Category / By Invitation
A couple weeks ago I was invited to Di Wei Chinese Restaurant at Empire Hotel to sample their mooncakes for the upcoming Mid-Autumn festival as well as a few of their new fish dishes.
It was my second time visiting this rather classy non-halal Chinese restaurant, with the first time sampling some alcohol product that was never brought into the country commercially (Yuzu!), hence the lack of prior blog entry.
Di Wei Chinese cuisine restaurant at Empire Hotel, Subang Jaya
The restaurant is accessible from the hotel as well as directly from the top floor of the shopping mall. Like most Chinese restaurants, Di Wei carries a pretty decent selection of dishes, from bbq meat, traditional double boiled soup, dried seafood such as abalone and sea cucumber, live seafood, beef, pork, chicken, duck, beancurd, egg, vegetable dishes as well as fried rice and noodle.
On our review session, we sampled three new fish dishes as well as their mooncakes.
Braised Marble Goby Fish with Iced Beancurd and Pork Belly
First dish was braised marble goby fish with iced beancurd and pork belly (RM 168++ per portion).
Marble goby is one of the most prized freshwater fish for its smooth texture and layering meat. The usual preparation method usually by steaming, but the chef at Di Wei decided to deep fry the fish and braise with special sauce with addition of pork belly and iced beancurd.
The beancurd, being frozen prior has many air pockets that soaks up the sauce, which makes for an interesting way to enjoy the dish. The fish did not lose it’s original taste with the deep frying process, but gained extra smoothness from pork belly. I love it.
Steamed Seabass in Assam Sauce
Next up was steamed seabass in assam sauce (RM 122++ per 100 gram). It was basically a high class version of asam fish that is quite common in many Chinese restaurants, with seabass doing the major lifting in the quality department. This dish should be consumed quickly if served in the heated bowl, as the heat may otherwise overcook the fish over time.
Pan Fried Giant Grouper with Green Apple Sauce
Pan fried giant grouper with green apple sauce (RM 23++ per 100 gram) is a dish that may not get approval for giant grouper lovers who love to have this fish the traditional way – steamed with superior soya sauce.
I tend to agree, but pan frying the fish gives the skin a new and exciting texture to ponder about, with the addition of apple sauce making it pretty interesting. It is a bold attempt no doubt, but one that hasn’t surpass the traditional cooking method of this prized seafood yet, I’m afraid.
traditional baked mooncakes, RM 18-23 each
So then, lets move to mooncakes.
The traditional mooncakes from Di Wei we sampled are as follow:
- pandan lotus single yolk
- white lotus single yolk
- black sesame single yolk
- pure lotus single yolk
- red bean
- bamboo charcoal single yolk
My favorite being the bamboo charcoal and white lotus single yolk, and my complain is – why not double yolks? or even better, quadruple yolks?
snow skin mooncakes, RM 18-23 each
As for snow skin mooncakes that are best chilled, we had the following:
- snow skin white lotus single yolk
- snow skin green tea single yolk
- snow skin black sesame single yolk
- snow skin bamboo charcoal single yolk
I like them all, but my favorites were black sesame and bamboo charcoal versions.
Di Wei’s 3 meat platter
Since mooncakes and three dishes of fish weren’t exactly fulfilling enough to our collective stomachs, we ordered Di Wei’s three meat platter as extra (small – RM40++, medium – RM60++, big – RM80++).
The BBQ pork (chasiu) was perhaps not the best I’ve had, but the roast duck very good, and roast pork turned out to be really excellent.
So if you’re into mooncakes, Di Wei offers some excellent choices, and for good quality fish in some non traditional cooking style, this is also a place you should check out.
L1, F20 & F21
Empire Hotel, Jalan SS16/1,
Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan
GPS: 3.082109, 101.582716
Tel: 03-5565 1228
A couple weeks ago I was invited to yet another event hosted by Glenlivet at Truefitt & Hill, the oldest barbershop in the world. The event unveiled the Glenlivet Guardians’ Chapter, and we got ourselves a proper hair cut as well.
