Tag / hilton
A couple weeks ago we were invited to have a food review session at KL Hilton’s Graze, the new restaurant that take over the spot previously held by Senses.
While Graze unmistakeably exudes the same class and standard fitting for the Hilton name, the restaurant is now a lot more approachable to common people with its unpretentious setting and more rational price tags.
Graze at Hilton, taking over Senses, chef Michael Elfwing
Senses enjoyed a pretty successful tenure under Chef Michael Elfwing, but over the years it sort of evolved into a restaurant where most only go there for special occasions. The molecular gastronomy dishes were great, but the cost of ingredients often mean higher price tag on the menu.
At Graze, the menu comprises of classic Western dishes that emphasize on fresh ingredients and seasonal produce. Chicken liver parfait instead of foie gras and suddenly it’s RM 28 instead of some RM 60+. Dishes here are meant for sharing as well, and the atmosphere of a warm and casual group dinner is much encouraged. There is no need to play dress up either.
bread, calamari fritti, smooth chicken liver parfait
We sampled quite a selection of appetizers and main dishes for the session, and in the interest of readability I’m going to just list them here.
Calamari Fritti – flash fried squid (RM 28). Crispy on the outside while fresh and juicy inside, perfect with the accompanying mayo that is slightly tangy. Goes well with wine, but I wished we had beer for this.
Smooth Chicken Liver Parfait (RM 28). Really the best chicken pate I tried, it’s called a parfait here thanks to the layer of fat surrounding the liver, served with caramelized apple jam and toasted baguette.
mimolette cheese soufflé with raisins & pine nuts, pissaladiere tart with olives and anchovies
Mimolette Cheese Soufflé with Raisins & Pine Nuts (RM 28). Melt in your mouth goodness. Gotta eat this within 5-10 minutes while it’s all puffed up and fluffy.
Pissaladiere Tart with Olives and Anchovies (RM 28). Very similar to pizzas except the absence of tomatoes in the list of ingredients. Great for sharing, and I like the fact that care is taken in the arrangement of raisins to ensure there’s one in every slice.
onion soup, petit baguette layered with gruyere cheese,
goat’s cheese beignets with sweet millet & garden salad
Onion Soup, Petit Baguette layered with Gruyère Cheese (RM 18). One of the three choices of soups at Graze, rich, creamy, and with the proper amount of cheese. Can’t find fault with this.
Goat’s Cheese Beignets with Sweet Millet & Garden Salad (RM 25) – The texture is almost not entirely unlike cream puff, but instead of cream this oozes out goat’s cheese instead. Very rich and packs a punch to the taste bud, the garden salad barely enough to neutralize those cheesy taste, I’m not complaining at all.
steak tartare with hand cut fries, onion jam, tasted sour dough bread
Steak Tartare with Hand Cut Fries, Onion Jam, Toasted Sour Dough Bread (RM42) – The priciest of all appetizers in the menu, but the portion’s really big enough to serve this as a main dish, or at least to be shared between 2-3 person. The dish was beautiful and the beef delicious, it was a shame I can’t have more of it due to all the other dishes yet to be tasted in this review.
roast chicken with garlic & thyme, prime rib steak
After the 6 appetizers (that’s all of them available in the menu) and one soup, it was time to move onto the main dishes. Prices of rice & pastas are at RM 33, with other main courses from RM 38 onwards.
Roast Chicken with Garlic & Thyme, Ruby Roseval Potatoes & Button Mushrooms (RM 42). Half a chicken served on a beautiful pan, just about as unpretentious as it gets. The poultry looked good and tasted even better, remember to eat the garlic too!
Prime Rib Steak (350 gram, RM 188). The most expensive item on the entire menu, for the budget concious there are cheaper options of tenderloin (150g RM 64, 200g RM 74), T-bone steak (300g RM 98), NY cut Sirloin (160g RM 64, 220g RM 74). While it isn’t as fancy as Wagyu, the beef was prepared perfectly and tasted every bit a good prime rib steak should. I like how bare it was as well, without any sauces that gets in the way of a piece of great tasting beef.
slow cooked dorper lamb shoulder, moussaka – baked lamb & aubergine
Slow Cooked Dorper Lamb Shoulder & Grilled Rack with Parsley Mashed Potatoes (RM 58). Tender, juicy, and I must say, quite a large portion of lamb shoulder as well. This dish should satisfy those who likes lamb, but isn’t exactly special in comparison with other dishes.
