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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / fine dining

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

One of my main aim going into the Bangkok trip was to taste some of the weird and wonderful foods the land of smile has to offer, something that is very difficult or impossible to get from Malaysia. This of course, would be the infamous deep fried worms, insects, and alike.

Deep Fried Worms, Insects and Frogs
for a few ringgit, we got all these wonderful snacks

I was expecting fried insect stalls to be on every street corners. In actual fact, they are not very common. We weren’t able to locate anyone selling this for the first couple days of our stay. It was only on the 3rd night at Bangkok that Terence managed to buy a plastic bag full these weird and wonderful food from the streets near Pantip Mall (the one that is famous for selling Amulets, not the IT mall with the same name). Myself and Dree were overjoyed!

Deep Fried Worms, Insects and Frogs
McBugs, McFrogs, and Worm Fries

Inside the goody bag there were worms, crickets, grasshoppers, dragonflies, praying mantis, and of course, those little fried frogs in whole. Not knowing exactly how to start, we first arranged them into McBugs, McFrogs, and Worm Fries combo meal. A couple minutes staring at these creatures, we decided to bite the bullet bugs and go straight to it to get the maximum taste instead.

Deep Fried Worms, Insects and Frogs
having a feast!

I attacked the worms first. I don’t know if they were just worms or some insect larvae, but the slightly yellowish exterior sure looked a lot more inviting than the dark brown insects laying next to them. As it turns out, the worms were actually pretty good, slightly crunchy and tastes a lot better than the bee’s pupae I had in Vietnam. They were seasoned with salt and some spices, I believe.

Deep Fried Worms, Insects and Frogs
my god, we were so proud of ourselves!

Next in line were all the different types of bugs. It was a bit weird chewing down grasshoppers, crickets, and so forth, but actually they too tasted quite ok, very crunchy and tasted a bit like having deep fried small prawns with shells on. Again, it was a little salty and slightly spicy. The different bugs basically tasted the same except but with slightly different textures, you can make out the long arms of praying mantis and the grasshopper’s legs in your mouth, neat.

Deep Fried Worms, Insects and Frogs
naturally we finished the whole serving

The more difficult part of the snack attack session though, were the frogs. Unlike the familiar big fat frogs served in Malaysia, these are tiny frogs the size of fifty sen coins. They come with everything intact except for innards, so you get the whole head, the eyes staring at you, the legs, spines and all.

We threw it into our mouths and start chewing off, amazingly there were actually pretty tasty! Crunchy with slight taste of meat, it goes well with the seasoning and not too salty like the bugs. Once you get over the fact that you have to chew the entire head, it was all good!

Of course, we finished the entire serving and like little kids we just finished their vegetables, we were proud. If you’re going to Thailand, this is a must-have!

To commemorate my last day of work at KL and the hot chick‘s vacation back to Malaysia. I decided that we should have a nice dinner at more exclusive place, a fine dining experience that is worthy of the occasion. It wasn’t difficult to choose Cilantro at Micasa Hotel, consistently voted as one of the best restaurants in KL. So I made the reservation last Tuesday and we headed downtown last Saturday night.

Truffle butter, Cilantro Restaurant at Micasa Hotel
nice ambiance, truffle butter and the tiger prawn with fish roe

Micasa Hotel is not exactly easy to find, I would have been unfashionably late if I didn’t have trusted N95‘s GPS navigation system guiding me to the restaurant. The somewhat hidden location gives an exclusive feel to the restaurant, the ambiance is very nice with the minimalistic deco, a Zen like environment.

Our waiter was very good, giving us the specials of the day and explaining the dishes in a professional manner. I ordered the dishes based on suggestions by Kelvin (who probably spent a small fortune dining there over the years). While waiting for our first dish to be served, we had some bread with the truffle butter. We were also served the excellent tiger prawn with fish roe, complimentary from the chef.

Appetizer, foie gras unagi, wagyu tartare, Cilantro Restaurant at Micasa Hotel
wagyu tartar (raw beef) and foie gras unagi

For starters, we had the Wagyu Tartare and Foie Gras Unagi. The wagyu tartare came with anchovy toast, egg mollet and Aioli sauce. Having been missing the raw beef sashimi I had in Tokyo, I just had to order this dish. The aioli sauce goes very well with the raw beef and egg, and the contrasting texture provided by the toast makes this dish such a delight to chew down.

The Foie Gras Unagi was very rich. Two generous slab of lightly cooked foie gras sandwiched between the grilled eel gives a very oily and rich texture that is best had with the accompanying salad. This dish is perfect for someone who loves fatty taste (in a good way).

Main dish, wasabi wagyu, foie gras duck, Cilantro Restaurant at Micasa Hotel
wagyu with wasabi crust and duck breast with foie gras

For our main dish, I had the foie gras with duck breast while the hot chick had wagyu beef with wasabi crust. I had been missing foie gras since the Zipangu experience more than 2 months ago, so a generous slab of foie gras was not to be missed. The duck breast was really great, so succulent and tender. I had never imagined duck meat to taste as good as this, coupled with the foie gras and a piece of radish and some vegetable for contrasting texture and character, it was just perfect.

The wagyu beef with wasabi crust was served with some seared mushrooms. I had a taste and thought it was excellent as well, the beef so tender you could cut it just using the spoon. The crust gave it a more sophisticated taste. The mushrooms were equally as good. However, I suggest against choosing the combination of Foie Gras Unagi and the Wagyu as the combination can be a little too rich.

Dessert, chocolate cupcake and earl grey ice cream, Cilantro Restaurant at Micasa Hotel
chocolate cupcake with earl grey ice cream

After the very satisfying main course, we ordered the chocolate cupcake with earl grey ice cream to share. If the appetizers and main dishes were excellent, the dessert was really out of this world. The chocolate cupcake has a molten core and the taste was just so good it was beyond words. Having the hot chocolate flows in your mouth while chewing some berries was just heaven on earth. The earl grey ice cream was quite unique though not too different from the green tea ice cream I had at Zipangu, it was very good.

The appetizers and main dishes were priced at around RM58 to RM68 while the dessert at RM32. With drinks, the associated tax and service charge, the dinner came to around RM361. Though it isn’t something I can afford on a regular basis, the experience was worth every cent.

Map to Micasa Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Cilantro Restaurant at Micasa Hotel

By the way, Cilantro is closing at the end of the year as Micasa is geared for a year long renovation. They are set to open an outlet at Midvalley Gardens with the same chef, though there will be changes in the menu. There are only 3 weeks left if you are to have the Cilantro experience.

Address:
Micasa Hotel Apartments
368B Jalan Tun Razak,
Kuala Lumpur 50400

GPS: 3.156874, 101.722530
Tel: 03-2161 8833