Category / Foreign Food
Le Midi is a name that I’ve came across for quite sometime, and it was a privilege to finally be invited for a food tasting session in conjunction with the arrival of Chef Andrea Alimenti, who has some 30 years of culinary experience since graduating from Aurelio Saffi Florence Hotel School in 1983.
Chef Andrea Alimenti is a multiple Michelin star chef, with his first coming at the tender age of 20, then at age 30 he left Florence to open his own restaurant with some partners (the renowned Aquamatta in Capolona) for 15 years… which also received a Michelin star. It is not common that we have the opportunity to sample creations from a chef with such pedigree, we felt very honored.
Le Midi at Bangsar Shopping Center, with live nautilus
The restaurant is located on 3rd floor in the East wing of Bangsar Shopping Centre, the interior oozes a sense of mystic and class, with a couple nautilus in a round aquarium at the centre of the dining hall. This was actually the first time I witness these pelagic marine mollusks outside Aquaria, way cool.
Anyway, we’re here for the food, and you can’t order the nautilus.
eggplant nest with truffle egg yolk and parmesan cheese
Out first dish was eggplant nest with truffle egg yolk and parmesan cheese. A dish with deceptively simple base ingredient – poached egg and eggplant, manage wow us with it’s wonderful combination of texture and taste. The eggplant fried to a texture not unlike bacon, the egg poached perfectly, and shaved parmesan with truffle gives it that touch of complexity. I was impressed.
mozzarella ravioli in tomato consommé
Next up was mozzarella ravioli in tomato consommé, a classic Italian dish with a well balanced taste of acidity from tomato consommé countering the stronger mozzarella cheese within the ravioli.
A glass of Secret de Berticot Sauvignon Blanc proved to be a worthy companion for the above two dishes.
homemade Tagliolini in saffron butter whiskey salmon cream and crunchy almonds
Next we had homemade Tagliolini in saffron butter whiskey salmon cream and crunchy almonds. A type of pasta popular in Emilia-Romagna, a region in Italy.
While we love the soft smooth texture of the pasta, I thought the salmon cream was a little too mild, but nothing a dash of sea salt won’t help. We also had Secret Berticot Rosé to go along with the pasta. Though the Rosé was a decent pairing with pasta, we felt that the Savignon Blanc was actually suited for this occasion.
seabass with fine herb crust on spinach bed
Next up - seabass with fine herb crust on spinach bed. Seabass, or barramundi, is quite a popular fish in local cuisine, but I’ve never had it prepare this way before. The crust gives it a crispy herbal taste while leaving the texture of the fish still tender and moist. The spinach did a fine job as a side kick, and we had more white wine to go with this.
It was already a rather good night at this point.
tenderloin in old Madeira sauce with foie gras and fig
Then came my favorite dish of the night, tenderloin in old Madeira sauce with foie gras and fig.
When it comes to beef, I’m usually one who likes to have it as is. Be it ribeye, NY strip, tenderloin, of Black Angus, Wagyu, you name it. I like to have it medium rare with nothing on it.
On this occasion though, I was proven wrong. The Madeira sauce and fig really enhanced the taste of the already excellent beef. The foie gras, of course, managed to kick it up a notch. Give me this any day and I’ll be the happiest man.
Red meat deserves some red wine to go with, so we had a glass of Château Pouroutou red to go with (I believe it was merlot). Perfect.
As usual, by the time we were well full, dessert is served. Not one, but five creations from the good chef. I took a bite from all of them and wished that I had a bigger stomach to properly devour them. They are:
- Millefoglie with Chantilly cream and caramel
- Vanilla panacotta and strawberry coulis
- Chocolate fondente and mini chocolate cup
- Chocolate tender heart with Amarena cherry parfait
- Orange cheesecake and chocolate drawing
KY, Haze, Mei & Josen, Melissa, Kelly, Chengyi, Chef Andrea Alimenti
It was a great dinner with even better company, thank you Melissa for being a generous and wonderful host. We will be back to Le Midi.
Le Midi Restaurant
3rd Floor, East Wing,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,
285 Jalan Maarof,
Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2094 1318
Several weeks ago I was invited to sample one of the latest non-halal authentic food joints in PJ at Thai Camp.
