Earlier this month I went on a bit of a food review streak. First was Iketeru at KL Hilton, then the Wine dinner at Opus Bistro, followed by Leonardo’s, and then Mandarin Grill, and I think there’s one more before the conclusion of this week.
I usually don’t go to as many review sessions, but the invitations from this month were all too tempting to refuse (though I did forgo a wine dinner in favor of futsal). Leonardo’s stand out in the list for that it is the only one that serves one of my favorite meats – pork.
Leonardo’s Dining Room, Concha Y Toro Sauvignan Blanc 2008
Tucked at a little row of shops by Jalan Bangkung at Bukit Bandaraya, Laonardo’s is run by the same people that brought you Opus, Cava, and Moxie (I haven’t been to the latter two).
While the name might have an Italian origin, the food is more fusion than anything: from pizza, pork knuckle, to bak kut teh and hokkien mee, the menu cuts across different cuisines but with a distinctly pork centric theme. A theme the invited guests in this session agreed whole heartedly.
crispy bacon lollipop, Belgian black mussels, Kentucky fried frog
We had three appetizers to start the night, crispy bacon lollipop was this cute dish with breaded pork balls on satay sticks served in a glass of salt, a mayo based sauce accompany the dish just to make it even more sinful. The balls had cheese and pork in it, I didn’t pace myself and had more than a couple.
The Belgian black mussels (RM 55) were cooked in a savory white wine and cream broth, from fresh and not frozen seafood, with of parsley and onion to add to the flavor.
My favorite appetizer out of the three must be the Kentucky fried frog, and I’m sure Kim would kill for this. Deep fried in a very light batter, the freshness of the frog legs perfectly intact. I’m amazed how well it goes with the tartar sauce (if I get it right). Perfect beer snack.
Italian Cippino, Spanish black pig shoulder loin steak, mama mia pizza
The Italian Cippino (RM 46) is, I supposed, a dish Leonardo himself would be quite familiar with. Plenty of seafood in tomato broth, served with foccacia bread. There’re fish, mussels, prawns, and squid too.
The Spanish black pig shoulder loin steak (RM 55) is served medium well with picon blue risotto mustard sauce. The meat was as tender as any top grade steak but with a hint of pork texture and taste, no wonder it is also known as the wagyu of pork world. Delicious!
The rectangular mama mia pizza (RM 35) is a thin crust pizza cut in six pieces and precariously topped with jamon serrano (similar to parma ham), rocket, and mozzarella cheese
ciki serving Leo’s pork knuckle platter, I licked the bone clean
My favorite main dish of the night has got to be their signature Leo’s pork knuckle platter (RM 75). The pork knuckle is perfect, with the meat super tender you could tear em clean from the bone (as I demonstrate) while the skin roasted till super crispy.
There were red sauerkraut & garlic herb roasted potatoes to balance the taste too, it couldn’t have been better. I absolutely love it.
pork chorizo sausage, grilled pork neck, hokkien mee with giant prawns
Pork chorizo sausage (RM 38) is served with bacon, potato, and apple rosti with chunky tomato relish. A pretty hearty meal by itself, I’d have this with some Guinness.
Another unique dish at Leonardo’s is their grilled pork neck (RM 25) with spicy mango. I like the cilantro salsa that comes with it, but to be honest I personally didn’t like the pork neck much, the texture’s a bit too soft and oily for my liking.
Edward, the part owner, insisted that we try their fried hokkien mee. Served with some seriously huge prawns, I must say that it didn’t disappoint if only it’s a tad too sweet for me. Then again, perhaps my taste bud was tainted with the previous nine dishes I tried?
banana bread n butter pudding, grilled mango w pink peppercorn & cardamom,
baked apple with fillo pastry, chocolate seduction
Then of course, the desserts have to come when I’m already absolutely full to the brim. However, I find that this is generally not a problem with girls, they seem to have a separate stomach reserved just for dessert. Call me sexist, but it is absolutely true!
The banana bread and butter pudding (RM 18) served with vanilla ice cream was my favorite among the desserts. Grilled mango with pink peppercorn and cardamom (RM 18) was a bit strange, the baked apple with fillo pastry (RM 18) sweet and savory, and the chocolate seduction (RM 22) was absolutely rich and flavorful I don’t know how anyone could actually finish it right after a big meal.
Then again, I don’t have that spare dessert stomach.
Fadlin also got us some lovely wines sponsored by Magnum to go with all these food. We had Villa Girardi Soave 2007 (Italian) , Concha Y Toro Sauvignon Blanc (Chile), Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir 2006 (U.S), and James Irvine Barossa Merlot 2006 (Australia).
