Category / By Invitation
Several weeks ago I was invited to Kurata Japanese Restaurant to preview their Okayama Fruit Fair. Fine Japanese food is among the top of my list, so obviously I accepted the invitation without hesitation. Furthermore, the invitation was referred to by Ringo, a dear friend, which made it all the better.
Okayama fruit fair at Kurata Japanese restaurant, Parkroyal KL
Kurata is located at the lower lobby of PARKROYAL Hotel, which itself is situated right across from Sungai Wang. While being quite familiar with Bukit Bintang, I must say that this was the first time I stepped foot into this restaurant.
First timer to the restaurant may find it a little bit difficult to find, and this is because for some reason unknown to me, Kurata is located WITHIN another hotel restaurant, but trust the signs, and you shall get there.
Shine Muscat, White Peach and New Pione,
sesame short bread with fruit topping, macaroon
Okayama, a prefecture in Chugoku, Japan, is also regarded as the “Kingdom of Fruits”. The region is known as the birthplace of some of the finest fruits Japanese has to offer, including the white peach.
Since this post is about Okayama, lets start with the fruits & desserts (although we were served with them last).
The fruit platter comes with shine muscat, white peach, and new pione. The muscat is seedless and has very high sugar content with low acidity, while the new Pione (also called black pearl) is so rich in flavor it’s almost like biting into wine, I love it. White peach needs no introduction, each bite is so delicate and juicy it’s unlike any peach I’ve ever had. Fantastic.
You can also have the fruits served on sasame short bread, with the pastry providing a contrast to bring out the sweetness of fruits even more. Alternatively, for macaroon lovers, how about some beautifully crafted macaroon stuffed with fresh Okayama fruits?
white peach roll cake in vanilla sauce, Peach and Tofu Parfait, Ringo & Haze
For those who like something richer, the white peach roll cake in vanilla sauce will certainly fit the bill, though you do lose the taste of freshness from the peach that some of us love so much.
The peach and tofu parfait is yet another way to enjoy the white peach, this dessert is delicate and doesn’t come with strong artificial sweetness like most parfait do, so for those who doesn’t like their desserts too sweet, this is perfect.
The fair run till end of August, 2015. (yeah, this post is a little late).
appetizer for Sushi Course at Kurata
Prior to all the Okayama goodness, we were also treated with the Sushi Course at Kurata (RM 190).
The course comes with appetizer in the form of beans, tofu, and angler fish liver with jelly. I can’t exactly remember the details of each ingredients, but they made a pretty good combination to kickstart the meal.
sashimi on ice
Next up was air flown sashimi – and no expenses were spared. We had kanpachi, otoro, and sake (salmon). The fresh fish were accompanied with grated wasabi, and if you haven’t had otoro with high grade soya sauce and grated wasabi, you haven’t experience the finest of sashimi. It was as good as any.
grilled alfonsino, wagyu beef, miso soup
The course next switched to something more savory, in the form of grilled alfonsino fish with a side of pickled bamboo shoots.
To be honest, I think grilled alfonsino is perhaps a dish that requires a bit of an acquired taste. This is not the first time I had it, but I still think the rather firm texture and sweetish taste isn’t something that “blows my mind”, so to speak. It was nice, but it wasn’t great.
We were then served with miso soup.
assorted sushi, including my favorite – uni (sea urchin)
The main dish of assorted sashimi were then served, and it was among some of the best I’ve had. The presentation was basic and straight to the point, but the sweet shrimp, sea urchin, salmon, kanpachi, salmon roe, and even the sushi roll were really well crafted and more than meet expectations.
Food at Kurata is certainly worth exploring, and for those who like a quiet and romantic ambiance, this may fit the bill perfectly.
Kurata Japanese Restaurant
Lower Lobby, PARKROYAL HOTEL.
Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.144423, 101.712351
Tel: 03-2110 0226
Hours: Wednesday and Thursday Lunch close, Sunday dinner close
A couple weeks ago we were invited to sample Chef Sam Lu’s menu at Saujana Hotel’s Ti Chen Chinese restaurant. Chef Sam Lu is the new man in charge of the kitchen at Ti Chen, and one with multiple awards under his belt.
Saujana’s Ti Chen Chinese Restaurant with Chef Sam Lu (right)
Chef Sam learnt the fundamentals of Chinese cuisine by attending the Chinese Cooking Course under China Hakka Famous Chefs and was also trained at the China Development Center of Molecular Gastronomy. In this menu, the play between molecular gastronomy and traditional Chinese cuisine is very apparent, and we were lucky enough to be one of the few who got to try his creation at Saujana.
For this media review, we were served the following 7 course menu.
deep fried scallops with banana & taro paste
roasted chicken roll with Korean BBQ sauce
The dinner got underway with a pair of appetizers.
Deep fried scallop with banana and taro paste was a bit like an East-meet-West dimsim & dessert marriage. Banana gave the dish a soft and sweet texture, while the scallop contributed to the taste of seafood, pretty interesting.
Roasted chicken roll with Korean BBQ sauce had a bit more of a traditional palate with a hint of Korean flavor, I find myself enjoying it quite a bit. The carefully roasted garlic was just an icing on the cake.
double boiled village chicken with fish maw soup
The double boiled village chicken with fish maw soup was the one dish that actually enticed Haze and I to go to this review session. We were spending a lot of time with house renovation and thought a bowl of good soup would do us well, we were not wrong.
According to the good chef, the soup took no shorter than 6 hours to prepare. The fish maw was soft and tender, and the soup positively rejuvenating.
steamed cod fish with Chinese herbs
My favorite dish came next – the steamed cod fish with Chinese herbs. The filet was absolutely fantastic, it was tender, juicy, and just lightly seasoned. I like the presence of wolf berry in the broth, and that foam from the influence of molecular gastronomy.
butter garlic fried-rice with crab meat, roast duck
As with any proper Chinese course dinner, there’s always a dish with carbo, and our version came in the form of butter garlic fried-rice with crab meat. Instead of the traditional dryer and more fluffy type of fried rice, this version takes the cue from Italian risotto and prepared a little wetter. To be honest, I prefer the Chinese fried rice of old, not that this one is bad, it was just.. unfamiliar.
We were also given a plate of roast duck, which was prepared differently from the traditional method. It was tender, juicy, and goes very well with any sort of rice, or just on its own.
Sam’s coffee pudding, bake homemade almond cream bun, KY & Haze
Desserts came in the form of Sam’s coffee pudding and bake homemade almond cream bun. I personally liked the almond cream bun, but almond is a bit of an acquired taste so I think it didn’t find too many fans among the reviewers around the table. The coffee pudding had a better reception for sure, with it’s cute presentation and subtle coffee taste to a sweet ending.
Ti Chen is open from Tuesday to Fridays for lunch (12-2:30pm), dinner (6-10pm) and on Saturdays & Sundays for lunch (9-2:30pm) and dinner (6-10pm).
Saujana Golf & Country Club,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
GPS: 3.106865, 101.575285
Tel: 03-7846 1466
Due to the preparation in moving to new home, my schedule has been crazy, and that has a direct impact on my availability to participate in Ramadan buffet reviews. I’ve only been going to very few of them, but when Intercontinental Hotel came calling, I just know I have to make it there.
the famous seafood spread at Intercontinental KL
The biggest reason this is a must-attend event for me is simple, just look at the seafood on ice spread they have above! US & Finn de Claire oysters, Australian spanner crab, baby lobster, crabs, NZ green lips mussels, pacific prawns, slipper lobsters, Harvey bay half shell scallop, and even Alaskan king crab!
If you’re a fan of minimally prepared super fresh (and also sashimi) seafood, this is a spread you must not miss.
ulam, kuih, rojak, salad, and the all important sambal (including tempoyak)
Before we continue, the most important information:
Selera Pantai Timur bersama Chef Zamzani is available from 8 to 17 June, 2015. Priced at RM 128 nett per adult & RM 64 nett per child. This is the chance to savor all of East Coast’s delicacies brought to you by the good chef who will be at the restaurant during this period.
