Category / Western
I don’t do a lot of invited reviews these days, mostly due to work commitments and staying quite a fair bit away from the city. However, every now and then there are something intriguing enough that warrant the time and effort.
The invitation for Festive Menu at Babe Gastro was one of such events.
Babe at Clearwater, Damansara Height KL
Located at the top floor of Clearwater at Damansara Height, Babe is a tastefully decorated cozy restaurant with a perhaps one of the best views of the city. There’s the infinity pool, an unobstructed post-card worthy view of KL, neat looking cutlery imported from Spain, and even air conditioned alfresco dining area.
What’s there not to like except? Well, there’s the rather confusing elevator system where you have to select which floor to go BEFORE getting in.
refreshing mocktail, Chef Jeff Ramsey
Babe is headed by Chef Jeff Ramsey, a Michelin starred chef who previously headed the Tapas Molecular Bar at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo.
The menu here is a unique creation of Jeff Ramsey using a lot of Japanese & other international ingredients while infusing local flavors. Some of these are coined “Japas”, or Japanese style tapas.
While “fusion” has a bit of a negative connotation, I love chefs who aren’t afraid to experiment and push the boundary in culinary space. Without these trailblazers, we’d forever be stuck with “traditional” dishes. What’s the fun in that?
The Festive menu is perhaps the most unique buka puasa meal you can get this Ramadhan season. Priced at RM 300++ per pax, the 12-course dinner is available from 26/5/2017 to 30/6/2017. If you are tired with the same Selera Kampung buffet, this would be a place worthy of your consideration.
“down the rabbit hole”, Foiegras and Jackfruit
We started the night with “down the rabbit hole”, a shot of drink that tastes like chicken rice, or roti canai, or something that’s completely unfamiliar. An interesting start, and certainly a precursor as to what to be expected for dinner.
The first course was Foiegras and Jackfruit, finely chopped jackfruit in a crispy shell and foie gras proved to be a good combination and served as a perfect start to open up our appetite.
Then came Onsen Chowder, a potato mousse with smoked coconut, 63c egg (molecular gastronomy magic), and chives. It was actually unexpectedly good! The smoked coconut, or what Celina the “top babe” described as coconut bacon brought the dish a very unique crispy contrast to the texture of the potato mousse.
Laksa Injection Canapé , Mango & Curry Sphere
Then there was Laksa Injection Canapé and Mango & Curry Sphere.
The former is like mouthful of my favorite ingredients in a bowl of curry laksa – prawn & soup, though perhaps a slightly bigger syringe that contains those soup would make it even better.
Mango & Curry Sphere utilizes another Molecular gastronomy technique called “spherification”, utilizing calcium chloride or some other voodoo in making an eggyolk lookalike sphere that explodes in your mouth with the tangy & spicy taste of the liquid ingredients within. Quite an experience.
Crispy Chicken Terrine, Marinated Roast Kabayaki Ikan Keli
Next were two of the more creative dishes that may looks and taste almost exactly alike what they are supposed to be, but made up of entirely different ingredients that is halal.
Crispy Chicken Terrine looks and taste like a good piece of charsiu, but actually made up of up to 40 layers of crispy rendered chicken skin (sans the fatty part) and charsiu sauce, while Marinated Roast Kabayaki Ikan Keli is their interpretation of bak kwa, but instead of pork/chicken, catfish is the main ingredient.
I’d have never guessed the ingredients in a million year.
Prawn and Curry Leaf Ice Cream, Manga Crab, Snow Crab Donburi with Sambal
Next up was Prawn and Curry Leaf Ice Cream, which was quite a unique combo, you don’t have a seafood ingredient with ice cream very often.
Manga Crab is perhaps one of the more “normal” dish, but they actually print the sauce on the plate manga style, and serve with coriander sauce.
Snow Crab Donburi with Sambal is basically just as what the name suggests, a small portion of snow crab rice bowl, but with sambal and Dashi jelly to give it that extra dimension. To be honest, I may enjoy this without the sambal just a tad more, maybe.
Smoked Chicken Percik, Stanbroke Farms Striploin with Japanese Sambal
If you’re still hungry by this time, well, afraid not. The Smoked Chicken Percik is a whole ayam kampung to be shared by two. Four hour was spent preparing the chicken, and the result was a prefect tenderness and flavor, definitely one of the benefits of utilizing molecular methods in traditional dishes.
Stanbroke Farms Striploin with Japanese Sambal was another welcoming meat base dish which I really enjoyed, especially with the accompanying Yuzu Kosho Sambal.
