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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / HGW

Japanese restaurants are a dime a dozen in KL. Arguably one of the most mature foreign cuisine of all, you can find them in all price range and specializing in every sub-category. Today we’re going to look into Takumi Japanese fine dining, a pretty high end Japanese restaurant that emphasizes shabu-shabu and sukiyaki, among other dishes.

Update 16/4/2015 – This space is now replaced with Hanaya Japanese Restaurant

Takumi Japanese Fine Dining at Grand Millennium Hotel
Takumi Japanese Fine Dining at Grand Millennium Hotel

Takumi is one of the restaurants located within Grand Millennium Hotel, which itself is directly next to Pavilion and opposite Fahrenheit 88. The interior is classy, and for lunch, you can find some pretty decent deals too (I’ve been a few times for Chirashi sushi etc).

Our food review session was arranged by HungryGoWhere Malaysia (where I am a contributor), so thank you Shing for inviting, and Ahfa for being my sit-in plan B partner of the day.

edamame and Kani Salad
edamame and Kani Salad

We started the day with some greens in the form of edamame and Kani Salad (RM 18/28). The salad was refreshing, and I enjoyed the sesame dressing that’s been spiked up a little bit with wasabi.

The chef at Takumi likes to combine the traditional Osaka cuisine with a hint of boldness famous in restaurants at Tokyo, as we were told.

Sashimi platter
Sashimi platter

Sashimi platter (RM 180) was a work of art, with 18 pieces of fresh seafood served on a bed of ice with shiso leaves and even a bit of dried ice for mood. There were sawara (Spanish mackerel), maguro (tuna), kanpachi (amberjack), hotate (scallop), sake (salmon), and I believe, ohyuu (halibut).

Spanish Mackerel, grated Wasabi
Spanish Mackerel, grated Wasabi

The fish were fresh, delightful, and goes very well with grated wasabi. As always, remember that almost everything on a sashimi platter is designed to be consumed. For example, you can have mackerel with shiso leaf and a bit of daikon.

The shiso leaf is there to refresh your palate or to counter the “fishy” smell, getting your tongue ready for the next piece. Don’t waste them!

Lobster Mentaiyaki
Lobster Mentaiyaki

Next up was lobster mentaiyaki (RM 78 half), two of my favorite ingredients in the same dish – lobster and mentaiko.

The combination was perfect, the savouriness of mentaiko blends well with lobster meat, and if you’re one who can momentarily suspend the notion that cholesterol is bad for you, the lobster head is something you’ll absolutely enjoy.

Kawahagi, Chicken Curry Cutlet Maki
Kawahagi, Chicken Curry Cutlet Maki

We also had steamed Kawahagi (seasonal pricing) or commonly known as threadsail filefish. It was prepared not unlike a Chinese dish, with mushroom, some leek, and a hint of soya sauce. To be honest, I find the taste a bit bland and texture to be average. This isn’t up to par with the likes of steamed pomphret in my opinion.

I view Chicken curry cutlet maki (RM 30) as an interesting experiment, combining ingredients that otherwise would not appear together. The result is a bit of a mix, those who are allergic to soft shell crab can use this as a substitute, but the rest of us should probably avoid.

I do applaud the chef for being brave in experimenting with new recipes such as this, without such moves culinary art would never advance. So don’t take this as a negative criticism.

A5 Wagyu Sirloin and Angus Beef Shabu Shabu
A5 Wagyu Sirloin and Angus Beef Shabu Shabu

Then came the star of the night – A5 Wagyu Sirloin and Angus Beef shabu shabu.

Wagyu comes in many grades, with the alphabet denoting yield (A, B, C), and a number (1-5) indicating marbling score. Hence A5 is among the highest quality you can get, with fat contents equivalent to 8-12 BMS (Beef Marbling Standard).

