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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / ciki

Every once in a while, I get invited to one of these fancy dinners that I imagined myself being a part of when I was working as a casual worker at a five star hotel in my high school days.

I thought that it’d be pretty awesome sitting down having a number of different courses of almost bite size food served in plates that are unnecessarily large, and wouldn’t it be even more cool if they have different drinks for each dish?!

That’d really be living the life, won’t it?

Senja at Saujana Hotel
A Premium Wine Affair, Senja at Saujana Hotel

Well, last Friday was one of such days, and yes, that’s another teenage-hood dream come true moment (though not the first time).

I was invited to “A premier Wine Affair of the Saujana Hotels & Resorts Wine Collection“, a private event hosted by the Saujana to unveil its new wine collection.

Charcoal's Australian Chef Robert Johnston
Charcoal’s Australian Chef Robert Johnston

The wines were specifically made from Frankland Estate, Margaret River, Western Australia, a well-renowned winery with an approach to winemaking that values the importance of soil and environment.

In the kitchen was Charcoal’s Australian Chef Robert Johnston who prepared a distinctive five course menu to pair with the wines for a night of, well, wine and dine.

By the way, you can only get these wines from The Saujana

Note: Instead of paraphrasing the note and pretend that I know exactly how to describe these wonderful wines, I’m going to include the tasting note here verbatim, and by the way, most media/writers do get tasting notes for wine/whisky, we can’t magically come up with fantastic descriptions that are all pretty much the same.

lightly cured salmon, pomelo, cucumber, verjuice jelly
lightly cured salmon, pomelo, cucumber, verjuice jelly

After socializing a bit with the crowd, we sat down and dinner began, our first dish was the lightly cured salmon, pomelo, cucumber, verjuice jelly to be paired with Souvignon Blanc Semillon 2014. Refreshing and easy on the palette.

Tasting note: On the nose it shows exotic fruit aromas, lychee, mango, rose, quince and spices. On the palate it exudes a powerful, burst of fruit, flattering and round with lightly spicy finishing. 

poached chicken and crispy noodles, shitake tea
poached chicken and crispy noodles, shitake tea

Second course was poached chicken and crispy noodles, shitake tea. Paired with Chardonnay 2013, Miles from Nowhere.

The shitake tea makes an interesting base with its slightly bitter after taste, reminding me of chicken essence in a way. Crispy noodle provided interesting texture to the otherwise quite muted poached chicken. Very Asian-ish.

Tasting note: Butterscotch and ripe stone fruit flavours, with a rich and luscious creamy mouth feel. A complex wine with a spicy oak finish

char grilled duck breast, sweet onion puree, apple and radish, balsamic reduction
char grilled duck breast, sweet onion puree, apple & radish, balsamic reduction

Third dish was char grilled duck breast, sweet onion puree, apple and radish, balsamic reduction. Paired with Merlot 2014.

Really love the duck breast with the hint of charred taste. The Merlot carries mulberry and red plum fruit aromas, a touch of earthy complexity that went well with duck.

Tasting notes: Medium ruby red in colour. Alluring strawberry, mulberry and red plum fruit aromas with subtle hint of French oak spice and a touch of earthy complexity.

Black Angus tenderloin, roasted pumpkin risotto, oyster mushroom, bone marrow and parsley sauce
black Angus tenderloin, roasted pumpkin risotto,
oyster mushroom, bone marrow and parsley sauce

The main dish was black Angus tenderloin, roasted pumpkin risotto, oyster mushroom, bone marrow and parsley sauce. Paired with Cabernet Souvignon 2012. While the Wagyu from Hanaya a couple days ago was heaven, I still enjoy Angus beef with its more profound texture.

Tasting notes: A powerful yet elegant wine. Soft and rich with full body. Well rounded tannins on the palate with concentrates fruit flavours and provides a great length on the finish.

