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Category / Foreign Food

One of the little secrets every food lovers should know is that the way to enjoying awesome meals without breaking the bank is to just do it during lunch. Many higher end or even fine dining restaurants usually have a rather affordable lunch menu that offers dishes that are of very high quality but at substantially chaper price tag than after sun down.

Ten Japanese Fine Dining at Marc's Residence
Ten Japanese Fine Dining at Marc’s Residence

Hence, my favorite time to visit good Japanese restaurants is during lunch time.

Today, lets look at Ten Japanese Fine Dining’s offering.

I’ve been to Ten for an invited food review but was never a paying customer until recently when I was told that they serve lunch. See, even though I really loved what they do, fine dining prices just isn’t something I can afford often.

Assorted Sushi & Ten Special Bento
Assorted Sushi & Ten Special Bento

Ten offers about two dozen different dishes priced from RM 28++ onwards for lunch. There are also four different omakase courses priced at RM 100, RM 118, RM 148, and RM 240++ per person.

So far my friends and I have tried about half a dozen of the set lunches.

The Assorted Sashimi (RM 60++) and Assorted Sushi (RM 60++) featured some of the freshest seafood ingredients anywhere, with grated wasabi and chawamushi that’s packed of ingredients on the side.

Interestingly, they also have a Vegetable Sushi (RM 28++) option that Jean tried, and according to her, it was very unique and absolutely awesome. Instead of fish you get asparagus, tomato, baby corn, mushroom, cucumbers and so on presented in a way that’s not unlike seafood.

Assorted Sashimi, Saba Shioyaki, and Vegetable Sushi
Assorted Sashimi, Saba Shioyaki, and Vegetable Sushi

Other dishes we tried were Bara Chirashi (RM 48++), Saba Shioyaki (RM 35++), and Ten Special Bento (RM 55++). None of these disappoints and I wouldn’t hesitate to order any of them again.

The only item that’s still at fine dining price would be their green tea at RM 6++ with unlimited refill. I guess you somehow have to pay for the great ambiance and excellent service somehow.

Haze, Sophia, and Jean all agreed the lunch sets were awesome
Haze, Sophia, and Jean all agreed the lunch sets were awesome

So now I have Ten Japanese Fine Dining together with Fukuya and Ozeki as the few Japanese restaurants that serves really good and value for  money lunch sets.

map to Marc Residence

Address:
Ten Japanese Fine Dining
A-G-1, Marc Residence, Ground Floor,
No.3 Jalan Pinang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.155396, 101.710203
Tel03-2161 5999
Hours: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 6 pm onward, closed on Mondays
Webtenrestaurant.com.my

Over the weekends we went to Singapore for a super short trip as Haze & Angel wanted to visit an art exhibit and a Singaporean friend. We drove down on Friday night and naturally waking up hungry the next day looking for wholesome breakfast to start the day.

Our Singaporean guide traversed half the country and brought us to Canopy Garden Dining at Ang Mo Kio, promising a place with pretty good egg benedict. We weren’t at a position to suggest anything else, so we rolled along.

Canopy Garden Dining at Ang Mo Kio
Canopy Garden Dining at Ang Mo Kio

Canopy Garden Dining is pretty much a restaurant within a garden, with plants surrounding the mostly alfresco dining area and even a rooftop that’s planted with greenery.

We reached at almost noon with the hot sun up above, so seated outside was a little warm though acceptable. I’m guessing the dining experience would have been greater in the morning.

Egg Royale, with poached eggs and smoked salmon
Egg Royale, with poached eggs and smoked salmon

We came here for the egg benedicts, so we ordered both the Egg Royale and Classic Egg Benedict ($15).

Unlike most places that takes forever to prepare a pair of proper poached eggs, our serving arrived in about 5 minutes. I was really impressed with the speed.

Both dishes came with a side of salad with vinaigrette and sautéed mushroom. The poached eggs were perfectly prepared and draped with hollandaise sauce on English muffins. The classic version came with ham, while “royale” with smoked salmon. We really liked them.

Classic Egg Benedict and Buttermilk Pancake
Classic Egg Benedict and Buttermilk Pancake

If you’re into pancakes, the buttermilk pancake ($8.5) here is worth trying as well, it comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and maple syrup.

Additionally, coffee served at Canopy Garden Dining is also of pretty decent quality.