Serena Brasserie’s Berbuka Puasa buffet will continue from 18 June to 15 July, 2015. Priced at RM 139 nett per adult on first and forth week or Ramadan, and RM 152 nett per adult on 2nd and third week of Ramadan.
roast beef, bread, cheese, for the Western touch
Other than seafood, the dishes from the West includes pink pepper macadamia crusted Australian beef, lamb, Yokshire pudding, pastry, a good selection of cheese, bread, mushroom soup, gratin potato with cheese, pasta and so forth.
So you don’t really need to be someone who can eat spicy food to fully enjoy this spread.
okra, ketam berlado, kung pao chicken, gratin potato with trio cheese,
sautee mussel, chicken tandoori, har lok prawn, sautee asparagus
As for traditional Terengganu cuisine, there’s plenty to choose from. Gulai udang, kerutuk daging, singang sotong hitam, gulai telur itik, ayam percik, and ketupat sotong are among the few. There’s also nasi dagang as well.
Of course, ulam and a selection of sambal (including the all important tempoyak) is available.
rendang ayam, gulai udang, hati ayam kicap, nasi dagang,
home made ice cream, sup ekor, sup mushroom
Other than the selection of Malay traditional fair, there’s other Asian representative too in sautee asparagus with garlic and soya, har lok prawn, kung po chicken, and chicken tandoori.
Like many other places, there’ll also be “stalls” serving roti, roasted whole lamb, roti canai, roti jala (with durian flavor!), ABC, and celup-celup tepung. If you want noodle, they have mee rebus Terengganu and mee goreng lambak as well.
Pauline, Kerol, & KY having a whale of a time enjoying the Ramadan buffet
Overall, this has got to be one of my favorite buffet spread. The price is certainly on the high side, but you do get what you pay for, so if you’re looking for something a bit more premium with great ingredients while still retaining a traditional touch, this is the place to check out.
165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159767, 101.718045
Tel: 03-2161 1111
Ramadan 2015 on KYspeaks is just around the corner, so it’s about time to review another traditional buffet offering that is fast becoming a popular seasonal event in our country. Together with my colleagues Nik, Razi, & William, we went to JW Marriott last Tuesday to sample what they have to offer.
JW Marriott’s “Kampung Dining Experience” by the poolside
Lets get the most important details out of the way – the prices:
Poolside (June 17, 2015 onwards) – RM 95.00 nett per adult and MYR 48.00 nett per child.
4th Floor (June 17, 2015 onwards) – RM 85.00 nett per adult and MYR 43.00 nett per child.
on the menu – roast lamb, ulam ulam, chicken rice
Both locations essentially serves the same 130 (mostly) Malay delicacies from around the country, though you get to save RM10 dining on the 4th floor by sacrificing the pool view and not being able to see the chef expertly carving that beautiful roast lamb.
ulam, salted fish, sayur kubis goreng, satey, kari kambing, ayam goreng berempah
The menu didn’t seem to vary much from my last visit a couple years ago, which is a good thing. You don’t really need to change something that’s already good.
The food can be separated in a few categories, and to start with I usually head straight to the ulam station that comes equipped with some half a dozen sambals, including sambal belacan, tempoyak, sambal mangga, sambal nenas, cencaluk, and budu. A spicy and pungent start to a traditional Malay fair is never disappointing.
ayam lemak cili padi, rendang ayam, black pepper beef, ikan masin talang masak lemak,
panjeri nanas, paru goreng, nasi briyani, Chinese mix vege
Appertizer consists of jeruk, kacang botol, kerabu mangga & udang, acar buah, ikan masin, telur masin, as well as several types of keropok (including the all important papadom). For those who wants something a little more global, there’s green lettuce with dressing, Thai chicken & glass noodle salad, potato salad, seafood cocktail, potato salad, waldorf salad, and even coleslaw.
