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Tag / fine dining

If you type Omakase in google, this is what you get:

o·ma·ka·se
ˌōməˈkäsā,ōˈmäkəsā/
noun
  1. (in a Japanese restaurant) a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef.

So then, SOU Omakase is exactly what the name of the restaurant suggests – a Japanese outfit at Mid Valley Gardens that prides itself on their Omakase menu.

sou omakase mid valley gardens
sou omakase mid valley gardens

Lunch starts at RM 98++ per person, and dinner comes with a choice of 4 different course –

  • SOU dinner course – RM 220
    • starter, chawanmushi, Japanese garnish food, sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
  • Special dinner course – RM 320
    • starter, special fresh oyster, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi, grilled dish, mouth wash, main course, rice course with miso soup, dessert with Japanese tea
  • Special abalone course – RM 370
    • starter, Japanese soup, Japanese garnish food, special sashimi moriawase, special grilled abalone, mouth wash, main course, sushi 3 kinds with miso soup, home made dessert with Japanese tea
  • Tasting menu – RM 450
    • degustation menu offered by chef FUKUCHI, 10 courses.

foie gras salad
foie gras salad

For the purpose of our review, we went for the tasting menu.

But first, if you’re heading to SOU Omakase, do note that it is located near the entrance of the Gardens Hotel, accessible via the Mall but through a tricky back door, with the restaurant facing Bangsar area of the building. It is much easier if you choose to valet park at the Gardens.

I won’t with fancy Japanese lingo for these dishes, since I assume many of you are like me who are heaps better in your command of English language than Japanese, we’ll stick with simple descriptions.

The dinner started with a beautiful dish of foie gras salad, a small chunk of perfectly seared goose liver with some greens and caviar. The ingredients itself speaks business.

 Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco
 Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco

Second course was Netherlands oyster with homemade tabasco, one of the best ways to get more zinc to your system. I do like the taste of their homemade tabasco sauce, slightly milder yet more complex in texture.

Snow crab with Spanish mackerel and Japanese winter melon soup
snow crab with Spanish mackerel and Japanese winter melon soup

Then there’s snow crab with Spanish mackerel in Japanese winter melon soup, our first warm dish of the night. The dish reminds me of some high end Chinese soup dishes, but one with unmistakenly Japanese ingredients. Warm and comforting.

mini sushi with chopped tuna belly and sea urchin
mini sushi with chopped tuna belly and sea urchin

Then it was a mini sushi to get our palette going for more raw seafood. Chopped tuna belly with sea urchin, two of the more premium sushi ingredients that packs a punch in savory index, perfectly balanced with freshly grated wasabi, a few slices of seaweed, and expertly prepared sushi rice.

butter fish with eel in yam paste
butter fish with eel in yam paste

Butter fish with eel in yam paste was next. This is a dish that I think some may have trouble getting used to the texture, it was soft and slightly slimy in texture from the eel and yam, but does provide an interesting experience especially when feeling it in the mouth.

We then had an aperitif, simple yuzu with soda to get our taste buds afresh for the next course – sashimi.

Sashimi part 1, served with wasabi moose and hand grated wasabi - octopus, yellow tail, mackerel
Sashimi part 1, served with shoyu moose and hand grated wasabi
– octopus, yellow tail, mackerel

This was undoubtedly the highlight of the omakase course to me. The sashimi came in two parts, and served with shoyu moose (soya sauce in moose form) and freshly grated wasabi.

Part one was octopus, yellowtail, and mackerel. Merely saying they are “fresh” would be doing these dishes a disservice. The sashimi were paired with different combination of seaweed to compliment its natural tastes, and those shoyu moose provides an interesting, if not very convenient way of handling the amount of soya sauce you want in the sashimi. A new experience to me.

