Several weeks ago I was invited to a wine tasting event by Cape Mentelle at Neo Tamarind in KL. This was my second time to Neo Tamarind and my very first time trying Cape Mentelle wines. The invitation promises a great night of food and drinks, and delivered them magnificently.
Cape Mentelle wine and food pairing at Neo Tamarind, KL
Cape Mentelle is one of Margaret River’s ‘founding five’ wineries, and pioneered many of the region’s wine styles. The brand is a benchmark for the quality of wines from Margaret River, or in short, if you aren’t exactly well versed in wines but want to make sure you get something that’s appropriate for gifts for a party, this would be a good choice.
For the night, we were presented five wines from Cape Mentelle’s collections – Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012, Chardonnay 2011, Cabernet Merlot 2010, Shiraz 2011, and Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 in that order.
prior to dinner, finger foods & Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012
We started off with Sauvignon Blanc Semillon as apéritif and there were several canapes to go around. Black ink risotto with salmon roe, deep fried crisp calamari cajun, spicy sauce Angus beef, tataki with chili roasted rice, and tomato bruschetta. I think I had 2-3 servings of those Angus beef.
The Semillon was sweet and proved to be fitting as the first wine for the night.
steamed white cod with coconut herbs reduction, Chardonnay 2012
Unknowingly, I seated myself right next to the viticulturist of Cape Mentelle himself – Ashley Wood. His job is to ensure that Cape Mentelle grows quality grapes which directly affects the production of the wines. This requires extensive knowledge of soil type, diseases, pests, when to harvest grapes and more. Not exactly your backyard grape grower.
Our first of the four-course dish was the steamed white code with coconut herbs reduction, paired with Chardonnay. This was an easy pairing, citrusy and well balanced wine contrasts well with the coconut based sauce of the craft-fully prepared fish. I enjoyed this, and oh, the skin of the cod is faced down and was my favorite part of the dish.
roasted chicken with garlic bulb, Cabernet Merlot 2010
Next up was roasted chicken served with garlic bulb, whipped potato, apple sauce & chicken jus. Cabernet Merlot was the wine of choice to go with the poultry.
The wine was plenty fruity and carries a hint of red fruits, aniseed and tobacco bouquet. The chicken was perfectly prepared, smooth and smoky, and that garlic bulb was easy one of my favorite part of the entire dinner. It was just excellent execution that brought out the flavor of garlic without any of its harsh characteristics. I managed to convinced Eiling to eat almost half her portion even though she normally wouldn’t touch it.
The one other place I know which serves garlic bulb this way is the old school ramen shop at Wisma Central by the name of Tenka Daiichi.
roast duck breast with red cabbage puree & mustard sauce, Shiraz 2011
Duct breast is one of my favorite ingredients ever, and while the roast duck breast with red cabbage pureer & mustard sauce here looks excellent, the meat itself was a slight disappointment. I think a combination of having a very thick cut and slight under cooking contributed to the chewiness of the red meat. Good potential, and quite easily fixed though.
Shiraz is one of my favorite red wines, and the version at Cape Mentelle did not disappoint at all. The peppery and spicy palate has good depth and carries a rich nose of pepper and aniseed with berries. With this, I somehow finished the duck breast anyway.
grilled beef tenderloin with Eryngii mushroom, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
The fourth course was the grilled beef tenderloin with Ergyngii mushroom, scallion oil & beef jus. Medium rare and plenty juicy, the beef was a welcoming redemption after the disappointing duck breast, even though if I were to be critical, it was just a tad slightly overcooked.
Cabernet Sauvignon accompanied us for this last dish, a full bodied wine with good complexity, with black fruits, subtle flavours of chocolate, plum and aniseed and hint of oak on the palate. A very fine ending.
with Eiling and Wei Zhi, the dessert
No course dinner shall end without dessert, and so we had green tea crème brulee as the final dish.
This was also probably the last food review session that Eiling and I are sharing before she makes a permanent move to Belgium. Interestingly, she is also the one of my first “blog friends” when we met for the first time and went to Peony Garden 5 years ago (unfortunately that place has since closed down).
Address: Neo Tamarind 19, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.15292, 101.70829 Tel: 03-2148 3200 Web: tamarindrestaurants.com Hours: lunch and dinner daily except Monday
My friends have been raving about this place with the best fried eggs for a while now. Yuki, Winnie, and Kerol kept talking about the fried eggs that everyone must try, and my thought was probably exactly like yours, “Fried eggs? Serious?”
So we made a trip to Restaurant Muar at Tengkat Tong Shin a couple weekends because I had to know what the fuss is all about.
Restaurant Muar is situated right next to Ngau Kei at Tengkat Tong Shin
Located just a few doors down from the popular 24 hour beef noodle place Ngau Kei, Restaurant Muar serves home cooked dishes from a comfortable home-turned-restaurant setting. There’s air conditioning and some attempts in interior decoration, but we’re here for the food anyway, right?
