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Tag / KL 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
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
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 souffle with raisins & pine nuts, pissaladiere tart with olives and anchovies
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 cheese beignets with sweet millet & garden salad
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, 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
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, 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
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, cheese
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.

Address:
Graze
3 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.135331, 101.685762
Tel: 03-2264 2592
Hours12.00pm – 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 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.

Pinapple and Basil Bubbly - with Panasonic Juicer and Blender
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
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
Methods:
  • 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
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
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
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)

Method:

  • 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
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
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!

I finally got to meet one of my favoritest personality on TV – Samantha Brown of TLC. For those of you without the privilege of satellite TV, she is one of the most cheerful and bubbly travel hosts there is.

Originally from Dallas and now residing on Brooklyn, Samantha Brown has covered Latin America, Europe, China, and – Asia. Naturally, her latest travel show is appropriately named Samantha Brown’s Asia.

Samantha Brown of TLC, and yours truly
Samantha Brown of TLC, and yours truly

Samantha Brown’s Asia premiers every Monday at 10.00 pm on TLC (Astro channel 707) beginning 25th July, 2011. The episod on Malaysia falls on July 29 with a special airing on the Sunday of July 28, 7:00 pm.

In the show Samantha Brown travels across Japan, Hong Kong, and all throughout South East Asia seeking experiences usually not found on everyday visit. For example, she went to an orang asli village near Ipoh, I didn’t know we even have orang asli in Perak.. oh well..

So don’t miss the brand new show especially if you’re a fan.

Samantha Brown's Asia, on TLC (Astro Channel 707)
Samantha Brown’s Asia, on TLC (Astro Channel 707)

We had the opportunity to have a short chat and some photo sessions with her, and in real life, Samantha Brown behaves pretty much exactly as you see her on TV, very lively, funny, and full of smile. She’s the type of person you would want to have in any party, even one without alcohol.

There was a quiz at the end of the night, together with Helenness & another dude, I walked away with a pair of X-mini speakers after correctly answering her question. Yey me!

Asian dinner served by Hilton KL
Asian dinner served by Hilton KL

As for the dinner, we were served foods from all over Asia – started with som thum from Thailand,summer roll from Cambodia, and sushi from Japan; then pho from Vietnam, soft shell chili crab from Singapore, dimsum from Hong Kong, tempura from Japan as mains; and Sago gula melaka from Malaysia, Lapis legit from Bali, and mini egg tart from Hong Kong as desserts.

It was a great concept, but execution was another manner altogether. The tempura was good (from Iketeru I bet), chili crab was alright, and the rest didn’t live up to the standard you’d expect.

But hey, meeting one of my favorite persons and winning a pair of speakers made it a plenty great night!