I actually first got to know about Suzi’s Corner from Time Out KL food awards in 2011 when it was nominated for the “best of steak” category, and that was when it piqued my interest, a cheap steak place that is recognized to be one of the bests in town among the big boys? I gotta try this.
Suzi’s Corner at Ampang (opposite Ampang Point)
Sure enough, it then took me another two years or so before I found myself wandering around Ampang on the motorcycle trying to figure out a place for dinner before futsal session with my colleague.
Steak isn’t exactly the perfect meal before a cardio heavy sports, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
tenderloin under RM 40, served on a hot plate
Suzi’s Corner is actually a food court, and within it, Steak Hut is the stall that offers somewhat localized Western food. Among the dishes to choose from are lamb chops (RM22), grilled salmon (RM21), chicken chop (RM14), and more.
For a steak lover though, I just had to go with the tenderloin. At RM 34, it’ll be a miracle to find a cheaper version anywhere else.
I’d advise to not have the hot plate, or put the beef aside
I ordered the beef at medium rare, but what came was probably closer to medium. By default, the beef here is served on a hot plate (Malaysians love hot plate), so that probably contributed partly to the meat being slightly overcooked for my liking. I’ll order it rare and to be served on regular plate next round.
A side of fries, bun with butter, and some steamed vegetable came with the dish to complete the meal. Overall it was definitely worth the asking price, and I would not hesitate to go there again.
Is it super awesome beef? No, but Suzi’s Corner definitely manage to satisfy the craving for red meat, at least for a few days. 🙂
Address: Suzi’s Corner 213/26 Jalan Ampang Batu 4 1/2, Jalan Ulu Kelang, 68000 Ampang, Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.158677, 101.748378 Tel: 03-4256 6720 Hours: 6pm to 11pm, closed on T uesdays
The name Kampachi is not foreign to fans of Japanese cuisine in Malaysia, especially to those who gravitates towards the higher end establishments. Starting as restaurants within Equatorial hotels, the Kampachi brand now spread outside from its confine and can be found at several other locations.
The latest branch being at Plaza 33 in Petaling Jaya, and we were lucky enough to to sample the food and drinks at this fine restaurant a couple weeks ago in a private food review session with a few other like minded bloggers.
Kampachi at Jaya 33, check out the sake ball
Right by the side of the restaurant main door hung a ball of something that can be easily assumed as a hive of geometrically evolved species of bee, but is in fact, a “sake ball”. A ball made of cedar twigs traditionally hung over the door of sake breweries to signify new arrival of (high quality) sake to customers.
Appropriate here as Kampachi prides itself in stocking one of the largest selections of Japanese sake, including some hard to find “cult” sakes from exceptional breweries that are made available in Malaysia exclusively by Kampachi.
open kitchen concept, with plenty of wine and sake
Kampachi has certainly spent a lot of effort in creating a very striking interior of the 198 person capacity restaurant. A lot of traditional Japanese materials, such Japanese paper, imported floor and wall tiles, and more are applied in a contemporary way to make up a sophisticated and modern look.
I especially like the bamboo seating pods that can seat maybe up to 5-6 person that can be rotated for added privacy.
In the interest of not bothering paying customers with camera flash & loud chatters, we had the session in one of the three private rooms. Interestingly, these rooms come with a private sushi kitchen of sort, concealed by a movable panel that kinda reminds me of those cabinets that conceal TVs in the 80s.
shima aji sashimi (raw striped jack)
Our review session was of the omakase meal (priced at RM 220), which means “I’ll leave it to you”, or degustation menu in Japanese. Typically you get the freshest seasonal ingredients and chef’s favourite dishes this way.
Our first dish was the Shima Aji Sashimi, or raw Striped Jack.
Chef Looi, who carved the fish right before our eyes behind that private kitchen, told us that the very fish beautifully presented to us was still in Japan the very same morning.
To describe the fish as merely “fresh” would be an understatement. I can’t criticise any aspect of the sashimi – taste, fat content, and visual appeal were all simply spot on.
the sashimi, shake kawa salad (green vege with crispy salmon skin & salmon roe)
Cold sake is dispense from a special holder that keeps ice separate as to not dilute the drinks. While the mechanism is visually similar to milking a cow, you don’t need to squeeze or suck, just a gentle tap will do.
