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Tag / crab

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
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
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
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
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
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.

BBQ meat & sausage, tandoori chicken, smoked salmon
BBQ meat & sausage, tandoori chicken, smoked salmon

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
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
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
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.

map to Intercontinental Hotel, KL

Address:
Serena Brasserie
Intercontinental Hotel

165 Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.159767, 101.718045
Tel03-2161 1111
Webwww.intercontinental.com

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone and may you have blessed Snake year ahead. Not coincidentally, Valentine’s day is also just around the corner and we had the chance to sample one of the many Valentine’s day menus around town at the Renoma Cafe Gallery at Bukit Bintang the other day.

For those of you who are looking for a romantic night out with love ones, this is a place worth considering. Read on.

Renoma Cafe Gallery, Jalan Bukit Bintang (by Jalan Delima)
Renoma Cafe Gallery, Jalan Bukit Bintang (by Jalan Delima)

Renoma Cafe Gallery is opened by the very same person that brought you the famous underwear (and fashion) brand, and in fact, this is the second of such cafe in the world, with the first one being at Paris.

The place serves modern Western food with a heavy influence in French cuisine. There’s a dining hall with a stage and live music on weekends, alfresco dining areas, as well as a big private dining room upstairs. Interior decoration is a bit quirky but tastefully done.

Lets get on the 4 course Valentine’s Day menu (priced at RM 388++ for two person) that includes all the dishes described below as well as two glasses of champagne.

consomme of kangaroo island marron; veloute of crustacean & stone crab
consomme of kangaroo island marron; veloute of crustacean & stone crab

The gentleman starts with Veloute of Crustacean & Stone Crab, basically a cream of shellfish with stone crab meat, blue mussel, brown clam and XO chili oil. A pretty hearty way to start out  dinner, the soup was delicious and packed with plenty of crab meat as well as shellfish. Just this alone filled up almost 1/3 of my stomach space already.

Consomme of Kangaroo Island Marron is the lady’s first dish and it’s packed boullion of seafood with grilled crayfish, blue mussel, brown clam & petit pois. Crayfish isn’t something you get very often in Malaysia, and it tasted a bit like a cross between crab and lobster. The consomme is a bit lighter in taste but not lacking in character.

surf & turf; earth & ocean
earth & ocean (top); surf & turf (bottom)

For the second dish, surf and turf is in store for the guy, while the lady enjoys a dish called earth and ocean.

Surf and turf includes medallion of medium lamb loin & rock lobster, sauteed baby spinach and smoked chili coulis. I love the lamb loin, and I think the shelled rock lobster is something that you can appreciate even just by looking at the photo. Oh, that massive scallop was excellent too!

Earth and Ocean comes with tataki maguro akami, caramelized foie gras pate, chargrilled portobello mushroom and wild berries. The tuna fish was perhaps slightly too done for my liking (but I’m nitpicking), the mushroom soft and full of flavor, and the foie gras pate did not disappoint either. We were quite impressed with the food at Renoma Cafe Gallery by this point.

black Angus tenderloin, wild caught red emperor
black Angus tenderloin, wild caught red emperor

For the main course, there’s a choice of black Angus tenderloin or wild caught red emperor.

The beef dish comes with char grilled black Angus beef tenderloin that’s prepared to your choice, pomme dauphine, duck fat baby carrot, and morel ragout. The tenderloin was top notch, with the scallops and shellfish complimenting the beef perfectly.

If the beef was good, the fish was perhaps even better. Oven baked dried sole crusted red emperor, butternut squash puree, nai pak, and salted yolk emulsion made up this dish. The photo might not look like much, but the skin of the fish was really something that you need to taste for yourself. It was crunchy and salted just nice, with the seafood not overcooked. I took a bite and wished I could have the whole dish to myself.

chocolate sunrise; strawberry sunset
chocolate sunrise; strawberry sunset

The three excellent dishes were then followed by two desserts, again one for the guy and another for the lady.

Chocolate sunrise comes with guanaja chocolate with mango lavender coulis, coffee ice cream and hazelnut crumble. I love the ice cream, but though the chocolate was pretty average, perhaps the other dishes has set too high a standard to keep up.

Strawberry sunset comes with strawberry fraiser mosse cake with passion fruit and mango coulis, raspberry sherbet and praline croustillant. Again, we enjoyed the ice cream a bit more than the other part of the dessert.

KY & Haze at Renoma Cafe Gallery
KY & Haze at Renoma Cafe Gallery

Overall, I rate Renoma Cafe Gallery pretty high based on what we were served. The place also has lively music and serves a full range of cocktail and other drinks. I’d love to return sometimes to try their other offerings.