The pricing at Takumi is as follow:

  • Shabu – shabu (Angus beef) : RM88.00
  • A5 Wagyu Roso : RM158.00
  • A3 Wagyu Sirloin : RM180.00
  • A5 Wagyu Sirloin : RM280.00
  • Matsuza Beef : RM490.00

Certainly not cheap, but of decent value, and the quality is certainly there.

just dip it for a few seconds, melt in your mouth
just dip it for a few seconds, melt in your mouth

For the wagyu, a dip in the boiling soup for just a few seconds is more than enough. We were supplied with a sort of ponzu mix but I love having the beef as is, the mixture of fat and beef melt in your mouth (pardon for the lack of a better description). It was so good!

The Angus beef was there just so we can make a comparison on the difference between a super high grade beef and a decent beef. To be fair, they were more than decent and would be of top quality beef on any menu without wagyu.

Ee Laine, KY, Shing, Weizhi
Ahfa, KY, Shing, Weizhi

We ended the night with some complimentary fruits, and coincidentally it was Weizhi’s (of KampungBoyCityGal) birthday too, so we had some cupcakes and sang a birthday song. It was a great night with awesome company. I can certainly do more of this.

map to Grand Millennium Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Takumi
Grand Millenium Kuala Lumpur
160, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.148006, 101.712225

When I first received the invitation email for a food review at Paradise Inn, I was wondering why I haven’t heard about this hotel since it’s located near Sunway Pyramid, an area I’m quite familiar with. As it turned out, Paradise Inn is actually a Chinese restaurant WITHIN Pyramid.

Traditionally, the word “inn” refers to a place where travelers seek food, drinks, and lodging. Paradise Inn provides two out of the three functions, so I guess it is more legit to use the word “inn” than most political parties in forming government.

Paradise Inn at Sunway Pyramid, yes it's a restaurant
Paradise Inn at Sunway Pyramid, yes it’s a restaurant

Paradise Inn is a subsidary of Paradise Group Holding, Singapore. While only been in Malaysia since 2011, the group has been operating several F&B brands in Singapore since 2002. The concept of the restaurant is to combine traditional Chinese cuisine with a touch of modern innovation, and serve the resulting dishes at a reasonable price.

The interior of the restaurant reflects that very concept, with decoration true carrying tell tale traditional styling with added modern touches. I find it quite classy.

stewed pork belly with lotus bun
stewed pork belly with lotus bun

We kick started the food review session with one of Paradise Inn’s signature dishes, the stewed pork belly served with lotus bun (RM 4.80). It reminds me of the similar dish at Fong Lye at Mid Valley Gardens, but I like this version even more. It’s more juicy, and certainly very savory and flavorful.

The portion is perhaps a little big for appetizer, but I’m not one with huge appetite, so your mileage may vary.

doubled boil water goby with spare ribs and fresh apple
doubled boil water goby with spare ribs and fresh apple

Like any proper Chinese dinner, soup is of the essence. We tried their double boiled water goby with spare ribs and fresh apple (RM 39.90 per pot), one of the nine different double boiled soups offered here.

The soup is supposed to reduce internal dryness, relieve thirst, and improve metabolism. What I know is that it tastes great, and I’d have never thought that the addition of apple in this otherwise very traditional soup managed to give it a hint of freshness and sweetness that adds to the overall taste. I should try this at home.

coffee pork ribs, eggplant with minced pork, crisp fried prawn in wasabi mayo
coffee pork ribs, eggplant with minced pork, crisp fried prawn in wasabi mayo

Next up was another pretty unique dish that was a first for me, the coffee pork ribs (RM 19.90 onwards). Imagine Guinness pork ribs, now imagine the aroma from the black beer substituted by the smell of coffee. It was different, not better or worse than it’s sibling, but different in itself, people who loves coffee would definitely love it. I quite like this.

Stewed eggplant with minced pork and salted fish (RM 16 onwards) isn’t quite as unique, but something that carries its own and goes well with steamed rice.

