Tag / haze
Whenever we think of vacations, we often think about sandy white sand, far-away foreign cities, beautiful old temples, or at a waterfall nested within a pristine jungle. Those are “traditional” and in a sense, more ideal vacations, but at the same time they also require a lot more planning, time, and often incur higher expenses.
Enter the recent trend of “staycation”, pick a nice hotel somewhere not far away and spend a couple nights enjoying the facilities, good food, while having someone else make sure everything is clean and tidy.
We spent an awesome 3 day 2 night stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur doing just that a couple weeks ago for a much welcomed de-stressing session. At the end of this post, you’ll find out how to win the same 3D2N de-stress getaway (for 3 winners.)
Aloft KL, lobby and quirky art
The decoration within Aloft KL is one that is pretty atypical. Lobby is a mixture of industrial presence dotted with quirky art works everywhere.
Right behind the check-in counter is a re:fuel counter that offers ready-to-eat foods such as sandwiches, salads, drinks, coffee, instant noodles, and many other snacks. If you want to have a quick bite, this is a good one-stop center.
To the far right of the lobby, you’ll find the W XYZ bar that offers a selection of draught beer, cocktails, juices, and more. There’re also live bands performing at the area. Have a drink, shoot some pools, enjoy the music.
Mai Bar and Re:Charge gym
On the top floor there’s a more “serious” bar with a great view of the city.
At night, MAI Bar is lit up by colorful LED lights and offers a full range of drinks and great live performances as well as DJs spinning latest tunes. This is a place to go to shake your booty.
For those who loves to sweat, Re:Charge gymnasium is well-stock with modern equipment. While isn’t exactly big gym by any stretch of imagination, it is well sufficient.
infinity pool on the top floor
Then there’s my favorite part of the hotel – the infinity pool on the top floor, right next to Mai Bar.
The pool is some 25-30 meters in length and sufficiently wide enough to accomodate some 8-10 swimmers at the same time if they’re all doing laps. Furthermore, opening my eyes underwater did not sting, I suspect that this is probably due to the fact that they might be using salt water treatment instead of the more traditional chlorine.
In either case, this is a great place to chill.
our room for the weekends at Aloft KL
All guest rooms are equipped with comfortable platform beds, iron, ironing board, bathrobes, coffee maker, 42″ flat screen TV, a sofa, mini fridge, safe, oversized shower, and a workstation. I also particularly like the floor to ceiling windows that takes up the entire wall for an uninterrupted view of the city.
Since we have Haze’s siblings staying with us over one of the nights, we also got the hotel to provide us with extra beds that came in a form of cute little tent thing and a bed with cute bed sheet.
On top of every headboard is also a piece of quirky art work, another nice touch.
breakfast buffet spread at Nook
The big restaurant at Aloft KL is Nook, and this is where most foods are served.
Breakfast comes in the form of buffet with pretty decent spread (complimentary for room guests). There’s salad, cold cuts, juices, cereal, espresso coffee, and many local dishes. My favorite was the laksa Sarawak, which had the same soup base with the high end version that was offered during MIGF at Nook.
evening buffet spread at Nook
At night, the buffet spread at Nook gets an upgrade. There’s good selection of seafood such as mussels, prawns, smokes almon, and even scallops. There’s also roast chicken, delicious salted beef that is served with kimchi, salad, soup, cheese, desserts, and many other local and Western dishes.
Nook provides a good selection of ala carte menu too
Apart from buffet, there is a pretty decent selection on the ala carte menu as well, though you might have to wait a little bit before the food is served.
There’s mushroom soup, steak, cod fish, sandwiches, spaghetti, yee mee with tiger prawns, and many more dishes. These were mostly pretty delicious, though our experience with the steak wasn’t as good as other choices.
kids at play, Aloft KL
Over all, it was a very nice and relaxing stay over at Aloft KL. This whole “staycation” thing is something I can get used to, and hopefully will be doing more.
