Tag / ciki
September 9, 2012
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.
The menu with price can be found at http://discoverlemeridien.com/menus/
Thank you Janice & Damian for the invitation.
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur 50470
Tel: 03-2263 7753
July 11, 2012
The month of Ramadan is just a little more than a week away, and for many of us in the corporate world, it is also a time where companies will host buka puasa dinners, giving employees a chance to break fast together and mingle a little.
It is also a time where hotels and restaurants get busy with Ramadan buffet offerings, and lucky me, I already got to sample what JW Marriott at Bukit Bintang has to offer for this holy month in Muslim Calendar.
buka puasa dinner at JW Marriott
The buffet at JW Marriott will feature 108 of the best Malaysian delicacies from various states of the country, gearing towards “preserving heritage”. From the dishes we sampled, it definitely seems like they are doing what is claimed.
Case in point – sambal tempoyak (fermented durian) is available!
you’ll definitely love it if you like it spicy
Other traditional kampung dishes includes tongkeng ayam (bishop’s nose), goreng bercili, daging salai masak lemak dengan bachang and kupang masak rampai too are on offer.
Of course, ulam, satey, soup tulang, ikan bakar, roast lamb, keropok ikan, various kuih muih, fruits, and assortment of curry and vegetable dishes are to be expected as well. The preview only showcased a portion of what’s to be offered on the actual buffet, and we are already spoilt for choices.
two of my favorite things – sambal tempoyak and paku
As for the dining areas, the pool side at 6th floor and the Starhill conference centre on the 4th floor will be transformed to a Ramadan bazaar to replicate the kampung ambiance.
fruits, traditional kuih, and more
Oh, and in case you’re wondering how much this feast will cost?
- RM 60++ per person at Conference center
- RM 70++ per person at poolside area
Certainly a very competitive pricing considering the 5 star setting and the rather stellar offering in terms of dish choices. I sampled quite a few dishes from the spread, and most everything was top notch and “ori”, except perhaps for the ikan bakar pari which I thought was a bit too chewy (hopefully this gets fixed). The roast lamb, tempoyak, and prawn with petai were particularly outstanding.
For reservations, call 03-2719 8666 or e-mail bukapuasa@ytl hotels.com.my
cheng yi, shah, ciki, and I definitely had a great time
Now I gotta wonder how other hotels within the area will respond.
183 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.14765, 101.71372
Tel: 03-2715 9000
April 11, 2012
A couple weeks ago a bunch of us were invited to Al-Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88 for the Happy Hour promotion and a bit of food. The event turned out to be a definition of excess, and a textbook reference of good times.
Al Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88
Like most people, I had the unfortunate generalization that Al-Amar Express is a middle eastern food joint (which was correct), and hence must not serve alcohol (which wasn’t).
cocktails at Al Amar Express
In fact, the Al Amar “lets meet up…” wines and cocktails menu has several selections of Lebanese wines, popular beers, whisky, spirits, and some 10 different types of cocktails.
From 4pm to 8pm, buy 2 cocktails and get 1 free. The same thing applies to beer as well.
Lebanese wine, strawberry margarita, Corona beer
Before food was being served, we already got the night started with some mojito, Corona beer, wine, and margarita. Perfect start to the evening if you ask me.
hummus, Lebanese chickpea and eggplant dip, pita bread, haloumi salad
After a bit of chit chat and making sure everyone had something to drink, the food arrived.
We started out with some warm pita bread. Dipping them into hummus (RM 12.90) or those very interesting chickpea and eggplant (moutabal RM 12.90) as you would with chips and salsa, except the experience is quite a bit richer, and definitely more refined (for something that is eaten with hand)
The haloumi salad (RM 20) is another exquisite dish that I’ve never tasted – with fried haloumi cheese, herb crust crouton, cherry tomato, and vinaigrette dressing on top of a bed of rocket. The fried cheese was a revelation, slightly crispy on the outside, and definitely cheesy within. It was very good!
tabbouleh, warak enab, grilled chicken salad
Tabbouleh is a uniquely Arabic salad with finely chopped tomato, Italian parsley, and mint. The taste was very… refreshing.
Another salad we tried was the grilled chicken salad (RM 20), and this came with a generous portion of grilled chicken breast topped with aioli dressing. The marinate definitely leave a Lebanese signature in this dish.
Warak enab is these spring roll look-alike with ground lamb, rice, and spices all chopped up and wrapped in grape leaves. I find it a little too sour and salty, perhaps it is an acquired taste, or just a case of Al Amar sticking to the traditional recipe too closely.
spinach fatayer, cheese roll, lamb sambousik,
Spinach fatayer, cheese roll, and lamb sambousik (RM 8.50 each) were definitely the type of finger food best with some beer or cocktail. I don’t think further explanation is needed. Deep fried food always go well with alcohol.
Lebanese pizzas, shawarma and flame grilled chicken
And as we thought our collective stomaches were starting to get a bit full, the main dishes came.
First to be served were spicy chicken cheese (RM 17.90) and kafta with cheese manakeesh (RM 17.90) were both very delicious. They looked exactly like pizzas, but the taste was definitely different, a tad of saltiness, a kick of spiciness, and that savory taste from the meat. If I could only get these delivered…
The other main dishes were grilled whole chicken (RM 38) that comes in spicy and non spicy versions. The portion was enough to be shared between 2-3 adults. They too, carry the distinctive Lebanese taste.
Finally, we also tried the chicken and beef shawarma (RM 24.90 each). They were a bit like the kebab meat, but served loosely on a plate with pita bread.
a bunch of guys and gals who are completely full and half drunk
The session at Al Amar was rather enjoyable, there were good food, drinks, and excellent company. Ultimately, I thought the food at Al Amar was a little bit too one dimensional if you will. Everything stays very close to a distinctive taste that is undoubtedly Lebanese.
