Kyspeaks.com

Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / By Invitation

I don’t do a lot of invited reviews these days, mostly due to work commitments and staying quite a fair bit away from the city. However, every now and then there are something intriguing enough that warrant the time and effort.

The invitation for Festive Menu at Babe Gastro was one of such events.

Babe at Clearwater, Damansara Height KL
Babe at Clearwater, Damansara Height KL

Located at the top floor of Clearwater at Damansara Height, Babe is a tastefully decorated cozy restaurant with a perhaps one of the best views of the city. There’s the infinity pool, an unobstructed post-card worthy view of KL, neat looking cutlery imported from Spain, and even air conditioned alfresco dining area.

What’s there not to like except? Well, there’s the rather confusing elevator system where you have to select which floor to go BEFORE getting in.

refreshing mocktail, Chef Jeff Ramsey
refreshing mocktail, Chef Jeff Ramsey

Babe is headed by Chef Jeff Ramsey, a Michelin starred chef who previously headed the Tapas Molecular Bar at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo.

The menu here is a unique creation of Jeff Ramsey using a lot of Japanese & other international ingredients while infusing local flavors. Some of these are coined “Japas”, or Japanese style tapas.

While “fusion” has a bit of a negative connotation, I love chefs who aren’t afraid to experiment and push the boundary in culinary space. Without these trailblazers, we’d forever be stuck with “traditional” dishes. What’s the fun in that?

Babe Gastro invited us to try out Michelin star Chef Jeff Ramsey’s unconventional approach to Malaysian flavors with the unveil of their new tasting menu with lots of Japanese ingredients. The 12 course menu includes dishes such as foie gras and jackfruit, snow crab donburi with sambal, and dinosaur egg. Priced at RM 300++ per pax. Available from 26/5 to 30/6 . @babegastro #babegastro #kyeats #foodreview #japas

A post shared by KY (@kyspeaks) on

The Festive menu is perhaps the most unique buka puasa meal you can get this Ramadhan season. Priced at RM 300++ per pax, the 12-course dinner is available from 26/5/2017 to 30/6/2017. If you are tired with the same Selera Kampung buffet, this would be a place worthy of your consideration.

"down the rabbit hole", Foiegras and Jackfruit
“down the rabbit hole”, Foiegras and Jackfruit

We started the night with “down the rabbit hole”, a shot of drink that tastes like chicken rice, or roti canai, or something that’s completely unfamiliar. An interesting start, and certainly a precursor as to what to be expected for dinner.

The first course was Foiegras and Jackfruit, finely chopped jackfruit in a crispy shell and foie gras proved to be a good combination and served as a perfect start to open up our appetite.

Onsen Chowder
Onsen Chowder

Then came Onsen Chowder, a potato mousse with smoked coconut, 63c egg (molecular gastronomy magic), and chives. It was actually unexpectedly good! The smoked coconut, or what Celina the “top babe” described as coconut bacon brought the dish a very unique crispy contrast to the texture of the potato mousse.

Laska Injection, Mango and Curry Sphere
Laksa Injection Canapé , Mango & Curry Sphere

Then there was Laksa Injection Canapé and Mango & Curry Sphere.

The former is like mouthful of my favorite ingredients in a bowl of curry laksa – prawn & soup, though perhaps a slightly bigger syringe that contains those soup would make it even better.

Mango & Curry Sphere utilizes another Molecular gastronomy technique called “spherification”, utilizing calcium chloride or some other voodoo in making an eggyolk lookalike sphere that explodes in your mouth with the tangy & spicy taste of the liquid ingredients within. Quite an experience.

Crispy Chicken Terrine, Marinated Roast Kabayaki Ikan Keli
Crispy Chicken Terrine, Marinated Roast Kabayaki Ikan Keli

Next were two of the more creative dishes that may looks and taste almost exactly alike what they are supposed to be, but made up of entirely different ingredients that is halal.

Crispy Chicken Terrine looks and taste like a good piece of charsiu, but actually made up of up to 40 layers of crispy rendered chicken skin (sans the fatty part) and charsiu sauce, while Marinated Roast Kabayaki Ikan Keli is their interpretation of bak kwa, but instead of pork/chicken, catfish is the main ingredient.

I’d have never guessed the ingredients in a million year.

