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Category / Wine

A dinner food review during this month of crazy traffic is certainly not something I particularly welcome, but when Mediteca asked for us to sample their new pork friendly menu, I couldn’t say no.

As it turned out, that was a wise decision. Also, traffic after 7:30 was so great we got to Mediteca at Fraser Place, Jalan Perak from PJ in only about 25 minutes.

Mediteca at Fraser Place, KL
Mediteca at Fraser Place, KL

Mediteca resides within Fraser Place Luxury Apartment, directly opposite Life Centre across Jalan Perak, just a stone’s throw away from Thai Club/Beach Club. Underground parking is available at reasonable rate.

The restaurant exudes a classy and warm ambiance, interior deco reminds me of movies settings in Europe. The restaurant is separated from the apartment’s common area with half see-thru partition, giving it a deceptively spacious interior. There’s also alfresco dining area for those who smokes, and a loft that I presume makes perfect venue for a private event.

bread with some shaved cheese to start the night
bread with some shaved cheese to start the night

Explained by the passionate Chef owner Riccardo Ferrarotti, Mediteca set out of excite diners with a flair for true Southern European gastronomy. The menu includes tapas, starters, and mains using pork as ingredients. Music to my ears.

As with most European meals, we started out with some bread, accompanied by shaved cheese, which is always a good prelude to what is coming next.

stewed Spanish sausage with herbs & fried & baked egg with spinach, pancetta and besciamelle sauce
stewed Spanish sausage with herbs;
fried & baked egg with spinach, pancetta and besciamelle sauce

We started out with Chorizo – Stewed Spanish Sausage with Herbs and Garlic (RM16), one of the many tapas with pork as the main ingredient on the new menu. The tomato based gravy thick and flavorful, and the chorizo definitely carry a strong porky taste that should please any pork lover.

Fried & Baked Egg with Spinach, Pancetta and Besciamelle Sauce (RM22) is something I haven’t ever tried before. A concoction that seems almost like a mixed between Chinese style spinach soup with a texture similar to steamed & fried egg. It was rather interesting though I find myself having to get used to it a little bit.

Jamon and Salami - serrano ham, salami, bread & cheese
Jamon and Salami – serrano ham, salami, bread & cheese

Jamon and Salami (RM 88) was one of my favorite dishes. Prepared by the main man himself, Chef Riccardo slices the salami and smoked meat from the chiller, then hand picked cheese, fig marmalade, tomato chutney, balsamic baby onions and pickles to go with the meat. It was glorious combination and one that I miss most. I can have this everyday!

marinated veal carpaccio, stewed rice with pork, beef & lamb sauce
marinated veal carpaccio, stewed rice with pork, beef & lamb sauce
stewed rice with pork, beef, and lamb sauce

While less sophisticated than the salami dish, Veal Carpaccio (RM38) was another dish that I really liked as well. The thinly sliced veal isn’t too different from high grade tuna or beef in texture, but has a very notificable difference in taste due the type of meat itself and the marinate (chamomile and juniper). Coupled with grilled artichokes and cheese, it was a very enjoyable dish.

Stewed rice with Pork, Beef and Lamb Sauce (RM30) was not entirely different from risotto. This Croatian dish packs quite a punch thanks to the three different meat presence.

Potato and Mushroom Gateau with poached egg, onion jam and bacon
Potato and Mushroom Gateau with poached egg, onion jam and bacon

For those who loves bacon, the Potato and Mushroom Gateau with poached egg, onion jam and bacon (RM28) is a must order. The bacon was crispy, the egg poached perfectly, and the bed of potato and mushroom gateau perfect as a compliment to the two contrasting main ingredients. Bacon oil and flowing egg yolk is a match made in gastronomy heaven.

pork ribs iwth "salsa verde" & potatoes
pork ribs with “salsa verde” & potatoes

For those who are tired of those overly strong tasting pork ribs, here’s a version that might fit your bill. The Iberico Pork Ribs with Salsa Verde & Potatoes (RM78) is quite a bit lighter and carries a hint of citrus influenced flavor. I find myself somewhat partial to this dish, but those who like it light would probably enjoy this more than me.

dinner is never complete with desserts
dinner is never complete with desserts

We tried two different desserts to end the meal, Creme Caramel that was tastefully served in a sardin can, and the Chocolate Gateau, a mixed of 70% chocolate with 30% cream. Choose the former if you want something refreshing, and the gateau if you like it rich and chocolatey. Both would not disappoint.

