Category / KL City
I don’t do a lot of invited reviews these days, mostly due to work commitments and staying quite a fair bit away from the city. However, every now and then there are something intriguing enough that warrant the time and effort.
The invitation for Festive Menu at Babe Gastro was one of such events.
Babe at Clearwater, Damansara Height KL
Located at the top floor of Clearwater at Damansara Height, Babe is a tastefully decorated cozy restaurant with a perhaps one of the best views of the city. There’s the infinity pool, an unobstructed post-card worthy view of KL, neat looking cutlery imported from Spain, and even air conditioned alfresco dining area.
What’s there not to like except? Well, there’s the rather confusing elevator system where you have to select which floor to go BEFORE getting in.
refreshing mocktail, Chef Jeff Ramsey
Babe is headed by Chef Jeff Ramsey, a Michelin starred chef who previously headed the Tapas Molecular Bar at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo.
The menu here is a unique creation of Jeff Ramsey using a lot of Japanese & other international ingredients while infusing local flavors. Some of these are coined “Japas”, or Japanese style tapas.
While “fusion” has a bit of a negative connotation, I love chefs who aren’t afraid to experiment and push the boundary in culinary space. Without these trailblazers, we’d forever be stuck with “traditional” dishes. What’s the fun in that?
The Festive menu is perhaps the most unique buka puasa meal you can get this Ramadhan season. Priced at RM 300++ per pax, the 12-course dinner is available from 26/5/2017 to 30/6/2017. If you are tired with the same Selera Kampung buffet, this would be a place worthy of your consideration.
“down the rabbit hole”, Foiegras and Jackfruit
We started the night with “down the rabbit hole”, a shot of drink that tastes like chicken rice, or roti canai, or something that’s completely unfamiliar. An interesting start, and certainly a precursor as to what to be expected for dinner.
The first course was Foiegras and Jackfruit, finely chopped jackfruit in a crispy shell and foie gras proved to be a good combination and served as a perfect start to open up our appetite.
Then came Onsen Chowder, a potato mousse with smoked coconut, 63c egg (molecular gastronomy magic), and chives. It was actually unexpectedly good! The smoked coconut, or what Celina the “top babe” described as coconut bacon brought the dish a very unique crispy contrast to the texture of the potato mousse.
Laksa Injection Canapé , Mango & Curry Sphere
Then there was Laksa Injection Canapé and Mango & Curry Sphere.
The former is like mouthful of my favorite ingredients in a bowl of curry laksa – prawn & soup, though perhaps a slightly bigger syringe that contains those soup would make it even better.
Mango & Curry Sphere utilizes another Molecular gastronomy technique called “spherification”, utilizing calcium chloride or some other voodoo in making an eggyolk lookalike sphere that explodes in your mouth with the tangy & spicy taste of the liquid ingredients within. Quite an experience.
Crispy Chicken Terrine, Marinated Roast Kabayaki Ikan Keli
Next were two of the more creative dishes that may looks and taste almost exactly alike what they are supposed to be, but made up of entirely different ingredients that is halal.
Crispy Chicken Terrine looks and taste like a good piece of charsiu, but actually made up of up to 40 layers of crispy rendered chicken skin (sans the fatty part) and charsiu sauce, while Marinated Roast Kabayaki Ikan Keli is their interpretation of bak kwa, but instead of pork/chicken, catfish is the main ingredient.
I’d have never guessed the ingredients in a million year.
Prawn and Curry Leaf Ice Cream, Manga Crab, Snow Crab Donburi with Sambal
Next up was Prawn and Curry Leaf Ice Cream, which was quite a unique combo, you don’t have a seafood ingredient with ice cream very often.
Manga Crab is perhaps one of the more “normal” dish, but they actually print the sauce on the plate manga style, and serve with coriander sauce.
Snow Crab Donburi with Sambal is basically just as what the name suggests, a small portion of snow crab rice bowl, but with sambal and Dashi jelly to give it that extra dimension. To be honest, I may enjoy this without the sambal just a tad more, maybe.