OK now here’s a few steps you can do to stand a chance to win a 3D2N stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur
- like MyStarJob Facebook page www.facebook.com/MyStarJob
- go to MyStarJob Facebook app Ultimate De-stress Getaway Contest
- take a photo of how you de-stress in the office
- Fill in your details and upload your own Ultimate De-stress Photo in office
- Share and get your friends and family to vote for your photo
- Vote for your photo. Participants can vote once per photo per day
how do you de-stress at work?
3 pictures with highest votes will win a 3-days-2-nights stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, so start doing it and hopefully you’ll be the one who wins this “staycation” package! Contest ends on 15th January 2014, be quick!
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral,
5, Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2723 1188
GPS: 3.13295, 101.68619
Hidden within SS3 there exist a couple rows of shop houses that is away from the busier part of of the housing area, and at the corner of row of shop there is a kopitiam with a pretty funky name of Restaurant Pom Pom (also a name of an island at Sabah). Within this restaurant is a small stall called A&Z Western Food, and that’s our destination for dinner a few weeks ago.
A&Z western food at restaurant Pom Pom
While there are more famous Malaysian Western food even within SS3 itself (those nearby Shell petrol station), this one is pretty special. For starter, it is non halal and actually serves pork. The menu also includes fish, chicken, lamb, sausage, and mushroom soup.
The place actually reminds me of Freddy Western at Restaurant Millenium 86 in PJ, which sadly is no longer in operation.
pork chop, chicken cordon bleu, fish and chips
For dinner, we tried their pork chop (RM 10), chicken cordon bleu (RM 12), grilled chicken with black pepper sauce (RM 9), and fish and chips (RM 9).
While the pork chop turns out just a little dry (easily fixed with a bit of sauce), the other dishes we ordered were all pretty good. The grilled chicken was flavorful, chicken cordon bleu very crispy on the outside and goes well with the mushroom sauce, and there were no complains from the fish and chips.
Haze approved the Western food here, the mash potato’s pretty good
The most interesting thing about this place though must be the way mashed potato is prepared here. They’re shaped in little balls and coated with some type of sauce, I guess that makes it slightly healthier and less oily than fries, and at the same time they taste quite good as well.
For no frills Malaysian style Western food, this is a place I don’t mind going back again and again.
A&Z Western Food
Restaurant Pom Pom
Petaling Jaya, 47300 Selangor
GPS: 3.09667, 101.61317
Hours: lunch and dinner daily
Late last month, Haze and I were invited to one of the most prestigious gastronomy event we’ve ever attended – the sixth Martell Pure Gourmet event, held at JW Marriott KL.
Martell Pure Gourmet 2013, at Marriott KL, some limited edition bottles & glasses
Martell Pure Gourmet features ingredient led cuisine paired with Martell cognacs.
With cutting edge culinary techniques and using only the finest quality produce that enhance the overall flavor as well as texture of a dish, the dinner series embodies the method of cooking inspired by Martell’s creation of its cognac.
Martell infused cocktails and some interesting pre-dinner bits
Chef Ryan Clift from the world acclaimed Tippling Club in Singapore showcased his cutting edge culinary techniques in the bespoke menu specially prepared for this event.
the beautifully decorated dining hall at Marriott KL for Martell Pure Gourmet
Before the start of the main event, we were treated with a variety of pre-dinner nibbles such as white truffle foam, soup in test tubes, and other tiny one-spoon full dishes involving tofu, foie gras, truffle, and more.
There was also a bar serving four different variations of Martell cocktails to set the mood.
Ocean Trout, Apple Puree & Sorbet, Horseradish, with Martell Cordon Bleu
First dish of the night was ocean trout, apple puree & sorbet, horseradish, bronze fennel and dill flowers. According to the chef, only 4 person (at least one of which is his friend) are awarded the permit to fish these trouts from certain part of New Zealand.