I, for one, am happy to see this emerging trend of Thai restaurants that offers pork dishes. Currently, within 15 minutes drive in PJ, we have My Elephant at Seksyen 17, Surisit Thai kopitiam at TTDI, and I’m Spicy at Seksyen 17, adding Thai Camp into the mix is certainly a good news.
Thai Camp is situated next to restaurant Mei Yun, Taman Paramount
Thai Camp occupies just half a shop lot along Jalan 21/1 at Taman Paramount, directly next door to Mei Yun kopitiam that is famouse for it’s lala dishes and Hokkien mee at night (though we found better versions these days at Alisan’s mamak row at PJ SS4).
There are only some 10 tables in the air conditioned restaurant. Interior decoration is simple but offers a conducive dining environment.
Even though the restaurant is fairly small, kitchen is manned by owner’s Thai wife and mother in law who insist on preparing food in traditional way, hence efficiency is something that they are still overcoming. Be prepared to wait for a bit before food is served. Do call in to book and perhaps speak to the owner to avoid disappointment in wait time.
Pla Neung Ma Naw, Thai steamed fish
We started off with Pla Neung Ma Naw (Thai steamed fish, RM35), steamed tilapia on a bed of Chinese cabbage and soaked in gravy with generous amount of lime, garlic, chili padi, and more. The somewhat light tasting fish combines well with the intense gravy, goes very well with steamed rice.
I can only imagine that this dish would be even better if we have Barramundi instead (though it’ll certainly be more pricey)
Tom Ka Kai (coconut milk Thai chicken soup), Moo Ma Naw (spicy pork salad)
Next up was Tom Ka Kai (Thai soup with coconut milk, RM 18), a departure from the usual tomyam soup that is served at basically every Thai restaurant. The soup has a strong santan flavor and isn’t nearly as spicy as most tomyam dishes. Those who love coconut milk will enjoy this.
Moo Ma Naw (spicy pork salad, RM15) consists of sliced pork with cabbage, fish sauce, lime, garlic, chili padi, and other ingredients, a good substitute for Thai mango salad, both are sourish but this packs a bit more punch in spiciness and porky sweetness.
Phad Phak Ruam (stir fry assorted vege), Phad Kra Pao (roast pork with basil)
Phad Phak Ruam (stir fry assorted vegetable, RM 15) comes with cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, and some small shrimps for sweetness. The sauce tastes of a mixture of Thai concoction that includes fish sauce. I really liked it, but at the same time also find that the side of shredded raw cabbage on the side (comes with every dish) is a bit unnecessary.
Phad Kra Pao (roast pork with basil, RM 18) turned out to be one of my favorite dishes here. Chopped long bean, chili padi, and roast pork can’t really go wrong.
Kai Yeaw Ma Khra Prao Grob (fried century egg)
The last dish we tried was Kai Yeaw Ma Khra Prao Grob (fried century egg, RM 18). It was really something that I haven’t tasted before. I’ve had century egg as is, or steamed, but never fried. The treatment gave it a slightly crispy exterior that I thought was pretty interesting, and the deep fried kailan accompanying the dish proved to be a worthy side.
We had a rather good dinner at Thai Camp, and I actually went there again a week or so later. This is definitely a more than decent Thai restaurant to visit, but until they improve kitchen efficiency, don’t head there when you’re already very hungry.
At the time of review, Thai Camp hasn’t yet started to serve desserts, but it is something that will come in the future.
37 Jalan 20/7
GPS: 3.109748, 101.626287
Tel: 012-345 1768
Hours: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
A week or so ago, I was lucky enough to get invited to one of the more exclusive dinner previews in town – to sample the All Kansai Festival dinner at Kampachi Pavilion KL.
The festival runs from 15th – 23rd of February 2014, including traditional street performances, takoyaki workshop, stage performances, and of course, Kaiseki dinner, which happens on 19, 20, & 21 February 2014 (priced at RM 300+)
All Kansai Festival, only at Kampachi, Pavilion KL
The festival is exclusive only to Kampachi at Pavilion. For the tasting session, we had a subset of the menu. Instead of the full 9 course dinner, we sampled 6 dishes, mainly due to the fact that certain ingredients for other dishes will not arrive until the slated days to ensure freshness.
