KL city has no shortage of places to choose from when it comes to classy restaurants offering quality adult beverages and delicious food, around KLCC and Bukit Bintang area, you’d be spoiled for choice – Mosto Wine Bar & Restaurant is one of such places, and one with a very important distinction compared to the rest.
Mosto Wine Bar and Restaurant, One KL
Located at the ground floor of One KL, the condominium building with the tag line “94 units, 95 swimming pools“, Mosto is a restaurant with almost over-the-top fine-dine style decoration, and fortunately, not over-the-top prices for what it has got to offer.
For me though, the most important distinction this place has is the availability of some dozen or so free parking space right in front of the eatery, something that is rarer than pink unicorn in the heart of the city.
Gran Tegliere Di Salumi E Formaggi
We started the night with Gran Tegliere Di Salumi E Formaggi (RM 99), the fancy name stands for Italian signature cold cuts served with assortedcheeses, honey & house made focaccia bread. The way the prepare this is a bit of a show, with the chef operating a semi-automatic type of meat slicer that churns out those delicious meat & salami with consistent thickness.
The type of cuts you get may vary as it depends on what the restaurant can its hands on. For our session, I particularly like the cut with embedded olives.
Cocktails & Risotto Con Salsicola E Vino Rosso
While we did not have wine at Mosto, we did sample two of their cocktails – Amaro Tonic, and Junglebird (RM 38 each), the former was a more masculine drink with Amaro Montenegro, Prosecco and tonic water, while Junglebird is made from dark rum, campari, pineapple juice, and simple syrup, giving it a sweeter, more fruity taste.
Back to food.
After the cold cut we had the Risotto Con Salsicola E Vino Rosso (RM 48), or Carnaroli risotto with salsiccia & red wine reduction. A comforting food that does well to fill up the stomach in a warm, fuzzy way. I do enjoy the chunks of cheese on top.
Rigatoni All’ Amatriciana
If you are a pasta person, Rigatoni All’ Amatriciana (RM 38) should satisfy, there’s bacon, tomatoes, and pecorino cheese in the dish. It is proper al dente, so if you don’t like your pasta firm to bite like the Italians do, you’d want to specify it to your server.
Pancia Di Maiale; Cassoeula, Verza Maiale E Pollo
Those who know me well would have guessed that Pancia Di Maiale (RM 58) is my favorite dish of the night, and that would be a correct statement. Roasted pork belly with apricot jam, honey mustard & garlic sauce perfectly executed with those super crispy skin and meat/fat layers that were done just right. Love it.
Cassoeula, Verza Maiale E Pollo (RM 78) or slowcook pork prepared in casserole with chicken, pork sausage & cabbage was a dish that I found perhaps packed a bit too much meat of differing texture, giving me a feeling of something with a sort of identity confusion.
Garlic Prawns, Deep Fried Chicken Parmesan
For those who aren’t looking for something to go along with beer or cocktail and not a proper full meal, there is a selection of bar snacks as well. We sampled two from the menu – Garlic Prawns (RM 25), and Fried Chicken Parmesan (RM 19), I can imagine both going very well as happy hour companion dishes for sure.
molten chocolate cake, tiramisu
The dessert menu here isn’t extensive, we tried the Molten chocolate cake (RM 25) and Tiramisu (RM 20). The cake molten chocolate cake was competent, but if I have to pick one, the tiramisu would be the one to go for, they did not skim on the alcohol making this.
Over the years, from business traveling, meeting with friends, and invited reviews, I’ve seen quite a few buffet spreads. Hence, for the most parts, buffet offerings don’t excite me very much.
Then again, the Bubblier Sparkalite 4Cs Sunday Brunch at Intercontinental KL’s Serena Brasserie isn’t just any buffet spread.
Serena Brasserie, at ground floor Intercontinental KL
Heading the kitchen is executive chef Darrell O’Neill, originally from Australia and has since left a trail of presence across the globe in countries such as New Zealand, UK, France, Hong Kong, Dubai, India, Maldives, and now, Malaysia. During his time at restaurant Al Mahara t the Burj Al Arab Hotel Dubai, the restaurant was awarded Best Seafood Restaurant by Time Out Dubai.
this is what we came here for, the Alaskan King Crab
The concept of the Sunday buffet brunch at Intercontinental KL centeres around 4Cs – Crustaceans, Carvery, Chocolate, and Candy.
