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Tucked right next to the Philippines embassy and just a stone’s throw away from Pavilion and the KLCC Convention is Maison Francaise, an elegant French restaurant situated in what was formerly a bungalow.

Dining area is separated in a few areas that used to be patio, living room, pool side, and so forth. Art works, white tablecloths, leather seats, fresh flowers; decoration is simple yet classy.

Maison Francaise at Changkat Kia Peng
Maison Francaise at Changkat Kia Peng

Being at the less glamorous of KLCC area has its benefits, you can get here without having to go through any traffic bottle necks, and you never have to park your car more than a few steps away from the restaurant.

While dinner session is usually pretty busy, as the manager and chef mentioned, Maison Francaise is usually pretty quiet over lunch. So for this session, we sampled the lunch set priced at at RM59++ for 2-courses or RM75++ for 3-courses.

amuse bouche came in the form of in-house smoked salmon
amuse-bouche came in the form of in-house smoked salmon

Even though it is a set lunch, we still started out with amuse-bouche, a bite size pre-appetizer selected and prepared by the chef. The in-house smoked salmon isn’t anything fancy, but carries a delicate smoky taste which we like.

duck pate, home-made mushroom soup
duck pate, home-made mushroom soup

The lunch menu may change from time to time and usually carries a couple different options for each course.

Appetizer was between duck pate with truffle and walnut dressing and mushroom soup finishing with truffle oil and whipping cream.

The pate, with its inclusion of walnut dressing, is a little drier than your normal pan-fried duck liver, and should delight fans of this appetizer. Mushroom soup was beautiful, creamy, and those truffle oil really gave it an extra dimension which we love.

leather jacket with green olive & garlic, slow cooked beef angus
leather jacket with green olive & garlic, slow cooked beef angus

Main course was either fish or beef.

The fish option was leather jacket with green olives and garlic, braised fennel. The seasoning was perfect with accompanying vegetables positively enhanced the seafood.

The slow cooked Angus beef, an “oyster blade” cut, is meticulously prepared in seven hours cooking. The result is a piece of meat that’s so tender you can cut it with just using the fork. The flavour of the meat is not lost, and the supporting cast of root vegetables complimented the dish beautifully.

raspberry mousse temptation
raspberry mousse temptation

To conclude the lunch set was the dessert in the form of raspberry mousse temptation, a cacophony of sour, sweet, and very rich creamy taste. I particularly like the tiny bulbs of raspberry “bubbles” that pops in your mouth.

Haze & KY at Maison Francaise
Haze & KY at Maison Francaise 

Maison Francaise is a pork free establishment that carries a good wine and champagne selection, the restaurant also serves liqueurs and espresso coffee.

I want to go back again.

map to Maison Franciaise at Changkat Kia Peng

Address:
Maison Francaise
5 Jalan Changkat Kia Peng 
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.151256, 101.715215
Tel: 03-2144 1474, 019-243 1200
Webmaisonfrancaise.com.my

One of the trickiest issues pertaining opening a restaurant must be choosing a name for it. At The Steakhouse at Changkat Bukit Bintang, they took the easy way out and gave it the most straight forward name there is.

Fortunately, making up for what is lacking in the name, The Steakhouse manages to express pretty good creativity in the dishes we sampled last week over a food review session. We were left with a rather positive note.

The Steakhouse at The Whisky Bar, Changkat Bukit Bintang
The Steakhouse at The Whisky Bar, Changkat Bukit Bintang

The Steakhouse is located at perhaps the busiest street at night in KL that is Changkat Bukit Bintang. With a capacity of 40 pax, the restaurant is tastefully decorated and provide good privacy for discrete couple dining while able to accommodate slightly larger groups as well.

Service is swift with knowledgeable staffs, and I really like the ambiance there. Of course, we were on an invited food review, so your mileage might vary in this aspect.

