Category / Hartamas/Mont Kiara
After having a great time celebrating AhFa’s birthday at 42 East a few weeks ago with plenty of Kilkenny Draught, we decided to have an encore. This time our excuse was Suan’s birthday.
OK, maybe it wasn’t just an excuse, Suan is a dear friend and a big fan of Kilkenny (in fact, I first learned about this beer from her). Since she won’t be around on her actual birthday, we decided to get together a few days earlier.
Barfly, and these Kilkenny’s reserved for Suanie
Our destination of choice this time was Barfly at Solaris Dutamas. A place where solving the parking puzzle requires a PhD, but hey, we do it for friends right?
Luckily we had the foresight in calling in a couple days earlier to book for a table.
Michael, Li Ling, Suan, KY enjoying some Kilkenny
The place was well packed with people when we reached there at about 9pm. I always like going to a busy place for draught beer, you know it will always super fresh.
In the case of Kilkenny at Barfly, yeap, the draught were fresh, fragrant, and every bit as how a good pint of Kilkenny should be. Something that we learned from the Kilkenny Masterclass experience.
some of the beer food we have to pair with Kilkenny beer
Of course, when you have beer, you gotta have some beer food to go with.
Dark ale like Kilkenny pairs well with chicken, pork, and generally slightly stronger tasting food. Barfly happens to have quite a decent selection of snacks & even main dishes that goes well with beer.
Mike showing that all pint glasses hold the same volume
We had their flaming chicken wings, superfly potato skin, pig in haystack (enoki mushroom + bacon), fries, ikan bilis with onion and chili, nachos, sausage kau, and commando chips.
Many of the dishes were a bit spicy, and when you wash down that spicy kick with a big gulp of cold beer, that feeling is just the best!
and.. we had a great time! Happy Birthday Suan
Awesome friends, great beer, and some food over a few hours – good times!
When do we do this again?
To be honest, while not being a habitual alcohol consumer, I do enjoy my beer every now and then. A cold beer and some finger foods in front of the TV with my favorite sports team on after a tiring day is just about the most a guy can ask for.
I liked my beer cold, in fact, as cold as possible, and always thought that chucking it down in big gulp is the most satisfying thing ever.
Kilkenny Appreciation Night, at The Bee, Publika
And then I went to Kilkenny’s Appreciation Night at Publika the other day and got a whole new revelation. This was the first event hosted by Kilkenny in Malaysia, with a promise of taking the guests on a journey to experience all things Kilkenny.
Michael (The Star), Tim (Nuffnang), Suanie & Haze (blogs), Ashley (Esquire magazine)
The event was attended by quite a lot of familiar faces. Michael from The Star, Ashley from Esquire magazine, Timothy and David from Nuffnang, Eileen from Mindshare, Ernest who draws cartoon, Suan, Haze, representatives from GABs, and more.
the smell test at the Sensory Station, guess them right and win a prize
We started the night with a glass of Kilkenny in hand and got to mingle with like minded people.
Kilkenny set up a Sensory Station on location and I think it’s quite a neat little idea. There were seven bottles containing different smells at the station, and participants were asked to identify what each ingredient was.
I managed to identify about 4 out of the 7 (with a bit of cheating), and it just goes to show that while many of us have keen sense of smell, it is often not easy to match it to what we remember. These are pretty “normal” ingredients tho – nuts, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, elder flower, and so forth.
Kilkenny Masterclass experience by Ben Ng from GAB Professional Solutions
Highlight of the night was undoubtedly the Kilkenny Masterclass conducted by Ben Ng from GAB Professional Solutions.
In the first “experiment”, we got to try the ale served super cold at between 0-4 Celsius, temperature achieved with the help of some dried ice. It was very easy to drink and actually tasted quite bland.
Next, we tried the same Kilkenny, now at between 4-6 Celsius and it was almost like a completely different beer. Much richer aroma and stronger taste. Ben then explained that on extreme cold temperature, the taste and aroma is muffled, but allowing it to warm up just a little and you get to enjoy the full spectrum of taste and aroma from the famous red ale.
That thick foam on top of the beer? It isn’t there to short change you for a smaller portion of beer, but actually adds to the smooth character of the overall experience.
Another important difference we got from the class was the difference between ale and lager. In short, ale is top fermented in warmer temperature while larger uses bottom fermenting yeast with colder temperature. Ales are usually light to dark brown, with a more robust and fruity flavor. Kilkenny is of course, one of the most popular ale in the country.
beef balls, chicken kebab, fish fingers, quiche, and calamari for food pairing
Of course, beer is never complete without some finger food to go with. All throughout the night, we were served dishes that were carefully chosen to pair with Kilkenny.
I particularly enjoy the quiche, fish fingers, and calamari as seafood complements the aroma and richness of Kilkenny very well. Chicken kebab, and somewhat surprisingly, the beef balls worked well as food companion to this Irish import too.
sand art performance by Loong Bee
After the Masterclass experience, we were also treated with a pretty unique sand art show by the one and only sand art performer in the country, Loong Bee. The performance took us through the journey of Kilkenny, from its introduction all the way back in 1710 to being a global brand in the 21st century.