Prawn and Curry Leaf Ice Cream, Manga Crab, Snow Crab Donburi with Sambal
Prawn and Curry Leaf Ice Cream, Manga Crab, Snow Crab Donburi with Sambal

Next up was Prawn and Curry Leaf Ice Cream, which was quite a unique combo, you don’t have a seafood ingredient with ice cream very often.

Manga Crab is perhaps one of the more “normal” dish, but they actually print the sauce on the plate manga style, and serve with coriander sauce.

Snow Crab Donburi with Sambal is basically just as what the name suggests, a small portion of snow crab rice bowl, but with sambal and Dashi jelly to give it that extra dimension. To be honest, I may enjoy this without the sambal just a tad more, maybe.

Smoked Chicken Percik, Stanbroke Farms Striploin with Japanese Sambal
Smoked Chicken Percik, Stanbroke Farms Striploin with Japanese Sambal

If you’re still hungry by this time, well, afraid not. The Smoked Chicken Percik is a whole ayam kampung to be shared by two. Four hour was spent preparing the chicken, and the result was a prefect tenderness and flavor, definitely one of the benefits of utilizing molecular methods in traditional dishes.

Stanbroke Farms Striploin with Japanese Sambal was another welcoming meat base dish which I really enjoyed, especially with the accompanying Yuzu Kosho Sambal.

Dinosaur Egg
Dinosaur Egg

Then came the twelveth course – another playful dish by the name of Dinosaur Egg, a  dessert made from DaunKaduk, Yoghurt, Tropical Fruit, and Nutty “Birds Nest”. Crack it open with your spoon and viola, an egg looking thing that by now, you should know it tastes entirely not like an egg, but a sweet concoction that’s apt to end the night.

map to Clearwater, Damansara Height

Address:
Babe Gastro
Level 11, Clearwater,
Jalan Changkat Semantan,
Bukit Damansara, KL
GPS: 3.152327, 101.666762
Tel 03.2095 8599
Web: babe.com.my

A couple days ago we were lucky enough to be one of the first batches of people to be fortunate enough to have a taste of authentic Sicilian cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton KL by the award winning Guest Chef Lino Sauro from Gattopardo Ristorante di Mare in Singapore.

This event happens from March 14-18, 2017 so you may still have a chance to participate in the last few sessions if you catch this article early enough; or of course, you can head to Singapore and visit the good chef at his home turf.

The Library at Ritz Carlton KL
The Library at Ritz Carlton KL

The dinner happened at The Library, a dining space that has an ambiance not unlike an extensive classy private library, complete with collection of books with topics ranging from film to art and travel. We were there for fine Sicilian food this time, so I’m afraid the books will have to wait for next round.

a bit of tid bit & bread prior to dinner
a bit of tidbit & bread prior to dinner

We started the night with a glass of sparkling wine, some bread, and a pre-dinner amuse-bouche of salmon with caviar which I thought was perfect to get us ready for what’s coming next.

For this first session of Sicilian dinner, we were also lucky enough to be joined by His Excellency Mario Sammartino, the ambassador of Italy to Malaysia.

amuse-bouche - ostrica
amuse-bouche – Ostrica

Then came the first course – Ostrica, or oyster with sherry vinegar jelly, wasabi chips, and Avruga caviar. This amuse-bouche was perfect in opening up the appetite with its refreshing taste and subtle sweetness from the oyster that is perfectly balanced with the slight salty flavor from caviar. Usage of wasabi showcase Chef Lino’s boldness in using contemporary technique and ingredients.

Sanfeletto conegliano valdobbiadene prosecco superior docg was the accompanying wine.

appetiser - polipo
appetiser – Polipo

Appetizer was Polipo, or charred citrus glazed octopus, risone, capsicum, sun dried tomato aioli, chilli, and pistachio pesto.

At the first glance, I thought we were having risotto, but as it turned out it was risone, or a rice shaped pasta that was much smoother, having a more controlled taste and texture that complimented the stronger tasting octopus well.

Vigneti zabu grillo terre siciliane igt was served with this seafood dish.

entree - Capellini con Aracosta
entree – Capellini con Aracosta

Then came entree, in the form of Capellini con Aracosta, or angel hair pasta, lobster, seafood, and carrot.

This is a deceptively simple looking dish that is again packed with the sweetness of what the Mediterranean sea has to offer. Lobster tail & angel hair pasta are two ingredients I enjoyed, and this combination did not disappoint.

