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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / Bangsar

How time flies, while many of us were still contemplating about 2015 new year resolution, the calendar indicates that it is already past mid of January, so I guess it’s time to forget about what you promised yourself one the last day of 2014 and start getting ready for Chinese New Year.

One of the things we worry about when it comes to CNY is the big “sau kong”/reunion/”hoi kong” dinner. Where to have the dinner? Is it going to be awesome? Expensive? Good? etc etc.

I’m quite happy to report that the first of such dinner I sampled this year turned out to be a gem.

Special 2015 CNY Guinness dinner menu at Grand Imperial BSC
Special 2015 CNY Guinness dinner menu at Grand Imperial BSC

I’ve been to Grand Imperial BSC before for a few wedding dinners and generally were quite impressed with their food. So when Guinness invited me to sample their “Guinness Chinese New Year Banquet Menu” that’s available at BSC, I was quite happy to oblige.

Haze performed a caligraphy piece for the opening of the event
Haze performed a caligraphy piece for the opening of the event

Making the trip even more worthwhile is the fact that Haze was the performer of the night, showcasing her Chinese calligraphy skills on the stage. If you want to make your event/annual dinner/etc more interesting, consider hiring a speed painter/calligrapher like her, not only the performance is interesting, you also have a piece of artwork to bring back to the office.

You can contact Haze via artmisfits.com, other than speed painting, they also provide wall murals and other art related services.

yee sang with silverfish
yee sang with silverfish

Anyway, lets talk about food. Here’s the Guinness Chinese New Year Banquet Menu, available for table of 10 and come with 2 large bottle of Guinness for RM 1,888++

  • Yee Sang with Silver Fish
  • Braised Bird’s Nest with Fresh Crab Meat
  • Roasted Whole Suckling Pig
  • Steamed Pomfret “Traditional” Style
  • Fresh Water King Prawn in Casserole
  • Braised Sliced Abalone with Black Moss and Dried Oyster
  • Clay pot Rice with Chinese Sausage and Dried Meat “Hong Kong” Style
  • Chilled Fresh Mango Puree with Sago and Pomelo
  • Deep Fried Nian Gao and Deep Fried Sweet Potato Pastries

The menu is available from January 13th until March 5th, 2015.

braised birds nest with crab meat, roasted whole suckling pig
braised birds nest with crab meat, roasted whole suckling pig

As every CNY dinner goes, we started off with yee sang (which is invented right here in Malaysia). I really liked the interpretation of yee sang here with the usage of fresh vegetables and fruits as well as deep fried silver fish to create a crunchy and fresh feeling starter. the minimal plum sauce used also ensured that the dish did not turned out to be overly sweet. It was a good starter.

The braised birds nest with crab meat, to me, was one of the highlights of the night. The soup was infused with bits of black truffle to give it that distinct aroma, birds nest gave it the character and texture of sharks fin without the environmental impact, and fresh crab meat provided extra sweetness. I loved it!

Suckling pig was roasted to perfection, and I think we finished it in less than the time you’d take to boil a bowl of instant noodle.

steamed pomphret, fresh water king prawns, braised abalone with black moss
steamed pomphret, fresh water king prawns, braised abalone w/ black moss

The huge pomphret was abit of a concern to me as most restaurants tend to over steamed a fish this size, but fortunately the chefs at Grand Imperial seem to know exactly what they’re doing. It was prepared expertly with top grade soya sauce and we really enjoyed the seafood.

Fresh king prawn was a pretty good dish too if not a bit messy to consume. The head of the prawn had all the right juices that’ll clog your artery, but that’s the way we love it.

Braised abalone slices with black moss and dried oyster is another well prepared traditional dish that I always enjoy having, though sometimes I wish there’s a chef somewhere who’d be bold enough to replace those dried oysters with fresh ones, or even with scallops.

clay pot rice with dried meat, Chinese desserts
clay pot rice with dried meat, Chinese desserts

Stomach filler in this CNY menu was the clay pot rice with Chinese sausage and dried meat “Hong Kong” style. The rice was alright, but those dried meat were great! I especially love the darker “lap cheong” that’s made from duck liver. If you haven’t had those, try it! It’s literally like the foie gras of wax meat.

