Category / By Invitation
Over the years, from business traveling, meeting with friends, and invited reviews, I’ve seen quite a few buffet spreads. Hence, for the most parts, buffet offerings don’t excite me very much.
Then again, the Bubblier Sparkalite 4Cs Sunday Brunch at Intercontinental KL’s Serena Brasserie isn’t just any buffet spread.
Serena Brasserie, at ground floor Intercontinental KL
Heading the kitchen is executive chef Darrell O’Neill, originally from Australia and has since left a trail of presence across the globe in countries such as New Zealand, UK, France, Hong Kong, Dubai, India, Maldives, and now, Malaysia. During his time at restaurant Al Mahara t the Burj Al Arab Hotel Dubai, the restaurant was awarded Best Seafood Restaurant by Time Out Dubai.
this is what we came here for, the Alaskan King Crab
The concept of the Sunday buffet brunch at Intercontinental KL centeres around 4Cs – Crustaceans, Carvery, Chocolate, and Candy.
Crustaceans is what excites us the most, there were Alaskan King Crab, slippery lobster, tiger prawns, and cray fish. Under this “C” also includes catch of the days such as fresh white fish, marinated tuna steaks, oysters, mussels, scallops, salmon, and more.
yeap, bubbly too, and a host of seafood ready to eat
If you haven’t had a chance to sample king crab due to the price, this buffet offers one of the best values. The seafood were fresh, tasty, and most importantly, plentiful. I think I had close to 10 oysters, a departure from norm as I usually don’t get more than a couple, they tasted so good!
cold cuts and little appetizer in shot glasses
The next C stands for Carvery – which basically means cooked meat that are freshly sliced. Here you’ll find roasted whole ribs, prime ribs, roast chicken/duck, and more. Trimmings such as Yokshire pudding, roast vegetable, and baked potato accompany these dishes well.
roast chicken & duck, local delights, and prime ribs too
For those who wants to sample some local delights, they are available too. A good selection of traditional Malay, Chinese, and Indian dishes are available for your picking.
BBQ meat & sausage, tandoori chicken, smoked salmon
They’ve also set up a BBQ area right outside the air-conditioned dine in section. Here you get freshly grilled lamb rack, chicken tandoori, sausage, baby chicken, satay, and even freshly smoked salmon and “DIY” burger stand with mini-Augus beef sliders and mini-chicken satay sliders.
fruits, a variety of cheese, desserts, and cakes
The third C stands for Chocolate, and of course, that includes a host of other desserts as well. There are Australian lamingtons, chocolate fudge brownies and rocky road, mini Pavlovas, mini fruit trifles, banana and caramel sticky puddings, and more.
I can’t get enough of the Alaskan King Crab and slipper lobsters
Finally, last but not least is Candy. This actually refers to the Sparkalite Kid’s Corner, a section within the restaurant set up to keep kids busy learning the sweet art of making lamingtons and be entertained by the clown. This is a particularly great feature for parents with kids who actually want to have some food in peace.
with Umei, Josen, Haze, Evelyn, Dennis, and Damian
The Sparkalite ’4Cs’ Sunday Brunch at Serena Brasserie is available every Sunday from noon to 3pm. Brunch is priced at RM 120++ per person, and if you want the free flow sparkling, white & red wine and beer, it’ll be RM 198++. Kids from 6-12 is charged RM 60++ per head.
For the spread that you get, I think the price is more than reasonable, now excuse me while I go get myself more King crabs.
165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159767, 101.718045
Tel: 03-2161 1111
Late last month, Haze and I were invited to one of the most prestigious gastronomy event we’ve ever attended – the sixth Martell Pure Gourmet event, held at JW Marriott KL.
Martell Pure Gourmet 2013, at Marriott KL, some limited edition bottles & glasses
Martell Pure Gourmet features ingredient led cuisine paired with Martell cognacs.
With cutting edge culinary techniques and using only the finest quality produce that enhance the overall flavor as well as texture of a dish, the dinner series embodies the method of cooking inspired by Martell’s creation of its cognac.
Martell infused cocktails and some interesting pre-dinner bits
Chef Ryan Clift from the world acclaimed Tippling Club in Singapore showcased his cutting edge culinary techniques in the bespoke menu specially prepared for this event.
the beautifully decorated dining hall at Marriott KL for Martell Pure Gourmet
Before the start of the main event, we were treated with a variety of pre-dinner nibbles such as white truffle foam, soup in test tubes, and other tiny one-spoon full dishes involving tofu, foie gras, truffle, and more.
