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Several weeks ago I was invited to a wine tasting event by Cape Mentelle at Neo Tamarind in KL. This was my second time to Neo Tamarind and my very first time trying Cape Mentelle wines. The invitation promises a great night of food and drinks, and delivered them magnificently.

Cape Mentelle wine and food pairing at Neo Tamarind, KL
Cape Mentelle wine and food pairing at Neo Tamarind, KL

Cape Mentelle is one of Margaret River’s ‘founding five’ wineries, and pioneered many of the region’s wine styles. The brand is a benchmark for the quality of wines from Margaret River, or in short, if you aren’t exactly well versed in wines but want to make sure you get something that’s appropriate for gifts for a party, this would be a good choice.

For the night, we were presented five wines from Cape Mentelle’s collections – Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012, Chardonnay 2011, Cabernet Merlot 2010, Shiraz 2011, and Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 in that order.

this is how you do pre-dinner correctly, with finger foods & wine
prior to dinner, finger foods & Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012

We started off with Sauvignon Blanc Semillon as apéritif and there were several canapes to go around. Black ink risotto with salmon roe, deep fried crisp calamari cajun, spicy sauce Angus beef, tataki with chili roasted rice, and tomato bruschetta. I think I had 2-3 servings of those Angus beef.

The Semillon was sweet and proved to be fitting as the first wine for the night.

steamed white cod with coconut reduction, Chardonnay 2012
steamed white cod with coconut herbs reduction, Chardonnay 2012

Unknowingly, I seated myself right next to the viticulturist of Cape Mentelle himself – Ashley Wood. His job is to ensure that Cape Mentelle grows quality grapes which directly affects the production of the wines. This requires extensive knowledge of soil type, diseases, pests, when to harvest grapes and more. Not exactly your backyard grape grower.

Our first of the four-course dish was the steamed white code with coconut herbs reduction, paired with Chardonnay. This was an easy pairing, citrusy and well balanced wine contrasts well with the coconut based sauce of the craft-fully prepared fish. I enjoyed this, and oh, the skin of the cod is faced down and was my favorite part of the dish.

roasted chicken with garlic bulb, Cabernet Merlot 2010
roasted chicken with garlic bulb, Cabernet Merlot 2010

Next up was roasted chicken served with garlic bulb, whipped potato, apple sauce & chicken jus. Cabernet Merlot was the wine of choice to go with the poultry.

The wine was plenty fruity and carries a hint of red fruits, aniseed and tobacco bouquet. The chicken was perfectly prepared, smooth and smoky, and that garlic bulb was easy one of my favorite part of the entire dinner. It was just excellent execution that brought out the flavor of garlic without any of its harsh characteristics. I managed to convinced Eiling to eat almost half her portion even though she normally wouldn’t touch it.

The one other place I know which serves garlic bulb this way is the old school ramen shop at Wisma Central by the name of Tenka Daiichi.

roast duck breast with red cabbage puree & mustard sauce, Shiraz 2011
roast duck breast with red cabbage puree & mustard sauce, Shiraz 2011

Duct breast is one of my favorite ingredients ever, and while the roast duck breast with red cabbage pureer & mustard sauce here looks excellent, the meat itself was a slight disappointment. I think a combination of having a very thick cut and slight under cooking contributed to the chewiness of the red meat. Good potential, and quite easily fixed though.

Shiraz is one of my favorite red wines, and the version at Cape Mentelle did not disappoint at all. The peppery and spicy palate has good depth and carries a rich nose of pepper and aniseed with berries. With this, I somehow finished the duck breast anyway.

grilled beef tenderloin with Eryngii mushroom, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
grilled beef tenderloin with Eryngii mushroom, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

The fourth course was the grilled beef tenderloin with Ergyngii mushroom, scallion oil & beef jus. Medium rare and plenty juicy, the beef was a welcoming redemption after the disappointing duck breast, even though if I were to be critical, it was just a tad slightly overcooked.

Cabernet Sauvignon accompanied us for this last dish, a full bodied wine with good complexity, with black fruits, subtle flavours of chocolate, plum and aniseed and hint of oak on the palate. A very fine ending.

with Eiling & WeiZhi, green tea creme brulee
with Eiling and Wei Zhi, the dessert

No course dinner shall end without dessert, and so we had green tea crème brulee as the final dish.