Desserts were chilled mango puree with sago & pomelo as well as fried nian gao and deep fried sweet potato balls. I love the mango puree as well as fried nian gao that was coated with a layer of dried coconut meat, the potato balls pastries though, would be great for afternoon tea time snack instead of dessert.

I think we were the noisiest table at Grand Imperial BSC that night
I think we were the noisiest table at Grand Imperial BSC that night

Overall, it was a pretty awesome dinner, we had plenty of Guinness to go along with those awesome food. There are also other CNY menu available at various Grand Imperial branches, so be sure to check them out.

map to Bangsar Shopping Center

Address:
Grand Imperial Restaurant
3rd Floor, East Wing,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,

285 Jalan Maarof,
Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.142808, 101.667448
Webwww.grandimperial.com.my
Tel: 03-2283 1118

For someone who dines out quite a lot, I’m almost always in a lost when it comes to eating in shopping malls. Out on the streets, pasar malam, or random restaurants? I’m good at those, but under the giant roofs that house hundreds of shops? Good luck.

Manmaru Udon at Midvalley Megamall
Manmaru Udon at Mid Valley Megamall

So when we found ourselves at Mid Valley the other day, we did what most people do, randomly wandering around to find something to eat.

In this instance, facade of a restaurant is important, and that’s how we got into Manmaru Japanese Udon Restaurant, despite the fact that I’m not exactly an udon fan at all.

Signature Supreme Udon
Signature Supreme Udon

As it turns out, other than a good variety of udon, Manmaru also serves starters, salad, yakimono (grilled or pan fried stuff), agemono (deep fried stuff), and nabe (Japanese hot pot).

Since this is a primarily udon place, we had to try their udon, so why not choose the top of the range?

The Signature Supreme Udon (RM 28.90) comes with pretty good amount of prawns, scallops, and even abalone slices (not sure if it’s “real” abalone, but I don’t really care). The broth was thick, creamy, and actaully pretty delicious. I also enjoyed the udon noodle itself, having a pretty good texture.

By the way, the cheapest udon here starts at RM 11.90, with more than two dozen varieties to choose from.

ebi pizza & tuna carpaccio
ebi pizza & tuna carpaccio

The picture of their ebi pizza (prawn pizza, RM 19.90) looks too good to pass up, so I ended up ordering that. The thin crust pizza was loaded with cheese, had 8 pretty good size prawns, and all those mushroom, chunks of bell peppers, and spring onion. I really enjoyed it.

We also ordered one of their specials – tuna carpaccio. This starter actaully took the longest to be served, and while looking pretty decent on the photo, it was a disappointing dish. The tuna was a bit too “cooked” and the dish could use more olive oil. I’ll avoid this.

we had a pretty good meal I'd say
we had a pretty satisfying meal

That being said, Manmaru is a pretty decent place if you’re looking for udon or pizza, I’m assuming other standard dishes such as tempura and grilled items are worth trying as well. If I’m at Mid Valley again over meal time, I wouldn’t mind checking it out again.

Address:
Manmaru
S-045A, Mid Valley City
Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.120346,101.677834
Tel: 03-2201 1663
Webhwww.manmaru.com.my

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Midi 57 at Jalan Bangkung is the little sister of Le Midi at Bangsar Shopping Centre, one with a more casual setting and features a little more fun going menu with entrees such as suckling pig, oven baked pizza, pot plates, a varieties of tapas, and a good selection of cocktails and wine to go with.

Midi 57 at Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar
Midi 57 at Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar

Located at Jalan Bangkung makes parking a relatively pain free affair compared to the busier part of Bangsar, certainly a welcoming asset for those who’s had experience going round and round Telawi area in their cars.

Seatings are semi-alfresco, with a pretty big and well equipped bar spotting a few flat screen TVs for those who like to catch up with their favorite sporting events with a bit of alcohol laden drinks.

