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A couple weeks ago we were invited to sample Chef Sam Lu’s menu at Saujana Hotel’s Ti Chen Chinese restaurant. Chef Sam Lu is the new man in charge of the kitchen at Ti Chen, and one with multiple awards under his belt.

Saujana's Ti Chen Chinese Restaurant with Chef Sam Lu (right)
Saujana’s Ti Chen Chinese Restaurant with Chef Sam Lu (right)

Chef Sam learnt the fundamentals of Chinese cuisine by attending the Chinese Cooking Course under China Hakka Famous Chefs and was also trained at the China Development Center of Molecular Gastronomy. In this menu, the play between molecular gastronomy and traditional Chinese cuisine is very apparent, and we were lucky enough to be one of the few who got to try his creation at Saujana.

For this media review, we were served the following 7 course menu.

deep fried scallops with banana & taro paste
deep fried scallops with banana & taro paste
roasted chicken roll with Korean BBQ sauce

The dinner got underway with a pair of appetizers.

Deep fried scallop with banana and taro paste was a bit like an East-meet-West dimsim & dessert marriage. Banana gave the dish a soft and sweet texture, while the scallop contributed to the taste of seafood, pretty interesting.

Roasted chicken roll with Korean BBQ sauce had a bit more of a traditional palate with a hint of Korean flavor, I find myself enjoying it quite a bit. The carefully roasted garlic was just an icing on the cake.

double boiled village chicken with fish maw soup
double boiled village chicken with fish maw soup

The double boiled village chicken with fish maw soup was the one dish that actually enticed Haze and I to go to this review session. We were spending a lot of time with house renovation and thought a bowl of good soup would do us well, we were not wrong.

According to the good chef, the soup took no shorter than 6 hours to prepare. The fish maw was soft and tender, and the soup positively rejuvenating.

steamed cod fish with chinese herbs
steamed cod fish with Chinese herbs

My favorite dish came next – the steamed cod fish with Chinese herbs. The filet was absolutely fantastic, it was tender, juicy, and just lightly seasoned. I like the presence of wolf berry in the broth, and that foam from the influence of molecular gastronomy.

butter garlic fried-rice with crab meat, roast duck
butter garlic fried-rice with crab meat, roast duck

As with any proper Chinese course dinner, there’s always a dish with carbo, and our version came in the form of butter garlic fried-rice with crab meat. Instead of the traditional dryer and more fluffy type of fried rice, this version takes the cue from Italian risotto and prepared a little wetter. To be honest, I prefer the Chinese fried rice of old, not that this one is bad, it was just.. unfamiliar.

We were also given a plate of roast duck, which was prepared differently from the traditional method. It was tender, juicy, and goes very well with any sort of rice, or just on its own.

Sam's coffee pudding, bake homemade almond cream bun, KY & Haze
Sam’s coffee pudding, bake homemade almond cream bun, KY & Haze

Desserts came in the form of Sam’s coffee pudding and bake homemade almond cream bun. I personally liked the almond cream bun, but almond is a bit of an acquired taste so I think it didn’t find too many fans among the reviewers around the table. The coffee pudding had a better reception for sure, with it’s cute presentation and subtle coffee taste to a sweet ending.

Ti Chen is open from Tuesday to Fridays for lunch (12-2:30pm), dinner (6-10pm) and on Saturdays & Sundays for lunch (9-2:30pm) and dinner (6-10pm).

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Ti Chen
Saujana Golf & Country Club,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,

40150 Selangor
GPS3.106865, 101.575285
Tel03-7846 1466
emailinfo@thesaujana.com

Every once in a while, I get invited to one of these fancy dinners that I imagined myself being a part of when I was working as a casual worker at a five star hotel in my high school days.

I thought that it’d be pretty awesome sitting down having a number of different courses of almost bite size food served in plates that are unnecessarily large, and wouldn’t it be even more cool if they have different drinks for each dish?!

That’d really be living the life, won’t it?

Senja at Saujana Hotel
A Premium Wine Affair, Senja at Saujana Hotel

Well, last Friday was one of such days, and yes, that’s another teenage-hood dream come true moment (though not the first time).

