I think it’s safe to say that Japanese food is one of my favorite cuisine when it comes to heading out to a proper restaurant. In fact, this is the 100th entry on Japanese cuisine on this space – and for this occasion we head to Bangsar and look at Hana Tei Japanese Restaurant.
Hana Tei, Lucky Garden Bangsar
If you’re from Kajang and Cheras area, you may have heard of Hana Tei before. This Bangsar branch is their latest venture into KL city.
Personally, I thought Lucky Garden (the same row with 3 famous kopitiam) is a pretty good location to be at. It is in Bangsar, and parking situation at the area is usually pretty good during dinner time, though lunch can be a bit challenging.
The menu for Hana Tei is actually quite extensive, covering the usual suspects such as sushi, sashimi, to teppanyaki, teriyaki, nabemoto, tempura, as well as rice and noodle dishes. Well, on our review session, we got to sample quite a few of these dishes.
shake sashimi (thick cut salmon)
We started the night with shake sashimi (RM 35), or thick cut salmon. You get 5 pieces of fresh raw salmon at I think at least 1 cm thick. It was glorious. I also do like the fact that they use proper grated wasabi to go with the salmon here. It was definitely a treat.
camembert cheese yaki, gindara foilyaki
Next up was something rather unique – Camembert Cheese Yaki (RM 15). Grilled Camembert cheese with baguette with a side of jam. I thought it was rather interesting and most likely will go very well with some sake.
Then there’s Gindara Foilyaki (RM 48), cod fish with mushroom wrapped in aluminium foil and cooked with a miso soup base. It’s not entirely unlike Chinese style steamed cod except with a Japanese touch & flavor. I thought it was executed quite well.
hana tei beef sushi
If you’re a sushi person, well, here’s some treats for you, starting with Hana Tei Beef Sushi (RM 25). Instead of raw fish like usual, you get Australian striploin with salmon roe and ebiko, all wrapping those sushi rice.
The combination works surprisingly well to be honest, I love the contrasting taste between the savory beef and the freshness and slightly salty nature of ikura.
foie gras sushi, hotate maki spicy sauce
Then there’s also the one of a kind Foie Gras sushi (RM 28). This is probably one of the cheaper ways to experience foie gras, and foie gras never disappoint. I can have 5 of these for breakfast if I get my way! I shouldn’t, but I want to!
If you’re a fan of scallop and spicy food, you can find that strange combination in Hotate Maki Spicy Sauce (RM 35). The roll comes with quite a big chunk of scallop in each of them and covered with this hot sauce that really gives the dish a kick. You definitely don’t need any wasabi for this.
I don’t often accept reviews to cafes since there are really a dime a dozen out there, and for the most part, I like my street food & higher end restaurants (especially when I get to eat for free), but when Sue msg and told me about the Korean-run Table 9 Cafe & Kitchen at Bangsar, I thought why not?
Table 9 Cafe & Kitchen, Bangsar Jalan Telawi 3
As mentioned, the restaurant is slightly different from your run off the mill mid-market cafe with a proper kitchen. Eve, our host and co-owner, is Korean, and her partner, who is in charged of coming up with the menu, is another Korean. So while the menu may not try to claim that they are any different (and they don’t actively advertise it), Table 9 is actually pretty unique in its offering.
Well, for one, they actually have bingsu in their menu, but more on that later.
proper latte is always a good thing to have at a cafe
Any cafe worth its salt should be able to serve up a good cup of coffee, and in this regard Table 9 did not disappoint. The latte was as good as any I’ve had, no complaints from yours truly.