Moussaka – Baked Lamb & Aubergine (RM 38). One of the cheapest options in the menu, but certainly doesn’t lack any omph. It tasted a bit like lasagne without the pasta, and I find myself enjoying the combination of lamb and eggplant in this dish.
tortellini of potato & fontina with sauteed escargot & baby spinach,
bouillabaisse, sea bream, snapper & lobster with toasted baguette & rouille,
grilled snapper, carper butter, haricot vert & la ratte potatoes
Tortellini of Potato & Fontina with sautéed Escargot & Baby Spinach (RM 33). Generous portions of escargot and those delicious tortellini of potato with Fontina cheese made for a great combination. If you like escargot for appetizer and pasta for main, this can substitute both and pass with flying colors.
Bouillabaisse, Sea Bream, Snapper & Lobster with Toasted Baguette & Rouille (RM 92). A traditional fish stew recipe from south-eastern France, this is one of the more luxurious main dish on the menu, and that is probably due to the addition of lobster in the list of ingredients. Definitely delicious.
Grilled Snapper, Caper Butter, Haricot Vert & La Ratte Potatoes (RM 58). A healthy choice for those who like seafood with minimal fuss. The fish tasted fresh, and condiments matched well.
warm tarte tatin & vanilla ice cream, Graze chocolate tart, lemon tart with fresh berries
Before the end of the night, we also sampled the three different tarts available at Graze (all priced at RM 18). The warm tarte tatin & vanilla ice cream, Graze chocolate tart, lemon tart with fresh berries. My favourite was the warm tarte tatin, which was like a better version of apple pie, and quite impartial with the other choices. Then again, I’m not a huge fan of desserts.
For those who likes to end their meal with cheese, for RM 45 you get access to the selection of cheese from the cheese wall. I’m out of the league when it comes to naming them, but they are delicious and together with a cup of hot coffee, makes for a perfect conclusion to an awesome dinner.
3 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.135331, 101.685762
Tel: 03-2264 2592
Hours: 12.00pm – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Last weekend I was invited to a cooking class held by Panasonic Cooking Magic with Chef Michael Elfwing of Senses, KL Hilton. The session was joined by 5 winners from the Panasonic Cooking Magic Workshop Facebook Contest, and we were promised an evening of showcase and good food.
Chef Elfwing – Panasonic Cooking Magic Ambassador
Chef Michael Elfwing is the Chef de Cuisine of Senses restaurant for the last 8 years and contributed to the restaurant winning the prestigious 5-Star Diamond Awards as one of the Best Restaurants in the World and also the Hospitality Asia Award for Best Western Cuisine.
He is the Panasonic Cooking Magic ambassador, and Panasonic is also the main sponsors of MasterChef Malaysia.
Pineapple and Basil Bubbly – with Panasonic Juicer and Blender
First recipe of the evening was a simple Pineapple and Basil Bubbly.
Using Panasonic Blender & Juicer, extra the juice out of a fresh pineapple. Next, add 6-8 leaves of basil, 500 ml of ice cubes, 1/2 table spoon black pepper, and 300 ml sparkling water in the blender to mix it all up. And there you go, refreshing welcome drinks for half a dozen guests.
Sweet Corn & Basil Soup – using Panasonic Blender and Induction Cooker
First hot dish to be prepared was the Sweet Corn & Basil Soup. The ingredients are as follow (for 6 servings):
- 8 pc fresh sweet corn
- 2 pieces leek, stem sliced into 5mm thick slices
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 gloves garlic, chopped
- 30 gram basil
- 2 liter chicken stock
- 50 ml olive oil
- sea salt & white pepper
- Cut corn off the cob, then reserve the cobs
- Heat olive oil and saute onion, leek, garlic, and corn kernels, cook for 2 minutes
- Season with salt and pepper, then add chicken stock and corn cobs, pick all the leaves of the basil and keep aside, add basil stems to the soup
- Simmer for 20 minutes, then let it cool down
- Blend soup with 2/3 basil leaves, then strain and serve
The Panasonic Blender used in this case has a cover with opening in the middle, which was critical in allowing it to be used to blend hot ingredients (otherwise the top will blow off). A simple creamy soup without even using any cream, healthy and delicious.
Ratatouille with Panasonic Microwave Oven, Steamer, and Pressure Cooker
The main dish was Ratatouille (just like the movie, I should try the recipe one of these days and then share it here) with a steamed French seabass on top.