Crustaceans is what excites us the most, there were Alaskan King Crab, slippery lobster, tiger prawns, and cray fish. Under this “C” also includes catch of the days such as fresh white fish, marinated tuna steaks, oysters, mussels, scallops, salmon, and more.
yeap, bubbly too, and a host of seafood ready to eat
If you haven’t had a chance to sample king crab due to the price, this buffet offers one of the best values. The seafood were fresh, tasty, and most importantly, plentiful. I think I had close to 10 oysters, a departure from norm as I usually don’t get more than a couple, they tasted so good!
cold cuts and little appetizer in shot glasses
The next C stands for Carvery – which basically means cooked meat that are freshly sliced. Here you’ll find roasted whole ribs, prime ribs, roast chicken/duck, and more. Trimmings such as Yokshire pudding, roast vegetable, and baked potato accompany these dishes well.
roast chicken & duck, local delights, and prime ribs too
For those who wants to sample some local delights, they are available too. A good selection of traditional Malay, Chinese, and Indian dishes are available for your picking.
They’ve also set up a BBQ area right outside the air-conditioned dine in section. Here you get freshly grilled lamb rack, chicken tandoori, sausage, baby chicken, satay, and even freshly smoked salmon and “DIY” burger stand with mini-Augus beef sliders and mini-chicken satay sliders.
fruits, a variety of cheese, desserts, and cakes
The third C stands for Chocolate, and of course, that includes a host of other desserts as well. There are Australian lamingtons, chocolate fudge brownies and rocky road, mini Pavlovas, mini fruit trifles, banana and caramel sticky puddings, and more.
I can’t get enough of the Alaskan King Crab and slipper lobsters
Finally, last but not least is Candy. This actually refers to the Sparkalite Kid’s Corner, a section within the restaurant set up to keep kids busy learning the sweet art of making lamingtons and be entertained by the clown. This is a particularly great feature for parents with kids who actually want to have some food in peace.
with Umei, Josen, Haze, Evelyn, Dennis, and Damian
The Sparkalite ‘4Cs’ Sunday Brunch at Serena Brasserie is available every Sunday from noon to 3pm. Brunch is priced at RM 120++ per person, and if you want the free flow sparkling, white & red wine and beer, it’ll be RM 198++. Kids from 6-12 is charged RM 60++ per head.
For the spread that you get, I think the price is more than reasonable, now excuse me while I go get myself more King crabs.
Address: Serena Brasserie
Intercontinental Hotel 165 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.159767, 101.718045 Tel: 03-2161 1111 Web: www.intercontinental.com
A couple weeks ago we were invited to have a food review session at KL Hilton’s Graze, the new restaurant that take over the spot previously held by Senses.
While Graze unmistakeably exudes the same class and standard fitting for the Hilton name, the restaurant is now a lot more approachable to common people with its unpretentious setting and more rational price tags.
Graze at Hilton, taking over Senses, chef Michael Elfwing
Senses enjoyed a pretty successful tenure under Chef Michael Elfwing, but over the years it sort of evolved into a restaurant where most only go there for special occasions. The molecular gastronomy dishes were great, but the cost of ingredients often mean higher price tag on the menu.
At Graze, the menu comprises of classic Western dishes that emphasize on fresh ingredients and seasonal produce. Chicken liver parfait instead of foie gras and suddenly it’s RM 28 instead of some RM 60+. Dishes here are meant for sharing as well, and the atmosphere of a warm and casual group dinner is much encouraged. There is no need to play dress up either.
We sampled quite a selection of appetizers and main dishes for the session, and in the interest of readability I’m going to just list them here.
Calamari Fritti – flash fried squid (RM 28). Crispy on the outside while fresh and juicy inside, perfect with the accompanying mayo that is slightly tangy. Goes well with wine, but I wished we had beer for this.
Smooth Chicken Liver Parfait (RM 28). Really the best chicken pate I tried, it’s called a parfait here thanks to the layer of fat surrounding the liver, served with caramelized apple jam and toasted baguette.
mimolette cheese soufflé with raisins & pine nuts, pissaladiere tart with olives and anchovies
Mimolette Cheese Soufflé with Raisins & Pine Nuts (RM 28). Melt in your mouth goodness. Gotta eat this within 5-10 minutes while it’s all puffed up and fluffy.
