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Tag / pacific clam

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

Address:
THIRTY8
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
12 Jalan Pinang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.15381, 101.71234
Tel: 03-2182 1234 ext. 2340

A few weeks ago we were invited to sample Toh Yuen‘s new a la carte menu. Some of you might have read about my previous visit to Toh Yuen back in 2011, well, of all the dishes prepared by Master Chef Lee this time around, only the fried rice and sea cucumber dish were repeats.

Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel
Toh Yuen Chinese restaurant at PJ Hilton Hotel

Regulars of Toh Yuen will be delighted that Chef Lee still stick by his principle of using the freshest and traditional ingredients with no additives in his cooking. For example, prawns are sourced fresh in the day and finished by the same night without ever being frozen. This ensures that the seafood you get here are some of the freshest one can get from a Chinese restaurant.

The slight down side of this method is that food generally tasted a bit more subtle, and thus might not suite tongues that are desensitized with too much tomyam and other heavily seasoned food, but if you are into traditional Chinese taste, this is worth a visit.

Here are the dishes we sampled:

chilled pacific clam, lamb with cumin & dried chili, soft shell crab
chilled pacific clam, lamb with cumin & dried chili, soft shell crab

We got started out with three appetizers -  chilled pacific clam with salsa (RM 28), deep fried lamb with cumin and dried chili (RM 28), and deep fried soft shell crab with garlic and chicken floss (RM 22).

Of the three, only the pacific clam is a cold dish, with the seafood sitting atop a bed of “salsa” arranged in a way not unlike tartar. The clams were sweet, but it did take me a while to accept having the pretty soft tasting salsa to go with them. A bold try but one that is still pretty experimental I thought.

The slightly spicy lamb was pretty good, and the chicken floss was an especially great addition to the soft shell crab, giving it an entirely different dimension. A trick I will shamelessly copy should I prepare soft shell crab (or even deep fried prawns) next time. I love it.

double boiled chicken with "shi hu" or "chong cao hua" soup
double boiled chicken with “shi hu” or “chong cao hua” soup

Like any proper 8 or 10 course Chinese dinner, our next dish was soup. we tried the double boiled chicken with “shi hu as well as the double boiled village chicken with “chong cao hua” soup (RM 32 per bowl).

Both were subtle but not lacking in taste. Herbal soup lovers will enjoy this, as I did. These aren’t of quality you find at Elegant Inn, and they weren’t priced as such either.

smoked duck with fruit sauce
smoked duck with fruit sauce

My favorite dish of the night has gotta be the smoked duck with fruit sauce (RM 38). The duck breast has the perfect skin-fat-meat combination that reminds me of  good quality roast pork, except with the slightly more exquisite taste of duck breast. The dragon fruit sauce gives it an extra bit of sophistication as well, I had at least 4-5 pieces (more than everyone :D)

prawns with salted egg, sea cucumber with mushroom, lamb with cumin & dried chili
prawns with salted egg, sea cucumber with mushroom, lamb with cumin & dried chili

Our first main dish was the sautéed prawn with salted egg yolk (RM 50). The freshness of the prawns were evident here, and I liked the fact that they were shelled and thus requires zero effort to consume. The richest dish we had, it was very well executed.

The sea cucumber with flower mushroom and abalone sauce (RM 80) is one of those dishes you often find at wedding dinners, but over here the sea cucumber were fat, juicy, and tasted quite a bit better. Older folks would love this dish for sure, and the sauce goes very well with steamed rice.

steamed Canadian black cod, sauteed celery with pine nuts, vegetarian "chicken" with yam basket
steamed Canadian black cod, sauteed celery with pine nuts, vegetarian “chicken” with yam basket

Next came steamed Canadian black cod fish with “yu feng” ginger sauce (RM 32/100 gram). The seafood was again very fresh, and the ginger/soya sauce base would go very well with steamed rice. I particularly love the fish skin and bits of fried garlic/ginger placed on top of the fish. This was a very luxurious dish to me.

Sautéed celery with lotus root & pine nuts (RM 30) is a blend of fresh crunchy vegetable with the texture of pine nuts. A bit bland for me, but a pretty good change of taste from the other dishes.

Our last main dish was the sauteed “gong bao” vegetarian chicken with yam ring (RM 60). This is a dish that I don’t particularly enjoy, and this has nothing to do with the taste but the fact that I usually like chicken to be .. well, made of chicken, and vegetable stayed vegetable, but if you’re those who enjoys fake fish and vegetarian meat, this isn’t a bad choice. The yam basket was delicious.

Toh Yuen fried rice, banana fritter & strawberry cheese cake dessert
Toh Yuen fried rice, banana fritter & strawberry cheese cake dessert

We concluded the night with Toh Yuen fried rice (RM 35) and deep fried banana with strawberry and cheese cake (RM 20). The fried rice was very well balanced and tasted superb without having any ingredients that stands out, Haze over stuffed herself quite a bit trying to have as much as she could.

The dessert was decent, but a little out of place with the dishes that we had, I would probably prefer herbal jelly or snow hasma instead (which they have in their menu as well)

The full menu can be found here.

map to Petaling Jaya Hilton Hotel

Address:
Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant
Hilton Petaling Jaya
No 2 Jalan Barat
46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

GPS3.10235, 101.64087
Tel03-7955 9122

Toh Yuen Chinese Restaurant

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