 

map to Fraser Place, KL

Address:
Mediteca
Lot 163, Fraser Place
Jalan Perak
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.15427, 101.70891
Tel: 03-2181 2426
Web: http://www.meditecawinetapas.com/
HoursMondays-Saturdays, 11.30am till late night, closed on Sundays

One of the trickiest issues pertaining opening a restaurant must be choosing a name for it. At The Steakhouse at Changkat Bukit Bintang, they took the easy way out and gave it the most straight forward name there is.

Fortunately, making up for what is lacking in the name, The Steakhouse manages to express pretty good creativity in the dishes we sampled last week over a food review session. We were left with a rather positive note.

The Steakhouse at The Whisky Bar, Changkat Bukit Bintang
The Steakhouse at The Whisky Bar, Changkat Bukit Bintang

The Steakhouse is located at perhaps the busiest street at night in KL that is Changkat Bukit Bintang. With a capacity of 40 pax, the restaurant is tastefully decorated and provide good privacy for discrete couple dining while able to accommodate slightly larger groups as well.

Service is swift with knowledgeable staffs, and I really like the ambiance there. Of course, we were on an invited food review, so your mileage might vary in this aspect.

Anyway, lets get on with the food!

deluxe chilled seafood mountain
deluxe chilled seafood mountain – lobster, oyster, tiger prawns, tuna sashimi

The session started off with a bang. The Deluxe Chilled Seafood Mountain (RM 158) is a pretty impressive dish, recommended for 2 pax sharing (I think you can easily share this with 4 pax), this big bowl of gastronomic dream comes with half lobster (Maine), tiger prawns, fresh oyters, and tuna sashimi. The seafood were fresh and the lobster especially delicious. Three types of condiments came with it, but they’re plenty good enough to consume as is.

beef carpaccio, shrimp cocktail, air dried Spanish beef ham
beef carpaccio, shrimp cocktail, air dried Spanish beef ham

Following the seafood mountain, we have a host of other appetizers, most of which make excellent beer/wine/whisky companion. We had some red wine to go with these.

Beef carpaccio (RM 32) came with capers and thin slices of parmesan cheese, the taste reminds me of good quality tuna, and the portion is ample to go around.

Shrimp cocktail (RM 28) came with three very good size tiger prawns. I must say that perhaps the oversized prawns dictates that they be cooked more thoroughly, and thus the texture was a bit tougher than what I expected. I probably prefer it to be smaller.

Air dried Spanish beef ham (RM 38) had me fooled, for a moment I thought it was my beloved Parma ham with rock melon. Excellent pork free substitute, those who never try Parma ham due to preference or religion restriction must order this dish.

pan fried duck foie gras, escargot
pan fried duck foie gras, escargot

Pan fried duck foie gras (RM 42) was executed with perfection, while not from the (often higher quality) goose, I really find no fault in this dish. Ciki agrees.

Escargot (RM 32) comes in half a dozen per portion and baked with garlic herb butter. Those who sampled find it commendable.

caesar salad with duck breast, scottish smoked salmon, baked portobello mushroom, lobster claw
caesar salad with duck breast, scottish smoked salmon, baked portobello mushroom, lobster claw

Caesar salad (RM 26) here is a slightly more luxury affair than usual with the addition of smoked duck breast. The addition of meat really brings out the flavor of this otherwise rather plain salad.

Scottish smoked salmon (RM 32) isn’t any different from what you usually get from Japanese restaurants, though I find myself looking for wasabi and soya sauce, which is logically absent from a place like this.

I absolutely love the huge portobello mushroom (RM 26), baked with spinach and seafood. What I really want is someone to start making portobello burger with one single massive mushroom as the patty like what I had back in Cincinnati yonks ago, instead of the common version here with many tiny mushrooms.

mashed, chips, and sauteed potatoes
mashed, chips, and sauteed potatoes

Steak comes with a choice of potato on the side. At Steakhouse KL, the choice is between mash, fries, and sauteed potato. Pick either and you won’t be disappointed, but if you chose the fries, you’re going to wonder if this was the recipe McDonald’s had when you are a little kid, they’re fantastic!

chilled & aged Black Angus rib-eye, tenderloin, and striploin, medium rare
chilled & aged Black Angus rib-eye, tenderloin, and striploin, medium rare

And finally, after all sampling almost all the appetizers on the menu, we moved to the beef. Steakhouse serves chilled & aged Black Angus, and chilled Australian grain fed beef. The cuts available are medallion, tenderloin, rib-eye, striploin, and T-bone (only the latter). These are priced from RM 68 (grain fed striploin) to RM 108 (750g of grain fed T-bone).

