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Xmas Eve Party 2011

December 30, 2011 21 Comments

The first xmas eve party that I hosted was all the way back in 2005, which actually didn’t feel at all like it was already 6 years ago, with everyone still talking about Douglas’s epic puke fest after having one drink too many.

After last year’s absence (we spent xmas eve at Suan’s), the 5th installment of xmas eve party at my place resumes, and this time around we decided to have it back to basic – without the buffet line, satay man, or sponsored beer.

A big thank you to everyone who shows up, and even bigger thank you to those who brought alcohol and home made red velvet cupcake (Lainey) to share.

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Horng, Haze, Terence; Aaron, Ruby, Derek; Terence & Celine

Those who came before in previous years:

KY, Haze, Terence, Horng, Suan, Ruby, Eiling, Michael, FA, Ringo, Ginny, Arthur, Yee Hou, Gareth, Kimberly, Huey Fang, Chan, Kerol.

Newcomer this year:

Lance, Melissa, Michael (yep 2 of them), Li Ling, Lainey, Aaron, Zach, Vinn, Pearl, Derek, Celine, Yuki.

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Eiling & KY; Lance & Melissa, FA, Michael & Li Ling; Michael & Ringo

Unlike previous year’s crazy binge drinking style, this seems to be the year where everyone sorta take things slightly more maturely. Everyone was just having a good time, sipping some single malt whisky or having a cold one.

No, there is no beer bong  this year, and if you want to look at pictures of people passing out, I’ll have to disappoint too. Some might say this is a sign of old age, hmmmm…

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Yee Hou & Ginny; Ruby; FA; Lainey; Suan; Haze; Robb & Zach

The gift exchange part tho, was as fun as ever. Every year we had this rule, and I highly recommend that you do the same for your xmas gift exchange. I initially got this from working at Unisys in Cincinnati (man that was over 10 years ago)

  • every participant contribute a gift, 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
  • you cannot snatch a gift that was in your possession before

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Gift exchange was again the highlight of the night – best was the 1kg bacon

In essence, having the last number usually means you get to pick anything that’s opened, with only one unknown gift. However, even the last person can get his/her gift snatched if she (A) snatched B, then B snatched C, but C can actually snatch back A’s gift.

Loads of fun, try it.

The most snatched gift this year was from Lance & Horng – who contributed a whole 1 KG bacon and a small water feature thing. Those gifts exchange hands at least half a dozen times.

The funniest gift tho was from Robb, and drew by Kerol (after what she chose initially got snatched) – two bundle of bananas!

KY's xmas eve party 2011
fire works; Gareth telling stories; bacon; Kim & Michael

I prepared a bit of BBQ (20 wings, some sausages) for those who happened to be hungry, Lainey brought her home made red velvet cakes (super yummy!), and at the end of the night we bbq some bacon too.

And no, this year we did not have any cops coming to end the party. Now that’s a first.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

Olympus E-PL3

The urban dictionary definition for Bubu refers to “the hottest most beautiful women out there“. The relationship of the word Bubu and Eiling, however, isn’t one that’s defined on the site (though she might disagree).

Eiling, instead, invited us to a food review at Bubu Restaurant at the little quaint Hotel Rae. If the name sounds familiar, it is because the same boss also own Bubu Long Beach Resort at Perhentian island.

Bubu Restaurant at Tengkat Tong Shin
Bubu Restaurant at Tengkat Tong Shin

Bubu is a Spanish restaurant that has a heavy dose of specialization on grilled food. While Eiling emphasized that they also serve the best paella she’s ever tasted, our review concentrate mostly on their grilled stuff instead.

I find it better that way, Spanish food is dangerously falling into what Japanese food has suffered – be associated with only a very small subset of what the cuisine has to offer. With Japanese it was sashimi and sushi, with Spanish food, paella and tapas.

grilled calamari
the excellent grilled calamari

The grilled calamari was my favorite dish from the night. A very simple dish of squid grilled to perfection and served with green chili paste with unique blend of spiciness a slightly salty/sour lime taste, the whole concoction rests on a bed of salad. The dish was as visually appealing as it was tasty.

crab cake, wine, bruschetta mushroom with cheese
crab cake, wine, bruschetta mushroom with cheese

Our dinner actually got started with some crab cake and some red wine. While the crab cake’s decent, you should save your stomach and look into other dishes Bubu has to offer.

Bruschetta mushroom with cheese, however, did serve as a delicious stomach liner before heading to the grilled seafoods. Anything with cheese and mushroom can’t go wrong.

grilled tiger prawn, grilled marlin skewer, Chateaubriand steak
grilled tiger prawn, grilled marlin skewer, Chateaubriand steak

Other than the grilled calamari mentioned above, we had grilled tiger prawn and marlin skewer. The tiger prawns were huge, and we could smell it before the dish was served. Succulent and sweet, I would have it again in a heart beat.

