Category / Western
June 14, 2013
I love me some good steaks, and while we have plenty of awesome affordable good foods in Malaysia, steak isn’t exactly one of them. Good steaks are often rather expensive, and the cheaper ones usually left me thinking if I should have been chewing my shoes instead. Hence, we don’t end up having steaks nearly as often as we want to.
My last steak dinner was at Las Vacas at Kelana Jaya, a restaurant with minimal frill and good steak, and it was also where I found out about El Fresco at Jaya Grocer from Lance & Enoch (hello neighbour!) from feedbacks on facebook and Instagram
El Fresco at Jaya Grocer, pick your meat
El Fresco is located at Subang Empire Mall’s Jaya Grocer, and yes, a restaurant within the big grocery store where the tables and seats are arranged pretty close to isles where you find racks of .. well, groceries.
The concept is simple, go to the meat section (or fish if you want to have salmon steak, for example) and pick your steak, then proceed to El Fresco’s counter and hand the meat over and have them cook it. There is no cooking charge for anything over RM 20, and just like Air Asia, if you want extras, you can always add on (salad, mixed vegetable, fries etc)
Angus tenderloin, one with salad, the other with mixed vegetables
Standard cut for steak is usually at around 250-300 gram here, and prices stated at the butchery is by the kilogram. We chose Angus tenderloin (mid-high in price, RM 189/KG) and each slab cost us just under RM 42.00.
In a way, you can go expensive, or you can go much cheaper as well. Lamb rack at RM 85.90/KG, and beef anywhere from RM 99/KG to RM 359/KG for some Wagyu with good marble ratings.
I like mine medium rare, and they executed it perfectly
I had my Angus tenderloin medium rare with mixed vegetable, and Haze ordered hers prepared rare with salad. While wait time was a little long (25 minutes) when we were there, it actually wasn’t too bad, you can even walk around and shop a little bit in the mean time.
The steak came out excellent and I really liked my steak pure as is and without any sauce or extra seasoning. The meat tender and juicy, and for under RM 50? An awesome value.
The pizzas & salmon steaks from El Fresco looks good too, and I have a feeling we will be back there pretty soon.
Jaya Grocer, Empire Shopping Gallery
47500 Subang Jaya
GPS: 3.082109, 101.582716
June 9, 2013
Several weeks ago I was invited to a wine tasting event by Cape Mentelle at Neo Tamarind in KL. This was my second time to Neo Tamarind and my very first time trying Cape Mentelle wines. The invitation promises a great night of food and drinks, and delivered them magnificently.
Cape Mentelle wine and food pairing at Neo Tamarind, KL
Cape Mentelle is one of Margaret River’s ‘founding five’ wineries, and pioneered many of the region’s wine styles. The brand is a benchmark for the quality of wines from Margaret River, or in short, if you aren’t exactly well versed in wines but want to make sure you get something that’s appropriate for gifts for a party, this would be a good choice.
For the night, we were presented five wines from Cape Mentelle’s collections – Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012, Chardonnay 2011, Cabernet Merlot 2010, Shiraz 2011, and Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 in that order.
prior to dinner, finger foods & Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012
We started off with Sauvignon Blanc Semillon as apéritif and there were several canapes to go around. Black ink risotto with salmon roe, deep fried crisp calamari cajun, spicy sauce Angus beef, tataki with chili roasted rice, and tomato bruschetta. I think I had 2-3 servings of those Angus beef.
The Semillon was sweet and proved to be fitting as the first wine for the night.
steamed white cod with coconut herbs reduction, Chardonnay 2012
Unknowingly, I seated myself right next to the viticulturist of Cape Mentelle himself – Ashley Wood. His job is to ensure that Cape Mentelle grows quality grapes which directly affects the production of the wines. This requires extensive knowledge of soil type, diseases, pests, when to harvest grapes and more. Not exactly your backyard grape grower.
Our first of the four-course dish was the steamed white code with coconut herbs reduction, paired with Chardonnay. This was an easy pairing, citrusy and well balanced wine contrasts well with the coconut based sauce of the craft-fully prepared fish. I enjoyed this, and oh, the skin of the cod is faced down and was my favorite part of the dish.
roasted chicken with garlic bulb, Cabernet Merlot 2010
Next up was roasted chicken served with garlic bulb, whipped potato, apple sauce & chicken jus. Cabernet Merlot was the wine of choice to go with the poultry.