Anyway, lets get on with the food!

deluxe chilled seafood mountain
deluxe chilled seafood mountain – lobster, oyster, tiger prawns, tuna sashimi

The session started off with a bang. The Deluxe Chilled Seafood Mountain (RM 158) is a pretty impressive dish, recommended for 2 pax sharing (I think you can easily share this with 4 pax), this big bowl of gastronomic dream comes with half lobster (Maine), tiger prawns, fresh oyters, and tuna sashimi. The seafood were fresh and the lobster especially delicious. Three types of condiments came with it, but they’re plenty good enough to consume as is.

beef carpaccio, shrimp cocktail, air dried Spanish beef ham
beef carpaccio, shrimp cocktail, air dried Spanish beef ham

Following the seafood mountain, we have a host of other appetizers, most of which make excellent beer/wine/whisky companion. We had some red wine to go with these.

Beef carpaccio (RM 32) came with capers and thin slices of parmesan cheese, the taste reminds me of good quality tuna, and the portion is ample to go around.

Shrimp cocktail (RM 28) came with three very good size tiger prawns. I must say that perhaps the oversized prawns dictates that they be cooked more thoroughly, and thus the texture was a bit tougher than what I expected. I probably prefer it to be smaller.

Air dried Spanish beef ham (RM 38) had me fooled, for a moment I thought it was my beloved Parma ham with rock melon. Excellent pork free substitute, those who never try Parma ham due to preference or religion restriction must order this dish.

pan fried duck foie gras, escargot
pan fried duck foie gras, escargot

Pan fried duck foie gras (RM 42) was executed with perfection, while not from the (often higher quality) goose, I really find no fault in this dish. Ciki agrees.

Escargot (RM 32) comes in half a dozen per portion and baked with garlic herb butter. Those who sampled find it commendable.

caesar salad with duck breast, scottish smoked salmon, baked portobello mushroom, lobster claw
caesar salad with duck breast, scottish smoked salmon, baked portobello mushroom, lobster claw

Caesar salad (RM 26) here is a slightly more luxury affair than usual with the addition of smoked duck breast. The addition of meat really brings out the flavor of this otherwise rather plain salad.

Scottish smoked salmon (RM 32) isn’t any different from what you usually get from Japanese restaurants, though I find myself looking for wasabi and soya sauce, which is logically absent from a place like this.

I absolutely love the huge portobello mushroom (RM 26), baked with spinach and seafood. What I really want is someone to start making portobello burger with one single massive mushroom as the patty like what I had back in Cincinnati yonks ago, instead of the common version here with many tiny mushrooms.

mashed, chips, and sauteed potatoes
mashed, chips, and sauteed potatoes

Steak comes with a choice of potato on the side. At Steakhouse KL, the choice is between mash, fries, and sauteed potato. Pick either and you won’t be disappointed, but if you chose the fries, you’re going to wonder if this was the recipe McDonald’s had when you are a little kid, they’re fantastic!

chilled & aged Black Angus rib-eye, tenderloin, and striploin, medium rare
chilled & aged Black Angus rib-eye, tenderloin, and striploin, medium rare

And finally, after all sampling almost all the appetizers on the menu, we moved to the beef. Steakhouse serves chilled & aged Black Angus, and chilled Australian grain fed beef. The cuts available are medallion, tenderloin, rib-eye, striploin, and T-bone (only the latter). These are priced from RM 68 (grain fed striploin) to RM 108 (750g of grain fed T-bone).

We sampled tenderloin, rib-eye, and either striploin or medallion. The meat were perfectly prepared and properly rested before being served. It was juicy and full of flavor. I had quite a bit despite stomach being rather filled with the appetizers.

For those who likes their beef with sauce, there’s black pepper, red wine, mushroom, bearnaise, and BBQ sauce to go with. On top of that, there are also five different types of sea salt to season your steak with.

classic Italian tiramisu, baked cheese cake, ice cream, cheese platter
classic Italian tiramisu, baked cheese cake, ice cream, cheese platter

By the time we finished the beef, I was stuffed, but of course, the girls always have a different stomach for desserts, so our hosts brought us some.