This is a slightly more complicated recipe but can be prepared in just about half an hour or so with the help of Panasonic Microwave Oven and Pressure Cooker. The result was a beautiful dish that tasted as good as it looked. I enjoyed this very much.
The microwave oven – NN-SV30, is really impressive. You can use it as a microwave, to grill, bake, and even steam. Who wants a dedicated oven that does nothing but baking?
Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Fantasy – Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SV30
For dessert, chef Michael prepared Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Fantasy with Passion Fruit Parfait. The chocolate fantasy is made like a pudding and can be frozen uncooked and only defrosted and baked when needed. Check out the melted chocolate core, isn’t it enticing?
Chef Michael got extra help in making ice cream
Another recipe from Chef Michael that I want to share here is the Passion Fruit Parfait. Up till now I didn’t know that you could actually make this at home with nothing but a hand mixer and refrigerator.
Ingredients (for 12 portions):
- 6 egg yolks
- 100 gram sugar
- 400 gram whipping cream
- 6 egg whites
- 100 gram fresh passion fruit pulp (you can use other fruits if different taste is desired)
- Whip the cream to soft peaks using hand blender
- Whisk the egg yolks and 50g sugar until white using a hand blender, add passion fruit pulp to the egg mix
- Whisk the egg whites with 50g sugar until stiff peaks using a hand blender
- Fold the cream into egg yolk mix, and fold in the egg white last
- Pour in a mould and freeze overnight
Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Fantasy
The parfait is best eaten within a few days since no artificial ingredients or preservatives is used, and they sure tasted delightful especially with the chocolate fantasy. Home made ice cream with melt in your mouth chocolate pudding sounds good to you?
KY with some of the stars of the show, chef Michael Elfwing and Panasonic kitchen appliances
After the cooking demonstration, we were treated dinner with the above dishes. It was a wonderful night and one that actually made me think about upgrading to the Panasonic Microwave Oven or maybe the Panasonic electric Pressure Cooker.
I do cook on a semi-regular basis and can really see the benefit of having good quality and safe to operate kitchen appliances. For example, my old school gas powered pressure cooker always have the risk of blowing up, but you can use this Panasonic unit in a set-and-forget way, and it even doubles as a slow cooker as well.
Overall it was a lovely evening. We not only got to have a great dinner, but I took home a few recipes to try as well, thank you Panasonic & Chef Michael!
Malacca Peranakan food, or better known as Nyonya cuisine to most, is one of the very few truly Malaysian food hailed from the state of Malacca, and to a slightly lesser extend, Penang too.
The Legacy of Malacca Peranakan food spread
This brand of food evolved from the blend of Chinese and Malay cuisines through the inter-marriages between the Chinese migrants and local Malay during the 15th and 16th centuries. The usage of Malay spices with Chinese ingredients, or Chinese herbs with the more traditional Malay ingredients are among the unique points of Pernakan food.
Guest chef Florence Tan at Paya Serai, PJ Hilton
While there are various Nyonya restaurants to be found in Klang Valley (in PJ there are Ah Tuan Ee, Bibichick, & Nyona Restaurant all at SS2), there isn’t usually any place where you can sample many different Nyonya dishes at the same time.
kuih lapis, pai tee, kuih koci
But for the month of June, 2011, we’re in luck. PJ Hilton have guest chef Florance Tan featuring her Pernakan food at Paya Serai, and I was among the fortunate ones to be invited to sample the spread just late last week.
popiah basah, nasi kembuli, acar awak
All the usual suspects are there, pai tee, popiah basah, and a selection of Nyonya kuih as appetizers, with pai tee and popiah made fresh right in front of you too, I particularly love the kuih koci, and while the popiah doesn’t come with lard like this one at Jonker street, they are yummy too. There’s also very “kao” and rather spicy laksa lemak too.
sambal jantung pisang, ayam pong teh, udang goreng asam
I know my mom will love the acar awak, a type of Peranakan salad.
