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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / Western

If you were to tell me 10 years ago that salad can make a healthy, hearty, and really delicious meal, I’d only believe you 1/3. After all, salad are for girls who wants to look demure and polite having meal in public, right?

Well, Chai Bar proved me wrong.

Chai Bar at Oasis Square, Ara Damansara
Chai Bar at Oasis Square, Ara Damansara

One of the Chai Bar’s co-owner, Dennis, is a close friend of Haze. So to be honest, we’ve heard of the concept and already been to the pre-tasting events before the restaurant was even opened.

It was a concept that isn’t completely new, salad bars such as these are already quite popular in Singapore and other countries.

salad isn't just lettuce with thousand island sauce
salad isn’t just lettuce with thousand island sauce

The concept is simple, choose from some 70 different ingredients such as freshly washed and cut vegetables to beans, cheeses, nuts, pickles, and roasted vegetables. Plus, you also get to add smoked salmon, shrimp, poached chicken or grilled beef (just in case you think salad is only all about greens). To complete the meal, pick from some 15 different dressings.

Voila, you have yourself an awesome healthy meal.

chicken rice, superfood, steakhouse, sombrero
chicken rice, superfood, steakhouse, sombrero

For the review session we tried 7 different salads with some from their “fab 10” selections, basically ten different mixes of salad for those who doesn’t want to scratch their heads choosing your own combination from 70 different ingredients. These salads are priced from RM 16-20, a very good value for what you get in my opinion.

Chicken rice came with spinach, red rice, onions, cucumber, bean sprouts & poached chicken and dressed with Sesame Soy. Here the chicken is cooked sous vide so even though it’s breast meat (my least favorite but healthiest option), it was still very juicy and rather delicious.

Superfood had mixed leaves with sweet potatoes, beets, avocado, dried cranberries, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds & quinoa dressed in peanut sauce. A mixture of all the healthy ingredients you can think of. Very nice texture to munch on.

Steakhouse is a salad for the men, I mean, steak, kan? Baby spinach with baby potatoes, tomato, caramelised onions & grilled beef. I like the dressing in this one – blue cheese! If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, you can always opt for another dressing.

If you like a little bit of Mexican, try Sombrero. Mixed lettuce with 3-bean mix, corn, tomatoes, onions, mixed peppers, cheddar cheese, tortilla chips & grilled beef. This salad is dressed with avocado and topped with salsa.

bibimbap, caesar, california girls
bibimbap, caesar, california girls

Fancy Korean style salad? Baby spinach with red rice, cucumber, carrot, mushrooms, bean sprouts, hard boiled egg and grilled beef. Sweet Gochujang. Sprinkles of kimchi makes for a bowl of Bibimbap.

Caesar, the most common of all salad, turned out to be our favorite. The sous vide chicken that’s lightly grilled was superb, and the Green Goddess dressing compliments romaine lettuce, croutons, onions, hard boiled egg, beef bacon, Parmesan cheese and grilled chicken really well.

According to Dennis, California Girls is one of the most popular salads with the ladies. A bowl that’s inspired by Japanese cuisine, with mixed lettuce, red rice, avocado, carrot, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled egg, pickled seaweed & kaori-hako. Wasabi Mayo. Dusted with roasted seaweed and ebiko. I thought the ebiko was a really nice touch.

refreshing drinks at Chai Bar
refreshing drinks at Chai Bar

Juices goes for RM 7.50 and smoothies RM 8.50. We had kaffir lemonade, watermelon & mint, and of course I went for avocado. They complements the food well, and I think make for good afternoon “snacks” on their own too.

KY, Haze, Dennis (co-owner), Cheesie & Junya
KY, Haze, Dennis (co-owner), Cheesie & Junya

Chai Bar is really a trailblazer for salad in this side of Klang Valley, I really hope they thrive and open up more restaurants, and hopefully one near my workplace. Good job Dennis!

map to Oasis, Ara Damansara

Address:
Chai Bar
G31, Oasis Village
Oasis Square Ara Damansara, 

2, Jalan PJU 1A/7A, Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.114834, 101.574750
Webchaibar.my
Tel03-7832 3138

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?

Senja at Saujana Hotel
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
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
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
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 and radish, balsamic reduction
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
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

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
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.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Senja
Saujana Golf & Country Club,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
40150 Selangor
GPS3.106865, 101.575285
Tel03-7846 1466
emailinfo@thesaujana.com

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