Classic tiramisu looked messy but passed the taste test with flying colors. Baked cheese cake is suitably rich. Ice cream came in tall cocktail glasses with at least 5 variations to choose from. There’s also a decent cheese platter for those who insist on another product from cow.

chocolate fondue at the Steakhouse KL
chocolate fondue at the Steakhouse KL

Last but not least, there’s also more than decent chocolate fondue for that touch of romanticism, perfect for those who brought a lady who they want to impress. Reminds me of that time when I did the same at KLCC, sadly that place is defunct.

we certainly had a great time at the Steakhouse
we certainly had a great time at the Steakhouse

We went away rather impressed at this outlet in Changkat. Competition at this street is always tough, but I believe the food here speaks for itself and believe that it’ll be one of the longer serving tenant here.

map to the Steakhouse KL

Address:
The Steakhouse KL
No.48, Changkat Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.14748, 101.70822
Tel: 03-2143 2268
Hours: 5pm to 11pm daily

And we did it! The largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the whole Asia happened right here at Changkat Bukit Bintang with a total of over 10,000 people turning up for the event, painting the entire street and bars with a sea of green.

I was there, and I hope your St. Patrick’s Day was as eventful as the one we experienced.

St Patrick's Day at Changkat Bukit Bintang, getting started
St Patrick’s Day at Changkat Bukit Bintang, getting started

Amazingly, we is only the 6th installation of Guinness St. Patrick’s festival here in Malaysia, and we are already on top of Asia. Perhaps in a few more years we’ll have it as big as the big boys over at Europe and America.

Suan, FA, and myself arrived at the scene pretty early to beat the crowd (and to allow ourselves to have more Guinness, of course), and things are already starting to get busy by around 6+ in the evening. The street was blocked from traffic, and everywhere was decorated black and green.

plenty of friendly servers on stand by
plenty of friendly servers on stand by

I give credit to the event organizer for hiring plenty of help for the event. Friendly servers everywhere, and most importantly, Guinness stands being set up right along the street at practically every 10 meter or something. There were tables and chairs on the road as well.

It was everything you’d need to have a good time, and more.

looking the concentration Huai Bin has
looking the concentration Huai Bin has. Robb was there too

A bunch of us also dropped by Arthur’s Lounge (converted from Frangipani for the day) and got to try pretending to be a waiter and pour a perfect pint (in which we got to drink right after).

Check out the level of concentration on Huai Bin’s face in doing just that!

and that's how you pour a perfect pint
and that’s how you pour a perfect pint

We then proceed to go upstairs and hanged out a little while our personalized Guinness mug was being prepared, and best of all, there were food served as well. Little servings of salmon on bruschetta, meatball on toothpick, spaghetti in a soup spoon. You know, those tiny fine food, which went well with the beer, of course.

and the party is on, full blast
and the party is on, full blast

All these while, the party right outside was going on full blast. The parade with clowns, stilt walkers, Irish dancers, and lots of other entertainers.

As I was chilling with some of my colleagues from four other countries, the Guinness bikers strolled by with their Harleys, instantly triggered a flood of flashes as party goers were eager to take photos of them. (by the time I got out from the bar, they were gone, garhh.)

HB, Suan, FA, Michael, Marcky, and more!
Huai Bin, Suan, FA, Michael, Hitomi, Marcky, yes we obviously had fun.

At the other end of Changkat was a stage where you can near laughter from the crowd as you go nearer. That’s where the comedians were at work. Serena C and Prem were on the scene hosting the entire event, it was really a massive party.

And then the fireworks came on, and the crowd literally went wild with their cameras. Good times!

some fine folks from all around too
some fine folks from all around too

So that pretty much summed up my St. Patrick’s Day. Good beer, great time, and even better company. How was yours?

If you’ve missed the big one at Changkat, there are still a few upcoming Guinness St. Patrick’s celebration for this year yet!

  • Ipoh Garden East, Ipoh – 24th March 2012
  • Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuching – 24th March 2012
  • SOULed OUT, Sri Hartamas – 22nd & 29th March 2012
  • Backyard, Sri Hartamas - 29th March 2012
  • Jonker Street, Melaka - 31st March 2012
  • Pelita Commercial Center, Miri – 31st March 2012

Several weeks ago I braved the rush hour traffic and got myself to Changkat Bukit Bintang, a place I wouldn’t normally go during rush hours thanks to the horrible traffic situation and exuberant parking fees. That night, however, I had an invitation from Racks Bar & Baby Backs for a food review session.

