Category / Foreign Food
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
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
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 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
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
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.
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
Hours: Sunday 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 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
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
A few weeks ago I was invited to have a little food tasting session at Holiday Inn‘s bar and restaurant by the name of The Mix.
Prior to this occasion, I’ve only been to Holiday Inn to pick up my brother in law, who stayed there a few times. The hotel’s official name is Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur, though it is actually situated at Glenmarie, Shah Alam, over a dozen kilometers away from the KL/Selangor border. Then again, KLIA isn’t in KL, so why not?
The Mix, at Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur, Glenmarie
One of the good things about hotels in areas like this is that there’s always plenty of parking, and more often than not, they’re outdoor and free. A short walk to the far side of the hotel you’ll find The Mix, a pub with a well stocked bar and a full kitchen.
Our mission was to sample some of their dishes, though we did have a few drinks just for good measures.
The Mix is pork free, but like most hotel premises that also serve alcohol, it is not strictly halal.
Osso Buco style lamb shank, stuffed mushroom, waikiki salad
We started out with a waikiki salad (RM 22) and stuffed mushroom (RM 25). The salad came with chunks of ahi tuna, tobikko roe and mizkan ponzu which makes for good refreshing start.
Stuffed mushroom has cream cheese, cannellini beans, walnut, and olive. A dish that’s probably best consumed while warm. I didn’t find it particularly great after waiting for too many pictures to be taken by too many people after. Oh well.
Osso Buco style lamb shank (RM 50) marks the first of many main dishes we tried. There’s shallot risotto, spinach, and rocket salad as well. The lamb shank was tender and tastes pretty good as well. If you’re a small eater, sharing is advisable.
lemon grass lamb, one of my favorites of the night
One of my favorite dishes of the night was the lemon grass lamb (RM 45) that could probably use a more exotic name. The dish came with brown rice and pumpkin curry accompanying three pieces of lamb cutlet that were perfectly seared. Seasoning for the dish was perfect, and I just couldn’t get enough of the pumpkin curry, was so good!
At RM 45, this dish provides pretty good value as well.
balsamic glazed short ribs, ryu (black cod), beef negimaki
Balsamic glazed short ribs (RM 50) came with butter-braised garlic, onions, zucchini and beans. It was pretty decent but I secretly wished that it was pork ribs instead.
Ryu (RM 55) is what’s in the menu entry for fried black cod with shitake and eryngii mushroom, as well as boiled potato and vegetable. Cod can never go wrong, and this version did not disappoint either, though serving size isn’t nearly as generous as the lamb dishes.
Beef negimaki (RM 25) is the chef’s interpretation of east meets west. The beef drenched in dashi soya sauce, then all rolled up with some asparagus. A side of curious looking tempura accompany the red meat. A pretty interesting attempt, but one that may need a bit of refinement, I find the beef a tad too tough, and the tempura not matching real well.
coconut chicken strip, Gerard Bertrand merlot, 2 De Quase pizza
Coconut chicken strip (RM 15) though, makes for excellent beer food. The poultry coated with coconut before being deep fried and served with honey soya dipping. It was quite a treat!
The Mix served quite a selection of pizza, and we tried “2 De Quase” (RM 30) – a combination of half masala chicken with spicy red sauce, mozzarella cheese topped with cilantro and garlic prawns with herbs. I’d say the combination works pretty well, we enjoyed the pizza.
masala pasta, Jivara indulgence, raspberry Rhubard almond crumble
For pasta lovers, there are also a few selections to choose from. Our masala pasta (RM 35) would please those who likes pasta with a kick, again, a dish best consumed warm.
For desserts, there’s raspberry rhubard almond crumble (RM 30) and Jivara indulgence (RM 30), a rich chocolate fudge sponge layered with salty crusty bites and topped with milk chocolate peanut cream mousse. I have to say that I didn’t try them due to limited stomach space, but those who reacted positively.
The Mix’s kitchen proved to be quite capable in serving up more than decent dishes for the most part, and at good value as well. The two cocktails we tried did not disappoint either. For those who’re around the area, this place is quite a decent watering hole.
Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur
1 Jalan Usahawan U1/8,
40250 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.094189, 101.577201
Tel: 03-7802 5200
One of the things I love about Bangkok, and Thailand in general, is definitely the street foods. Much like Penang, there are many food stalls offering a variety of different dishes at just about any street corners, and standard of those dishes are usually rather good.
Lai Thai Mini Market, Happy Mansion at Seksyen 17
Back in Malaysia, Thai food are usually found in restaurant settings. You get your tomyam, maybe pad thai, and many other dishes that goes well with rice, but there aren’t usually a good selection of individual dishes.
Good news is, there’s Lai Thai Mini Market at Seksyen 17 offering just that.
Thai pork leg rice, rice noodle in hot & sour soup
Lai Thai is actually a mini market that sells a selection of Thai grocery products, including snacks, condiments, sauces, and even some fresh produce. However, the front of the shop/restaurant also spot a well equipped stall that offers some 20 different dishes to be consumed on the spot of taken away.
The operators are Thai, and so are all the workers. Stepping into Lai Thai and you’ll touch your left pocket wondering if you’ve forgotten your passport. It’s marvellous.
som tam done right, and tomyam soup
The food here are prepared the traditional way with traditional ingredients, and it’s also the only place I’ve found serving pork leg rice!
So far I’ve tried the pork leg rice, tomyam, pork with rice noodle in hot and sour soup, red ruby (dessert), and their Thai ice tea. We weren’t disappointed at all.
Thai ice tea for drinks, red ruby for dessert
Other dishes to check out would be pad Thai, dry noodle, lime salad with pork, green curry, fried petai, fried rice, papaya salad, and more!
Lai Thai also offers a selection of desserts all packed up and ready to be brought home or consumed on the spot. My housemate loved the mango sticky rice and gave it a seal of approval.
KY & Haze at Lai Thai, we love it
If you’re hungry for some cheap, non-halal Thai street food, check this place out.
For other porky Thai eats, check out Thai Camp at Taman Paramount, Surisit Thai kopitiam at TTDI, I’m Spicy or My Elephant at PJ Seksyen 17.
Lai Thai Mini Market
AG-3, Block A,
Happy Mansion, Jalan 17/13,
Section 17, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.124202, 101.634463
Hours: 10 am to 5 pm