Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / joyceanne

Some months back my desk was moved back to the main office at KLCC, which translate to more opportunity in checking out the recently revamped Avenue K that is placing more emphasis to the food seeking crowd.

One of the restaurants that always seem to have a long queue during lunch time is Fresca on the ground floor, so we decided to check it out.

Fresca Mexican Cuisine at Avenue K
Fresca Mexican Cuisine at Avenue K

The premise that houses Fresca Mexican Cuisine also has another section occupied by Dolly dimsum, I thought that’s a bit of a strange arrangement, but it seems to be working well for the restaurant.

Ambiance is great with tall and wide windows, and the segment of glass roof also add in to provide great lighting condition for the restaurant. I really like it.

tortilla chips & tapas
tortilla chips & tapas, love the jalapenos

For five of us, we started out with some tortilla chips with guagomole (RM 20), those fattening avacado sauce and freshly fried tortilla proved to be a good appetizer, though beer would really be great in this instance.

What’s Mexican cuisine without some tapas? We had Jalapeno Poppers (RM 17), Hongos Rellenos (RM 20, portobello mushroom with eggplant),  and Camarones (RM23, sauteed prawn tacos).

While they aren’t exactly “economical” in pricing, these were very good side dishes, I particularly love the jalapeno poppers with the aroma of the Mexican green pepper and the juiciness of minced beef with those crispy shell. It was great.

beef fajitas & cordero a la tamarindo (rack of lamb)
beef fajitas & cordero a la tamarindo (rack of lamb)

Like most Mexican restaurants, there are a few usual suspects when it comes to main dishes. There’s enchaladas, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, and a few other typical items in the menu. Many of these dishes come with options of chicken or beef as well.

We tried Beef Fenderloin Fajitas (RM 47) that came in sizzling hot plate, the meat was tender and juicy, with condiments that did not disappoint. However, do order some extra pita bread if you’re sharing this dish though.

Cordero a la Tamarindo, or rack of lamb (RM 63) is the highest priced item on their menu, but also one that satisfied our collective palates. The lamb was succulent and the marinade spot on.

camaraones - sauteed prawn tacos, pollo a la parrilla (grilled chicken)
camaraones – sauteed prawn tacos, pollo a la parrilla (grilled chicken)

For those seeking something slightly closer to our Asian tastes, Pollo a la Parilla (RM 34, grilled chicken) would not be a bad choice. There’s plenty of rice and the rather tasty poultry that’s marinated with their house special marinate.

Kelly, Sheng, Latha, Joyce, KY
Kelly, Sheng, Latha, Joyce, KY

Food at Fresca did not disappoint at all, though pricing is a little on the high side, but considering the ambiance, location, and quality of food you get, it is not a bad place to visit at all.

By the way, don’t waste your time with their churros (RM 15), it was a disappointment.

map of Avenue K

Ground Floor,
Avenue K, 156, Jln Ampang,
50450 KL

GPS: 3.159210, 101.713538
Tel: 03-2201 2893

Korean food is usually associated with retractable chimneys on every table with meat grilling on the stove and a plethora of small dishes everywhere. Well, that sort of formula is glorious for weekend dinners, but not exactly practical or economical for lunch.

Then we have the lunch sets at Onsemiro Korean restaurant at the Intermark.

Onsemiro Korean Fine Dining restaurant at Intermark KL
Onsemiro Korean Fine Dining restaurant at Intermark KL

Onsemiro is located at the end of the second floor at the Intermark Mall, right above the entrace to Double Tree Hilton. On the outside, the restaurant is much bigger than the exterior would have you believed, with classy decoration, semi-open kitchen, and a side of wall displaying wine and soju to choose from as well.

spicy tofu soup set, RM 25++
spicy tofu soup set, RM 25++

Unlike most Korean restaurants, Onsemiro is pork free (which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the individual), so dishes that comes with pork traditionally, such as kimchi jiggae, is substituted with chicken. The result turns rather decent though.

