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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / Western

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
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
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
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, and Fish Maw
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
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

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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

map to Scott Garden at Old Klang Road

Address:
Afterwerk
Scott Garden
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
‘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
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 with Shaved Truffle, Avocado, Pickled Red Radish, Corn and Alfalfa Sprouts
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)
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*
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
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.

map of KLCC

Address:
Svago Cucina e Musica
Kuala Lumpur City Center
Lot G45B-136,
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
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
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)
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)
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
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.

map of Avenue K

Address:
Fresca
Ground Floor,
Avenue K, 156, Jln Ampang,
50450 KL

GPS: 3.159210, 101.713538
Tel: 03-2201 2893

I actually first got to know about Suzi’s Corner from Time Out KL food awards in 2011 when it was nominated for the “best of steak” category, and that was when it piqued my interest, a cheap steak place that is recognized to be one of the bests in town among the big boys? I gotta try this.

Suzi's Corner at Ampang (opposite Ampang Point)
Suzi’s Corner at Ampang (opposite Ampang Point)

Sure enough, it then took me another two years or so before I found myself wandering around Ampang on the motorcycle trying to figure out a place for dinner before futsal session with my colleague.

Steak isn’t exactly the perfect meal before a cardio heavy sports, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

tenderloin under RM 40, served on a hot plate
tenderloin under RM 40, served on a hot plate

Suzi’s Corner is actually a food court, and within it, Steak Hut is the stall that offers somewhat localized Western food. Among the dishes to choose from are lamb chops (RM22), grilled salmon (RM21), chicken chop (RM14), and more.

For a steak lover though, I just had to go with the tenderloin. At RM 34, it’ll be a miracle to find a cheaper version anywhere else.

I'd advise to not have the hot plate, or put the beef aside
I’d advise to not have the hot plate, or put the beef aside

I ordered the beef at medium rare, but what came was probably closer to medium. By default, the beef here is served on a hot plate (Malaysians love hot plate), so that probably contributed partly to the meat being slightly overcooked for my liking. I’ll order it rare and to be served on regular plate next round.

A side of fries, bun with butter, and some steamed vegetable came with the dish to complete the meal. Overall it was definitely worth the asking price, and I would not hesitate to go there again.

Is it super awesome beef? No, but Suzi’s Corner definitely manage to satisfy the craving for red meat, at least for a few days. :)

map to Suzi's corner

Address:
Suzi’s Corner
213/26 Jalan Ampang Batu 4 1/2,
Jalan Ulu Kelang,
68000 Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.158677, 101.748378
Tel: 03-4256 6720
Hours6pm to 11pm, closed on T uesdays