I was invited to “A premier Wine Affair of the Saujana Hotels & Resorts Wine Collection“, a private event hosted by the Saujana to unveil its new wine collection.

Charcoal's Australian Chef Robert Johnston
Charcoal’s Australian Chef Robert Johnston

The wines were specifically made from Frankland Estate, Margaret River, Western Australia, a well-renowned winery with an approach to winemaking that values the importance of soil and environment.

In the kitchen was Charcoal’s Australian Chef Robert Johnston who prepared a distinctive five course menu to pair with the wines for a night of, well, wine and dine.

By the way, you can only get these wines from The Saujana

Note: Instead of paraphrasing the note and pretend that I know exactly how to describe these wonderful wines, I’m going to include the tasting note here verbatim, and by the way, most media/writers do get tasting notes for wine/whisky, we can’t magically come up with fantastic descriptions that are all pretty much the same.

lightly cured salmon, pomelo, cucumber, verjuice jelly
lightly cured salmon, pomelo, cucumber, verjuice jelly

After socializing a bit with the crowd, we sat down and dinner began, our first dish was the lightly cured salmon, pomelo, cucumber, verjuice jelly to be paired with Souvignon Blanc Semillon 2014. Refreshing and easy on the palette.

Tasting note: On the nose it shows exotic fruit aromas, lychee, mango, rose, quince and spices. On the palate it exudes a powerful, burst of fruit, flattering and round with lightly spicy finishing. 

poached chicken and crispy noodles, shitake tea
poached chicken and crispy noodles, shitake tea

Second course was poached chicken and crispy noodles, shitake tea. Paired with Chardonnay 2013, Miles from Nowhere.

The shitake tea makes an interesting base with its slightly bitter after taste, reminding me of chicken essence in a way. Crispy noodle provided interesting texture to the otherwise quite muted poached chicken. Very Asian-ish.

Tasting note: Butterscotch and ripe stone fruit flavours, with a rich and luscious creamy mouth feel. A complex wine with a spicy oak finish

char grilled duck breast, sweet onion puree, apple and radish, balsamic reduction
char grilled duck breast, sweet onion puree, apple & radish, balsamic reduction

Third dish was char grilled duck breast, sweet onion puree, apple and radish, balsamic reduction. Paired with Merlot 2014.

Really love the duck breast with the hint of charred taste. The Merlot carries mulberry and red plum fruit aromas, a touch of earthy complexity that went well with duck.

Tasting notes: Medium ruby red in colour. Alluring strawberry, mulberry and red plum fruit aromas with subtle hint of French oak spice and a touch of earthy complexity.

Black Angus tenderloin, roasted pumpkin risotto, oyster mushroom, bone marrow and parsley sauce
black Angus tenderloin, roasted pumpkin risotto,
oyster mushroom, bone marrow and parsley sauce

The main dish was black Angus tenderloin, roasted pumpkin risotto, oyster mushroom, bone marrow and parsley sauce. Paired with Cabernet Souvignon 2012. While the Wagyu from Hanaya a couple days ago was heaven, I still enjoy Angus beef with its more profound texture.

Tasting notes: A powerful yet elegant wine. Soft and rich with full body. Well rounded tannins on the palate with concentrates fruit flavours and provides a great length on the finish.

Coconut rice, caramelized banana, candied coconut and chili
coconut rice, caramelized banana, candied coconut and chili

Coconut rice, caramelized banana, candied coconut and chili as dessert to end the night. Good food with excellent company, what a great way to start the weekends.

great company and awesome food with delectable wines
great company and awesome food with delectable wines

The other wines we tried were  Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014 from Grape Expectations Estate, Margaret River, and Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc from Frankland Estate.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Senja
Saujana Golf & Country Club,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
40150 Selangor
GPS3.106865, 101.575285
Tel03-7846 1466
emailinfo@thesaujana.com

It’s that time of the year again, CNY dinner previews is in vogue, so a few days ago I stopped by Ti Chen Chinese Restaurant at Saujana Golf & Country Club to sample what they have to offer for the year of Goat.