We sampled tenderloin, rib-eye, and either striploin or medallion. The meat were perfectly prepared and properly rested before being served. It was juicy and full of flavor. I had quite a bit despite stomach being rather filled with the appetizers.

For those who likes their beef with sauce, there’s black pepper, red wine, mushroom, bearnaise, and BBQ sauce to go with. On top of that, there are also five different types of sea salt to season your steak with.

classic Italian tiramisu, baked cheese cake, ice cream, cheese platter
classic Italian tiramisu, baked cheese cake, ice cream, cheese platter

By the time we finished the beef, I was stuffed, but of course, the girls always have a different stomach for desserts, so our hosts brought us some.

Classic tiramisu looked messy but passed the taste test with flying colors. Baked cheese cake is suitably rich. Ice cream came in tall cocktail glasses with at least 5 variations to choose from. There’s also a decent cheese platter for those who insist on another product from cow.

chocolate fondue at the Steakhouse KL
chocolate fondue at the Steakhouse KL

Last but not least, there’s also more than decent chocolate fondue for that touch of romanticism, perfect for those who brought a lady who they want to impress. Reminds me of that time when I did the same at KLCC, sadly that place is defunct.

we certainly had a great time at the Steakhouse
we certainly had a great time at the Steakhouse

We went away rather impressed at this outlet in Changkat. Competition at this street is always tough, but I believe the food here speaks for itself and believe that it’ll be one of the longer serving tenant here.

map to the Steakhouse KL

Address:
The Steakhouse KL
No.48, Changkat Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.14748, 101.70822
Tel: 03-2143 2268
Hours: 5pm to 11pm daily

Senja, which means dusk in Malay, is an Italian restaurant at The Saujana that oversees the lush green golf course and enjoys a spectacular sunset view with its alfresco dining deck by the side of the pond. I was invited to sample the MIGF menu created by their new head chef from Sicily – chef Filippo Giunta.

Senja at The Saujana, classy dining hall
Senja at The Saujana, classy dining hall

The Saujana is a little different from most hotels in Klang Valley. Instead of everything in one giant building, it is spread out amongst the greenery. There are shaded walk ways from the main building to the different restaurants located by various ponds and gardens, giving the place a very relaxing, holiday ambiance.

The resort is fast becoming one of my favorites, stepping into the resort and immediately you’re in a completely different world of the hustle and bustle of KL even though you’re just half an hour away from the city.

bread with olive oil & such, and the amuse-bouche of the day
bread with olive oil & such, and the amuse-bouche of the day

Anyway, lets get back to food. The MIGF menu is priced at RM 110/140/180 for 2/3/4 course dinner, or RM 220/280/360 with wine pairing. The menu is available the whole of October 2012.

We started out the dinner with some freshly baked Italian bread and a pretty tasty amuse-bouche (pre first course bite size food) of the day in the form of a deep fried risotto ball. Crunchy skin with the flavorful filling that carries a hint of mushroom, I liked it.

sparkling water, and Prosecco Cascine 7 NV
sparkling water, and Prosecco Cascine 7 NV

The first course is a choice of Sicilian Brood Bean Soup with Dil and Sun-dried Tomato or Sardine Beccafico Style, Rocket Salad, Fennel and Orange Reduction. The wine with these dishes is a glass of Prosecco Coscine 7 N/V.

first course - sardine beccafico style, or Sicilian brood bean soup
first course – sardine beccafico style, or Sicilian brood bean soup

The sardine is apparently a Sicilian signature dish, the cleaned sardine is rolled up with breadcrumbs, pinoli (pine nuts), passolina, sugar, and lemon juice. It was one of the more interesting dishes I’ve tried lately. The rocket salad gives it a good balance, but the orange reduction did need a bit of getting used to.

This, or the savory brood bean soup, were both quite a big serving for fine dining dishes, I’m not complaining tho.

second dish - risotto with cream of pumpkin, or seabass tortelli with seafood ragout
second dish – risotto with cream of pumpkin, or seabass tortelli with seafood ragout

The second course is a choice between Risotto with Cream of Pumpkin, Burratina Cheese and Fresh Sage, or Seabass Tortelli with Seafood Ragout and Porcini Foam.

The risotto was prepared al dente, which is well, the proper and only way to have risotto that’s sometimes misunderstood as being undercooked by less familiar diners. It was excellent and  just appropriate to have some pumpkin this Halloween season.

The seabass tortelli lets us check off the skills of Chef Filippo in handling pasta, it was another dish we enjoyed throughly and definitely went well with the second glass of wine – Banfi Le Rime IGT 2010, a Pinot Grigio with a nice balance and clean finish.

