When it comes to Indonesian food, none is more famous than Ayam Penyet, essentially a flattened deep fried chicken served with tempeh (made from fermented soya bean), tofu, and those oh-so-addictive sambal.
Ayam Penyet Mak Maya, Kampung Baru
My first ayam penyet was at Waroeng Penyet just over a decade ago, and it was love at first taste. I’ve been on a look out for ayam penyet stalls in its most “pure” form ever since, for a lack of a better word.
A hunt that led me to Ayam Penyet Mak Maya at Kampung Baru, my current favorite.
Mak Maya is located at Kampung Baru, directly opposite to one of my favorite Nasi Padang restaurant. The restaurant itself is a bit of a time capsule from the 80s, with plastic chairs and laminated table.
I always order mine with extra sambal
What sets Ayam Penyet Mak Maya apart from other such stalls is their sambal. The sambal is prepared “fresh” on the spot by grinding fresh ingredients to the paste form we’re familiar with.
The result was expectedly excellent, spicy, aromatic, and pure. I love it.
ayam or ikan for you?
Other than ayam penyet (chicken), they also have ikan kembung (Indian Mackerel), and ikan keli (catfish) deep fried in the same style.
These are served with deep fried tauhu, tempeh, and a slice of raw cucumber, cabbage to go with plain rice. The sambal of course ties everything together to make a plate of super satisfying lunch.
if you love it spicy, you’d love it here
If you want a good meal of ayam penyet in the heart of KL city, this is one to check out.. before Kampung Baru is eventually being redeveloped.
Address: Ayam Penyet Mak Maya 58, Jalan Raja Muda Mus Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.164533, 101.708807
KL has seen a bit of a boom in premium Omakase style Japanese restaurants of late, I’m no historian, but it probably started out with Kame Sushi at Hartamas, then came Oribe at KL, Sou at Mid Valley, Sushi Azabu, and more.
Sushi Ryu, Platinum Park KLCC
With the increase in popularity of these restaurants, and perhaps a bit of a dip in our currency, prices for a meal of omakase course has been increasing as well. I remember paying RM 88++ for an unforgettable lunch at Oribe when they first opened, but now you’ll be hard pressed to find anything below RM 200 per pax for such treatment. Which begs the question, is it worth it to spend RM 500 or more for a dinner for two? And will these restaurant sustain?
Anyway, the topic in this article is my experience at Sushi Ryu with their omakase course priced at RM 279++ per person, their other option on the menu is priced at RM 579++ per person, additionally, there’s a limited time menu with Michelin star teppanyaki from Tokyo at RM 1588++ per person.
In my experience, the cheapest option usually gets you the best value per dollar spent. I enjoyed myself almost as much when I spent 88++ at Oribe compared to RM 230++ course at the same place at a different time.
seabream sashimi with ebiko and truffle oil as starter
Our dinner started out fantastically.
Tai sashimi with copious amount of ebiko and truffle oil. It was fresh, delicious, and really opened up my appetite for more, I really enjoyed it.
Next was otoro as their seasonal sashimi dish. It was two slices of tuna belly served on a piece of rock with grated wasabi. The accompanying shoyu tasted pretty premium, but I thought the sashimi was average for this cut. It wasn’t better than the ones we had at J’s Gate opening event…
chawanmushi as our hot dish
Seasonal hot dish came in the form of chawanmushi. It was quite a busy dish, with more ebiko and crab meat. Execution was really good and this was my second favorite dish after the appetizer.
seven pieces of nigri sushi
Seven pieces of nigri sushi made up of our main and served in three separate dishes. The server did describe to us what they were but I can’t really remember their names.
They were also supposed to have already been properly “seasoned” with the right amount of soya sauce and wasabi. To be honest, I found these sushi to be average-to-good, but did not have the wow factor I expect for something at this price point. More than once I was hoping for soya sauce and wasabi, and the squid was actually too chewy.
miso soup, dessert
Soup in the menu was miso soup, it was an average bowl of miso soup.
Most disappointing for me though, was perhaps the dessert. It was the Japanese version of ice cream sandwich topped with chocolate. Yes the chocolate was fine, but the ice cream could probably be had from Family Mart.
KL city has no shortage of places to choose from when it comes to classy restaurants offering quality adult beverages and delicious food, around KLCC and Bukit Bintang area, you’d be spoiled for choice – Mosto Wine Bar & Restaurant is one of such places, and one with a very important distinction compared to the rest.
Mosto Wine Bar and Restaurant, One KL
Located at the ground floor of One KL, the condominium building with the tag line “94 units, 95 swimming pools“, Mosto is a restaurant with almost over-the-top fine-dine style decoration, and fortunately, not over-the-top prices for what it has got to offer.
