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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Category / KLCC and vicinity

On normal days, the walkway in front of Lembaga Tabung Haji building on Jalan Tun Razak might see a few office workers walking about, but on every Friday afternoon, the place transforms into a unique food bazaar thanks to the crowd drawn by the Friday prayers conducted within the mosque of Tabung Haji building.

the stalls operate on Friday afternoon only
the stalls operate on Friday afternoon only

There are stalls selling burger, kebab, and of course, nasi kandar & nasi briyani. My first experience with the food here started after one of my swimming sessions at G-Tower’s Element Gym on the long Friday lunch break.

This stall is one that is stationed closest to the right side if you’re facing the building, and one that is usually the busiest as well.

great selection of dishes, including beef, chicken, lamb, veges, fish, etc
great selection of dishes, including beef, chicken, lamb, veges, fish, etc

There are usually at least some two dozen dishes to choose from, with most of them spicy (just the way I like it!). There’s lamb, beef curry, rendang, brinjal, honey chicken, fried chicken, curry chicken, fried kembung fish, fried egg, hard boiled egg, various types of sambal, bitter gourd, and even bergedil.

The food is very delicious, and best of all, prices are rather reasonable as well.

egg, chicken drumstick, bitter gourd, and eggplant with nasi briyani
egg, chicken drumstick, bitter gourd, and eggplant with nasi briyani

For example, this packet of nasi briyani with a hard boiled egg, fried chicken drum stick, bitter gourd, and a huge chunk of egg plant with sambal costs RM 9, with a papadem thrown in as well. I particularly love the egg plant, very juicy, spicy, and full of flavor.

long bean, fish eggs, beef tripe, with nasi briyani
long bean, fish eggs, beef tripe, with nasi briyani

I also suspect that if you get there really late, like say around 3pm, sometimes the owner will throw in really great deal as well. This example above includes some beef tripe, fried fish egg, and long beans with nasi briyani, and I was charged less than RM 5.

If your’e up for some delicious no frill nasi briyani on a Friday afternoon, this is definitely a place to check out. They offer “dine in” options as well, though there won’t be any chairs or tables by the stall. You’ll merely just be served with a plate instead of the container.

map to Lembaga Tabung Haji

Address:
In front of Lembaga Tabung Haji
Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.158465, 101.720338
Hours: every Friday afternoon 

While Japanese affair at higher end restaurants can be pretty damaging to the pocket, many of those places also offer a lunch menu with much better deals. One of the places we visited a couple times for lunch over the past few months was Hanare Authentic Japanese Cuisine at The Intermark.

Hanare at The Intermark
Hanare at The Intermark

The restaurant is located on the ground floor, just below the lobby of Double Tree by Hilton. The interior is tastefully decorated, with open kitchen, a sushi/sashimi bar, and a teppanyaki bar.

This place has a great ambiance, but terrible cell data service. Luckily, wifi is available for those of you who can’t eat without staying online with your smartphone.

combination set - sashimi and kakiage prawns
combination set – sashimi and teppanyaki ebi hotate

One of the more popular lunch options here is the combination menu. For RM 48++, you get to choose from any of these two options:

  • sashimi mori (3 kinds of sashimi)
  • shake sashimi (salmon)
  • yaki sakana (grilled fish – cod, mackerel, or salmon)
  • unagi kabayaki
  • tori katsu (deep fried breadcrumb chicken)
  • tempura mori (assorted tempura)
  • kakiage (deep fried kakiage prawns and vegetables)
  • teppanyaki ebi hotate (teppanyaki prawn & scallops)
  • tori teriyaki (chicken teriyaki)
  • kaki fry (deep fried oyster)

The set also comes with appetizer, salad, chawanmushi, and a dessert. This is pretty similar to the deals at Ozeki Tokyo Cuisine and Coco-Tei Japanese Restaurant.

chicken teriyaki, grilled cod, sashimi, custard
chicken teriyaki, grilled cod, sashimi, custard

While the portions look rather small individually, the combination of them really does fill up the stomach.

