My first Nespresso experience was actually at my car mechanic’s office, with the owner raving nonstop about this little machine and how capable and simple it is to brew up a cup of proper coffee in seconds.
He then proceeded to show me an assortment of coffee capsules and asked me to choose one. At the time, I’ve only heard about Ethiopian and Indonesian coffee, and had zero clue on tasting notes and the nuances of each origin, so I basically just picked one at random.
I can’t remember which coffee I ended up with, but I remember it had a thick foam and was very aromatic.
Well, as it turns out, the foam is “crema“, and forms naturally during the coffee-brewing process, if the temperature and pressure is just right. And that is exactly what this little machine is capable of doing so, since it’s equipped with a 19-bar pressure pump; the ideal power for making espresso.
For coffee drinkers, which is most of us, this little gadget makes for an essential item in any kitchen or pantry.
This Chinese New Year, having a Nespresso machine to serve proper coffee for family members both near and far is something that I look forward to. This also perfect for my family’s switch to mainly sugar-free drinks over the years.
You can now get an Essenza Mini with RM88 off, plus another RM88 coffee credit that can go towards more capsules.
The most compact machine doesn’t take up much real estate on your kitchen counter, and yet packs a punch in every perfect cup of coffee with perfect crema.
Indulge in milk coffee with the Nespresso Aeroccino
Of course, we also got to sample Nespresso coffee of different origins in the form of espresso, lungo, and even milk coffee.
The Nespresso boutique at The Gardens Mall also has various merchandise on display. There’s even the nifty little Nespresso Aeroccino that allows you to make a great cup of cappuccino or latte right at home or the office!
My traveling buddy while at Macao is someone whose diet consists of a heavy dosage of avocado, so after a great many days of subjecting herself to the local diet which has none of this “butter fruit” (as locals call it), we embarked in a mission to find one.
Which is how I ended up at Cafe TOFF.
TOFF is situated just a stone’s throw away from Lou Lim Ioc Garden, a public garden with a beautiful lotus lake that’s worthy of visit. If you’re there and have visited enough churches, why not?
The restaurant, like many other in Macau, is pretty diminutive in size, capable of serving perhaps two dozen customers snugly at any one time. Lucky for us, it was quite empty at 1pm or so on a Monday.
cozy interior inside TOFF
The menu though, is rather comprehensive (see below). They have a decent selection of espresso based coffee from latte, long black, to mocha, and even Marnier mocha, which comes with alcohol. Each cup costs between 28 to 50 MOP.
There’s also a selection of tea if that’s what you fancy.
breakfasts with coffee
As for food, there’s a dozen different types of salad and sandwiches, some with interesting ingredients like parma ham, squid and shrimp, Okinawa pork slices, or even shrimps and avocado. They’re priced between 50 to 68 MOP.
For our brunch, we went with the Big Breakfast (118 MOP) and Toff Veggie Breakfast (108 MOP), each comes with a black coffee or latte, and a selection of different ingredients to choose from.
TOFF Veggie Breakfast & TOFF All Day Breakfast
Overall the food were pretty competent, and coffee did tastes like any good coffee would. It is a Western breakfast that would make it pretty much anywhere, except when it’s in Macau, you do pay Macau prices. Cute place though, certainly would not mind visiting again
When it comes to places to wind down and have a glass of alcoholic beverages or two, we are certainly spoiled for choices in Klang Valley. However, if you are looking for a comfortable spot with a good selection of wine and proper food, suddenly there aren’t many choices anymore. For those around Kuchai Lama area, however, there’s C Chateau Cafe and Wine Bar.
C Chateau wine bar at Kuchai Lama
C Chateau Wine Bar is situated at the row of shops facing Dynasty Garden Condominium at Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park, with usually a better parking situation compared to the rest of the commercial area.
selection of wine at C Chateau wine bar
Inside, the restaurant is tastefully decorated and carries a good selection of wine both from old and new worlds at a reasonable price point. Additionally, there is also an in-house bartender who shakes up your favorite cocktails for those who prefer your drink to be a little fancier. This is however, not a yumseng beer place.