The marlin skewer is a new dish to me. I found it to be quite meaty, and while still juicy thanks to the cubes of vegetable and garnish sitting between the fish, you’ll need to have it with some sauce to bring out the otherwise pretty bland taste.

Then we had the Chateaubriand steak, a thick cut of really juicy tenderloin prepared medium rare. This is a dish usually shared by a couple, and I would be happier if it was arranged that way, for it was so good I wish I had more to myself.

moist brownie with ice cream, Crepe Suzette
moist brownie with ice cream, Crepe Suzette

While almost all girls believe that they always deserve desserts, guys are usually less of a fan. That said, I do enjoy occasional sweet pastry or two after meal.

The moist brownie with ice cream was decent, though I personally would always prefer molten chocolate cake instead, and the Crepe Suzette too wasn’t bad. But really, I don’t think desserts are what Bubu is all about.

ciki, haze & KY, eiling, yiling & bf, Joe
ciki, haze & KY, eiling, yiling & bf, Joe

We did have a very good time at Bubu, except for desserts, food were excellent. The allure of Tengkat Tong Shin adds to the overall experience, and of course, we had great company.

So Eiling, when are we having the paella you promised? 😛

map to Bubu Restaurant

Address:
Bubu Restaurant
Hotel Rae
No. 42 A, Tengkat Tong Shin,
50200, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.146515, 101.707950
Tel: 03- 2142 2988

A couple weeks ago I received and invitation from Yoke May of Westin to attend Kaesler Winemaker’s Dinner. To be honest, I am not exactly a wine connoisseur, but based on my previous experience at Westin’s EEST and Yoke May’s hospitality, I know this isn’t something I would want to miss.

Kaesler Wine Dinera t the Dining Room, Westin KL
Stephen Dew from Kaesler

A little background on Kaesler:

The original Kaesler vineyards were established in 1893 by the Kaesler Family, Silesian pioneers who came to the Barossa Valley, Australia in the 1840′s and who took up the 60 acre allotment in 1891. Winemaker Reid Bosward and his partners then bought the Kaesler vineyards in 1998.

Our dinner was hosted by one of the partners from Kaesler vineyards, Mr. Stephen Dew. The six course meal with half a dozen different wines to pair was priced at RM 180, a pretty good value. For myself, haze, cumi&ciki, and eiling, it was even better cos we freeloaded, hohoho.

Hokkaido Scallop crudo, green apple sorbet, cucumber with Old Vine Semillon 2008
Hokkaido Scallop crudo, green apple sorbet

Since I’m not exactly a wine expert, I’m gonna concentrate a bit more on food. First to come was the Hokkaido scallop crudo with green apple sorbet laying on a bed of thinly sliced cucumber. It was raw, cold, but subtle and sweet at the same time. The seafood was paired with Old Vine Semilon 2008 (RM 90), a wine with a bit of grapefruit and apple taste, a good compliment.

Baby beetroot in flaky pastry, horseradish, chives; apricot and almond beignet, creamed wild mushrooms, creamed tarragon butter emulsion
baby beetroot in flaky pastry; apricot & almond beignet

Second dish of the night was apricot and almond beignet with creamed wild mushrooms and creamed tarragon butter emulsion. We were served with Viognier 2008 (RM 110), a slightly stronger red wine chilled to 18C that went really well with the creamy dish.

Next up was this pastry with a flake of gold: baby beetroot with horseradish and chives. The flaky pastry and beetroot made an interesting if unlikely combination, to be honest I found it a little odd. We had Kaesler Stonehorse Shiraz Mourvedre 2007 (RM 90) to pair with. The wine was slightly spicy but not one that’s very strong, and by the way gold didn’t actually have any taste -_-

roast lamb neck, crisp ice fish, eggplant, tzaziki, smoked bone marrow, cherry puree
eiling and the excellent roast lamb neck with smoked bone marrow

Then came the best dish of the night, roast lamb neck, crisp ice fish, eggplant, tzaziki, smoked bone marrow, cherry puree. I like how they name their dish, you don’t even need to explain what’s in it, ultimate opposite from Chinese dishes where everything is in 4 letter and you have no idea what you’re about to eat.

