If you don't fancy noodles, they also serve rice dishes including fried rice and etc. For those snap happy people, be warned though this outlet does not encourage photo taking at all - there's a no camera sign on their front door.

Golden Egg Noodle
23-01, Jln Kenari 19A
Bandar Puchong Jaya

Tel: 03 -8076 9749

(Non Halal. Open from 8am to 11.30pm daily.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Lemon Tart from The French Laundry Cookbook

so amazingly good....

Dinner parties always stresses me out - especially those where I have to contribute a dessert. With various tastebuds in mind (some of my friends have a sweet tooth, while others like a tangy dessert and there were also kids involved), I was in a bind on what to make. Eventually I settled on a mix of bittersweet chocolate mousse, white chocolate mousse and a tangy lemon tart recipe, which I wanted to try.

Due to a few mishaps (including a roving cat who ran away for a few hours), I wasn't in a mood to make desserts hence I started only around 3pm. Dinner was just a few hours away and I had to quickly make the mousse or else it won't set. Luckily my mood picked up, as that roving cat came home after she heard me in the kitchen. Once she was sorted out, I felt much better and could concentrate on dessert.

The bittersweet chocolate mousse was based on a simple recipe I learnt from the Just Heavenly duo. I know my friend and her kids hate anything bitter (I only had Valrhona 66% in my fridge), so I made a simple white chocolate mousse from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet. Luckily I did, as that became a runaway success for dinnertime. She loved it and luckily so did her kids! Very simple to make - just melt white chocolate with a little water and mix with whipped heavy cream. Incredibly divine stuff, which they all lapped up. I reckon the next time, I will pair it with some raspberries.

I have been eyeing the famous Lemon Tart recipe from the French Laundry cookbook, for a while. Took an article in the recent Vogue and Entertaining Travel to get me started on making it. Very simple to make and I like how everything worked together even though I only started assembling the stuff around 6pm! I'm glad I made the effort, as everyone who tried it loved it. My friends were fighting for the leftovers - Jess wanted to take some home for her parents to try. Will definitely make this again and again. The crust is a little fragile though, so be careful if transporting it to another place. The lightness of the lemon sabayon and the flaky biscuit crust makes it a perfect ending to a heavy meal.

Lemon Tart (adapted from the French Laundry Cookbook)

honeyed mascarpone cream
125ml (1/2 cup) pouring/UHT cream
60g (1/4 cup) mascarpone
1 tablespoon honey

pine nut crust
80g (1/2 cup) pine nuts
2 tablespoons caster sugar
150g (1 cup) plain flour
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

lemon sabayon
2 eggs, cold
2 egg yolks, cold
165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) lemon juice
90g cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

icing sugar to dust

To make honeyed mascarpone cream: Whisk UHT cream until frothy, add mascarpone and honey. Whisk until thick. Refrigerate until ready to serve with lemon tart.

To make pine nut crust: Pulse pine nuts in food processor a few times. Add sugar and flour, pulse till finely ground. Add butter and process till it resembles fine crumbs. Add egg and vanilla, process till mixture comes together. Form pastry into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To bake pine nut crust: Preheat oven to 180C. Generously butter and flour a 24cm loose bottomed tart tin. Refrigerate for 5 minutes. Remove pastry from the refridgerator, press pastry evenly into tart tin with fingertips. Bake for 7-10 minutes, rotate tin and bake another 7-10 minutes or until pastry is golden. Cool and don't worry if it cracks.

To make lemon sabayon: Bring 5cm to boil in a pot, slightly smaller than your mixing bowl. Whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar in mixing bowl for 1 minute until smooth. Place bowl over pot, and beat mixture with a whisk continously, for 2 minutes until eggs are foamy & thick. Add one third of lemon juice, whisk again till mixture thickens. Repear twice more with remaining juice. Continue whisking until mixture thickens and leaves a trail. This should take 8-10 minutes. Turn off heat, leave bowl over water. Whisk in butter pieces one at a time. Remove and pour warm sabayon in cooled pine nut tart shell.

To brown lemon tart: Preheat oven grill and place tart under grill, leaving oven door oven. Brown for a few seconds (be careful to not burn it, so watch it carefully). Remove from oven.

To serve: Leave the browned lemon tart to stand for 1 hour at room temperature. Dust with icing sugar and serve with honeyed mascarpone cream on the side.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Restoran Tangkak Beef Noodles @ Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur

mixed beef noodles with stomach and tendon (RM8.90)

I spotted this place one night, after dining at Overseas Restaurant on Jalan Imbi. Hard to miss this newly opened restaurant (started business on 18 September, 2008) since it is almost directly opposite the infamous Chinese restaurant. To be honest, I had no idea about this famous beef noodles from Tangkak. A quick search at the church of Google revealed the popularity of this place that has spanned branches in Kluang and Melaka.

beef balls (RM5 for 8 pieces)

A nice clean place, dining here was pretty pleasant except most of the wait staff seem to speak Mandarin versus the requisite Kuala Lumpur Cantonese accent. I ordered the mix beef selection (with stomach and tendons) to try. Full of beefy goodness (only local beef is used), my noodles came laden with thick slices of beef, a little bit of stomach parts and tendons. While the beef slices was tender, I thought they were pretty stingy on the stomach parts and tendons. A sprinkling of salted vegetable (ham choy) is added on top. My hor fun noodles were large flat strands and I think they cut them because all of them were quite short. Even though the portions are quite generous, the beef broth didn't impress me - I felt it had more of a soy sauce taste versus beefy. Prices are also quite steep - about RM7.90 to RM9.90 (normal size). For the tendons, a normal bowl is RM15.90 (for tendons).