Truefitt and Hill at Starhill Gallery
The Glenlivet Guardians’ Chapter is a whisky voted by thousands of whisky lovers across 37 different countries from the three expressions hand picked by Master Distiller Alan Winchester. The Exotic edged out Classic and Revival to be among The Glenlivet’s limited edition single malt releases.
unveiling the Glenlivet Guardians’ Chapter in Malaysia
The whisky has an aromas rich with marmalade and fruitcake, while the palate tantalises with dark chocolate, hints of zesty orange and finishes long and slightly dry. I find it pretty easy to drink, not being overly dry or having an overly strong finish.
some tasty canapes to go with the single malt whisky
To get your hands on a bottle of the Guardians’ Chapter, you have to be either a Glenlivet Guardian, or purchase one at selected travel retails (ie: airports) at RM 398 per bottle.
We sampled the Guardians’ Chapter with some canapes while waiting for our turn for what turned out to be a pretty interesting experience – a Royal Haircut at Truefitt and Hill.
getting my Royal Haircut experience at Truefitt and Hill
Truefitt and Hill is recognised by The Guinness World Record as the oldest barber in the world with the history tracing back in fashionable Mayfair in 1805. They have four branches in Malaysia, and also perhaps the only barber chain that offer services only to men.
the boys with our new haircut
The experience was the most unique I had in a saloon/barber shop. The entire process for the Royal Haircut (RM 95) took some 30-45 minutes. Through the whole thing I never needed to get off my chair, and left with not a single strand of hair on my shirt either.
I quite like my new haircut that was styled in accordance to the occasion, what say you?
A few weeks ago we were invited to Kampachi at Troika to sample a few dishes from their upcoming Okayama Fair. Before we start, here’s when the Okayama fair is going to happen at various Kampachi outlets:
- Kampachi Troika – 26 August, 2014
- Kampachi Pavilion – 1 september, 2014
- Kampachi Plaza 33 – 5 September, 2014
- Kampachi Johor Premium outlet – 1 september, 2014
Seats will be limited, so do call and book ahead.
Okayama fair at Kampachi, we had our tasting at Kampachi Troika
Okayama prefecture is located in the Chugoku region of Japan, or roughly in between Hiroshima and Kyoto. The climate is mild compared to other parts of Japan and thus making agriculture one of the more important contributor to the region’s economy. On the northern part of the prefecture in the mountains, white peaches and grapes are cultivated as well.
Nama Gaki Ponzu
While our food review was mainly focused on fresh produce, the first dish of the day was Nama Gaki Ponzu (from set menu).
The oysters were soaked ponzu sauce and served on ice. They tasted superb, very fresh and juicy. I like the subtlety of the accompanying ponzu sauce, much better than butchering oysters with the likes of Tabasco sauce.
Okayama Yasai salad, salmon carpaccio
Okayama Yasai salad (RM 35++) was a deceptively simple dish with green asparagus, yellow Chinese chives, endives, and boiled prawns served in half a tomato on a bed of spaghetti squash (yes, squash cut to spaghetti shapes). It was quite refreshing and delightful, the bits of seafood gives the salad an extra dimension.
The Okayama style salmon carpaccio came with bits of fresh produce such as asparagus, spring onion, and avocado served with the raw salmon. I also like the slices of fried garlic in this dish which gives it an interesting texture and explosion of differing taste when combined with the wasabi dressing. This was one of my favorites.
Okayama winter melon with minced prawn, Okayama Pione grapes
Okayama winter melon with minced prawn with thick sauce (RM 32++) was the ultimate comfort food and reminds me of mom’s cooking more than anything else, very simple yet elegant, and I would say that it isn’t something difficult to replicate at home.
The biggest surprise of the night though, turned out to be the Okayama Pione grapes (RM 38++). Now I have tried Muscat grapes that was super juicy and sweet, but this Okayama Pione grape was something else, it tasted like wine. It felt as if you’re “eating wine” but without the alcohol, I absolutely love it.
