Category / Bangsar
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Le Midi Restaurant
3rd Floor, East Wing,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,
285 Jalan Maarof,
Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2094 1318
Paradise Group, originally started in Singapore, has been making inroads to the local Chinese restaurant scene as a worthy competitor to the likes of Dragon-i and Din Tai Fung. Definitely a good thing if you ask me.
Last week, I had the chance to sample their Hakka Poon Choi (盆菜), a limited-time CNY special at Paradise Dynasty, Bangsar Village II. The session was organized by HungryGoWhere Malaysia.
Paradise Dynasty at Bangsar Village 2
My previous experience with Paradise group was at Paradise Inn, Sunway Pyramid. While Paradise Inn serves some of the best double boiled soup, classic tea, and desserts along side Chinese dishes, Paradise Dynasty concentrates on northern and southern Chinese cuisine with an innovative touch. There are dishes you find in one but not the other, though there are certainly many that overlaps.
The kitchen is only separated by a few pane of glasses from the public, where you can observe the crafty chefs preparing xiao long bao (小龙包).
modern interpretation of xiao long bao, hot and sour soup
We started the night with their signature 8-flavor xiao long bao (RM 24++). They come in multitude of colors with each consisting different ingredients in them.
- original (translucent white)
- foie gras (orange)
- black truffle (black)
- crab roe (light orange)
- cheese (yellow)
- ginseng (green)
- minced garlic (grey)
- Szechuan (pink)
I tried the black truffle, foie gras, and ginseng variety and found them to be pretty unique and rather well made. While the foie gras/truffle tastes weren’t particularly strong, you can still tell what they are even if eating with your eyes closed. A little gimmicky, yes, but one that works for me.
The hot and soup soup was thick and quite flavorful, though I’d prefer it to be slightly more spicy. I’m glad that this soup that was impossible to find just a few years ago is now quite common in Malaysia, it was one of the dishes I missed from US.
Hakka poon choi, this is what we’re here for
Then came the poon choi, (RM 388++ for 4-6 pax, RM 688++ for 8-10 pax) and what a handsome dish it was. The dish is served in a clay pot to retain heat, and we were explained that since the dish comes with thick abalone broth, having a heat source underneath the pot would burn the dish, which isn’t going to be a good thing.
how many ingredients can you spot here? there are 16 in total
There were 16 different ingredients in all, including abalone, goose feet, fish maw, sea cucumber, fresh scallop, prawns, dried oysters, mushroom, brocolli, and more.
We really enjoyed the dish, and my only minor complain was that the goose feet could perhaps be made just a bit softer, but I finished it nonetheless, it was positively wholesome.
By the way, they are also available for take-away.
crab meat with egg white, crystal prawn with salted egg, spicy chicken with dried chili
We also tried their crab meat with egg white and yolk, a pretty unique dish that is made from egg white, yolk, and some seafood but without any crab. However, it ends up tasting a bit like crab meat, which is rather interesting. As explained by the PR person, this dish was invented because the empress wanted to have crab but it was not in season, hence the chefs came up with this to avoid a head/neck separation incident. I don’t know how true is this but it does make a good story.
The other two dishes we sampled were crystal prawn with salted egg that was good enough to eat with shells and all, and a spicy chicken with dried chili dish (辣子鸡) that I can’t seem to stop putting in my mouth (only I wish there was beer).
KY & May Ying, with HungryGoWhere users and more
Lot 2F-17, Level 2
Bangsar Village 2
Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.13071, 101.67146
Tel: 03-2201 7022
Last weekend I was invited to a cooking class held by Panasonic Cooking Magic with Chef Michael Elfwing of Senses, KL Hilton. The session was joined by 5 winners from the Panasonic Cooking Magic Workshop Facebook Contest, and we were promised an evening of showcase and good food.
Chef Elfwing – Panasonic Cooking Magic Ambassador
Chef Michael Elfwing is the Chef de Cuisine of Senses restaurant for the last 8 years and contributed to the restaurant winning the prestigious 5-Star Diamond Awards as one of the Best Restaurants in the World and also the Hospitality Asia Award for Best Western Cuisine.
He is the Panasonic Cooking Magic ambassador, and Panasonic is also the main sponsors of MasterChef Malaysia.
Pineapple and Basil Bubbly – with Panasonic Juicer and Blender
First recipe of the evening was a simple Pineapple and Basil Bubbly.
Using Panasonic Blender & Juicer, extra the juice out of a fresh pineapple. Next, add 6-8 leaves of basil, 500 ml of ice cubes, 1/2 table spoon black pepper, and 300 ml sparkling water in the blender to mix it all up. And there you go, refreshing welcome drinks for half a dozen guests.
