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Tag / steak

Jacob’s Creek has a bit of a special place in my heart, for the fact that one of the first wine events I’ve ever attended back in 2009 was hosted by this very brand, so when I got the invitation for Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Wine Dinner last month, I immediately made plans to be part of the launch.

Jacob's Creek double barrel wine dinner, the menu
Jacob’s Creek double barrel wine dinner, the menu

The introduction for this special Double Barrel blend was held at Eight Gourmet Gala, with a rather big set up attended by media, celebrities, and people who has a bit of online real estate such as yours truly.

Brand Ambassador, Jenny Rothenberg was also present to explain what this whole “double barrel” is all about.

To put it simply, the wine (Double Barrel Shiraz & Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon) is matured traditionally in French and American oak barrels, before finishing it in old whiskey barrels, giving them a more complex palate.

pan seared French foie gras, with Jacob's Creek Pinot Noir
pan seared French foie gras, Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz

Anyway, to the dinner.

We started out with pan seared French foie gras, paired with Jacob’s Creek sparkling chardonnay pinot noir, the citrus and toasted cashew flavors of chardonnay marrying the fresh bread crust characteristic of pinot noir complimented the richness of pan seared foie gras perfectly. Most certainly a good start to the night.

white truffle pumpkin potage, wine barrel vs whisky barrel
white truffle pumpkin potage, wine barrel vs whisky barrel

Second course was the white truffle pumpkin potage, a thick soup that tastes like a blend of pumpkin with a hint of white truffle, which, to be honest, was not particularly very exciting for me. It was OK, but not among the best soups I’ve tried.

smoke turkey drumstick w/ Jacob's Creek Double Barrel Shiraz & Reserve Shiraz
smoke turkey drumstick w/ Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz & Reserve Shiraz

Next came the entree of smoke turkey drumstick, we had it with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz and Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz. I thought the meat was handled very well, tender, juicy, and extremely smokey to a point of being spicy, which may not suit everyone, I liked it though.

That complimented the sweet red fruits & dark chocolate palate of Shiraz well. The direct comparison between the two Shiraz showcased differences due to additional treatment of finishing the wine in whisky barrel. Most agreed the double barrel version is a tad smoother.

pan seared Wagyu - marbling grade 9 with Jacob's Creek Double Barrel Souvignon
pan seared Wagyu with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Souvignon

Then came my favorite dish of the night – pan seared Wagyu (marbling grade 9). The meat is done medium rare with very little distractions in terms of finishing. It was positively satisfying, with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Souvignon doing an excellent job as accompanying side kick. A good red with a fine piece of meat never disappoint.

poached lobster with truffle garlic oil
poached lobster with truffle garlic oil

Another option for main was poached lobster with truffle garlic oil, a fine looking dish but unfortunately suffered slightly from being overly cooked in this instance. The seafood would have served as a good companion to the Cabernet Souvignon otherwise.

premium chocolate & French macaron for dessert
premium chocolate & French macaron for dessert, bok & sycookie

We ended the night with a simple dessert of chocolate & French macaron, a sweet ending to a pretty special night hosted by Jacob’s Creek. Looking forward to the next event and thanks for the invite!

map to Sunway Pinnacle Annexe

Address:
Eight Gourmet Gala
Suite G-01, Ground Floor,
Pinnacle Annexe, Bandar Sunway,
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS3.070381, 101.609452
Tel017-948 8684

 

In my memory, the rustic row of shops by Jalan Batai is home to a couple old school kopitiam in an otherwise pretty luxurious residential area, but my memory of the place hasn’t been updated for a while. Batai Village now houses some of the more trendy restaurants in town, and the old Hock Lee has since became Ben’s Independent Grocer.

Progress I guess, and to be honest I think it is in a good way. There’s still a sense of close knit community presence, and they’ve even managed to retain many of the hawker stalls operating in the corner kopitiam, upgraded of course.

We were there at night on a promise of good Japanese premium steaks at Torii. As it turned out, the promise was delivered with excess.

Torii at Batai Village, Damansara Height
Torii at Batai Village, Damansara Height

I’ve talked about the excellent yakitori offered at Torii at TTDI previously, similar menu is offered here at Batai branch, but now with the addition of Japanese Premium Steaks, which is what we were there for.

I was told that the branch at TTDI is closing down as they shift their focus to Batai.