After you get your stomach warmed up, there are a few “gerai”, or live cooking stations to check out. Here you find satey, rojak buah, ikan bakar (including pari, keli, kembung), nasi ayam (chicken rice), tandoori, mee (laksa, mee kari, char kuih teow), BBQ (the all important roast lamb!), bubur, and soup (including sup ekor, kambing, and more).
desserts, fresh fruits, and kuih muih
Then of course there’s the all important main dishes such as ayam masak kicap, ayam masak merah, ayam percik kelantan, kari kambing, sambal udang petai, fried chicken with dried chili, daging masak halia, sweet and sour fish, kurma ayam, labu masak lemak pucuk manis, sayur campur, rendang ayam, redang daging, daging kunyit, paru goreng berlada, sotong goreng kunyit and more.
Dessert is offered in the form of quite a few variety of traditional kuih, pudding, sago gula Melaka, some pastries, and the really awesome bread and butter pudding.
William, KY, Razi, Nik, & our host, Natasya
My two Malay colleagues gave these a thumb up, while William was busy eating to register a response. I personally really like the fact that we are keeping our traditional Malaysian cooking alive via these type of buffets. No longer were the days when hotels only serve fancy Japanese or Western cuisines, we are once again proud of real Malaysian dishes.
Thank you Natasya for the invite.
183 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.14765, 101.71372
Tel: 03-2715 9000
When I had my first full time job after graduating from university, I went to Kings Island in Cincinnati for the first time, and thought that it was so awesome I should get a season pass. I mean, being able to go to an awesome amusement park that’s only half an hour away at anytime, why not?
That dream never materialize due to me having lost the job (remember 911?) which subsequently meant that I had no money and having to move out of Cincinnati.
Well, that was more than ten years ago, and now I finally have season pass to an amusement park, and it’s every as awesome as my initial Cincinnati dream – a whole year’s unlimited entrance to Sunway Lagoon!
Sunway Lagoon, here we come!
To be honest, I didn’t know that Sunway Lagoon offers annual pass until I read it on Bobo’s instagram. I left a comment, one thing led to another, and thanks to the good people at Sunway Lagoon and Nuffnang, I got a pair annual pass for myself and Haze.
The pass is priced at RM 300 for adult and RM 240 for kids aged 11 and below. Compared to the entrance price at the gate of RM 150 per pax, the pricing of annual pass really offers great value.
the rides were not disappointing
We parked our car at Sunway Pyramid, had a meal at Texas Chicken, then went into the park.
First thing to do is to load some money into the entrance wristband that comes with a barcode. The wristband is used not only to identify that you did not sneaked into Sunway Lagoon illegally, but the barcode embedded on the band is also a form of cashless transaction you can use to purchase food, use the locker, or pay for premium rides (such as bungy jumps). Any leftover credit can be redeemed at exit.
Sunway Lagoon is now also practically a zoo
Sunway Lagoon has five different major areas – waterpark, amusement park, wildlife park, extreme park, and scream park.
We managed three out of the five during this visit.
The amusement park has many rides that has no-bag policy, so a locker is pretty much a requirement unless you have someone in the group who wants to watch over them. Most rides don’t have particularly long queue, and the pirate ship now goes 360 degree! You’ve been warned.
We also ended up spending a lot of time at the wildlife park, which is actually a zoo in itself. There were tiger, panther, snakes, turtle, goat, rabbit, quite a few species of primates, a huge variety of birds, otter, raccoons, and more. I do wish that some of the habitats were bigger though.
of course, there’s the waterpark
The waterpark was of course, where Sunway Lagoon got its name from, and when you’re there, you just have to try out the massive vuvuzela slide and the “5D” waterplex where you get to have water splashed on you in front of a cinema-like screen equipped with articulated chairs showcasing a wild ride.
In all it was a pretty fun afternoon, we will go back there again for sure. The annual pass is pretty neat!