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Category / PJ area

Previously under the Jacob’s Creek portfolio, St. Hugo Wine now stepped out from the shadow and stake its claim as a stand-alone brand, we were invited to the coming-out party held at Las Carretas, USJ.

During the event, we got to sample wines from St. Hugo as well as Jocob’s Creek and Wyndham Estate.

St. Hugo Wine at Las Carretas, USJ Taipan
St. Hugo Wine at Las Carretas, USJ Taipan

Incidentally, I last went to Las Carretas at USJ a little more than 8 years ago. It was the first proper Mexican restaurant I’ve visited in Klang Valley, and I believe I actually had my first taste of margarita there.

I am glad that the restaurant still thrives, and now even spots a branch at Ampang.

Steve Meckiff, Global Wine Ambassador at Pernod Ricard Winemakers
Steve Meckiff, Global Wine Ambassador at Pernod Ricard Winemakers

Our night started out with a variety of appetizer, including mille feuille of tuna spread, baked tartlet of Emmental cheese, and cream puffs. The bite size snacks were good, especially when you had Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir  to wash them down. I like the sparkly’s crisp finish and citrus flavour.

Steve Meckiff, the global wine ambassador at Pernod Ricard Winemakers, then told us about the story of St. Hugo wines, and how it rose to prominence for a brand that started in 1983, relatively young for this industry.

baked Norwegian salmon with George Wyndham Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012
baked Norwegian salmon with George Wyndham Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Our first course was baked Norwegian salmon presented on a robust lemon butter sauce. The fish is paired with George Wyndham Semillon Sauvignon Blanc – 2012.

I’ve always like semillon sauvignon blanc, with semillon giving it that extra fruity taste that goes very well with fish or poultry. The pairing is definitely spot on and  very easy to drink. The fish was expertly prepared and not overly baked either, almost as good as those prepared sous-vide.

crab meat chowder and a sorbet as palate cleanser
crab meat chowder and a sorbet as palate cleanser

Next we had crab meat chowder with Jacob’s Creek Reserve Chardonnay 2012. The chowder simmered in root vegetable and thickened with Idaho potatoes with a hint of aged cherry. I’m not so sure about the cherry part but the chowder was most excellent, something that I can have for breakfast at least twice a week.

The chardonnay has attractive aroma that pairs well with the chowder.

slow cooked grass-fed Australian lamb rack, St Hugo Barossa Shiraz
slow cooked grass-fed Australian lamb rack, St Hugo Barossa Shiraz

Our main course was the slow cooked grass-fed Australian lamb rack, presented with on a ginger and thyme infused sauce that was so irresistible. We tried the St. Hugo Barossa Shiraz 2010 as well as the St. Hugo Connawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 to go with the red meat.

I like the Shiraz with the slightly spicier note, while the Cabernet Sauvignon will suit those who enjoys elegant fruit characters, toasty oak and long, fine tannins. You can’t go wrong either way.

KY, Latha, Evelyn, Dennis, and Steve Meckiff
KY, Latha, Evelyn, Dennis, and Steve Meckiff

It was certainly a most enjoyable wine and dine session, thanks to the good people at Millennium Associates and Pernod Ricard for the invitation. You can find St. Hugo’s wine at major wine retailers.

map to Las Carretas at USJ Taipan

Address:
Las Carretas
No 29 USJ 10/1F
47620 Subang UEP
Selangor

GPS: 3.047943, 101.583163
Tel: 03-5637 3058

For those who loves classic Hokkien dishes, Hua Xing would be a  place you shouldn’t miss. For reasons unknown, I didn’t know the existence of this place until very recently, despite staying rather close to the area and actually visited the police station just across this restaurant for “official business“, furthermore, Sing Kee is also one of the restaurants we frequent.

Restaurant Hua Xing at Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya
Restaurant Hua Xing at Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya

Most of it though, has to do with the location of this place. Situated on the first floor of a fantastically planned shopping strip that is Plaza Seri Setia (conveniently situated behind a row of shop houses), it is but 50 meters from Federal Highway, but well hidden enough that you’d never find Carmen Sandiego if he take up residence in this building.