Crisp fried crystal prawns in wasabi mayo (RM 29.90 onwards) came across to me like something from a dimsum restaurant with great Japanese influence, minus the dimsum skin. The wasabi mayo and that sprinkle of ebiko really adds to the otherwise straight forward fried prawns.

fried prawns with salted egg yolk, spinach in superior stock, fried shrimp paste prawns
fried prawns with salted egg yolk, spinach in superior stock, fried shrimp paste prawns

Another prawn dish we had was the crisp fried crystal prawns with salted egg yolk (RM 29.90 onwards). This should be quite a familiar taste to most, and execution of the dish here is pretty good. I like how the prawns are shelled.

Poached Chinese spinach with egg trio and minced pork in superior stock (RM 16 onwards) is a bit of a fancy name for the familiar “siong thong yuen choi” dish that is common across most Chinese restaurants. The difference here is that they use century egg, salted egg, and chicken egg all in one dish, which makes for a more interesting tasting soup, but I wish there was more liquid.

Crisp fried shrimp paste chicken (RM 18 onwards) might have been inspired by local Nyonya cuisine (my mom cooks this), and turns out to be quite delicious. Great with some cold beer.

chicken with fragrant herbs, steamed minced pork with salted egg yolk, braised vermicelli with pork trotter
chicken with fragrant herbs, steamed minced pork with salted egg yolk,
braised vermicelli with pork trotter

Another poultry dish we tried was chicken with fragrant herbs in clay pot (RM 18 onwards), this dish isn’t all too different from Taiwanese 3 cup chicken, but with a stronger taste of spices and herbs.

Steamed minced pork with water chestnut and salted egg yolk (RM 18) looks pretty interesting, the flattened egg yolk though, was probably more for aesthetics than practicality. I’m also not sure if water chestnut with pork is my thing and probably prefer the traditional type with salted fish instead. It’s not bad per se, just not really my thing.

Braised vermicelli with pork trotters (RM 19.90) is a dish that must be consumed while piping hot. The collagen and fat from pork trotter melting into those meehun – heaven! One of my favorites.

hasma with red dates & longan, lemongrass jelly w lemonade, mango sago
hasma with red dates & longan, lemongrass jelly w lemonade, mango sago

There are eight different traditional desserts to choose from at Paradise Inn. Hasma with red dates and logan (RM 12), lemongrass jelly with lemonade (RM 6), and chilled mango sago (RM 8) were among the few we tried. The desserts serve as sweet conclusion to the session.

there are lunch sets too
there are lunch sets too, and look at how these bloggers work

To me, Paradise Inn seems to sit right in between the cheaper Chinese “tai chau” and the higher end restaurants in hotels in terms of their price point. Quality of food is pretty high up there, offering very decent value for what they are asking.

This review was arranged by HungryGoWhere Malaysia.

Sunway Pyramid map

Address:
Paradise Inn
Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall
OB3.LG1.7 & 1.8, Lower Ground One,

Oasis Boulevard
GPS3.07208, 101.60539
Tel: 03-5637 8822

Arguably one of the biggest names in the food industry, Gordon Ramsay was in Singapore for SingTel’s HAWKER HEROES, and thanks to HungryGoWhere Malaysia (coming very soon, and I’m one of the contributors), Chris, WeiZhi, and I were fortunate enough to be invited to the event in Singapore.

Yes, we got to see Gordon Ramsay up close, and got a taste of his foods too.

crazy crowds at SingTel's HAWKER HEROES
crazy crowds at SingTel’s HAWKER HEROES

The challenge started with 10 short listed hawkers, and after public voting, three finalists were chosen to represent Singapore hawker foods and goes up against Ramsay. The poll gathered some 2.5 million votes online, so yah, it was a big deal.

The voted representatives were

  • Ryan Koh of 328 Katong Laksa (316,611 votes)
  • Ang Kiam Meng from Jumbo Seafood Restaurant (319,922 votes)
  • Foo Kui Lian from Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice (318,151 votes)

So it was laksa, Singapore chili crab, and chicken rice. Ramsay then visited the hawkers and spent 3 days learning how to cook these dishes before the challenge on Sunday night, 7/7/2013.

