Category / Western
Every once in a while, I get invited to one of these fancy dinners that I imagined myself being a part of when I was working as a casual worker at a five star hotel in my high school days.
I thought that it’d be pretty awesome sitting down having a number of different courses of almost bite size food served in plates that are unnecessarily large, and wouldn’t it be even more cool if they have different drinks for each dish?!
That’d really be living the life, won’t it?
A Premium Wine Affair, Senja at Saujana Hotel
Well, last Friday was one of such days, and yes, that’s another teenage-hood dream come true moment (though not the first time).
I was invited to “A premier Wine Affair of the Saujana Hotels & Resorts Wine Collection“, a private event hosted by the Saujana to unveil its new wine collection.
Charcoal’s Australian Chef Robert Johnston
The wines were specifically made from Frankland Estate, Margaret River, Western Australia, a well-renowned winery with an approach to winemaking that values the importance of soil and environment.
In the kitchen was Charcoal’s Australian Chef Robert Johnston who prepared a distinctive five course menu to pair with the wines for a night of, well, wine and dine.
By the way, you can only get these wines from The Saujana
Note: Instead of paraphrasing the note and pretend that I know exactly how to describe these wonderful wines, I’m going to include the tasting note here verbatim, and by the way, most media/writers do get tasting notes for wine/whisky, we can’t magically come up with fantastic descriptions that are all pretty much the same.
lightly cured salmon, pomelo, cucumber, verjuice jelly
After socializing a bit with the crowd, we sat down and dinner began, our first dish was the lightly cured salmon, pomelo, cucumber, verjuice jelly to be paired with Souvignon Blanc Semillon 2014. Refreshing and easy on the palette.
Tasting note: On the nose it shows exotic fruit aromas, lychee, mango, rose, quince and spices. On the palate it exudes a powerful, burst of fruit, flattering and round with lightly spicy finishing.
poached chicken and crispy noodles, shitake tea
Second course was poached chicken and crispy noodles, shitake tea. Paired with Chardonnay 2013, Miles from Nowhere.
The shitake tea makes an interesting base with its slightly bitter after taste, reminding me of chicken essence in a way. Crispy noodle provided interesting texture to the otherwise quite muted poached chicken. Very Asian-ish.
Tasting note: Butterscotch and ripe stone fruit flavours, with a rich and luscious creamy mouth feel. A complex wine with a spicy oak finish
char grilled duck breast, sweet onion puree, apple & radish, balsamic reduction
Third dish was char grilled duck breast, sweet onion puree, apple and radish, balsamic reduction. Paired with Merlot 2014.
Really love the duck breast with the hint of charred taste. The Merlot carries mulberry and red plum fruit aromas, a touch of earthy complexity that went well with duck.
Tasting notes: Medium ruby red in colour. Alluring strawberry, mulberry and red plum fruit aromas with subtle hint of French oak spice and a touch of earthy complexity.
black Angus tenderloin, roasted pumpkin risotto,
oyster mushroom, bone marrow and parsley sauce
The main dish was black Angus tenderloin, roasted pumpkin risotto, oyster mushroom, bone marrow and parsley sauce. Paired with Cabernet Souvignon 2012. While the Wagyu from Hanaya a couple days ago was heaven, I still enjoy Angus beef with its more profound texture.
Tasting notes: A powerful yet elegant wine. Soft and rich with full body. Well rounded tannins on the palate with concentrates fruit flavours and provides a great length on the finish.
coconut rice, caramelized banana, candied coconut and chili
Coconut rice, caramelized banana, candied coconut and chili as dessert to end the night. Good food with excellent company, what a great way to start the weekends.
great company and awesome food with delectable wines
The other wines we tried were Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014 from Grape Expectations Estate, Margaret River, and Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc from Frankland Estate.
Saujana Golf & Country Club,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
GPS: 3.106865, 101.575285
Tel: 03-7846 1466
A couple weeks ago I participated in a pretty special gastronomical event – the Martell Tricentenaire Gala Dinner at Genting Highland. I think it is safe to say that having a product on the market for 300 years is an amazing feat.