Coconut rice, caramelized banana, candied coconut and chili
coconut rice, caramelized banana, candied coconut and chili

Coconut rice, caramelized banana, candied coconut and chili as dessert to end the night. Good food with excellent company, what a great way to start the weekends.

great company and awesome food with delectable wines
great company and awesome food with delectable wines

The other wines we tried were  Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014 from Grape Expectations Estate, Margaret River, and Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc from Frankland Estate.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Senja
Saujana Golf & Country Club,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
40150 Selangor
GPS3.106865, 101.575285
Tel03-7846 1466
emailinfo@thesaujana.com

Le Midi is a name that I’ve came across for quite sometime, and it was a privilege to finally be invited for a food tasting session in conjunction with the arrival of Chef Andrea Alimenti, who has some 30 years of culinary experience since graduating from Aurelio Saffi Florence Hotel School in 1983.

Chef Andrea Alimenti is a multiple Michelin star chef, with his first coming at the tender age of 20, then at age 30 he left Florence to open his own restaurant with some partners (the renowned Aquamatta in Capolona) for 15 years… which also received a Michelin star. It is not common that we have the opportunity to sample creations from a chef with such pedigree, we felt very honored.

Le Midi at Bangsar Shopping Center, with live nautilus
Le Midi at Bangsar Shopping Center, with live nautilus

The restaurant is located on 3rd floor in the East wing of Bangsar Shopping Centre, the interior oozes a sense of mystic and class, with a couple nautilus in a round aquarium at the centre of the dining hall. This was actually the first time I witness these pelagic marine mollusks outside Aquaria, way cool.

Anyway, we’re here for the food, and you can’t order the nautilus.

eggplant nest with truffle egg yolk and parmesan cheese
eggplant nest with truffle egg yolk and parmesan cheese

Out first dish was eggplant nest with truffle egg yolk and parmesan cheese. A dish with deceptively simple base ingredient – poached egg and eggplant, manage wow us with it’s wonderful combination of texture and taste. The eggplant fried to a texture not unlike bacon, the egg poached perfectly, and shaved parmesan with truffle gives it that touch of complexity. I was impressed.

mozzarella ravioli in tomato consommé
mozzarella ravioli in tomato consommé

Next up was mozzarella ravioli in tomato consommé, a classic Italian dish with a well balanced taste of acidity from tomato consommé countering the stronger mozzarella cheese within the ravioli.

A glass of Secret de Berticot Sauvignon Blanc proved to be a worthy companion for the above two dishes.

homemade Tagliolini in saffron butter whiskey salmon cream and crunchy almonds
homemade Tagliolini in saffron butter whiskey salmon cream and crunchy almonds

Next we had homemade Tagliolini in saffron butter whiskey salmon cream and crunchy almonds. A type of pasta popular in Emilia-Romagna, a region in Italy.

While we love the soft smooth texture of the pasta, I thought the salmon cream was a little too mild, but nothing a dash of sea salt won’t help. We also had Secret Berticot Rosé to go along with the pasta. Though the Rosé was a decent pairing with pasta, we felt that the Savignon Blanc was actually suited for this occasion.

seabass with fine herb crust on spinach bed
seabass with fine herb crust on spinach bed

Next up – seabass with fine herb crust on spinach bed. Seabass, or barramundi, is quite a popular fish in local cuisine, but I’ve never had it prepare this way before. The crust gives it a crispy herbal taste while leaving the texture of the fish still tender and moist. The spinach did a fine job as a side kick, and we had more white wine to go with this.

It was already a rather good night at this point.

tenderloin in old Madeira sauce with foie gras and fig
tenderloin in old Madeira sauce with foie gras and fig

Then came my favorite dish of the night, tenderloin in old Madeira sauce with foie gras and fig.

When it comes to beef, I’m usually one who likes to have it as is. Be it ribeye, NY strip, tenderloin, of Black Angus, Wagyu, you name it. I like to have it medium rare with nothing on it.

On this occasion though, I was proven wrong. The Madeira sauce and fig really enhanced the taste of the already excellent beef. The foie gras, of course, managed to kick it up a notch. Give me this any day and I’ll be the happiest man.

Red meat deserves some red wine to go with, so we had a glass of Château Pouroutou red to go with (I believe it was merlot). Perfect.

dessert galore!
dessert galore!