Our second dish was Shake Kawa Salad, green vegetable with crispy salmon skin and salmon roe. I particularly like the very thinly sliced crispy salmon skin, made available from the 2-3 whole salmon consumed here each day.
wagyu teppanyaki (grilled Australian wagyu beef)
Before continuing with more seafood, we were served with Wagyu Teppanyaki, the beef sourced from Australia, grilled medium rare, and served with the unique Kampachi truffle sauce.
The sauce is a blend of Tosa Shoyu and mushroom broth with a hint of black truffle and olive oil. I usually don’t have my beef with any condiment, but this sauce managed to make it just that much better. My only complain is that they don’t sell the sauce in bottles.
unfiltered sake, ankimo beko an (pan-seared angler fish liver with simmered radish)
In French cuisine, foie gras often signifies luxury, and in Japanese food, the equivalent would be Angler fish liver, or Ankimo Beko An.
The liver makes up quite a large part of the fish, has a very rich texture. Simmered radish is used to expertly mask any fishy taste the liver might carry to balance this unique ingredient. This was the 3rd time I had ankimo, first was in Vietnam, and second at Hokkaido Ichiba restaurant.
Following the cold sake, we were served warm, unfiltered sake. The milky color is pretty unique for usually clear looking sake, and yet was definitely smooth and leave a feeling of warmth and comfort in the stomach.
aburi sushi (seared sushi) – anago (conger eel), shake harasu (salmon belly), hotate (scallop)
miso soup with striped jack bones
Three types of Aburi Sushi (seared sushi) were chosen for the night – Anago (conger eel), Shake Harasu (salmon belly), and Hotate (scallop). Each were seared just very lightly and still partially raw at the bottom, the first time I tried sushi prepared this way and I liked it.
Miso soup was made with the bones from our first dish, and the striped jack definitely contributed to the extra sophistication in the soup that would have been quite boring otherwise.
garlic fried rice, Japanese peach, and ciki enjoy the fruits
We specially asked for garlic fried rice just cause Ciki needed some carb for her half marathon preparation, and I was glad to go along with one as well. Most definitely the best garlic fried rice I’ve had, it’s hard to explain, there weren’t any magical ingredients, just plain old rice, garlic, eggs, and such. Execution was the key, great job by the chefs.
Instead of fancy desserts, we had a couple slices of Japanese peach.
These fruits were priced at RM 66 per peach, and “WHAT?!!!??” was my initial reaction. Then I took a bite, and it was a realization and instant understanding on why and how a fruit barely the size of my fist can cost more than 4 hours of solid domestic housework. You get what you paid for, it was excellent and now I’m staring at this piece of apple on my desk while writing this and dreading it.
Haze, KY, and our parting drinks – sake bomb
As for drinks, we started out with the pink colored cocktail – Blushing Maiko (trainee Geisha) to get us started prior to dinner.
After the cold and warm sake, it was a mixture of green tea with Hakushu Single Malt Whisky, interpretation of Baileys the Japanese way perhaps?
We concluded the night with Sake Bomb – shot glasses of sake lined up atop beer glasses and knocked down with Domino effects, it was quite a show and I suspect the bartender has done this a hundred times probably with water and tea before perfecting the skill. We were well impressed, and of course, had one for the road.
It was a great dinner, and I want to go back.
P/S: The famous Kampachi Sunday Buffet is back and now available exclusively at the Plaza 33 outlet, priced at RM 118++ for adults and RM 68++ for children below 10.
Address: Kampachi P1-02, First Floor Plaza 33 Jalan Kemajuan, Seksyen 13 Petaling Jaya, Selangor GPS: 3.10988, 101.63787 Tel : 03-7931 6938 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Hours: 12-3pm for lunch, 6-11pm for dinner
I love me some good steaks, and while we have plenty of awesome affordable good foods in Malaysia, steak isn’t exactly one of them. Good steaks are often rather expensive, and the cheaper ones usually left me thinking if I should have been chewing my shoes instead. Hence, we don’t end up having steaks nearly as often as we want to.