The menu has your usual home-cooked dishes broken down into a few categories – seafood, chicken, egg, beancurd, vegetable, and soup. Pork is missing from the list though.
this fried egg is what we came here for
And.. this is what we came here for. The famous crispy fried eggs (RM 5/RM 7) at Restaurant Muar was really a very simple yet very well executed dish. A few eggs deep fried and with dark soya sauce or cooking caramel sprinkled on top, that’s it!
It was really as what they said – the best fried eggs there is! Crispy on the side with the egg yolk still slightly runny, it was glorious. I kinda miss it right now while penning this down actually.
butter kailan, otak otak, prawn & squid with petai
To go with steamed rice, we also ordered a few other dishes for the four of us.
The petai squid and prawns (RM 16) was positively spicy and rather fragrant, goes well with rice. Butter kailan is another interesting dish and tasted like the crumbs from butter prawns with a hint of kailan taste, it worked well I think.
I thought the otak-otak (RM 12) was merely average, a little bit too firm for my liking and didn’t carry the reputation of Muar otak-otak well.
Kerol, KY, Yuki – the cendol is pretty good too
Restaurant Muar also serves set meals for 1 pax (RM 5.80), 2-3 pax (RM 25.90), 4-6 pax (RM 45.90), and even 7-10 pax (RM 65.90). Prices are pretty reasonable for what you get and food is generally rather delicious. Now if I have a super hot deep fryer at home…
Address: Restaurant Muar No. 6G Tengkat Tong Shin 50200 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.145677, 101.706941 Tel: 03-2144 2072, 012-219 2199 Hours: 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm Closed on Mondays
Just a few days ago, I brought a Malay colleague to one of my favorite lunch hide outs in KL, the really old school and slightly run-down medan selera (DBKL food court) behind Fahrenheit 88. The initial plan was to order a plate of sotong halia and telur dadar for lunch, but as fate would have it, my favorite stall, Adik Tomyam, was not open for business.
I took a seat at the same far end of food court nonetheless (nearer to Lot 10), and this was when I discovered Gerai Cak Anam.
Gerai Cak Anam at Medan Selera behind Fahrenheit 88
The stall is operated by a couple Indonesian ladies (I assume) and offers quite a few selections of Indonesian food – bakso, soto ayam, gulai kambing, rojak lontong, tempe + telor penyet, bebek (duck), lele (cat fish), ayam, belud (eel), babat (tripe), bandeng (milk fish), and ikan sardin to be exact.
That’s what the signboard says, but I also spotted some prawn fritters as well.
bebek penyet (smashed duck) with excellent sambal
Being a fan of duck, naturally I ordered the bebek penyet. For RM 6 you get a plate of rice that’s enough to feed a fleet of construction crews, decent serving of deep fried duck (I’m not sure if it’s “flattened”), raw cabbage, cucumber, and sweet, spicy, and delicious sambal that I love.
The dish does turned out to be pretty good, which leave me wanting to try their other meat/fish choices next time. Halal duck meat isn’t something you find very often, so if you’re hungry for some, here’s a place to check out.
Address Gerai Cak Anam Medan Selera at Jalan Padang, Bukit Bintang GPS: 3.145101, 101.713108 Tel: 012-3538 440
Hailed from Hakata, the supposed ramen capital of Japan is Ippudo, the latest international Japanese ramen chain to arrive on our shore. The founder Shigemi Kawahara started selling ramen at a ten-seater stall in Fukuoka some 28 years ago, and has since expanded to some 10 cities around the world, serving up piping hot tonkotsu (pork bone) based ramen to eager diners.
We were invited for a tasting session last week ago to find out what the fuss is all about.
Hakata Ippudo Ramen at KL Paviliion
Ippudo Ramen is located just a floor up from the semi-alfresco dining area and a floor below the GSC cinemas. The ramen shop itself is pretty compact in size and could probably cater to around 40 pax or so.
The interior decoration is modern, and they even include “handbag drawers” under some seats, something I’m sure most ladies and dudes with man bags approve.
curry cheese haru maki, pork bun, spicy shrimp mayo
If you’re a fan of rather unique Japanese appetizers, you’re in luck. Ippudo carries quite a few dishes that goes well with hot green tea (or beer) before the main meal.
Curry Cheese Haru Maki (spring roll, RM 10) is indeed cheesy inside with a crispy skin as its exterior, delicious while hot, but you gotta find a balance and not let the melted cheese burn your taste buds.
Spicy Shrimp Mayo (RM 15) is beautifully presented and reminds me of those fried shrimp and mayo dimsum dishes that you could have for half the price.
Goma Q, Crispy Corn, Hakata Style Soup Gyoza
If you prefer something cold to start with, Goma Q (Japanese cucumber, RM 9) will fit the bill. This is very similar to those cold cucumber dishes served in some Chinese restaurants such as Private Kitchen at Uptown, or Hong La Qiao at Pudu.
Crispy Corn (RM 8) is something that I haven’t seen before and find myself liking it. The sweet corn seemed to be seared with a healthy dosage of paprika and other seasoning on top, giving the kernels a pretty unique taste. A serving is only 4 slices of corn though.
