Category / By Invitation
May 8, 2013
A couple days prior to General Election 13, we were invited to a food review session at PLOY to sample some dishes from their new menu.
According to their website, PLOY means Gem in Thai. It is then this pretty unique contemporary fine dining restaurant’s aim – to have their dishes be true gems of Japanese and Thai cuisine.
PLOY at Clearwater, Damansara Height
PLOY is located at Clearwater Residence in Damansara Heights. Parking is a pretty painless affair, there’s an underground car park in the building, and it also seems like you can park on the streets just outside of it, though legality in that is questionable.
The restaurant itself is tastefully decorated and has two separate dining halls, a fully air conditioned area, and another half outdoor for alfresco dining.
there are some interesting drinks on the menu
There’s a full bar at PLOY. Beer, liquor, cocktails, coffee, and several other rather interesting drinks can be ordered. My drink for the night was Apple Sour, basically fresh apple juice with sour plum in it, very refreshing. Fraps, cappuccino, and Thai ice tea were reportedly pretty good as well.
tuna wakame salad, golden needle salad
Dinner started out with a couple different types of salad. Tuna Wakame Salad (RM 23) comes with chunks of tuna cubes, avocado, and sesame in shoyu dressing, while Golden Needle Salad (RM 15) with tofu, avocado, broccoli, and wafu dressing.
Due to the pretty distinct taste of avocado, the two salads ended up more similar than different, but not in a bad way. I love the way they deep fried the string mushrooms, and if you were to choose a salad, I’d recommend the golden needle, tastes as good, and cheaper too.
tempura surprise, kabocha tempura
Tempura Surprise (RM 15) is a dish with questionable usage of one of my favorite fish – seabass. The fish is wrapped in oba leaf, and then deep fried. It was a surprise alright, but not exactly in a commendable way. The combination did not work well even though I’m a fan of both major ingredients. I think they should re investigate this dish.
On the other hand, Kabocha Tempura (RM 8.50), or salted egg pumpkin tempura, fared much better. The pumpkin were delicious, and would scored even higher marks if those salted egg yolk sticks to the gourd better. I like it.
crab in wrap – a maki with a hint of tropical influence
Most of us have tried Spider rolls, or soft shell crab maki in Japanese restaurants, this is PLOY’s interpretation with their Crab in Wrap (RM 28). Other than soft shell crab, avocado, sushi rice, and spicy kani, mango can be found in this roll.
To me, this is a perfect blend of Thai & Japanese influence, and one that works very well. I love the taste of Thai in the maki, very well executed.
magic puff – with goat cheese, truffle oil, and wild rocket
Magic Puff (RM 32) does not come cheap, but it’s got truffle oil and goat cheese in the homemade crispy pastry with wild rocket. This is a dish that had to be consumed ASAP before the cheese melts into the pastry, and oh it tastes very good! Truffle oil, made all the difference, yums!
the godfather special, pasta from heaven, smoked duck breast with chicken ham pizza
The trio of main dishes we shared were the Godfather Special (RM 22), Pasta from Heaven (RM 28), and Smoked Duck Breast with Chicken Ham Pizza (RM 28).
Godfather Special is a fancy name for a salmon ikura don with avocado, royu and nori (seaweed) in tempura flakes. The flakes gave it a crispy texture in an otherwise pretty average dish. It felt.. healthy.
Pasta from Heaven is angel hair spaghetti with sakura ebi (small shrimps) and flying fish roe in truffle oil. Again, the truffle oil proved to be the salvation in this one, and I love angle hair pasta, so it worked for me. Though I’d love to have chunks of something else in it, like prawns or .. just something.
The pizza was awesome, I really loved the pizza! For RM 28 this is the real deal, plenty of real yummy duck breast on the really thin crust pizza with avocado sauce. The sprinkle of flying fish roe gave it that extra pop. It was delicious, if you love duck breast, you’ll absolutely enjoy this pizza. I wanted to have more!
sticky date pudding, durian panna cotta, creme caramel
When we thought the dinner was over, our host brought out these three types of desserts.
The sticky date pudding was alright, the creme caramel will satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth, but the durian panna cotta is what I really want to talk about.
It might look uninspiring, but the durian panna cotta was awesome. It’s rich, it’s pungent, and it’s an absolute must for anyone who even remotely like durian. It’s the stuff that should make some people go to PLOY just for the dessert. Try it!
Ivy, Haze, KY, chef Daniel, Marc, Hitomi and others having a good time
So if you’re up to something slightly out of the ordinary, PLOY is a definitely a place to check out. While I can’t say that everything is awesome, there are quite a lot of bright spots in their latest menu. I would also say that prices are pretty competitive for the setting PLOY offers.
Thank you Lennie for the invites.