In all, it’s a rather pleasant place for a lazy weekend breakfast in this otherwise overly fast paced country.

map to Canopy Garden Dining at Ang Mo Kio

Address:
Canopy Garden Dining
Bishan Park II,
1382 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1
569931 Singapore
GPS: 1.362467, 103.847094
Tel+65 6556 1533

Tonkatsu remains to be one of the latest Japanese foods to be introduced in Malaysia. For those who aren’t familiar with this Japanese dish, it is basically a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet served with shredded cabbage. In fact, this dish is originated in Japan in the 19th century, so even in Japan it isn’t a particularly old dish.

Tonkatsu at Ma Maison, at One Utama shopping mall
Tonkatsu at Ma Maison, at One Utama shopping mall

My first time trying tonkatsu was at the version by Wa Kitchen at Pavilion, then probably the first and only tonkatsu restaurant in Malaysia in 2011.

Fast forward a few years later, we have another worthy contender in the tonkatsu landscape – Tonkatsu by Ma Maison. We tried to 1 Utama branch (they just opened another branch at Publika) after hearing good things about this place.

so this is how you use those condiments
so this is how you use those condiments

The set up is slightly different from their counterpart at Pavilion, with clear instructions on how to enjoy the dish printed on a little instruction panel on every table. There’s a choice of salt, sweet, and spicy sauce on the side, and of course there’s a sesame grinder and peanut sauce for cabbage as well. You’re also encouraged to consume the accompanying rice with pickle.

Wafu Negioroshi Hire Katsu and Hire Katsu
Wafu Negioroshi Rosu Katsu and Hire Katsu

The menu at Ma Maison is rather extensive (check their menu online). There’s the traditional hire (pork filet) and rōsu (pork loin) sets with a few variations, plus deep fried oyster, crab croquette, jumbo prawn, chicken, and so forth.

I tend to stick with the pork, and in particular, pork loin, only because of the layer luxurious pork fat accompanying the meat.

salad, deep fried pork, miso soup, perfect
salad, deep fried pork, miso soup, perfect

Every set comes with pretty good quality miso soup, pickle, and refillable cabbage that goes very well with their version of peanut sauce.

As for the pork, they are glorious. It is lightly salted with very crispy yet light breading and always piping hot when served. Dipping the meat in either the sweet sweet, spicy sauce, or mustard and any pork lover will be in ecstasy. The experience is like the first time you have KFC as a kid.

KY & Haze, after a satisfying dinner
KY & Haze, after a satisfying dinner

So if you find yourself at 1 Utama, this is definitely a place worth checking out. Average meal would be around RM 30+ per person including drinks.

Happy eating!

Address:
Tonkatsu by Ma Maison @ Eat Paradise
Level 2, Isetan, 1 Utama Shopping Centre,
1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
Petaling Jaya, 47800 Selangor
GPS: 3.149080, 101.615896
Tel: 03-7727 3337
HoursSunday to Thursday, 11.00am – 9.30pm;  Friday to Saturday, 11.00am – 10.00pm

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 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. 

Okayama Oyster Coquille
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, 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 wax gourd with minced prawn, Okayama Pione grapes
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
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:

前菜二種 ZENSAI
マスカット白和え
Muscat Shiraae
Mashed Tofu with Okayama Muscat Grapes

糸瓜と桃太郎トマト 土佐酢ジュレ
Itouri & Momotaro Tomato Tosazu Jure
Okayama Spaghetti Squash & Tomato served with Homemade Vinegar Jelly

生ガキ 橙酢
Nama Gaki Ponzu (2 pieces)
Fresh Okayama Oyster with Homemade Japanese Citrus Vinaigrette

サーモンカルパッチョ
冷菜 REISAI
Salmon Carpaccio
Thinly Sliced Raw Salmon rolled with Okayama Tomato, Asparagus & Yellow Chives served with Wasabi Dressing

煮物 NIMONO
冬瓜の海老そぼろ餡掛け
Togan no Ebi Soboro Ankake
Okayama Winter Melon & Minced Prawn with Thick Sauce

食事 SHOKUJI
バラ寿司
Bara Zushi
Assorted Cube Cut Raw Fish served over Vinegared Rice

甘味 KANMI
白桃
Hakuto
Air-flown Okayama White Peach

map to Kampachi at Troika

Address:
Kampachi
The Troika Jalan Binjai
Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.158052, 101.718122
Tel: 03-2181 2282

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 and reserved
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 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”
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
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
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 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 poached lobster tail
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
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
KY & Haze at The Restaurant, Saujana Resort

The Club at Saujana Resorts, Shah Alam

Address:
The Restaurant
The Club Saujana Resort,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,

40150 Selangor
GPS3.10781, 101.57930
Tel03-7806 7000
emaildine@theclubsaujanaresort.com