For a food review session, it gets a little bit monotonous, but to have a change of pace from other cuisines, a dinner at Al Amar surely wouldn’t disappoint, just don’t order the warak enab.
Al Amar Express
Lot G44, Ground Floor,
Buking Bintang, KL
GPS: 3.14748, 101.71283
Tel: 03-2141 3814
December 2, 2011
Chile is the longest north-south country in the world, stretching over 4,630 kilometres “top” to “bottom”, but only as wide as 430 kilometers at the thickest region east-west. Situated on the west side of Andes and right next to Pacific ocean as well as the presence of Atacama dessert allows Chile to have a remarkably wide range of climates and thus, a huge selection of agricultural resources as well.
According to my colleague who is from Peru, a neighboring country to Chile, it is also a prosperous and stable country, something that can’t be said for many South American nations. If not for the usually prohibitive airfare, I am sure it would be a fantastic place to visit, perhaps some day…
Kiwi fruit isn’t just from Australia and New Zealand
In the mean time, we got to attend the “Flavor of Chile” event held by the Embassy of Chile in Malaysia. It was a treat of gastronomical adventure at Westin Hotel, KL. This was actually a two day event that gives Malaysian businessmen a chance to discover Chile’s wide variety of high quality products, according to ProChile director Felix De Vicente.
South American food is something of a mystery to me, prior to this dinner, if you ask me anything food related from the region, I’d probably just say Argentinian steak (from Gaucho Grill), Chilean wine, and Chilean sea bass.
with some of my favorite people – fatboybakes, cumidanciki, haze
During the course of the event, I got to know more than I bargained.
There were video presentation in between every dish, with quality of production that makes most travel programmes look amateur. The clips introduces different places in Chile and what it has to offer, as well as plenty of airtime with Chef Carlo von Mühlenbrock – a guy who looked more like a rockstar than a chef – explaining how the ingredient is grown/catch and his method of preparation.
And then the very dish is served. Brilliant.
Quinoa Timbale with avocado and Chilean King Crab
The first starter was Quinao Timbale with avocado and Chilean King Crab, paired with Sauvignon Blanc. This was the first time I had quinoa, a grain that is high in protein balance set of amino acids, and it was delicious. It has a crunchy texture, a bit sourish, and undoubtedly perfect with a couple slices of king crab and the wine.
Pablo Neruda’s Conger Eel Chowder
Next was Pablo Neruda’s Conger Eel Chowder. Eel? Chowder? This was not something that was expected, but perhaps it had something to do with our familiarity with unagi – a very narrow view of eel.
This eel was more like a cross between scallop & sea bass, subtle yet delicious, with the broth and other seafood in the bowl, it was a wholesome chowder for sure. We had Chilean Chardonnay to wash it down, which was of course, lovely.
Smoked Salmon and Mussels with Coriander Spiced Barley
The main dish was Smoked Salmon and Mussels with Coriander Spiced Barley. A generous slab of smoked salmon sitting on bed of barley, accompanied by a couple mussels.
This was another good dish, but the texture of barley that doesn’t come in a dessert or drink was a little too foreign for me. The dish was served with Vina Cono Sur Pinot Noir.
Southern Chile berries sorbet with fresh fruits, and the wine
The dessert was Southern Chile berries sorbet with fresh fruits. A sweet ending to the wonderful dinner. Due to my allergy to kiwi, this was the only dish I did not completely finish. The sorbet, made from pureed Chilean berries, were excellent.
The dessert wine Late Harvest, however, were a tad too sweet for my liking. It would probably be great if served at almost freezing temperature at a smaller dosage, but alas, this was an event with hundreds of peopld, one can’t be asking too much.
Chilean Chef Carlo von Mühlenbrock & Haze
It was a lovely night punctuated by a visit of the famous chef to our table and did a autograph on Haze’s drawing of his dishes. The drawing later appeared on a Chilean newspaper too.
So now, when will I be able to go there.
November 14, 2011
A couple weeks ago I was invited to the Patrón XO Café and and Patrón Silver launch at Ritz Carlton Penthouse. Now I’ve been to Ritz Carlton quite a few times, but the penthouse on the 27th floor is quite something else. The suite has three bedrooms, a magnificent hall, and even an open air swimming pool on the 3rd level, quite a charming place for sure.
Patrón XO Café and Silver at Ritz Carlton
My very first time tasting Patrón tequila was actually at Frontera, where the owner Larry swore that this was one of the best tequilas you can get. Made with 100% agave plant, this is the real thing, it is smooth, clear, and if you drink it neat, not watering it down with mixers. Adding salt or lemon with the shot would be seen as an insult to the liquor too.
If you think tequilas are nasty (which many do due to the usually poor quality of tequila we get here), give Patrón a try and I’m sure you might start to think otherwise.
tapas prepared by Chef Carmela de Ponte
The drinks were served with some fantastic finger foods prepared by Chef Carmela de Ponte, who is of course, from Mexico.
we were obviously having a good time – Ciki, BangsarBabe, Haze
While Patrón Silver was smooth as it gets, I actually prefer Patrón XO Cafe, simply the best coffee liquor I’ve tasted. It too was smooth, and has a distinct coffee taste that isn’t overpowered by its sweetness. The XO Cafe has 70 proof, a higher content than most coffee liqueur.
Patrón XO Café and and Patrón Silver
It was a great night throughout, good company, great drinks, but that is to be expected from a brand has its products sold in hand-blown, individually numbered bottles