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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / KL City

A couple weeks ago we continue our journey in the exploration of Minang food within the KLCC vicinity, and this time around it’s Restoran Grand Garuda Baru at Kampung Baru.

Grand Garuda Baru, Kampung Baru
Grand Garuda Baru, Kampung Baru

The restaurant is rather big but with pretty simple decoration. It seemingly sits between the old school type of shack like Masakan Padang at Jalan Raja Muda Musa and the higher class establishment like Puti Bongsu. One good thing though is that it is air conditioned, and plays some pretty funny sounding MTV if you’re not familiar with Minang language (sounds like a cross between Malay & Japanese)

masakan Padang in all its glory
masakan Padang in all its glory

As of the food, it’s typical Padang dishes. We had the famous ayam pop, the beef tendon that must not be missed, and the daging salai (smoked beef) that’s so crunchy I wish they come in a plastic bag so I can bring them to cinema.

The tempe, sambal chili, terung (eggplant), and nangka were pretty delicious as well. it was pretty satisfying overall.

don't forget to have this little dessert
don’t forget to have this little dessert

The bill came to be about RM 30 ish per pax, which is pretty decent for the type of food we get.

If you have a big group, Restoran Grand Garuda should definitely be in your short list for Padang food.

map to Grand Garuda Baru

Address:
Restoran Grand Garuda Baru
176, Jalan Raja Abdullah,
Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.167473, 101.702800
Tel03-2202 7170

Well, it’s that time again. The holy month of Ramadan starts on the 18th June, 2015, our Muslim friends fast during the daylight as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

As a nation of people who loves our food, many restaurants and hotels also offer Ramadan buffet in this period to allow Muslims and also non-Muslims to enjoy a meal together.

Ramadhan at GTower
Ramadhan at GTower, Anura certainly enjoye

This year, G Tower started early and invited the media to have a sample of their buffet spread more than a month prior. I was happy to be part of the group.

First, the most important bit: the buffet will be held at GTower from 20th June till 14th July 2015 and priced at RM 95 NETT for adults.

traditional kuih muih on the spread
traditional kuih muih on the spread

Like many such buffet offerings, GTower will be serving traditional Malaysian cuisine with quite a few live cooking stations  under the direction of Chef Sherry, who has more than 20 years of experience in the kitchen.

ulam, salted egg, and salted fish
ulam, salted egg, and salted fish

Starting appetizer, there’s assortment of salad, kerabu pucuk paku, sambal, keropok, papadum, telur masin, ikan masin, jeruk, and a pretty good selection of ulam-ulam as well. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of tempoyak, but I’m hopeful they will have it on the actual spread.

traditional dishes that goes well with steamed or briyani rice
traditional dishes that goes well with steamed or briyani rice

Many main dishes are served in clay-pot to keep retain the freshness, and they comprise of rice selections such as nasi briyani, fragrant rice, nasi ulam, and so forth. Ayam panggang berempah, daging masak hitam, and dagang salai masak lemak cili api, sambal udang petai (i love this!), ikan pari, tenggiri masak asam, and more can be found.

The best dish of the night for me was their ayam percik istimewa, and for the fans of roast lamb, kambing bakar enak is available (seemingly every Ramadan buffet places now has roast lamb).

pastry, roast lamb, popiah, and other goodies
pastry, roast lamb, popiah, and other goodies

Not all the live cooking stations were available for this tasting session, but there will be mee rebus, mihun sup, rojak singapura, and popiah basah upon request. The rojak wasn’t something I enjoyed though, as I prefer the Penang version.