Pissaladiere Tart with Olives and Anchovies (RM 28). Very similar to pizzas except the absence of tomatoes in the list of ingredients. Great for sharing, and I like the fact that care is taken in the arrangement of raisins to ensure there’s one in every slice.
onion soup, petit baguette layered with gruyere cheese, goat’s cheese beignets with sweet millet & garden salad
Onion Soup, Petit Baguette layered with Gruyère Cheese (RM 18). One of the three choices of soups at Graze, rich, creamy, and with the proper amount of cheese. Can’t find fault with this.
Goat’s Cheese Beignets with Sweet Millet & Garden Salad (RM 25) – The texture is almost not entirely unlike cream puff, but instead of cream this oozes out goat’s cheese instead. Very rich and packs a punch to the taste bud, the garden salad barely enough to neutralize those cheesy taste, I’m not complaining at all.
steak tartare with hand cut fries, onion jam, tasted sour dough bread
Steak Tartare with Hand Cut Fries, Onion Jam, Toasted Sour Dough Bread (RM42) – The priciest of all appetizers in the menu, but the portion’s really big enough to serve this as a main dish, or at least to be shared between 2-3 person. The dish was beautiful and the beef delicious, it was a shame I can’t have more of it due to all the other dishes yet to be tasted in this review.
roast chicken with garlic & thyme, prime rib steak
After the 6 appetizers (that’s all of them available in the menu) and one soup, it was time to move onto the main dishes. Prices of rice & pastas are at RM 33, with other main courses from RM 38 onwards.
Roast Chicken with Garlic & Thyme, Ruby Roseval Potatoes & Button Mushrooms (RM 42). Half a chicken served on a beautiful pan, just about as unpretentious as it gets. The poultry looked good and tasted even better, remember to eat the garlic too!
Prime Rib Steak (350 gram, RM 188). The most expensive item on the entire menu, for the budget concious there are cheaper options of tenderloin (150g RM 64, 200g RM 74), T-bone steak (300g RM 98), NY cut Sirloin (160g RM 64, 220g RM 74). While it isn’t as fancy as Wagyu, the beef was prepared perfectly and tasted every bit a good prime rib steak should. I like how bare it was as well, without any sauces that gets in the way of a piece of great tasting beef.
Slow Cooked Dorper Lamb Shoulder & Grilled Rack with Parsley Mashed Potatoes (RM 58). Tender, juicy, and I must say, quite a large portion of lamb shoulder as well. This dish should satisfy those who likes lamb, but isn’t exactly special in comparison with other dishes.
Moussaka – Baked Lamb & Aubergine (RM 38). One of the cheapest options in the menu, but certainly doesn’t lack any omph. It tasted a bit like lasagne without the pasta, and I find myself enjoying the combination of lamb and eggplant in this dish.
tortellini of potato & fontina with sauteed escargot & baby spinach, bouillabaisse, sea bream, snapper & lobster with toasted baguette & rouille,
grilled snapper, carper butter, haricot vert & la ratte potatoes
Tortellini of Potato & Fontina with sautéed Escargot & Baby Spinach (RM 33). Generous portions of escargot and those delicious tortellini of potato with Fontina cheese made for a great combination. If you like escargot for appetizer and pasta for main, this can substitute both and pass with flying colors.
Bouillabaisse, Sea Bream, Snapper & Lobster with Toasted Baguette & Rouille (RM 92). A traditional fish stew recipe from south-eastern France, this is one of the more luxurious main dish on the menu, and that is probably due to the addition of lobster in the list of ingredients. Definitely delicious.
Grilled Snapper, Caper Butter, Haricot Vert & La Ratte Potatoes (RM 58). A healthy choice for those who like seafood with minimal fuss. The fish tasted fresh, and condiments matched well.
warm tarte tatin & vanilla ice cream, Graze chocolate tart, lemon tart with fresh berries
Before the end of the night, we also sampled the three different tarts available at Graze (all priced at RM 18). The warm tarte tatin & vanilla ice cream, Graze chocolate tart, lemon tart with fresh berries. My favourite was the warm tarte tatin, which was like a better version of apple pie, and quite impartial with the other choices. Then again, I’m not a huge fan of desserts.