Sashimi part 2 - the fat stuff, Otoro and salmon belly
Sashimi part 2 – the fat stuff, Otoro and salmon belly

Part 2 of the sashi were the fatter stuff – otoro (tuna belly), and salmon belly. Both premium cuts were beautifully presented, and tastes even better than they look. The otoro with its special condiment was especially delicious, I can definitely do this again, and again, and again.

cod with miso stew
cod with miso stew

Then it was time for a table top hot pot experience that came in the form of cod with miso stew. Cod never disappoints, and with high quality miso, certainly makes for a bullet proof dish. I can have this with a bowl of rice and call it a meal and be perfectly content.

beef, braised tuna collar, or lamb as choices of main
beef, braised tuna collar, or lamb as choices of main

Main course came in the form of either braised tuna collar, sliced wagyu beef, or lamb cutlets. Each were pretty rich in taste but not entirely too different from each other in terms of theme. The braised tuna collar was a first for me, and turned out to be probably too heavy to be part of a ten course meal. I was stuffed by the end of this, in a good way.

Inaniwa udon and salmon sushi
Inaniwa udon and salmon sushi

Penultimate dishes were a simple salmon sushi, and inaniwa udon. I had thought I’d never finish the udon due to how stuffed I was, but somehow there were no trace of udon left a few minutes later. When the food is good, you tend to negotiate extra space in the stomach somehow.

jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream
jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream

Dessert came in the form of jelly, mochi, and coffee ice cream. They were beautifully presented, and while did not disappoint, I did not think that they stand out among the other dishes in the course. It was an adequate ending to the 10 course menu, an certainly an omakase experience that is worthy of the restaurant’s name.

Horng, Yuki, & Haze at SOU Omakase
Horng, Yuki, & Haze at SOU Omakase

I’m really intrigued to try their lunch menu and see how they stack up to the likes of TEN & Oribe at similar price point.

Address:
SOU Omakase
Lot G247, Ground Floor
The Gardens, Mid Valley City
Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.118658, 101.675286
Tel03-2202 1133
Hours11:30 am – 3 pm, 6 pm – 10 pm

I don’t go to a lot of invited dinners, usually preferring local fair and hawker delights over dine-in restaurants, but when the invitation from Svago via MyCloudTable promising a 5-course all-truffle arrived, I just couldn’t say no.

'Diamond of the Kitchen" Fine Dining Event at Svago, KLCC
‘Diamond of the Kitchen” Fine Dining Event at Svago, KLCC

Svago is located at KLCC, around the fountain and closest to Mandarin Oriental Hotel. A pretty classy set up overlooking the greenery that is the KLCC garden.

Our dinner was called “Diamond of the Kitchen”, which denotes to black truffles, one of the most prized ingredients in European cuisines. Svago’s Chef de Cuisine, Miguel Huelamo Estrada, was the man behind this creation of 5 course dinner. We also had 4 exquisite wines to be paired with for the evening’s dinner.

Fantastic, isn’t it?

Butternut Squash Crème with White Truffle Yogurt
Butternut Squash Crème with White Truffle Yogurt

To start with, we have Butternut Squash Crème with White Truffle Yogurt, with the pairing of Craggy Range Te Muna Road Riesling, New Zealand.

The creme did have a pretty strong white truffle aroma and the butternut squash was smooth and creamy, but the sourness of yogurt was perhaps a little too strong for me. The riesling though, was fantastic, with intense aromatics of orange blossom, lime peel, and jasmine (of course this is from the tasting note, but I really liked the reisling)

Tuna Tartar with Shaved Truffle, Avocado, Pickled Red Radish, Corn and Alfalfa Sprouts
Tuna Tartar w Shaved Truffle, Avocado,
Pickled Red Radish, Corn and Alfalfa Sprouts

The second dish of the night was Tuna Tartar w Shaved Truffle, Avocado, Pickled Red Radish, Corn and Alfalfa Sprouts to paired with Klein Constantia KC Rose, South Africa.

The tuna tartar was one of my favorite dishes of the night, and thankfully the portion was pretty big as well. Those shaved truffles gave the tuna an extra dimension that really complements each other well. Avocado, pickled red radish and alfafa sprouts adds to the complexity and gave it texture. Excellent dish.

The Rose had a hint of citrus and orange blossom aroma while being crisp and displaying balanced acidity, a wine that’s very easy to drink and I suspect would go well with any sort of dessert.

Shrimp, Chicken and Sherry Wine preserved Truffle Empanada (European baked dumpling)
Shrimp, Chicken and Sherry Wine preserved Truffle Empanada
(European baked dumpling)

We continued the night with Shrimp, Chicken and Sherry Wine preserved Truffle Empanada (or European baked dumpling). An interesting dish that was a little crispy and really not too different from your regular Chinese style fried dumpling, though the presence of truffle did add to the flavor just a little bit. I wasn’t particularly impressed with this version to be honest.

