Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thai Kopitiam @ Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park, Kuala Lumpur

Thai pandan kaya with toast

I've been on a mission...almost an impossible one but I'm happy to say I've reached a conclusion (and yes it's a happy ending even though it'll take a few more blog posts). It has been a subconcious effort on my part to look for good Thai food. While I knew where the Thais ate and shopped, I wanted to experience restaurant food that reminded me of the wondrous culinary creations from our neighbouring country.

seafood tom yum

Quite a few years back, we travelled all the way to Bangkok from Kuala Lumpur by road. It was time consuming but we all totally enjoyed the whole trip since it meant a lot of exploration. Starting from the border town of Sadao, we made our way to Haadyai, Chumpon, Hua Hin and finally Bangkok. Traversing through the southern part of the country made me realise that their curries bore a close resemblance to what we served on our Malaysian tables. Once you hit the central and northern regions, it was a different bowl of tom yum completely - more refined, less red and somewhat more fragrant. Ever since then, I've been searching around for those same flavours in my Thai meals. Strangely enough, the closest I ever got to that long tasted food memory was in Singapore when I dined at a restaurant serving Royal Thai cuisine.

Yellow curry fried seafood, pad thai and omelette

In the pursuit of that Thai food mirage, I ended up at this small kopitiam recommended by Time Out KL. It seemed a little weird to discover a Thai eatery here amid the sea of Chinese eateries. The small place is run by a mother-and-daughter team from central Thai. From what I understand, their local partner recommended they open up here. What works for their advantage is they're next to the ever popular Jojo Little Kitchen.

red rubies dessert

If you're dining here for lunch, they do simple one plate meals such as pad thai or fried rice. Dinner features a more extensive menu of dishes you can order. Since it is a kopitiam, they also serve the Thai pandan kaya (RM2.90 with bread) - a watery pale green concoction dribbled with coconut milk. It's a little sweet and smooth but goes well with the toasted bread. For my lunch, I sample the pad thai (RM8.90), one of my favourite noodles. It wasn't the best ever I have tasted but it was a decent sized portion with fresh prawns that I enjoyed.

We returned back for dinner another night and discovered the tummy tickling seafood tom yum (RM9.90). It was fiery hot and perfect for a rainy night with just the right amount of tanginess from an abundance of kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass used. They were also pretty generous with the prawns for the soup. The choices on the dinner menu can be quite limited so don't expect the usual kerabus. We had the recommended seafood fried in a yellow curry and fluffy eggs (RM12.90). While it was mild and pleasant, I didn't really detect any wow factor here. Same for the omelette, another recommended dish. Luckily dessert of the ruby red waterchestnuts (Tub Tim Krob for RM4.50) saved the day. I loved the silvers of nangka that went so well with the refreshing coconut milk. They also serve mango glutinous rice and the sinful durian with glutinous rice, an item I have not eaten for some time since Hatyai Street Food closed down.

My conclusion at the end of the day was even though the food was reasonably priced but it wasn't what I was looking for. It's probably good for a quick meal should you be around the area and their Thai pandan kaya with toast, if you're a big fan of it.

Thai Kopitiam
28GF Jalan Kuchai Maju 9
Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park
Off Jalan Kuchai Lama
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-7982 4643

(Pork Free. Open from 11am to 11pm daily. Place is right across from Jojo Little Kitchen in Kuchai. 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, September 27, 2010

Northern Indian Food @ Malabar Palace, Hartamas Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur

paneer fingers

Apologies for the intermittent blog absences as work beckons that I've not been updating. I often have great plans for my weekends. Friday evenings start out with a long list of resolutions  but on Sunday evenings when the weekend is about to vanish, most of those must-dos are just only on paper. One of it has been "to blog" and this post has been admittedly sitting in my blog inbox for a long long time, so today we mark one milestone as it goes out to be published.

