I think it’s safe to say that Japanese food is one of my favorite cuisine when it comes to heading out to a proper restaurant. In fact, this is the 100th entry on Japanese cuisine on this space – and for this occasion we head to Bangsar and look at Hana Tei Japanese Restaurant.
Hana Tei, Lucky Garden Bangsar
If you’re from Kajang and Cheras area, you may have heard of Hana Tei before. This Bangsar branch is their latest venture into KL city.
Personally, I thought Lucky Garden (the same row with 3 famous kopitiam) is a pretty good location to be at. It is in Bangsar, and parking situation at the area is usually pretty good during dinner time, though lunch can be a bit challenging.
The menu for Hana Tei is actually quite extensive, covering the usual suspects such as sushi, sashimi, to teppanyaki, teriyaki, nabemoto, tempura, as well as rice and noodle dishes. Well, on our review session, we got to sample quite a few of these dishes.
shake sashimi (thick cut salmon)
We started the night with shake sashimi (RM 35), or thick cut salmon. You get 5 pieces of fresh raw salmon at I think at least 1 cm thick. It was glorious. I also do like the fact that they use proper grated wasabi to go with the salmon here. It was definitely a treat.
camembert cheese yaki, gindara foilyaki
Next up was something rather unique – Camembert Cheese Yaki (RM 15). Grilled Camembert cheese with baguette with a side of jam. I thought it was rather interesting and most likely will go very well with some sake.
Then there’s Gindara Foilyaki (RM 48), cod fish with mushroom wrapped in aluminium foil and cooked with a miso soup base. It’s not entirely unlike Chinese style steamed cod except with a Japanese touch & flavor. I thought it was executed quite well.
hana tei beef sushi
If you’re a sushi person, well, here’s some treats for you, starting with Hana Tei Beef Sushi (RM 25). Instead of raw fish like usual, you get Australian striploin with salmon roe and ebiko, all wrapping those sushi rice.
The combination works surprisingly well to be honest, I love the contrasting taste between the savory beef and the freshness and slightly salty nature of ikura.
foie gras sushi, hotate maki spicy sauce
Then there’s also the one of a kind Foie Gras sushi (RM 28). This is probably one of the cheaper ways to experience foie gras, and foie gras never disappoint. I can have 5 of these for breakfast if I get my way! I shouldn’t, but I want to!
If you’re a fan of scallop and spicy food, you can find that strange combination in Hotate Maki Spicy Sauce (RM 35). The roll comes with quite a big chunk of scallop in each of them and covered with this hot sauce that really gives the dish a kick. You definitely don’t need any wasabi for this.
Dragon-i, perhaps the first Chinese restaurant brand that brought proper xiao long boa and Chinese cuisine from the region of Shanghai, Szechuan, Beijing and Lanzhou, has been operating since some 14 years ago, is now relaunching 3 of their outlets to “Dragon-i Peking Duck Restaurant“, and I was invited to sample this new dish that they now offer at their 1-Utama outlet.
This was quite interesting for me, as Dragon-i at 1-Utama was one of my earliest food blog entry all the way back in 2005.
Dragon-i Peking Duck Restaurant at 1-Utama
Well, compared to 13 years ago, the restaurant has seen quite a bit of an upgrade in its interior decoration. First and foremost, it has a new logo with a little duck by the side, the dining area looks a lot more up-class and comfortable, and most importantly, it also spot an open roasting room for Peking Duck, where you can observe the chef from Beijing expertly prepare the bird for your indulgence.
Peking duck roasting room with Chef from Beijing
As for the duck itself, I was informed that they’re imported from China to ensure consistent quality and standard demanded by the chef. The roasting process is done by employing traditional brick hung ovens and roast for about an hour on controlled fire over fruit-tree wood.
The idea is to employ strict traditional method to get that crispy skin with tender & succulent duck meat that is infused with smoky floral aroma, just like how it should be.
crispy tender peking duck skin, expertly carved
The Peking duck dish comes in two choices. You can choose a “Peking Duck Two-Course Meal” that comes with Peking duck & duck bone soup with soft beancurd. This is a half duck course that feeds two pax and priced at RM 105.