Ti Chen is actually under the same management as Saujana KL, situated just a stone’s throw away from the hotel. Parking is quite a hassle free experience, and the restaurant has a nice overview of the lush green lawn and gentle slopes of the golf course, which exudes a very nice ambiance that promotes tranquility out of the hustle and bustle of the city life.

Ti Chen Chinese Restaurant at Saujana Golf & Country Club
Ti Chen Chinese Restaurant at Saujana Golf & Country Club

For 2015, Ti Chen offers three different set menus priced from RM 1168++, RM 1468++, and RM 1968++ to choose from. You can also add 200++ to each of those menu to add alcoholic beverages to the package (some pretty good House label wine selections).

For the purpose of this media review, we sampled 9 dishes hand picked from the 3 menus.

For more details on the promotion, head to shr.my/the-saujana-hotel/dining/ti-chen/

Sea Bird's Nest Yee Sang with Cheery Sauce
Sea Bird’s Nest Yee Sang with Cheery Sauce

We started the night with Sea Bird’s Nest Yee Sang with Cheery Sauce (and added some smoked salmon for good measure too).

The Yee Sang here is closer to the traditional type with crispy crackers and colorful ingredients, with the chef’s special cherry sauce separating it from other run-off-the-mill yee sang. It is a little more fruity and interesting, though I still find myself preferring the more modern type of yee sang with fresh fruits and vegetables that is fast gaining popularity.

double boiled free range chicken with ginseng soup
double boiled free range chicken with ginseng soup

Like all decent Chinese set menu, the second dish is always some type of soup, and I’m again happy to see the departure from the shark’s fins.

The double boiled free range chicken with ginseng soup packs a punch. It was overloaded with sweetness from the chicken and dates with a great balance from herbal ingredients. I really enjoyed this.

homemade roasted sesame pei pa duck & steamed sabah sea garupa
homemade roasted sesame pei pa duck & steamed sabah sea garupa

Continuing with another poultry dish was the homemade roasted sesame pei pa duck that I thought went very well with some Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. The red wine compliments the duck rather well. Though I’ve had better pei pa duck, this version could hold its own.

Steamed Sabah sea garoupa with tong kwai soya sauce came next, and this was easily my favorite dish of the night. The fish was steamed just right, preserving the freshness and sweetness from the seafood with the light superior soya sauce and tong kwai subtly giving the dish a little bit of character. I also love the way the way our server expertly carved out 10 different pieces of the fish for everyone. It was delightful.

braised seasonal vegetable with dried oyster, wok fried prawns
braised seasonal vegetable with dried oyster, wok fried prawns

Braised seasonal vegetable with dried oyster and duo mushrooms is another pretty common dish in Chinese set menu, and this version is certainly up to the standard. I particularly enjoyed those thick and juicy “abalone mushroom”.

For those who loves shellfish, there’s wok fried prawns with butter sauce. This version is the wetter and non crispy type that is a little messier to consume, but as a bonus it is also a little more flavorful with the butter sauce seeping into the seafood. I also find that the prawns were very fresh as well.

braised crispy noodle with seafood & crab roe, desserts
braised crispy noodle with seafood & crab roe, dessert

The stomach stuffer in our session was the braised crispy noodles with seafood and crab roe, a pretty luxurious dish that you could have as a whole meal in itself. The seafood, and especially those crab roe were super sinful and delicious, it was too bad that I was rather full by this time.

Like any other CNY set menu, a sweet ending was provided. For this purpose we were served with chilled dried lime and sea cococnut with aloe vera in longan soup (what a long name) and chilled mochi & Shanghai lotus pancake.

I thought the longan soup was perhaps a little bit too sweet, but the lotus pancake, being one of my all time favorite Chinese desserts, was quite awesome. The mochi was not something I remember though.

KY & Kerol at Ti Chen, Saujana Golf & Country Club
KY & Kerol at Ti Chen, Saujana Golf & Country Club

Overall I thought the experience at Ti Chen was pretty positive. Food was right up there with the other big boys and Saujana certainly provides a superior location in terms of ambiance and hassle free parking.