This was also probably the last food review session that Eiling and I are sharing before she makes a permanent move to Belgium. Interestingly, she is also the one of my first “blog friends” when we met for the first time and went to Peony Garden 5 years ago (unfortunately that place has since closed down).
map to Neo Tamarind & Tamarind Hill

Address:
Neo Tamarind
19, Jalan Sultan Ismail,
Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.15292, 101.70829
Tel: 03-2148 3200
Web: tamarindrestaurants.com
Hours: lunch and dinner daily except Monday

First of all, let me get the most important message across.

On the 18th March 2013, head to any one of the over five thousand participating McDonald’s across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa and you’ll get to enjoy the biggest regional breakfast giveaway in conjunction with National Breakfast Day.

In Malaysia, each of the 222 McDonald’s Breakfast Restaurants will offer FREE Egg McMuffin to the first 1,000 customers from 7am to 10am on Monday (18/3/2013). So wake up and grab yours, don’t miss out!

McDonald's on a Sunday morning, Egg McMuffin, coffee, and hash brown
McDonald’s on a Sunday morning, Egg McMuffin, coffee, and hash brown

Last Sunday I was joined by Cheesie, Huai Bin, Nazwan, Cik Epal, and some of our fellow readers for a meal of McDonald’s wholesome breakfast and a kitchen tour at McDonald’s outlet at Sri Damansara.

We started the day with an Egg McMuffin, coffee, and piping hot hash brown. If your Sunday, or in fact any other day does not start out with a wholesome breakfast, then you are missing out the most important meal of the day, I previously wrote about the importance of breakfast in “Lets talk about breakfast” post.

some of my readers brought their kids for the kitchen tour, too cute
some of my readers brought their kids for the kitchen tour, too cute

It was pretty awesome to be meeting some of my reader’s kids at the event. Kristen’s husband brought his cute daughter, and Mycelt came with two kids too. Thank you for coming!

The 50 odd strong crowd were then separated into a few batches for the McDonald’s kitchen tour.

one of the most efficient and cleanest kitchen anywhere
one of the most efficient and cleanest kitchen anywhere

Little known fact – my first ever real job was being an employee at McDonald’s right after my PMR examination, it was a valuable experience and I learned a lot from the job.

So to me, the kitchen tour is a little bit like a homecoming event after some 20 years absent from being in one. I was impressed to see that they have managed to make the place even cleaner and more efficient than it already was from years ago.

Employees who handle food must thoroughly wash their hands and wear gloves while cooking. Food are made to order, with only the patties and eggs being prepared minutes prior and kept in what they called universal holding cabinet. So the Cheeseburger or Egg McMuffins you order is as fresh as it gets.

reliving the days when I was a McDonald's employee almost 20 years ago
reliving the days when I was a McDonald’s employee almost 20 years ago

On Sunday, I also had a chance to put my long forgotten skills into use once again. While it took me probably around a minute to get it done, seasoned employees get it done in seconds. Their efficiency is impressive, and the whole kitchen is kept spotlessly clean, I need to adopt the same mentality at my own kitchen.

and here's a group photo, smile!
and here’s a group photo, smile!

We had a great time with breakfast and kitchen tour at McDonald’s, and I certainly hope the kids enjoyed themselves (especially going into the giant freezer). Thank you to those who came and I hope you had a great time.

So don’t forget to head to a McDonald’s this 18th March, 2013 and get your free Egg McMuffins to kickstart your workweek! Click on National Breakfast Day to learn more.

And it was another Xmas Eve Party at SS3, a yearly tradition that we’ve had since 2004 (except for 2010), if you’re counting, this was the 8th time on the same venue with the same concept – plenty of drinks, a bit of food, and a tricky gift exchange program by midnight.

The idea is for everyone to have some fun counting down to Christmas day, and at the same time an excuse to have a few drinks and mingle among like minded friends.

xmas eve party at SS3, 2012
xmas eve party at SS3, 2012

Carlsberg Malaysia was kind enough to sponsor us some beer for the night – we had 2 cases of Carlsberg, Asashi Super Dry, and Kronenbourg Blanc each. Thank you Pearl, Calvin, and Serin!