Gordon Ramsay and the hawkers from 328 Katong laksa, Jumbo Seafood, and Tian Tian chicken rice
Gordon Ramsay and the hawkers from 328 Katong laksa,
Jumbo Seafood, and Tian Tian chicken rice

The crowd was huge at Newton Food Court, we heard that there were some people who lined up for a food ticket (limited to 1000 servings) a day prior. Thank goodness for people from SingTel we got media passes. 😀

The scene was pretty intense, loads and loads of people at the smallish venue. Chef Ramsay somehow managed to spent a few minutes meeting the people in the media area, but each time was perhaps a few minutes only. No such chance as taking a photo with, but we were super lucky and got something (more of that later)

the dishes, both from Ramsay and the hawkers
the dishes, both from Ramsay (top) and the hawkers (bottom)

The dishes were served in 6 plastic containers, understandable since they had to prepare 1000 portions. One side were the chili crab, laksa, and chicken rice from the hawkers, the other side were from Ramsay and his team after 3 days’ intense learning session.

I was pretty excited getting to taste something from him and see how it stack up against the best from Singapore.

Chris from PureGlutton, Wei Zhi of kampungboycitygal, and yours truly

Chris from PureGlutton, Wei Zhi of kampungboycitygal, and yours truly

My thought before the tasting was that the one ingredient that is most familiar for Gordon Ramsay is probably crabs, and hence Singapore Chili Crab would be his best bet, and in either case, the competition won’t end up in a clean sweep either way.

Here are my verdicts on the dishes after tasting them:

  • Chicken Rice – I really like how smooth Ramsay managed to make the chicken breast tastes, but the rice from Tian Tian was more moist and nicer, and as for chili sauce, Tian Tian’s version was clearly superior, Ramsay’s version tasted like it had too much vinegar. I chose Tian Tian over Ramsay but it was close.
  • Laksa – I tried Ramsay’s laksa and thought it was pretty good, and then I had a taste of 328 Katong’s and it turned out even better! Though both dishes had similarly well executed ingredients (prawns, fish paste etc), the soup from 328 was that much better. More sour and had a better kick than the more lemak version from Ramsay’s camp.
  • Chili Crab – Again, the crab itself were both excellent. As for the sauce, Jumbo’s version was very familiar – sweet & slightly spicy, and chunky with eggs. Ramsay’s version was a lot more spicy and had a more curry kinda taste to it, I actually liked it, but thought this could go either way.

these aren't the real chefs I think, with Hanis & Shing from HungryGoWhere Malaysia
these aren’t the real chefs I think, with Hanis & Shing from HungryGoWhere Malaysia

After tasting, we spent the next hour hanging out at the nearby community centre while waiting for the result. It does take quite a bit of time to feed 1000 people.

Then the results came in.

It was 2-1, Tian Tian & 328 Katong Laksa can now claim that they are better than Gordon Ramsay, while the chef managed to edge out Jumbo Seafood’s chili crab. I really can’t argue with the result and thought it was rather fair (from more than 5,000 votes).

Perhaps surprising to some, but Gordon Ramsay took it very well and applaud the food scene from the area. He also talked about how tough it was to learn the tricks of the trade in such a short time. Check out the shaky video I managed to take above.

I thought it was a pretty impressive feat.

Florence, Sally, Chris, WeiZhi, KY, Linda & kids
Florence, Sally, Chris, WeiZhi, KY, Linda & kids

Oh, by the way, though I didn’t have a photo with Gordon Ramsay, Chris, Wei Zhi, and I did manage to get an autograph from Gordon Ramsay, and it’s on my KYspeaks name card too! During the time he came over to the tent I think only four people managed to get his autograph, so we were extremely lucky.

my name card, signed by Gordon Ramsay!
my name card, signed by Gordon Ramsay!

Most awesome trip indeed, and stay tuned to Hungry Go Where Malaysia version!