spinach papdi chat

For the past few months, every time I met up with my foodie friend CS, she'll have me craving for the enticing Indian goodies of Malabar Palace. It'll be all talk every night and while we itched for their goodies, it took us many moons later before we ended up here.

flowers decorate each table, the mixed vegetarian tandoori grill, the must-eat vegetable chutney

Unlike its royal sounding name, I admit the place is more like a hole in a wall since it is very cosy and kinda non descript (in fact I've never noticed its existence until my friend brought me here!). While it may be lacking in ambiance, the food made up for it, and like another friend said when we did a revist, it reminded her of the good old university days in England where we used to get great Northern Indian food at every corner. Ah, those were indeed carefree wonderful days filled with chicken tikka masala.

Malabari Lamb Varutal

If you're dining in a big group, it is best to book a table as the place tends to get crowded especially since it only sports a few tables. The chef is formerly from Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Shangri-La Hotel hence some of the plating of the food look a little different like our starter of paneer fingers (RM12) - paneer pieces deep fried and topped with a dribble of cumin sauce with a curry leaf. I totally enjoyed this as each piece was soft and mildly spicy with the sauce and the deep fried curry leaf. 

fluffy batura, Malabari Special Chicken curry, Malabari Kalan, Okra Masala

Start off the meal with the pappadums that is served with a spicy and slightly tart vegetable chutney that one can't stop eating. You'll find chopped French beans, carrot, bittergourd, all mixed up with chilli, mustard seeds, garlic and ginger in the chutney.  Eyeing the menu, we zoomed in on the unusual spinach papdi chat (RM6) and was pre-warned that it's not something the Chinese would like (we found out later our friend CS had tried it before and didn't quite like it as she expected a different item). Served in a glass, it resembled a sundae of white yoghurt laced with a orange sauce, chickpeas, potato cubes and topped with spinach green, yellow and orange crackers. The orange sauce was a little sweet and we found out it was made from mango powder. Eaten together with the yoghurt to balance out the sweet sauce and spicy chickpeas and potatoes, it was tasted fine, until the sweet mango sauce got to us when the yoghurt ran out.

kannur prawn

Then came the onslaught of curries and two types of mixed tandoori grills - a vegetarian and non-vegetarian one. I love the Malabari Kalan (RM7.50) that contained the unusual raw uncooked banana cooked in yoghurt and coconut. It was creamy with a slight tangy taste that one could keep eating non stop. Another favourite was the Malabari curry chicken (RM15) - reminscent of chicken tikka masala with pieces of chicken in a tangy creamy sauce. The lamb varutal (RM15), I had twice before and the taste can be a little inconsistent - sometimes a bit too chunky the lamb bits and sometimes just right. Nevertheless, it is still a good dish eaten with rice. The kannur prawn was a spicy tangy mix that complemented the other creamy curries.


I love the vegetables here as they are presented in a similar style, whether it is the okra, brinjal or cauliflower done masala style. They have a tangy taste with lots of chopped onions to give it a slightly sweet taste. I preferred the vegetarian tandoori grill (RM15) to the mixed tandoori grill (RM24) as it had an unusual selection of cauliflower tandoori, paneer tikka and bhara potatoes. The bhara potatoes is stuffed with dried fruits, nuts and cottage cheese, while I enjoyed the crunchy cauliflower with a mild hot taste.

To end the meal, opt for Masala Tea or Mint Tea with their kulfi - mango or pistachio. Both are equally enjoyable but some insist the mango kulfi is better. I don't think this will be the last of our visits to Malabar as my friends are hooked on the food so hopefully we'll make more discoveries here.

Malabar Palace
G-13A, Ground Floor
Hartamas Shopping Centre
Sri Hartamas
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-6201 0792

(Pork Free. Place is opposite Nagomi Shabu Shabu. Booking is recommended as limited tables available. 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, September 20, 2010

Chinese Food, Mooncakes, Dim Sum @ Li Yen, The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur

char siu or baked honey cod?