This is something that you definitely must try.
the good chef, KY & Haze, Lex & Weizhi
Other than the ala carte menu, there’s also the Okayama course menu that goes for RM 250++ which includes the following dishes:
Mashed Tofu with Okayama Muscat Grapes
Itouri & Momotaro Tomato Tosazu Jure
Okayama Spaghetti Squash & Tomato served with Homemade Vinegar Jelly
Nama Gaki Ponzu (2 pieces)
Fresh Okayama Oyster with Homemade Japanese Citrus Vinaigrette
Thinly Sliced Raw Salmon rolled with Okayama Tomato, Asparagus & Yellow Chives served with Wasabi Dressing
Togan no Ebi Soboro Ankake
Okayama Winter Melon & Minced Prawn with Thick Sauce
Assorted Cube Cut Raw Fish served over Vinegared Rice
Air-flown Okayama White Peach
The Troika Jalan Binjai
GPS: 3.158052, 101.718122
Tel: 03-2181 2282
This is the 6th review on this buka puasa buffet 2014 series, and this time we check out the Balik Kampung Buffet at Grand Hyatt KL’s JP Teres restaurant right here in the heart of the city.
at JP Teres, Grand Hyatt KL with Rizal & Shabana
Grand Hyatt is located right between Mandarin Oriental and the KLCC Convention Centre right on Jalan Pinang. In fact, you can walk from KLCC to the hotel within a few minutes.
While the lobby and flagship restaurant is located on the top floors of the hotel, JP Teres, the restaurant that specialize in local cuisine is on the ground floor to the right as you walk into Grand Hyatt KL.
a variety of kurma, ulam, acar, and salad
Like the whole of Grand Hyatt, JP Teres is a pretty classy and beautifully decorated restaurant. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating areas, with several open concept show kitchens not unlike the arrangement at Thirty8.
The Balik Kampung buffet, priced at RM 148++ for adults and RM 74++ for children, is available from 30th June to 25th July 2014.
Malay kuih, ice cream roti, kek lapis Sarawak, and the all important tapai
While many hotels try to have a mix of Western and even Japanese cuisine in their buffet spread, JP Teres concentrate solely only local delights.
I personally love this idea and believe that this is the direction that will help keep our traditional food culture in Malaysia alive. If you have friends from outside Malaysia and wish to bring them for some local cuisine in a classy place, JP Teres should be pretty high on the list.
dhal tadka, nasi, lamb curry, chicken tikka masala,
paneer makhani, bhindi, do pyaza, sambal, chicken curry
For the Balik Kampung buffet, there are hundreds of dishes to choose from.
Starting from the cold selection you’ll find rojak buah, ulam-ulam, acar, kerabu daging, kerabu udang, kachumbar salad, tofu salad, and more.
To go with the ulam, there’s sambal balacan, cincacluk, air asam, cili kicap, budu, sambal kelapa, and chutney. The only thing missing is tempoyak.
ikan bakar, roast lamb, otak otak, and freshly made pohpiah
Like most every respectable buffet for this holiday season, there’s roast lamb. In addition to that, JP Teres also serve very delicious chicken rice (strongly recommend), freshly made pohpiah, ikan bakar, nasi briyani, satey ayam & daging, and even otak otak (which I don’t quite recommend).
daging masak cili padi, labu masak lemak, ikan tenggiri masak tau choo,
meehun goreng, kepah berlada, sambal telur itik, sup ekor, bubur lambok
The main dishes here are separated into three sections – with Malay, Indian, and Chinese hot sections.
Here you find dishes such as ayam goreng berempah, ikan merah greng berlada, kepah masak lada hitam, sayur lodeh kering, ayam masak ros in Malay hot section.
Lamb curry, fish amritsary, chicken tikka masala, vindi do pyaza, dhal tadka, paneer makhani (this is a must try!), and nasi briyani can be expected from Indian hot section.
At the Chinese hot section, there’s ayam mayonnaise with Thai sauce, ikan tenggiri masak tau choo, sotong masak oat, kailan ikan masin, meehun goreng, and so forth.
In addition, there’s also a Tandoori station serving roti india, ayam tandoori, udang tandoori, shish kebabs, and talapia merah.
more dishes from Malay, Indian, and Chinese cuisine
Apart from the hot stations, there are a number of stalls located at both indoor and outdoor dining area at JP Teres that offers anything from lemang, ketupat, makanan laut, gulai kawah, asam laksa Johor, curry laksa, prawn mee, roti canai, yong tau foo, and even murtabak.