Martell Tricentenaire Gala Dinner, Genting Highland
When the house of Martell was founded in 1715, the Ottoman Empire still exists, United States as a country has yet to be formed for another 60 years, and KangXi emperor was ruling China (there’s a joke that goes “which Chinese emporer is blind?”). Who would have thought that the same product still exists after a dozen generations later?
Martell Cordon Bleu, Martell Cordon Bleu 1912, Martell XO
To celebrate this occasion, Martell hosted a grand gala dinner at Genting International Convention Centre, and I was very lucky to be among the invitees. The gala dinner drew from the tradition of Jean Martell, the creator of this fine cognac 300 years ago, who loved to host his friends at Chateau de Chanteloup, purchased by the Martell family to receive prestigious personalities from around the world.
As a celebration of the art of gastronomy, Martell arranged for Elegantology to prepare food. I’ve sampled their food on a previous occasion before, so you could say that I have some high expectations.
Citrus Infused King Prawn & Salmon Tartare
We started the night with Citrus Infused King Prawn and Salmon Tartare. The dish came with poached king prawns on skewer with avocado, and marinated salmon tartare & a side of yee sang to keep honor the Malaysian Chinese New Year tradition of “Lou Sang” (which was done on stage as well). We paired the starter with Martell Cordon Bleu.
Black Chicken Ginseng Soup with Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Scallops, Fish Maw
The second dish was not on the menu, but turned out to be our favorite of the night. A luxurious black chicken ginseng soup that is laden with abalone, sea cucumber, scallops, fish maw, and mushroom.
It was one of the best double boiled soup I’ve ever had, I would place it even higher than the one from Elegant Inn, which I really liked. It was complex, sweet, and yet not overly thick or complicated. If I can have one soup for the rest of my life, it’ll be a toss up between this and the best of what bak kut teh can offer.
Peppercorn Marinated Smoked Duck & Foie Gras Terrine
Sea Bass, Steamed on Rich and Spicy Broth Infused with Tumeric & Egg
Continuing with the European theme, we then had peppercorn marinated smoked duck & foie gras terrine served on onion confit and raspberry vinaigrette. Smoked duck did not disappoint, but I had wished that they would serve foie gras as is instead of in the form of terrine. Then again, if you have to prepare food for some 1000 people, I suppose getting perfectly seared foie gras and served while hot may be a tall order.
Next up was steamed sea bass on rich and spicy broth infused with turmeric and egg white on asparagus. We paired this seafood with Martell Cordon Bleu 1912, a special re-edition of the classic cognac Martell Cordon Bleu, originally created by Edouard Martell in 1912.
The spicy broth gave the dish a hint of South Asian style, which is just as well since a slice of pita bread is served along side with the fish. Quite a bold play, and I think it worked.
Mediterranean Herb Crusted Loin of Lamb
Mediterranean Herb Crusted Loin of Lamb was our main dish – oven baked lamb with a medley of braised rice cake, cep mushroom essence and truffle. The lamb went really well with Martell XO, as with any perfectly prepared red meat would.
The herbal crust gave the lamb a bit of texture and character, while the truffle infused sauce made it richer, thus perfect for XO as a companion.
Ashley, KY, Haze, Garick, Sam, Michael
We did not stay for dessert as we had something planned early in next morning. The gala dinner, like other Martell gastronomy events I had the privilege to attend, was grand and impressive. I want to thank Angie for the invitation, until next time!
A week or so ago I was invited by Haze’s friend to a small food review session at Scott Garden’s AfterWerk pub/bar. This isn’t usually my type of place to look for food, but since it’s a friend, why not?
As it turns out, you can sometimes find decent food at unsuspecting places.
AfterWerk at Scott Garden, ground floor at the left corner, with live band
AfterWerk is operated by the same people who used to run Pedro’s Place, a new management/owner for the last half a year or so.
The restaurant/pub is located on the left corner of Scott’s Garden on the ground floor, you can park your car in the huge indoor parking, or right outside the restaurant aka valet/illegal style.
Like most pubs/bar, AfterWerk offers a variety of cocktails, beer, whisky, and there’s dart machine, and most importantly, an ass-kicking 8 piece Filipino band that actually sings very well! (We stayed for quite a few songs after the food review session)
we started with French Onion Soup
Anyway, since the owner previously ran proper restaurant, food isn’t something of an after thought here. The menu consists of a mixture of Mexican/Western and local dishes. Prices are pretty decent, as with most pubs that usually make a lion’s share of their revenue from drinks instead.