For lunch, there are quite a lot of sets to choose from, with pricing started at about RM 20 to RM 40 and up. If you’re flash an Intermark pass card, there’s a 10% discount too.

lunch sets starts at around RM 20 upwards, with plenty to choose from
lunch sets starts at around RM 20 upwards, with plenty to choose from

One of my favorite lunch sets there is the spicy tofu soup that packs quite a bit of punch in intensity. There’s half a crab in the soup, silky smooth tofu, and of course, kimchi. The set also comes with six banchan (small dishes) and rice (you can ask for cold noodle too). Additionally, every set is followed by desserts.

Their beef short ribs set (RM 43++) is rather delicious as well, and my colleagues reported that the beef patties were more than satisfactory too.

If you work nearby, try this, but do call ahead for booking as it tends to get packed everyday.

directions to Intermark, KL

Onsemiro Korean Fine Dining
The Intermark,
Jalan Tun Razak,
50400 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.16154, 101.71996
Tel: 03-2161 2461

While Japanese affair at higher end restaurants can be pretty damaging to the pocket, many of those places also offer a lunch menu with much better deals. One of the places we visited a couple times for lunch over the past few months was Hanare Authentic Japanese Cuisine at The Intermark.

Hanare at The Intermark
Hanare at The Intermark

The restaurant is located on the ground floor, just below the lobby of Double Tree by Hilton. The interior is tastefully decorated, with open kitchen, a sushi/sashimi bar, and a teppanyaki bar.

This place has a great ambiance, but terrible cell data service. Luckily, wifi is available for those of you who can’t eat without staying online with your smartphone.

combination set - sashimi and kakiage prawns
combination set – sashimi and teppanyaki ebi hotate

One of the more popular lunch options here is the combination menu. For RM 48++, you get to choose from any of these two options:

  • sashimi mori (3 kinds of sashimi)
  • shake sashimi (salmon)
  • yaki sakana (grilled fish – cod, mackerel, or salmon)
  • unagi kabayaki
  • tori katsu (deep fried breadcrumb chicken)
  • tempura mori (assorted tempura)
  • kakiage (deep fried kakiage prawns and vegetables)
  • teppanyaki ebi hotate (teppanyaki prawn & scallops)
  • tori teriyaki (chicken teriyaki)
  • kaki fry (deep fried oyster)

The set also comes with appetizer, salad, chawanmushi, and a dessert. This is pretty similar to the deals at Ozeki Tokyo Cuisine and Coco-Tei Japanese Restaurant.

chicken teriyaki, grilled cod, sashimi, custard
chicken teriyaki, grilled cod, sashimi, custard

While the portions look rather small individually, the combination of them really does fill up the stomach.

Other than the combination set, there are sushi bento (RM 70), makunouchi bento (RM 55), a light salad lunch (RM 38), and dedicated lunch sets with sushi (RM 70), sukiyaki (RM 75), mixed fried seafood (RM 48), steak teppan (RM 80), and more.

bara chirashi sushi, one of my favorites
bara chirashi sushi, one of my favorites

Another entry in the menu I tried here was the bara chirashi sushi (RM 45). It is similar to the basic chirashi sushi but with the seafood usually cut in cubes instead of the traditional sushi/sashimi cuts. The choice certainly did not disappoint.

Prices at Hanare is actually a little on the higher side when it comes to lunch sets, but for the quality of food as well as the ambiance of the restaurant, I think that this is a fine option.

map to The Intermark

Lot G 06, Ground Floor
The Intermark

348, Jalan Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.16154, 101.71996

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a lunch review at the new Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur. While I have been to the hotel previously for events, I had no idea how good looking the restaurant on the 38th floor was until this visit.