There was also a bar serving four different variations of Martell cocktails to set the mood.
Ocean Trout, Apple Puree & Sorbet, Horseradish, with Martell Cordon Bleu
First dish of the night was ocean trout, apple puree & sorbet, horseradish, bronze fennel and dill flowers. According to the chef, only 4 person (at least one of which is his friend) are awarded the permit to fish these trouts from certain part of New Zealand.
The preparation fish was exquisite, and while combination of apple puree & sorbet with seafood takes a little getting used to, it was quite a marvellous combination. The rich aromas of Martell Cordon Bleu accompanied the dish.
The technique used here was salt curing and enzyme separation in preparation of the fish.
Carrot Gnocchi, Ginger Flower and Carrot Broth; Martell Cordon Bleu
Second course was pure vegetarian – carrot gnocchi, ginger flower and carrot broth with pistachio and wild stems of fragrant herbs. Vacuum distillation technique is employed, resulting in a very soft and tender texture of carrot that has about the same consistency of very well boiled potato boiled.
The end result is an adventure in the different texture the dish provides. We continued with Martell Cordon Bleu as the cognac of choice for this dish.
Foie Gras Coulant with Spiced Wine, Cherry, Cocoa & Spices; Martell XO
The third course called for Martell XO to be paired with foie gras coulant with wine, cherry, cocoa & spices.
The technique used here is one that I’ve never heard of – sound homogenization. It is a process to reduce small particles in a liquid so that they become uniformly small and evenly distributed, which resulted in a foie gras dish that has almost the consistency closer to that of desserts, but at the same time carrying a taste that is unmistakably foie gras.
A very interesting experience, the XO with its dominant characteristic of Grande and Petite Champagne worked well with this stronger tasting dish.
Venison with Black Turtle Beans; Martell Creation Grand Extra
Forth course called for red meat that came in the form of venison with black turtle beans, dashi emulsion and black radish. Low temperature cooking technique is employed here to achieve a very tender texture of the meat while not having to scorch any part of it.
Martell Creation Grand Extra was chosen as the cognac to pair with this dish. The roasted aroma with a hint of bitterness goes well with the red meat.
By the way, the venison is sourced from deer that’s hunted in the wild using helicopter. As chef explained that there’s a believe that if the animal didn’t see it coming, it tastes better than those that has to go through the slaughterhouse.
Textures of Milk; Martell Chanteloup Perspective
The 5th course – texture of milk, was perhaps the most simplistic looking dish, but one that is hardest to prepare. Using the technique of dehydration & nitrogen, Chef Ryan Clift manage to prepare a meringue that comprises of nothing but milk alone. It was very interesting and absolutely wonderful.
Martell Chantelop Perspective, classed in the Extra category, with eaux-de-vie that may be aged for up to 50 years, provided the perfect ending to this most excellent meal.
The good chef also created “tiramisu capsules” as an additional dessert to go with coffee and cognac as an additional final item for us. Most interesting, I want to have this on my computer desk!
Haze, KY, Lex & Weizhi from kampungboycitygal.com
Martell Pure Gourmet dinner proved to be a gastronomical experience unlike any I’ve experienced before, I want to thank the good people from Martell for the invitation, and hopefully my name is on the list again for next year.
From this blog, I sometimes get invitation to events hosts by or for certain celebrity chefs and TV personalities, these are usually official or semi official events that are very structured and .. distant, something that I don’t usually enjoy that much.
Well, there’s those, and there’s the session with the Fabulous Baker Brothers who has a show starting October 16, 7:30p m on TLC (Astro Channel 707). Encores every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and Saturday at 10:30 p.m.
Restaurant Limablas at Jalan Mesui Off Jalan Nagasari
Our initial destination of choice was Jalan Alor, but due to the uncooperative weather condition we moved the session to Limablas, and what a great adjustment that was.
Limablas, located right next to “No Black Tie” at Jalan Mesui, is a quaint little Peranakan Restaurant (Baba & Nyonya) run by Uncle John. The ambiance is that of an old Peranakan settlement, from the row of glass bottles filled with ingredients, to furniture, to the antique cash register.
Tom and Henry Herbert of the Fabulous Baker Brothers
While parking at Jalan Mesui usually isn’t most ideal, you can always leave your car at the paid parking at One Residence just a stone’s throw away.
Together with Tom & Henry Herbert, the baker and the butcher & chef who make up the Fabulous Baker Brothers, the group was about 20 strong, including PR, important people from Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, and writers/bloggers.