We had a great time at the Kilkenny Appreciation Night, and certainly look forward to more of these in the future.
More info on Kilkenny: facebook.com/kilkenny.my
I guess I must be one of the last person to have ventured into the second most exciting food court in the country – Food Village at Publika, Dutamas – the newest non-halal food court apart from my favorite of all time, Lot 10′s Hutong.
A couple weekends ago I found myself at Publika and hungry, and after mentally crossing out most hipster restaurants in the building, we decided to check out the food court. A place that I’ve heard good things from quite a few friends and colleagues alike.
BM Yam Rice at Food Village, Publika – pretty good crowd there
There are the usual suspects – chicken rice, yong tao foo; and a few stalls operated by famous shops – kin kin pan mee, lorong seratus tahun, Woo Pin Fish Head noodle, Ah Yip Herbal Soup and so on.
But what caught my attention was this stall that goes by the name of BM Yam Rice. I actually have two ex-gfs from BM (both are married now, thanks for asking), but never did hear about this BM Yam Rice place (maybe that was the problem)…
two sets – yam rice with mixed pork soup and pork knuckle
Horng and I ordered two set lunches – mixed pork soup, and the pork knuckle set. Both are priced at RM 9.90 and comes with yam rice, a side of braised egg with tofu, and the main dish.
The mixed pork soup turned out to be a beauty, plenty of pork belly slices, pork tripe, intestine, couple of pork balls, and even my favorite – coagulated pork blood. The soup had a slight sourish taste which goes well with yam rice, and I love the fact that they loaded the soup with Chinese parsley too.
pork slices, innards, and even pork blood, yums!
The pork knuckle with soya sauce (a version of tau eu bak) was not too shabby either. Though you don’t get the variety as you would with mixed pork soup, the pork knuckle was tender and tasted rather good especially when you pair it with the chili paste that accompanies the dish. It’s not quite as awesome as proper sambal but I’m not complaining.
I think I’ll have to try their other dishes at BM Yam Rice stall the next time I find myself at Publika.
BM Yam Rice
UG1, Publika Shopping Gallery,
Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.170961, 101.665721
Shogun Japanese Buffet is a brand name that is no stranger to many buffet lovers, in fact, someone like me, who isn’t exactly a huge fan of buffet, have heard quite a lot about the few Shogun and it’s sister (or mother) restaurant – Saisaki. All of which is owned and operated by the Grand Saisaki Group.
Shogun Japanese Buffet at Solaris Mont Kiara
A couple weeks ago I was invited to the launch of Shogun’s 5th and largest outlet at Solaris Mont Kiara.
Shogun has basically taken over the premise where the ill fated Tenji used to be, and looking at the similarity of the interior layout & furnishing, I suspect that the Saisaki group probably just bought over everything lock stock & barrel, did some minor tweaking, and there you are – a brand new Shogun.
All of which is actually a very savvy business move that probably allows Shogun to price their buffet meal cheaper than competition. (prices can be found on http://www.saisaki.com.my/ maximum of RM 53.80++ for lunch and RM 63.80++ for dinner but there are always various discounts)
Haze & I behind the 100 kg tuna
The Shogun outlet at Solaris is huge. The premise can accommodate 500-600 guests at any one time. The group also plans to open at least another 5-7 outlets nationwide by 2014. So if you’re from Penang or JB, chances are there’s a Shogun or Saisaki coming to you within a couple years.
tuna cutting ceremony, after the speech by Dato’ Michael Chong
The evening got started with a speech by the energetic Dato’ Michael Chong, Managing Director of Grand Saisaki Group, then it was the cutting ceremony of the massive 100 KG maguro (tuna) led by Chef Zainurin bin Mohd Salleh, an expert in Japanese cuisine who is also the head chef at this Shogun outlet.
Then, it was my favorite time of the evening: the time to eat.
from the raw bar – sashimi, sushi, and more
The selection at Shogun is actually quite impressive. It is claimed that about 65% of the menu is Japanese in nature while the rest a combination of Chinese, Western, and Thai fusion dishes.
Rule of thumb for buffet: always start at the raw bar and slowly work your way through stronger tasting dishes. This ensures that your palate is not saturated by heavy flavors too early.
deep fried food, tempura, chawamushi, lamb, dimsum, soft shell crab
At the (mostly) raw bar here you find a huge selection of seafood, sashimi, sushi, oysters, mussel, prawns, crab, and much more. These are mostly Japanese in nature, with some of the usual suspects (ie. raw oyster) you would expect from any international buffet.
Then there’s a whole selection of stuff that are deep fried, with a good selection of tempura and even soft shell crab.
In the warming trays, you find lamb chops, fried rice, fried noodle, beef, chicken, and many dishes that are common to international buffets (ie: not always Japanese in nature).
steamed soon hock, various salad, tomyam soup, herbal soup
My favorite dish of the night was the steamed soon hock (marbled goby fish), a delicacy that has never been associated with buffet dining. The fish was gobbled up pretty quickly, but thankfully refilled quite swiftly too. I think they only serve this at Shogun Solaris and not other branches.