Anyway, lets get started.
Fresh Oyster with Ponzu Vinegar Gelée, Clear Soup with Clam
Our first course was Kaki no Ponzu Jure (Fresh Oyster with Ponzu Vinegar Gelée). Served on a bed of ice, the oyster was huge and succulent, with the ponzu gelée giving it that extra sophistication. This version is the best way I’ve had oyster yet, beats the usual lemon or worse, tabasco sauce by a mile.
Next up was Hamaguri, Uguisuna, Harinegi, Kinome (Clear Soup with Clam, Japanese Mustard Spinach, Julienned Leek & Young Japanese Pepper Buds). This was not your ordinary miso soup, it was subtle and very refreshing. The huge clam certainly provided an unmistakable seafood sweetness to the clear soup.
Slices of Raw Fish – Tuna, Ark Shell & Yellowtail
No Kaiseki menu is complete without sashimi. We had Maguro, Akagai, Hamachi (Slices of Raw Fish – Tuna, Ark Shell & Yellowtail). The premium raw seafood was served on a bed of ice with grated wasabi. My favorite out of the three was the ark shell, fresh, crunchy, with a blend of sweetness and savoury taste. Excellent.
Grilled Yellowtail with Teriyaki Sauce
Tennen Hamachi Teriyaki Manganji Togarashi Syoyuzuke (Grilled Yellowtail with Teriyaki Sauce garnished with Marinated Manganji Green Pepper) came next. While it was a more than decent dish on its own, I believe that with wild Amberjack (as intended during the festival) would elevate this dish to a new height as the texture of Amberjack would be superior to Yellowtail when grilled.
Boxed Sushi with Seabream, Prawn, & Conger Eel
Sushi came next, in the form of Sanshoku Oshizushi (Box Sushi with Sea Bream, Prawn & Conger Ee). To be honest, this was the first time I had pressed sushi, the texture is a quite a bit different from the usual nigri sushi (hand made rice ball with raw seafood on top), maki (rolled sushi), or temaki (hand roll). The rice in boxed sushi is a bit denser, providing a different experience.
Yuzu Mousse, Kampachi Signature Peanut Mochi
Our dessert was Yuzu Mousse (Japanese Citrus Mousse), refreshing and perfect for a sweet ending.
We couldn’t help ourselves and asked for Kampachi’s Signature Peanut Mochi as well. The mochi is served warm and covered with mountain of crushed peanut and sugar, similar with the traditional mochi found in Penang’s hawker scene, except more refined. I find myself enjoying this very much.
The seats for Kansai Festival dinner menu is fast selling out (I believe 21st Feb already sold out), so book yourself an awesome dinner if you’re a fan of Japanese food. Check their website for full menu and other information.
we had a great time sampling the Kansai Festival Menu
Level 6, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148872, 101.713368
Tel: 03-2148 9608
Hours: 10 am to 10 pm
While Japanese affair at higher end restaurants can be pretty damaging to the pocket, many of those places also offer a lunch menu with much better deals. One of the places we visited a couple times for lunch over the past few months was Hanare Authentic Japanese Cuisine at The Intermark.
Hanare at The Intermark
The restaurant is located on the ground floor, just below the lobby of Double Tree by Hilton. The interior is tastefully decorated, with open kitchen, a sushi/sashimi bar, and a teppanyaki bar.