We had Val de Sil Godello D.O Valdeorras from Spain to go with this dish. With the aroma of white flower and ripe pear and almonds with lemonpeel palate, the white wine did not disappoint.

Black Angus Prime Roast Beef with Truffle Buttered Potato Mash*
Black Angus Prime Roast Beef with Truffle Buttered Potato Mash

Main dish came in the form of Black Angus Prime Roast Beef with Truffle Buttered Potato Mash. As far as roast beef goes, you can’t really get much better than this, it’s soft, tender, and succulent. Though I would prefer a thick steak any day, you still can’t fault this dish. The truffle buttered infused mash too is something no mash potato fan can shy away.

The red wine that was chosen to be paired with the red meat was Bodegas Sottano Reserva de Familia Malbec, Argentina. The red was balanced yet complex while carrying the aroma of cherry and blackberry. I like its fruitiness.

White Chocolate Mousse Apricot Truffle and Shortbread
White Chocolate Mousse Apricot Truffle and Shortbread, KY & Joyee

We ended the night with White Chocolate Mousse Apricot Truffle and Shortbread, a dessert that is pretty ordinary except for the apricot truffle. Those bits of apricot had a taste that is very unique, I’ve had truffle with meat, butter, and even bread, but never with fruit, and I could only describe it as excellent!

Overall it was a more than decent meal with certainly more hits than misses. We love the atmosphere and certainly welcomed the explanation of the wines by the Sommelier.

I also want to thank mycloudtable.com for organizing this session.

map of KLCC

Address:
Svago Cucina e Musica
Kuala Lumpur City Center
Lot G45B-136,
Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.158126, 101.711833
Tel: 03-2163 0188

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

Some weeks ago I attended a pretty special fine dining session hosted by Carlsberg Malaysia at Samplings on the Fourteen, Berjaya Time Square Hotel in conjunction with their participation in the 11th installation of Malaysian International Gourmet Festival.

That was a long sentence in a paragraph, but basically it was Carlsberg introducing Kronenbourg 1664 & Kronenbourg Blanc as the official beer of the festival.

Asahi, Kronenberg, Blanc, Savanna Dry
Asahi, Kronenberg, Blanc, Savanna Dry

It was a night of food and beer pairing, with the food prepared by Chef Jochen Kern and Chef Valmurugan Subramaniam (Sous Chef of the restaurant).

Chef Jochen Kern is a German culinary expert with more than 40 years of experience in the industry, having served many dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, President Bill Clinton, Dr. M, King of Thailand, Sultan of Brunei and more. With a credential like his, we knew we were in for a treat.

foie gras - one of my favorites
pan fried foie gras – om nom nom nom

We started the night with Pan Fried Foie Gras on marmalade of fresh grapes, red onion, and Kronenbourg Blanc. Two generous slabs of those liver was more than I bargained for, it was as good as the memory of my first time having it at Zipangu. There were also a couple shavings of truffles on top, le yums!

The foie gras was paired with Savanna Dry Cinder, perfectly counter the fattiness of the liver. Good stuff.

savanna dry cider infused porcini mushroom, poached black cod
savanna dry cider infused porcini mushroom, poached black cod, Blanc

Next up was what the good chef called Cappuccino, Savanna Dry Cider infused Porcini Mushroom; and Poached Black Cod, in Kronenbourg Blanc Sabayon & Beurre du mutarde on brown lentille and potato compote. We had these with a glass of Kronenbourg Blanc.

The soup had an interesting blend of taste, with the sweetness of cider crossing with the taste of mushroom, it worked for me. Poached black cod is new to me too, and the beer infused sauce over the fish was perhaps just a tad too much smoothness, perhaps something fresh or crunchy could have made it even better, but I was just nitpicking. It was still very good nonetheless.

grilled American prime beef tenderloin
grilled American prime beef tenderloin

Then we arrived at the main dish of Grilled American Prime Beef Tenderloin. This slab of meat was glazed in peppered Kronenbourg lager and tomato choron with Louisiana corn crisps and tender chilly bean tomato.