3rd course - wrapped silver cod with aubergine, veal ossobuco Milanese style (or stuffed chicken breast)
3rd course – wrapped silver cod with aubergine, veal ossobuco Milanese style,
Banfi Le Rime IGT 2010

Moving on to the third course, you get to choose from a choice of the following dishes:

  • Veal Ossobuco Milanese Style, Saffron Risotto and Sicilian Gremolata
  • Wrapped Silver Cod Fish with Aubergine, Onion, Tomato ‘Cipollata’ and Basil Oil
  • Stuffed Chicken Breast with Pistachio and Mint, Sicilian Caponata, Rosemary Roast Baby Potato and Red Wine Reduction
There’s a choice of Vigne Regali Principesse Gavia di Gavi DOCG 2010 or Banfi Chianti DOCG 2010. In another word, white, or red wine.

the huge chunk of bone marrow from the veal was irresistible
the huge chunk of bone marrow from the veal was irresistible 

The fish was prepared impeccably and a work of art. The very thin aubergine gives the cod an extra dimension, and the onion and tomato base sauce offered a perfect compliment.

The veal though, is more of a straight forward meat dish that is bold and flavorful. The explosion of savory taste was a welcoming change of pace, and that chunk of bone marrow? Heaven, which is why it deserves a full size picture by itself. 😀

desserts - chef Filippo's Sicilian cassata and orange granita, or Szechuan pepper panna cotta, Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Vin Santo DOCG 2004
desserts – chef Filippo’s Sicilian cassata and orange granita, or Szechuan pepper panna cotta,
Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Vin Santo DOCG 2004

Dessert proved to be another platform for Chef Filippo to showcase his skills. Both choices were beautiful.

Szechuan Pepper Panna Cotta, Chocolate Sauce and Raspberry Sorbet is perhaps one of the most interesting desserts I’ve had all year. The panna cotta carries an undeniable hint of peppery taste that’s not something you’d expect in a dessert, but it does work very well in a, well, very unfamiliar way.

Chef Filippo’s Sicilian Cassata and Orange Granita is more “traditional” sort of dessert but one that’s not shabby either.  The taste is close to ice cream cake, and the icy citrus in the shot glass provided an good cleansing to the palette.

We were served Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Vin Santo DOCG 2004 to end the dinner, a very good dessert wine that is perfect for a sweet ending.

Ee Laine, Azimy from The Saujana, and Chef Filippo Giunta
Ahfa, Azimy from The Saujana, and Chef Filippo Giunta

If you’re up to some Italian food that’s true to the origin, do give chef Filippo at Senja a try. I’m quite sure this capable chef from Sicily is here to stay.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Senja
Saujana Resort, Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
40150 Selangor
GPS3.108849, 101.578474
Tel03-7843 1234
emailinfo@thesaujana.com

First, a little snippet from wiki about Napa Valley:

In 1965, Napa Valley icon Robert Mondavi broke away from his family’s Charles Krug estate to found his own. This was the first new large scale winery to be established in the valley since before prohibition. Following the establishment of the Mondavi estate, the number of wineries in the valley continued to grow, as did the region’s reputation.

Travis Brown, Regional Director for Asia for Robert Mondavi wines
Travis Brown, Regional Director for Asia for Robert Mondavi wines

In addition, Robert Mondavi Winery also perfected the dry oak-aged Sauvignon Blanc and labeled it as “Fumé Blanc” in 1966. This was an unpopular variety in California at the time, but the wine proved to be a success.

In time, Robert Mondavi successfully developed a number of premium wines that earned the respect of connoisseurs and vintners alike.

tomato, cheese, bread, calamari, simple yet utterly delicious
tomato, cheese, bread, calamari, simple yet utterly delicious

A few weeks ago, we were invited to the winemaker’s dinner at Favola, Le Meridien KL.

Classy Italian food prepared by one of my favorite chefs – Chef Antoine, and pairing them with some fine wines from Robert Mondavi, what is there not to like?

Fumé Blanc, Robert Mondavi's version of Sauvignon Blanc
Fumé Blanc, Robert Mondavi’s version of Sauvignon Blanc

We sampled Chardonnay sourced from the cool growing regions of the southern Napa Valley with its rich and complex taste; Pinot Noir, a bright and vivacious wine; the full body Merlot; the soft and silky Cabernet Sauvignon; and of course, the Fumé Blanc.

the good chefs at Le Meridien KL, and David Stephen
David Stephen and the good chefs at Le Meridien KL

As for food, there were the usual arrays of excellent pasta, tomato, cheese, pizza, bread, risotto, and of course, the best freshly made Belgium waffle ever.