On Saturdays, there will also be a live band singing at a small stage set up by the side of the restaurant, giving the place that extra soothing ambiance.
white, red wine, butterfly cocktail, gin & tonic
For our visit, we tried a glass of their red & white wine as well as a butterfly cocktail and a classic gin & tonic, both concocted up by the friendly bartender, a friend whom I’ve known since before the turn of the millennium via this little old computer program called IRC that some of you old farts might remember.
Interestingly though we only manage to meet up in real life earlier this year, and yes I can vouch for her cocktail making skills.
iberico short ribs, baked portobello mushroom
While drinks and mood are pretty good at C Chateau, what about food?
Well, for that they have a relatively small but sufficient menu created by a young chef who has a pretty creative touch in his dishes.
We sampled four different dishes for the two of us, starting with the Fantastic Iberian, slow Iberico short ribs with special spices rub, and burnt lime. The dish was well cooked with meat easily peeled off the bone, while just a tad salty and strongly seasoned if you eat it as it, it was perfect to go with wine for sure.
New Zealand lamb rack, Vietnamese spring roll tempura
Another meat dish we had was Rack and Ruin – or pan seared New Zealand lamb rack served with infused Chinese wine risotto. I thought the risotto was rather interesting, utilizing Chinese wine to add a different dimension to the rice that was prepared al-dente style. It was quite a unique taste that I find myself gravitates towards.
Our favorite though was the Vietnamese Spring Roll Tempura, a mix of sweet corn with spring roll ingredients and a prawn tempura wrapped in Vietnamese spring roll sheet resulted in an explosion of freshness and crunchy delight. You should absolutely try this.
wine, dinner, and dessert of homemade cheese cake
Last but not least, Bello Mello, or baked portobello with tomato salsa and pickled onion, should satisfy anyone who loves mushroom.
While they don’t exactly have a proper dessert menu, the homemade cheesecake we had at C Chateau was quite delightful.
Overall this is certainly a competent restaurant and a wine bar with pretty good ambiance worthy of checking out, especially for those who wants to have a relaxing evening enjoying some tasteful alcohol without hearing the constant “YUM SENG” from your neighboring tables.
On the 15th of December, I was invited to a tea appreciation day hosted by Dilmah Tea at Sheraton PJ, and little did I know that the date coincide with International Tea Day, a day that has been celebrated since 2005 in tea producing countries.
Dilmah Tea Appreciation at Sheraton PJ
For the Tea Appreciation session, Dilmah brought in Sensory Evaluation consultant and Oenologist Edwin Soon to share with us the origin of tea and the science of flavors behind it.
Oenologist Edwin Soon explaining the history of tea
To be perfectly honest, I did not know that the different types of tea – Black, Green, Oolong, and White tea were all made from the same Camellia sinensis plant. The difference is in how the tea leaves are cured.
Basically they are as follow:
White: wilted and unoxidized;
Green: unwilted and unoxidized;
Oolong: wilted, bruised, and partially oxidized;
Black: wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized
Dilmah Tea and food pairing
Well, there are indeed other plants that we make tea from, but those will be in the category of herbal tea or flower tea, proper tea all from the same species of plant.
Additionally, tea plants at different elevation and climate will also produce leave that different flavors, with many high quality tea plants being cultivated up to 1,500 m above sea level.
who doesn’t love a proper Hi Tea?
For the afternoon tea pairing session, we started off with lamb curry puffs paired with Dilmah The Original Earl Grey, most quintessential British tea in contrast to the local, slightly spicy flavor.
Then it was salmon maki roll with Green Tea Jasmine Flower, a fitting companion many of us are familiar with. We then also had a Hi-tea set with Ratatouille turnovers, spinach and cheese quiche, and smoked salmon canapes.
Miss World Malaysia Thanuja Ananthan was sharing the same table
For sweets, we had pandan sweet pancakes with corn custard, together with Pure Chamomile Flowers, a tea that does not have any caffeine and perfect for late night. We then finished off with chocolate brownie paired with Moroccan Mint Green Tea.
Overall, it was a lovely afternoon well spent, and we (with Sharon & Wilson) got to share the same table as former Miss World Malaysia Thanuja Ananthan (did not find out who she was until more than half way through), lovely person with energetic personality!
This was also the second time I attended a Dilmah event, first being way back in 2013!
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!