My last steak dinner was at Las Vacas at Kelana Jaya, a restaurant with minimal frill and good steak, and it was also where I found out about El Fresco at Jaya Grocer from Lance & Enoch (hello neighbour!) from feedbacks on facebook and Instagram
El Fresco at Jaya Grocer, pick your meat
El Fresco is located at Subang Empire Mall’s Jaya Grocer, and yes, a restaurant within the big grocery store where the tables and seats are arranged pretty close to isles where you find racks of .. well, groceries.
The concept is simple, go to the meat section (or fish if you want to have salmon steak, for example) and pick your steak, then proceed to El Fresco’s counter and hand the meat over and have them cook it. There is no cooking charge for anything over RM 20, and just like Air Asia, if you want extras, you can always add on (salad, mixed vegetable, fries etc)
Angus tenderloin, one with salad, the other with mixed vegetables
Standard cut for steak is usually at around 250-300 gram here, and prices stated at the butchery is by the kilogram. We chose Angus tenderloin (mid-high in price, RM 189/KG) and each slab cost us just under RM 42.00.
In a way, you can go expensive, or you can go much cheaper as well. Lamb rack at RM 85.90/KG, and beef anywhere from RM 99/KG to RM 359/KG for some Wagyu with good marble ratings.
I like mine medium rare, and they executed it perfectly
I had my Angus tenderloin medium rare with mixed vegetable, and Haze ordered hers prepared rare with salad. While wait time was a little long (25 minutes) when we were there, it actually wasn’t too bad, you can even walk around and shop a little bit in the mean time.
The steak came out excellent and I really liked my steak pure as is and without any sauce or extra seasoning. The meat tender and juicy, and for under RM 50? An awesome value.
The pizzas & salmon steaks from El Fresco looks good too, and I have a feeling we will be back there pretty soon.
Haze and I both knows how to enjoy a piece of good beef, but unfortunately good beef are usually only available at very up class restaurants (such as Prime or Mandarin Grill); and speaking from experience, those from the more affordable places often disappoints.
Then there’s Las Vacas, a no-frill restaurant and retail that offers prime cuts of beef and lamb at very decent price.
Update Nov 2019: Las Vacas is now only at Mont Kiara.
Las Vacas at Kelana Jaya
Las Vacas is basically a meat shop with professionally trained butchers and a kitchen. They stock a wide selection of meat and you can either buy raw to grill at home, or dine in.
There’s Angus, Wagyu, grain fed, tenderloin, ribeye, sirloin, lamb shoulder, and even salami, sausages, and burger patties.
grain fed tenderloin and wagyu ribeye
We went there for the first time a few weeks ago, I ordered a medium rare tenderloin, while Haze asked for her Wagyu ribeye to be prepared rare. Prices of meat is indicated at the display per 100 gram, and normal cut is usually 280-300 grams, though you can always choose a bigger/smaller portion according to appetite.
There’s a cooking fee (RM 15 if I remember correctly) on top of the price of the meat, and you get a small serving of salad (quite forgettable) and a piece of pretty decent garlic bread on the side.
love that my tenderloin was cooked to perfection – medium rare
The meat did take a while to get prepared, and I believe it was because they actually let it sit before serving to ensure they are properly moist. There’s Dijon mustard and A1 steak sauce if you like, but I love my steak as is with nothing but basica salt & pepper seasoning to fully enjoy the unadulterated taste of meat.
The result was excellent, and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Dinner ended up at around RM 180 including a couple bottles of premium carbonated drinks. Pretty reasonable for what we got, will visit again.
Address: Las Vacas No.23, Jalan SS5A/11 Kelana Jaya 47301 Petaling Jaya Selangor, Malaysia GPS: 3.095934, 101.604719 Tel: 03-7874 0711 Web: lasvacasmeat.com Hours: Tues – Sunday, 10am – 10pm
Happy Chinese New Year to everyone and may you have blessed Snake year ahead. Not coincidentally, Valentine’s day is also just around the corner and we had the chance to sample one of the many Valentine’s day menus around town at the Renoma Cafe Gallery at Bukit Bintang the other day.