Here's my bumper post on Chinese food, dim sum and mooncakes to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival (that falls on this Tuesday i.e. 22 September) and my return to the blogging grindstone. It is laden with pictures as I absolutely love the images I managed to snap in my visits here.

Peking Duck - expertly prepared with a chopper and a knife

Well known for its refined and exquisite Chinese cuisine, it is always a pleasure to dine at the ever established Li Yen. In fact, my family used to patronise Li Yen quite a while back ago for family dinners as the food has never dissapointed us so far. Hence, when I decided to join a group of friends for a tasting of the Chinese menu I knew I'll be in very good hands. 

spinach layered beancurd with shimeji mushrooms

For the dinner, we kicked off with their soup of the day - a light tasting dried cabbage with pork ribs soup (RM20 per person). Then it started getting serious with their Peking Duck (RM50 for a medium portion) as it had a sense of theatre involved. We ooohed and aahed when the crispy whole duck was rolled in with all the paraphernalia for the making of a great dish - vegetable pickles, spring onions, soft sesame studded pancakes in a bamboo steamer and the hoisin sauce. Instantly, the cameras started popping away as an experienced looking waitress expertly wielded her chopper (yes, it was a big chopper!) and fork to slowly remove the skin from the duck. Before we knew it, we had soft pancakes all wrapped up for us to enjoy. It may not be the crispiest duck skin around but the pancakes were wonderfully soft. The duck was then whisked away as the kitchen prepped it up for the second course (a choice of using the meat in fried noodles or rice). Later in the evening, it emerged all diced up and mingling with niblets of fluffy fried rice and chopped spring onions that we all ate even though our tummies were full.

fluffy fried rice with cubed Peking duck, champagne prawns

The restaurant does monthly promotions revving up their repertoire of tried favourites and October's promotion is champagne, a favourite ingredient in Li Yen's infamous mooncakes (more on that later). We got to preview the baked prawns with champagne (RM25 per person) - all gleaming from bath of champagne scented sauce. I guess if Cleopatra believes in milk baths, why not anoint prawns with a touch of bubbly for a wonderful sensation. While I wasn't too partial to the texture of the prawns that seemed to lack a bounciness I prefer, I did enjoy the bubbly enhanced sauce.

Baked spare ribs with Chinese tea leaves

When this plate of gleaming baked spare ribs with Chinese tea leaves (RM14 per person) was placed on the table, you could hear the resounding chorus of ooohs and aahs. Once it went through the ritual of being photographed to death there was silence as everyone slowly enjoyed the wonderful pork ribs. Brushed with the sweet sauce, the pork ribs were literally to die for as the meat was tender with just a hint of the Chinese tea leaves. Equally as outstanding was the marine version - baked cod pieces brushed with a similar honey glaze that made it resemble large fatty pieces of char siu with the sticky caramelised edges. Mingling between the "char siu" like dishes, we also had a light tasting home made spinach layered beancurd with shimeji mushrooms and spinach (RM12 per piece).
Moet & Chandon champagne snowskin mooncakes

Rounding up dinner was the avocado cream - a luscious creamy dessert with a look akin like face mask but a fluffy light texture that made it easy to relish even though it was a heavy meal.

durian snowskin mooncakes, a selection of 8 mooncakes, baked mooncake with white lotus paste

Since I was at Li Yen, I grabbed a box of Li Yen's mooncakes to sample. Famous for their Moet & Chandon Champagne snowskin mooncakes (RM8.50 nett per piece), this year they have introduced their sweet pink Moet & Chandon Champagne Rose version (RM15 nett per piece). Even though the pink version looked darn pretty, I felt the rose taste should have been a little more subtle as it felt a little too jarringly sweet and slightly artificial. Instead, I still preferred their classic champagne version that trumped the other mooncakes. Another popular mooncake is the durian mini snowskin mooncake (RM8.50 nett). I had great expectations for this mooncake as when I cut into it there was a beautiful aroma of the pungent durian but upon tasting it, I felt the texture of the filling was a little unevenly mixed together. Moreover even though it had a strong aroma, it didn't taste like there was much durian in the lotus paste. As I had to get a box of eight, I also sampled their mini baked mooncake with white lotus paste (RM8.50 nett). It wasn't too sweet but the skin was just a bit too dry for me.  
siu mai with prawn roe