Jalan Changkat Semantan,
Bukit Damansara, KL
GPS: 3.152327, 101.666762
Tel: 03-2095 0999
March 27, 2013
Ten Fine Dining Restaurant is back, relocated from their previous location at Publika (where I got to meet Iron Chef Sakai in 2011). The new location at Marc Residence replaced the lot that Delicious used to operate. Right by KLCC, it has much better visibility than being in the maze that is Publika.
I was fortunate enough to be one of the few who was invited to a review session at Ten last week.
Ten Japanese Fine Dining at Marc’s Residence
The floor plan isn’t exactly conventional. There’s a long dining hall with smaller private rooms on the sides, with another big classy private dining hall that can house some 20 people at right side of the entrance. The interior decoration certainly has a flavor of modern Japanese styling but one that does not stray too far from the tradition, as evident with the stone garden at the other end of the restaurant.
unique Japanese Dango, cocktails
Our review is on the four course degustation lunch menu that starts with the unique Japanese Dango made with seasonal vegetables filled with French foie gras.
The three dango (or dumplings) were made from carrot, sweet potato, and yam. The taste was subtle yet exquisite, with the bits of foie gras enhancing the overall flavor. Katsuobushi (smoked skipjack tuna) and leek shavings giving the soup an extra touch of sophistication, a good way to start our lunch.
assorted ocean fresh sushi & sashimi
The second course had a simple description on the menu – assorted ocean fish sushi and sashimi. On the plate these beautifully crafted delights:
- grilled baramundi and sushi rice with salmon roe
- slow cooked scallop with chili and plum paste
- poached alfonsino fish marinated with natto soy sauce
- simmered white clam with sticky egg sauce and grilled sushi rice
- Otoro (tuna belly) sashimi and tuna tartar with a hint of truffle flavor
- geoduck with Italian leaf soy
- anago (salt water eel) with black garlic vinegar
- Tasmanian salmon sushi with mascarpone sauce
- Tasmanian lobster sushi with deep fried leek soy sauce
It was hard to choose a favorite, and if I had to pick one I’d probably choose the otoro, with truffle flavor really adding to the already superb cut of tuna belly. While I personally dislike natto somehow worked, and I even helped my table-neighbor finished hers.
This was by far the most sophisticated plate of sushi/sashimi I’ve ever tasted. If you’re a fan of Japanese food, this is a must try.
teppanyaki styled Miyazaki A5 wagyu beef
Our third course was another masterpiece. Teppanyaki styled Miyazaki A5 Wagyu beef served with Tasmanian garlic chips and daikon.
I asked for mine to be prepared rare (chef recommended only rare or medium-rare), and it was truly glorious. A bit of freshly grated wasabi complemented the meat beautifully. Teppanyaki and ponzu sauce is available, but to truly enjoy a piece of red meat, none were really required. The garlic chips were great to have in between those chunks of pure heaven.
Ten’s specialty desserts
The sad thing is, every meal has to eventually come to a conclusion, and the fourth course was a dual of Ten’s specialty desserts. It was perhaps impossible to keep up to the excellence of the previous three courses, but dessert lovers would not be disappointed with the bitter sweet chocolates and the sweet & sour combination of plumb and jelly.
Nana, Michelle, KY, Chenelle, Tian Chad
Ten Japanese Fine Dining will have some pretty stiff competition in a few other restaurants within the vicinity. Ozeki Tokyo Cuisine offers great lunch value and is just a stone’s throw away at Menara TA, Fukuya at Jalan Delima can never be discounted for fine Japanese foods, and Fukuhara too is a fine alternative if you’re looking for a good evening of Japanese delights.
Ultimately though, I think Ten does manage to set itself apart with it’s modern offerings and pretty unique menu. Teppanyaki course is at RM 200 and RM 300, Sushi course at RM 300, and Omakase (degustation) course is priced at RM 300 per person.
Ten Japanese Fine Dining
A-G-1, Marc Residence, Ground Floor,
No.3 Jalan Pinang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.155396, 101.710203
Tel: 03-2161 5999
Hours: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 6 pm onward, closed on Mondays
March 13, 2013
While coffee culture is slowly gaining grounds in Malaysia, tea seems to be a bit lagging behind. Many of us usually only drink tea (proper tea in which you don’t need to add sugar) while having bak kut teh and dimsum, I’m certainly guilty of this behavior.
A couple weeks ago we were invited to a Dilmah tea event at Le Meridien to learn a little more about the art of tea drinking.
Dilmah tea event at Le Meridien KL
As a tea company, Dilmah is relatively young, the Sri Lakan Ceylon tea company was founded in 1974 and has seen pretty rapid expansion lately to the local market, especially in premium outlets such as high end hotels and restaurants. One of which is Le Meridien KL, our host for the day.