More importantly, there was promise of good pork, and a lot of them.

Racks at Changkat Bukit Bintang
Racks at Changkat Bukit Bintang

The setup at Racks is much like many other bars and eateries at Changkat Bukit Bintang – hip interior, a bar stocked full of all sorts of alcohol, alfresco as well as airconditioned dining area, and decorated by expatriate diners.

If the decoration of this place brings a sense of deja vu to you, it was probably because Racks is run by Paul James, the guy who is also behind The Magnificent Fish and Chips just a few doors down.

pigs in blanket, oyster with ham, peaches and parma ham
pigs in blanket, oyster with ham, peaches and parma ham

Anyway, lets look at the food.

We started out of course, with some pork laden appetizers. Pigs in blanket (meat in prosciutto, RM 24), oyster with ham (seafood in prosciutto, RM 32), and peaches with parma ham (peaches n parma RM 22).

All three involves parma ham, and all delicious in its own way. My favorite was naturally, the raw oyster which carries a punch with those pepper. The combination with the saltiness of parma, hotness of paper, and freshness of oyster worked well. Beats oyster with lemon anytime.

cold cuts platter
cold cuts platter

This cold cuts platter promises plenty of meat with jam, in house mustards, pickles, and freshly baked bread for the price of RM 54. The dish reminds me of the cold cuts I had at El Meson in Bangsar, but instead of the more common winter melon, the pairing of jam, mustard, pickles, and bread makes for very good light meal with beer.

Supper anyone?

molotov shooters, a happy Huai Bin, and "illusions"
molotov shooters, a happy Huai Bin, and “illusions”

Then the alcohol came out.

There were more Molotov shooters (a dozen for RM 200) than there were people on the same table, bad idea. This stuff was very potent and of course I only had one, Huai Bin, HorngMichael, and Gareth were there to make sure nothing is going to waste.

We also had a rack of Illusion, a mixture of Midori melon, pineapple juice, and vodka. I actually find this quite tasty, a taste of festivity, almost.

Asparagus under prosciutto
Rack’s Big Bad Sandwich, Asparagus under prosciutto

The last of appetizer was aspagarus under prosciutto (RM 22), a pretty common combination. I often make bacon & asparagus, but parma ham makes an even better combination, and perhaps slightly healthier.

The main courses came next, we first tried Rack’s Big BAD Sandwich (RM 26) – BAD stands for back bacon, avocado, and dried tomato. I’ve never had sandwich with avocado, but the mixture actually works, the buttery taste of avocado goes well with savory bacon and the acidity from dried tomato.

pork burger, pulled pork burger, and hot & spicy pork ribs
pork burger, pulled pork burger, and hot & spicy pork ribs

Then there’s the standard pork burger (RM 28) with smoked back bacon, pork patty, dried tomato, smoked bacon, and even ahem, vegetable. This was as delicious as it was difficult to eat. Prepare to make a splendid mess.

Pulled pork burger (RM 28) might be a Boston’s favorite, but it doesn’t work with me. I’m not a big fan of the drier texture on the meat, but your mileage might vary.

marmalade sweet and spicy pork ribs
marmalade sweet and spicy pork ribs

Then there were of course, the ribs, after all ,this place is called Racks Bar & Baby Back for a reason.

There’s the more typical hot & spicy ribs, and then there’s the marmalade sweet & spicy pork ribs (RM 52 full rack, RM 32 half rack).

I wasn’t too crazy over the coleslaw, but the ribs were fantastic! Absolutely full of flavor and the meat falls off the bones easier than skimpy cloths from Las Vegas strippers. You gotta try this for yourself, if you think the photo of the ribs look good, it tastes at least twice as well!

the hungry diners, and the 3 servers at Racks
the hungry diners, and the 3 friendly servers at Racks

And just like The Magnificent Fish and Chips, this outlet is another one worth visiting at Changkat. The food is good, prices are in line with other restaurants at the area, and services are commendable too.