The wine was plenty fruity and carries a hint of red fruits, aniseed and tobacco bouquet. The chicken was perfectly prepared, smooth and smoky, and that garlic bulb was easy one of my favorite part of the entire dinner. It was just excellent execution that brought out the flavor of garlic without any of its harsh characteristics. I managed to convinced Eiling to eat almost half her portion even though she normally wouldn’t touch it.
The one other place I know which serves garlic bulb this way is the old school ramen shop at Wisma Central by the name of Tenka Daiichi.
roast duck breast with red cabbage puree & mustard sauce, Shiraz 2011
Duct breast is one of my favorite ingredients ever, and while the roast duck breast with red cabbage pureer & mustard sauce here looks excellent, the meat itself was a slight disappointment. I think a combination of having a very thick cut and slight under cooking contributed to the chewiness of the red meat. Good potential, and quite easily fixed though.
Shiraz is one of my favorite red wines, and the version at Cape Mentelle did not disappoint at all. The peppery and spicy palate has good depth and carries a rich nose of pepper and aniseed with berries. With this, I somehow finished the duck breast anyway.
grilled beef tenderloin with Eryngii mushroom, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
The fourth course was the grilled beef tenderloin with Ergyngii mushroom, scallion oil & beef jus. Medium rare and plenty juicy, the beef was a welcoming redemption after the disappointing duck breast, even though if I were to be critical, it was just a tad slightly overcooked.
Cabernet Sauvignon accompanied us for this last dish, a full bodied wine with good complexity, with black fruits, subtle flavours of chocolate, plum and aniseed and hint of oak on the palate. A very fine ending.
with Eiling and Wei Zhi, the dessert
No course dinner shall end without dessert, and so we had green tea crème brulee as the final dish.
This was also probably the last food review session that Eiling and I are sharing before she makes a permanent move to Belgium. Interestingly, she is also the one of my first “blog friends” when we met for the first time and went to Peony Garden 5 years ago (unfortunately that place has since closed down).
19, Jalan Sultan Ismail,
GPS: 3.15292, 101.70829
Tel: 03-2148 3200
Hours: lunch and dinner daily except Monday
May 27, 2013
As someone who loves coffee, I quite happy to see that we are slowly developing a coffee culture in Klang Valley. While it used to be just a few big chains to consider when you want a good cup of espresso based caffeinated drinks, we now have many independent coffee outlets to choose from.
Today we are going to check out That Latte Place, a very small all-day breakfast and coffee outlet at Ampang Hilir.
beautiful latte, served at a place that looks like a vacation spot
The restaurant is hidden within Yayasan Seni Berdaftar. There is a small semi-alfresco dining area with a few tables and an even smaller kitchen.The man behind this place is Mark, an ex white collar executive who decided to pursue his passion in F&B instead of being a rat in the race.
I love the place, it gives me a very zen and relaxing ambiance not unlike one you get from being on a vacation in a tropical island a few hours’ flight away.
one of my favorite egg benedicts
The coffee at That Latte Place is smooth, strong, and just the way I like my coffee to be. Americano is RM 5, latte and cappucino at RM 8, and I believe they probably serve the cheapest affogato at RM 6.
Non caffeinated drinks include hot hazelnut milk (RM 7), hot chocolate (RM 9), and some bottled fruit tea drinks.
hearty breakfast, fajita ‘TLP’ style, house egg ben
Food wise, the menu only consists of half a dozen different entries, and so far we’ve tried half of them.
Hearty Breakfast (RM 17.90) comes with chicken sausage, scrambled egg with mushroom, tomato, baked beans, and served with homemade toast. It might not be as big as those big breakfasts from places like Antipodean, the dish is more than enough to satisfy.
House Egg Ben (RM 17.90 double, RM 12.90 single) proved to be one of my favorite dishes here. The dish is deceptively simple, but execution is key here, perfect poached eggs aren’t easy to prepare and I love it when they’re done right. The Hollandaise sauce is brilliant as well.
My lunch partners were happy with their Fajita ‘TLP’ Style (RM 8.90) and gave positive feedbacks. The dish consists of chicken in Mexican herbs sauce, classic pesto, and with capsicum and lettuce wrapped in pita bread.