There’s also sambal jantung pisang (banana flower with shell fish), ayam pong teh (a chicken dish in clay pot), udang goreng asam (similar to my asam prawn recipe but with more spices). All these dishes go very well with the nasi kembuli (rice with ghee, cinnamon, cumin powder etc).
the buffet spread at Paya Serai remains, in addition to the peranakan food
If you think that’s a lot of dishes, well, they are but one of the 4 buffet lines at Paya Serai. There’s also the usual raw food & salad bar with prawns, oysters, etc. Pastry, Chinese/Malay food (there’s even tempoyak – fermented durian), Western food, and so forth. The Pernakan food is but an addition to what is already usually available.
ulam, KY & Haze, laksa lemak, and tempoyak (fermented durian)
The Legacy of Malacca Peranakan at Paya Serai runs from now till 30th June, 2011. The buffet spread is available for lunch at RM 68++ for adult & RM 45++ for child. Dinner at RM 75++ & RM 45++ for child. Opening hours are from noon to 3pm for lunch, and 7pm till 10:30pm for dinner.
For those who want to get up close to Chef Florence Tan at the exclusive private dinner on 14, 15, and 16th June and have a chance to learn the culinary tips from the good chef, the event is priced at RM 150++ per person. Make your reservation if you’re interested ya!
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.10235, 101.64087
Tel: 03-7955 9122
My 4th CNY Yee Sang dinner for the year of Rabbit happened at Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel, this time thanks to the invitation from the good people at Create Studio. Yes, I thank my lucky star on privileges like these. 😀
Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel, Chef Lee
Toh Yuen is headed by Chef Lee, whose philosophy in cooking is plenty simple – traditional style with good (if not the best) ingredients, and without any addictives such as MSG. Tasty but healthy food is the emphasis around here.
To welcome the year or Rabbit, Toh Yuen is offerring 3 special set menus – Happiness (RM 888++), Fortune (RM 1188++), and Longevity (RM 1388++) for 10 pax. On this review, we sampled the Longevity menu.
another yee sang ritual, this time with abalone
As usual, yee sang was our the very first dish, and on the get go, it was already unmistakably luxurious – we had the “Fatt Choy” abalone yee sang (also sold seperately for RM 180/260/300).
Some might say this is a bit of a waste so far as the method of serving abalone goes, I must confess that it actually was rather good. Abalone surely beats Alaskan salmon in my book.
braised shark’s fin soup with crab meat & roe
Next on the set menu was the sharks fin soup. I’ve already made my stance and say no to sharks fin soup, so I gave it a pass. Unfortunately, I was the only one on the table to do so. Looks like more work needs to be done for the awareness in this front.
You can substitute the sharks fin soup with double boiled chicken soup, according to Chef Lee. Alternatively, the Happiness & Fortune set menu does not come with sharks fin soup either.
deep fried chicken with two tastes,
stir fried sea king prawns with pineapple sauce
So I really got started on the deep fried chicken with two tastes. A dish that is only as fancy as the name suggest, which isn’t much at all. There’s the roast chicken ala chicken rice style, and kung pao chicken in the middle. For the lack of fanciness, however, the chicken turns out to be very good where it matters – taste. The meat was smooth, juicy, with the sauce done just right too.
We then had stir fried sea king prawns with pineapple sauce. The chef explained that this type of prawn, with its softer shell, is best eaten whole (perhaps except the head) instead of peeling the skin off. This way it allows different texture of meat and shell to be enjoyed with the pineapple sauce, pretty old way of having prawns, quite unique.
steamed pomphret with superior soya sauce
My favorite of the night has got to be the steamed pomphret with superior soya sauce. I’m positive that even my mom (who helps sell fish at wet market and usually leave the best pomphret for themselves) would approve of this beautiful specimen. Something like this can easily cost over RM 100 at wet market, especially during pre-CNY period.
Chef Lee explained that they source the fish locally instead of getting them from Thailand, which would be cheaper but of lesser quality. A lengthy lecture of the subtle differences in meat/shape/taste of pomphret from various parts of Malaysia and other places is given while we were busy enjoying this brilliant fish. It was so good, smooth, fatty, and absolutely tasty.
stewed sea cucumber & mushroom with broccoli, seafood fried rice with XO sauce
The stewed sea cucumber & mushroom with broccoli is another dish found in many Chinese New Year set menu. Over here at Toh Yuen the dish is prepared as good as anywhere else, and the sea cucumber was very good.
However, I would personally leave out the carrot slices as I don’t think I was the only one that sees that as a semi-failed attempt in giving the otherwise awesome dish some color (does not affect the taste).
The seafood fried rice with XO sauce is served with plenty of prawns, green onions, carrots, eggs, chicken, and other ingredients that were all somehow agreed to each other brilliantly. One of the better fried rice I had, the underlying taste of XO sauce really adds to the overall flavor too.