As usual, by the time we were well full, dessert is served. Not one, but five creations from the good chef. I took a bite from all of them and wished that I had a bigger stomach to properly devour them. They are:

  • Millefoglie with Chantilly cream and caramel
  • Vanilla panacotta and strawberry coulis
  • Chocolate fondente and mini chocolate cup
  • Chocolate tender heart with Amarena cherry parfait
  • Orange cheesecake and chocolate drawing

KY, Haze, Mei & Josen, Melissa, Kelly, Chengyi, Chef Andrea Alimenti
KY, Haze, Mei & Josen, Melissa, Kelly, Chengyi, Chef Andrea Alimenti

It was a great dinner with even better company, thank you Melissa for being a generous and wonderful host. We will be back to Le Midi.

map to Bangsar Shopping Center

Address:
Le Midi Restaurant
3rd Floor, East Wing,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,

285 Jalan Maarof,
Bukit Bandaraya, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.142808,101.667448
Tel:  03-2094 1318

While still in the year of Snake, I got an invite to sample Chef Malcolm Goh’s dishes at Samplings on the Fourteenth at Berjaya Times Square.

For those who aren’t familiar with Chef Malcolm Goh, he is one of the chefs on AFC’s Great Dinners of the World (together with Johnny Fua and Sherson Lian of Elegantology). Pairing with popular Malaysian radio DJ and host, Tham Zher Peen, Chef Malcolm is now back on AFC’s Back to the Streets 2.

Chef Malcom Goh & host Tham Zher Peen for AFC's Back to the StreetsChef Malcom Goh & host Tham Zher Peen (lower left) for AFC’s Back to the Streets

The show features chef Malcolm and Zher tracking down and replicate Malaysia’s outstanding street food at the BERJAYA University College of Hospitality kitchen, which was also where we had this dinner.

For more information of the show, check out asianfoodchannel.com/show/back-to-the-streets-2

roasted portobello with smoked garlic vinaigrette
roasted portobello with smoked garlic vinaigrette

We started the night with roasted portobello pave with garlic vinaigrette, mushroom tortellini with tomato fondue and herb salad. The portobello fashioned into a cube and was one of my favorite items from the whole night, nicely balanced by the freshness of salad and the more subdued taste of tortellini. Very nice.

salmon mi-cuit with pickled beets, cauliflower mousseline
salmon mi-cuit with pickled beets, cauliflower mousseline

Second course was salmon mi-cuit with pickled beets, cauliflower mousseline, potato chips and spiced butter  sauce.

Mi cuit roughly means half cooked in French, which is a fine preparation method for salmon with its delicate texture that tends to become tough and harsh when overcooked. The accompanying  pickle and potato chips compliment the fish well.

sous vide chicken with crispy skin, creamy leak stew
sous vide chicken with crispy skin, creamy leak stew

Third course was sous vide chicken with crispy skin, creamy leak stew, golden potatoes and red pepper emulsion.

Sous vide is a method of cooking where meat is sealed in a vacuum packed plastic bag, then dipped in a a water bath with accurately regulated temperature. By cooking chicken this way (which I didn’t realise then), chicken breasts remain moist while fully cooked to the internal temperature of 165ºF.

I love the leak stew, and absolutely enjoyed the crispy skin (needed more of that), and while I never liked chicken breast, this method made it pretty decent, but did not change my stance on chicken breast.

with Eelaine, Mei, Josen, Chengyi, Frank, and Kelly
with Ahfa, Mei, Josen, Chengyi, Frank, and Kelly

We ended the night with coconut ice cream and blackcurrant sphere. The blackcurrant spheres were a jolt to my senses, absolutely delightful! I did like the coconut ice cream too, but left to wonder how it’d be if we had stuck to having gula melaka sphere instead.

It was a good dinner and more than validated the ability of Chef Malcolm Goh. Check out the show!

map to Berjaya Times Square

Address:
Samplings on the 14th,
Berjaya Times Square Hotel ,
14th Floor Berjaya Times Square,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.14271, 101.71061
Tel: 03-2117 8000 ext 8131
Fax: 03-2117 8155

AFC’s latest foray in their long line of food & restaurant themed series comes in the form of  “Reality Bites: Rise Above with Style”, featuring two celebrity chefs – Johnny Fua & Sherson Lian of Elegantology.