Then came the twelveth course – another playful dish by the name of Dinosaur Egg, a dessert made from DaunKaduk, Yoghurt, Tropical Fruit, and Nutty “Birds Nest”. Crack it open with your spoon and viola, an egg looking thing that by now, you should know it tastes entirely not like an egg, but a sweet concoction that’s apt to end the night.
Level 11, Clearwater,
Jalan Changkat Semantan,
Bukit Damansara, KL
GPS: 3.152327, 101.666762
Tel: 03.2095 8599
A couple years ago when the topic of coffee came up, I believe it was probably David, an avid coffee drinker of mine who mentioned the name Podgy and the Banker as one of his favorite places for a good cuppa, and thanks to that rather unique name for a cafe, it stuck to me.
Fast forward to last week, we decided to give it a try. If a cafe manage to stay in business more than a couple years, it is usually at least more than decent.
podgy and the banker, sri hartamas
Podgy and the Banker is located at Sri Hartamas, the opposite side across from the much busier Desa Sri Hartamas. As a result, parking never takes more than 10 seconds to locate, and therefore the morning is never ruined from having to go round & round for 10 minutes prior to getting a spot (I’m looking at you, Jalan Telawi, Bangsar)
The cafe itself can be a bit tricky to locate though, from the front it looks almost like an office (or bank?), but if you were to look from the side you won’t miss it.
Haze & I both really enjoyed the latte here
First up, the coffee.
We both had latte and agreed that they were absolutely on point. Strong aroma, and really smooth steamed milk, no super fancy presentation or anything as such but such a really well prepared cup of coffee. Really one of the better latte I’ve tried.
poached egg with beef bacon
My choice of brunch was poached egg with bacon (RM 16). Presentation was quite minimalist but the two eggs were perfectly poached, only proper bacon would elevate this dish but the beef version did its job just fine here.
scrambled eggs with salmon, lemon meringue cake
The wife went for scrambled eggs with smoked salmon (RM 15), another simple yet properly prepared dish that received no complain from her. We complete the brunch by sharing a lemon meringue cake (RM 14) together, which turned out to be quite a lovely dessert.
I foresee us going back there again one of these days.
Podgy and the Banker
2, Jalan Sri Hartamas 8,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.157306, 101.650839
Hours: 9am to 11pm, closed on Tuesday
A couple days ago we were lucky enough to be one of the first batches of people to be fortunate enough to have a taste of authentic Sicilian cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton KL by the award winning Guest Chef Lino Sauro from Gattopardo Ristorante di Mare in Singapore.
This event happens from March 14-18, 2017 so you may still have a chance to participate in the last few sessions if you catch this article early enough; or of course, you can head to Singapore and visit the good chef at his home turf.
The Library at Ritz Carlton KL
The dinner happened at The Library, a dining space that has an ambiance not unlike an extensive classy private library, complete with collection of books with topics ranging from film to art and travel. We were there for fine Sicilian food this time, so I’m afraid the books will have to wait for next round.
a bit of tidbit & bread prior to dinner
We started the night with a glass of sparkling wine, some bread, and a pre-dinner amuse-bouche of salmon with caviar which I thought was perfect to get us ready for what’s coming next.
For this first session of Sicilian dinner, we were also lucky enough to be joined by His Excellency Mario Sammartino, the ambassador of Italy to Malaysia.
amuse-bouche – Ostrica
Then came the first course – Ostrica, or oyster with sherry vinegar jelly, wasabi chips, and Avruga caviar. This amuse-bouche was perfect in opening up the appetite with its refreshing taste and subtle sweetness from the oyster that is perfectly balanced with the slight salty flavor from caviar. Usage of wasabi showcase Chef Lino’s boldness in using contemporary technique and ingredients.
Sanfeletto conegliano valdobbiadene prosecco superior docg was the accompanying wine.
appetiser – Polipo
Appetizer was Polipo, or charred citrus glazed octopus, risone, capsicum, sun dried tomato aioli, chilli, and pistachio pesto.
At the first glance, I thought we were having risotto, but as it turned out it was risone, or a rice shaped pasta that was much smoother, having a more controlled taste and texture that complimented the stronger tasting octopus well.
Vigneti zabu grillo terre siciliane igt was served with this seafood dish.
entree – Capellini con Aracosta
Then came entree, in the form of Capellini con Aracosta, or angel hair pasta, lobster, seafood, and carrot.
This is a deceptively simple looking dish that is again packed with the sweetness of what the Mediterranean sea has to offer. Lobster tail & angel hair pasta are two ingredients I enjoyed, and this combination did not disappoint.