Sheng, KY, Joyce, Kelly
Ever since my first visit, I’ve been there pretty much every other week. Parking is easy, ambiance is great, and the coffee is superb at That Latte Place, now if they only serve bacon… (it is pork free)
Unlike donuts, bubble tea, and gourmet burgers, the emergence of coffee culture in Malaysia seems to be a slow and steady process. Which means it’s going to stay and not taper off as soon as it gets started.
That Latte Place
333 Persiaran Ritchie,
Off Jalan Ritchie,
55000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159108, 101.74026
Tel: 016-850 3546
May 20, 2013
Peruvian food isn’t exactly one of the more popular foreign cuisines in Malaysia. Prior to visiting Peruvie Peruvian Grilled Chicken at TTDI, my previous experience in this brand of food consists of the lone visit to the Peruvian Gastronomy Week at Ritz Carlton.
Peruvie at Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
The restaurant took over the bulk of the premise previously occupied by Penang Village at Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, which is conveniently located behind Maybank and Hong Leong Bank at TTDI. Parking isn’t usually a painful affair.
Inside, a small open kitchen sits at the corner. The interior is decorated with many quirky cultural artifacts that I presume have something to do with the South American country one of my colleagues came from.
grilled chicken with two sides, not the most original idea but it works
The menu is pretty similar to those you find at Nando’s. Ala carte 1/4, 1/2, or whole chicken (RM 9.90, RM 18.90, RM 36.90), and chicken with 2 side lines (RM 15.90 for 1/4, RM 24.90 for 1/2).
The sides to choose from includes fries, corn coconut rice, garden vege, coleslaw, potato salad, butter sweet corn, tomato & cucumber salad, and fresh salad.
Other than grilled chicken and sides, there are several extra dishes you can order here. Chicken soup, sausage, chicken salad, and burritos are among those items, we didn’t try any of those though.
love the sauce at Peruvie
The grilled chicken took probably 15-20 mins to get ready, and I assume this is because they only started cooking when you order. I find the taste of chicken and its marinate to be not entirely different from satey, which to me, is a good thing. The meat were tender and skin flavorful with a strong hint of spices, but it isn’t spicy.
There isn’t any complains from me when it comes to the sides either, though I’d love to have more variety of potatoes to choose from since that is supposed to be a hallmark of Peruvian cuisine. I’m quite sure Peruvie is one of these places where I don’t mind visiting again, so if you’re into some grilled chicken that isn’t Nando’s or Kenny Rogers, this is a place to check out.
Peruvie Peruvian Grilled Chicken
1, Lorong Rahim Kajai 13,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.153722, 101.622639
Tel: 03-7725 7223
April 28, 2013
Haze and I both knows how to enjoy a piece of good beef, but unfortunately good beef are usually only available at very up class restaurants (such as Prime or Mandarin Grill); and speaking from experience, those from the more affordable places often disappoints.
Then there’s Las Vacas, a no-frill restaurant and retail that offers prime cuts of beef and lamb at very decent price.
Las Vacas at Kelana Jaya
Las Vacas is basically a meat shop with professionally trained butchers and a kitchen. They stock a wide selection of meat and you can either buy raw to grill at home, or dine in.
There’s Angus, Wagyu, grain fed, tenderloin, ribeye, sirloin, lamb shoulder, and even salami, sausages, and burger patties.
grain fed tenderloin and wagyu ribeye
We went there for the first time a few weeks ago, I ordered a medium rare tenderloin, while Haze asked for her Wagyu ribeye to be prepared rare. Prices of meat is indicated at the display per 100 gram, and normal cut is usually 280-300 grams, though you can always choose a bigger/smaller portion according to appetite.
There’s a cooking fee (RM 15 if I remember correctly) on top of the price of the meat, and you get a small serving of salad (quite forgettable) and a piece of pretty decent garlic bread on the side.
love that my tenderloin was cooked to perfection – medium rare
The meat did take a while to get prepared, and I believe it was because they actually let it sit before serving to ensure they are properly moist. There’s Dijon mustard and A1 steak sauce if you like, but I love my steak as is with nothing but basica salt & pepper seasoning to fully enjoy the unadulterated taste of meat.
The result was excellent, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Dinner ended up at around RM 180 including a couple bottles of premium carbonated drinks. Pretty reasonable for what we got, will visit again.
No.23, Jalan SS5A/11 Kelana Jaya
47301 Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.095934, 101.604719
Tel: 03-7874 0711
Hours: Tues – Sunday, 10am – 10pm