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Tag / li zhi

Earlier this month I went on a bit of a food review streak. First was Iketeru at KL Hilton, then the Wine dinner at Opus Bistro, followed by Leonardo’s, and then Mandarin Grill, and I think there’s one more before the conclusion of this week.

I usually don’t go to as many review sessions, but the invitations from this month were all too tempting to refuse (though I did forgo a wine dinner in favor of futsal). Leonardo’s stand out in the list for that it is the only one that serves one of my favorite meats – pork.


Leonardo’s Dining Room, Concha Y Toro Sauvignan Blanc 2008

Tucked at a little row of shops by Jalan Bangkung at Bukit Bandaraya, Laonardo’s is run by the same people that brought you Opus, Cava, and Moxie (I haven’t been to the latter two).

While the name might have an Italian origin, the food is more fusion than anything: from pizza, pork knuckle, to bak kut teh and hokkien mee, the menu cuts across different cuisines but with a distinctly pork centric theme. A theme the invited guests in this session agreed whole heartedly.

crispy bacon lollipop, belgian black mussels, kentucky fried frogs
crispy bacon lollipop, Belgian black mussels, Kentucky fried frog

We had three appetizers to start the night, crispy bacon lollipop was this cute dish with breaded pork balls on satay sticks served in a glass of salt, a mayo based sauce accompany the dish just to make it even more sinful. The balls had cheese and pork in it, I didn’t pace myself and had more than a couple.

The Belgian black mussels (RM 55) were cooked in a savory white wine and cream broth, from fresh and not frozen seafood, with of parsley and onion to add to the flavor.

My favorite appetizer out of the three must be the Kentucky fried frog, and I’m sure Kim would kill for this. Deep fried in a very light batter, the freshness of the frog legs perfectly intact. I’m amazed how well it goes with the tartar sauce (if I get it right). Perfect beer snack.

italian cippino, spanish black pig shoulder loin steak, mama mia pizza
Italian Cippino, Spanish black pig shoulder loin steak, mama mia pizza

The Italian Cippino (RM 46) is, I supposed, a dish Leonardo himself would be quite familiar with. Plenty of seafood in tomato broth, served with foccacia bread. There’re fish, mussels, prawns, and squid too.

The Spanish black pig shoulder loin steak (RM 55) is served medium well with picon blue risotto mustard sauce. The meat was as tender as any top grade steak but with a hint of pork texture and taste, no wonder it is also known as the wagyu of pork world. Delicious!

The rectangular mama mia pizza (RM 35) is a thin crust pizza cut in six pieces and precariously topped with jamon serrano (similar to parma ham), rocket, and mozzarella cheese

ciki, Leo's Pork Knuckle Platter, KY
ciki serving Leo’s pork knuckle platter, I licked the bone clean

My favorite main dish of the night has got to be their signature Leo’s pork knuckle platter (RM 75). The pork knuckle is perfect, with the meat super tender you could tear em clean from the bone (as I demonstrate) while the skin roasted till super crispy.

There were red sauerkraut & garlic herb roasted potatoes to balance the taste too, it couldn’t have been better. I absolutely love it.

pork chorizo sausage, grilled pork neck, hokkien mee with giant prawns
pork chorizo sausage, grilled pork neck, hokkien mee with giant prawns

Pork chorizo sausage (RM 38) is served with bacon, potato, and apple rosti with chunky tomato relish. A pretty hearty meal by itself, I’d have this with some Guinness.

Another unique dish at Leonardo’s is their grilled pork neck (RM 25) with spicy mango. I like the cilantro salsa that comes with it, but to be honest I personally didn’t like the pork neck much, the texture’s a bit too soft and oily for my liking.

Edward, the part owner, insisted that we try their fried hokkien mee. Served with some seriously huge prawns, I must say that it didn’t disappoint if only it’s a tad too sweet for me. Then again, perhaps my taste bud was tainted with the previous nine dishes I tried?

banana bread and butter pudding, grilled mango, baked apple with fillo pastry, chocolate seduction
banana bread n butter pudding, grilled mango w pink peppercorn & cardamom,
baked apple with fillo pastry, chocolate seduction

Then of course, the desserts have to come when I’m already absolutely full to the brim. However, I find that this is generally not a problem with girls, they seem to have a separate stomach reserved just for dessert. Call me sexist, but it is absolutely true!