Among the selection of soup were herbal soup and tomyam soup, don’t mix them in a bowl.
ice cream, jelly, and other desserts
Selection of dessert is perhaps not one of Shogun’s strongest area. While there are jelly, ice cream, mochi, tiramisu and various cakes, there wasn’t anything that really stood out, nor were there presented very well. Then again, we can’t really expect hotel standard pastries at this price point.
The buffet spread at Shogun is impressive for what you pay to get in. The food are for the most part, pretty good, and while you can certainly have a healthy meal (their motto), there isn’t anything that can stop you from going all sinful with plenty of meat, oysters, deep fried food here too.
Shogun’s price list can be found here.
Shogun Japanese Buffet
Solaris Mont Kiara,
No.2, Jalan Solaris, KL
GPS: 3.174689, 101.659595
Tel: 03-6205 1111
A few weeks ago I was invited to Ten Japanese restaurant for a tasting session that I cannot resist, and the reason was not for the food. I didn’t know what was going to be served, or if they were going to be any good, but I knew I had to be there despite the inconvenience of it being held on a Friday afternoon.
That reason was the attendance of one of my favorite chefs of all time – Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai.
Ten Japanese Restaurant, Solaris Dutamas
Iron Chef was my most watched cooking show when I was in the States, back in 2001 or 2002 I had contemplated driving up to Philadelphia from Greater Washington DC to have a meal at Iron Chef Morimoto’s, but that plan somehow did not work out, so this chance of meeting the King of Iron Chef, Hiroyuki Sakai, was most treasured.
My life is now complete.
King of Iron Chef – Hiroyuki Sakai, and Yours Truly
Now back to the restaurant. Ten was first launched in Gold Cost, Australia, and had won two Gold Coast restaurant awards for best fine dining and supreme award in the first six month of its opening. So this is a place with some high expectations.
The restaurant was officially opened by Tun Dr. Mahathir himself on the 13th of Oct, 2011. This food tasting session was held just a day after that.
Ten serves a fusion of Japanese and French cuisine. As of late, fusion food has a bit of a tainted name to it, often regarded at something that is neither here nor there, so I was curious as to how Ten’s version would be like.
After all, Ten means “Heaven”.
deep fried prawn dumpling & shiitake mushroom stuffed with prawn
Our entree was deep fried prawn dumpling encased in burdock vegetable, with Japanese cherry tomato and egg yolk with balsamico, and Shiitake mushroom stuffed with prawn and a sprinkle of truffle salt.
It was definitely an exquisite dish, the deep friend prawn dumpling was made to resemble prawn’s head both in look and texture, while carrying a rich seafood taste to it. The shishito pepper and cherry tomato gives a refreshing counter taste to the prawns too.
chicken three ways
Entree was the very casually named Chicken Three Ways.
It was three dishes in one. Grilled chicken thigh marinated with miso served wrapped in iceberg lettuce and seaweed was almost like maki. A dish that exploits the freshness of iceberg lettuce to counter the savory chicken and saltiness of miso.
Dark miso chicken gratin with button mushroom and parmigiano cheese was a dish that is very rich and very flavorful without being pretentious, it was perhaps just slightly too rich for me, but shall go very well with a glass of wine I reckon.
Lastly, there was the foie gras and chicken terrine with Japanese leek and teriyaki sauce. A piece of mango hidden in the foie gras & chicken terrine worked wonder to bring out the full flavor in this dish. I loved it.
assortment of freshest sushi
We were served some of the freshest sushi after the main course. Both ends of the fish touches the plate, and this is how sushi is supposed to look like, the ratio between fish and rice at those supermarket sushi isn’t what sushi is supposed to be.
The chef explained that while some of the fish are sourced from Japan, there are several types of fish & prawns that was sourced locally to obtain maximum freshness too. I like the way they choose the seafood base on it’s own merit without being pretentious and blindly taking everything from Japan and call it the best.
This plate of sushi, while not particularly dashing in its presentation, was one of the best I’ve had for a long time. Definitely mouth watering.
Ten’s green tea cake
We ended the lunch session with Ten’s green tea cake and a couple cubes of watermelon & grapes. The cake creamy but not overly sweet, it was actually very good and the portion was small enough to have it all even when I was already 90+% full.
the owners, Chef Hiroshi Miura, Chef Atsushi Nishibuchi, and Iron Chef Sakai
Leading the restaurant are two Japanese chefs – Mr. Hiroshi Miura, with classical Cha-Kaiseki and Ryotei (traditional upmarket restaurant) training, and Mr. Atsushi Nishibuchi began his training in the “Edomae Sushi” (Tokyo-style sushi) and was a head chef at on eof Tokyo’s premier restaurants in Ginza district.
Prices for lunch starts at around RM 45 for Yakisaba Gozen, Inaniwa Udon Gozen, to RM 65 for Chirashi Gozen, Sashimi Gozen, and RM 80 for Wagyu Steak Gozen. Dinner would of course bit a little pricier, but I do believe that if you are willing to spend some money at Ten, you wouldn’t be disappointed.
Oh, many of the servers are Japanese too.
Ten Japanese Fine Dining
Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.170961, 101.665721
Tel: 03-6211 9910