Cecchi orvieto classico toscana doc would be the accompanying Sicilian wine.

main course - Manzo Australiano
main course 1 – Manzo Australiano

There were two choices of main course.

Manzo Australiano would be the Australian wagyu with morel mushrooms and horseradish sauce. Perfectly executed with the meat in the overused “melt in your mouth” texture, but that’s the best description I could give. The sauce was thick, strong, and go surprisingly well with the red meat (this coming from someone who loves his beef with only salt & pepper).

Wine pairing – mazzei zisola sicilia doc

main course 2 - Zuppa di Pesce Gattopardo
main course 2 – Zuppa di Pesce Gattopardo

Zuppa di Pesce Gattopardo, or the Signature Gattopardo Seafood Stew, would be the other equally worthy option. The stew is packed with several types of shellfish, prawn, as well as fish fillet. This stew is perfect in a cold rainy day, or any day actually.

Wine pairing – vigneti zabu grillo terre siciliane igt

dessert - Cassata
dessert – Cassata

Dessert was a unique interpretation of Sicilian Ricotta Cheese Cake, or Cassata by Chef Lino. The deconstructed dessert was a sweet treat with some strong sourish berries that wakens up the senses a bit, which I thought was nice. We also had some chocolates to go with coffee to end the session.

Sicilian wine pairing option available
Sicilian wine pairing option available

This specially curated Sicilian course dinner is priced at MYR 250 with an option of wine pairing at MYR 375 per person. Dinner is served from 7 pm but only available until 18th March 2017.

Executive Chef Lino Sauro
Chef Lino Sauro

Ritz Carlton, KL

Address:
The Library @ Ritz-Carlton Hotel
168 Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.146960, 101.715406
Tel03-2141 8000

When it comes to hotel restaurants, Shangri-La must be the gold standard, I’ve been to a number of corporate events, attended wedding dinners, and been to a few restaurants under Shangri-La group. The experience has always been a positive one, so when I received the invitation for the reopening of Lemon Garden at Shangri-La KL, I knew having to brace the traffic would be worth it.

Shangri-La KL Lemon Garden re-opening
Shangri-La KL Lemon Garden re-opening

My prediction was correct, the food and dining experience was great, and traffic was thoroughly atrocious thanks to the light drizzle on a Friday evening. Alas, most of the invited guests and members of media managed to show up on time to witness the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony, the all important event that was in the way of us getting our dinner.

love the new seafood station
love the new seafood station

First and perhaps most importantly, here are the prices:

International Lunch Buffet
Monday – Friday (12noon – 2.30pm)
RM 128 nett (adult), RM 64 nett (child)
Saturday (12noon – 3pm)
RM 148 nett (adult), RM 74 nett (child)

International Sunday Brunch
Sunday (12noon – 3pm)
RM 168 nett (adult), RM 84 nett (child)

International Dinner Buffet
Sunday – Thursday (6.30pm – 10.30pm)
RM 158 nett (adult), RM 79 nett (child)

Seafood Dinner Buffet
Friday – Saturday (6.30pm – 10.30pm)
RM 208 nett (adult), RM104 nett (child)

Sunday Champagne Brunch (inclusive of 1 bottle of Veuve Cliquot per person)
Sunday (12noon – 3pm)
RM 488 nett (adult)

good selection of sushi and sashimi
good selection of sushi and sashimi

The newly face lifted Lemon Garden is designed by Bond Studio Inc from Japan and took four months to renovate, the result is an ambiance that is rather elegant, sophisticated, yet very welcoming. The restaurant now also has an alfresco dining area at the garden terrace offering a scenic view by the koi pond.

Personally though, I think the indoor tables are just great for buffet dinners as you are that much closer to the humongous selection of food.

ample selection of traditional Chinese dishes
ample selection of traditional Chinese dishes

I can safely say that the selection of dishes at Lemon Garden is the most impressive I’ve seen so far, and I’ve been to quite a number of buffets ever since the inception of this blog.

Let’s start with the new seafood station. There’s snow crabs, fresh oysters, scallops, crabs, spanner crabs, prawns, clams, mussels, crayfish, as well as sushi and sashimi. All these dishes are either boiled or raw, and with almost no seasoning, the taste is entirely up to the quality of raw ingredients, particularly on the freshness of these seafood.