Grand Hyatt is located at KLCC, directly next to the KL Convention Center on Jalan Pinang. The lobby of the hotel is actually at the top floor (39th), and you get to marvel at the beautiful KL city view through those floor to ceiling glasses while waiting to check in. Marvellous concept, I was impressed.

Thirty8 at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, with 360 degree city view
Thirty8 at Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, with 360 degree city view

Walking down a flight of stairs (or take the elevator if you would) from the lobby and there’s THIRTY8. THIRTY8 takes up the whole floor and consists of several open and interactive kitchens serving traditional Chinese cuisine, Western dishes, as well as Japanese fair and a bar.

With huge panel of glasses that span across two floors, THIRTY8 is flooded with natural sunlight. The ambiance was simply one of the bests I’ve ever dined in. If you want to impress someone, this should surely be in the short list.

the Chinese chef from Guangzhou
the Chinese chef from Guangzhou

Since there are actually several different open kitchens on the same floor, I like to think of THIRTY8 as several different restaurants without walls in between. The advantage is that you can order different cuisines and share the same table. It’s almost like a extremely high class food court if you will.

For our session, we sampled the Chinese set menu. There’s a minimum order of 2 pax. The sets are priced at RM 188, RM 208, and RM 238. We had the fortune of trying the RM 238 version.

radish in sweet soy sauce, pacific clam with kailan, jellyfish and fungus in vinegar
radish in sweet soy sauce, pacific clam with kailan, jellyfish and fungus in vinegar

The first there were cold dishes. Radish in sweet soy sauce is a little bit like pickle but a bit juicier and crunchy, a bit of an acquired taste but I like it.

Pacific clam with kailan was succulent and fresh tasting, I’ve had it prepared as sushi & wasabi, but it actually does go well with the kailan as well.

My favorite cold dish turned out to be jellyfish and fungus in vinegar. This dish carries a bit of a kick with bits of chilli in it, and I really liked the mixture of fungus and jellyfish prepared in a way that it is almost impossible to tell apart by their texture or taste, but half way between chewing you’ll notice the subtle differences and be rewarded by the intricacy of it.

crispy prawns with bread crumbs and garlic, double boiled chicken soup, fish maw, papaya & snow fungus
crispy prawns with bread crumbs and garlic,
double boiled chicken soup, fish maw, papaya & snow fungus

The last appetizer was crispy prawns with bread crumbs & garlic. It was fresh and I thought the chef balanced the breading and spiciness from dried chilli pretty well. The skin is almost like in between butter prawn & fish & chips. I liked it.

Soup was next, and it was a double boiled affair involving fish maw, papaya, and snow fungus. The soup was very very sweet but in a good way, I believe partly contributed by the addition of papaya. It was very good, and I really loved the whole chunk of fish maw in the bowl. It was boiled till very soft but yet retain it’s structural firmness, excellent.

braised whole abalone, mushroom, oyster sauce
braised whole abalone, mushroom, oyster sauce

Braised whole abalone was our first main dish. It was a simple pairing with broccoli and black mushroom in oyster sauce. The execution was very good, with abalone prepared to the perfect consistency that makes it very easy to manage. It was a good change of taste after the stronger tasting prawns.

braised boston lobster, scallops, vegetables
braised boston lobster, scallops, vegetables

Continuing our seafood affair was the braised Boston lobster with scallops and vegetable. These two are some of my favourite seafood ingredients and they did not disappoint. I was imagining the broth to be in the most luxurious wat tan hor ever, one that I’d be able to eat everyday.

steamed cod fish, black bean chili sauce; Chinese style salty glutinous dumplings
steamed cod fish, black bean chili sauce; Chinese style salty glutinous dumplings

Next up was steamed cod with black bean and chili sauce, and it was just perfect. Black cod is generally not easy to mess up, but also pretty difficult to prepare it that much different from every other kitchen. I like the version here with the condiments really enhancing the seafood very well.