For the purpose of this visit, we sampled four of their dishes.
We kicked off the night with French Onion soup that comes with a floating piece of cheese and a side of garlic/cheese bread. The serving was rather big for a starter but I don’t even mind, it was really delicious. The savory of cheese with those broth really worked well.
Chili Burger with a side of fries
Next up was their Chili Beef Burger. This rendition of the popular American staple comes with a rather thick patty and plenty of chili with a layer of melted cheese on top. You can request the chili to be mild or really hot, we had it probably somewhere in the middle.
While I liked the chili, I thought the thick patty was not nearly as fatty as I usually liked them. Then again it is probably a good thing for those who are slightly more health conscious. A pretty decent burger otherwise.
half a rack of ribs, jalapeno poppers
The four of us then shared a half rack of pork ribs. The ribs properly prepared and came with a layer of BBQ sauce plastered all over. The meat was soft and savory, I find myself really enjoying it despite being pretty stuffed from the previous two courses. Definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of pork ribs. It could maybe be slightly saltier, but I’m just nitpicking.
Other than the three dishes, we also sampled one of their beer food – jalapeno poppers. This turned out to be pretty hot, and perhaps slightly too hot even for me but I imagine it’d be pretty awesome with some ice cold beer. Jalapeno is like any peppers, the level of spiciness is not constant, sometimes you get it hot, and sometimes they are mild.
Haze & KY, Reiko & friend at work
If you’re close to the vicinity of Scott Garden, AfterWerk is definitely a decent place to check out if you’re up for a beer of three, but I would also consider it a good option for some late dinner as well.
Jalan Klang Lama,
58100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.094886, 101.674963
Tel: 03-7982 0700
Hours: 4pm to 2am
I don’t go to a lot of invited dinners, usually preferring local fair and hawker delights over dine-in restaurants, but when the invitation from Svago via MyCloudTable promising a 5-course all-truffle arrived, I just couldn’t say no.
‘Diamond of the Kitchen” Fine Dining Event at Svago, KLCC
Svago is located at KLCC, around the fountain and closest to Mandarin Oriental Hotel. A pretty classy set up overlooking the greenery that is the KLCC garden.
Our dinner was called “Diamond of the Kitchen”, which denotes to black truffles, one of the most prized ingredients in European cuisines. Svago’s Chef de Cuisine, Miguel Huelamo Estrada, was the man behind this creation of 5 course dinner. We also had 4 exquisite wines to be paired with for the evening’s dinner.
Fantastic, isn’t it?
Butternut Squash Crème with White Truffle Yogurt
To start with, we have Butternut Squash Crème with White Truffle Yogurt, with the pairing of Craggy Range Te Muna Road Riesling, New Zealand.
The creme did have a pretty strong white truffle aroma and the butternut squash was smooth and creamy, but the sourness of yogurt was perhaps a little too strong for me. The riesling though, was fantastic, with intense aromatics of orange blossom, lime peel, and jasmine (of course this is from the tasting note, but I really liked the reisling)
Tuna Tartar w Shaved Truffle, Avocado,
Pickled Red Radish, Corn and Alfalfa Sprouts
The second dish of the night was Tuna Tartar w Shaved Truffle, Avocado, Pickled Red Radish, Corn and Alfalfa Sprouts to paired with Klein Constantia KC Rose, South Africa.
The tuna tartar was one of my favorite dishes of the night, and thankfully the portion was pretty big as well. Those shaved truffles gave the tuna an extra dimension that really complements each other well. Avocado, pickled red radish and alfafa sprouts adds to the complexity and gave it texture. Excellent dish.
The Rose had a hint of citrus and orange blossom aroma while being crisp and displaying balanced acidity, a wine that’s very easy to drink and I suspect would go well with any sort of dessert.
Shrimp, Chicken and Sherry Wine preserved Truffle Empanada
(European baked dumpling)
We continued the night with Shrimp, Chicken and Sherry Wine preserved Truffle Empanada (or European baked dumpling). An interesting dish that was a little crispy and really not too different from your regular Chinese style fried dumpling, though the presence of truffle did add to the flavor just a little bit. I wasn’t particularly impressed with this version to be honest.