Caprese Salad with Parma Ham
Caprese Salad with Parma Ham

On this review session, we started out with my one of my favorite Mediterranean dishes – Caprese salad with Parma Ham (RM48) that was prepared with organic tomato and buffalo mozzarella in balsamic reduction and pesto sauce. Parma ham never disappoint, and the buffalo mozzarella certainly gave it an extra kick. 

This is a dish that goes well with any drink, be it wine, cocktail, or beer. Salad does a good job of substituting rock melon in this case.

Chicken Fingers in Red Wine and Rosemary Batter , Mussels and Prawns in Beer Batter
Chicken Fingers in Red Wine and Rosemary Batter , Mussels and Prawns in Beer Batter

Continuing with tapas, we had chicken fingers in red wine and rosemary batter (RM 18) that goes very well with draught beer , mussels and prawns in beer batter (RM 18) is another dish that is easy to consume and pairs well with sweet cocktail or any white wine, such as the Secret Berticot Sauvignon Blanc served here.

Potato & Ham Croquette, Crispy Foccacia, Porchetta Pizza
Potato & Ham Croquette, Crispy Foccacia, Porchetta Pizza

Potato & ham croquette (RM 18) with walnut crust is a surprisingly simple yet delicious treat, reminds me a little of bergedil, but more refine and certainly beat the likes of hash brown by a mile.

Crispy Foccacia (RM 15) was very light and crispy, dip in the specially prepared rosemary, garlic, and olive oil mixture releases its aroma and taste, something to be munched away and perfect for carbo loading.

We also enjoyed the Porchetta pizza (RM 29), the crust was thin and soaked with the goodness of porchetta, ie: the moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition. The accompanying salad was there just in case you need to freshen up your palate from those porky yumminess, though the same can be achieved with a sip of wine.

Spaghetti Carbonara and Lasagna, Midi 57 Bar Burger, Pot Plates
Spaghetti Carbonara and Lasagna, Midi 57 Bar Burger, Pot Plates

The spaghetti  carbonara will surely be a treat for those who likes it creamy (I don’t), while lagsana (RM 28) with tomato,mozarella, basil, and parmesan turned out to be rather excellent despite being meatless. If I had to be vegetarian for any length of time, I want this.

Midi 57 bar burger (RM 28) is prepared with slow cook mince pork ,tomato, lettuce, red onion & Swiss cheese ,homemade toasted bun, and served with French fries. Unlike most pork burger that tends to be a little too dry, this version was spot on. 

For those who like everything in a single dish, the chicken (RM 25) or lamb leg (RM 28) pot plates will serve you well. The avian version comes with black olives, mushroom, and rosemary sauce, while the lamb leg braised in Guinness sauce and served with Sichuan pepper and onion. Both are pretty strong tasting dishes, and perhaps a little too strong if you don’t have a glass of cold beer to wash down with.

Chocolate and Ginger Ganache, Chocolate Bomb
Chocolate and Ginger Ganache, Chocolate Bomb

As for dessert, Chef Andrea Alimenti prepared chocolate and ginger ganache as well as chocolate bomb for us during the review. Both were exquisite and we certainly enjoyed them. Your mileage may vary on this though, as the type of dessert at Midi 57 changes on a weekly basis.

a good selection of cocktails and wine
a good selection of cocktails and wine

Midi 57 certainly strikes the right chords when it comes to balancing food, ambiance, and pricing. I still want more of those Parma ham!

location map of Midi 57

Address:
Midi 57 Restaurant & Bar
57 Jalan Bangkung, Bukit Bandaraya
59100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.138232, 101.668810
Tel: 03-2095 1381
Hours11am-12am daily

 

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

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
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
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
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
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
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
KY & May Ying, with HungryGoWhere users and more

map to Bangsar Village 2

Address:
Paradise Dynasty
Lot 2F-17, Level 2
Bangsar Village 2
Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.13071, 101.67146
Tel03-2201 7022