For those of you who are looking for a romantic night out with love ones, this is a place worth considering. Read on.
Update 11/11/2015: unfortunately this place has since closed
Renoma Cafe Gallery, Jalan Bukit Bintang (by Jalan Delima)
Renoma Cafe Gallery is opened by the very same person that brought you the famous underwear (and fashion) brand, and in fact, this is the second of such cafe in the world, with the first one being at Paris.
The place serves modern Western food with a heavy influence in French cuisine. There’s a dining hall with a stage and live music on weekends, alfresco dining areas, as well as a big private dining room upstairs. Interior decoration is a bit quirky but tastefully done.
Lets get on the 4 course Valentine’s Day menu (priced at RM 388++ for two person) that includes all the dishes described below as well as two glasses of champagne.
consomme of kangaroo island marron; veloute of crustacean & stone crab
The gentleman starts with Veloute of Crustacean & Stone Crab, basically a cream of shellfish with stone crab meat, blue mussel, brown clam and XO chili oil. A pretty hearty way to start out dinner, the soup was delicious and packed with plenty of crab meat as well as shellfish. Just this alone filled up almost 1/3 of my stomach space already.
Consomme of Kangaroo Island Marron is the lady’s first dish and it’s packed boullion of seafood with grilled crayfish, blue mussel, brown clam & petit pois. Crayfish isn’t something you get very often in Malaysia, and it tasted a bit like a cross between crab and lobster. The consomme is a bit lighter in taste but not lacking in character.
earth & ocean (top); surf & turf (bottom)
For the second dish, surf and turf is in store for the guy, while the lady enjoys a dish called earth and ocean.
Surf and turf includes medallion of medium lamb loin & rock lobster, sauteed baby spinach and smoked chili coulis. I love the lamb loin, and I think the shelled rock lobster is something that you can appreciate even just by looking at the photo. Oh, that massive scallop was excellent too!
Earth and Ocean comes with tataki maguro akami, caramelized foie gras pate, chargrilled portobello mushroom and wild berries. The tuna fish was perhaps slightly too done for my liking (but I’m nitpicking), the mushroom soft and full of flavor, and the foie gras pate did not disappoint either. We were quite impressed with the food at Renoma Cafe Gallery by this point.
black Angus tenderloin, wild caught red emperor
For the main course, there’s a choice of black Angus tenderloin or wild caught red emperor.
The beef dish comes with char grilled black Angus beef tenderloin that’s prepared to your choice, pomme dauphine, duck fat baby carrot, and morel ragout. The tenderloin was top notch, with the scallops and shellfish complimenting the beef perfectly.
If the beef was good, the fish was perhaps even better. Oven baked dried sole crusted red emperor, butternut squash puree, nai pak, and salted yolk emulsion made up this dish. The photo might not look like much, but the skin of the fish was really something that you need to taste for yourself. It was crunchy and salted just nice, with the seafood not overcooked. I took a bite and wished I could have the whole dish to myself.
chocolate sunrise; strawberry sunset
The three excellent dishes were then followed by two desserts, again one for the guy and another for the lady.
Chocolate sunrise comes with guanaja chocolate with mango lavender coulis, coffee ice cream and hazelnut crumble. I love the ice cream, but though the chocolate was pretty average, perhaps the other dishes has set too high a standard to keep up.
Strawberry sunset comes with strawberry fraiser mosse cake with passion fruit and mango coulis, raspberry sherbet and praline croustillant. Again, we enjoyed the ice cream a bit more than the other part of the dessert.
KY & Haze at Renoma Cafe Gallery
Overall, I rate Renoma Cafe Gallery pretty high based on what we were served. The place also has lively music and serves a full range of cocktail and other drinks. I’d love to return sometimes to try their other offerings.
If you have a private function, this is also a potential place to check out, but for those who’re looking for a good Valentine’s dinner, if the budget fits, this is a place to go.
Address: Renoma Cafe Gallery Lot 510, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.147212, 101.720814 Tel: 03-2143 9919