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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / Bangsar

If you type Omakase in google, this is what you get:

o·ma·ka·se
ˌōməˈkäsā,ōˈmäkəsā/
noun
  1. (in a Japanese restaurant) a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef.

So then, SOU Omakase is exactly what the name of the restaurant suggests – a Japanese outfit at Mid Valley Gardens that prides itself on their Omakase menu.

sou omakase mid valley gardens
sou omakase mid valley gardens

Lunch starts at RM 98++ per person, and dinner comes with a choice of 4 different course –

  • SOU dinner course – RM 220
    • starter, chawanmushi, Japanese garnish food, sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
  • Special dinner course – RM 320
    • starter, special fresh oyster, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
  • Special abalone course – RM 370
    • starter, Japanese soup, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi moriawase, special grilled abalone, mouth wash, main course, sushi 3 kinds with miso soup, home made dessert with Japanese tea
  • Tasting menu – RM 450
    • degustation menu offered by chef FUKUCHI, 10 courses.

foie gras salad
foie gras salad

For the purpose of our review, we went for the tasting menu.

But first, if you’re heading to SOU Omakase, do note that it is located near the entrance of the Gardens Hotel, accessible via the Mall but through a tricky back door, with the restaurant facing Bangsar area of the building. It is much easier if you choose to valet park at the Gardens.

I won’t with fancy Japanese lingo for these dishes, since I assume many of you are like me who are heaps better in your command of English language than Japanese, we’ll stick with simple descriptions.

The dinner started with a beautiful dish of foie gras salad, a small chunk of perfectly seared goose liver with some greens and caviar. The ingredients itself speaks business.

 Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco
 Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco

Second course was Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco, one of the best ways to get more zinc to your system. I do like the taste of their homemade tabasco sauce, slightly milder yet more complex in texture.

Snow crab with Spanish mackerel and Japanese winter melon soup
snow crab with Spanish mackerel and Japanese winter melon soup

Then there’s snow crab with Spanish mackerel in Japanese winter melon soup, our first warm dish of the night. The dish reminds me of some high end Chinese soup dishes, but one with unmistakenly Japanese ingredients. Warm and comforting.

mini sushi with chopped tuna belly and sea urchin
mini sushi with chopped tuna belly and sea urchin

Then it was a mini sushi to get our palette going for more raw seafood. Chopped tuna belly with sea urchin, two of the more premium sushi ingredients that packs a punch in savory index, perfectly balanced with freshly grated wasabi, a few slices of seaweed, and expertly prepared sushi rice.

butter fish with eel in yam paste
butter fish with eel in yam paste

Butter fish with eel in yam paste was next. This is a dish that I think some may have trouble getting used to the texture, it was soft and slightly slimy in texture from the eel and yam, but does provide an interesting experience especially when feeling it in the mouth.

We then had an aperitif, simple yuzu with soda to get our taste buds afresh for the next course – sashimi.

Sashimi part 1, served with wasabi moose and hand grated wasabi - octopus, yellow tail, mackerel
Sashimi part 1, served with shoyu moose and hand grated wasabi
– octopus, yellow tail, mackerel

This was undoubtedly the highlight of the omakase course to me. The sashimi came in two parts, and served with shoyu moose (soya sauce in moose form) and freshly grated wasabi.

Part one was octopus, yellowtail, and mackerel. Merely saying they are “fresh” would be doing these dishes a disservice. The sashimi were paired with different combination of seaweed to compliment its natural tastes, and those shoyu moose provides an interesting, if not very convenient way of handling the amount of soya sauce you want in the sashimi. A new experience to me.