Though my knowledge in wine is still amateur at best, I did learn a few things after this event, and would at least know which wine to choose from without being disappointed. 😀

map to Le Meridien

Address:
Favola
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur 50470

GPS: 3.135631,101.686476
Tel: 03-2263 7888

A couple weeks ago I received and invitation from Yoke May of Westin to attend Kaesler Winemaker’s Dinner. To be honest, I am not exactly a wine connoisseur, but based on my previous experience at Westin’s EEST and Yoke May’s hospitality, I know this isn’t something I would want to miss.

Kaesler Wine Dinera t the Dining Room, Westin KL
Stephen Dew from Kaesler

A little background on Kaesler:

The original Kaesler vineyards were established in 1893 by the Kaesler Family, Silesian pioneers who came to the Barossa Valley, Australia in the 1840′s and who took up the 60 acre allotment in 1891. Winemaker Reid Bosward and his partners then bought the Kaesler vineyards in 1998.

Our dinner was hosted by one of the partners from Kaesler vineyards, Mr. Stephen Dew. The six course meal with half a dozen different wines to pair was priced at RM 180, a pretty good value. For myself, haze, cumi&ciki, and eiling, it was even better cos we freeloaded, hohoho.

Hokkaido Scallop crudo, green apple sorbet, cucumber with Old Vine Semillon 2008
Hokkaido Scallop crudo, green apple sorbet

Since I’m not exactly a wine expert, I’m gonna concentrate a bit more on food. First to come was the Hokkaido scallop crudo with green apple sorbet laying on a bed of thinly sliced cucumber. It was raw, cold, but subtle and sweet at the same time. The seafood was paired with Old Vine Semilon 2008 (RM 90), a wine with a bit of grapefruit and apple taste, a good compliment.

Baby beetroot in flaky pastry, horseradish, chives; apricot and almond beignet, creamed wild mushrooms, creamed tarragon butter emulsion
baby beetroot in flaky pastry; apricot & almond beignet

Second dish of the night was apricot and almond beignet with creamed wild mushrooms and creamed tarragon butter emulsion. We were served with Viognier 2008 (RM 110), a slightly stronger red wine chilled to 18C that went really well with the creamy dish.

Next up was this pastry with a flake of gold: baby beetroot with horseradish and chives. The flaky pastry and beetroot made an interesting if unlikely combination, to be honest I found it a little odd. We had Kaesler Stonehorse Shiraz Mourvedre 2007 (RM 90) to pair with. The wine was slightly spicy but not one that’s very strong, and by the way gold didn’t actually have any taste -_-

roast lamb neck, crisp ice fish, eggplant, tzaziki, smoked bone marrow, cherry puree
eiling and the excellent roast lamb neck with smoked bone marrow

Then came the best dish of the night, roast lamb neck, crisp ice fish, eggplant, tzaziki, smoked bone marrow, cherry puree. I like how they name their dish, you don’t even need to explain what’s in it, ultimate opposite from Chinese dishes where everything is in 4 letter and you have no idea what you’re about to eat.

It was the first time I properly had bone marrow in this fashion and it was heaven! It sits somewhere in between beef tendon and foie gras, the texture was superb, and the taste, very rich and yet subtle. The Stonehorse Shiraz 2006 (RM115) gave the bone marrow a sense of balance too, oh how I miss this.

licorice port glazed braised angus beef short rib, smoked potato puree; KY & Haze
licorice port glazed braised angus beef short rib, KY & Haze

The last main dish was licorice port glazed braised angus beef short rib, smoked potato puree paired with Bogan Shiraz 2006. The wine had strong oak aroma to it and rich flavor which I liked, but I do think that the licorice kinda overpowered the beef a little. I usually prefer my beef to be only very mildly seasoned, if any.

marshmallow, citrus salad; ciki & yoke may
marshmallow, citrus salad; ciki & yoke may

Dessert was marshmallow and citrus salad with my favorite wine of the night. The sweet tasting Riestling – Rizza 2009, this wine’s perfect with the marshmallow or even just to drink by itself. The citrus though, was really super sour to the point where one bite will bring you to instant sobriety. I wonder where they got it from.

It was a wonderful dinner made better by the great company, thank you Yoke May for the invitation!

map of Westin KL

Address:
The Dining Room, Westin Hotel
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang,
Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.147758, 101.714591
Tel03-2731 8333