In that sense, it did not disappoint at all, I had two plates entirely filled with seafood for dinner.

cold cuts & salad
cold cuts & salad bar

The Chinese section has dimsum, double boiled soup, chicken rice, a noodle station, as well as plenty of dishes you may find at wedding dinners, including steamed fish, mushroom with brocolli, sea cucumber, and mantis prawn with  salted egg yolk.

tandoori chicken, poached chicken, or roast chicken rice?
tandoori chicken, poached chicken, or roast chicken rice?

Then there’s the Asian station. Here you’d find tandoori chicken, naan, satay, murtabak, chicken tikka, roti canai, and others. There are also other local signature dishes such as Nyonya laksa, curry, and more.

Italian & Spanish cuisines are part of the line up too, as with selection of cheese
Italian & Spanish cuisines are part of the line up too, as with selection of cheese

Moving to the West, you’ll find several types of pizza, a selection of bread, cheese, pasta, huge selection of salad, and my favorite – roast beef and lamb rack. The pizza here is made in the traditional wood burning stove too.

red meat includes roast beef, lamb rack
red meat includes roast beef, lamb rack

Then of course, for those with sweet tooth, the dessert pavilion offers a dazzling display of both local and international desserts. You can find ice kacang, waffles, crepes, chocolate fountains, an assortment of cakes, tarts, ice creams, and various traditional Malay and Nyonoya kuih.

dessert includes Western & traditional Malaysian kuih muih
dessert includes Western & traditional Malaysian kuih muih

So next time if your significant others can’t decide what he/she wants to eat, bring them here and you can be quite sure that there’ll be something that will satisfy even the most choosy diner.

dinner was made even better with media friends
dinner was made even better with media friends

Map to Shangri-la Hotel, KL

Address:
Lemon Garden
Shangri-la Hotel
Jalan Sultan Ismail
Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.152139, 101.709419
Tel: 03-2074 3904

Tonkatsu Anzu is one of the five premium restaurants located on the 4th floor of Isetan The Japan Store KL that serves one of my favorite ingredients of all time – pork.

We were lucky enough to be part of the launch event a week ago, allowing a sneak peek to what this space has got to offer.

Tonkatsu Anzu, The Table, Isetan The Japan Store, KL
Tonkatsu Anzu, The Table,  Isetan The Japan Store, KL

Tonkatsu Anzu uses only premium aged black pork from Kyushu, making it the first tonkatsu restaurant in Malaysia to have that distinction, which sets it apart from the likes of Tonkatsu by Mai Mason and Tonkatsu at Pavilion.

pork fillet, with that perfect strip of fat on top
pork fillet, with that perfect strip of fat on top

The pork loin katsu set starts from RM 35 to the premium Gin-Jo-Pork Fatty loin katsu set at RM 55, and for those who may want to skip pork for whatever reasons, they also offer some seafood options, such as fried shrimp set (RM 52), salmon katsu (RM 48), and chicken katsu (RM 32) sets.

sycookie is very serious with photo taking, I love it with salt and some mustard
sycookie is very serious with photo taking, I love it with salt and some mustard

However, pork is the name of the game here and their version of tonkatsu is definitely on point. I love the light batter and those almost melt-in-your-mouth texture. My preference is to sprinkle some salt and have those fatty loin with the supplied mustard. There’s also tonkatsu sauce should you prefer a more complex flavor.

the menu at Tonkatsu Anzu
the menu at Tonkatsu Anzu

I think Tonkatsu Anzu did live up to the expectations and manage to set itself apart from the other offerings around town when it comes to Japanese fried pork cutlets, the slightly premium price is definitely worth it.

map to Lot 10, KL

Address:
Tonkatsu Anzu
The Table, Level 4
ISETAN The Japan Store KL
Lot 10 Shopping Mall
Jalan Bukit Bintang
GPS: 3.146462, 101.711758
Tel: 03-2119 2625

When it comes to foriegn cuisine, it is safe to say that the most popular of all out of South East Asia is that of our Northern neighbor – Thai. You can find a good bowl of tomyam most anywhere in the world.

For us in Malaysia, we had the good fortune of being able to indulge in some of the most authentic dishes Thailand has to offer thanks to our proximity and our shared history across the border.

Tigerlily at DC Mall
Tigerlily at DC Mall

This tradition continues at Tigerlily, one of the latest Thai restaurants located at DC Mall, the new spanking shopping complex located at Damansara Height, and we were lucky enough to get invited to sample some of their dishes.