If you have a private function, this is also a potential place to check out, but for those who’re looking for a good Valentine’s dinner, if the budget fits, this is a place to go.

Renoma Cafe Gallery KL map

Address:
Renoma Cafe Gallery
Lot 510, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.147212, 101.720814
Tel: 03-2143 9919

Renoma Cafe Gallery

A couple weekends ago I went back to Penang for a little get together with my family in conjunction with Mom’s birthday. Even though we don’t usually celebrate birthdays, it is still a son’s responsibility at least to try to make mom happier during times like this.

Soon Lai Seafood, Penang
Soon Lai Seafood, Penang

Instead of any fancy place (she warned me not to bring her for Japanese food), one of mom’s favorite places is this inconspicuous house-turned-restaurant place that goes by the name of Soon Lai Seafood Restaurant. The eatery is located in the housing area just a few blocks away from Lam Wah Ee hospital.

scrumptious butter crab
scrumptious butter crab

We ordered 6 dishes for the 5 of us, with the big kahuna being their butter crab (RM 42). The way they prepared this this is a little different, crab’s cooked with butter, onion, and even some spring onion. It turned out very good, mom suspects that the crabs are sourced from Kuala Kurau, where you find the best mud crab around the country.

I actually have aunts from fishing village in Kuala Kurau. :D

deep fried grouper, thai style pork hand, veg, tofu, soup
deep fried grouper, thai style pork hand, veg, tofu, spinach soup

You can’t have a seafood dinner without fish, we took the recommendation from our friendly server and ordered the “weird taste” deep fried grouper (RM 39). I’m not so sure about the name, but the fish was good not not exactly weird. The sauce is a mixture of plum and chili (and more?) with plenty of thinly sliced fried ginger on top.

Another must-order item at Soon Lai has got to be their Thai style pork knuckle (RM 18). It’s similar to the more familiar German style pork knuckle, but this one’s with Thai style chili sauce and mint leaves draped over it. The combination of crispy pork skin with the underlying fat plus that sauce – heaven!

Mom, KY, Haze, Jerry, Sister
Mom, KY, Haze, Jerry, Sister

The other three dishes were tofu on hotplate (RM 8), spinach soup with century egg (RM 12), and vegetable with sambal (RM 6). No disappointment at all with these side kicks either.

We had rice for everyone, and a couple bottles of beer too. It was a very satisfying dinner.

The bill? Less than RM 160. Now that’s great value. You have a choice sitting semi-alfresco or in air conditioned room too.

map to Soon Lai Seafood Restaurant

So if you’re looking for a decent seafood at a bargain right on the island, this is where you go.

Address:
Soon Lai Seafood Restaurant
15, Lintang Batu,
11600 Green Lane, Penang

GPS: 5.386974, 100.306149
Tel: 04-658 9799, 016-441 3666

Stuffed crab is one of those dishes that is so good you wonder why they only have it in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. My best guess is that we don’t have enough very kind and toothless aunties here in KL to separate crab meat from the seafood, that or there was an agreement for that during the formation of Malaya to protect the eastern states’ interests..

After all, aren’t our government known for setting up special agreements and policies to protect interests of certain groups all the time?

Tong Juan restaurant, Kemaman
restaurant Tong Juan at Chukai, Kemaman

The first time I had stuffed crab was only earlier this year at a pretty busy Pak Su seafood restaurant near Kuantan. The experience was rather good and I have been thinking of a repeat for this dish since.

So when the opportunity to have it again arises while on the way back from our previous trip to Redang last weekend, we naturally took it. This time we went to Tong Juan at Kemaman, located at the ideal spot that is just about half way point between KL and Kuala Terengganu.

stuffed crab, this is what we're here for
stuffed crab, this is what we’re here for

14 of us went in and Terence did the ordering, and for the first (and probably the last) time, the dude did not over order.

We had stuffed crab for everyone, grilled tiger prawns, spicy squid, vegetable, fish ball soup, and fried rice. This was for lunch on a Sunday (a working day in Kemaman, feed your parking machine)

grilled prawns, spicy squid
grilled prawns, spicy squid

While those super health conscious might complain that the stuffed crab at Tong Juan is a little too oily, I had no problem with it.  The crabs were good! With plenty of crab meat plus finely chopped onion and who knows what else in it. This is definitely a must-order.

The huge grilled tiger prawns were another awesome dish. They were easily the size of my palm and grilled with a bit of stuffed garlic at the back, a nice variation, delicious.

stuffed crab, fish ball soup, vegetable, fried rice
stuffed crab, fish ball soup, vegetable, fried rice

Fried rice was pretty good as well, but I didn’t think the fish ball worth a repeat, they were pretty life less and uninspiring, if not a tad too salty too. Vegetable’s just to satisfy vitamin C quota and for color matching, nothing to report.