We had Val de Sil Godello D.O Valdeorras from Spain to go with this dish. With the aroma of white flower and ripe pear and almonds with lemonpeel palate, the white wine did not disappoint.
Black Angus Prime Roast Beef with Truffle Buttered Potato Mash
Main dish came in the form of Black Angus Prime Roast Beef with Truffle Buttered Potato Mash. As far as roast beef goes, you can’t really get much better than this, it’s soft, tender, and succulent. Though I would prefer a thick steak any day, you still can’t fault this dish. The truffle buttered infused mash too is something no mash potato fan can shy away.
The red wine that was chosen to be paired with the red meat was Bodegas Sottano Reserva de Familia Malbec, Argentina. The red was balanced yet complex while carrying the aroma of cherry and blackberry. I like its fruitiness.
White Chocolate Mousse Apricot Truffle and Shortbread, KY & Joyee
We ended the night with White Chocolate Mousse Apricot Truffle and Shortbread, a dessert that is pretty ordinary except for the apricot truffle. Those bits of apricot had a taste that is very unique, I’ve had truffle with meat, butter, and even bread, but never with fruit, and I could only describe it as excellent!
Overall it was a more than decent meal with certainly more hits than misses. We love the atmosphere and certainly welcomed the explanation of the wines by the Sommelier.
I also want to thank mycloudtable.com for organizing this session.
Svago Cucina e Musica
Kuala Lumpur City Center
Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.158126, 101.711833
Tel: 03-2163 0188
Some months back my desk was moved back to the main office at KLCC, which translate to more opportunity in checking out the recently revamped Avenue K that is placing more emphasis to the food seeking crowd.
One of the restaurants that always seem to have a long queue during lunch time is Fresca on the ground floor, so we decided to check it out.
Fresca Mexican Cuisine at Avenue K
The premise that houses Fresca Mexican Cuisine also has another section occupied by Dolly dimsum, I thought that’s a bit of a strange arrangement, but it seems to be working well for the restaurant.
Ambiance is great with tall and wide windows, and the segment of glass roof also add in to provide great lighting condition for the restaurant. I really like it.
tortilla chips & tapas, love the jalapenos
For five of us, we started out with some tortilla chips with guagomole (RM 20), those fattening avacado sauce and freshly fried tortilla proved to be a good appetizer, though beer would really be great in this instance.
What’s Mexican cuisine without some tapas? We had Jalapeno Poppers (RM 17), Hongos Rellenos (RM 20, portobello mushroom with eggplant), and Camarones (RM23, sauteed prawn tacos).
While they aren’t exactly “economical” in pricing, these were very good side dishes, I particularly love the jalapeno poppers with the aroma of the Mexican green pepper and the juiciness of minced beef with those crispy shell. It was great.
beef fajitas & cordero a la tamarindo (rack of lamb)
Like most Mexican restaurants, there are a few usual suspects when it comes to main dishes. There’s enchaladas, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, and a few other typical items in the menu. Many of these dishes come with options of chicken or beef as well.
We tried Beef Fenderloin Fajitas (RM 47) that came in sizzling hot plate, the meat was tender and juicy, with condiments that did not disappoint. However, do order some extra pita bread if you’re sharing this dish though.
Cordero a la Tamarindo, or rack of lamb (RM 63) is the highest priced item on their menu, but also one that satisfied our collective palates. The lamb was succulent and the marinade spot on.
camaraones – sauteed prawn tacos, pollo a la parrilla (grilled chicken)
For those seeking something slightly closer to our Asian tastes, Pollo a la Parilla (RM 34, grilled chicken) would not be a bad choice. There’s plenty of rice and the rather tasty poultry that’s marinated with their house special marinate.
Kelly, Sheng, Latha, Joyce, KY
Food at Fresca did not disappoint at all, though pricing is a little on the high side, but considering the ambiance, location, and quality of food you get, it is not a bad place to visit at all.
By the way, don’t waste your time with their churros (RM 15), it was a disappointment.
Avenue K, 156, Jln Ampang,
GPS: 3.159210, 101.713538
Tel: 03-2201 2893