I made full use of the Jagermiester freezer and Carlsberg beer tower I won from the Jagermiester Halloween Party a couple months ago.

I made some bergedil, haze marinated pork for bbq, Fresh made santa berries
I made some bergedil, haze marinated pork for bbq, Fresh made santa berries

Other than the beer, we prepared some food for the night. Haze marinated more than 3 KGs of pork for BBQ and prepared a small slab of roast pork, I made some bergedil, and Fresh prepared her little cute Santaberries.

It wasn’t a dinner event, so these were just beer food.

Jeniffer & Jenine; Fooi, Sam, Kerol, Terence; Shany & Desmond, Eiling, Horng
Jeniffer & Janine; Fooi, Sam, Kerol, Terence; Shany & Desmond, Eiling, Horng

Guests started coming in just slightly before 9 pm. In fact, David and Michael actually went to my place while we were out having dinner, talk about being too punctual.

Fresh, Huss, Janine, Winnie & Terence, KY, Erin, Yuki, Martin
Fresh, Huss, Janine, Winnie & Terence, KY, Erin, Yuki, Martin

The returning party goers were:

KY, Haze, Horng, Yuki, Kim, Gareth, Terence, Kerol, Ruby, Michael, Li Ling, Lance, Eiling, Yee Hou, Firdy, Zess, Shiang.

Fiqa, Eiling, Ruby & Desmond, Terence, Vindy, Cherlyn, Desmond, Terence

Fiqa, Eiling, Ruby & Desmond, Terence, Vindy, Cherlyn, Desmond, Terence

New Faces were:

Fiqa, Huss, Fresh, Erin, Martin, Jennifer, Janine, Winnie, Fooi, Desmond, Sam, Geoffery, Shany, Cheryn, Vindy, David, Gary

So that was 17-17 with a total of 34 people, a pretty nice turn out despite a few notable absence due to work, travel, and family commitments. You know who you are, and we hope to see you next year.

David, Yee Hou, Desmond, Michael, Kerol, Horng, Firdy, Gary
David, Yee Hou, Desmond, Michael, Kerol, Horng, Firdy, Gary

We had another fun filled gift exchange program with the following rules this year

  • every participant contribute a gift worth over RM 49.90, and then draw a number from the box
  • smallest number start by picking and unwrapping a gift
  • next number can snatch the opened gift, whereby the person who lost it gets to choose another gift, or snatch another opened gift
  • maximum of 3 snatching sequence per round

The most snatched gift was a sweet Puma Ducati bag from Fooi that’s actually retailed at over RM 300, Lance went home with it. Other memorable gifts include portable air bed, Chinese liquor, ice cream, Thor’s Hammer bottle opener, a couple of salami from Australia.

Terence ended up with a pair of blue lingerie, who would have thought, right?

Gary, Geoffery, Horng; Yee Hou, Fresh, Yuki, Haze; and finally, the drunken man
Gary, Geoffery, Horng; Yee Hou, Fresh, Yuki, Haze; and finally, the drunken man

The men in blue visited us by around 2 am and that’s when the party was winding down. The ending of this party is almost exactly the same as the one in 2008 where we had a dude in Afro K-O-ed on the floor. It was a blast.

See you guys next year!

It’s been a while that this blog features any fancy dining experience, so the invitation from Tanzini Upper Deck came just at the right moment.

Situated at the 29th floor in G Tower, Tanzini Upper Deck features a double volume (ermm.. aka very high ceiling) dining room complete with custom made star-lights which. Coupled with the full view of the magnificent Petronas Twin Towers, the ambiance is about as good as one can wish for.

Tanzini Upper Deck at G Tower
Tanzini Upper Deck at G Tower

Tanzini Upper Deck only offers 4-6 course degustation menu and private functions, if you’re looking for ala carte dining, that would be Tanzini just a level below.

While waiting for everyone to arrive, we started off the night with a glass of Louis Roederer Champagne, a non-vintage champagne comprises 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier. I’m not exactly a wine critic, but the fruity aroma and full texture of this drinks makes it one of the better champagne I remember having.