It was the first time I properly had bone marrow in this fashion and it was heaven! It sits somewhere in between beef tendon and foie gras, the texture was superb, and the taste, very rich and yet subtle. The Stonehorse Shiraz 2006 (RM115) gave the bone marrow a sense of balance too, oh how I miss this.

licorice port glazed braised angus beef short rib, smoked potato puree; KY & Haze
licorice port glazed braised angus beef short rib, KY & Haze

The last main dish was licorice port glazed braised angus beef short rib, smoked potato puree paired with Bogan Shiraz 2006. The wine had strong oak aroma to it and rich flavor which I liked, but I do think that the licorice kinda overpowered the beef a little. I usually prefer my beef to be only very mildly seasoned, if any.

marshmallow, citrus salad; ciki & yoke may
marshmallow, citrus salad; ciki & yoke may

Dessert was marshmallow and citrus salad with my favorite wine of the night. The sweet tasting Riestling – Rizza 2009, this wine’s perfect with the marshmallow or even just to drink by itself. The citrus though, was really super sour to the point where one bite will bring you to instant sobriety. I wonder where they got it from.

It was a wonderful dinner made better by the great company, thank you Yoke May for the invitation!

map of Westin KL

Address:
The Dining Room, Westin Hotel
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang,
Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.147758, 101.714591
Tel03-2731 8333

Earlier this month I went on a bit of a food review streak. First was Iketeru at KL Hilton, then the Wine dinner at Opus Bistro, followed by Leonardo’s, and then Mandarin Grill, and I think there’s one more before the conclusion of this week.

I usually don’t go to as many review sessions, but the invitations from this month were all too tempting to refuse (though I did forgo a wine dinner in favor of futsal). Leonardo’s stand out in the list for that it is the only one that serves one of my favorite meats – pork.


Leonardo’s Dining Room, Concha Y Toro Sauvignan Blanc 2008

Tucked at a little row of shops by Jalan Bangkung at Bukit Bandaraya, Laonardo’s is run by the same people that brought you Opus, Cava, and Moxie (I haven’t been to the latter two).

While the name might have an Italian origin, the food is more fusion than anything: from pizza, pork knuckle, to bak kut teh and hokkien mee, the menu cuts across different cuisines but with a distinctly pork centric theme. A theme the invited guests in this session agreed whole heartedly.

crispy bacon lollipop, belgian black mussels, kentucky fried frogs
crispy bacon lollipop, Belgian black mussels, Kentucky fried frog

We had three appetizers to start the night, crispy bacon lollipop was this cute dish with breaded pork balls on satay sticks served in a glass of salt, a mayo based sauce accompany the dish just to make it even more sinful. The balls had cheese and pork in it, I didn’t pace myself and had more than a couple.

The Belgian black mussels (RM 55) were cooked in a savory white wine and cream broth, from fresh and not frozen seafood, with of parsley and onion to add to the flavor.

My favorite appetizer out of the three must be the Kentucky fried frog, and I’m sure Kim would kill for this. Deep fried in a very light batter, the freshness of the frog legs perfectly intact. I’m amazed how well it goes with the tartar sauce (if I get it right). Perfect beer snack.

italian cippino, spanish black pig shoulder loin steak, mama mia pizza
Italian Cippino, Spanish black pig shoulder loin steak, mama mia pizza

The Italian Cippino (RM 46) is, I supposed, a dish Leonardo himself would be quite familiar with. Plenty of seafood in tomato broth, served with foccacia bread. There’re fish, mussels, prawns, and squid too.

The Spanish black pig shoulder loin steak (RM 55) is served medium well with picon blue risotto mustard sauce. The meat was as tender as any top grade steak but with a hint of pork texture and taste, no wonder it is also known as the wagyu of pork world. Delicious!

The rectangular mama mia pizza (RM 35) is a thin crust pizza cut in six pieces and precariously topped with jamon serrano (similar to parma ham), rocket, and mozzarella cheese

ciki, Leo's Pork Knuckle Platter, KY
ciki serving Leo’s pork knuckle platter, I licked the bone clean

My favorite main dish of the night has got to be their signature Leo’s pork knuckle platter (RM 75). The pork knuckle is perfect, with the meat super tender you could tear em clean from the bone (as I demonstrate) while the skin roasted till super crispy.

There were red sauerkraut & garlic herb roasted potatoes to balance the taste too, it couldn’t have been better. I absolutely love it.

pork chorizo sausage, grilled pork neck, hokkien mee with giant prawns
pork chorizo sausage, grilled pork neck, hokkien mee with giant prawns

Pork chorizo sausage (RM 38) is served with bacon, potato, and apple rosti with chunky tomato relish. A pretty hearty meal by itself, I’d have this with some Guinness.

Another unique dish at Leonardo’s is their grilled pork neck (RM 25) with spicy mango. I like the cilantro salsa that comes with it, but to be honest I personally didn’t like the pork neck much, the texture’s a bit too soft and oily for my liking.