Our session was scheduled at 7 pm, and by 7:05 pm, everyone arrived. I cannot over stressed how happy I was in everyone’s commitment in respecting each other’s time. Being timeliness is often a lost art in many Malaysian.
nyonya tauhu telur, paitee, rojak
Our dishes on the day were recommended by Uncle John, and it was (I guess) basically almost everything on the menu.
We started out with a few appetizers in Nyonya tauhu telur, rojak, and paitee. These dishes were a little bit sweet, slightly spicy, and positively full flavored. I particularly like the paitee with its crunchy pastry and juicy stuffings, that piece of small prawns on top is a nice touch as well.
ayam pongteh, nyonya curry chicken, kangkung goreng sambal belacan, ayam sioh
Since this is a pork free establishment, there were plenty of chicken dishes.
Ayam pongteh, Nyonya curry chicken, and ayam sioh were the three we tried. They were all distinctively different in taste.
Ayam pongteh is the Peranakan’s version of stewed chicken, a comfort food. Nyonya curry chicken has the same familiar taste I’m familiar with, and I so desperately want some nasi kunyit to go with this. Ayam sioh, or chicken in coriander and bean paste, is a stronger flavored counterpart that goes really well with steamed rice.
The kangkung goreng sambal belacan at Limablas is another well executed dish, carries a kick that this classic dish should.
cincaluk omelette, sambal udang petai, sambal terung, sambal ikan
Cincaluk omelette is a classic Nyonya dish that anyone should try, the cincaluk (fermented krill) gives it a slightly salty seafood taste that is a little similar to fuyu (fermented tofu). I find it very exquisite.
Sambal udang petai was awesome, but my favorite dish of the night had to go to the sambal terung – it was a perfect blend of sweet and spicy.
Our last main dish of the night was the sambal ikan (with tilapia). Another spicy dish that turned out to be rather decent, but in my opinion, doesn’t live up to the other dishes at Limablas. After all, it is just tilapia.
ais kacang & sago gula melaka, we had a feast
Desserts came in the forms of ais kacang, cendul, and sago gula melaka. They proved to be as good as those I’ve tried by the side of Melaccan roads, and it was a shame we had to share them.
Before the end of the meal, Cheng Yi of fatboybakes fed the two brothers some home made durian cheesecake while the rest of us (Nigel, Umei, Josen, Meena etc) watched on, they didn’t manage to finish the slices, but I give them credit for trying tho.
we had loads of fun, the two guys are really friendly and down to earth
The two brothers were ultra friendly and very down to earth, we had an awesome session sharing lots of stories over some really impressive food at Limablas. A few glasses of wine certainly helped too, I wish we’ll have more of these kinda meet ups.
15 Jalan Mesui,
Off Jalan Nagasari,
50200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148872, 101.708399
Tel: 03-2110 1289
Hours: break from 3pm to 530 pm Mon – Sat
Nook at Aloft KL is a pretty funky all-day dining restaurant that serves international and Asian cuisine.
The restaurant set up reminds me of those futuristic movies back in the 80s, little squarish pods that has a bench, chairs, and even come complete with artificial turf. Among the three Starwood hotels at KL Sentral area, this one is definitely the most hip.
Nook at Aloft, playful & hip
Earlier this month, together with a couple other reviewers, we were invited to sample the MIGF (Malaysian International Gourmet Festival) menu at Nook.
MIGF is about bringing the best out of the world class chefs who are already working at the restaurant (instead of one off “import” from overseas). It is about paying a little extra to get a more pleasant fine dining experience with quality ingredients and first class service.
At Nook, Chef Steven Seow flexes his creative mind and came up with this very interesting set of dishes. The festival runs throughout the entire October, 2013 (yes, this blog post is way late.)
smoked scallop umai sushi, duck confit, Villa Maria Chardonnay, NZ
The starting dish is smoked scallop umai sushi, duck confit with pomegranate and yogurt sphere. A two part dish that is served with the soya sauce on the little plastic drip thingy.
The sushi rice is coated with a fine layer of ebiko, and the scallop prepared with method inspired by umai (a traditional Sarawakian seafood preparation method, I had it over Mabul/Sipadan trip thanks to Irene). Duck confit with yogurt sphere provided a different texture and savoury taste, I particularly liked the bit of fried duck skin on top.
We had Villa Maria Chardonnay from New Zealand to start the dinner. Lovely pairing.
Sarawak lobster and ablone laksa, Leffe Blonde
Next up was the Sarawak lobster & abalone laksa with organic soba noodle. This was a dish unlike any I’ve tried, a sort of traditional hawker dish meet fine dining.
