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Nook at Aloft KL is a pretty funky all-day dining restaurant that serves international and Asian cuisine.

The restaurant set up reminds me of those futuristic movies back in the 80s, little squarish pods that has a bench, chairs, and even come complete with artificial turf. Among the three Starwood hotels at KL Sentral area, this one is definitely the most hip.

Nook at Aloft, playful & hip
Nook at Aloft, playful & hip

Earlier this month, together with a couple other reviewers, we were invited to sample the MIGF (Malaysian International Gourmet Festival) menu at Nook.

MIGF is about bringing the best out of the world class chefs who are already working at the restaurant (instead of one off “import” from overseas). It is about paying a little extra to get a more pleasant fine dining experience with quality ingredients and first class service.

At Nook, Chef Steven Seow flexes his creative mind and came up with this very interesting set of dishes. The festival runs throughout the entire October, 2013 (yes, this blog post is way late.)

smoked scallop umai sushi, duck confit, Villa Maria Chardonnay, NZ
smoked scallop umai sushi, duck confit, Villa Maria Chardonnay, NZ

The starting dish is smoked scallop umai sushi, duck confit with pomegranate and yogurt sphere. A two part dish that is served with the soya sauce on the little plastic drip thingy.

The sushi rice is coated with a fine layer of ebiko, and the scallop prepared with method inspired  by umai (a traditional Sarawakian seafood preparation method, I had it over Mabul/Sipadan trip thanks to Irene). Duck confit with yogurt sphere provided a different texture and savoury taste, I particularly liked the bit of fried duck skin on top.

We had Villa Maria Chardonnay from New Zealand to start the dinner. Lovely pairing.

Sarawak lobster and ablone laksa, Leffe Blonde
Sarawak lobster and ablone laksa, Leffe Blonde

Next up was the Sarawak lobster & abalone laksa with organic soba noodle. This was a dish unlike any I’ve tried, a sort of traditional hawker dish meet fine dining.

The soup is sourced all the way from Sarawak to ensure that it was authentic and just right. Lobster and abalone definitely provided a huge dose of luxury to this dish, and I thought the use of soba noodle was a clever touch to lighten up the dish a little bit too. Some of us asked for extra soup cos it was so delicious!

A glass of cold Leffe Blonde went well with this spicy dish.

p/s: the hawker version at Bangsar is one of my favourites.

wagyu beef cheek rendang, Madfish Chiraz, Australia
wagyu beef cheek rendang, Madfish Chiraz, Australia

Continuing with the same philosophy, the next dish was Wagyu beef cheek rendang with farm vegetables, archar jelatah, and turmeric coconut rice.

Last I had something similar to this dish was the big lunch box at EEST, Westin back in 2009, and this definitely brought back the memory. The beef cheek was superb and as per Wagyu standard, super tender and flavourful. The turmeric coconut rice carries a nice and not overly strong fragrance, with two quails egg sitting on top of some sambal should you want to spice it up a bit.

Red goes well with beef, so we had Madfish Chiraz from Australia to wash down the meat.

Chef Steven Seow with the 8 treasure ice kacang
Chef Steven Seow with the 8 treasure ice kacang

Concluding the dinner was another playful invention by Chef Steven Seow – the 8 treasure ice kacang. Basically shaved ice with 8 different ingredients such as lychee, blackberries, nangka, peanuts and so forth with 5 different syrup served on the side in syringes. Mix and match it the way you want and be responsible if you ruined your own dessert.

We had fun with this but my advice is to mix it up quick cos the ice tends to melt and create a hardened outer layer if you spend too much time taking photos.

me with Trixha & other food reviewers at Nook, Aloft KL
me with Trixha & other food reviewers at Nook, Aloft KL

The menu is priced at RM 280+ per set for what you see here. The version without alcohol is RM 180+ per person, and for those with smaller stomach, you can go light for RM 160+, which exclude the wagyu dish but does come with a glass of Chardonnay. Every set comes with coffee or tea too.

I’d want to check out Nook’s normal menu too.

Aloft KL map

Address:
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral
No 5, Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.13295, 101.68619
Tel: 03 2723 1188

I had been anticipating my second Friday Wine Lunch ever since the first installment at Carat Club last month, so when Lenny from Millennium Associates invited me to Chinoz a couple weeks ago, I was overjoyed.

Friday wine lunch at Chinoz, KLCC
Nigel Dolan, chief wine maker, Wyndham Estate

The Friday Wine Lunch at Chinoz was hosted by Wyndham Estate, and organized by Millennium Associates with Pernod Ricard Malaysia. We were lucky enough to have Nigel Dolan, the chief wine maker from WE to join us for the session.

Lionel Lau and Chris Low who blogs at the cork brothers played excellent hosts, while Eiling, Gareth, Kim, and I were joined a few dozen Friday Wine Lunch regulars in this session.

foie gras bon bon, wild mushroom consomme, Friday wine lunch at Chinoz, KLCC
foie gras bon bon, wild mushroom consomme oxtail ravilioli

We started off with soup, the Wild Mushroom Consomme with Oxtail Ravioli paired with chilled Wyndham Estate Bin555 Sparkling Chiraz. I actually liked the soup quite a lot, it kinda carry stronger mushroom and a weak marmite taste to it. The texture of oxtail ravioli and it’s rather raw meaty taste gives the soup a very strong contrast. The sparkling wine washes the soup down just nice.

Next up was foie gras bon bon with caramelized apple. I love foie gras, and while this dish tasted pretty good, the portion left me with somewhat unsatisfied cravings. We had Wyndham Estate Show Reserve Cabernet Merlot to go with it. Cabernet Merlot is one of the earliest wines I’ve tasted back when I was in the states working in a restaurant, memory of yesteryear rushed back as I sipped the wine, not unlike the effect you get from listening to an old song on radio.

Friday wine lunch at Chinoz, KLCC
Confit of Salmon with poached oyster

We were given a choice of two main dishes and I went with the salmon. The color of the fillet captured my attention as soon as I set eyes on it, still bright orange and just very, very lightly cooked with minimal salt or any other spices to preserve its natural sweetness. It was so good I savored every single bite of it. The poached oyster adds character to the dish as well.

Fish is often paired with white wine, and it was not surprising that Wyndham Estate Show Reserve Chardonnay is chosen for this dish.

Friday wine lunch at Chinoz, KLCC
Oven roasted Beef Fillet and Green Tea and White Chocolate Mousse

Wyndham Estate Show Reserve Shiraz, the last of the 4 types of wine for the session, is paired with the other main dish – the oven roasted beef fillet, which was a little too tough and too cooked for my liking. However, I did enjoy the Show Reserve Shiraz and took liberty in having a couple glasses before the session is over.

The green tea and white chocolate moose concluded the meal in a sweet note. The two types of moose served in (surprisingly delicious) chocolate cups. I had another Shiraz with this.

Friday wine lunch at Chinoz, KLCC
Eiling and I, group photo with Nigel, Chris, and the gang

It was a very good lunch session and I would like to thank Lenny for the invitation. Friday wine lunch usually falls on the last Friday of the month, you can check with Millennium Associates for more information.

map of KLCC

Address:
G47 Suria KLCC
Petronas Twin Towers
50200 Kuala Lumpur City Centre

GPS: 3.157581, 101.712102
Tel: 03-2166 8277