Sweet Corn & Basil Soup – using Panasonic Blender and Induction Cooker
First hot dish to be prepared was the Sweet Corn & Basil Soup. The ingredients are as follow (for 6 servings):
- 8 pc fresh sweet corn
- 2 pieces leek, stem sliced into 5mm thick slices
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 gloves garlic, chopped
- 30 gram basil
- 2 liter chicken stock
- 50 ml olive oil
- sea salt & white pepper
- Cut corn off the cob, then reserve the cobs
- Heat olive oil and saute onion, leek, garlic, and corn kernels, cook for 2 minutes
- Season with salt and pepper, then add chicken stock and corn cobs, pick all the leaves of the basil and keep aside, add basil stems to the soup
- Simmer for 20 minutes, then let it cool down
- Blend soup with 2/3 basil leaves, then strain and serve
The Panasonic Blender used in this case has a cover with opening in the middle, which was critical in allowing it to be used to blend hot ingredients (otherwise the top will blow off). A simple creamy soup without even using any cream, healthy and delicious.
Ratatouille with Panasonic Microwave Oven, Steamer, and Pressure Cooker
The main dish was Ratatouille (just like the movie, I should try the recipe one of these days and then share it here) with a steamed French seabass on top.
This is a slightly more complicated recipe but can be prepared in just about half an hour or so with the help of Panasonic Microwave Oven and Pressure Cooker. The result was a beautiful dish that tasted as good as it looked. I enjoyed this very much.
The microwave oven – NN-SV30, is really impressive. You can use it as a microwave, to grill, bake, and even steam. Who wants a dedicated oven that does nothing but baking?
Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Fantasy – Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SV30
For dessert, chef Michael prepared Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Fantasy with Passion Fruit Parfait. The chocolate fantasy is made like a pudding and can be frozen uncooked and only defrosted and baked when needed. Check out the melted chocolate core, isn’t it enticing?
Chef Michael got extra help in making ice cream
Another recipe from Chef Michael that I want to share here is the Passion Fruit Parfait. Up till now I didn’t know that you could actually make this at home with nothing but a hand mixer and refrigerator.
Ingredients (for 12 portions):
- 6 egg yolks
- 100 gram sugar
- 400 gram whipping cream
- 6 egg whites
- 100 gram fresh passion fruit pulp (you can use other fruits if different taste is desired)
- Whip the cream to soft peaks using hand blender
- Whisk the egg yolks and 50g sugar until white using a hand blender, add passion fruit pulp to the egg mix
- Whisk the egg whites with 50g sugar until stiff peaks using a hand blender
- Fold the cream into egg yolk mix, and fold in the egg white last
- Pour in a mould and freeze overnight
Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Fantasy
The parfait is best eaten within a few days since no artificial ingredients or preservatives is used, and they sure tasted delightful especially with the chocolate fantasy. Home made ice cream with melt in your mouth chocolate pudding sounds good to you?
KY with some of the stars of the show, chef Michael Elfwing and Panasonic kitchen appliances
After the cooking demonstration, we were treated dinner with the above dishes. It was a wonderful night and one that actually made me think about upgrading to the Panasonic Microwave Oven or maybe the Panasonic electric Pressure Cooker.
I do cook on a semi-regular basis and can really see the benefit of having good quality and safe to operate kitchen appliances. For example, my old school gas powered pressure cooker always have the risk of blowing up, but you can use this Panasonic unit in a set-and-forget way, and it even doubles as a slow cooker as well.
Overall it was a lovely evening. We not only got to have a great dinner, but I took home a few recipes to try as well, thank you Panasonic & Chef Michael!
Favola at Le Meridien KL is pretty synonymous with fine Italian dining, but what’s little known is the fact that they do serve dishes that are not pizza, pasta, or risotto. On the latest visit to one of our favourite Italian restaurants, we tried their beef and lobster instead.
We were told by our hosts to pick our main dishes and soup, while appetizers will be taken care of. I found out that I certainly wasn’t the only person who always over order.
bread to start, creamy mozzarella w beef bacon, buffalo mozzarella cheese
As usual, we were served with some lovely breads to much on while pondering what to pick for dinner. I had to constantly remind myself not to have too much of these whenever I’m at Favola, they were yummy with just a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Soft creamy mozzarella, shaved truffle, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts and beef bacon was the description for Burratina (RM 40) was refreshing, and the crispy beef bacon gave the dish an added dimension.