The soup is sourced all the way from Sarawak to ensure that it was authentic and just right. Lobster and abalone definitely provided a huge dose of luxury to this dish, and I thought the use of soba noodle was a clever touch to lighten up the dish a little bit too. Some of us asked for extra soup cos it was so delicious!
A glass of cold Leffe Blonde went well with this spicy dish.
p/s: the hawker version at Bangsar is one of my favourites.
wagyu beef cheek rendang, Madfish Chiraz, Australia
Continuing with the same philosophy, the next dish was Wagyu beef cheek rendang with farm vegetables, archar jelatah, and turmeric coconut rice.
Last I had something similar to this dish was the big lunch box at EEST, Westin back in 2009, and this definitely brought back the memory. The beef cheek was superb and as per Wagyu standard, super tender and flavourful. The turmeric coconut rice carries a nice and not overly strong fragrance, with two quails egg sitting on top of some sambal should you want to spice it up a bit.
Red goes well with beef, so we had Madfish Chiraz from Australia to wash down the meat.
Chef Steven Seow with the 8 treasure ice kacang
Concluding the dinner was another playful invention by Chef Steven Seow – the 8 treasure ice kacang. Basically shaved ice with 8 different ingredients such as lychee, blackberries, nangka, peanuts and so forth with 5 different syrup served on the side in syringes. Mix and match it the way you want and be responsible if you ruined your own dessert.
We had fun with this but my advice is to mix it up quick cos the ice tends to melt and create a hardened outer layer if you spend too much time taking photos.
me with Trixha & other food reviewers at Nook, Aloft KL
The menu is priced at RM 280+ per set for what you see here. The version without alcohol is RM 180+ per person, and for those with smaller stomach, you can go light for RM 160+, which exclude the wagyu dish but does come with a glass of Chardonnay. Every set comes with coffee or tea too.
I’d want to check out Nook’s normal menu too.
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral
No 5, Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.13295, 101.68619
Tel: 03 2723 1188
Tucked right next to the Philippines embassy and just a stone’s throw away from Pavilion and the KLCC Convention is Maison Francaise, an elegant French restaurant situated in what was formerly a bungalow.
Dining area is separated in a few areas that used to be patio, living room, pool side, and so forth. Art works, white tablecloths, leather seats, fresh flowers; decoration is simple yet classy.
Maison Francaise at Changkat Kia Peng
Being at the less glamorous of KLCC area has its benefits, you can get here without having to go through any traffic bottle necks, and you never have to park your car more than a few steps away from the restaurant.
While dinner session is usually pretty busy, as the manager and chef mentioned, Maison Francaise is usually pretty quiet over lunch. So for this session, we sampled the lunch set priced at at RM59++ for 2-courses or RM75++ for 3-courses.
amuse-bouche came in the form of in-house smoked salmon
Even though it is a set lunch, we still started out with amuse-bouche, a bite size pre-appetizer selected and prepared by the chef. The in-house smoked salmon isn’t anything fancy, but carries a delicate smoky taste which we like.
duck pate, home-made mushroom soup
The lunch menu may change from time to time and usually carries a couple different options for each course.
Appetizer was between duck pate with truffle and walnut dressing and mushroom soup finishing with truffle oil and whipping cream.
The pate, with its inclusion of walnut dressing, is a little drier than your normal pan-fried duck liver, and should delight fans of this appetizer. Mushroom soup was beautiful, creamy, and those truffle oil really gave it an extra dimension which we love.
leather jacket with green olive & garlic, slow cooked beef angus
Main course was either fish or beef.
The fish option was leather jacket with green olives and garlic, braised fennel. The seasoning was perfect with accompanying vegetables positively enhanced the seafood.
The slow cooked Angus beef, an “oyster blade” cut, is meticulously prepared in seven hours cooking. The result is a piece of meat that’s so tender you can cut it with just using the fork. The flavour of the meat is not lost, and the supporting cast of root vegetables complimented the dish beautifully.
raspberry mousse temptation
To conclude the lunch set was the dessert in the form of raspberry mousse temptation, a cacophony of sour, sweet, and very rich creamy taste. I particularly like the tiny bulbs of raspberry “bubbles” that pops in your mouth.
Haze & KY at Maison Francaise
Maison Francaise is a pork free establishment that carries a good wine and champagne selection, the restaurant also serves liqueurs and espresso coffee.
I want to go back again.
5 Jalan Changkat Kia Peng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.151256, 101.715215
Tel: 03-2144 1474, 019-243 1200