However, if you have 3-4 pax (or a very good appetite), I’d suggest to go for the “Peking Duck Three-Course Meal” that serves a whole duck, the above mentioned soup, and a choice of
deep-fried duck’s bone with salt & pepper
stir-fried duck’s bone in Hunan style
braised rice noodle with black truffle and shredded duck meat
stir-fried shredded duck meat with vegetarian shark’s fin
all at RM 158.
Peking duck 3-course meal
Which was precisely what was served to us, and I’m happy to say that the Peking duck was indeed as described – crispy skin & succulent meat at the same time.
We had it the proper way of wrapping the duck meat with thin pancake skin, sweet sauce, cucumber, leek, and winter melon. The resulting roll is an explosion of taste & texture that no other dish can offer. I love it, and you bet we finished the whole portion.
Signature appetizer platter – chilled chicken, stewed mushroom,
pickled radish, deep fried bean curd, caramelized eel
Other than the Peking Duck, we were also served with some of their other dishes in the menu.
Starting with the Signature Appetizer Platter that consists of five different dishes (RM 83) with the following:
chilled chicken with “hua diao” rice wine
deep-fried vegetarian beancurd skin roll
crispy caramelized eel
You can also order these dishes on its own, and if I had to pick one, it’ll have to be either the chilled chicken or the stewed mushroom. I especially love the rice wine undertone the chicken carries.
braised pork belly with steamed buns, sauteed mixed vegetable, Shanghainese steamed meat dumpling, steamed black pepper duck meat bun
For those who loves some good old fashion porky goodness, there’s the Braised Pork Belly with Steamed Buns (RM 88). The dish is beautifully prepared with the pork belly crafted in a pagoda-liked shape. The portion for this is quite big though, and I reckon should serve at least 4 pax, tender 3-layer meat in those soft steamed buns, the best oriental porky “burger” if you like.
Sauteed Mixed Vegetable (RM 25) provided a good change of pace in texture and freshness, and Steamed Black Pepper Shredded Duck Meat Bun (RM 12) provided yet another way for us to enjoy another different way the duck is served.
Of course, we also took the opportunity to sample the one dish that kick-started this franchise from all those years ago – the Shanghainese Steamed Meat Dumplings, or Xiao Long Bao (RM 12). Tasted just as it was the first time I set foot in this restaurant.
Additionally, we also tried the Sauteed Diced Chicken with Dried Flower Chili in Szechuan Style (RM 38), or commonly known as “la ji zhi”, 辣子鸡. A dish with quick a bit of a kick that I absolutely adored, if you’re really adventurous, the imported fried chili can be chewed down for that numb and burning sensation (I didn’t try, but one guy over the session did).
And last but not least (actually was the first dish I had), for the soup lover, their Double-boiled Hydrangea Beancurd, Sea Cucumber and Matsutake (RM 38) soup is one not to be missed. The soup was sweet with seafood goodness, and that tofu that’s expertly cut into 2,800 strands is really something to behold.
Over all we definitely had a great time and awesome lunch at Dragon-i. I think it is time we start to look at Peking duck as a delicacy that is to be enjoyed not only during special occasions such as near & around CNY, but all year round too.
Dragon-i Peking Duck Restaurants are located at 1-Utama, Pavilion KL, and JBCC Komtar.
Address: Dragon-i Peking Duck Lot S313A, 2nd Floor Highstreet, 1 Utama Shopping Mall, No. 1 Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. GPS: 3.150050, 101.615939 Tel : 03 7725 8822
For those of you who’ve been following this blog and my Instagram feed, you should know that I’m quite big on breakfasts, a big part of my daily routine is figuring out how to start my day with a good dose of morning makan that fuels the rest of the day.