Smoked Chicken Percik, Stanbroke Farms Striploin with Japanese Sambal
If you’re still hungry by this time, well, afraid not. The Smoked Chicken Percik is a whole ayam kampung to be shared by two. Four hour was spent preparing the chicken, and the result was a prefect tenderness and flavor, definitely one of the benefits of utilizing molecular methods in traditional dishes.
Stanbroke Farms Striploin with Japanese Sambal was another welcoming meat base dish which I really enjoyed, especially with the accompanying Yuzu Kosho Sambal.
Then came the twelveth course – another playful dish by the name of Dinosaur Egg, a dessert made from DaunKaduk, Yoghurt, Tropical Fruit, and Nutty “Birds Nest”. Crack it open with your spoon and viola, an egg looking thing that by now, you should know it tastes entirely not like an egg, but a sweet concoction that’s apt to end the night.
Level 11, Clearwater,
Jalan Changkat Semantan,
Bukit Damansara, KL
GPS: 3.152327, 101.666762
Tel: 03.2095 8599
A couple years ago when the topic of coffee came up, I believe it was probably David, an avid coffee drinker of mine who mentioned the name Podgy and the Banker as one of his favorite places for a good cuppa, and thanks to that rather unique name for a cafe, it stuck to me.
Fast forward to last week, we decided to give it a try. If a cafe manage to stay in business more than a couple years, it is usually at least more than decent.
podgy and the banker, sri hartamas
Podgy and the Banker is located at Sri Hartamas, the opposite side across from the much busier Desa Sri Hartamas. As a result, parking never takes more than 10 seconds to locate, and therefore the morning is never ruined from having to go round & round for 10 minutes prior to getting a spot (I’m looking at you, Jalan Telawi, Bangsar)
The cafe itself can be a bit tricky to locate though, from the front it looks almost like an office (or bank?), but if you were to look from the side you won’t miss it.
Haze & I both really enjoyed the latte here
First up, the coffee.
We both had latte and agreed that they were absolutely on point. Strong aroma, and really smooth steamed milk, no super fancy presentation or anything as such but such a really well prepared cup of coffee. Really one of the better latte I’ve tried.
poached egg with beef bacon
My choice of brunch was poached egg with bacon (RM 16). Presentation was quite minimalist but the two eggs were perfectly poached, only proper bacon would elevate this dish but the beef version did its job just fine here.
scrambled eggs with salmon, lemon meringue cake
The wife went for scrambled eggs with smoked salmon (RM 15), another simple yet properly prepared dish that received no complain from her. We complete the brunch by sharing a lemon meringue cake (RM 14) together, which turned out to be quite a lovely dessert.
I foresee us going back there again one of these days.
Podgy and the Banker
2, Jalan Sri Hartamas 8,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.157306, 101.650839
Hours: 9am to 11pm, closed on Tuesday
A couple days ago we were lucky enough to be one of the first batches of people to be fortunate enough to have a taste of authentic Sicilian cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton KL by the award winning Guest Chef Lino Sauro from Gattopardo Ristorante di Mare in Singapore.
This event happens from March 14-18, 2017 so you may still have a chance to participate in the last few sessions if you catch this article early enough; or of course, you can head to Singapore and visit the good chef at his home turf.
The Library at Ritz Carlton KL
The dinner happened at The Library, a dining space that has an ambiance not unlike an extensive classy private library, complete with collection of books with topics ranging from film to art and travel. We were there for fine Sicilian food this time, so I’m afraid the books will have to wait for next round.
a bit of tidbit & bread prior to dinner
We started the night with a glass of sparkling wine, some bread, and a pre-dinner amuse-bouche of salmon with caviar which I thought was perfect to get us ready for what’s coming next.
For this first session of Sicilian dinner, we were also lucky enough to be joined by His Excellency Mario Sammartino, the ambassador of Italy to Malaysia.
amuse-bouche – Ostrica
Then came the first course – Ostrica, or oyster with sherry vinegar jelly, wasabi chips, and Avruga caviar. This amuse-bouche was perfect in opening up the appetite with its refreshing taste and subtle sweetness from the oyster that is perfectly balanced with the slight salty flavor from caviar. Usage of wasabi showcase Chef Lino’s boldness in using contemporary technique and ingredients.