I was invited to the premier of the show followed by a dinner at Elegantology, and since I’ve yet to have a taste at this rather unique restaurant that I’ve heard so much about recently, it was an opportunity I had to take.

Reality Bites premiere at Publika
Reality Bites premiere at Publika

Reality Bites is a six part series starting 10th December, at 9pm every Tuesday on AFC. The show takes part in Elegantology Gallery & Restaurant, featuring not only the glitz and glamour of running the kitchen of a higher end restaurant, but also the day-to-day challenge and many issues faced by the two chefs and their crews.

Chef Johnny Fua, Chef Sherson Lian, & the director of Reality Bites
Chef Johnny Fua, Chef Sherson Lian, & the director of Reality Bites

During the event, we were shown the first episode of Reality Bites in its entirety, alongside with an on-stage session with Chef Johnny Fua & Sherson Lian, the director of the series, as well as the creative director of Elegantology, Beatrice Looi.

So if you want to see a restaurant themed reality series that is closer to home, tune on your TV Tuesday 9pm on AFC!

some homemade bread to start, love the truffle butter
some homemade bread to start, love the truffle butter

After that of course, is what I was even more interested in, the degustation menu at Elegantology.

We started out with Elegantology Baker’s choice, served with truffle butter florets, paprika chickpeas hummus, and EVOO (olive oil & balsamic vinegar?). I think we must have asked for extra truffle butter at least twice, it was very good.

Ceviche scallop, foie gras cube with braised shimeiji mushroom
Ceviche scallop, foie gras cube with braised shimeiji mushroom

Next up was ceviche scallop, paw paw kerabu, nam pla influenced Ponzu sesame drizzle. A dish that has some similarity in Sarawak’s umai, both using acid to lightly cook the seafood. Scallop was huge, juicy, and delicious, I can hae this often. The kerabu was an interesting experiment, tho one that I wouldn’t care too much for.

Foie gras cube, olive lemon soil, soy bean milk braised shimeiji mushroom is similar to chicken liver pate, but undoubtedly a lot more luxurious and sophisticated. The mushroom adds a welcoming change of texture which I do appreciate.

oxtail broth, brandied sea cucumber
oxtail broth, brandied sea cucumber

Continuing our course was a much needed soup dish in the form of oxtail broth with brandied sea cucumber. The oxtail is de-boned while sea cucumber provided the texture that’s similar to beef tendon, but with a dash of seafood sweetness. The soup itself carried a nice herbal aroma.

tomato sake granita, sour plum shaved. Josen, Mei, Cheng Yi & KY
tomato sake granita, sour plum shaved. Josen, Mei, Cheng Yi & KY

Tomato sake granita, sour plum shaved was chosen as a sort of intermission to the degustation dinner course. It was cold, sour, and a tad sweet, perfect as a palate cleanser before we continue with perhaps the most important dish.

kobe beef skewer, miso pineapple bearnaise
kobe beef skewer, miso pineapple bearnaise

Which was the kobe beef skewer with miso pineapple bearnaise. This was the first time I tasted kobe beef (well at least that’s what they claimed), and yes, it was every bit as awesome as the sterling reputation it carries. The meat was super tender with superb marbling, a melt-in-your-mouth feeling that somehow does not compromise on texture.

It was so good we jokingly asked for second servings from the waiter, who actually complied! Sometimes you can achieve a lot more in life by just asking. 😀

barramundi, smoked muscovy duck glutinous rice; replated black forest gateau
barramundi, smoked muscovy duck glutinous rice; replated black forest gateau

The penultimate dish was barramundi, smoked muscovy duck glutinous rice. While the fish was fresh, it was perhaps just a tad too cooked for my liking, the glutinous rice was perfect though, goes especially well with the sambal-like sauce. Also, after the beef, nothing feels the same anymore.

The rather funky looking dessert was the replated black forest gateau, a bit of sponge, chocolate, ice cream, cherries, and cream all carefully arranged in a careless appearance. It was acceptable but perhaps did not live up to the capability of the restaurant. 

I really appreciate the idea behind Elegantology and their bravery in always experimenting with different dishes and menu. The overall dinner experience was very good, and while a couple dishes did not wow, they were mostly excellent, and most importantly, provide diners a different and unique gastronomic experience.