Sashimi part 2 - the fat stuff, Otoro and salmon belly
Sashimi part 2 – the fat stuff, Otoro and salmon belly

Part 2 of the sashi were the fatter stuff – otoro (tuna belly), and salmon belly. Both premium cuts were beautifully presented, and tastes even better than they look. The otoro with its special condiment was especially delicious, I can definitely do this again, and again, and again.

cod with miso stew
cod with miso stew

Then it was time for a table top hot pot experience that came in the form of cod with miso stew. Cod never disappoints, and with high quality miso, certainly makes for a bullet proof dish. I can have this with a bowl of rice and call it a meal and be perfectly content.

beef, braised tuna collar, or lamb as choices of main
beef, braised tuna collar, or lamb as choices of main

Main course came in the form of either braised tuna collar, sliced wagyu beef, or lamb cutlets. Each were pretty rich in taste but not entirely too different from each other in terms of theme. The braised tuna collar was a first for me, and turned out to be probably too heavy to be part of a ten course meal. I was stuffed by the end of this, in a good way.

Inaniwa udon and salmon sushi
Inaniwa udon and salmon sushi

Penultimate dishes were a simple salmon sushi, and inaniwa udon. I had thought I’d never finish the udon due to how stuffed I was, but somehow there were no trace of udon left a few minutes later. When the food is good, you tend to negotiate extra space in the stomach somehow.

jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream
jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream

Dessert came in the form of jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream. They were beautifully presented, and while did not disappoint, I did not think that they stand out among the other dishes in the course. It was an adequate ending to the 10 course menu, an certainly an omakase experience that is worthy of the restaurant’s name.

Horng, Yuki, & Haze at SOU Omakase
Horng, Yuki, & Haze at SOU Omakase

I’m really intrigued to try their lunch menu and see how they stack up to the likes of TEN & Oribe at similar price point.

Address:
SOU Omakase
Lot G247, Ground Floor
The Gardens, Mid Valley City
Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.118658, 101.675286
Tel03-2202 1133
Hours11:30 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm

Tiffin’s by Chef Korn is a little restaurant located at the Mezzanine floor of North Court at Mid Valley, which is rather hidden from plain view unless you purposely walk up to the newish hidden area of the mall a level above the GSC cinemas (but at opposite end).

Tiffin by Chef Korn at Mid Valley Megamall

The restaurant is an offshoot of Erawan, considered as one of the best Thai restaurants in town by many (I haven’t had to opportunity to try it out myself yet), to be a more accessible outlet to the general public by the same Chef Korn Yodsuk.

The menu consists of mostly Thai street food offerings, but with higher grade ingredients and sometimes a bit of a unique twist. The restaurant does serve pork and is definitely not halal.

beef ball noodles with Thai iced tea
beef ball noodles with Thai iced tea

For our impromptu lunch for two, I ordered the stew pork knuckle rice (RM 19.80) while Haze had the beef ball noodle (RM 25.80). We also ordered the grilled pork neck for sharing (RM 23.80).

The grilled pork neck is served with homemade sauce and glutinous rice, and I reckon it’ll be a fantastic dish to go with beer or wine, and if you really finish up the glutinous rice, it could probably make it as a standalone meal as well. We really liked it.

Stew pork knuckle stayed true to the street cred that it should have, except for the portion being larger than what you’d find by the roadside in Bangkok. There’s also preserved vegetable, kailan, and egg with the pork.

stew pork knuckle rice & grilled pork neck
stew pork knuckle rice & grilled pork neck

The beef ball noodle includes Australian tender shin meat, poach beef, and beef balls in a homemade recipe broth by Chef Korn. It was certainly different from your run-off-the-mill beef noodle, but one that perhaps take a while to fully appreciate.

The prices at Chef Korn is on the higher side compared to the likes of Go Thai and other such Thai Street food restaurants, but the quality of you get in return does make it a fair exchange.

If you’re up for some non-halal Thai food, this would be one of the places to check out.

Other dishes found here includes tomyam noodle, pork noodle, green curry, pineapple fried rice, and more.

Address:
Tiffin by Chef Korn
T068 & T069, 3rd Floor,
Mezzanine (North Court)
Lingkaran Syed Putra,
Mid Valley City, 58000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.118675, 101.676085
Tel: 03-5501 7368

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