Cecchi orvieto classico toscana doc would be the accompanying Sicilian wine.
main course 1 – Manzo Australiano
There were two choices of main course.
Manzo Australiano would be the Australian wagyu with morel mushrooms and horseradish sauce. Perfectly executed with the meat in the overused “melt in your mouth” texture, but that’s the best description I could give. The sauce was thick, strong, and go surprisingly well with the red meat (this coming from someone who loves his beef with only salt & pepper).
Wine pairing – mazzei zisola sicilia doc
main course 2 – Zuppa di Pesce Gattopardo
Zuppa di Pesce Gattopardo, or the Signature Gattopardo Seafood Stew, would be the other equally worthy option. The stew is packed with several types of shellfish, prawn, as well as fish fillet. This stew is perfect in a cold rainy day, or any day actually.
Wine pairing – vigneti zabu grillo terre siciliane igt
dessert – Cassata
Dessert was a unique interpretation of Sicilian Ricotta Cheese Cake, or Cassata by Chef Lino. The deconstructed dessert was a sweet treat with some strong sourish berries that wakens up the senses a bit, which I thought was nice. We also had some chocolates to go with coffee to end the session.
Sicilian wine pairing option available
This specially curated Sicilian course dinner is priced at MYR 250 with an option of wine pairing at MYR 375 per person. Dinner is served from 7 pm but only available until 18th March 2017.
Chef Lino Sauro
The Library @ Ritz-Carlton Hotel
168 Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.146960, 101.715406
Tel: 03-2141 8000
Jacob’s Creek has a bit of a special place in my heart, for the fact that one of the first wine events I’ve ever attended back in 2009 was hosted by this very brand, so when I got the invitation for Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Wine Dinner last month, I immediately made plans to be part of the launch.
Jacob’s Creek double barrel wine dinner, the menu
The introduction for this special Double Barrel blend was held at Eight Gourmet Gala, with a rather big set up attended by media, celebrities, and people who has a bit of online real estate such as yours truly.
Brand Ambassador, Jenny Rothenberg was also present to explain what this whole “double barrel” is all about.
To put it simply, the wine (Double Barrel Shiraz & Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon) is matured traditionally in French and American oak barrels, before finishing it in old whiskey barrels, giving them a more complex palate.
pan seared French foie gras, Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz
Anyway, to the dinner.
We started out with pan seared French foie gras, paired with Jacob’s Creek sparkling chardonnay pinot noir, the citrus and toasted cashew flavors of chardonnay marrying the fresh bread crust characteristic of pinot noir complimented the richness of pan seared foie gras perfectly. Most certainly a good start to the night.
white truffle pumpkin potage, wine barrel vs whisky barrel
Second course was the white truffle pumpkin potage, a thick soup that tastes like a blend of pumpkin with a hint of white truffle, which, to be honest, was not particularly very exciting for me. It was OK, but not among the best soups I’ve tried.
smoke turkey drumstick w/ Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz & Reserve Shiraz
Next came the entree of smoke turkey drumstick, we had it with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz and Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz. I thought the meat was handled very well, tender, juicy, and extremely smokey to a point of being spicy, which may not suit everyone, I liked it though.
That complimented the sweet red fruits & dark chocolate palate of Shiraz well. The direct comparison between the two Shiraz showcased differences due to additional treatment of finishing the wine in whisky barrel. Most agreed the double barrel version is a tad smoother.
pan seared Wagyu with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Souvignon
Then came my favorite dish of the night – pan seared Wagyu (marbling grade 9). The meat is done medium rare with very little distractions in terms of finishing. It was positively satisfying, with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Souvignon doing an excellent job as accompanying side kick. A good red with a fine piece of meat never disappoint.
poached lobster with truffle garlic oil
Another option for main was poached lobster with truffle garlic oil, a fine looking dish but unfortunately suffered slightly from being overly cooked in this instance. The seafood would have served as a good companion to the Cabernet Souvignon otherwise.
premium chocolate & French macaron for dessert, bok & sycookie
We ended the night with a simple dessert of chocolate & French macaron, a sweet ending to a pretty special night hosted by Jacob’s Creek. Looking forward to the next event and thanks for the invite!
Eight Gourmet Gala
Suite G-01, Ground Floor,
Pinnacle Annexe, Bandar Sunway,
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.070381, 101.609452
Tel: 017-948 8684
The weekends before heading up to Mt. Kinabalu (will post that entry soon), we had the good fortune of having a proper French dinner at Rendez-Vous.