Making it a trilogy of reviews, I decided to give Li Yen's dim sum a test run one Sunday. They are famous for their dim sum and based on how full it is every Sunday, there's a regular clientele of people who love their dainty morsels. Similar to their food and mooncakes, there's an air of refineness to their dim sum offerings. No big portions but bite size ones that seem to have less oil and fats, so the after effects of the lunch is much easier on the tummy.

beef dumplings, grouper fillet chee cheong fun, fluffy char siu baos

I enjoyed the char siu baos or steamed pork buns (3 pieces for RM9), not too sweet pork filling encased in a soft fluffy buns. The siu mai (4 pieces for RM10) was dainty and filled with chopped prawns, pork and mushrooms. I loved the prawn roe that topped each piece as they had a slight bite to them indicating they were nice and fresh.  
light as air yam puffs

Every month, they also have promotional dim sum items and we sampled their steamed layer cake (ma lai koh for RM10) - fluffy sponge like cake with little oil. Also from the promotional menu is the beef dumplings (3 pieces for RM12) - beef balls with a hint of ginger encased in a wantan wrapper that is deep fried.

antique looking vases, fluffy steamed layer cake, spring rolls, flower decoration and avocado rolls

I like their unusual chee cheong fun items - we sampled their grouper fillet version (RM11.50) which had chunks of the fish and the pan fried chee cheong fun with XO sauce (RM11.50). The pan fried version was unique and lovely as it was stuffed with the XO sauce, making each bite full of flavour. Another favourite was the ku chai dumplings (3 pieces for RM9). You can either order them steamed or pan fried. While it was a little oily, the dumplings were laden with spring onions and teeny weeny chopped prawns. The taro dumplings or wu kok (3 pieces for RM9) was also equally good with a light as air fluffy exterior and a soft yam texture. A must for all dim sum lovers is har gau (4 pieces for RM10) where prawns are encased in a transparent and soft skin. We also sampled the avocado rolls (RM9) - an unusual combo of creamy avocado with chopped bananas in a spring roll wrapped with crunchy kataifi pastry. The spring rolls (RM9) was nice and crispy but nothing exceptional in taste. My least favourite was the deep fried mango prawn rolls (RM10) since there was definitely a lack of sweet mango taste with the prawns. We ended the meal with their seafood noodles (RM35 for a small portion) - lovely strands of noodles braised and served with an abundant amount of seafood: prawns, scallops and fish. While the dim sum was not too salty, we did feel the noodles had a tad too much sodium. Nevertheless, the whole dim sum experience was enjoyable. Service is brisk especially after you have placed your orders. It can get a little chaotic especially on Sundays as the place can get packed to the brim.

avocado cream

The whole dining experience at Li Yen has been memorable indeed and we vowed to return for their dim sum as they definitely made us a fan with their healthier version of those delectable morsels to be enjoyed on a lazy Sunday. Also high on our priority list is another round of that gorgeous baked spare ribs with Chinese tea leaves with a bowl of piping hot white rice to savour.

Li Yen
Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Jalan Imbi
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2142 8000

(Non Halal. Open for lunch from 12 noon to 2.30pm from Mondays to Saturdays, 10.30am to 2.30pm for Sundays and Public Holidays. For dinner, they are opened from 6.30-10.30pm daily. Mooncakes are available until 22 September. Reservations are advised especially for dim sum on Sunday lunchtime. For more pictures, see my Flickr set.)