The preparation fish was exquisite, and while combination of apple puree & sorbet with seafood takes a little getting used to, it was quite a marvellous combination. The rich aromas of Martell Cordon Bleu accompanied the dish.
The technique used here was salt curing and enzyme separation in preparation of the fish.
Carrot Gnocchi, Ginger Flower and Carrot Broth; Martell Cordon Bleu
Second course was pure vegetarian – carrot gnocchi, ginger flower and carrot broth with pistachio and wild stems of fragrant herbs. Vacuum distillation technique is employed, resulting in a very soft and tender texture of carrot that has about the same consistency of very well boiled potato boiled.
The end result is an adventure in the different texture the dish provides. We continued with Martell Cordon Bleu as the cognac of choice for this dish.
Foie Gras Coulant with Spiced Wine, Cherry, Cocoa & Spices; Martell XO
The third course called for Martell XO to be paired with foie gras coulant with wine, cherry, cocoa & spices.
The technique used here is one that I’ve never heard of – sound homogenization. It is a process to reduce small particles in a liquid so that they become uniformly small and evenly distributed, which resulted in a foie gras dish that has almost the consistency closer to that of desserts, but at the same time carrying a taste that is unmistakably foie gras.
A very interesting experience, the XO with its dominant characteristic of Grande and Petite Champagne worked well with this stronger tasting dish.
Venison with Black Turtle Beans; Martell Creation Grand Extra
Forth course called for red meat that came in the form of venison with black turtle beans, dashi emulsion and black radish. Low temperature cooking technique is employed here to achieve a very tender texture of the meat while not having to scorch any part of it.
Martell Creation Grand Extra was chosen as the cognac to pair with this dish. The roasted aroma with a hint of bitterness goes well with the red meat.
By the way, the venison is sourced from deer that’s hunted in the wild using helicopter. As chef explained that there’s a believe that if the animal didn’t see it coming, it tastes better than those that has to go through the slaughterhouse.
Textures of Milk; Martell Chanteloup Perspective
The 5th course – texture of milk, was perhaps the most simplistic looking dish, but one that is hardest to prepare. Using the technique of dehydration & nitrogen, Chef Ryan Clift manage to prepare a meringue that comprises of nothing but milk alone. It was very interesting and absolutely wonderful.
Martell Chantelop Perspective, classed in the Extra category, with eaux-de-vie that may be aged for up to 50 years, provided the perfect ending to this most excellent meal.
The good chef also created “tiramisu capsules” as an additional dessert to go with coffee and cognac as an additional final item for us. Most interesting, I want to have this on my computer desk!
Haze, KY, Lex & Weizhi from kampungboycitygal.com
Martell Pure Gourmet dinner proved to be a gastronomical experience unlike any I’ve experienced before, I want to thank the good people from Martell for the invitation, and hopefully my name is on the list again for next year.
A good restaurant to a resort is like a good sound system to a cinema. While not always the centrepiece of the overall experience, good in-house restaurants often enhance the overall experience during a stay.
For The Datai Langkawi, there are four different on-location restaurants within the confine of the luxury five class establishment – The Beach Club, Gulai House, The Dining Room, and The Thai Pavilion.
All four restaurants offer quality food, making travelling out of the resort for food unnecessary. This is especially important for The Datai since the location of the resort is quite far away from Kuah, Langkawi’s main town.
The Beach Club, by the second pool and beach
Our first meal at The Datai was at The Beach Club, appropriately located by the beach and the second swimming pool. On foot it’s about a 10-15 minutes’ scenic walk from the main entrance of the hotel, free buggy service’s available as well.