Michelle Ong, chilled honeydew with hasma, KY
We concluded the night with a classic Chinese dessert – chilled honeydew with hasma. For the uninformed, it’s just a wikipedia article away for you to find out that hasma is actually fallopian tubes of frogs. Nice isn’t it? I still eat them, they tastes good. *slurps*.
The set dinner (other than the fins) turns out to be pretty good, now does it worth the RM 1388++ for 10 pax price tag? The ingredients certainly suggests so, but I think a large part of it has to do with the sharks fin, something I try to get people not to consume. Draw your own conclusion.
Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.10235, 101.64087
Tel: 03-7955 9122
Almost 4 years ago, I went to Tokyo as a stranger in strange land. The city was so packed with people it felt like rush hour at LRT station at all times. The language was incomprehensible, fashion was weird, everyone was so courteous and everything was uber orderly.
I arrived there at late March partly to coincide with the Hanami season (viewing of cherry blossom, or sakura). A friend had to reserved a spot at Ueno park from a night before just so that we get to picnic under the trees at the most famous hanami spot in Tokyo. We had loads of fun (despite my inability to communicate with most of them), it was an experience.
iketeru Japanese restaurant at KL Hilton
With that experience, I knew exactly what Hanami meant when Jean of KL Hilton contacted me for a food review at Iketeru for their Hanami Bento promotion. As to what would be in the bento, I had absolutely no idea.
I’ve heard good things about Iketeru, but this was the first time I went to this Japanese restaurant located on the 8th floor at Hilton. As you would expect from a 5-star hotel, the restaurant is beautifully decorated and has a very nice ambiance.
shrimp, octopus, and tempura, sea bream & tuna sashimi
Anyway, lets get on with the Bento.
There were nine dishes in all on the rather big bento box. As a rule of thumb, you should always start with dishes that are more subtle before moving to the stronger tasting ones. This applies to all sorts of cuisine and not just Japanese food.
The Tai (sea bream) and Toro (tuna belly) sashimi were of the finest quality and served with grated wasabi. That opened up my appetite pretty good.
The shrimp, green bean, egg custard, and octopus were very delicious too, but that little bowl of marinated something next to the shrimp (I couldn’t quite remember, a type of seafood it must be) was a bit too strong tasting for me, I’ll place that in the “too authentic” category. The small portion of tempura were just nice, and includes one of my favorite items, the Japanese pepper.
spring chirashi sushi, chilled sesame bean curd, teriyaki trout
The chilled sesame bean curd with bonito soya sauce tastes as exquisite as the way it was presented, and I love the little bowl of simmered bamboo shoot, eggplant, and especially the Japanese yam too.
The only grilled item on the bento was the teriyaki trout, and while trout isn’t exactly my favorite fish for grilling (I love salmon belly), this was rather good too.
Spring Chirashi Sushi serves as the main dish. I could taste plenty of tuna, ikura (salmon roe), amaebi (sweet shrimp), and even mushroom and a bit of vegetable in it. Very good combination.
nanohana blossom (vege), soup with bamboo shoot, mochi & fruits
The unsuspecting plate of vegetable is actually boiled nanohana blossom with mustard sauce. Nanohana has the unfortunate name in English as “Rape”, it tasted similar to “kai lan flower” but smoother and more refined.
Instead miso, we had clear soup with bamboo shoot and seaweed, subtle tasting, but a very good way to cleanse the palate before moving on to the final item, dessert, which consists of mochi with red beans that tasted as good as it was presented, and some fruits.
KY & chef Ricky Kamishi, Li Zhi & Jean from Hilton
Chef Ricky Kamishi joined us for a while and told us about the idea behind this Hanami Bento. I shouldn’t bore you with the whole experiencing “four season” through food and philosophies like that, but the guy is cool, and with a sense of humor too.
The bento is available all throughout March this year as some of the ingredients are seasonal. Priced at RM 220++ per box, it might come across as a bit steep for the common salary earner, but that is pretty much average for something of this quality and setting.
KL Hilton is located right next to KL Sentral
These shots were taken with my aging and pretty bulky SLR, Olympus just launched their latest micro four third camera – the Olympus PEN E-PL1 which combined the portability of a compact and prowess of an SLR. I’m gonna be getting one for review, but in the mean time, check out their microsite at evolvewitholympus.com.my
Iketeru Japanese Restaurant
8th floor, 3 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2264 2264