Details of the sets:

  • 9 course auspicious good luck set (RM 1168++): salmon yee sang, braised crab meat seafood treasure soup, steamed river patin with hot & sour sauce, braised seasonal vegetables with dried oyster & duo mushrooms
  • 9 course auspicious good fortune set (RM 1468++): double boiled cordyceps, flower with spring chicken soup, homemade roasted sesame pei pa duck, steamed sabah sea garoupa with tong kwai soya sauce, braised fish maw, sea cucumber & dried oysters with broccoli flower
  • 9 course auspicious good health set (RM 1968++): double boiled free range chicken with ginseng soup, stewed chicken with chestnut, shiitake mushrooms and young bamboo shoots, steamed white pomfret with suprior soya sauce, wok fried prawns with butter sauce

The sets are priced for 10 pax, but you can also order them for minimum of 5 pax.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Ti Chen
Saujana Golf & Country Club,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,

40150 Selangor
GPS3.106865, 101.575285
Tel03-7846 1466
emailinfo@thesaujana.com

Ramadan is just around the corner so lets continue with the second instalment of buka puasa buffet 2014 review, this at The Saujana KL hotel’s new Charcoal restaurant, remodelled, redecorate, and definitely an improved version of the old Suria Cafe.

Charcoal is a new open-grill concept restaurant that was opened on the 6th of June, 2014, but a review of what the restaurant has to offer will come later, this post is solely about the Ramadan buffet, and this one is served under the stars by the poolside.

Ramadan buffet 2014 at The Saujana KL's Charcoal restaurant
Ramadan buffet 2014 at The Saujana KL’s Charcoal restaurant

The Saujana is located near Subang airport, offering ample outdoor parking space free of charge. Situated directly next to the golf course and hotel swimming pool, the restaurant also enjoys a tranquil and beautiful view.

I was told that the spread we sampled represent only about a quarter to a third of what will be served during the fasting month.

The buffet is priced at RM 115++ per person.

Asian appetizer - kerabu hati ayam, kerabu mangga muda, kerabu kacang botol etc
Asian appetizer – kerabu hati ayam, kerabu mangga muda, kerabu kacang botol etc

Ramadan buffet at Saujana offers quite a variety of Asian appetizers that will surely please Malay food lovers. There’s kerabu hati ayam (chicken liver), kerabu mangga muda (young mango), kerabu kacang botol (long bean), kerabu nanas (pineapple), kerabu nangka, and even gado gado. These offer some intense sourish and spicy taste that opens up the appetite real well.

For those who wants to veer a bit towards the West, there’s a selection of Western dishes such as grilled asparagus with roast beef, chickpea with roasted pumpkin salad, and shredded salmon with zucchini julienne and wasabe mayo as well.

bazaar Malay and bakar stalls offering ayam percik, ikan bakar, and more
bazaar Malay and bakar stalls offering ayam percik, ikan bakar, and more

Like many ramadan buffets in town, the concept of food stalls is implemented here as well.

The bazaar Malay and bakar stalls offer nasi kerabu (the blue rice above), ikan bakar (grilled fish), sotong bakar (squid), ayam percik, as well as other classics such as otak otak.

grilled lamb, ulam ulam, soup, satey
grilled lamb, ulam ulam, soup, satey

Grilled lamb is also available here (basically at every Ramadan buffet I’ve been), and the version here did not disappoint either, the meat was tender and goes well with mint sauce.

If you like ulam like me, they have quite a selection with the accompanying sambal that includes my favorite – tempoyak, or fermented durian. 😀

There’s also an Indian stall that serves putu mayam, tossai, masala vadai, coconut chutney, dal curry and more.

KY & Haze, with various main dishes including vegetable, meat, rice, curry, and seafood
KY & Haze, with various main dishes including vegetable, meat, rice, curry, and seafood

When it’s time to fill up your stomach, main dishes such as ayam redang, nasi minyak, udang masak tomato (prawn), terung hijau (eggplant, one of my favorites!), danging kicap berempah (beef with dark sauce), gulai masam tenggiri (mackeral curry), and more are available. I find the taste true generally stays true to classic Malay cuisine.

fruits, desserts, and drinks
fruits, desserts, traditional kuih, and drinks

Desserts is available in the form of various Malay kuih, bubur durian with pulut, pandan cream caramel, assorted French pastries, cheese cake, dodol, and fresh fruits.