The Beach Club is a strictly open air restaurant, with most tables and comfortable huge chairs under the roof, with some outside if you prefer a little bit of sun.
pizza, surf & turf, bruschetta with mozzarella, wat tan hor, ice cream
The menu comprises the best from East and West. The four of us shared the following dishes:
- bruschetta topped with buffalo mozzarella, tomato and olives. 46
- langkawi prawn, lemongrass, mushroom, corinader, chili, lime pizza. 65
- surf & turf, black angus strip loin with tiger prawn, vegetable medley, barbeque sauce. 87
- wat tan hor with king prawns and seafood (chef’s special)
- stir fry chicken with thai basil. 56
- home made ice cream. 14
The western affairs were well executed, with the thin crust pizza particularly delicious. Wat tan hor too were surprisingly tasty, benefiting from the fresh seafood in the list of ingredients.
The Dining Room serves lunch and dinner.
The Gulai House, premier restaurant of The Datai Langkawi
The premier restaurant at The Datai Langkawi is Gulai House.
Many luxury five star resorts in Malaysia have premier restaurants serving foreign cuisines such as French, Japanese, Cantonese, Italian, and so forth. So I was more than happy to see that Datai took the initiative to make Malaysia proud by serving something closer to home. A great way to introduce our local cuisine to many visitors from all around the world.
mango salad, sup ayam, soft shell crab, aloo gobi, grilled cuttle fish
The Gulai House is located not far from the Beach Club and best accessed via a buggy. The restaurant has both indoor as well as alfresco dining area, the latter provides great ambiance only unless it’s rainy heavily or if it’s a particularly hot night. Gulai House is only open for dinner.
Our dinner was determined by the chef, a degustation affair if you like. Our menu was written on a piece of huge dried leaf picked from the forest, a unique approach to personalization and one that is tastefully done.
tiger prawns, grilled garupa, lobster, skewered boneless chicken, prata, kuih
We had mango salad, sup ayam (chicken soup), deep fried soft shell crab, aloo gobi (cauliflower & potato with spices), grilled cuttle fish, grilled tiger prawns, grilled fish, skewered boneless chicken, prata bread, nasi briyani (rice), and even lobster that’s prepared with both grilling and frying techniques.
It was an absolute feast and we stuffed ourselves silly. Food was authentic with ingredients of quality, very hard to find any fault.
Prices is seasonal and depends on weight of ingredients. As with every facet of Datai, it is with a bit of a premium, but you do get what you pay for, including excellent service.
champagne breakfast at The Dining Room
Breakfast is usually served at The Dining Room, located by the main swimming pool, just below the resort reception.
Much like most international breakfasts, the menu changes a little bit everyday, but with the core items such as juices, the egg station, fruit & salad bar and such always presence.
I enjoyed the cold cuts, smoked salmon, and noodle soup. Of course, there’s also the free flowing champagne to jump start your day, everyday! The dining room also serves lunch and dinner.
classic Thai cuisine at The Pavilion
During our second and final night at The Datai, we had dinner at The Pavilion, which was also the location where we learned to cook tomyam and drunken prawn dishes.
For dinner, we had crispy soft shell crab with Thai chili oil, green curry chicken, seasonal vegetable with oyster sauce, deep fried snapper with chili and soya sauce, and of course, tomyam prawns. It was a spicy, strong tasting, and very satisfying, like a good Thai dinner is supposed to be.
We also concluded the meal with mango on sticky rice.
The Pavilion is open for dinner only.
I miss this resort already, when we can return?
The Datai Langkawi
Jalan Datai, Teluk Datai,
07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Tel:+60 4-959 2500
FB: The Datai Langkawi
Being a fella from Penang, the name Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant isn’t foreign to me. The bright red signboard with a huge green lobster is a sight quite familiar to, having seen it at Gurney Drive on numerous occasions. It is also a bit of a go-to seafood restaurant for some of my extended family members.
Well, the good news is, Bali Hai is now in Klang Valley, and we went to sample their set dinner menu.
Bali Hai, now in Kota Damansara too
Bali Hai is located at Sun Suria Avenue at Kota Damansara, a stone’s throw away from Sunway Giza Mall. There is ample parking right in front of the restaurant, and we only had to pay RM 1 per entrance during our visit. It was well worth it.