*Notice: The reviewer declares that part of this review was by invitation from the restaurant. The mooncakes and dim sum were all paid for by the reviewer.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Japanese Food @ Edo Ichi Japanese Restaurant, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur

edo ichi pizza with its unique rice pizza base

I'm a little (okay maybe a lot) addicted to Japanese food that I can often eat it on a daily basis. Reading a friend's facebook updates (they're currently in Tokyo/Kyoto enjoying all the wonderful eats there) on a daily basis got me craving for some Nippon lovin', so here's a double dosage today - a blog post on Edo Ichi, a new place in Solaris Dutamas and a Flickr update to the Nihonkai photo set. For serious Japanese food lovers, there's also my Flickr collection on Japanese food.

one piece is never enough

Japanese food seems to be a perennial favourite of KL-lites, whether it is mom-or-pop joints, Chinese oriented home style eateries, ramen or even udon noodles cafes, chain places with sushi conveyor belts, fusion styled places with lashings of mayonnaise and cheese, izakaya joints for the sake and yakitori lover, and of course classic Japanese which focuses on freshest ever seafood flown in from Tokyo every Tuesdays and Fridays.

intersection of pizza base, sake bottles reserved for regulars, green tea for us instead

I'm not too sure which category Edo Ichi falls in but one thing is definite, the food is utterly delicious here. Edo Ichi is a pretty well known name around the Mont Kiara area, as the Chinese family owns the infamous condominium cafes in Mont Kiara Pines and Vista Kiara. These cafes serve value-for-money eats that won't break your pocket. This more upscale place is supposedly owned by one of the family members.

steamed sake clams

One obvious place they have modeled themselves after is Rakuzen, as the menu is almost identical in looks and design with the Rakuzen ones. Maybe that's the standard design template for all Japanese restaurants - super gorgeous pictures of food that entice you to order everything on the menu.

chilled spinach topped with sesame sauce

Our two visits here especially the last one, left us suitably impressed with this place to guarantee us revisiting it again. Since I was still feeling my way around for the first visit, we had some hits and misses. I wanted a lighter tasting meal hence it was a repertoire of classic dishes. To kick off the meal, it was horenso goma ee, chilled spinach topped with sesame sauce (RM9). While it was cool and refreshing, I felt the sauce was a little too watery and didn't have much of a sesame taste. Probably this came from a bottle versus being the sesame seeds being grinded freshly to form the sauce. Instead I was more impressed with the asari sakamushi (RM18) - stemmed short neck clams with Japanese wine that produced a slurp-licious sweet broth.

Edo ichi menu, una cheese roll and shake tataki roll

I've always been partial towards onigiri aka rice balls especially after I drooled over Oishinbo's descriptions hence I was pretty excited to see they served a variety of them here. However, the mentaiko and grilled onigiri  was dissapointing since the rice didn't taste hot and starchy. Splashie Boy's comfort food is often beef noodles like the niku soba (RM25) - buckwheat noodles served with wafer thin beef slices with a broth made from konbu seaweed.

slightly burnt edges makes the niku amiyaki simply divine

Our second visit saw us hitting a home run with everything we ordered. I enjoyed the gyuniku amiyaki (RM18) tremendously as the grilled beef slices came with caramelised bits on its side (gorgeous) and a smoky taste. The amiyaki sweet sauce complemented it beautifully when it was hot (it got a bit sweet when it turned cold). We also found out you could mix two makis together (a half and half) so you get to taste more choices. The waitress recommended us the una cheese roll (RM28) and the shake tataki roll (RM28), their specialties. I enjoyed them both even though it did come with cheese and mayonnaise, probably because just a dash is added to the whole ensemble. What I also liked was how they seem to make the makis a little smaller with less rice, making it dainty and enough to fit into the mouth at one bite (the real way to eat a maki) so I don't make be look like a social moron.