In fact, they cover most everything you can expect from local cuisine, with most of the dishes being of very high quality. I enjoyed them.
there are also various cooking stations, including rojak buah at JP Teres
The dessert area is perhaps the only place where a few Western pastries and a few selection of Japanese mochee creep into this otherwise 100% local spread. There’s Malay kuih, ais krim roti, fruits, Malay biscuits. roti jala, cendol pulut, sago gula Melaka, and more to be expected.
If you’re looking for local delights in a classy place in town, this is definitely a place to check out.
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
12 Jalan Pinang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.15381, 101.71234
Tel: 03-2182 1234 ext. 2333
The last I went to Saujana Resort was some two years ago for their Wagyu beef promotion, I remember The Restaurant had a relatively new guy in charged, Chef Alexander Waschl from Austria. Fast forward to 2014 and we are here for the Main Lobster promotion, I was quite pleased to see that the good chef has decided to stay on and continue to contribute to the fine dining scene in the country.
The Club at Saujana Resort, classy yet reserved
For those who aren’t familiar with Chef Alexander Waschl, he previously the Sous Chef at The Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Switzerland and was responsible for creation of the menus at the Kronenstubli Gourmet Restaurant which was awarded 16 Gault Millau points, the equivalent of a Michelin Star.
the wine here are specifically bottled for the Saujana
The Restaurant (yes, that’s the name of the .. restaurant) has largely stayed untouched from my previous visit. The interior is as classy, making it a perfect ambiance for fine dining occasions.
As with most hotels outside KL, parking is free and you don’t have have to walk more than a minute from the main entrance.
amuse bouche with salmon tartar, lobster tartar, lobster manner a la “Cesar”
We started the night with a craftily prepared amuse bouche from Chef Alexandar that came in the form of salmon tartar, the only dish of the day that isn’t lobster. The raw fish was refreshing and made for a good start to the dinner.
Following the same theme, we tried lobster tartar that was served with a side of lobster sorbet that carries a hint of paprika, shallots, basil, and tabasco. The combination sounds weird on paper, but proved to be a combination that tickles the right sense.
For those who fancy something closer to normalcy, lobster mana a la “Cesar” is the interpretation of the popular Cesar salad with chunks of lobsters. Salad can’t get any better than this.
lobster carpaccio and lobster mousse
My favorite appetizer of the night was undoubtedly the lobster carpaccio and lobster mousse. The flattened lobster carpaccio was so exquisitely done, it had a texture not entirely different from a thin film of jelly, but retains the sweetness of the crustacean which I love. Combining with the lobster mousse, this dish was nothing less than stellar.
lobster conchiglioni aglio olio, lobster tortellini, house wine
Pasta lovers will enjoy lobster conchiglioni aglio olio, a dish that can stand on its own as a full meal for the smaller eaters. I particularly like the reaction of the foam with lobster.
lobster tortellini is the italian version of “wantan” but of course, with lobster as the main ingredient. The lobster infused soup has a hint of Penang Hokkien Prawn Mee character, but more sophisticated and minus the spiciness of course.
The tortellini can also be served with lobster cream, for those who likes it rich.
lobster bisque with lobster grissini, lobster tortellini with lobster cream
Lobster bisque is another choice of soup to go for. The creamy and rich broth is served with a crunchy breadstick of lobster. Seasoning was spot on and absolutely delightful.
olive oil poached lobster tail
There are four different mains to choose from – olive oil poached lobster tail, lobster al Americaine, smoked lobster tail, and The Club lobster burger.
We tried three of the four (except the burger) and was clearly not disappointed. The lobster tails were succulent and has a natural sweetness to it. Preparation methods were not overly complicated and certainly not overly seasoned.
lobster al’Amercaine, smoked lobster tail
The lobster promotion runs from 1st of July to 31st of July, 2014 at The Restaurant, Saujana Resort and available for lunch and dinner (as well as buka puasa time). Prices range from RM 42 to RM 160 nett depending on the dish you choose, everything is ala carte.
The wines start at around RM 21 per glass.
KY & Haze at The Restaurant, Saujana Resort
The Club Saujana Resort,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
GPS: 3.10781, 101.57930
Tel: 03-7806 7000