Anyway, the restaurant has a pretty clean, air conditioned interior, with photos of various dishes plastered on the wall, which was helpful. Food arrived in less than 10 minutes after we ordered, definitely a good thing.

Hokkien braised pork with "alkaline" kuih
Hokkien braised pork with “alkaline” kuih, or Hong Bak in Hokkien

I’m ashamed to be a Hokkien for not having heard about Hong Bak before, and how insanely awesome this dish is. Really fat cuts of pork braised in thick, sinful gravy accompanied with soft “alkaline” kuih. The kuih is like a softer version of char kuih kak’s kuih, and really goes well with the gravy. Of course, those fatty pork doesn’t hurt at all. I love it.

bitter gourd Hokkien mee, potato flour noodle, fried eggplant, rice wine chicken
bitter gourd Hokkien mee, potato flour noodle, fried eggplant, rice wine chicken

Another notable dish here is the fried eggplant. It reminds me of the version at Serai which I loved, both are deep fried, one with sugar (Serai), and another with plenty of garlic. Very delicious and positively addictive, I will order this every time I’m here.

The bitter gourd Hokkien mee is a nice change from the ordinary version which can be a tad “jelak” after having the 2nd bowl. The slight bitterness from the vege neutralize the dark sauce in a positive way, I like it.

Potato flour noodle was a bit of a disappointment for us, a bit too dry for my liking, and doesn’t offer any advantage in taste either.

The rice wine (or actually red yeast) chicken was another old school dish that we tried, it could do better with heavier dose of red wine/yeast thingy but the dish held its own nonetheless. It’d be better with rice, we had noodle, so a bit of mismatched there.

Yuki, Horng, Suan, and KY
Yuki, Horng, Suan, and KY at Hua Xiang, Sungei Way

Over all, the dinner at Hua Xing was a positive one. I believe we’ll definitely head back there again. I only wish that the parking situation is a bit more favourable though.

map to Hua Xing at Sungai Way

Address:
Hua Xiang Restaurant
Lot1-12, 1st Floor, 
Plaza Seri Setia, 
Jalan SS9/2, Seri Setia, 
Sungei Way,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.085874, 101.62023
Tel03-7876 3288
Hours: lunch and dinner, closed on alternate Wednesdays

A couple weeks ago I was invited to PJ Hilton’s Genji Japanese restaurant for a session of food tasting. Genji is in fact one of the older Japanese restaurants in PJ dining scene, having been in operation for some 30 years now.

Genji Japanese Restaurant at PJ Hilton
Genji Japanese Restaurant at PJ Hilton

Thankfully, the interior and furnishing was not the same one since the opening days. The decoration is quite typical of classic Japanese restaurant, simple, classy, and not over the top. For this session, we occupied one of the private rooms with floor seating and sliding doors for that extra feel.

The restaurant is headed by Chef Richard Teoh, a man with vast experience in Japanese cuisine who does not shy away from adding his personal touch to traditional recipe.

Maki Tamago,Chuka Kurage, with Yamamomo and Morokyu
Maki Tamago,Chuka Kurage, with Yamamomo and Morokyu

We started the meal with an appetiser dish specially prepared by the good chef, something that’s usually featured in Omakase Kaizeki meals (RM 300 for 7 course, RM 220 for 5 course menu). We had maki tamago (egg roll with unagi filling), chuka kurage (marinated jellyfish) with yamamomo (mountain berry), and morokyu (fresh cucumber with fermented miso bean).

I love the mountain berry and thought  that the pairing of natto with fresh cucumber somehow worked for me even though I really thought natto is usually quite nasty.

Tokyo salad
Tokyo salad

Tokyo salad (RM 30) came next, a combination of lightly boiled fresh seafood with fresh greens and seaweed. All these is then topped with a home-made sesame sauce that is infused by wasabi, one of Chef Richard’s recipes. I like the mild kick from the sauce that injects extra excitement in this salad dish.