Sanfeletto conegliano valdobbiadene prosecco superior docg was the accompanying wine.
appetiser – Polipo
Appetizer was Polipo, or charred citrus glazed octopus, risone, capsicum, sun dried tomato aioli, chilli, and pistachio pesto.
At the first glance, I thought we were having risotto, but as it turned out it was risone, or a rice shaped pasta that was much smoother, having a more controlled taste and texture that complimented the stronger tasting octopus well.
Vigneti zabu grillo terre siciliane igt was served with this seafood dish.
entree – Capellini con Aracosta
Then came entree, in the form of Capellini con Aracosta, or angel hair pasta, lobster, seafood, and carrot.
This is a deceptively simple looking dish that is again packed with the sweetness of what the Mediterranean sea has to offer. Lobster tail & angel hair pasta are two ingredients I enjoyed, and this combination did not disappoint.
Cecchi orvieto classico toscana doc would be the accompanying Sicilian wine.
main course 1 – Manzo Australiano
There were two choices of main course.
Manzo Australiano would be the Australian wagyu with morel mushrooms and horseradish sauce. Perfectly executed with the meat in the overused “melt in your mouth” texture, but that’s the best description I could give. The sauce was thick, strong, and go surprisingly well with the red meat (this coming from someone who loves his beef with only salt & pepper).
Wine pairing – mazzei zisola sicilia doc
main course 2 – Zuppa di Pesce Gattopardo
Zuppa di Pesce Gattopardo, or the Signature Gattopardo Seafood Stew, would be the other equally worthy option. The stew is packed with several types of shellfish, prawn, as well as fish fillet. This stew is perfect in a cold rainy day, or any day actually.
Wine pairing – vigneti zabu grillo terre siciliane igt
dessert – Cassata
Dessert was a unique interpretation of Sicilian Ricotta Cheese Cake, or Cassata by Chef Lino. The deconstructed dessert was a sweet treat with some strong sourish berries that wakens up the senses a bit, which I thought was nice. We also had some chocolates to go with coffee to end the session.
Sicilian wine pairing option available
This specially curated Sicilian course dinner is priced at MYR 250 with an option of wine pairing at MYR 375 per person. Dinner is served from 7 pm but only available until 18th March 2017.
Chef Lino Sauro
The Library @ Ritz-Carlton Hotel
168 Jalan Imbi,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.146960, 101.715406
Tel: 03-2141 8000
Of the five restaurants recently opened at Isetan The Japan Store’s 4F The Table, Sushi Azabu would be the one that has the most prestige. An offshoot from the Michelin star restaurant from New York, Sushi Azabu promises authentic and intimate dining experience in its 40 seat set up.
Chef Saito, Sushi Azabu at Isetan The Japan Store KL
We sampled a 5 pieces of sushi from Chef Saito Makoto Sam during the launch and came away impressed. So a week after the event, we decided that a proper meal at Sushi Azabu was required.
The course menu here consists of three choices – Koi at RM 120 will get you appetizer, 10 pieces of sushi and miso soup. The Azabu course at RM 220 that promises the following:
- 2 kinds of sashimi
- Palate freshener
- Nigiri 7 pieces
- Maki mono
- Miso soup
Or you could go all out with the Omakase menu for RM 420 and let the chef decides what you should have for dinner. Obviously, we went for broke.
nasu nibitshi – fried eggplant
So these are the dishes we had for dinner on the 1st of March 2017 off the Omakase menu at Sushi Azabu.
Nasa Nibitshi was our appetizer, a deceptively simple dish consists of fried eggplant in some very light broth/sauce and topped with finely shaved bonito flakes. Light with very subtle flavor, it does the job well to leave us wanting for more.
sashimi – kampachi, tai, aji
Next was sashimi in the form of kampachi, tai, and aji; or yellow tail, sea bream, and horse mackerel. The quality was top notch, and somewhat surprisingly our favorite was the horse mackerel. The freshly grated wasabi too was a treat in itself and we wasted none of it.