Matsusaka or kobe beef? Take your pick
Matsusaka or kobe beef? Take your pick

The steak comes in 5 different choices and are priced per 100 gram:

  • Matsusaka, RM 310
  • Kobe Zabutan A5, RM 250
  • Kobe Sirloin A4, RM 180
  • Kobe Sirloin A3, RM 150
  • Kobe Sirloin F1, RM 120

You may have read on wikipedia or other sources that Kobe beef is usually not exported (or only to limited countries) from Japan, in a way that is true, so some of these Kobe beef found in “unofficial” countries are actually hand carried over borders, but they are true 100% Kobe beef regardless.

sauteed spinach, green bean with black sesame, egg yolk croquette
sauteed spinach, green bean with black sesame, egg yolk croquette

Additionally, Torii also offer several sides to go with those red meat

  • Shaved fresh black truffle, RM 15
  • Pan-seared foie gras, RM 29
  • Grilled Japanese scallop, RM 19
  • Truffled mashed parsnip, RM 25
  • Sauteed Spinach, RM 25
  • Egg yolk croquettes, RM 19
  • Green beans with black sesame sauce, RM 18
  • Cream of spinach, RM 18
  • Heritage salad, RM 15

kobe sirloin A3, kobe zabutan A5, matsusaka, pan seared foie gras
kobe sirloin A3, kobe zabutan A5, matsusaka, pan seared foie gras

For the session, we worked through Kobe Sirloin A3, Kobe Zabutan A5, and Matsusaka, a 100 gram each and served with pan seared foie gras & grilled Japanese scallop.

As you can see from the picture, marbling goes up from each grade, and to be honest you really have to find your sweet spot. While I love the super fatty Matsusaka and it’s melt in your mouth texture, Haze found her sweet spot to be around Kobe Zabutan A5 or even the A3. You get a bit more firmness as you go “down” the grade. There’s really nothing wrong if your favorite is at F1.

The steak is served with black truffle sauce, they are basically match make in heaven for the beef, so rich, full flavor, and ultra satisfying. Yes, 100 gram is plenty of beef when they are of these quality and so rich in fats (in a good way).

Needless to say, the foie gras and scallops were both on point and served as perfect companion for the steaks.

KY & Haze at Torii Batai Village
KY & Haze at Torii Batai Village

Together with the steaks, we also sampled three different side dishes. Sauteed spinach was simple and refreshing while staying true to its Japanese identity, green beans with black sesame is a little stronger tasting and perhaps needs a bit of getting used to, while egg yolk croquettes were perhaps a bit of an culinary experiment that I myself may not 100% agree at this point of my life.

Torii Premium Japanese Steak price list (as of Oct 2016)
Torii Premium Japanese Steak price list (as of Oct 2016)

I hope this menu is going to be offered on a permanent basis at Torii. A certain treat for anyone who loves steak, and to be honest, at this price, they do offer pretty decent value for money, especially considering you don’t have to fly to Japan for it.

P/S: interesting useless fact, Kobe beef is so good the basketball superstar’s parents named him Kobe Bryant.

map to Torii at Jalan Batai

 

Address:
Torii
8, Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara,
50490 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.149612, 101.661402
Tel: 03-2011 3798

When it comes to steaks, quality of cut is often directly correlated with satisfaction in eating them, and unfortunately, so is the asking price. To “solve” this problem, sous vide is often the most recommended solution – cook the beef in a slow and controlled temperature, and you’ll get almost any cut to be tender.

Sounds good, right? But here’s the catch – sous vide machines can be very pricey, and I’m not about to spend upwards of RM 1,000 – 2,000 without really knowing what I get myself into.

Enter McGyver inspired cooler-box sous vide solution. (well, I actually read this from another website)

all you need is a thermometer and a cooler box
all you need is a thermometer and a cooler box

For this method, you only need the following 3 crucial items

  • cooler box
  • ziplock bag (freezer type recommended as they’re usually stronger)
  • cooking thermometer

Now let’s look at how to make your own sous vide beef & chicken.

sous vide steak, medium rare, done in an hour or so
sous vide steak, medium rare, done in an hour or so

Instructions:

  • season your meat with salt and pepper, or any other desired seasoning
  • place them in zip lock bags
  • prepare hot water 2-3 Celsius above your desired internal temperature for the meat (example: slightly less than 60 C for medium rare beef, 75-80 Celsius for chicken)
  • lower the meat-bags and shake off excess air pockets before zip locking it
  • monitor every half an hour, if temperature drop below desired level, add hot water to bring it up
  • let the meat cook for an hour or two, depending on the thickness

sous vide chicken breast is surprisingly good on salad
sous vide chicken breast is surprisingly good on salad

  • use the thermometer to ensure that internal meat temperature is appropriate
  • for beef, heat up skillet (I use an IKEA one) to high temperature, then sear for a minute on each side before serving, a blow torch will do similar wonder for chicken breasts
  • add your side dishes, and eat away!