Sashimi/ Sushi Combi
Sashimi/ Sushi Combi

Japanese food isn’t complete without some raw stuff, for this purpose we had the pretty unpretentiously named sashimi/ Sushi combi (RM 240). The selection of seafood in this dish varies, but you’ll usually get salmon, tuna, otoro (tuna belly), sacallop, sea bream, and more. The otoro was absolutely spot on, the sashimi fresh and delicious, with my only comment being that the sushi tends to carry a bit more rice than I like them to have.

The combination is big enough to be shared among 4-5 pax.

Kaizen Mushi - subtle and refreshing
Kaizen Mushi – subtle and refreshing 

Kaizen Mushi (RM 30) represented something from Japanese cuisine which I seldom had – a combination of prawns, salmon, scallop, and mussel steamed with assorted vegetable then served in a light sweet broth. The dish was served with a mixture of ponzu sauce with grated radish, yuzu skin, and a dash of tabasco.

While the sauce itself was quite interesting, it was ultimately unnecessary. The seafood soup was actually plenty good enough to be had by itself, I really enjoyed this dish and thought that it is of pretty good value as well.

Duo Combi - Kaki Chilli Mayo, Gindara Teriyaki
Duo Combi – Kaki Chilli Mayo, Gindara Teriyaki 

Our main dish of the night was duo combi  - kaki chilli mayo and gindarai teriyaki, a dish that’s part of the Omakase Kaizeki menu. The oyster chilli with mayo was an interesting interpretation with a local twist (chilli padi), while the cod fish represented the more traditional Japanese fair. I like them both, but wished that I can have another two servings of those sweet delicious cod.

Chef Teoh, Kelly, KY, Jean, and Azuki Banana Dorayaki
Chef Teoh, Kelly, KY, Jean, and Azuki Banana Dorayaki

We ended the session with azuki banana dorayaki (RM 30), or Doraemon’s favorite dessert with red bean and banana in the middle. A scoop of black sesame ice cream and a couple slices of melon (local) made up the rest of the dessert.

Overall it was a pretty decent dinner, one that sits in the middle-to-high tier of Japanese cuisine in Malaysia, something that is a step above your usual restaurant chains but a tad below some finer Japanese restaurants in Klang Valley.

Thank you Sabrina for the invite.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Genji Japanese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122

Last weekend Kerol decided that chicken and pork should be on the menu for brunch, and hence the lady took us to Hong Seng kopitiam at Seksyen 17 to visit the chicken rice stall with the longest queue.

In Penang, you have nasi kandar beratur, in PJ, we have nasi ayam beratur. The former is halal, this one isn’t.

chicken rice at Hong Seng Seksyen 17, Kerol in queue
chicken rice at Hong Seng Seksyen 17, Kerol in queue

Anyway, the chicken rice stall in Hong Seng is probably the most popular hawker stalls in the whole of Seksyen 17. Business starts at just before 10 am, and by around brunch time, there’s always a long queue right in front. Average queuing time is about 10-20 minutes, and yes, this is a self-served only stall.

roast chicken, roast pork, bbq pork, spicy and sour vege
roast chicken, roast pork, bbq pork, spicy and sour vege, soup

For the three of us, we had a big plate of roast chicken, roast pork, bbq pork, and a side of spicy and sour vegetable.

The chicken was tender and flavorful, the bbq pork (charsiu) was top notch, but the real star of the show was the roast pork (siu yoke). The skin of that siu yoke is a work of art, crispy yet doesn’t break your teeth, with the pork quite subtle in taste (not having overpowering 5 spice flavor) but pairs well with their home-made chilli sauce.

the roast pork is a must order here
the roast pork is a must order here

The hot and sour soup though, was mere average, we thought that there’s way too much leafy vege compared to the actual soup, and the spicy taste wasn’t nearly as intense. My favorite version is still the one at Peng Heong Hakka paikut, Klang.

Overall it was a very satisfying lunch, and at RM 10 or so per pax, it is of pretty good value as well.

map to Hong Seng kopitiam at Seksyen 17, Petaling Jaya

Address:
Chicken Rice stall
Hong Seng Restaurant
No. 1, Jalan 17/29,
Seksyen 17,
46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.128289, 101.635371
Hours9.30am to 1pm

Several weeks ago I was invited to sample one of the latest non-halal authentic food joints in PJ at Thai Camp.