Other than the combination set, there are sushi bento (RM 70), makunouchi bento (RM 55), a light salad lunch (RM 38), and dedicated lunch sets with sushi (RM 70), sukiyaki (RM 75), mixed fried seafood (RM 48), steak teppan (RM 80), and more.

bara chirashi sushi, one of my favorites
bara chirashi sushi, one of my favorites

Another entry in the menu I tried here was the bara chirashi sushi (RM 45). It is similar to the basic chirashi sushi but with the seafood usually cut in cubes instead of the traditional sushi/sashimi cuts. The choice certainly did not disappoint.

Prices at Hanare is actually a little on the higher side when it comes to lunch sets, but for the quality of food as well as the ambiance of the restaurant, I think that this is a fine option.

map to The Intermark

Address:
Hanare
Lot G 06, Ground Floor
The Intermark

348, Jalan Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.16154, 101.71996
Webwww.globalfoods.com.my

Over the years, from business traveling, meeting with friends, and invited reviews, I’ve seen quite a few buffet spreads. Hence, for the most parts, buffet offerings don’t excite me very much.

Then again, the Bubblier Sparkalite 4Cs Sunday Brunch at Intercontinental KL’s Serena Brasserie isn’t just any buffet spread.

Serena Brasserie, at ground floor Intercontinental KL
Serena Brasserie, at ground floor Intercontinental KL

Heading the kitchen is executive chef Darrell O’Neill, originally from Australia and has since left a trail of presence across the globe in countries such as New Zealand, UK, France, Hong Kong, Dubai, India, Maldives, and now, Malaysia. During his time at restaurant Al Mahara t the Burj Al Arab Hotel Dubai, the restaurant was awarded Best Seafood Restaurant by Time Out Dubai.

this is what we came here for, the Alaskan King Crab
this is what we came here for, the Alaskan King Crab

The concept of the Sunday buffet brunch at Intercontinental KL centeres around 4Cs – Crustaceans, Carvery, Chocolate, and Candy.

Crustaceans is what excites us the most, there were Alaskan King Crab, slippery lobster, tiger prawns, and cray fish. Under this “C” also includes catch of the days such as fresh white fish, marinated tuna steaks, oysters, mussels, scallops, salmon, and more.

yeap, bubbly too, and a host of seafood ready to eat
yeap, bubbly too, and a host of seafood ready to eat

If you haven’t had a chance to sample king crab due to the price, this buffet offers one of the best values. The seafood were fresh, tasty, and most importantly, plentiful. I think I had close to 10 oysters, a departure from norm as I usually don’t get more than a couple, they tasted so good!

cold cuts and little appetizer in shot glasses
cold cuts and little appetizer in shot glasses

The next C stands for Carvery – which basically means cooked meat that are freshly sliced. Here you’ll find roasted whole ribs, prime ribs, roast chicken/duck, and more. Trimmings such as Yokshire pudding, roast vegetable, and baked potato accompany these dishes well.

roast chicken & duck, local delights, and prime ribs too
roast chicken & duck, local delights, and prime ribs too

For those who wants to sample some local delights, they are available too. A good selection of traditional Malay, Chinese, and Indian dishes are available for your picking.

BBQ meat & sausage, tandoori chicken, smoked salmon
BBQ meat & sausage, tandoori chicken, smoked salmon

They’ve also set up a BBQ area right outside the air-conditioned dine in section. Here you get freshly grilled lamb rack, chicken tandoori, sausage, baby chicken, satay, and even freshly smoked salmon and “DIY” burger stand with mini-Augus beef sliders and mini-chicken satay sliders.

fruits, a variety of cheese, desserts, and cakes
fruits, a variety of cheese, desserts, and cakes

The third C stands for Chocolate, and of course, that includes a host of other desserts as well. There are Australian lamingtons, chocolate fudge brownies and rocky road, mini Pavlovas, mini fruit trifles, banana and caramel sticky puddings, and more.

I can't get enough of the Alaskan King Crab and slipper lobsters
I can’t get enough of the Alaskan King Crab and slipper lobsters

Finally, last but not least is Candy. This actually refers to the Sparkalite Kid’s Corner, a section within the restaurant set up to keep kids busy learning the sweet art of making lamingtons and be entertained by the clown. This is a particularly great feature for parents with kids who actually want to have some food in peace.

with Umei, Josen, Haze, Evelyn, Dennis, and Damian
with Umei, Josen, Haze, Evelyn, Dennis, and Damian

The Sparkalite ’4Cs’ Sunday Brunch at Serena Brasserie is available every Sunday from noon to 3pm. Brunch is priced at RM 120++ per person, and if you want the free flow sparkling, white & red wine and beer, it’ll be RM 198++. Kids from 6-12 is charged RM 60++ per head.

For the spread that you get, I think the price is more than reasonable, now excuse me while I go get myself more King crabs.

map to Intercontinental Hotel, KL

Address:
Serena Brasserie
Intercontinental Hotel

165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.159767, 101.718045
Tel03-2161 1111
Webwww.intercontinental.com

Tucked right next to the Philippines embassy and just a stone’s throw away from Pavilion and the KLCC Convention is Maison Francaise, an elegant French restaurant situated in what was formerly a bungalow.

Dining area is separated in a few areas that used to be patio, living room, pool side, and so forth. Art works, white tablecloths, leather seats, fresh flowers; decoration is simple yet classy.

Maison Francaise at Changkat Kia Peng
Maison Francaise at Changkat Kia Peng

Being at the less glamorous of KLCC area has its benefits, you can get here without having to go through any traffic bottle necks, and you never have to park your car more than a few steps away from the restaurant.

While dinner session is usually pretty busy, as the manager and chef mentioned, Maison Francaise is usually pretty quiet over lunch. So for this session, we sampled the lunch set priced at at RM59++ for 2-courses or RM75++ for 3-courses.

amuse bouche came in the form of in-house smoked salmon
amuse-bouche came in the form of in-house smoked salmon

Even though it is a set lunch, we still started out with amuse-bouche, a bite size pre-appetizer selected and prepared by the chef. The in-house smoked salmon isn’t anything fancy, but carries a delicate smoky taste which we like.

duck pate, home-made mushroom soup
duck pate, home-made mushroom soup

The lunch menu may change from time to time and usually carries a couple different options for each course.

Appetizer was between duck pate with truffle and walnut dressing and mushroom soup finishing with truffle oil and whipping cream.

The pate, with its inclusion of walnut dressing, is a little drier than your normal pan-fried duck liver, and should delight fans of this appetizer. Mushroom soup was beautiful, creamy, and those truffle oil really gave it an extra dimension which we love.

leather jacket with green olive & garlic, slow cooked beef angus
leather jacket with green olive & garlic, slow cooked beef angus

Main course was either fish or beef.

The fish option was leather jacket with green olives and garlic, braised fennel. The seasoning was perfect with accompanying vegetables positively enhanced the seafood.

The slow cooked Angus beef, an “oyster blade” cut, is meticulously prepared in seven hours cooking. The result is a piece of meat that’s so tender you can cut it with just using the fork. The flavour of the meat is not lost, and the supporting cast of root vegetables complimented the dish beautifully.

raspberry mousse temptation
raspberry mousse temptation

To conclude the lunch set was the dessert in the form of raspberry mousse temptation, a cacophony of sour, sweet, and very rich creamy taste. I particularly like the tiny bulbs of raspberry “bubbles” that pops in your mouth.

Haze & KY at Maison Francaise
Haze & KY at Maison Francaise 

Maison Francaise is a pork free establishment that carries a good wine and champagne selection, the restaurant also serves liqueurs and espresso coffee.

I want to go back again.

map to Maison Franciaise at Changkat Kia Peng

Address:
Maison Francaise
5 Jalan Changkat Kia Peng 
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.151256, 101.715215
Tel: 03-2144 1474, 019-243 1200
Webmaisonfrancaise.com.my

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a lunch review at the new Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur. While I have been to the hotel previously for events, I had no idea how good looking the restaurant on the 38th floor was until this visit.

Grand Hyatt is located at KLCC, directly next to the KL Convention Center on Jalan Pinang. The lobby of the hotel is actually at the top floor (39th), and you get to marvel at the beautiful KL city view through those floor to ceiling glasses while waiting to check in. Marvellous concept, I was impressed.

Thirty8 at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, with 360 degree city view
Thirty8 at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, with 360 degree city view

Walking down a flight of stairs (or take the elevator if you would) from the lobby and there’s THIRTY8. THIRTY8 takes up the whole floor and consists of several open and interactive kitchens serving traditional Chinese cuisine, Western dishes, as well as Japanese fair and a bar.