The bill came to about RM 27 or 28 per person including drinks, while not cheap, I think it is still reasonable and definitely worth going there again on my next east-coast trip.

location map to Tong Juan restaurant, Kemaman

Address:
Tong Juan restaurant
K-117 Jalan Sulaiman,
24000 Kemaman, Terengganu
GPS: 4.231314, 103.428383
Tel: 09-859 1346‎

Many eons ago (actually just a few decades), Hong Kong wasn’t exactly as developed as it is now. Among the settlers, traders, and foreign administrations, there were a group of people whom took home on boats. They were the boat people, and whenever the weather does not agree, they would seek shelter at Causeway Bay.

The boat people had a subculture all to themselves, living by the sea, when it comes to food, their speciality were undoubtedly seafood.

Causeway Bay Spicy Crab at Hartamas
Causeway Bay Spicy Crab, now at Hartamas

Fast forward to 21st century, Causeway Bay is now a heavily developed area, but the subculture continues. A local businessman went over to Hong Kong, partnering with the original boat people and started the Causeway Bay Spicy Crab restaurant at Jaffe Road in Causeway Bay.

Building on the success of the restaurant in HK, the local owner now brought the restaurant back home. So now we have our very own Causeway Bay Spicy Crab right here at Hartamas, KL.

Causeway Bay Spicy Crab at Hartamas
signature dish – Garlic and Chili Crab

A couple weeks ago I was invited by one of the partners to have dinner at this very restaurant. Together with Haze, Gareth, Kim, Suanie, and Horng, we headed over to Hartamas with, I must say, quite a high expectation.

We left the task of ordering to the restaurant manager, and some 20 minutes later, our first dish came – Garlic and Chili Crab (RM 68/80), their signature dish. The gigantic crab’s covered with almost one whole pound of garlic with a bit of chili for that spicy kick. The crab was delicious, and the fried garlic positively addictive!

crab porridge, chicken gristle, garlic and chili crab
crab porridge, chicken gristle, garlic and chili crab

The rest of the dish came within a couple minutes of the first one, I’ve always hate it when restaurants take their sweet time serving between dishes, no such problem here.

The crab porridge (RM 68/80) was another winner. The huge crab and porridge were cooked to order so you really get the sweetness of the seafood well seeped into the congee. I think it’s big enough to feed at least 2-3 people.

Then there’s the chicken gristle, a definite must-order non-seafood item here. The texture of the chicken cartilage and the little chunk of meat/skin was perfect, this dish reminds me of the chicken gristle I had at Sumi-ka in the form of yakitori.

duck tongue, steamed tofu, squid with salted egg, frogs in XO sauce
duck tongue, steamed tofu, squid with salted egg, frogs in XO sauce

The “exotic” dish we had came in the form of a plate of duck tongue. The dish must have caused a whole classroom of dumb ducks. Tho I’m usually a huge fan of the strange and exotic dishes, this one did not impress me. It was my first time having duck tongue too, and while I didn’t find it gross or anything like that, it was just a little too soft and blunt in taste.

I did like the steamed tofu, stuffed with chunks of scallops, prawns, and other seafood, it provided balance to the other stronger tasting dishes.

condiments, Horng & Suanie, Kimberly and Gareth, KY and Haze
condiments, Horng & Suanie, Kimberly and Gareth, KY and Haze

Just like the garlic in their signature dish, Causeway Bay Crab does not spare the usage of salted egg in their salted egg squid. The excess salted egg covered every square inch of the squid and then some. It was another dish that we love.

Then there’s the frogs in XO sauce, Kim’s favorite. Really fresh tasting frog with generous amount of garlic, XO sauce, and peas to give it a bit of a crunchy texture, it was easily one of the better frog dishes I’ve had. I prefer it over the usual kam heong method of preparation.

Causeway Bay Spicy Crab
Causeway Bay Spicy Crab

Towards the end of the night, we were mixing garlic, salted egg, and the condiments from XO frogs and consuming them as is. These wasn’t exactly the healthiest way of eating but we just couldn’t help it.

While Causeway Bay Spicy Crab isn’t the cheapest places to dine at, but if you are looking for quality seafood and some huge Sabah crabs, you can’t go wrong at this place. The dishes were mostly excellent (with the questionable duck tongue, but it might be just me), a great ambiance, and on top of that, a slightly overly cold air conditioning too.

map to Causeway Bay Spicy Crab at Hartamas

Address:
Causeway Bay Spicy Crab
銅鑼灣辣蟹莊
26 & 26-1 Jalan 30/70A
Desa Sri Hartamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.16347, 101.64898
Tel: 03-6205 2280

Causeway Bay Spicy Crab