I’d love to have me a fancy tea pot too
The tea experts from Dilmah showed us how to brew a proper cup of tea. Never reboil the water, and only soaking the tea bags 2-3 minutes before tossing it off and start enjoying your tea. The habit of squeezing the tea bag with a spoon is also something you shouldn’t do. This is to ensure there isn’t any unwanted bitter taste to the beverage.
While temperature of 95-98 Celsius is good for most tea, green tea works best with water around 70 Celsius to allow the release of its delicate flavors. Needless to say, adding extra hot water to a tea bag that’s already used once is not something recommended here.
tea mixologist showing us how it’s done
For those who likes to be more funky with tea, the tea mixologist from Dilmah also showed us a few recipes in which tea is mixed with syrups to create stronger tasting (usually) cold beverages with tea flavor. To honest this would not ever be my way of enjoying premium tea, when I want syrup laden peach tea or something, I’ll have me a can of chilled St. Martin’s.
Using premium tea such as Dilmah for this purpose is a bit of a waste, it’s like wearing a tuxedo to fengtau disco outlets. I’m not saying the resulting drinks don’t taste good, I just think it is not appropriate.
tea paring with some sweet desserts, perfect combination
We then moved on to have a few types of Dilmah tea paired with sweet delicious pastries and chocolates from Le Meridien. If you’re looking for a hi-tea session with fantastic cakes, macaroons, and a good cup of tea, this is a perfect place to be.
Different tea goes well with different foods though, the smoky Lapsang Souchong would go well with savory food such as bak kut teh, while lighter tea such as Earl Grey is fantastic with pastries. Just like wine/food pairing, this is an art in itself.
Haze enjoying a cup of premium tea
We tried a few types of tea over the session and I find myself really liking these tea. We have a couple tins of Dilmah tea at home from the event and I think we’d have to get some when they run out (probably in a few weeks time).
Le Meridien KL
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur 50470
Tel: 03-2263 7753
February 28, 2013
Hailed from Hakata, the supposed ramen capital of Japan is Ippudo, the latest international Japanese ramen chain to arrive on our shore. The founder Shigemi Kawahara started selling ramen at a ten-seater stall in Fukuoka some 28 years ago, and has since expanded to some 10 cities around the world, serving up piping hot tonkotsu (pork bone) based ramen to eager diners.
We were invited for a tasting session last week ago to find out what the fuss is all about.
Hakata Ippudo Ramen at KL Paviliion
Ippudo Ramen is located just a floor up from the semi-alfresco dining area and a floor below the GSC cinemas. The ramen shop itself is pretty compact in size and could probably cater to around 40 pax or so.
The interior decoration is modern, and they even include “handbag drawers” under some seats, something I’m sure most ladies and dudes with man bags approve.
curry cheese haru maki, pork bun, spicy shrimp mayo
If you’re a fan of rather unique Japanese appetizers, you’re in luck. Ippudo carries quite a few dishes that goes well with hot green tea (or beer) before the main meal.
Curry Cheese Haru Maki (spring roll, RM 10) is indeed cheesy inside with a crispy skin as its exterior, delicious while hot, but you gotta find a balance and not let the melted cheese burn your taste buds.
Pork Bun (RM 7) is another one that I really enjoyed, reminds me of those “tong por” pork I had at Dengkil Seafood Restaurant.
Spicy Shrimp Mayo (RM 15) is beautifully presented and reminds me of those fried shrimp and mayo dimsum dishes that you could have for half the price.
Goma Q, Crispy Corn, Hakata Style Soup Gyoza
If you prefer something cold to start with, Goma Q (Japanese cucumber, RM 9) will fit the bill. This is very similar to those cold cucumber dishes served in some Chinese restaurants such as Private Kitchen at Uptown, or Hong La Qiao at Pudu.
Crispy Corn (RM 8) is something that I haven’t seen before and find myself liking it. The sweet corn seemed to be seared with a healthy dosage of paprika and other seasoning on top, giving the kernels a pretty unique taste. A serving is only 4 slices of corn though.
Hakata Style Soup Gyoza (RM 15) is an alternative to the usual pan fried version. It is served in the same tonkotsu soup with a bit of ginger in it. The gyoza was decent, but not something I’d get excited about, the soup is nice though.
akamara shinaji, shiromaru motoaji, and karaka-men ramen
Then came the ramen.
Ippudo serves three basic variety of ramen with noodle much thinner than most other places. Much like Italian food, you can also choose to have it al dente (cooked to be firm, but not hard).
Most basic is Shiromaru Motoaji with original tonkotsu broth, belly chasiu, bean sprouts, kikurage (black fungus), and spring onion. Akamara Shinaji has the same core ingredients but enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragant garlic oil. For those who like their ramen spicy, there’s the Karaka-men version, which incorporate special spicy miso and ground pork.