For me though, the most important distinction this place has is the availability of some dozen or so free parking space right in front of the eatery, something that is rarer than pink unicorn in the heart of the city.
Gran Tegliere Di Salumi E Formaggi
We started the night with Gran Tegliere Di Salumi E Formaggi (RM 99), the fancy name stands for Italian signature cold cuts served with assortedcheeses, honey & house made focaccia bread. The way the prepare this is a bit of a show, with the chef operating a semi-automatic type of meat slicer that churns out those delicious meat & salami with consistent thickness.
The type of cuts you get may vary as it depends on what the restaurant can its hands on. For our session, I particularly like the cut with embedded olives.
Cocktails & Risotto Con Salsicola E Vino Rosso
While we did not have wine at Mosto, we did sample two of their cocktails – Amaro Tonic, and Junglebird (RM 38 each), the former was a more masculine drink with Amaro Montenegro, Prosecco and tonic water, while Junglebird is made from dark rum, campari, pineapple juice, and simple syrup, giving it a sweeter, more fruity taste.
Back to food.
After the cold cut we had the Risotto Con Salsicola E Vino Rosso (RM 48), or Carnaroli risotto with salsiccia & red wine reduction. A comforting food that does well to fill up the stomach in a warm, fuzzy way. I do enjoy the chunks of cheese on top.
Rigatoni All’ Amatriciana
If you are a pasta person, Rigatoni All’ Amatriciana (RM 38) should satisfy, there’s bacon, tomatoes, and pecorino cheese in the dish. It is proper al dente, so if you don’t like your pasta firm to bite like the Italians do, you’d want to specify it to your server.
Pancia Di Maiale; Cassoeula, Verza Maiale E Pollo
Those who know me well would have guessed that Pancia Di Maiale (RM 58) is my favorite dish of the night, and that would be a correct statement. Roasted pork belly with apricot jam, honey mustard & garlic sauce perfectly executed with those super crispy skin and meat/fat layers that were done just right. Love it.
Cassoeula, Verza Maiale E Pollo (RM 78) or slowcook pork prepared in casserole with chicken, pork sausage & cabbage was a dish that I found perhaps packed a bit too much meat of differing texture, giving me a feeling of something with a sort of identity confusion.
Garlic Prawns, Deep Fried Chicken Parmesan
For those who aren’t looking for something to go along with beer or cocktail and not a proper full meal, there is a selection of bar snacks as well. We sampled two from the menu – Garlic Prawns (RM 25), and Fried Chicken Parmesan (RM 19), I can imagine both going very well as happy hour companion dishes for sure.
molten chocolate cake, tiramisu
The dessert menu here isn’t extensive, we tried the Molten chocolate cake (RM 25) and Tiramisu (RM 20). The cake molten chocolate cake was competent, but if I have to pick one, the tiramisu would be the one to go for, they did not skim on the alcohol making this.
RM460++A few weeks ago I was invited to one of the more unique wine pairing dinners in town – Salon & Delamotte Champange Tasting Dinner at Nadodi KL. Being just a stone’s throw away from my office, the location was perfect, and with proper champagne & wine from Salon & Delamotte? I couldn’t say no.
Salmon and Delamotte Champange tasting dinner at Nadodi KL
Interestingly, Nadodi also offers something I have yet to try in so many years of writing about food – fine dining Indian cuisine. More specifically, southern Indian cuisine in a fine dining setting.
The dinner was a bespoke 11-course menu called 11-mile journey priced at RM460++ by Nadodi, they also offer the 13-mile journey dinner at RM 490++.
As for our drinks for the night. We have Salon – creation of Aime Salon, from the region of Côte des Blancs. The wine from Salon is always of a single harvest, single cru, single grape variety and of the best vintages. Hence the resulting champagne is perfectly balanced and among the most sought after.
A neighbour of Salon, Delamotte too is from Côte des Blancs and sources its grapes from the same region. Delamotte produces non-vintage Brut, Blanc de Blancs and Rosé.
In attendance at the dinner was Didier Depond, president of Champagne Salon and Champagne Delamotte.
Cone, Manga, and Pillow
Three exquisitely prepared starters to kick off the night. Cone was sambar & onion chutney, Manga made from mango patchadi & pistachios, while Pillow consists of beetroot and cheese.
While presentation is rather modern, there’s undeniable underlying tone of Indian cuisine, Cone had a spicy note to it, Manga balances sweetness of mango with pistachios, and Pillow the richness of cheese often found in Indian dishes.