For the ultimate, I fell in love with the edo ichi pizza (RM30) that came with eel and salmon toppings. The special pizza has an interesting base - sushi rice compressed together, dusted with panko breadcrumbs and deep fried till crisp. It has a slightly soft texture with a crunch from the deep fried breadcrumbs. Just given a lick of mayonnaise, the pizza was topped with salmon and unagi slices, and a sprinkle of ebiko. Yummy till the last piece which I slowly savoured.

Like an addict, the cravings started to hit when I was editing these pictures and I reckon I'll need to revisit again to satisfy my Japanese fix here as there ain't such a thing called Japanese food rehab.

Edo Ichi Japanese Restaurant
Solaris Dutamas
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-6205 5228

(Pork Free. Open from 11.30am to 3pm for lunch and 6pm to 10pm for dinner. 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.

Other bloggers views:

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Monday, September 06, 2010

The Haute Food Co. @ Plaza Damas, Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur

illustrations by Sam Hepburn from

Monday blues...don't we all have them especially after immensely fun weekends. Luckily we have television channels that bring on the comedies and places like The Haute Food Co. with their sweets to help us combat those oh-so-sad feelings.

decadent caramel pecan cheesecake

This place has been on the horizon for quite some time as my curiousity was piqued when Facebook friends moaned and groaned when they couldn't get their weekly dose of sticky date pudding. Sounded pretty awesome hence when I finally had the time, I slowly explored this place. It's kinda tucked away within the maze of Plaza Damas but once you get the directions right the first time, you can quickly find it.

a little sugar definitely perks up Monday, carrot cake and yoghurt crumble cake

In terms of ambiance, there's not much as it is a super small cafe (not big enough to swing a cat I reckon) and tables are cramped within the shop area. However, there are tables outside where you can dine al-fresco. It's super packed during lunch time with students from the nearby Taylors College, people from the offices and even Japanese housewives who live at the upstairs apartments.

the sticky date pudding with a caramel sauce my friends love

For savoury bites, you have a choice between the regular menu of grilled sandwiches, breakfast items (like eggs and fry ups), sandwiches or the daily menu specials. Most of the customers here are regulars hence they usually go for the daily menu specials that can be a choice for a soup, a vegetable tart, baked potato, stews and etc. If I am not mistaken, the daily specials are about RM15.90.

grilled sandwich of roast beef, caramelised onions, the Ollie, pumpkin and spinach tart

I do like their grilled sandwiches as it's pretty substantial and best of all, it comes with a nice crisp salad of cos lettuce leaves, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. You get a choice of white, multigrain or ryebread for your sandwiches. The roast beef sandwich  (RM13.50) I tried is layered thickly with slices of roast beef and a generous portion of caramelised onions to give it flavour. The whole combination is finished with mizuna leaves to give it a slight peppery kick. While the club sandwich is not toasted, it is still gorgeous as it is served with a soft floury buns (I call them baps as they remind me of the ones from university days), grilled chicken breast, beef bacon, cheese, fried egg, mustard mayonnaise and caramelised onions (RM15.90). On other occasions, I've sampled the pumpkin and spinach tart (chockfull of chunks of pumpkin which I liked), the mushroom soup which was nice but a bit watered down and my friend sampled the baked potatoes which was a bit underseasoned.