Table 9 Breakfast, with French Toast
Our first dish was the Table 9 Breakfast (RM 25) with optional French Toast (additional RM 1), and I think the French toast option is a must, they were so fluffy and just so.. good! The scrambled egg was top notch too. Other ingredients did not disappoint either, though I thought the sausage was rather average.
rosemary chicken Caesar salad, carbonara di cipolla in bread bowl
If you’re a salad sort of person, the Rosemary Chicken Caesar Salad (RM 24) is an option. It has romaine lettuce, cherry tomato, properly grilled chicken breast, cheese, but also a Caesar salad sauce that’s unlike any I’ve had, it’s rich and spicy, yes, it is spicy in a .. Korean sort of way. I do find it interesting and kinda like it.
We also try the Carbonara di Cipolla (RM 25) with optional bread bowl (RM 4.50), if you like cream pasta, you’d not be disappointed. Eve told us that in Korea, bread bowl with pasta is quite a common option anywhere. I think this can easily feed two pax who do not have huge appetite.
Caprese pasta with mozzarella, baked zucchini
Caprese (RM 29) is my favorite dish of the day, it’s a quite a simple tomato base pasta with mozzarella and truffle oil, and I thought the truffle oil adds quite a bit to the dish, and those big chunks of mozzarella , yums!
If light breakfast is your thing, baked zucchini (RM 19) with cheese and tuna may fit the bill. Perfect for those looking for low carb options, perhaps.
gorgonzola & maple panini, pizza jalapeno
Gorgonzola & Maple Panini (RM 22) is one of Eve’s favorite dishes in this restaurant, and it’s not hard to see why. The sandwich is savory and sweet in the right combination. With the side of fries, this makes for a full meal.
And as if we’re not totally stuffed by then, Pizza Jalapeno (RM 22) was served. This was a spicy pizza, thin, and they sure didn’t skim on the cheese, again it did not disappoint.
They have 8 different bingsu, or Korean shaved ice dessert here, with the weirdest of all being the tomato bingsu (RM 15), so naturally that’s what we ordered. The ice certainly milky and fully, and the tomato puree poured on top did make it that much more interesting. A little weird at first spoonful perhaps but you do get the hang of it, I liked it very much.
KY, Haze, & Eve the Korean co-owner
Overall I thought it was a very good brunch session at Table 9, with most of the dishes belong to the category of “I’d definitely won’t regret ordering”. We now know where to go for a good meal with a sweet bingsu ending.
The weekends before heading up to Mt. Kinabalu (will post that entry soon), we had the good fortune of having a proper French dinner at Rendez-Vous.
Rendez-Vous Traditional French Restaurant at Bangsar
Situated at Lorong Maroof, the tagline for Rendez-Vous is “Your traditional French restaurant in Bangsar”. The restaurant does not pretend to be a fine dining establishment, but at the same time they do run it the “proper” way, utilizing imported ingredients in Chef Benjamin’s creation of succulent, seasonal dishes, maintain a comprehensive wine list, and having well trained staffs.
like all good meal, we started off with a simple amuse bouche
Impressively, they manage to do this at a price point that is accessible to most, with the three-course menu starts at RM 69 (four-course RM 115, five-course RM 159). Main dishes are priced from RM 36 (stuffed chicken) to RM 89 (ribeye), again, rather reasonable.
cocktails, and “Meli-melo de rillettes de poisons”
Our first starter for the night was “Meli-melo de rillettes de poisons” (RM 23), or duo of seabass and tuna mousse served with baguette and crostini bread. I’ve had tuna mousse before, but seabass was my first, and I must say the lighter and more refine taste works out pretty well in this.
We also had a couple cocktails to get the mood flowing. If you have specific preference, do tell the in-house mixologist as he’ll be more than happy to customize a cocktail to your taste.
“Escargots a la Bourguigonne”, Narrow Valley Souvignon Blanc
Second starter was the snails with parsley and garlic butter sauce in vol au vent, or “Escargots a la Bourguigonne” (RM 28). This doesn’t come with any shells (they’re recycled shells at any restaurants anyway) and the garlic butter sauce gives the snail meat a really smooth and buttery texture which was really complete with the Souvignon Blanc pairing with its contrasting mild acidic taste.