To properly prep for the restaurant, the local chefs were sent to Thailand to sample and learn about the different dishes from its origin so they can be recreated at this outfit. Don’t let the interior decoration and plating style fools you, what you get here is not far from what you’ll find in some of the old school Thai restaurants.

3 layer coffee? Lemongrass? or classic Thai iced tea?
3 layer coffee? Lemongrass? or classic Thai iced tea?

To start the night, we ordered their Thai iced tea & iced coffee with gula melaka (RM 6.90) which looked stunning, but for those who liked it old school, their traditional Thai iced tea (RM 4.60) would be the one to go for. For those who like it plain & soothing, perhaps a glass of lemongrass drink (RM 3.50) would do the trick.

fried calamari, lemongrass satey
fried calamari, lemongrass satey

There’s no alcohol served here (they’re in process of obtaining halal certification), but the fried calamari & lemongrass satey (RM 9.90 for 5) really begs for a cold one. We particularly like the zesty homemade sauce that is served together with the squid.

four angle beans, steamed otak otak
four angled beans, steamed otak otak

Another snack we ordered was the steamed otak-otak (RM 5.90), it came in an aluminium cup similar to those you’d find holding larmaikai, but instead of chicken you’d have seafood in classic Thai otak fillings. I thought it was decent, though if I have to choose between this and regular Penang style otak-otak, the latter would be my pick.

We then proceed to main dishes to go with rice and started out with the veges.

First was four angled beans with peanuts (RM 9.90), a juicy and crunchy affair that’s fitting to open up one’s appetite.

stir fry kailan, spicy eggplant with dry shrimp
stir fry kailan, spicy eggplant with dry shrimp

The stir fry kailan (RM 12.90) here is a simple dish that’s not out of place from any ‘tai-chao’ restaurants around town. My favorite though, would be the spicy eggplant with dry shrimp (RM 14.90), really rich, savory, and comes with a kick, steamed rice is really compulsory with this.

tomyum seafood, Thai red curry chicken, Thai green curry prawn
tomyum kung, Thai red curry chicken, Thai green curry prawn

No Thai meal is complete without a good serving of tomyam, their tomyum kung (shrimp, RM 26.90) really packs a punch. You’d have to be a bit careful not to treat everything green here as scallions, for there are a lot of whole green chili padi in the mix, just the way a good bowl of tomyam should be.

The Thai red curry chicken (RM 15.90) is slightly less hardcore on the spicy scale, but it makes up for being creamy and flavorful. A decent interpretation of the dish in my opinion.

Then there’s the Thai green curry prawn (RM 26.90), served with generous amount of eggplant, this dish delivers a mix of seafood sweetness and the unique taste of green curry, I really enjoyed it (mostly cos eggplant is one of my favorite veges too.)

Thai grilled fish
Thai grilled fish

The Thai grilled fish (RM 46.90) was our final main dish of the night, and would be for you anyone who orders it as Tigerlily makes this from scratch when you order and it takes the longest amount of time to prepare.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t particularly find the dish impressive, and not to the fault of the chef or how they prepare this. Tilapia is quite a bland tasting fish and I find this classic Thai preparation method did not sufficiently add enough flavor to the fish. It was okay, if you love this street style fish, you’d like it here, otherwise I’d probably give it a miss. My favorite Thai fish dish is still the steamed siakap (which they also serve)

mango sticky rice, ice kacang, tub tim crob, cendol
mango sticky rice, ice kacang, tub tim crob, cendol

Then of course, we proceed to desserts.

We sampled their mango sticky rice (RM 9.90), ice kacang (RM 11.90), tub tim crob (red ruby, RM 7.00), cendol (RM 4.90), and banana fritters with ice cream (RM 12.90).

With the exception of the banana fritters, every dessert looked like a piece of art, the presentation is really stunning! Thankfully, they do taste the part as well.

I like how the cendol, ABC, and red ruby all uses the really fine shaven ice (sort of like those Korean style desserts) which makes the sweetness melt in your mouth that much quicker. Careful not to get brain freeze though.

banana fritters & friends we were with at the session
banana fritters & friends we were with at the session

If you haven’t find a reason to head to DC Mall, perhaps Tigerlily would be a good excuse.

map to DC Mall

Address:
Tigerlily
Damansara City Mall,
Lot LG 18 Lower Ground,
6, Jalan Damanlela,
50490 
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.146140, 101.661675
Tel03-2011 2912
Web: www.tigerlily.com.my