Say what you would about Wagyu or Kobe beef, I still love these classic prime beef just as much. It was perfectly prepared, and of course went very well with the glass of lager accompanying the meat.

hot corossol souffle with cafe luwak, cafe amarula iced
hot corossol souffle with cafe luwak, cafe amarula iced

Desserts came in the form of Hot Chocolate Souffle with cafe luwak sabayon (I just had cafe luwak in Bali a week prior) to go with Inniskillin Ice Wine, which was very cold, sweet, and aromatic, perfect for desserts.

To cap the night, we also had a cup of Cafe Amarula instead of the usual coffee or tea. Much creamier, and carries a kick on top of the coffee flavor, good stuff.

chef Jochen Kern
chef Jochen Kern, Siao Ling, Søren, myself, and Suan

It was a fantastic night that was only bettered by the company at our table of 5. Two other media friends, Suan, and myself were joined by none other than the MD of Carlsberg Malaysia, Søren. Whom despite his position, turned out to be a friendly chap who shared with us many topics both in and outside the industry.

Now I shall replay the memory of savoring that foie gras in my brain, on a loop.

Last Friday I was invited to my very first Friday Wine Lunch, a monthly event arranged by the Millennium Associates and Pernod Ricard Malaysia. The venue was Carat Club, a place at Pavilion I mistakenly thought in a bunny friendly way until very recently.

As it is a wine lunch, importance is placed not only on food and wine, but the combination as well. We were introduced to Montana, wines from vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand, to go with some very fine foods from C. Club.

note: carrat club is closed, replaced by Ben’s

Wine Lunch at Carat Club, Pavilion KL
Montana Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir

The event was very classy and it was almost out of place for me, but I was seated close to the brand manager of Pernod Ricard and the chief sub-editor of a major English daily who were both very friendly people. The host Mr Lionel Lau made the event a learning experience for me with his knowledge in wine and the ways he could explain which wine goes with what type of food, and the “why”. Very interesting, and I shall learn more.

Wine Lunch at Carat Club, Pavilion KL
grilled tiger prawn and chilled rocket vichyssoise

The first two dishes were Chilled Rocket Vichyssoise and Grilled Tiger Prawn to go with Montana Sauvignon Blanc. The vichyssoise, a type of creamy soup with almond and diced potato; while the grilled tiger prawn came with apple and cider sauerkraut, with some lemon butter beurre blanc.

The soup was an interesting experience as it was served cold, not bad, but just different. The tiger prawn though, was fantastic with the creamy lemon butter base and mixed well with the apple cider sauerkraut. But most importantly, the white wine goes very well with the two creamier food, cutting through the texture left on your tongue.

Wine Lunch at Carat Club, Pavilion KL
Citrus Tea Duck Breast, Salmon Rossini, and Chocolate Fortress

There were two choices for main dish, I chose the Citrus Tea Duck Breast and bypassed the Salmon Rossini. Little did I know the salmon was actually served with foie gras, one of my favorite sin foods, but then again, the duck did not disappoint, so all was was not lost.

The Citrus Tea Duck Breast is served with carrot and celeriac braised savoy cabbage, earl grey orange glace and topped with shiso. It carried a tangy taste to the tender duck breast. Instead of white wine, we had Pinot Noir served at about 16-17 C to go with the main dish. It was a good combination with the wine being not too sweet nor too acidic, just nice to neutralize the slightly fatty food.

Wine Lunch at Carat Club, Pavilion KL
Friday Wine Lunch at Carat Club

Dessert was C. Club’s Chocolate Fortress, a concoction of chocolate mousse on moist chocolate cake with raspberry. I always love the contrasting taste of the rich chocolates with the sourness of raspberry, and the wine made a good compliment to the entire package too.

map to Pavilion KL
map to pavilion KL

The lunch package is priced at RM 95 nett with free flow wine, very good deal I think. It only happens once every month though and space are getting limited as they are getting more popular. Check with Millennium Associates for the next one if you’re interested. I hope they invite me again. 😉

more pictures here

Address:
Carat Club
Lot 5.11 & 6.11,
Level 5 & 6, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.148872, 101.713368
Tel: 03-2141 5302

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