Edward, the part owner, insisted that we try their fried hokkien mee. Served with some seriously huge prawns, I must say that it didn’t disappoint if only it’s a tad too sweet for me. Then again, perhaps my taste bud was tainted with the previous nine dishes I tried?

banana bread and butter pudding, grilled mango, baked apple with fillo pastry, chocolate seduction
banana bread n butter pudding, grilled mango w pink peppercorn & cardamom,
baked apple with fillo pastry, chocolate seduction

Then of course, the desserts have to come when I’m already absolutely full to the brim. However, I find that this is generally not a problem with girls, they seem to have a separate stomach reserved just for dessert. Call me sexist, but it is absolutely true!

The banana bread and butter pudding (RM 18) served with vanilla ice cream was my favorite among the desserts. Grilled mango with pink peppercorn and cardamom (RM 18) was a bit strange, the baked apple with fillo pastry (RM 18) sweet and savory, and the chocolate seduction (RM 22) was absolutely rich and flavorful I don’t know how anyone could actually finish it right after a big meal.

Then again, I don’t have that spare dessert stomach.

hanging out with the gang at Leonardo's, Jalan Bangkung
we had a whole lot of food and fun at Leonardo’s

It was a very satisfying review session. Cumi & Ciki, Fatboybakes, Eiling, A Lil Fat Monkey, Nigel & Allan from Just Heavenly, and Li Zhi were among the people that made up the great company.

Fadlin also got us some lovely wines sponsored by Magnum to go with all these food. We had Villa Girardi Soave 2007 (Italian) , Concha Y Toro Sauvignon Blanc (Chile), Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir 2006 (U.S), and James Irvine Barossa Merlot 2006 (Australia).

map to Leonardo's Dining Room

Address:
Leonardo’s
61-1 and 61-2, Jalan Bangkung,
Bukit Bandaraya,
59100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.138116, 101.669197
Tel: 03-2096 2226

It’s always a constant headache whenever we try to decide on where to eat, and asking me for a suggestion without specifying any criteria usually won’t get us anywhere. So when Eiling came over to have dinner with us, I left the decision to her.

88 Seafood Restaurant at Aman Suria
88 Seafood Restaurant, with pictured menu

With her suggestion, we went to this 88 Seafood Restaurant at Sunwaymas Commercial Center (also known as Aman Suria) for some old fashion Chinese food. This was the first time I had any “tai chau” at this area despite staying relatively close by.

It was around 6:30 when we arrived on a Sunday and already the restaurant was over 70% full, with tables set up both under the roof and alfresco style. Business was rather brisk.

guinness pork ribs, asparagus, salted egg squid, tofu with minced pork
Guinness pork ribs, sambal belacan asparagus, salted-egg squid, tofu with minced pork

I like the fact that every entry on the menu at 88 Seafood comes with a picture, so you know exactly what you want to order will look like. That said, like most Chinese restaurants, you can always order out of the menu. We did just that for our fish dish, asked for normal steamed fish with red snapper instead of their Teow Chew style steamed fish.

We also ordered the Guinness pork ribs, asparagus with sambal belacan, deep fried squid with salted egg, and tofu with mince pork to go with rice for the four of us.

KY, Eiling, Carol, and Horng at 88 Seafood Resataurant
steamed red snapper, KY, Eiling, Kerol, Horng

Though service wasn’t terribly fast, the four dishes did come at almost the same time, with the steamed fish some 5 minutes later. This is much better than some restaurants that serves dish by dish punctuated with long waits in between.

As for the dishes, the asparagus was alright, I’d prefer them to be of smaller size; the tofu too was not bad but I think Lucky Loke at SS3 serves up a better tasting one.

That said, the Guinness pork was really good; and the steamed red snapper was very fresh and tasted superb with all the fried garlic and ginger, not to mention the perfect balance of soya sauce and oil to complete the dish.

This was my first experience with the fried squid with salted egg dish, my previous experience has been limited to salted egg with crab and prawn, but this version too passed with flying colors. It was a combination of the richness of salted egg yolk, fragrance of curry leaves, and the spiciness of chili padi that makes the squid tasted so yummy.

map to Sunway Mas Commercial Center, 88 Seafood Restaurant
88 Seafood Restaurant is located at PJU 1/3b & PJU 1/3c

The dinner came up to some RM 75 or so, and considering we had 5 dishes with meat, seafood, vegetable, and tofu, it was rather inexpensive. Most importantly, it was a well satisfying and none of the dishes disappointed us.

I shall return.

Addess:
88 Restaurant Seafood Restaurant
Jalan PJU 1/3b,
Sunway Mas Commercial Centre,
47301 Petaling Jaya

GPS:
3.119835,101.599942