scones and lemon poppy berry tartlets done Hipstamic style

For the sweet side of things, I found not everything tasted fantastic even though I applaud them for baking cakes the more naturel way (i.e. without lashings of cream and the atypical sponge cake). The sticky date pudding was very good with a scoop of ice cream especially served hot. A teeny weeny bit sweet at the end (when it gets a bit cold) but like a friend of mine put it, date puddings need to be sweet or else how would it tasted nice. I also sampled other cakes such as the carrot cake and the yoghurt crumble cake. Even though the carrot cake was a sight to behold with a super pretty topping of dried fruits and pumpkin seeds, a thick layer of cream cheese, chock full of chopped nuts in the cake, I felt the taste was very one dimensional as all I could taste was a lot of brown sugar within. The yoghurt crumble also looked enticing but didn't have much taste to it even though it had a nice soft texture especially after being warmed up. I did however strike gold with their caramel pecan cheesecake - a toothsome baked cheesecake variety with just the right soft texture with the balance of cream cheese within and a decadent caramel bits, pecan and chocolate chip topping. It was so good, I couldn't resist taking back another piece and even the girl next to my table decided to pack one home. My only gripe is the cheesecake is not always available since they do a rotation basis for the cheesecakes.

In conclusion, I do like this little place which I call my secret lunch hideout. It's especially pleasant if you avoid the crazy lunch crowd and partake in a late lunch so you can slowly savour the food and explore their sweets. Their scones are somewhat famous too, so that will definitely be on my next agenda provided I don't get distracted with other attractive sweets.

The Haute Food Co.
H-0-2, Block H
Plaza Damas
60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-6201 3168

(Pork Free. The pretty illustrations are from Sam Hephurn who is based here, so contact vide Open from 10am to 5pm. Closed on Tuesdays. For the Raya break, they are closed from 10 to 14 September. To get here, at the top level of Hartamas Shopping Centre, go through the glass doors. You will see Aji Don across the road. Cross road, keep right and turn right after the kopitiam. Walk down and when you see the blue and white awnings, this is Haute Food Co. 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.

Other bloggers review:

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Friday, September 03, 2010

Mini Snow Skin Lotus Paste Mooncake @ Summer Pavilion, The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

flower design snow skin mooncake

Apologies to those non-mooncake fans as my posts seem to be alternating between Ramadan bazaars and mooncake reviews but do bear with me as I seem to be getting mooncakes from everywhere to try as people know I love trying out new things.

all cut up and ready to be eaten, the rich luxuriant box with the traditional clasp

This time round, I managed to score mooncakes from Singapore courtesy of my kind sister and my brother-in-law who carted them back on his flight back to Kuala Lumpur. Too bad my attempt to get some in the infamous 3 Michelin Star Lung King Heen in Hong Kong was dashed as they had some weird policy of pre-ordering mooncakes before they made them or else, this will be truly a universal review of mooncakes from different countries.
snowdrop design, one more piece to go, the top of the pretty box

They got me the classic mini snow skin with a white lotus seed paste and salted egg yolk centre. I loved the red and gold ornate mooncake box that it was presented in - definitely the prettiest one I have seen so far and extremely useful for storing my business cards in the office.

Compared to the Kuala Lumpur mooncakes, the taste and texture of this mooncake is so different. The snow skin is silky soft with very little bite and a slight gummy taste probably from more oil used. The lotus paste is aromatic plus not too sweet, and wonderfully balanced with the salted egg yolk. The workmanship of the mooncake was a little shoddy too, as one could see they didn't trim off any excess of the snow skin that was jutting out making it look slightly lopsided. Aside from these classic flavours, the restaurant is also does innovative varieties like: jujube paste with walnuts, lycheetini snow skin, green tea paste and chocolate varieties.

Summer Pavilion Restaurant
The Ritz-Carlton
Millenia Singapore

Tel: 02-6434 5286

(A box of six mini snow skin costs S$39 for six pieces. See my whole Mooncake Flickr set for this year's varieties.)

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, September 02, 2010

Suishin @ Solaris Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur

chirashi sushi

Nowadays, I find that hitting the right restaurant is getting harder and harder in a sea of mediocre eateries. Probably that is why a lot more thought (and repeat visits) has gone into each eatery to test their breadth on what they can actually do. One particular place is this Japanese restaurant cum pub, I have been frequenting on an "on-off" basis to determine what it can actually do.

mejina sashimi (RM35)

My first visit wasn't too memorable as I remember through a haze of too much melting cheese (the bane of classic Japanese but very much an essential ingredient in fusion Japanese). I reckon we overdid it with their volcano maki - a pool of melting cheese on top of rice rolls to give it taste. A double whammy was in the avocado gratin, squared pieces of avocado mixed with cheese and gratinated over a hot grill. Instead pungent flavours from the stewed ayu fish still stick to the brain (it is very much an acquired taste as it can be very very fishy!) and the fresh sashimi, where they even deep fry the fish bones for you to chew on.