61-1 and 61-2, Jalan Bangkung,
59100 Kuala Lumpur GPS:3.138116, 101.669197 Tel:03-2096 2226
Other than enjoying a good meal and traveling, the one other passion that I have is photography. I’ve owned an SLR for a few years now, and recently just bought a compact camera for traveling too.
These two gadgets each have their strengths and weaknesses, the big device produces better quality photos, but is bulky, complicated to use, and a drag to carry around when traveling. On the other hand, while the compact is tidy and convenient, you lose quite a lot of flexibility in terms of what you can do and the photo quality is generally subpar to an SLR.
Olympus E-PL1 with 14-42mm kit lens (equivalent to 28-84mm)
The Micro 4/3rd format isn’t exactly a very new thing, but the Olympus E-PL1 incorporates every major features I have been looking for in a camera.
small size (it’s only as big as those “prosumer” compacts)
SLR image quality
ease of use (very important when you ask strangers to take photos of you)
built in flash
very good HD quality video
The sensor size of this camera is the same as other 4/3rd SLRs (such as the professional dSLR E-3) so you can be assured of the image quality. Compared to a compact camera that usually employs the 1/2.5″ sensor, the E-PL1 lets in almost 9 times as much light. The more light, the better, it’s very simple.
Live Guide feature
OK enough tech speak, there are a few features on the camera that I want to highlight.
First, the Live Guide. This feature makes using the camera quite a lot simpler, on the iAUTO mode, you get into Live Guide and choose the item to adjust – color saturation, white balance, brightness, field of depth, and so on. This way, you get to see the effect live on the screen and make adjustment before shooting. Don’t need to remember things like to increase depth of field, you have to increase aperture, etc. Very nifty.
Food, food, food!
It doesn’t take a genius to know that I take photos of food in great quantity, it is basically the backbone of this blog anywaythat and the maps, right? :P)
nasi ayam – Wisma Central
The little camera that could, the E-PL1 takes excellent photos of food, SLR quality, no doubt. Even with the more challenging indoor shots, you can always use the Live Guide feature to correct white balance (to get a more natural color instead of overly yellow, for example). Furthermore, nice bokeh (blurred background) can be achieved pretty easily.
a pint of goodness
This picture demonstrates the ability of the camera to pick up amazing details even in pretty low light condition. The photo of Guinness was taken at Berlin Beirgarten at Solaris. Love the way water droplets around the glass is emphasized here.
four treasures (at DucKing)
While the previous picture of Guinness with it’s slightly off white balance still works out pretty well, you often want to get the correct natural color when it comes to shooting food. This is where the Live Guide comes in handy, I was able to use the feature to correct the white balance (hit Start/OK button then choose “color”) right there and then and get the picture I want.
Camera Size and Street Photography
Other than shooting food, I do quite a bit of street photography, and one thing about this genre of shooting that might not be apparent is the size of the camera one chooses.
hello mom, I’m in KL already!
With its small size and less imposing outlook, the E-PL1 excels in this form of photography. The heavier SLRs, while giving you good image quality, also leave you with sore shoulders and very tired arms after a day of hauling the equipment walking around town.
Other than being lighter, the camera is also quite a lot more stealthy and less intruding, a subtle but important factor in this case. When you have a big camera, people tend to be more aware and react too much to your equipment, the smaller Olympus lets the subject act the way they are and this makes shooting on the streets that much easier.
When fully extended, the 14-42mm kit lens shoots at an 84mm equivalent to traditional 35mm film camera. I was able to get this shot of KLCC with its reflection of one tower on the other. Again, even the most minute of details stands out.
This baby also shoots video at 720p HD format, that’s 1280 x 720, or a gazillian times better than VGA especially on the bigger LCDs that we use these days.
The other advantage is that this SLR quality video is much better than basically any compact camera and most dedicated video cameras. You get to change different lenses to suits your need, and get the depth of field a compact can only dream of.
This is the camera to go if you want the best of both worlds, check out the microsite at http://evolvewitholympus.com.my for more information. Now is there anyone who wants to sponsor me to a photography trip? 😀
Whenever I go back to Penang, the first meal that I usually seek out is a plate of awesome Char Kueh Teow. The Sister’s CKT used to be one of my favorites, but the standard there has unfortunately took a turn to the south in recent times, and now I usually go to the unanimous tourist’s choice – the Lorong Selamat CKT.
While some of the “locals’ might bark at this endorsement, I do sincerely think that Lorong Selamat CKT is superior to the others I’ve tried on the island, and I’ve spent over 18 years living there. Sometimes when a place gets famous, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is also overrated.