Hakata Style Soup Gyoza (RM 15) is an alternative to the usual pan fried version. It is served in the same tonkotsu soup with a bit of ginger in it. The gyoza was decent, but not something I’d get excited about, the soup is nice though.
akamara shinaji, shiromaru motoaji, and karaka-men ramen
Then came the ramen.
Ippudo serves three basic variety of ramen with noodle much thinner than most other places. Much like Italian food, you can also choose to have it al dente (cooked to be firm, but not hard).
Most basic is Shiromaru Motoaji with original tonkotsu broth, belly chasiu, bean sprouts, kikurage (black fungus), and spring onion. Akamara Shinaji has the same core ingredients but enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragant garlic oil. For those who like their ramen spicy, there’s the Karaka-men version, which incorporate special spicy miso and ground pork.
KY & Haze at Hakata Ippudo Ramen, KL Pavilion
I find myself enjoying the original broth most, and have a bit of a mixed feeling for the other two miso infused soup as I think it somehow dilutes the essence of the pork bone taste (which takes 15 hours to cook, as I was told). I’m also not a fan of making ramen spicy, for that I’ll have my kimchi soup instead.
The chasiu at Ippudo is easily one of the best I’ve yet. Premium cut and prepared to perfection, this is the part I like most.
Over all though, I find Ippudo pretty decent and will certainly face strong competition from nearby ramen places within walking distance (Marutama at Fahrenheit 88, Hokkiado Santouka at Pavilion, Ton Chan at Cosway). While having the best ambiance among the competitions, Ippudo is also the priciest, expect to pay RM 26 for a basic bowl to RM 36 with everything in it.
Address: Ippudo Ramen
Connection Level 4, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.148872, 101.713368 Tel: 03-2110 6233 Website:www.ippudo.com.my Hours: 11 am to 11 pm
I first discovered Fukuya Japanese restaurant while having lunch at the cheaper alternative that is Levain right next door (decent “Italian” food, great for lunch), and subsequently paid a visit all by myself a couple months ago when I was overcame by the craving for some good Japanese food.
I’ve been there a few more times since, this review is from 3 separate visits to Fukuya, twice for lunch and once over dinner.
Fukuya Japanese restaurant at Jalan Delima, KL
Located at Jalan Delima, Fukuya is situated in a building that was most likely a posh single story bungalow in its previous life.
The restaurant is classy with minimalistic but tasteful decoration, and there’s also free valet service on premise.
Siero set with scallops, RM 43++, lunch
The menu for set lunch includes some half a dozen sets ranging from RM 40 to 80, with a choice of main ingredients in many of them. (check out their website for menu)
My first trial was the Siero set with scallops in favor of grilled eel or salmon. It came with tempura, sashimi, salad, miso soup, chawanmushi, pickles, and small dessert. While RM 43++ isn’t exactly a cheap lunch option, what you get is certainly value for money. Ingredients were fresh, and those four huge scallops? They were fat, juicy, and absolutely delightful.
The tempura, chawanmushi, sashimi, and even miso soup were all of quality and did not disappoint in my taste buds.
Wa-Sushi bento, RM 58++, lunch
The next visit was also over lunch, this time with Horng and I ordered the Wa-Sushi bento (RM 58++). This had tofu, chawanmushi, salad, a selection of sushi, some grilled seafood, vege, miso, tamago, and more.
For those who kept complaining that we don’t get proper sushi here in Malaysia, this is the place to come. You get the raw fish touching the plate on both ends while sitting on the sushi rice. The ratio of fish vs rice was right, and everything else was again, top notch.
I have to go there again to try their other set lunches, for science!
Sashimi set, RM 110++, dinner
My most recent visit to Fukuya was with Haze over dinner. We ended up there due to my memory playing tricks on me thinking I had a food review at Renoma Cafe, which was actually happening only a week after.
I went for the plainly named Sashimi set (RM 110++). The set includes chawanmushi, miso soup, appetizer, pickles, desserts, and of course – those glorious raw fish. I’m usually not a huge fan of tako sashimi (octopus), but the version served here was so good I actually miss it now. Of course, like all proper Japanese restaurant, freshly grated wasabi is served.
Agedeshi tofu, Tempura, Karaage, Unagi rice
Haze chose to order ala-carte instead of set and went for agedeshi tofu, tempura, karaage (fried chicken), and unagi don (grilled eel rice).
She gave nothing but glowing reviews of the dishes ordered. I particularly like the fried chicken, it was something simple but yet they just seemed to hit the right spot on its taste and texture. It might sound crazy, but I think this is a dish worth trying if you’re there.
Haze and KY, well satisfied at Fukuya
Dinner ended up costing us over RM 200, but we left happy and I’m sure to return. Fukuya also serves wine, sake, and choices of desserts. One day when I hit the lottery or something, I shall try their chef’s recommendation seasonal kaiseki course *keeping my fingers crossed*
Address: Fukuya No 9 Jalan Delima, 55100 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.14629, 101.72064 Web:fukuya.com.my Tel: 03-2144 1022
Now check this video with the latest update of the mysterious light captured in Hengstacker Tunnel, this is the latest update to the strange highway incident in Germany. It’ll be interesting to see the cargo and that chasing car actually are.