I, for one, am happy to see this emerging trend of Thai restaurants that offers pork dishes. Currently, within 15 minutes drive in PJ, we have My Elephant at Seksyen 17, Surisit Thai kopitiam at TTDI, and I’m Spicy at Seksyen 17, adding Thai Camp into the mix is certainly a good news.

Thai Camp is situated next to restaurant Mei Yun, Taman Paramount
Thai Camp is situated next to restaurant Mei Yun, Taman Paramount

Thai Camp occupies just half a shop lot along Jalan 21/1 at Taman Paramount, directly next door to Mei Yun kopitiam that is famouse for it’s lala dishes and Hokkien mee at night (though we found better versions these days at Alisan’s mamak row at PJ SS4).

There are only some 10 tables in the air conditioned restaurant. Interior decoration is simple but offers a conducive dining environment.

Even though the restaurant is fairly small, kitchen is manned by owner’s Thai wife and mother in law who insist on preparing food in traditional way, hence efficiency is something that they are still overcoming. Be prepared to wait for a bit before food is served. Do call in to book and perhaps speak to the owner to avoid disappointment in wait time.

Pla Neung Ma Naw, Thai steamed fish
Pla Neung Ma Naw, Thai steamed fish

We started off with Pla Neung Ma Naw (Thai steamed fish, RM35), steamed tilapia on a bed of Chinese cabbage and soaked in gravy with generous amount of lime, garlic, chili padi, and more. The somewhat light tasting fish combines well with the intense gravy, goes very well with steamed rice.

I can only imagine that this dish would be even better if we have Barramundi instead (though it’ll certainly be more pricey)

Tom Ka Kai (coconut milk tomyam chicken), Moo Ma Naw (spicy pork salad)
Tom Ka Kai (coconut milk Thai chicken soup), Moo Ma Naw (spicy pork salad)

Next up was Tom Ka Kai (Thai soup with coconut milk, RM 18), a departure from the usual tomyam soup that is served at basically every Thai restaurant. The soup has a strong santan flavor and isn’t nearly as spicy as most tomyam dishes. Those who love coconut milk will enjoy this.

Moo Ma Naw (spicy pork salad, RM15) consists of sliced pork with cabbage, fish sauce, lime, garlic, chili padi, and other ingredients, a good substitute for Thai mango salad, both are sourish but this packs a bit more punch in spiciness and porky sweetness.

Phad Phak Ruam (stir fry assorted vege), Phad Kra Pao (roast pork with holy basil & long bean)
Phad Phak Ruam (stir fry assorted vege), Phad Kra Pao (roast pork with basil)

Phad Phak Ruam (stir fry assorted vegetable, RM 15) comes with cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, and some small shrimps for sweetness. The sauce tastes of a mixture of Thai concoction that includes fish sauce. I really liked it, but at the same time also find that the side of shredded raw cabbage on the side (comes with every dish) is a bit unnecessary.

Phad Kra Pao (roast pork with basil, RM 18) turned out to be one of my favorite dishes here. Chopped long bean, chili padi, and roast pork can’t really go wrong.

Kai Yeaw Ma Khra Prao Grob (fried century egg)
Kai Yeaw Ma Khra Prao Grob (fried century egg)

The last dish we tried was Kai Yeaw Ma Khra Prao Grob (fried century egg, RM 18). It was really something that I haven’t tasted before. I’ve had century egg as is, or steamed, but never fried. The treatment gave it a slightly crispy exterior that I thought was pretty interesting, and the deep fried kailan accompanying the dish proved to be a worthy side.

map to Thai Camp, Taman Paramount

We had a rather good dinner at Thai Camp, and I actually went there again a week or so later. This is definitely a more than decent Thai restaurant to visit, but until they improve kitchen efficiency, don’t head there when you’re already very hungry.

At the time of review, Thai Camp hasn’t yet started to serve desserts, but it is something that will come in the future.

Address:
Thai Camp
37 Jalan 20/7
Taman Paramount
Petaling Jaya,
46300 Selangor

GPS: 3.109748, 101.626287
Tel: 012-345 1768
Hours: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

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