The banana bread and butter pudding (RM 18) served with vanilla ice cream was my favorite among the desserts. Grilled mango with pink peppercorn and cardamom (RM 18) was a bit strange, the baked apple with fillo pastry (RM 18) sweet and savory, and the chocolate seduction (RM 22) was absolutely rich and flavorful I don’t know how anyone could actually finish it right after a big meal.

Then again, I don’t have that spare dessert stomach.

hanging out with the gang at Leonardo's, Jalan Bangkung
we had a whole lot of food and fun at Leonardo’s

It was a very satisfying review session. Cumi & Ciki, Fatboybakes, Eiling, A Lil Fat Monkey, Nigel & Allan from Just Heavenly, and Li Zhi were among the people that made up the great company.

Fadlin also got us some lovely wines sponsored by Magnum to go with all these food. We had Villa Girardi Soave 2007 (Italian) , Concha Y Toro Sauvignon Blanc (Chile), Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir 2006 (U.S), and James Irvine Barossa Merlot 2006 (Australia).

map to Leonardo's Dining Room

Address:
Leonardo’s
61-1 and 61-2, Jalan Bangkung,
Bukit Bandaraya,
59100 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.138116, 101.669197
Tel: 03-2096 2226

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

Address:
Iketeru Japanese Restaurant
8th floor, 3 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur

GPS: 3.135331,101.685762
Tel: 03-2264 2264

It’s been a while since I wrote a bak kut teh entry, in fact, the last one was more than 3 months ago. For a food important enough that I dedicate an entire category on, this hiatus is far too long.

It was not like I’ve stopped eating BKT. The lack of new entry has to do with the fact that it was getting difficult to convince my regular eating buddies to try out new places when they already have their favorite BKT joints. Meng Kee at PJ Old Town, and Yap Chuan at Puchong are the two places we frequent lately.


restaurant Weng Heong at Klang

After a brief retreat to Awana Genting with colleague and a bunch of friends a couple weeks ago, we decided to get some bak kut teh for lunch at Klang. Naturally we head to the BKT capital that is Taman Intan at Klang.

There’s at least half a dozen BKT specialty restaurants within stone’s throw distance, at one point of I had wanted to try all of them but somehow didn’t get around doing it, maybe I should… emm..

Anyway, instead of the over packed Teluk Pulai BKT, we decided to head right next door at restaurant Weng Heong (永香海参瓦煲肉骨茶).


the glorious pot of goodness – Bak  Kut Teh

For the 8 of us, we ordered two pots of clay pot bak kut teh, some yau char kwai, and a plate of vegetable to go with oily rice. We kept it fairly simple, one pot of lean meat, and the other mixed lean and fatty pork, didn’t order any innards either.

I usually do indulge in all sorts of spare parts and not-exactly-lean meat, but the order was a right one as it turned out that I was the only one not on 100%-lean-meat diet around the table. If we had ordered innards and pork knuckles too, I’d probably be typing this at a hospital recovering from heart attack right now.


Yau Char Kuai, oily rice, and of course, some vitamin C

Like most Klang Bak Kut Teh, this one did not disappoint. The soup was rich and full of aroma, the meat too cooked to perfection, soft and flavorful. Fried shallot is available to add an extra character to the yummy oily rice that goes so well with the soup too, no one was complaining (except for the heat and lack of air conditioning).

As per old school bak kut teh practice, boiling water is available right next to our table for self serving hot tea refills. The staffs were quite speedy in refilling soup too, always a good thing at BKT places.


Chloe, Vicky, Li Choo, Ivan, Bee Eng, Roy, Li Zhi, KY

The bill came to about RM 10 – RM 12 per person, pretty much in lined with most other BKT places just about anywhere in Klang Valley. The lunch was mighty satisfying, but next time I should do it for breakfast instead.

Address:
Restoran Weng Heong Bak Kut Teh
28, 30, Jalan 5, Kawasan 16,
Taman Intan, Klang, Selangor

GPS: 3.056268, 101.474018
Tel : 012-382 4408