For cheese lovers, you’ll love Caprese (RM 35), how does marinated trio of tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and balsamic emulsion sounds like? It tasted as good as it sounds, I can use some buffalo mozzarella cheese right now, not overly cheesy, yet soft and creamy. A small pack can be had at Jaya Grocer for about RM 30.
deep fried breaded mozzarella, grilled jumbo asparagus w poached egg, mushroom soup
Fritti Mozzarella (RM 40) has a different take in mozzarella preparation, two generous slabs of buffalo mozzarellas breaded and deep-fried, then served with sautéed mushroom and avocado purée. Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, the skill of the chef is exhibited here by not over cooking the cheese, while still giving the skin that crispy texture.
The most beautiful appetizer of the day was Asparagi alla Griglia (RM 45). Grilled giant asparagus, poached egg, crispy bresaola, brown butter and parmigiano. This was both beautiful and delicious.
cream of clams, sausage, vege in golden pastry; lobster dumpling in clear broth w spinach
For soup, I picked Brodo di Spinaci (RM 35), clear chicken broth with fresh spinach, with lobster dumpling and grated Parmesan. The soup was light, but I felt that the dumpling did not have enough lobster flavour to it. This was the least filling soup I think, a good thing in this case.
Haze had Zuppa di Vongola(RM 40). You could call it an Italian clam chowder, officially it’s cream of clams, Italian sausage, vegetable sofrito and green peas in golden pastries, and you gotta have a big stomach for this. The broth is creamy and quite filling, and tasted pretty good, the only minor qualm was that we wish they’d be more clams.
Zuppa di Fungi Calabrese(RM 35), or assorted mushrooms cooked in milk with garlic rustic bread and Swiss cheese, is always a favourite among diners at Favola. The mushroom soup is one of the best I’ve ever tried, rich but not overly creamy, and absolutely fantastic.
black angus ribeye and grilled angus t-bone steak
OK, now we finally get to the main dishes.
There were two beef dishes on the menu and we tried both of them. Haze and I ordered the grilled Angus T-bone steak (RM 150) with Caesar salad and smoky pimiento butter, while Josen asked for the black Angus ribeye Fiorentina (RM 135) with grilled lemon halves and balsamic vinegar.
The beef were very good, I had mine medium rare, and Haze asked for hers to be served “blue” – which was rarer than rare. While these weren’t quite the standard of Prime (nor the same type of beef), they held their own very well and did not disappoint at all. At this price point, the beef were quite a bit cheaper as well.
ciki and her full baked boston lobster
While we enjoyed our beef, ciki went the other direction and picked the baked Boston lobster (RM 230 full, RM 120 half) that came with spice tomatoes and lemon chermoula with buffalo mozzarella. She was kind enough to share the seafood with us and I’m happy to report that it was indeed excellent.
You can have Maine lobsters for a tad cheaper at Lobsterman, SS2, but of course there won’t be buffalo mozzarella, attentive servers, or ambiance anywhere near the standard of Favola.
risotto with pan seared sea scallops, home made pasta with prawns, chili, garlic, parsley
For those who favours traditional Italian food, Risotto con Cappesante (RM 65) comes with pan-fried sea scallops on leeks, lemon zest, chili and basil; or you could perhaps choose pasta in the form of Gamberetti ai Pinoli (RM 45) with prawns, chili, garlic, parsley, pine nuts and mushroom in extra virgin olive oil. In either case, I’m quite sure you won’t leave in disappointment.
The menu with price can be found at http://discoverlemeridien.com/menus/
Thank you Janice & Damian for the invitation.
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur 50470
Tel: 03-2263 7753
Japanese cuisine in Malaysia has come a long way, from simple conveyor belt sushi and high end traditional Japanese restaurants in hotels, we now have a wide variety of price point and different variations to choose from.
Senjyu is one of the newer Japanese outfit that tries to carve a niche in this rather mature market by trying to infuse a little bit of contemporary taste into traditional Japanese cuisine, while maintaining a pretty affordable pricing. At least that’s what is claimed.
I was invited to Senjyu at Bangsar Village 2 for a session of food review a couple weeks ago, and I gotta say their claims weren’t far off.
Senjyu Japanese restaurant, at Bangsar Village 2
Senjyu, which means “eternity of life”, is located at 3rd floor of Bangsar Village 2 and took over the former location of Sakei Sushi, which is the chain that is owned by the same operator. I wasn’t a huge fan of Sakei (or most conveyor belt sushi restaurants), so I had a bit of a doubt at first when receiving the invitation.
The restaurant is decently decorated though table arrangements could perhaps use a little bit of imagination. Having them all lined up in grids isn’t very exciting, even with beautifully placed paper cranes at the sushi bar.
carpaccio mori and iso moriwase sashimi
Anyway, lets get on with the food.