PETRONAS Station, with Mornings@Mesra
Apparently PETRONAS Kedai Mesra shares the same sentiment and now comes up with their very own breakfast offerings that goes by Mornings@Mesra – a range of breakfast combo that includes Mesra Bites, their range of buns that includes cheese stick, sambal ikan bilis, sambal udang, and kaya. There’s quite a selection here to suit anyone’s tastes.
CAPTION INSTA: Breakfast at PETRONAS Mornings@Mesra with nasi lemak, karipap, and a piping hot coffee at RM 5! Now available at close to 500 PETRONAS stations in Peninsular Malaysia! Can’t get any more convenient than that. Try it and share with me which breakfast snack is your favourite?
#MesraBites #MorningsAtMesra #BreakfastOnTheGo
nasi lemak? Mesra bites buns? Goodday milk? Take your pick
Of course, in addition to Mesra Bites, there’s the usual suspects of donuts, karipap, sandwich, and of course, our national favorite – nasi lemak!
The combo consists of Big Bites for RM 5 with a nasi lemak, karipap, and a hot or cold drinks, or you can go with Light Bites at RM 3 or 4 and have a bun + drinks, while kids can opt for Mesra Bites buns + a Goodday chocolate milk for RM 3.
I got myself a Big Bite breakfast just the other day with their signature nasi lemak, karipap, and a hot hot drink. A simple yet satisfying breakfast, and I do like the fact that they have set up simple dining table & bench within the Mesra store, very convenient and comfortable, not to mention getting to avoid that whole finding a parking space issue at your typical breakfast stopovers.
The new combo is now available at close to 500 PETRONAS stations with Kedai Mesra within the Peninsular Malaysia, a quick dine in or tapao to be consumed on-the-go, it’s your choice!
A couple weeks ago I was invited to check out Mo-Mo Paradise at J’s Gate Dining at Lot 10. Do read up on J’s Gate Dining here if you haven’t heard about this fantastic new Japanese dining area before. It is literally a paradise for those who loves food from the land of the rising sun.
Mo-Mo Paradise at J’s Gate Dining
Back to Mo-Mo Paradise, this latest outfit at J’s Gate Dining offers shabu-shabu and sukiyaki in a no-frill, all-you-can-eat buffet style within 100 minutes. In another word, eat as much as you want, or can, during a 100 minute period and pay one all inclusive price for the food offered.
At Mo-Mo Paradise, the asking price is RM 68++.
The restaurant is founded in 1993 at Shinjuku Kabukicho in Tokyo with the aim of providing the ultimate shabu-shabu and sukiyaki experience by focusing on a wide variety of fresh and high quality ingredients. On top of the traditional ingredients, they also aim to provide a modern and inviting ambiance with good hospitality to diners.
From our experience, I think they got it down quite well at this outlet.
all-you-can-eat in 100 minutes, with all these beef & pork slices too
Well, what do they really offer then in terms of food?
First off there’s a vegetable bar where you get all your greens in self served style. There’s a good selection of vegetables, tofu, mushroom, onion, and even fuchuk and some fish balls.
Then there’s obviously the most important ingredients – the meat. For this session we were served 3 different types of beef and pork each, with a total of 6 varieties. My favorite was the “bacon” cut of pork (probably isn’t the best for my cholesterol level?) but all 6 types of thinly sliced meat were all so delicious.
We had the shabu with ponzu and gomadare sauce, and raw eggs for sukiyaki.
great food is best enjoyed with friends
We ended the night with a couple scoops of ice cream (included in the package), and I thought the experience overall was rather positive, good was very good, and while it isn’t the cheapest meal option, it does offer pretty good value and way above average in terms of quality. Will return.
RM460++A few weeks ago I was invited to one of the more unique wine pairing dinners in town – Salon & Delamotte Champange Tasting Dinner at Nadodi KL. Being just a stone’s throw away from my office, the location was perfect, and with proper champagne & wine from Salon & Delamotte? I couldn’t say no.