Quality of food here is definitely top notch, and I think this would definitely be a place worth checking out for those who stays near this part of Klang Valley, and especailly those who love traditional Malay cuisine.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Charcoal
The Saujana KL,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,

40150 Selangor
GPS3.108849, 101.578474
Tel03-7843 1234
emailinfo@thesaujana.com

It’s been a while since I last had a buffet dinner, and almost one year ago since I had my last eat-all-you-can dinner with Shah, so when Saujana Hotel asked for a review their Flavours of Sri Lanka promotion at Suria Cafe, I took the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

Suria Cafe at The Saujana Hotel
Suria Cafe at The Saujana Hotel

For those who are unfamiliar with The Saujana Hotel, it is located close to the old Subang Airport. The hotel has a beautiful 18 hole golf course right next to it that provides lush green views from most of its rooms and restaurants, including Suria Cafe.

Unlike most hotels in the city, parking space’s ample at The Saujana, and they are free. The only downside is that traffic along Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance during rush hours due to the LRT extension constructions lately. Something that might not be a problem anymore when you read this.

prawn baduma, lamb black pepper curry, cashew and drumstick meat mitikirata, chicken red curry
prawn baduma, lamb black pepper curry,
cashew and drumstick meat mitikirata, chicken red curry

From the 17 June to 27 June 2013, you can get a taste of Sri Lanka at Suria Cafe as the hotel brought three of the best chefs from Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo to provide their expertise in Sri Lankan cuisine.

Executive sous chef, Chef Clifford, senior sous chef, Chef Wijesiri, and chef Chandana lend a hand at the kitchen of Suria Cafe  are the three Lankan-teers at work for this period. The two sous chefs combined to have over 60 years of cooking experience, so you know you’re not getting your food from any amateurs of the industry.

traditional festive yellow rice, beef curry, fish stew, Sri Lankan desserts
traditional festive yellow rice, beef curry, fish stew, Sri Lankan desserts

While this was the first time I had proper Sri Lankan food, it really did not taste unfamiliar. So far as ingredients and cooking method is concerned, it shows pretty big influence from South Indian cuisine due to geographical proximity and common colonial history.

Festive yellow rice looks similar to briyani but tastes a lot more subtle in flavor due to the lack of meat, it does however, go very well with stronger tasting dishes such as prawn baduma, black pepper lamb curry, or chicken red curry.

chicken and vegetable kottu, plain hoppers with lunu miris
chicken and vegetable kottu, plain hoppers with lunu miris

While many of the dishes has some heat in it, they are generally not overly spicy for those who are already well versed with Malaysian food. One of the noted dish that I find quite unique was the cashew with drumstick curry, drumstick here is the seed pods for Moringa oleifera and not your favorite piece of chicken meat. Soft cashew and the distinct taste of spices brought a new experience to my taste buds.

whole lot of other selections on the buffet bar too
whole lot of other selections on the buffet bar too

Chicken and vegetable kottu is a dish that looks pretty similar to the Nyonya “jiuhu char” but instead of cuttle fish and mengkuang you have shredded roti, vegetables, and chicken. It was pretty good.

My favorite dishes of the evening was the Sri Lankan hoppers, something that looks like our Indian Apom but comes with “lunu miris” – mixed of chili flakes, red onions, sea salt, lime juice, etc. It was like a spicy version of apom/pancake thingy that I wish I could get for breakfast by the streets. You can have hoppers with an egg in the middle as well.

the men behind the food on top, KY & Shah were only there to eat
the men behind the food on top, KY & Shah were only there to eat

In addition to Sri Lankan dishes, the buffet spread at Suria Cafe still includes many of the local favorites and some international dishes such as bread, cheese, apple crumble, soup, cakes, and more.

Flavours of Sri Lanka ends 27th June 2013 and priced at RM 90++ for buffet dinner, RM 70++ for buffet lunch.

map to Saujana Kuala Lumpur

Address:
Suria Cafe
Saujana Resort, Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
40150 Selangor
GPS: 3.108849, 101.578474
Tel: 03-7843 1234
email: info@thesaujana.com