Unfortunately, I call PJ home these days and seldom head back to Penang. The craving for a good plate of CKT stays though. That big prawns, cockles, with plenty of bean sprouts, chives, an egg, and a dash of preserved vegetable fried with a flat noodle in a super heated wok, ahhh…
New Yee Sang kopitiam, PJ SS6; Char Kueh Teow
After all these years trying various Char Kueh Teow places around the Klang Valley, I’ve managed to found a few that does not disappoint, and this unsuspecting stall at New Yee Sang kopitiam at SS6 (nearby the KJ small Giant) is the latest addition.
The ingredients and taste is on par with the one at Seng Lee Kopitiam (behind Hock Lee at Damansara Heights), with pretty decent size prawns and a good enough “wok hei” too. And by the way, the same kopitiam serves pretty good umbra with sour plum drinks at RM 2.50 a glass that I order whenever I don’t need coffee.
The weather lately has been nothing short of spectacular, it is as if the power that be has stopped knowing how to pace and it is now either a thunderstorm (which is might fine), or a long baut really really hot max weather.
When it’s hot out, I always have one thing in mind, the very thing that made 7-Eleven a household name – SLURPEE! the coolest drink on earth.
To be frank, I have this other habit of enjoying slurpee in the winter when it is cold out too, but that doesn’t really apply to Malaysia.
ANYWAY, lest I digress.. Today I want to tell you about “My Funniest Slurpee Video” contest. How this work, is fairly simple
Create a video between 30s to 2minutes showing your funny moment with Slurpee (any size and any flavor)
Video will be reviewed and approved within 24-hour
You can submit multiple videos
Get your friends to vote for your videos
This one is my video (very pro wan ok!)
As with any contest, we are also interested in the prizes. Instead of only one grand prize, there’s weekly prizes, grand prize, first prize, 2nd prize, 3rd prize, and even consolation prize!
Weekly prize is RM 500 cash + Slurpee T-shirt, the first one to be awarded on March 25, all the way till April 22. Five in total. The grand/first/2nd/3rd prizes all consists of vacations to Redang, Tioman, Langkawi, and Berjaya Hills. Very tempting!
Furthermore, the grand, first, and 2nd prize winners will also get 52 pieces of 22oz Slurpee vouchers!
I had no idea when the Straits Cafe first appeared at Centrepoint, it has the look of one of those restaurants that I usually wouldn’t stepped in to try until being suggested, in this case, by Jaclyn, who has been quite a regular customer.
Tucked at the inside of Centrepoint, most tables are al fresco. No air conditioning, but there are quite a few big fans blowing about. The menu is filled with a mixture of local and Thai delights – char kueh teow, phat thai, various types of fried rice, mee goreng, even steamed siakap and daging masak merah. Quite a variety.
I had the prawn mee (RM 8.90) on my first visit with #porkgang, and char kueh teow (RM 8.90) on my second visit with Val (who was passing the Corica Apple Strudel from Perth). While both dishes weren’t the best that I’ve had, they did not disappoint at all, and probably one of the better halal version of these dishes I’ve had from anywhere.
Others were happy with mee siam (RM 7.90) that looked a bit uninspiring, and the crab mee fried rice (RM 8.90) Val ordered was actually quite tasty too, despite not seeing much crab meat in it. But it’s less than RM 10 per plate anyway, and crab meat’s expensive.
Lorbak, Ais Kacang, and Roselle drink
I didn’t particularly like the chicken lorbak (RM 7.90) which was a bit too dry for my taste, I still believe this is one of those items without a good substitute for good old fashion pork meat in it. Their fried chicken wings (RM 6.90) though, was very tasty!
The Straits Cafe offers quite a few choices for desserts, ais kacang (RM 5.00) wasn’t disappointing, and there were also penang rojak, cendol, logan jelly, and even Thai steamed tapioca. My personal favorite drinks at the place would be the Roselle ice, I last had it years ago during a food review at Coca restaurant and never seen it on any menu since. It’s a pretty special drink, try it when you have the chance.
Kim, Gareth, KY, Jac, Eric, Horng, Suanie, and Val (separate visit)
While not exactly the best food you can find, the Straits Cafe does offer pretty decent food at a price that is acceptable for the type of place it is. This would be one of the places I should keep in mind especially when bringing Muslim friends for food.
Address: The Straits Cafe Centrepoint,
Jalan Leboh Bandar Utama,
47800 Petaling Jaya
Selangor GPS:3.137988, 101.610124