Overall, the spread should satisfy anyone who loves Malaysian cuisine, and the pricing seems to be in-line with the location and dishes offered. So if you’re planning a buka puasa event, GTower should be in your consideration.

map to G-Tower, KL

Address:
GTower
199 Jalan Tun Razak,
50400 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.1590, 101.7200
Tel: 03-2168 1919

When it comes to curry mee, I usually prefer the Penang variety with prawns, cockles, cuttlefish, and coagulated pork blood. However, that does not mean that I don’t enjoy the occasional Central Malaysia type of curry mee with a different set of ingredients, I just usually don’t purposely look for them.

curry mee stall at Madras Lane, Petaling Street
curry mee stall at Madras Lane, Petaling Street

Actually, the only reason I discovered this curry mee stall at Madras Lane was from a failed attempt to try the famous yong tau foo located at the same place since I went there way too early (before their usual 10 am opening hour.)
curry mee with pork skin, cockles, and more

Anyway, this curry mee came with cockles that were just perfect, they were big, juicy, and almost raw. Then there’s those yummy deep fried pork skin, a few slices of eggplants, long beans, and tofupok in those thick curry gravy, which comes together making perfect compliments to the noodles with addition of those fragrant sambal.

I’m not a huge fan of KL curry mee, but this one is good. Try it.

map to Madras Lane yong tau foo, Petaling Street

Address:
Madras Curry Mee
Lorong Bandar 20
Off Jalan Petaling
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.143600, 101.697142
Hours: breakfast and lunch, from about 8 am (Off Mondays)

I almost never say no to food review at classy Japanese restaurants, so when the invitation from Hanaya came, I immediately made it a point find a way to get there even though the timing wasn’t exactly perfect.

And as it turned out, that was a wise choice. Walking from KLCC to Grand Millennium Hotel under the hot sun was definitely worth it.

Hanaya Japanese Restaurant at Grand Millennium Hotel, KL
Hanaya Japanese Restaurant at Grand Millennium Hotel, KL

Hanaya took over the Takumi Fine Dining’s previous spot right by the lobby of the hotel, and run by the same people who manages the excellent Ten Sushi at Marc’s Residence (lunch review).

While Ten is modern and veered towards the higher end fine dining experience, Hanaya aimed to be more approachable to the general public and offers traditional Japanese cuisine with more affordable pricing while maintaining very high quality, as apparent during this review session.

Our tasting menu for this pre-opening review was specially selected to showcase some of the different dishes and ingredients from Hanaya.

Shirako, or soft roe with ponzu sauce
Shirako, or soft roe with ponzu sauce

We started the session with Shirako, or red snapper soft roe. For those who aren’t familiar with the difference between normal roe & soft roe, well, normal roe is fish eggs, while soft roe is the male counterpart.. or in the less glamorous term – fish sperm sac.

It was incredibly rich and creamy, but perfectly balanced with the acidity from ponzu sauce. I must say that I find myself really enjoying this delicacy despite knowing the ingredient intimately. I’d want to have this again for sure.

Oriental clam fritters with grated green bean sauce
Oriental clam fritters with grated green bean sauce

Next up was Oriental clam fritters with grated green bean sauce and spring vegetable. A more muted taste that serves as a welcoming change from the strong first dish. It was an simple yet rather delightful.

entree - five types
entree – five types

The entree came with five different items, all of them carefully crafted and expertly prepared.

We had botargo (salted dried fish roe) which reminded me of the texture of dried mango minus the fiber; sticky tofu skin that was simple yet intricate; bamboo shoots in balsamic vinegar that provided the fresh, crunchy feeling; red snapper with Mozuku seaweed giving a new interpretation of the way to enjoy raw fish; and finally a play in colors with prawns in 3 ways – with nori, ohba leaves and arare (crispy Japanese cracker).

The entree was quite a revelation, and I did enjoy them all, though the prawns could perhaps bit a bit more crunchy, but I’m nitpicking.

assorted seasonal sashimi
assorted seasonal sashimi

What’s a proper Japanese meal without sashimi?

Our assorted seasonal sashimi platter comes with 5 types of fresh raw seafood, each beautifully crafted and carefully prepared.

Starting from ebi with cucumber and avocado sauce, seared salmon with bonito cream, saba with vinaigrette, aoyagi (Chinese mactra, a type of clam), and finally chutoro with sweet spicy gochujang sauce. All of which were rather excellent, and one of the very few times I had sashimi without the need of any soya sauce or wasabi since they were all very well balanced already.