Salmon and Delamotte Champange tasting dinner at Nadodi KL
Interestingly, Nadodi also offers something I have yet to try in so many years of writing about food – fine dining Indian cuisine. More specifically, southern Indian cuisine in a fine dining setting.
The dinner was a bespoke 11-course menu called 11-mile journey priced at RM460++ by Nadodi, they also offer the 13-mile journey dinner at RM 490++.
As for our drinks for the night. We have Salon – creation of Aime Salon, from the region of Côte des Blancs. The wine from Salon is always of a single harvest, single cru, single grape variety and of the best vintages. Hence the resulting champagne is perfectly balanced and among the most sought after.
A neighbour of Salon, Delamotte too is from Côte des Blancs and sources its grapes from the same region. Delamotte produces non-vintage Brut, Blanc de Blancs and Rosé.
In attendance at the dinner was Didier Depond, president of Champagne Salon and Champagne Delamotte.
Cone, Manga, and Pillow
Three exquisitely prepared starters to kick off the night. Cone was sambar & onion chutney, Manga made from mango patchadi & pistachios, while Pillow consists of beetroot and cheese.
While presentation is rather modern, there’s undeniable underlying tone of Indian cuisine, Cone had a spicy note to it, Manga balances sweetness of mango with pistachios, and Pillow the richness of cheese often found in Indian dishes.
We had Delamotte Blanc de Blancs non vintage with these, an delicate wine with subtle fruitiness and floral character.
Shell Shock was Hokkaido scallop with sodhi (coconut milk curry), an unfamiliar mix of taste to the usual scallop preparation, but one that worked out well.
We had Tiano & Noreno Malbec 2010 Magnum, with less than 800 bottles left in the world, a gracious gift from the President himself in this session. The wine is powerful, full-bodied, and has a delicate acidity with a touch of French elegance. It was one of our favorites of the night for sure.
Go Bananas, Salon Le Mesni 2006
Go Bananas is one of the iconic dishes at Nadodi, the dish is made with the stem, fruit and flower of a banana tree. We had Salon Le Mesni 2006, a champagne with a finish that is clear, aromatic, round and well balanced.
Heads Up, Delamotte Blanc de Blancs
Heads Up, a seafood dish with coral trout, head curry espuma, and lemon flat rice. The trick to eating this to stir it up and scoop up the mix, the contrasting texture of creamy curry and those crunchy rice was quite an experience.
Crabs Day Out
Crab’s Day Out is Nadodi’s play with Alaskan crab meat with rasam (you should be familiar with this at banana leaf rice places). Not quite as exquisite as I thought it’d be, but something with a little bit of acidity was welcoming after mostly creamy dishes.
Sorbet & Peek-A-Boo – lobster ishtu, dry coconut
We had a sorbet made from Delamotte Rose NV as palette cleanser, can’t get more luxurious than that.
Then came Peek-A-Boo, our lobster dish of the night. Lobster ishtu (Kerala style potato with coconut milk) with dry coconut. I liked the way they prepare the lobsters by cooking it only just very so slightly, retaining the natural taste of the crustacean. The whole thing too is wrapped by very thinly sliced scallop skin, my favorite dish of the night.
Billy – pepper crusted lamb, drumstick curry
Billy – our red meat of the night, consists of pepper crusted lamb with drumstick (moringa, not chicken drumstick…) curry. The lamb was perfectly cooked too, with the peppery crust seasoned how it should be. I really enjoyed this more than I thought I would.
Nomads Globe – country chicken biriyani, egg plants
Nomads Globe, our main for the day consists of country chicken briyani and egg plants in peanut masala gravy. A competent dish in its own, but I thought one that perhaps sit a bit lower than the two dishes preceding it.
Nomads Globe – country chicken biriyani, egg plants
Overall the experience was certainly positive, with good food, great wine & champagne, and certainly excellent company with Paco Galdeano, Hiroki Kuwabara san, and Xing Yi.
Check out diineout.com for more of exclusive champagne and wine pairing such as these. Thanks Wei Zhi for introducing me to this event!