A side order of beef balls was also ordered to try out. Served in a soup that tasted strongly of herbs, I didn't quite like the oily layer surrounding my beef balls. Beef balls didn't impress, as they lacked the elasticity I usually look for. Instead, this felt very home made and the texture was soft.

Personally, I was not impressed with the beef noodles especially the oily layer of my soup served with the beef balls. Bit weird, as I have been reading such good things about their other outlets. Maybe this place is below sub-standard????

Restoran Tangkak Beef Noodles
No. 133, Ground Floor
Jalan Imbi
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 017-336 8805

(Non halal. Open from 9am to 8pm daily. Shophouse is opposite Overseas Restaurant. Branches are also found in Tangkak, Melaka and Kluang.)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

Other reviews:

Monday, November 03, 2008

Malaysia International Gourmet Festival (MIGF)

those gorgeous candles all over the place, to set the mood

November is the time to dig deep into your pockets, as it is MIGF time! Starting on 1 November, 28 restaurants are participating this year with special festival menus and offers. Kicking off the celebrations, was the Gala launch last Thursday. Here all the restaurants will particpate by setting up booths with sampler portions of their festival menus. It is a good way of figuring out, which place you want to dine at.

Zuan Yuan, One World Hotel's Two Flavoured Oyster with Oriental Garlic Spicy Sauce & Saffron Chilli Oil

The gala can get quite chaotic, as everyone has to move from booth to booth to try the food. After a while, all those small portions start to build up and you can feel your stamina going.

Zuan Yuan's Steamed Winter Truffle with Chrysanthemum Prawn Paupiette in Pumpkin Paste

Everyone loved Zuan Yuan's fresh oysters laced with a very subtle chili oil. The other item on the menu - the prawn dumpling was average tasting with the pumpkin paste dominating the prawn taste more.

Senses doing their "smoked ocean trout" thing

My vote for one of the best tasting, was Senses. I really loved their table smoked ocean trout. Here you see a larger version they were doing for the gala. In the restaurant, they use a wine glass to cover the ocean trout and smoke it.

Senses signature dessert

Dessert was one of their signature items - this chocolate terrine with a delicious chocolate crumbs. I really liked this, but sadly they are not serving this for the festival menu.

Si Chuan Dou Hua's suspended spoons in the air - boiled sliced venison in sichuan pepper sauce

I liked Si Chuan Dou Hua's chilled noodles with shredded abalone - very refreshing. Also good was Kabab & Qaurma's selections. The kebabs were tender and the rice, nice and fluffy. A little cold since they had to prepare it ahead but pretty good stuff, enough to put this place on my list of "to-try-later-on" restaurants.

Tamarind Springs living goddess

Some of the restaurants outdid themselves with the decor of their booths - the one that takes the cake is Tamarind Springs. This lady was suspended high and above, looking down at us.

Putrajaya Marriott's violin duo

The host, Putrajaya Marriott outdid themselves with a huge display for their two restaurants - Tuscany and Summer Palace. They even had two girls perched on a ledge, playing the violins. Scary to be looking down from all that way up.

tartlets from Putrajaya Marriott

Lighting was quite bad within the ballroom, so I snapped quite a lot of pictures at the Putrajaya Marriott booth. Didn't manage to try everything though..

mascarpone cream infused with cherries

I had the mascarpone cream - not too bad and I loved the cherries hidden within the cream. Not too sweet when paired with the cream.

teeny weeny cakes

Since there were so many booths and places we visited, after a while it got to be quite a blur, what we tried.

tiramisu - Putrajaya Marriott

There were these cutesy chocolate cups filled with tiramisu cream - not fantastic and kinda didn't taste like tiramisu since it had no alcohol soaked sponge within it.

Red's cocktails made with 42 below vodka

Red from PJ Hilton, were serving wickedly delicious cocktails in these attractive test tubes.

eggshells filled with crab bisque

I liked the crab bisque - served in eggshells. Very unique and delicious tasting.

Pacifica grill's langoustine tortelloni

I wasn't too impressed with the tortelloni from Pacifica Grill, but then a bit difficult for them as it was slightly cold already.

truffles from Villa Danieli

We stopped by Villa Danieli, and indulged a bit on chocolate truffles - simply divine stuff. The band was very loud though - you couldn't really chit chat with people you meet moving from booth to booth.

For me, the only place that stood out was Senses. Wouldn't mind going there to try the festival menu. Doubt I can afford the full dinner menu but maybe I can dig deep in my wallet for the light lunch option. For more details on the restaurants and their menus, see the
MIGF official website.
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