Akita Wagyu steak (50 gram)
Akita Wagyu steak 

Next up was charcoal grilled Akita Wagyu steak, I believe this simple three slices of beef was actually prepared by God himself. It was, of a lack of a better word, heaven. It was very lightly grilled and served with a few pieces of fried garlic, a bit of daikon, carrot, and a touch of sea salt & pepper.

If you think sex is good, that’s because you haven’t had this beef.

steamed alfonsino fish
steamed alfonsino fish

Steamed dish came in the form of alfonsino (a type of deep water fish with huge eyes) with Japanese yam and egg white. I thought the texture of the fish was perhaps slightly harder than I’m used to, but overall it was a good combination, and I really like the fluffy texture of the foamy egg & yam concoction.

seasonal sushi at Hanaya Japanese Restaurant
seasonal sushi at Hanaya Japanese Restaurant

Penultimate dish that was simply labeled “rice dish” in the menu turned out to be sushi (all rice dish should be sushi isn’t it?)

My favorites were sea urchin, scallops, and of course, otoro! The melt in  your mouth texture was just so irresistible! Every piece of the five on the plate was spot on, and again, we didn’t even need wasabi!

coconut bavorios with pineapple jelly in pino colada style
coconut bavorios with pineapple jelly in pino colada style

Unfortunately, every good meal had to come to an end, and to conclude this special menu, we had an unassuming looking dessert that came in a martini glass – coconut bavorios with pineapple jelly in pino colada style. The layered dessert lived up to the expectations set by the previous dishes, the combination of sweet, milky, and sour taste was perfect. I was already rather full at this point, but finished the dessert nonetheless.

KY, Ringo, & Caydence at Hanaya Japanese Restaurant
KY, Ringo, & Caydence at Hanaya Japanese Restaurant

Omakase at Hanaya ranges from RM 200-250, and there is also quite a decent selection of ala carte item. I believe I’m going to go back there perhaps to try their lunch menu pretty soon!

map to Grand Millennium Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Hanaya
Grand Millenium Kuala Lumpur
160, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148006, 101.712225
Tel: 03-2110 5499

I usually love meat in pretty much every meal, but every now and then, it’s good to get in tune with our slightly more spiritual side and slow down this whole butchery of living beings for our gastronomic pleasure.

That… or you do it with colleagues/friends because of the company.

Vegetarian Food at Kun Yam Thong Temple
Vegetarian Food at Kun Yam Thong Temple

In either case, if you’re a fan of Chinese religious style vegetarian (no ginger & some other restrictions), the Kun Yam Thong Temple at Jalan Ampang is one of the best places to be when it comes to value and selection.

The temple is located between Citibank and KLCC, just a stone’s throw away from the MCA building. There’s no exterior clue as to it being anything other than a temple, but head in, and walk towards the rear of the building will reveal an entirely different identity the façade suggests.

very big selection of vegetarian food, including fruits & drinks
very big selection of vegetarian food, including fruits & drinks

Here you find a very good selection of vegetarian dishes. Head to the “chap fan” area and there are at least 3-4 dozen dishes to pick from to go along with steamed rice, “red rice”, or even meehun.

Other than that, there’s also vegetarian pan mee, wantan mee, curry mee, pumpkin spaghetti, tomyam meehun, and other noodle dishes according to day of week. On every 1st & 15th of Chinese lunar calendar, they also offer vegetarian bak kut teh.

this plate of meehun with quite a lot of vegetable was RM 5
this plate of meehun with quite a lot of vegetable was RM 5

The taste of food here is generally pretty good, and best of all, prices are more than decent. My plate of meehun with two pieces of vegetarian “roast goose”, radish with mushroom, and pumpkin only cost RM 5, and I don’t think there’s GST!

To keep the price low, everything here is self served, and do make sure that you bring your plates & empty glasses to the cleaning area when done.

Happy eating!

map to Kun Yam Thong temple at Jalan Ampang

Address:
Kun Yam Thong Temple
Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159702, 101.715831
Hours: Lunch on weekdays