Most of the tables are situated at the center area at the huge semi-alfresco dining area, but there are also some air conditioned rooms for private parties. We were seated in one such room for the session, the room comes complete with a TV & karaoke system too.
The restaurant has an impressive wall of tanks housing a huge variety of live seafood for your picking. Boster lobster from US, rainbow lobster from Indonesia, geoduck from Canada, Alaskan king crab, oyster, tiger prawns, “soon hock”, giant grouper, and even exotics such as empurau fish. You can pick your spoil, aided by clearly written prices of each spices on the side of the tank so there’d be no surprises.
I must say that Bali Hai really do live up to their tag line of “If it swims we have it”.
Canadian geoduck and lobster sashimi and steamboat
On this session, we were treated to their RM 1388 set menu which comes with 9 dishes (including dessert) for 10 pax.
Our first dish was the Steamboat Canadian Geoduck and Lobster, which were actually served raw on crushed ice with a clay pot of superior soup , tofu, string mushroom, and vegetable.
I’m a big fan of sashimi and was glad that a side of wasabi and soya sauce was provided. The fresh rainbow lobster we had was fantastic, if you haven’t had lobsters before, having them raw is a great way to really taste the sweetness of lobster, distinctly different from that of crab or prawns. I’ve had the same style of geoduck from Pantai Seafood in PJ before, and the version is equally good.
Bali Hai Siam mini lobster in claypot
After the great introductory dish, we had the Bali Hai Siam mini lobster (crayfish) in claypot. This dish has a kick, spicy and full of flavor, a welcoming change to heighten your palate after the more subtle lobster & geoduck dish. It’d go great with some steamed rice too I think. The curry has a tone of sourness to it which I really enjoyed.
deep fried thai style mackerel
Next up was the deep fried Thai style mackerel. A fish that is pretty common. The execution was good, with really crispy skin but soft, and not overcooked meat that only a high temperature fryer could achieve. The Thai style sauce in this dish is spicy and sweet, another change from the previous sourish taste.
dried shrimp with cili padi clam, beancurd with minced chicken, emperor vege
Dried shrimp with cili padi clam is as advertised, a lot of small pieces of cili padi and tiny fragrant dried shrimps in it. I felt that the clams were perhaps slightly overcooked. That or because I’m half way in my invisalign treatment resulting in uneven bite at the moment, chewing was a bit difficult.
We also had some of the softest and tastiest beancurd in the beancurd with minced chicken dish. While traditionally paired with minced pork, this pork free version actually impressed us.
Emperor vegetable with deep fried lotus root and mushroom was our green of the day, and it never disappoint, which is why emperor vegetable is among the more expensive vegetable you can get from the market.
steamed salted kampung chicken, Japanese style seafood fried rice
The lone meat dish in the set was the steamed salted kampung chicken with herbs. I love the fragrant broth, and the chicken was well flavored too. Anyone who likes kampung chicken would love this dish. As for me, I’m not a fan of kampung chicken so it was pretty neutral for me.
Our stomach stuffer at the end was the pretty unique Japanese style seafood fried rice. The blackish color you see in the fried rice is actually tiny pieces of dried seaweed. Add in tiny chunks of seafood & egg resulting in a cacophony of taste that I’ve never experienced before, it was pretty good.
The last dish on the RM 1388 set was a plate of mixed fruits, which was your typical blend of papaya, watermelon and so forth.
KY & Haze, Josen & Mei, sweet and sour lobster noodle (not part of the set)
Since it was also during their lobster promotion period, we got to sample another sweet and sour lobster noodle dish, which came with rainbow lobster drenched in sauce on top of yummy yee mee. I wish I can have this for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner actually. Was yummy!
If you’re looking for a proper seafood restaurant with plenty to choose from, Bali Hai should definitely be in your short list. From 13th Sep – 3rd Oct 2013, they also run the “buy one free ten” promotion. Buy a Boston/rainbow/Australian lobster and you get 10 free crayfish (mini lobster) for free.