The results we got were amazing. Relatively cheap cuts of grass fed beef had the texture not entirely unlike tenderloin, and for the first time in my life, I actually enjoyed chicken breasts as it came out succulent and moist.

Will do it again!

On our trip to London, we were lucky enough that accommodation was arranged at Dorsett at Sheperd’s Bush located about half an hour from Heathrow Airport by taxi, and only some 10 stops from the heart of the city via the tube on central line.

Dorsett Hotel at Sheperd's Bush, London
Dorsett Hotel at Sheperd’s Bush, London

The hotel has some 300 rooms separated in eight floors. The design is a mix of contemporary British style with Chinese influence, pretty interesting. Right in front of the hotel is a park, with Sheperd’s Bush tube station about 5 minutes away on foot, and conveniently, Westfield (as we found out later, the largest mall in London), less than 10 minutes away.

our suite on the 8th floor, Dorsett Sheperd's Bush
our suite on the 8th floor, Dorsett Sheperd’s Bush

Though we booked the deluxe room, the hotel was kind enough to bump us up to their suite. This was like the business class of hotel room that comes with all the bells & whistles – there’s a full master bedroom, a separate seating area to entertain guests, a “living room” with 42″ TV & sofa, as well as a nice bath tub and shower facilities.

Other convenience such as a work desk, mini fridge, iron board, hair dryer, bathrobes, and even small bottles of wine & sparkling water are included too.

executive lounge & the gym at Dorsett Sheperd's Bush
executive lounge & the gym at Dorsett Sheperd’s Bush

There’s also a gym, meeting room, spa (unfortunately we didn’t get to try), business center, and access to the executive lounge if you stay in the suite or executive guestroom.

Best of all, to me personally anyway, is that the hotel also has SUPER FAST wireless internet connection. I did a speed test and got something like 700 MB/s download speed – definitely first world connectivity.

English breakfast at the hotel
English breakfast at the hotel, we have bacon!

Like most hotels, Dorsett Sheperd’s Bush serves continental English breakfast daily. While the buffet spread isn’t particularly huge, the quality of food made up for it. The bread & pastries were all so delicious (must be the butter & flour they use?), and I also particularly like the bacon and those pork sausages, so yummy.

"Pictures" restaurant on the ground floor
“Pictures” restaurant on the ground floor

The hotel has three restaurants on the ground floor, on the second night, we had our dinner at Pictures, their all-day dining brasserie style restaurant with European menu.

The restaurant was tastefully decorated, and got its’ name from the building’s previous role as a theater. There’s even pictures of classic movie stars on the wall, pretty neat isn’t it?

crayfish cocktail & crispy calamari as our starters
crayfish cocktail & crispy calamari as our starters

To start, we had crayfish cocktail and the hotel manager’s recommendation – crispy calamari as our starters.

The mixture of fresh water crayfish and avocado was somewhat interesting, as most savory but cold dish tend to give. I think it’ll be great to have it as a filling in a sandwich too.

The calamari however, was excellent! I’ve never had fried calamari in coriander dressing, but the recipe turned out to be sophisticated and beautiful. I certainly would want to try to make this at home one of these days, you don’t even need mayonnaise or beer to enjoy this, no wonder it’s one of their best sellers.

21 day aged 6 oz Scotch fillet
21 day aged 6 oz Scotch fillet 

For mains, I had the 21 day aged 6 oz Scotch fillet, while Haze went for the 28 day dry aged cattleman’s 8oz striploin. Both dishes came with portobello mushroom, cherry vine tomato, and skinny fries.

While wagyu and kobe is all the rage these days, I still enjoy my proper aged beef, and they were very well executed here – tender, juicy, and full of flavor, can’t ask for more.

we enjoyed our stay at Dorsett Sheperd's Bush, thank you for the lovely time
we enjoyed our stay at Dorsett Sheperd’s Bush, thank you for the lovely time

We enjoyed our 3 nights at Dorsett, and if you head to London for business or leisure, this place should be in your short list.

Note: This UK – Malaysia Influencer Exchange programme was organised by Malaysia Airlines.
However, opinions are of my own. Malaysia Airlines flies between London and Kuala Lumpur
twice a day on the A380. There are 8 seats in the First Class, 66 in Business Class and 420
in Economy. Make your flight reservations today on www.malaysiaairlines.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