It was a good night with great company, and bless those pigs too, they were delicious.

map to Racks at Changkat Bukit Bintang

Address:
Racks Bar & Baby Backs,
18-1, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.147581, 101.707934
Tel: 03-2110 1550

Before heading to this somewhat ridiculously named restaurant for my last review on Guinness-infused Christmas main course promotion, I was a little apprehensive and thus I did a bit of research online. The reviews are certainly positive for The Magnificent Fish and Chips, so I brought Cindy of MDG fame (I know, overused line) along with me on this particular mission.

The Magnificent Fish and Chips
Magnificent Fish & Chips bar, with menu on the wall

The restaurant is situated at Changkat Bukit Bintang, just directly opposite Gypsy Wine & Bar, and a stone’s throw away from Bermuda & Onion, the other two places I have visited along the stretch of shops that is frequented by more expats than locals.

The owner Paul James is from England and a season ticket holder of Hull City Football Club, a friendly figure who made a quick escape when I tried to take a picture of him, possibly being not comfortable with his almost tragic hairstyle. He explained that all the fish served is from fresh stock except for the Atlantic cod (frozen), and that the name of the restaurant was invented after a particularly heavy drinking night.

The Magnificent Fish and Chips
the little cup Cindy holds is a Guinness miniature glass premium, comes in 4 different designs

The very helpful waiter, Zam, came to our assistance as we sat down, and politely explained that there is no “small” menu available. Everything they serve is written on giant blackboards hung on the walls inside the restaurant, which is not exactly very convenient if you happen to sit alfresco, or upstairs.

I ordered the Guinness steak pie from their Guinness-infused Christmas main course promotion, which carries the following deal you might have read from my previous posts:

  • order a Guinness-infused Christmas main course
  • fill up a voucher with your details
  • tear it in half and give the side with your details to the restaurant to redeem a small pint of Guinness Draught
  • keep the other half of the voucher to get RM12 off 3 pint of Guinness Draught on next visit

Cindy got the grilled butter fish, we also asked for gaujons as appetizer, with the Guinness ice cream and sticky date pudding as desserts.

The Magnificent Fish and Chips
Guinness steak pie, a Guinness-infused dish

The Guinness steak pie comes with a choice of mash potato, chips, salad, or these mini potatos soaked in buttery sauce. The pie itself was steamy hot and cooked with beef of very tender cuts. The taste of Guinness used to make the sauce and beef adds character to it and provide a very appetizing aroma, coupled with the crunchy skin of the pie, it was very delicious. I liked it a lot.

The Magnificent Fish and Chips
grilled butter fish and goujons

Cindy’s chose to have salad with her grilled butter fish. Both the salad and grilled fish is draped with balsamic vinegar, the fish with some black pepper on top too. A healthier choice I suppose, but certainly not lacking in the taste department either. Personally I love balsamic vinegar with salad and never understand the whole fascination on Thousand Island dressing (which is basically mayonnaise and ketchup.)

Goujons is basically a fancy name in French for fish fingers. We had some ten strips of deep fried fish served with tartar sauce and a slice of lemon. They were as tasty as they are hearty and went well with my Guinness Draught.

The Magnificent Fish and Chips
sticky date pudding, Cindy, and Guinness ice cream

For dessert, the Guinness ice cream is a must order item. Just slightly different from the sorbet made by Chef in Black during the event I attended but certainly offering the same character and unique taste of that thin bitterness and caramelized sweetness. Do try it.

The sticky date pudding though, was a bit of a disappointment with too much custard. I wish that it comes with more fruits and ice cream that is a lot more sour too. The message has been conveyed to Paul James and he said they will be working on improving it.

map of Changkat Bukit Bintang
Magnificent Fish & Chips Bar is located along the stretch of restaurants/pubs at Changkat Bukit Bintang

The final bill came to RM 138+ with the steak pie at RM32, butter fish RM28, goujons RM20, a couple drinks, and two desserts. I would say that the price is pretty reasonable considering the fresh ingredients, nice ambiance, and very good service we enjoyed. I have a feeling I am going there again to try out some of their other stuff.

Address:
28, Changkat Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.147749, 101.707209
Tel: 03-2142 7021

Other restaurants running the Guinness-infused Christmas main course promotion reviewed in this blog: