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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / lex

Right after participating as a guest speaker at “A Food Biz Workshop” a week ago where I found out that some 80% food business fails within the first two years of operation, I got to attend an event hosted by one that represents the other extreme end – the Martell Pure Gourmet event by the brand that has been in existence since 1715.

Yeap, that’s just a year shy of 300, with perhaps one of the oldest single product, the Martell VSOP being in the market since 1831.

Martell is celebrating 300 years anniversary in 2015
Martell is celebrating 300 years anniversary in 2015

While last year’s dinner was hosted at JW Marriott, Martell chose the Grand Imperial Chinese restaurant at Hartamas Shopping Centre for this year’s annual Pure Gourmet. I was very delighted and honoured to be invited to this year’s dinner again after having had a very good experience last year.

I was surprised that Malaysia actually happened to be the 2nd largest market in the world for Martell after China, and I guess this is partly due to the way we consume cognac, which, fortunately or not, was in full display during the dinner with many happily cheering each other “Happy Birthday to You” while emptying their glasses as the night went on.

P/S: It wasn’t anyone’s birthday, but we had a lot of fun.

sze chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear & deep fried scallop
Sze Chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear & deep fried scallop

Anyway, pure gourmet is about the blend of exquisite ingredients, skills, and passion in the creation of inspiring dishes, as with how each bottle of Martell cognac is created, so lets get on with the dinner.

We started out with chilled Sze Chuan jelly fish with thousand layer pig ear accompanied deep fried scallop wrapped with German vermicelli rice noodle. A pretty descriptive dish and one that has several characters all rolled into one.

The jelly fish and pigs ear with the softer texture and a more complex taste, and deep fried scallop an explosion of seafood sweetness beneath the the crispy and rawer tasting vermicelli. This was paired with Martell V.S.O.P.

baked king prawn with cheese, paired with Martell Cordon Bleu
baked king prawn with cheese, paired with Martell Cordon Bleu

Next up was a relatively unpretentious baked water king prawn with cheese to go with the very recognizable Martell Cordon Bleu, perhaps the gold standard of cognac.

The execution of the prawn was on the dot, I really dug into the head and savour the juices out of this. Though this is probably the only dish I could come close to replicating at home, it was also one of my favorites.

deep fried airflown  Japanese Ayor fish with lemon
deep fried air flown  Japanese Ayor fish with lemon

Third dish of the night was deep fried air flown Japanese Ayor fish with lemon (also known as Ayu fish).

Found in the rivers and lakes around Hokkaido, this fresh water fish is famous for the sweetness of its flesh, which was brought out to its fullest potential when paired with Martell Cordon Bleu.

pan fried lamb cutlet with chef's special sauce, paired with Martell XO
pan fried lamb cutlet with chef’s special sauce, paired with Martell XO

Following the fish, we had the pan fried lamb cutlet with Chef’s special sauce to go with Martell XO.

Perhaps I was more accustomed to Western style of lamb cutlet preparation, it took a while to appreciate the more traditional Chinese preparation method of the red meat that is inherently more cooked. In this instance, the sauce takes center stage with the meat playing supporting role.

braised spaghetti with sliced abalone, black truffle n mushroom, Martell Chanteloup Perspective
braised spaghetti w/ sliced abalone, black truffle & mushroom, Martell Chanteloup Perspective

Last dish before dessert was the braised spaghetti with sliced abalone, black truffle and mushroom. The hint of black truffle went well with abalone, and the fine angel hair spaghetti was the right choice to soak up the flavour. We just wished that it was a whole abalone instead (who doesn’t?).

The aroma and elegance of Martell Chanteloup Perspective complimented the dish perfectly.

Grand Imperial special dessert paired with Martell Creation Grand Extra
Grand Imperial special dessert paired with Martell Creation Grand Extra

Finally, we end the dinner with a host of three desserts prepared by Grand Imperial and had the pleasure to pair them with Martell Creation Grand Extra, the silky smooth and yet very powerful tasting cognac. A unique taste to end a pretty unique and special dinner.

and we were cheering to each other "happy birthday to you".. yes, it's a "trend"
and we were cheering to each other “happy birthday to you”.. yes, it’s a “trend”

A big thank you to Siew Kheng for the invitation, and hopefully we’ll have the privilege to be a part of this again next year!

map to Hartamas Shopping Centre

Address:
Grand Imperial
Lot F33 – F35, First Floor,
Hartamas Shopping Centre
No. 60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,
Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.163480, 101.656136
Tel03-6201 9777

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
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
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
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, Bronze Fennel and Dill Flowers
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
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
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, Dashi Emulsion and Black Radish; Martell Creation Grand Extra
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
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
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. 😀

Earlier last month we went for a short weekend getaway at one of the most prestigious resorts in the country at The Datai Langkawi. This is a review of hotel from my personal experience.

Located at the North Western corner at Langkawi island, the Datai is set within an ancient virgin rainforest, overlooking the Andaman Sea.

map of The Datai Langkawi

We arrived at the Langkawi International airport and was greeted by the driver arranged by the hotel. The journey from LGK took approximately half an hour, and we were given cold tower and chilled bottled water for the journey to freshen up from the one hour flight from KL.

Since the hotel is pretty far from town and other attractions, I initially thought that we were going to be missing the opportunity to hop around the island a bit. As it turned out, we didn’t think we missed anything at all, staying at the hotel was such a pleasant experience that for the first time, I understand why people would want to got o a resort, spend a few days and totally not go anywhere else.

main entrance, The Datai Langkawi
main entrance, The Datai Langkawi

This is the main entrance at the Datai Langkawi. Going through the receptions, past the water lily pond is the lobby lounge area. Cocktails and snacks are served here, and at night, a live band.

The lobby lounge is reserved for guests over the age of 12 only, which is something you don’t think about often, but the lack of screaming babies and 5 year olds that can’t stop running everywhere is quite a bliss.

there are DVDs you can pick up, very good selection of titles
there are DVDs you can pick up, very good selection of titles

By the receptions area there’s a shop that offers a selection of souvenirs, but more importantly, they also have a very good collection of DVD titles for guests to loan and watch in the room.

We finally watched Citizen Kane for the first time thanks tot The Datai and isn’t ashamed to admit it. Yah, the movie was as good as they said, maybe I should try to watch Gone With The Wind next?

adult only main pool and the grand stairs case to the beach
adult only main pool and the grand stairs case to the beach

Just below the lobby lounge is the breakfast dining area and one of the two main swimming pools at the resort. Like the lobby lounge, this pool is for guests over 12 year old only, families are welcomed to use the other pool by another pool closer to the beach area.

the architecture is uniquely Malaysian and blends in with nature
the architecture is uniquely Malaysian and blends in with nature

The Datai Langkawi spans over 70 acres of land, with the main building situated at the side of the hill and many other smaller buildings, including various types of villas, the Beach Club, Gulai House, the spa, and another pool dotted between it and the private beach.

You can take a scenic walk to get from one point to the other, or call for buggy service, we did plenty of both on our 3D2N stay.

The architecture is uniquely Malaysian, with villas on stilts, furniture and structures made from wood, atap, and other traditional material in a blend of modern & old school design within the rain forest. I find it very beautiful.

our room at The Datai, overlooking lush greenery
our room at The Datai, overlooking lush greenery

Our deluxe room has a king sized bed with some of the most comfortable pillows and comforters I’ve lay my butt on, a day bed in front of the balcony overlooking the lush greenery, an LCD TV, a working desk, and a tea table with another two arm chairs.

There’s no putting your access cards to activate the power sort of nonsense. The electricity and air conditioning is always on unless you decided to switch it off.

the bathroom, and minibar complete with Lavazza coffee machine
the bathroom, and minibar complete with Lavazza coffee machine

The room also comes with a pretty huge bath tub in which we had bubble bath in (sorry no photos to show for that, obviously), two basin, a very well stocked mini bar, and best of all – a Lavazza coffee machine.

There’s also a fruit basket on the tea table, and we’re advised to not leave the balcony door open lest those pesky monkeys come in a wreck havoc. When you’re that close to nature, I guess that’s part of the charm.

the private beach, with catamaran for hire too
the private beach, with catamaran for hire too

The beach is Datai Langkawi is one of the longest private beach on the island. Without any motorized water sports, it is also very quiet and relaxing, all you hear is waves, wind making wind chimes out of tree leaves, and the occasional chirping of birds.

While the water isn’t exactly crystal clear, it is pretty clean with visibility of perhaps 2-3 feet. We swam and rowed the resort provided canoe around a bit. If you’re a bit more adventurous, there’s catamaran with guide for rent as well. At the end, we decided to chill on those long beach chairs and sip on some chilled drinks instead. I can do this everyday.

nature walk around the resort, we even spotted a wild boar family in another occasion
nature walk around the resort, we even spotted a wild boar family in another occasion

The one time we ventured a little bit out of the resort was during the guided nature walk on the second day. Along with about a dozen other guests from Russia, Europe, Japan, Australia and such, we went around a bit to spot the wild life around the resort.

During the one hour or so walk, we spotted a couple types of hornbills, a few species of other birds, two different types of monkeys, giant caterpillar, monitor lizards, and more. We were also lucky enough to have met a family of wild boars crossing the road while on buggy too. They were too cute!

this is the beach villa at The Datai, 475 sq. meters of awesomeness
this is the beach villa at The Datai, 218 sq. meters of awesomeness

We also visited other suites and villas at The Datai. The premium room, corner & end suites, pool villa, and the superior villas were all very nice, but the beach villa, now that’s what living a high life is all about.

The beach villa takes up 218 square meter, or over 2,346 square feet, has a room with the bed over looking a 10 meter private pool and an entertainment & dining area on the side with a direct access to the beach. On top of that, there’s a walk in wardrobe, beautiful marble bath tub, a rain shower, and an outdoor waterfall shower too. The two room beach villa is 475 square meter.

It is as luxurious as it gets, elegant, secluded, and definitely beautiful.

our engagement on the last day at The Datai, a trip to remember
our engagement on the last day at The Datai, a trip to remember

Just prior to departure from The Datai, on the 4th of August, 2013, I finally proposed to Haze properly, with the ring and all. I’m happy to report that it was a success and I want to thank Lex & WeiZhi of kampungboycitygal for taking these photos of us.

It was a very sweet moment for us, and we really had fun traveling with you guys over the entire trip too.

Lex, KY, Ardi, Haze, and WeiZhi the Datai Langkawi
Lex, KY, Ardi, Haze, and WeiZhi the Datai Langkawi

Our guide throughout the stay at The Datai was Ardi. A very friendly and supremely helpful chap who kept us entertained with many of his colorful stories. Thank you Ardi, we certainly enjoyed our stay and will surely hope to come back again.

Will talk about the food we had next. 🙂

Address:
The Datai Langkawi
Jalan Datai, Teluk Datai,
07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
Tel:+60 4-959 2500
Web: www.dataihotels.com
FB: The Datai Langkawi
Reservation: reservationsdatailangkawi@dataihotels.com