This place has a great ambiance, but terrible cell data service. Luckily, wifi is available for those of you who can’t eat without staying online with your smartphone.
combination set – sashimi and teppanyaki ebi hotate
One of the more popular lunch options here is the combination menu. For RM 48++, you get to choose from any of these two options:
- sashimi mori (3 kinds of sashimi)
- shake sashimi (salmon)
- yaki sakana (grilled fish – cod, mackerel, or salmon)
- unagi kabayaki
- tori katsu (deep fried breadcrumb chicken)
- tempura mori (assorted tempura)
- kakiage (deep fried kakiage prawns and vegetables)
- teppanyaki ebi hotate (teppanyaki prawn & scallops)
- tori teriyaki (chicken teriyaki)
- kaki fry (deep fried oyster)
The set also comes with appetizer, salad, chawanmushi, and a dessert. This is pretty similar to the deals at Ozeki Tokyo Cuisine and Coco-Tei Japanese Restaurant.
chicken teriyaki, grilled cod, sashimi, custard
While the portions look rather small individually, the combination of them really does fill up the stomach.
Other than the combination set, there are sushi bento (RM 70), makunouchi bento (RM 55), a light salad lunch (RM 38), and dedicated lunch sets with sushi (RM 70), sukiyaki (RM 75), mixed fried seafood (RM 48), steak teppan (RM 80), and more.
bara chirashi sushi, one of my favorites
Another entry in the menu I tried here was the bara chirashi sushi (RM 45). It is similar to the basic chirashi sushi but with the seafood usually cut in cubes instead of the traditional sushi/sashimi cuts. The choice certainly did not disappoint.
Prices at Hanare is actually a little on the higher side when it comes to lunch sets, but for the quality of food as well as the ambiance of the restaurant, I think that this is a fine option.
Lot G 06, Ground Floor
348, Jalan Tun Razak
GPS: 3.16154, 101.71996
While still in the year of Snake, I got an invite to sample Chef Malcolm Goh’s dishes at Samplings on the Fourteenth at Berjaya Times Square.
For those who aren’t familiar with Chef Malcolm Goh, he is one of the chefs on AFC’s Great Dinners of the World (together with Johnny Fua and Sherson Lian of Elegantology). Pairing with popular Malaysian radio DJ and host, Tham Zher Peen, Chef Malcolm is now back on AFC’s Back to the Streets 2.
Chef Malcom Goh & host Tham Zher Peen (lower left) for AFC’s Back to the Streets
The show features chef Malcolm and Zher tracking down and replicate Malaysia’s outstanding street food at the BERJAYA University College of Hospitality kitchen, which was also where we had this dinner.
For more information of the show, check out asianfoodchannel.com/show/back-to-the-streets-2
roasted portobello with smoked garlic vinaigrette
We started the night with roasted portobello pave with garlic vinaigrette, mushroom tortellini with tomato fondue and herb salad. The portobello fashioned into a cube and was one of my favorite items from the whole night, nicely balanced by the freshness of salad and the more subdued taste of tortellini. Very nice.
salmon mi-cuit with pickled beets, cauliflower mousseline
Second course was salmon mi-cuit with pickled beets, cauliflower mousseline, potato chips and spiced butter sauce.
Mi cuit roughly means half cooked in French, which is a fine preparation method for salmon with its delicate texture that tends to become tough and harsh when overcooked. The accompanying pickle and potato chips compliment the fish well.
sous vide chicken with crispy skin, creamy leak stew
Third course was sous vide chicken with crispy skin, creamy leak stew, golden potatoes and red pepper emulsion.
Sous vide is a method of cooking where meat is sealed in a vacuum packed plastic bag, then dipped in a a water bath with accurately regulated temperature. By cooking chicken this way (which I didn’t realise then), chicken breasts remain moist while fully cooked to the internal temperature of 165ºF.
I love the leak stew, and absolutely enjoyed the crispy skin (needed more of that), and while I never liked chicken breast, this method made it pretty decent, but did not change my stance on chicken breast.
with Eelaine, Mei, Josen, Chengyi, Frank, and Kelly
We ended the night with coconut ice cream and blackcurrant sphere. The blackcurrant spheres were a jolt to my senses, absolutely delightful! I did like the coconut ice cream too, but left to wonder how it’d be if we had stuck to having gula melaka sphere instead.
It was a good dinner and more than validated the ability of Chef Malcolm Goh. Check out the show!
Samplings on the 14th,
Berjaya Times Square Hotel ,
14th Floor Berjaya Times Square,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.14271, 101.71061
Tel: 03-2117 8000 ext 8131
Fax: 03-2117 8155