“Foie Gras de Canard”, Porto Cruz Tawny
Then there was “Foie Gras de Canard” (RM 48), or duck foie gras de terrine, port wine and spices, mushrooms flavours. We had this with Porto Cruz tawny, a sweeter drink that complements the really rich starter pretty well. I though the bits of smoked duck breasts adds to the complexity of the dish and break the monotony of those blended liver.
“Fillet de daurade en croute”, Colombelle Coeur de Gascogne wine
We shared a couple different main dishes between the two of us, starting with “Fillet de daurade en croute” (RM 58) or seabass filet, creamy carrot puree and avruga caviar, citrus vinaigrette. The fish was cooked just right those caviar really does add a dash of luxury to the dish. I did enjoy having the citrus with the fish more than I thought I would, quite a bit of revelation really.
We had another glass of wine to pair with our main dishes, but I’d be lying if I tell you I know anything about.
“Poulet façon cocotte” – stuffed chicken w French mash potato & creamy mushroom
The 2nd main dish was their cheapest on the menu – “Poulet façon cocotte” (RM 36), or stuffed chicken, French mash potato and creamy mushroom. I was rather curious on how they manage to prepare the chicken into a big ice hockey puck shape, but it was easy to eat. The poultry was quite moist and succulent. It is a modest dish but one that is more than decent if you’re not into fancier dishes.
Other main dishes available here includes pork belly, pork blood sausage, braised beef chunks, pan seared lamb, and a few other fish dishes.
Fromages – Seasonal selection of French cheeses, Bonpas Côtes du Rhône
We bridged the main dishes and desserts with a selection of cheese (RM 29 small, RM 46 big platter) to go with Bonpas Côtes du Rhône. If you’re a cheese lover, you’d definitely enjoy this, the brie was really soft and rather strong, but my favorite was the blue cheese, positively pungent and really really strong. It’s a bit like durian, you either love it or you despise it.
“Delice au chocolat et caramel”, “Tarte au citron meringue”, Le Contesse Prosecco di Treviso Extra Dry
By the time we reached desserts, I’ve already had way too much alcohol & food in me, but we were still presented with two plates of beautifully crafted dishes it was tough to resist.
“Delice au chocolat et caramel” (RM 22) was as expected, rich, smooth, and not overly sweet, while the “Tarte au citron meringue” (RM 17), or lemon tart with hard and soft meringue was perfect if you don’t want something overly heavy to end the night. The tart was quite light and fluffy.
Haze & KY at Rendez-Vous, Bangsar
If you haven’t had proper French cuisine due to price or you’re not one of those who likes to dress up for a fancy fine dining meal that lasts 3 hours, Rendez-Vous is a place you need to check out.
Paradise Group, originally started in Singapore, has been making inroads to the local Chinese restaurant scene as a worthy competitor to the likes of Dragon-i and Din Tai Fung. Definitely a good thing if you ask me.
Last week, I had the chance to sample their Hakka Poon Choi (盆菜), a limited-time CNY special at Paradise Dynasty, Bangsar Village II. The session was organized by HungryGoWhere Malaysia.
Paradise Dynasty at Bangsar Village 2
My previous experience with Paradise group was at Paradise Inn, Sunway Pyramid. While Paradise Inn serves some of the best double boiled soup, classic tea, and desserts along side Chinese dishes, Paradise Dynasty concentrates on northern and southern Chinese cuisine with an innovative touch. There are dishes you find in one but not the other, though there are certainly many that overlaps.
The kitchen is only separated by a few pane of glasses from the public, where you can observe the crafty chefs preparing xiao long bao (小龙包).
modern interpretation of xiao long bao, hot and sour soup
We started the night with their signature 8-flavor xiao long bao (RM 24++). They come in multitude of colors with each consisting different ingredients in them.
original (translucent white)
foie gras (orange)
black truffle (black)
crab roe (light orange)
minced garlic (grey)
I tried the black truffle, foie gras, and ginseng variety and found them to be pretty unique and rather well made. While the foie gras/truffle tastes weren’t particularly strong, you can still tell what they are even if eating with your eyes closed. A little gimmicky, yes, but one that works for me.
