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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / Western

Previously under the Jacob’s Creek portfolio, St. Hugo Wine now stepped out from the shadow and stake its claim as a stand-alone brand, we were invited to the coming-out party held at Las Carretas, USJ.

During the event, we got to sample wines from St. Hugo as well as Jocob’s Creek and Wyndham Estate.

St. Hugo Wine at Las Carretas, USJ Taipan
St. Hugo Wine at Las Carretas, USJ Taipan

Incidentally, I last went to Las Carretas at USJ a little more than 8 years ago. It was the first proper Mexican restaurant I’ve visited in Klang Valley, and I believe I actually had my first taste of margarita there.

I am glad that the restaurant still thrives, and now even spots a branch at Ampang.

Steve Meckiff, Global Wine Ambassador at Pernod Ricard Winemakers
Steve Meckiff, Global Wine Ambassador at Pernod Ricard Winemakers

Our night started out with a variety of appetizer, including mille feuille of tuna spread, baked tartlet of Emmental cheese, and cream puffs. The bite size snacks were good, especially when you had Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir  to wash them down. I like the sparkly’s crisp finish and citrus flavour.

Steve Meckiff, the global wine ambassador at Pernod Ricard Winemakers, then told us about the story of St. Hugo wines, and how it rose to prominence for a brand that started in 1983, relatively young for this industry.

baked Norwegian salmon with George Wyndham Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012
baked Norwegian salmon with George Wyndham Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Our first course was baked Norwegian salmon presented on a robust lemon butter sauce. The fish is paired with George Wyndham Semillon Sauvignon Blanc – 2012.

I’ve always like semillon sauvignon blanc, with semillon giving it that extra fruity taste that goes very well with fish or poultry. The pairing is definitely spot on and  very easy to drink. The fish was expertly prepared and not overly baked either, almost as good as those prepared sous-vide.

crab meat chowder and a sorbet as palate cleanser
crab meat chowder and a sorbet as palate cleanser

Next we had crab meat chowder with Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2012. The chowder simmered in root vegetable and thickened with Idaho potatoes with a hint of aged cherry. I’m not so sure about the cherry part but the chowder was most excellent, something that I can have for breakfast at least twice a week.

The chardonnay has attractive aroma that pairs well with the chowder.

slow cooked grass-fed Australian lamb rack, St Hugo Barossa Shiraz
slow cooked grass-fed Australian lamb rack, St Hugo Barossa Shiraz

Our main course was the slow cooked grass-fed Australian lamb rack, presented with on a ginger and thyme infused sauce that was so irresistible. We tried the St. Hugo Barossa Shiraz 2010 as well as the St. Hugo Connawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 to go with the red meat.

I like the Shiraz with the slightly spicier note, while the Cabernet Sauvignon will suit those who enjoys elegant fruit characters, toasty oak and long, fine tannins. You can’t go wrong either way.

KY, Latha, Evelyn, Dennis, and Steve Meckiff
KY, Latha, Evelyn, Dennis, and Steve Meckiff

It was certainly a most enjoyable wine and dine session, thanks to the good people at Millennium Associates and Pernod Ricard for the invitation. You can find St. Hugo’s wine at major wine retailers.

map to Las Carretas at USJ Taipan

Address:
Las Carretas
No 29 USJ 10/1F
47620 Subang UEP
Selangor

GPS: 3.047943, 101.583163
Tel: 03-5637 3058

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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

dessert galore!
dessert galore!

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
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.

map to Bangsar Shopping Center

Address:
Le Midi Restaurant
3rd Floor, East Wing,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,

285 Jalan Maarof,
Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.142808,101.667448
Tel:  03-2094 1318

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 for AFC's Back to the StreetsChef 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
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
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
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
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!

map to Berjaya Times Square

Address:
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

Located at Wolo Hotel in Bukit Bintang (just right across from Lot 10), Tous les Jours is the new kid in town with fancy dress and high society aura.