Chawanmushi was our next dish, the version here is simple, no fuss, but very well executed.
grilled Spanish mackerel
Grilled Spanish mackerel came next, we thought that chewing this together with the pickle yield the perfect combination of flavor that simply explodes in your mouth. This was a very well seasoned traditional dish.
stewed sword fish
Stewed sword fish came next, a dish that is new to me. The fish is topped with a piece of starchy cube that compliments this savory dish quite well, though I felt that perhaps the sophistication of this dish escapes me. Someone with more experience in Japanese cuisine will probably enjoy this more than me.
firefly squid with sweet miso
Then came the cutest dish of the night – firefly squid with sweet miso. A perfect balance of sweet, salty, and savory taste that is further accentuated by the freshness of firefly squid, this was one of my favorite non-sushi dish of the entire course.
The main dish was of course, sushi, and we got ten pieces of these goodness in the form of chutoro, cattlefish, snapper, golden eye red snapper, striped jack, sea urchin, fat tuna roll, and raw prawn.
At Sushi Azabu, they take the guesswork out of eating sushi. Chef Saito expertly apply the perfect amount of soya sauce on each piece, as well as the appropriate amount of wasabi his experience hands deemed worthy of the sea bounty. So you simply just.. eat, no dipping into the saucer or fiddling with wasabi, grated or otherwise.
sushi – chutoro, cattlefish, snapper, golden eye red snapper,
striped jack, sea urchin, fat tuna roll, prawn
The result was an experience worthy of the asking price. Each piece was perfect, and each offers an expression in some of the bests Japan has to offer. We thoroughly enjoyed and if I say I don’t miss it as I am writing this, I’d be lying.
miso soup & yuzu shaved ice
A relatively simple bowl of miso soup with prawn head helped wound us down, and we concluded the dinner experience with a simple dessert of yuzu shaved ice.
menu at Sushi Azabu KL
If you’re a sushi lover, this is surely a place to check out. I think I’m going to be back to try their more affordable menu one of these days.
The Table, Level 4
ISETAN The Japan Store KL
Lot 10 Shopping Mall
Jalan Bukit Bintang
GPS: 3.146462, 101.711758
Tel: 03-2119 2624
A little while ago one of Haze’s aunt from Kepong, who is quite a foodie herself, introduced us to Restoran Penang Corner at Jalan Kepong Baru, just a stone’s throw away from the popular KTZ dessert store.
Restoran Penang Corner at Kepong
The restaurant is more like a road side food court with several stalls than an actual “restaurant” if you will. While there is a roof above you, the “walls” consists of iron grills. That being said, the whole set up is more than sufficient for its purpose, which is to serve authentic Penang style hawker fare.
Penang style curry mee, with coagulated pork blood
I was here for the curry mee, and to be perfectly honest, while it is not as good as the version at Restoran Okay at SS2 or Sun Sea at OUG, it was still sorta decent.
There’s coagulated blood, the chili paste has a strong fragrant from fried shallots, and those cuttlefish and half-raw cockles were great. My only complain is that they replaced good old fashion prawn with meatballs. A bit of sacrilege I thought, otherwise a decent version.
Penang Hokkien mee, or popularly referred to as prawn mee
The prawn mee has a decent base, but yet again there is a bit of a mismatch in the ingredients served.
The soup, chili paste, fried shallots, bean sprout, pork, and eggs were on point, but I thought there should be kangkung instead of fish paste. There should be no fish paste in Hokkien mee. Throw away the fish paste and this is a decent bowl worthy of being called Penang prawn mee.
Penang char kuih teow, with almost-raw cockles
Then there’s the char kuih teow, and luckily over here they got the ingredients all right. There’s prawn, chives, cockles, bean sprouts, lap cheong, and even some lard. I actually quite enjoy the almost-raw cockles placed on top of the dish, if you want it more cooked, simply bake the cockles within the pile of kuih teow for an extra minute.
Over all I found the food in this place to be more than decent except for a few quirks which probably may not irk non Penangites much. I’ll be trying their kuih teow soup next time I’m there.
Restoran Penang Corner
Jalan Kepong Baru, Kepong
52100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.206880, 101.644220