The hot and soup soup was thick and quite flavorful, though I’d prefer it to be slightly more spicy. I’m glad that this soup that was impossible to find just a few years ago is now quite common in Malaysia, it was one of the dishes I missed from US.
Hakka poon choi, this is what we’re here for
Then came the poon choi, (RM 388++ for 4-6 pax, RM 688++ for 8-10 pax) and what a handsome dish it was. The dish is served in a clay pot to retain heat, and we were explained that since the dish comes with thick abalone broth, having a heat source underneath the pot would burn the dish, which isn’t going to be a good thing.
how many ingredients can you spot here? there are 16 in total
There were 16 different ingredients in all, including abalone, goose feet, fish maw, sea cucumber, fresh scallop, prawns, dried oysters, mushroom, brocolli, and more.
We really enjoyed the dish, and my only minor complain was that the goose feet could perhaps be made just a bit softer, but I finished it nonetheless, it was positively wholesome.
By the way, they are also available for take-away.
crab meat with egg white, crystal prawn with salted egg, spicy chicken with dried chili
We also tried their crab meat with egg white and yolk, a pretty unique dish that is made from egg white, yolk, and some seafood but without any crab. However, it ends up tasting a bit like crab meat, which is rather interesting. As explained by the PR person, this dish was invented because the empress wanted to have crab but it was not in season, hence the chefs came up with this to avoid a head/neck separation incident. I don’t know how true is this but it does make a good story.
The other two dishes we sampled were crystal prawn with salted egg that was good enough to eat with shells and all, and a spicy chicken with dried chili dish (辣子鸡) that I can’t seem to stop putting in my mouth (only I wish there was beer).
KY & May Ying, with HungryGoWhere users and more
Address: Paradise Dynasty Lot 2F-17, Level 2 Bangsar Village 2 Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.13071, 101.67146 Tel: 03-2201 7022
For the best Indian food, it usually takes an Indian to introduce. Not too long ago, over a Friday lunch hour, my most awesome colleague Latha took us on an LRT ride and brought us to Sri Ananda Bahwan restaurant for a taste of what she regards as one of the best naan and chicken tandoori in town.
Sri Ananda Bahwan at Bangsar, just behind the LRT station
Conveniently situated right behind the Bangsar LRT station (you can walk through menara UOB to get there), Sri Ananda Bahwan offers nasi kandar, naan, tandoori, thosai, roti, chapati, and more. While there’s only one Sri Ananda Bahwan in KL, they are actually a chain from up north, with over half a dozen restaurants in Penang, Kedah, and Ipoh.
normal naan with tandoori chicken, delicious
After the first visit, Haze and I went there again a couple weeks later, for the two of us, we ordered naan with tandoori chicken and naan with chicken tikka masala.
The naan had that very welcoming aroma, and the dishes were served with proper condiments in mint chutney, curry, lime, onion, tomato, cucumber, and another chutney I can’t name. Both the tandoori chicken and chicken tikka masala was some of the bests we’ve had, exquisite taste that rivals those from “proper” Indian restaurants.
I had chicken tikka masala, fantastic
We were seated at the air conditioned section of the restaurant (always a plus), and for a change, it is actually clean and comfortable, not an environment you usually associate with mamak outlets.
The bill came to RM 24.10 with a teh tarik and milo ais. Not exactly the cheapest lunch option but one that is plenty good and definitely worth it in my opinion.
Address: Sri Ananda Bahwan No.26, Jalan Bangsar Utama 1, Bangsar Utama, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.12821, 101.67818 Web: srianandabahwan.com Tel: 03-2284 4170