The location is great, and facade of this born in Korea French-Asian bakery rejuvenates this side of Bukit Bintang, upgrading it to be of equal to the Starhill/Pavilion area.

Tous les Jours, bukit bintang
Tous les Jours, bukit bintang

Since it looked so beautiful from the outside, we just had to make a trip during lunch on a work week to see what this place is about.

The interior consists of area, an expansive ground floor offering coffee, cakes, and assortment of bread and pastry, with about half of the area spanning over two floors in terms of ceiling height.

bread, coffee, cakes, sandwiches, soup & salad
bread, coffee, cakes, sandwiches, soup & salad

Upstairs, there are more seating areas and another bar in which you can order sandwiches, all-day breakfast, tartine, as well as soup and salad.

The product selection is immense, with the smell of freshly baked bread and coffee in the air, the ambiance is perfect.

lunch for three, covering most of the product type at Tous les Jours
lunch for three, covering most of the product type at Tous les Jours

We had Korean wheat and sweet potato cream bread, blueberry pastry, a cup of caramel latte, some cakes, macaroons, as well as a breakfast set and caramel latte.

Over all the quality of pastry and bread were very satisfying, and perfect for any carboholics. I was a bit impartial to the way the presentation of caramel latte, but the coffee did not disappoint.

Sheng, Joyce, and KY
Sheng, Joyce, and KY

Expect to spend about RM 20+ per person for enough food to fill the stomach, and for the quality and concept, I’d say this place is definitely worth visiting.

map to Tous Les Jours

Address:
Tous les Jours
Wolo Hotel
Bukit Bintang
60000, Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.14716, 101.71140
Tel03-2201 3526

Good news for those who studies at Sunway University, stay at around the area, or generally likes hanging about at this car tuners’ paradise – there’s yet another new coffee place!

I really like how new coffee places are now mushrooming all over the city, with many of them offering really quality coffee with some rather nice concepts. Gone were the days where espresso based coffee is only found at Starbucks and Coffeebeans.

Garage 51, opposite Sunway University side entrance
Garage 51, opposite Sunway University side entrance

Garage 51 is owned by the same people who run CoffeeSociete, so in terms of drinks, there’s already a pretty good reputation going on.

As for the cafe, like the name suggests, it is based on a garage theme. A volkswagen Beatle convertible by the side that is now an alfresco dining table, and seatings atop a container which is now a kitchen gives this place a pretty unique ambiance. I also really like the expansive high ceiling within the main area.

cafe latte & chai latte
cafe latte & chai latte

We tried their cafe latte and chai latte, and while the tea kinda turned out slightly sweeter than we would have liked it, the latte was excellent. Aroma of coffee well balanced with the silky smooth milk, just what a caffeine addict needed.

grilled chicken & grilled lamb shoulder
grilled chicken & grilled lamb shoulder

Other than caffeinated drinks and slices of cakes, Garage 51 also offers a small menu of dishes served after 6pm. There are only 5 items on it, and we tried two of them.

The grilled chicken (RM 19) I had was pretty decent. It came with homemade croquette potato and cauliflower as sides, the quarter chicken well marinated and the sauce compliments the meat pretty well.

Lamb shoulder (RM 22) with mashed potato and salad wasn’t executed nearly as well, but generally an okay dish.

Other entrees include olive aglio olio and a couple baked eggs dishes.

KY & Haze catching a late dinner and some coffee at Garage 51
KY & Haze catching a late dinner and some coffee at Garage 51

Garage 51 also serves brunch and carries speciality single origin coffee that changes from time to time. I didn’t try their Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gelena Abaya coffee on my first visit, but I’m quite sure it is a place I’ll head to again in the near future.

map to Garage 51, Sunway

Address:
Garage 51
51, Jalan PJS 11/9,
Bandar Sunway
46150 Selangor
GPS3.067876, 101.603086
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm

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