We started out with the Carpaccio Mori (RM 22) – thinly sliced raw tuna, salmon, and butter fish that is served with 5 types of sauces and a bit of sesame and thinly sliced vegetable. It is an inspiration from Italian cuisine perhaps, but with Japanese ingredients. The sauce has a slight spicy taste to it, pretty exciting and the end result was actually very good. I like it.
Iso Moriwase Sashimi (RM 68) is good for 3-4 person, and comes with yellow tail, salmon, octopus, sweet shrimp, butterfish, surf clam, and one raw oyster. Fresh grated wasabi is served with the sashimi, which makes a big difference if you love wasabi. The seafood too were very fresh. For the price, this is a great value.
toro (tuna belly)
One of the most sought after sashimi cuts – Toro, is available with a price. For RM 70 you get three pretty thick slices of these air flown fatty tuna belly meat. They are like the grade 12 wagyu of the tuna world, and absolutely yummy. If you are to splurge, this wouldn’t be a bad option.
salmon ikura hana, soft shell crab and unagi mentai maki
Salmon Ikura Hana (RM 16) is prepared by air flown raw salmon and topped with mayonnaise and salmon roe. A winning combination if not for the little problem of having a bit too much rice in them. Wasn’t very easy to have everything in your mouth at one go, and there isn’t any graceful way to not do that either. Tastes pretty good though.
Have you ever had the problem of wanting to order a maki (sushi roll) but did not want to commit into eating 6 or 8 pieces of sushi that has the same ingredients? Well that happened to me a lot, and it is refreshing to see that Senjyu offers maki that comes with two different ingredients in one order, in this case, the Soft Shell Crab and Unagi Mentai Maki (RM 28).
I love the soft shell crab maki, it was crunchy, rich, and has an explosion of taste that leaves you wanting more. The unagi mentai maki, on the other hand, sounds like a good promise, I like unagi and I love mentai, but the combination somehow came out to be a bit less than the sum of two, maybe it is the way they chop up the eel? But don’t get me wrong, it is not bad at all, just not as good as I’d anticipated.
chirashi-jyu, closer look at unagi mentai maki
They serve one of my go-to Japanese dish too – Chirashi-Jyu, and at RM 30 per pop, a great value for money. There’s salmon, butterfish, tuna, octopus, and of course, tamago (sweet egg omelete). I haven’t seen this much seafood in a bowl of chirashi sushi priced RM 30 and under.
trio oyster – mentai, fresh, and simmer in broth
According to the PR ladies, Senjyu has gained a reputation for its live Canadian oysters, and we sampled this via the Trio Oyster dish (RM 48) – mentai oyster (cod fish roe), fresh live oyster sashimi, and simmered oyster in broth.
I love all three versions, the freshness of live oyster clearly give it a superior taste. To be honest, I probably would like them best just fresh, the extra preparation though, is good for those who doesn’t really like this shell fish raw.
wagyu beef shioyaki – chef showing us how to get it done
Wagyu Beef Shioyaki (RM 68) is another premium item on Senjyu’s menu. If you’ve had wagyu, you know what to expect. Slightly salted wagyu beef served raw in a DIY cooking style. If you like wagyu, you will enjoy this.
giant ebi tempura (prawn), gindari nitsuke (codfish)
Next was tempura in the form of Giant Ebi Tempura (RM 38). Now these prawns are huge, and there were some half a dozen or so of them. Crunchy, succulent, and fresh, I wish I wasn’t so full by then.
Our last dish of the tasting session was Gindara Nitsuke (codfish, RM 40). A more subtle tasting dish, served with assorted mushroom and vegetables that could be better if the fish was slightly less cooked.
And yes, that was a lot of food for two person. Haze and I were over stuffed for the night, but we left with satisfaction. Not everything is 100% awesome, but they were quite a bit above average, and priced very competitively.
set meals, inaniwa noodle, foie gras and oyster mentai maki
Which is also why we went back. This time with Kerol, Horng, and Yuki too. We tried some of their set meals, inaniwa noodle and cha soba, and I took the opportunity to order the foie gras maki as well.
The girls enjoyed the set meals. Portions were pretty big, and our noodle were pretty decent as well.
The foie gras & oyster maki, well, lets just say the foie gras was a bit too thinly sliced to properly satisfy my craving for the goose liver. It was okay, but I think to really enjoy foie gras, you gotta have it pan seared.
KY, Haze, Kerol, Yuki, and some desserts at Senjyu
Senjyu does offer pretty interesting desserts too, there’s the frozen mango+orange sorbet, the macha pudding with ice cream (RM 10), and parfait too. There were pretty decent, and if you still have room to spare by the end of dinner, well, try one.
2F-27 & 28, 2nd Floor
Bangsar Village 2,
2, Jalan Telawi Satu,
59100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.13071, 101.67146
Tel: 03-2287 1535