For those who likes to end their meal with cheese, for RM 45 you get access to the selection of cheese from the cheese wall. I’m out of the league when it comes to naming them, but they are delicious and together with a cup of hot coffee, makes for a perfect conclusion to an awesome dinner.
Address: Graze 3 Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.135331, 101.685762 Tel: 03-2264 2592 Hours: 12.00pm – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Favola at Le Meridien KL is pretty synonymous with fine Italian dining, but what’s little known is the fact that they do serve dishes that are not pizza, pasta, or risotto. On the latest visit to one of our favourite Italian restaurants, we tried their beef and lobster instead.
We were told by our hosts to pick our main dishes and soup, while appetizers will be taken care of. I found out that I certainly wasn’t the only person who always over order.
bread to start, creamy mozzarella w beef bacon, buffalo mozzarella cheese
As usual, we were served with some lovely breads to much on while pondering what to pick for dinner. I had to constantly remind myself not to have too much of these whenever I’m at Favola, they were yummy with just a touch of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Soft creamy mozzarella, shaved truffle, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts and beef bacon was the description for Burratina (RM 40) was refreshing, and the crispy beef bacon gave the dish an added dimension.
For cheese lovers, you’ll love Caprese (RM 35), how does marinated trio of tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and balsamic emulsion sounds like? It tasted as good as it sounds, I can use some buffalo mozzarella cheese right now, not overly cheesy, yet soft and creamy. A small pack can be had at Jaya Grocer for about RM 30.
deep fried breaded mozzarella, grilled jumbo asparagus w poached egg, mushroom soup
Fritti Mozzarella (RM 40) has a different take in mozzarella preparation, two generous slabs of buffalo mozzarellas breaded and deep-fried, then served with sautéed mushroom and avocado purée. Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, the skill of the chef is exhibited here by not over cooking the cheese, while still giving the skin that crispy texture.
The most beautiful appetizer of the day was Asparagi alla Griglia (RM 45). Grilled giant asparagus, poached egg, crispy bresaola, brown butter and parmigiano. This was both beautiful and delicious.
cream of clams, sausage, vege in golden pastry; lobster dumpling in clear broth w spinach
For soup, I picked Brodo di Spinaci (RM 35), clear chicken broth with fresh spinach, with lobster dumpling and grated Parmesan. The soup was light, but I felt that the dumpling did not have enough lobster flavour to it. This was the least filling soup I think, a good thing in this case.
Haze had Zuppa di Vongola(RM 40). You could call it an Italian clam chowder, officially it’s cream of clams, Italian sausage, vegetable sofrito and green peas in golden pastries, and you gotta have a big stomach for this. The broth is creamy and quite filling, and tasted pretty good, the only minor qualm was that we wish they’d be more clams.
Zuppa di Fungi Calabrese(RM 35), or assorted mushrooms cooked in milk with garlic rustic bread and Swiss cheese, is always a favourite among diners at Favola. The mushroom soup is one of the best I’ve ever tried, rich but not overly creamy, and absolutely fantastic.
black angus ribeye and grilled angus t-bone steak
OK, now we finally get to the main dishes.
There were two beef dishes on the menu and we tried both of them. Haze and I ordered the grilled Angus T-bone steak (RM 150) with Caesar salad and smoky pimiento butter, while Josen asked for the black Angus ribeye Fiorentina (RM 135) with grilled lemon halves and balsamic vinegar.
The beef were very good, I had mine medium rare, and Haze asked for hers to be served “blue” – which was rarer than rare. While these weren’t quite the standard of Prime (nor the same type of beef), they held their own very well and did not disappoint at all. At this price point, the beef were quite a bit cheaper as well.
ciki and her full baked boston lobster
While we enjoyed our beef, ciki went the other direction and picked the baked Boston lobster (RM 230 full, RM 120 half) that came with spice tomatoes and lemon chermoula with buffalo mozzarella. She was kind enough to share the seafood with us and I’m happy to report that it was indeed excellent.