With huge panel of glasses that span across two floors, THIRTY8 is flooded with natural sunlight. The ambiance was simply one of the bests I’ve ever dined in. If you want to impress someone, this should surely be in the short list.

the Chinese chef from Guangzhou
the Chinese chef from Guangzhou

Since there are actually several different open kitchens on the same floor, I like to think of THIRTY8 as several different restaurants without walls in between. The advantage is that you can order different cuisines and share the same table. It’s almost like a extremely high class food court if you will.

For our session, we sampled the Chinese set menu. There’s a minimum order of 2 pax. The sets are priced at RM 188, RM 208, and RM 238. We had the fortune of trying the RM 238 version.

radish in sweet soy sauce, pacific clam with kailan, jellyfish and fungus in vinegar
radish in sweet soy sauce, pacific clam with kailan, jellyfish and fungus in vinegar

The first there were cold dishes. Radish in sweet soy sauce is a little bit like pickle but a bit juicier and crunchy, a bit of an acquired taste but I like it.

Pacific clam with kailan was succulent and fresh tasting, I’ve had it prepared as sushi & wasabi, but it actually does go well with the kailan as well.

My favorite cold dish turned out to be jellyfish and fungus in vinegar. This dish carries a bit of a kick with bits of chilli in it, and I really liked the mixture of fungus and jellyfish prepared in a way that it is almost impossible to tell apart by their texture or taste, but half way between chewing you’ll notice the subtle differences and be rewarded by the intricacy of it.

crispy prawns with bread crumbs and garlic, double boiled chicken soup, fish maw, papaya & snow fungus
crispy prawns with bread crumbs and garlic,
double boiled chicken soup, fish maw, papaya & snow fungus

The last appetizer was crispy prawns with bread crumbs & garlic. It was fresh and I thought the chef balanced the breading and spiciness from dried chilli pretty well. The skin is almost like in between butter prawn & fish & chips. I liked it.

Soup was next, and it was a double boiled affair involving fish maw, papaya, and snow fungus. The soup was very very sweet but in a good way, I believe partly contributed by the addition of papaya. It was very good, and I really loved the whole chunk of fish maw in the bowl. It was boiled till very soft but yet retain it’s structural firmness, excellent.

braised whole abalone, mushroom, oyster sauce
braised whole abalone, mushroom, oyster sauce

Braised whole abalone was our first main dish. It was a simple pairing with broccoli and black mushroom in oyster sauce. The execution was very good, with abalone prepared to the perfect consistency that makes it very easy to manage. It was a good change of taste after the stronger tasting prawns.

braised boston lobster, scallops, vegetables
braised boston lobster, scallops, vegetables

Continuing our seafood affair was the braised Boston lobster with scallops and vegetable. These two are some of my favourite seafood ingredients and they did not disappoint. I was imagining the broth to be in the most luxurious wat tan hor ever, one that I’d be able to eat everyday.

steamed cod fish, black bean chili sauce; Chinese style salty glutinous dumplings
steamed cod fish, black bean chili sauce; Chinese style salty glutinous dumplings

Next up was steamed cod with black bean and chili sauce, and it was just perfect. Black cod is generally not easy to mess up, but also pretty difficult to prepare it that much different from every other kitchen. I like the version here with the condiments really enhancing the seafood very well.

Our last dish of the day was Chinese style salty glutinous dumpling, and well, to be honest, I think it was just weird. I’m used to dumpling being sweet with maybe black sesame fillings in ginger soup, but this one’s .. salty, and had chicken. As it turned out, this is the traditional dish in Guangdong Province to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, as explained by the chef.

I’m guessing it’s one of those things you do just because it’s a tradition and maybe not necessarily because it tastes good. That or it’s an acquired taste.

baked and snow skin mooncake, KY & Joyce
baked and snow skin mooncake, KY & Joyce

After the set meal, we also sampled some of the mooncakes offered by THIRTY8. The mooncakes here are made in house as well, and while not overly fancy, they were of good quality. This post is a bit too late to talk about mooncakes now so I’ll just leave it at that.

If you want good food with a great view to match, THIRTY8 would fit the bill. I’ve yet to try other cuisines there but as far as Chinese cuisine goes, you won’t go wrong.

grand hyatt kuala lumpur map

Address:
THIRTY8
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
12 Jalan Pinang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.15381, 101.71234
Tel: 03-2182 1234 ext. 2340

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