Rendez-Vous Traditional French Restaurant at Bangsar
Situated at Lorong Maroof, the tagline for Rendez-Vous is “Your traditional French restaurant in Bangsar”. The restaurant does not pretend to be a fine dining establishment, but at the same time they do run it the “proper” way, utilizing imported ingredients in Chef Benjamin’s creation of succulent, seasonal dishes, maintain a comprehensive wine list, and having well trained staffs.
like all good meal, we started off with a simple amuse bouche
Impressively, they manage to do this at a price point that is accessible to most, with the three-course menu starts at RM 69 (four-course RM 115, five-course RM 159). Main dishes are priced from RM 36 (stuffed chicken) to RM 89 (ribeye), again, rather reasonable.
cocktails, and “Meli-melo de rillettes de poisons”
Our first starter for the night was “Meli-melo de rillettes de poisons” (RM 23), or duo of seabass and tuna mousse served with baguette and crostini bread. I’ve had tuna mousse before, but seabass was my first, and I must say the lighter and more refine taste works out pretty well in this.
We also had a couple cocktails to get the mood flowing. If you have specific preference, do tell the in-house mixologist as he’ll be more than happy to customize a cocktail to your taste.
“Escargots a la Bourguigonne”, Narrow Valley Souvignon Blanc
Second starter was the snails with parsley and garlic butter sauce in vol au vent, or “Escargots a la Bourguigonne” (RM 28). This doesn’t come with any shells (they’re recycled shells at any restaurants anyway) and the garlic butter sauce gives the snail meat a really smooth and buttery texture which was really complete with the Souvignon Blanc pairing with its contrasting mild acidic taste.
“Foie Gras de Canard”, Porto Cruz Tawny
Then there was “Foie Gras de Canard” (RM 48), or duck foie gras de terrine, port wine and spices, mushrooms flavours. We had this with Porto Cruz tawny, a sweeter drink that complements the really rich starter pretty well. I though the bits of smoked duck breasts adds to the complexity of the dish and break the monotony of those blended liver.
“Fillet de daurade en croute”, Colombelle Coeur de Gascogne wine
We shared a couple different main dishes between the two of us, starting with “Fillet de daurade en croute” (RM 58) or seabass filet, creamy carrot puree and avruga caviar, citrus vinaigrette. The fish was cooked just right those caviar really does add a dash of luxury to the dish. I did enjoy having the citrus with the fish more than I thought I would, quite a bit of revelation really.
We had another glass of wine to pair with our main dishes, but I’d be lying if I tell you I know anything about.
“Poulet façon cocotte” – stuffed chicken w French mash potato & creamy mushroom
The 2nd main dish was their cheapest on the menu – “Poulet façon cocotte” (RM 36), or stuffed chicken, French mash potato and creamy mushroom. I was rather curious on how they manage to prepare the chicken into a big ice hockey puck shape, but it was easy to eat. The poultry was quite moist and succulent. It is a modest dish but one that is more than decent if you’re not into fancier dishes.
Other main dishes available here includes pork belly, pork blood sausage, braised beef chunks, pan seared lamb, and a few other fish dishes.
Fromages – Seasonal selection of French cheeses, Bonpas Côtes du Rhône
We bridged the main dishes and desserts with a selection of cheese (RM 29 small, RM 46 big platter) to go with Bonpas Côtes du Rhône. If you’re a cheese lover, you’d definitely enjoy this, the brie was really soft and rather strong, but my favorite was the blue cheese, positively pungent and really really strong. It’s a bit like durian, you either love it or you despise it.
“Delice au chocolat et caramel”, “Tarte au citron meringue”,
Le Contesse Prosecco di Treviso Extra Dry
By the time we reached desserts, I’ve already had way too much alcohol & food in me, but we were still presented with two plates of beautifully crafted dishes it was tough to resist.
“Delice au chocolat et caramel” (RM 22) was as expected, rich, smooth, and not overly sweet, while the “Tarte au citron meringue” (RM 17), or lemon tart with hard and soft meringue was perfect if you don’t want something overly heavy to end the night. The tart was quite light and fluffy.
Haze & KY at Rendez-Vous, Bangsar
If you haven’t had proper French cuisine due to price or you’re not one of those who likes to dress up for a fancy fine dining meal that lasts 3 hours, Rendez-Vous is a place you need to check out.
Rendez-Vous Traditional French Restaurant
100, Lorong Maarof, Bangsar Park,
59000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.132636, 101.673110
Tel: 03-2202 0206