You can have Maine lobsters for a tad cheaper at Lobsterman, SS2, but of course there won’t be buffalo mozzarella, attentive servers, or ambiance anywhere near the standard of Favola.
risotto with pan seared sea scallops, home made pasta with prawns, chili, garlic, parsley
For those who favours traditional Italian food, Risotto con Cappesante (RM 65) comes with pan-fried sea scallops on leeks, lemon zest, chili and basil; or you could perhaps choose pasta in the form of Gamberetti ai Pinoli (RM 45) with prawns, chili, garlic, parsley, pine nuts and mushroom in extra virgin olive oil. In either case, I’m quite sure you won’t leave in disappointment.
A couple days ago we were invited to The Saujana Kuala Lumpur to sample the food that they have for Penang Food Festival. – a little thing that this classy hotel near the old Subang Airport is having from 1 – 14 March, 2012.
It was the first time I find myself at Saujana, the traffic heading there was rather agreeable, and parking is ample and free, what a refreshing idea right? It baffles me why most hotels that aren’t located in the city centre still charges exuberant parking fees that pisses many potential guests. Saujana, you are doing it right.
Penang food festival at The Saujana KL
Overseeing a huge lake and lush green golf course, Suria Cafe surely have one of the best ambiance around town, especially if you are the sort that loves alfresco dining.
For the two week period that Penang Food Festival is running at the restaurant, three chefs from my home town (yes, I hail from Penang) are flown here to prepare many traditional Penang hawker delights to be served right along the usual array of buffet dishes. For those who loves to sample different Penang foods all at one go, this is a perfect chance.
Chef Desmond’s char kuih teow, original Penang style
I got the chance to speak with Chef Desmond, who specializes the fine art of Chinese cuisine but at the same time is also well known for his char kuih teow. Of course, we spoke in Hokkien, as this is almost always my litmus test for anyone who claimed to know the art of Penang food, he did not disappoint.
The char kuih teow that he prepared too, was a plate of mean hawker dish that ranks right up there with some of the bests. No small feat considering this is a pork-free version, I finished the whole plate, every single bit.
char kuih teow, poh piah, apom with banana
Together with Chef Badrol and Chef Wafi, who are also from Penang, these three gentlemen oversees these live cooking stalls at Suria Terrace –
Char Kiuh Teow
Oh Chien (fried oyster)
Sar Hor Fun
Ee Fu Mee
Chee Cheong Fun
Char Kuih Kak
ais kacang (ABC)
masalah and ginger tea
Of course, all these dishes are of Penang variety, and in most instances, stays pretty true to the style you get off any streets in Penang, tho some of them are a bit too dressed up.
Haze loves the asam laksa, mee goreng, fried oyster and char kuih kak
I’ll be lying if I said I tried everything, I don’t have a huge stomach and at this .. ahem.. age, I don’t exactly eat like a teenager anymore lest the circumference of my waist be overtaking my manly butt.
Anyway! As mentioned, the char kuih teow was very good. The mee goreng stayed true to Penang style, and while slightly dry for my liking, was pretty decent. Char kuih kak too was again a little dry, but the fried oyster was very agreeable with my taste buds. I really liked the blend of spiciness to the point that I was enjoy the egg even after I’d finished the oysters.
Haze had two bowls of asam laksa, that’s cos she is now a bit of an authoritative figure in asam laksa, being a fanatic and all. She proclaimed that it did not disappoint.
chee cheong fun, ais kacang, kopi tarik
I was also happy that they serve Penang style chee cheong fun at the festival, and got the chef to cut me a portion. I always like my chee cheong fun still wrapped, and with all the accompanying sauces, I was happy.
The ais kacang was pretty decent, but perhaps with slightly too much ingredients? Then again I’m sure you can always ask for less during the preparation stage.
appetizers and desserts on the buffet lines
Other than those live cooking stalls, there are also prepared Penang food, these includes sotong kankung, pasembur, chicken loh bak, Penang rojak, pohpiah, and so forth.
Then there’s the buffet lines where you find the usual suspects – croutons, turkey bacon, tomatoes with herbs, olive, tomato, cold cuts, various types of cheese, fruits, salad, soup, kuih, and way too many type of cute little cakes and such. Heaven for those who love it sweet.
some of the other dishes – the lamb cutlet was outta this world
Oh, and how can I forget the lamb cutlets?
The lamb cutlets with herbs and cheese was so tender and awesome that I ate two whole pieces, that is almost a cardinal sin of buffet dining where I usually try to sample as many dishes possible, but the cutlet was worth it, and deserves its own paragraph right here!