It was a wonderful night overall and I’m grateful for this opportunity.

map to Solaris Dutamas

Address:
Elegantology
35 Level G2, Publika, 

Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.170961, 101.665721
Tel: 03-6206 5577

For those who loves dimsum and enjoys buffet at the same time, I’m sure it must have crossed your mind that someone should really come up with buffet style dimsum.

Well, Dorsett Grand Subang (formerly Sheraton) does just that, on every Sunday and Public Holiday, you can get eat-all-you-can dimsum brunch at The Emperor Chinese Restaurant. We had the luxury of sampling the spread at this five star hotel recently.

Emperor Chinese Restaurant, Grand Dorsett Subang
Emperor Chinese Restaurant, Dorsett Grand Subang

Dorsett is located just behind Sime Darby Medical Centre, accessible via Federal Highway, and while traffic can get a bit ugly during rush hours, you shouldn’t expect any trouble during Sunday/Public Holiday brunch hours.

Interior decoration isn’t the most modern nor overly antiquated, tables and chairs are nice and comfortable, but I’m not too into those carpet on the floor.

Anyway, lets talk about the food instead.

our dimsum spread, of course to be shared
our dimsum spread, of course to be shared

For RM 60++ per person (RM 30++ if you’re over 60, or between 5-12; 5 below eats free), the spread is certainly commendable. There are over a dozen different types of steamed dimsum for your choosing.

The usual suspects are all available, har kau, siu mai, fish ball, phoenix’s claws, ribs, char siu pau, shrimp chee cheong fun, pan fried vegetable pau, steamed chicken wings, and various other types of dumplings too.

This is a pork free establishment, but I must say that the chefs did a fine job in preserving the essence of dimsum taste despite not using pork. The major ingredients here are prawns, chicken, and in a few dishes, beef.

deep fried items, soup, desserts, and more
deep fried items, soup, desserts, and more

If deep fried items is what you crave, they have deep fried prawn rolls with cheese (yes they ooze out!), yam puff with BBQ chicken (instead of pork), sui kok, shrimp dumpling, egg tart (super soft), baked century egg with pickled ginger in pastry, and sesame balls. There is also a decent selection of desserts as well, these include peanut soup, cakes, mango pudding, herbal jelly (my favorite), and Chinese pan-cake.

the wu kok, or yam pastry, turned out to be pretty good despite having chicken and yam as the substitute to the traditionally pork and yam filling.

bean curd, oyster, brocolli, prawns, deep fried fish, noodle
bean curd, oyster, brocolli, prawns, deep fried fish, noodle

Those who want a bit of a departure to dim sum can opt for main dishes as well. While the exact dishes may vary from week to week, there’ll usually be noodle, poultry, meat, bean curd, vegetables, and at least two seafood dishes. I only tried the broccoli and bean curd this session, and was not disappointed.

wantan soup, fried pau, yong tau foo, chicken charsiu pau
wantan soup, fried pau, yong tau foo, chicken charsiu pau

Last but not least, there’s also a “live action” barbecue stall stationed within the restaurant where you can get roast duck, roast chicken, and chicken chasiu, all served with traditional condiments. The roast duck wasn’t exactly the standard you’ll find at places such as Loong Foong or Sunrise, but they are more than decent.

KY, Haze, Umei, Josen, Derek, Chris, & Elaine at Grand Dorsett Subang
KY, Haze, Umei, Josen, Derek, Chris, & Elaine at Dorsett Grand Subang

For those who have a healthy appetite and long for a slow and sumptuous dimsum dinner on a lazy Sunday morning, The Emporer at Dorsett  Grand Subang certainly won’t be a disappointment. I think it is also a very good location if you have guests who prefer a pork free meal. RM 60++ is pretty fair for what you get.

Furthermore, for those with kids, there’s a sort of “day care” activities going on right outside the restaurant, with clown and such to keep your kids entertained while you attack the buffet line.

map to Grand Dorsett hotel, Subang Jaya

Address:
The Emperor
Dorsett Grand Subang
Jalan SS12/1,
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.079211, 101.595999
Tel: 03-5031 6060 ext 1954
Hours: Sundays & Public Holidays 10 am – 2:30 pm