Lollipop Scallops, Halibut-Salmon "Mokume Gane"
Lollipop Scallops, Halibut-Salmon “Mokume Gane”

We tried three types of appetizers, starting with a daring display of creativity in the lollipop scallops. It was in essence, grilled scallop on a stick encased with caramelized sugar. Sweet and savory, a departure from the normal preparation which tends to go towards the salty side. Interesting nonetheless.

Halibut-Salmon “Mokume Gane” is inspired by Japanese mixed metal patterns. In this instance, using halibut and salmon that results in the orange/white pattern. Served with house pickled ginger, lemon grass-calamansi granita, candied hojiso (shiso leaf), and horse radish. The taste was quite distinctly Japanese for me, and in a very good way.

Black Truffle Custard
Black Truffle Custard

Another choice of appetizer is the black truffle custard that comes in three parts – truffled egg-mushi, a squid ink cone with sweet corn, and finally, prawn noodle with trout roe.

This was almost a 3-in-1 dish. I love the truffled egg (kinda reminds me of the foie gras egg in Gu Yue Tien, though they are different) and enjoyed the textures of prawn noodle with trout roe. The final third of the dish though, was overpowered by the sweetness of the corn that very little hint of squid ink was apparent.

"BLT" soup - bacon marmalade, lettuce m-sponge, tempura soft shell crab
“BLT” soup – bacon marmalade, lettuce m-sponge, tempura soft shell crab

Next up was a choice between the two soups we tried.

Chef Eugene’s interpretation of “BLT” was our first soup. Veloute de tomates, bacon marmalade, 30″ lettuce m-sponge, and tempura soft shell crab.

I’ve never tasted bacon, lettuce, and tomato quite this way before, and I gotta say it was very impressive and daring. The soup was like a very supped up (pardon the pun) version of tomato soup. It was quite delicious.

Smoked Oyster Tea
Smoked Oyster Tea

Should you choose the smoked oyster tea as the choice of soup instead, you won’t be disappointed. This dish was a demonstration of the perfect harmony in consomme of oyster, fenugreek (herb), smoked trout roe, ginkgo, and oyster kara-age (similar to tempura).

The soup is poured just before eating, and rightly so, because 2 minutes later the crispy skin of oyster kara-age would’ve become soggy.

Ox Tongue Yakitori - with asparagus kimchi, fried bernaise
Ox Tongue Yakitori and  House Muscovy Duck

After appetizer and soup, we moved onto starters.

Ox tongue yakitori and house-cured muscovy duck were the two dishes to be chosen from the menu.

On one hand, the fancier ox tongue dish comprises of miso-ginger infused ox tongue skewer, fennel in Yuzu dressing, asparagus kimchi, and fried béarnaise. The ox tongue was very good in its delicate taste and texture, fried bearnaise was interesting, but the asparagus kimchi though, was a surprise that wasn’t exactly in a good way. I felt that it was a little bit out of place.

the duck dish, on the other hand, was excellent! Plum sauce, pop rocks & melon galia, truffled potato stuffed bok choi, and litchi glass are the ingredients. Chef Eugene got this one perfectly executed, it just tasted very very good.

Redefined "Aussie Pie"
Redefined “Aussie Pie”

We had an intermezzo in the form of some sorbet which acted as a palette cleanser, after that was the main dishes.

Out of the 3 choices, I selected the Redefined “Aussie Pie” - glazed hilside farm lamb loin in house stock, kataifi, truffled mashed peas, vegemite orb, and sautéed vegetables. This dish was another display of art, and the good news was, it actually tasted rather good. The lamb loin was almost a little too dry for my liking, but that was just me nitpicking a little.

"Uncle Sam" Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks, Desconstructed English Man's Treat
“Uncle Sam” Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks, Desconstructed English Man’s Treat

Haze had the “Uncle Sam” Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks - slow braised wagyu in rye stock, grilled king trumpets, dark chocolate crouton, and seasonal vegetable. This turned out to be one of the weaker dish, and we felt that it was actually a little bit of a waste to braise a good piece of meat.  Truth be told, it was a disappointment.

The third main dish was the Deconstructed English Man’s Treat, basically chef’s interpretation of the classic fish and chips, with fillet of marbled goby fish & carbonized batter, violet potato, glazed savoy cabbage, texturized garlic oil, and 62 Celcius organic egg yolk. Eiling, who ordered this dish, had this to say:

“This is a very complicated dish but I like the contrasting textures and the egg yolk certainly is a unique addition.”