We had Delamotte Blanc de Blancs non vintage with these, an delicate wine with subtle fruitiness and floral character.
Shell Shock was Hokkaido scallop with sodhi (coconut milk curry), an unfamiliar mix of taste to the usual scallop preparation, but one that worked out well.
We had Tiano & Noreno Malbec 2010 Magnum, with less than 800 bottles left in the world, a gracious gift from the President himself in this session. The wine is powerful, full-bodied, and has a delicate acidity with a touch of French elegance. It was one of our favorites of the night for sure.
Go Bananas, Salon Le Mesni 2006
Go Bananas is one of the iconic dishes at Nadodi, the dish is made with the stem, fruit and flower of a banana tree. We had Salon Le Mesni 2006, a champagne with a finish that is clear, aromatic, round and well balanced.
Heads Up, Delamotte Blanc de Blancs
Heads Up, a seafood dish with coral trout, head curry espuma, and lemon flat rice. The trick to eating this to stir it up and scoop up the mix, the contrasting texture of creamy curry and those crunchy rice was quite an experience.
Crabs Day Out
Crab’s Day Out is Nadodi’s play with Alaskan crab meat with rasam (you should be familiar with this at banana leaf rice places). Not quite as exquisite as I thought it’d be, but something with a little bit of acidity was welcoming after mostly creamy dishes.
Sorbet & Peek-A-Boo – lobster ishtu, dry coconut
We had a sorbet made from Delamotte Rose NV as palette cleanser, can’t get more luxurious than that.
Then came Peek-A-Boo, our lobster dish of the night. Lobster ishtu (Kerala style potato with coconut milk) with dry coconut. I liked the way they prepare the lobsters by cooking it only just very so slightly, retaining the natural taste of the crustacean. The whole thing too is wrapped by very thinly sliced scallop skin, my favorite dish of the night.
Billy – pepper crusted lamb, drumstick curry
Billy – our red meat of the night, consists of pepper crusted lamb with drumstick (moringa, not chicken drumstick…) curry. The lamb was perfectly cooked too, with the peppery crust seasoned how it should be. I really enjoyed this more than I thought I would.
Nomads Globe – country chicken biriyani, egg plants
Nomads Globe, our main for the day consists of country chicken briyani and egg plants in peanut masala gravy. A competent dish in its own, but I thought one that perhaps sit a bit lower than the two dishes preceding it.
Nomads Globe – country chicken biriyani, egg plants
Overall the experience was certainly positive, with good food, great wine & champagne, and certainly excellent company with Paco Galdeano, Hiroki Kuwabara san, and Xing Yi.
Check out diineout.com for more of exclusive champagne and wine pairing such as these. Thanks Wei Zhi for introducing me to this event!
Being from a somewhat typical family in Penang, I’m no stranger to Nyonya style cooking, this is mostly due to the fact that Baba-Nyonya cuisine shares many similar recipes to Penang Hokkien dishes.
So when we were at Baba Nyonya Restaurant in Avenue K, I had certain expectations on what they should be able to cook up.
Baba Nyonya, Avenue K, with my dining partners
The restaurant is located at the same level with the LRT station, with an interior decor that is pretty tastefully done, catering to mostly 2-4 people per table, though larger crowd can be arranged, to a certain extend.
The menu offers quite a variety of dishes, with selections from individual noodle or “daily plates”, as well as ala-carte entries to be eaten with steamed rice with a group of your favorite buddies, which was what we mainly did when I find myself with a few colleagues at Baba Nyonya a couple weeks ago.
proper meal for three, with poultry, fish, and vegetable
We sampled one single dish in the form of Ayam Masak Merah, and three shared lauk of terung belado (RM 16.90), chicken pongteh (RM 26.90), and asam fish pedas claypot (RM 35.90) over dinner.
The ayam masak merah is a dish you can enjoy over lunch and comes with loads of those sauce that has a good balance of sweet and spicy taste to it, there’s also a spring role to get you started.
terung belado, chicken pongteh, ayam masak merah, asam fish pedas claypot
Asam fish pedas claypot was our favorite among the three shared dishes. The fish retains some crunchiness while not overly fried, with the asam pedas broth brings forth a good kick, perfect when mixed with steamed rice.
The terung too was proper, soft, tender, and packed with flavor. However, we did agree that the chicken pongteh was pretty average, or perhaps just overshadowed by other offerings from Baba Nyonya during this session.
The experience at Baba Nyonya Avenue was certainly a positive one, I think I’ll be heading over for lunch one of these days to check out more of their individual dishes.