Sake to ikura potato salad (RM24)

Not feeling inspired after the first visit, I shoved thoughts about blogging about this place aside. Then, a chance opportunity to sample dinner here one night (I wanted to eat at Shuraku next door but it was a Monday and they were closed hence I ended here) led me to believe there was a ray of hope through that dark tunnel. 
Suishin dragonmaki with prawn

I was alone and wanted something simple yet comforting...hence the perennial favourite of mine i.e. chirashi sushi. You may think I go for this dish purely for the raw fish but nope, I'm a little different (and weird) as I relish the sweet taste and slightly sticky texture of the sushi rice under that layer of colourful raw sashimi. It is the same rice they use to wrap the sushi and for me, it tastes great just on its own that sometimes I rather eat it versus normal rice. Even though it wasn't technically a chirashi sushi (more like a bara sushi since it was chopped into pieces versus sliced), it was still a very satisfying meal that made me hanker for more.

nikujaga (RM17)

That second visit bought the restaurant a third visit by us and this time round, we discovered some hits but also stumbled on some misses. I'm always partial towards home style Japanese hence when I saw niku jaga (stewed beef with potatoes), I ordered it. This dish is often cooked at home (in fact I just made it two nights ago) as it is pure comfort food - flaky soft potatoes mixed with tender beef slices and sweet onions dressed in a sweet thickened dashi sauce. Suishin's version is not as sweet as my cooked version and nice and light with vegetables to make it healthy.
hotate to kinoko mentai yaki (RM28)

Seasonal fish is available so ask the wait staff for recommendations. I can never resist something unusual, hence I zoomed in on the ikura topped salmon potato salad. It's a fusion dish as underneath the creamy potato salad is a pesto sauce. Nice textures but way too salty for my liking (maybe from the ikura?) especially since we were eating dinner sans carbohydrates. We tried another popular dish, the hotate to kinoko mentai yaki (RM28) - scallops with a dash of mentaiko roe and cheese flashed under the grill. Nice stuff but nothing earthshattering.

yaki anago tofu (RM29) and volcano maki

We were then persuaded to try one of their makis, the Suishin dragonmaki with prawn. With promises that no cloyingly cheese will be present, we were happy to discover the maki was an excellent choice as it had a very light and delicate coating of freshly fried tempura batter bits to give it a slight crunch. It also had just the amount of sauce to make each biteful so tasty that we totally enjoyed it. Another dish we were recommended was the sea eel or anago agedashi tofu. It's similar to something I've eaten at Sushi Zanmai (unagi tofu) but this one felt more refined and elegant as the sea eel didn't feel too oily or sickeningly overwhelming. The grated daikon radish and leeks on top complemented the whole experience with the lightly deep fried tofu.

Overall impression of the place after three visits, the place does have its hits and misses so luckily we did return for more (sometimes first impressions need a little more work). You just need to know what to order and even though it does not have a Japanese chef, this has not deterred the Japanese patrons from dining here. It's definitely best you follow the wait staff's recommendation especially for those who hate cheese (yes you know who you are!). Just inform them so they can cater to your tastes.

Suishin Restobar
5-1, 1st Floor
Jalan Solaris 1
Solaris Mont Kiara
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03- 6203 6642

(Pork Free. Daily menu specials are available. Some of the items in this review may not be available but check with the wait staff if they can whip it up for you. Open for lunch during the weekdays and for dinner throughout the whole week. More pictures can be found in 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.

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