Flamed Popcorn Gelato
Sweet Ending: Flamed Popcorn Gelato

The dinner ended with flamed popcorn gelato – hazel streusel, bruleed banana, black elderberry glazed fuji apples, and salted caramel toast.

The presentation of the dessert really placed an exclamation mark to the chef’s creativity. It was served with the smoke from dry ice overflowing the table, and some Grand Marnier poured onto the glazed apple for the flame. The spirit did make the dessert a bit bitter, but I actually love it bitter so that suited me well (not so for the girls).

KY, Eiling, Haze at Tanzini Upper Deck
KY, Eiling, Haze at Tanzini Upper Deck

All throughout the dinner, chef Eugene came out and explained the meaning and intricacy of each dishes, which made a world of difference. Service too was excellent throughout (but this is an invited food review, so your mileage may vary).

Most importantly, you might ask, is the price:

RM 155++ 4 course dinner

  • Chef’s Special
  • Choose one out of Appetizers, soups, or starters
  • Intermezzo
  • Choice of Mains
  • Dessert
RM 185++ 5 course dinner
  • Chef’s Special
  • Choose 2 out of Appetizers, soups, or starters
  • Intermezzo
  • Choice of Mains
  • Dessert
RM 215++ 6 course dinner
  • Chef’s Special
  • Choice of Appetizers
  • Choice of Soups
  • Choice of Starters
  • Intermezzo
  • Choice of Mains
  • Dessert

map to G-Tower, KL

Address:
Tanzini Upper Deck
Level 29, GTower
199 Jalan Tun Razak,
50400 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.1590, 101.7200
Tel: 03-2168 1899

Tanzini Upper Deck Tanzini

Yes! I’m now a proud owner of a Prada, or more specifically, the Prada phone by LG 3.0.

In fact, I was told that I’m one of the very first people to have the phone in Malaysia, because I won it during the launch, Yeeaaahhhhhhh!

this silly pose bagged me a Prada LG 3.0 phone
this silly pose bagged me a Prada LG 3.0 phone

Just last Friday, Celcom and LG threw a media launching event at G Tower for the brand new LG Prada phone, now powered with Android. Since my office is nearby, dropped by after work to join Haze to check out the new device.

While the previous LG Prada phones have always struck me as fashion statements more than sophisticated gadgets, the 3.0, with the complete departure from previous models by adopting Android operating system, does push its capabilities on par with aesthetics.

Prada LG 3.0, powered by Android, I'm using it now!
Prada LG 3.0, powered by Android, I’m using it now!

Here’s the specifications of the Prada LG 3.0

  • 1.0 Ghz Dual-Core/Dual Channel Processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB user memory
  • 4.3″ screen with WVGA resolution (800 x 480)
  • 8MP rear camera with LED flash
  • 1080p Full HD video recording
  • 1.3MP secondary video-call camera, HD video
  • 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA speed
  • Wifi, GPS, MicroUSB, and supports MicroSD card up to 32 GB

the event was rather glamourous, I was under dressed
the event was rather glamourous, I was under dressed

A rather impressive feature set if you ask me, and it doesn’t end there. The phone is beautifully designed, an all black slade with a leather-like pattern at the back, and that PRADA logo, of course. At only 8.5mm, it is also super slim.

The black and white interface is rather unique in the Android world, and actually could make a bit of a mess once you add in a lot of other applications, but thankfully the most common applications are already included in the phone with the same black & white themed icons. I simply hide the colorful icons in other pages. Gotta keep my phone looking pretty!

Haze, Eiling, and many other bloggers were there
Haze, Eiling, and many other girls. Look at my silly grin when I found out I won

You can get your own Prada phone from Celcom from as low as RM 1518 by subscribing to Celcom Exec plans. For more information do check out http://www.celcom.com.my/smartphones/android.php#android5

After a day of usage, I’m happy to say that I do like it quite a lot. This phone now replaced my previous Android device – the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. The Prada LG phone surpassed the Arc pretty much in all aspects other than low lighting photography, but I’ll gladly live with that.

Olympus E-PL3