KY & Haze at Hakata Ippudo Ramen, KL Pavilion
I find myself enjoying the original broth most, and have a bit of a mixed feeling for the other two miso infused soup as I think it somehow dilutes the essence of the pork bone taste (which takes 15 hours to cook, as I was told). I’m also not a fan of making ramen spicy, for that I’ll have my kimchi soup instead.
The chasiu at Ippudo is easily one of the best I’ve yet. Premium cut and prepared to perfection, this is the part I like most.
Over all though, I find Ippudo pretty decent and will certainly face strong competition from nearby ramen places within walking distance (Marutama at Fahrenheit 88, Hokkiado Santouka at Pavilion, Ton Chan at Cosway). While having the best ambiance among the competitions, Ippudo is also the priciest, expect to pay RM 26 for a basic bowl to RM 36 with everything in it.
Connection Level 4, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148872, 101.713368
Tel: 03-2110 6233
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm
February 12, 2013
Chinese New Year is the time for family and friends to sit together for a good meal, and after so many traditional Chinese dishes, it’s good to take a break and get something that’s a little different. Which was why I was quite delighted to be invited to Kelantan Delights for a food tasting session about a week ago to sample some of what they have to offer, with a promise of a twist.
Kelantan Delights at Subang Jaya
Kelantan Delights is a classy restaurant that serves Kelantan and Southern Thai cuisines, for the past 10 years or so they called KLCC home, but have since moved to SS 16 Subang Jaya as well as a branch at Sooka Sentral. The restaurant was also judged as the best Halal Malay Restaurant 2005/06 by Halal Journal.
So we did expect some quality here.
tid bits to start, our menu of the night
While waiting for guests to arrive, we were served with some tid bits consisting keropok lekor, cucur udang, pohpiah goreng and so forth. They were presented like tapas, and we certainly welcomed them.
somtam yee sang, something different
A pretty long lion dance routine later, we gathered around and had a round of “lou sang” session that I’ve never experienced before – with somtam yee sang! It was refreshing and different, but to be honest, I did miss the raw fish a bit. I think having a few slices of raw salmon might make this even better. Fans of somtam would certainly love this.
pohpiah basah and coconut tomyam with prawn
Our first dish was pohpiah basah. Filled with sengkuang, vege, carrots and more. It tasted pretty good especially with the chili sauce and crushed peanuts provided. My only complain is that the skin was a tad too thick.
Next come Kelantan Delights’ specialty – coconut tomyam with prawn. It was one of the spiciest tomyam soup I’ve ever had, but I finished it all. The sweet coconut meat somehow worked wonderfully with the sourness and spiciness of tomyam, I wonder why it wasn’t served everywhere.
ayam masak merah, garupa with dried chili, butter prawn, sayur kolok
Ayam masak merah was properly cooked and flavored heavily but in a good way, best served with steamed rice. Garupa with dried chili was crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside, it was surprisingly easy to consume, no messy bones to deal with as the preparation method have dealt with that problem.
I thought the butter prawn was perhaps a bit too soft, but it was flavored “correctly”, and sayur kolok was a welcoming change in taste with the coconut milk based soup that mellows back our taste buds down a bit.
kailan ikan masin, kacang buncis goreng, kerabu ikan bilis
A trio of spicy vegetables followed. Kailan ikan masin, kacang buncis goreng, and kerabu ikan bilis. These dishes were good, and while slightly over powering eating them on their own, some steamed rice or fried rice would be wonderful to accompany them.
daging bakar, sambal udang petai, nasi goreng ikan masin
By this time, I was already pretty much over stuffed. So the daging bakar, while flavorful, was perhaps a bit filling for me. But as a petai fan, I really enjoyed the sambal udang petai dish (and again wished I had some steamed rice!)
By the time nasi goreng ikan masin was served, I was only able to sample a small spoonful. I liked it.
bubur pulut hitam, lompat tikam, Fresh, KY, Haze
Dessert came in the form of bubur pulut hitam (black glutinous rice) and lompat tikam (jump & stab, what a name!). I managed to sample a bit of these sweet dishes and my tastebuds were left wanting for more with my stomach begging me to stop.
If I were to come to Kelantan Delights myself, I’d probably limit my orders to 5-6 dishes for a group of 6, and have some steamed rice to go with some of the spicy dishes, and definitely the tomyam. As for somtam yee sang, well, you might want to try something at least once, right?
Ground Floor East Wing Wisma Consplant 1.
No 2 Jalan SS16/4 47500 Subang Jaya
GPS: 3.081102, 101.583806
Tel: 03-5611 7845