Our last dish of the day was Chinese style salty glutinous dumpling, and well, to be honest, I think it was just weird. I’m used to dumpling being sweet with maybe black sesame fillings in ginger soup, but this one’s .. salty, and had chicken. As it turned out, this is the traditional dish in Guangdong Province to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, as explained by the chef.

I’m guessing it’s one of those things you do just because it’s a tradition and maybe not necessarily because it tastes good. That or it’s an acquired taste.

baked and snow skin mooncake, KY & Joyce
baked and snow skin mooncake, KY & Joyce

After the set meal, we also sampled some of the mooncakes offered by THIRTY8. The mooncakes here are made in house as well, and while not overly fancy, they were of good quality. This post is a bit too late to talk about mooncakes now so I’ll just leave it at that.

If you want good food with a great view to match, THIRTY8 would fit the bill. I’ve yet to try other cuisines there but as far as Chinese cuisine goes, you won’t go wrong.

grand hyatt kuala lumpur map

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
12 Jalan Pinang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.15381, 101.71234
Tel: 03-2182 1234 ext. 2340

As someone who loves coffee, I quite happy to see that we are slowly developing a coffee culture in Klang Valley. While it used to be just a few big chains to consider when you want a good cup of espresso based caffeinated drinks, we now have many independent coffee outlets to choose from.

Today we are going to check out That Latte Place, a very small all-day breakfast and coffee outlet at Ampang Hilir.

Update 23/4/2019: This place has since closed down at this location

beautiful latte, served at a place that looks like a vacation spot
beautiful latte, served at a place that looks like a vacation spot

The restaurant is hidden within Yayasan Seni Berdaftar. There is a small semi-alfresco dining area with a few tables and an even smaller kitchen.The man behind this place is Mark, an ex white collar executive who decided to pursue his passion in F&B instead of being a rat in the race.

I love the place, it gives me a very zen and relaxing ambiance not unlike one you get from being on a vacation in a tropical island a few hours’ flight away.

one of my favorite egg benedicts
one of my favorite egg benedicts

The coffee at That Latte Place is smooth, strong, and just the way I like my coffee to be. Americano is RM 5, latte and cappucino at RM 8, and I believe they probably serve the cheapest affogato at RM 6.

Non caffeinated drinks include hot hazelnut milk (RM 7), hot chocolate (RM 9), and some bottled fruit tea drinks.

hearty breakfast, fajita 'TLP' style, house egg ben
hearty breakfast, fajita ‘TLP’ style, house egg ben

Food wise, the menu only consists of half a dozen different entries, and so far we’ve tried half of them.

Hearty Breakfast (RM 17.90) comes with chicken sausage, scrambled egg with mushroom, tomato, baked beans, and served with homemade toast. It might not be as big as those big breakfasts from places like Antipodean, the dish is more than enough to satisfy.

House Egg Ben (RM 17.90 double, RM 12.90 single) proved to be one of my favorite dishes here. The dish is deceptively simple, but execution is key here, perfect poached eggs aren’t easy to prepare and I love it when they’re done right. The Hollandaise sauce is brilliant as well.

My lunch partners were happy with their Fajita ‘TLP’ Style (RM 8.90) and gave positive feedbacks. The dish consists of chicken in Mexican herbs sauce, classic pesto, and with capsicum and lettuce wrapped in pita bread.

Sheng, KY, Joyce, Kelly
Sheng, KY, Joyce, Kelly

Ever since my first visit, I’ve been there pretty much every other week. Parking is easy, ambiance is great, and the coffee is superb at That Latte Place, now if they only serve bacon… (it is pork free)

Unlike donuts, bubble tea, and gourmet burgers, the emergence of coffee culture in Malaysia seems to be a slow and steady process. Which means it’s going to stay and not taper off as soon as it gets started.

That Latte Plate is located at Ampang Hilir

That Latte Place
333 Persiaran Ritchie,
Off Jalan Ritchie,
55000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159108, 101.74026
Tel: 016-850 3546