While Ipoh is generally regarded as one of the better towns for hawker food (perhaps second only to Penang), if you look closer, the town also offers some hidden gems outside of hawker & traditional Chinese food. Case in point – Maiale Japanese style Italian Restaurant.
Maiale Japanese style Italian Restaurant at Ipoh
If the overly long name isn’t clear, the restaurant actually offers Italian cuisine, cook by one Japanese chef, and interestingly, also served by only one local server. If you’re looking for Japanese food here, you won’t find it, but if you want Italian food with a bit of a Japanese influence & ingredients, you’re at the right place.
The restaurant itself is converted from an old colonial style house with very limited seats (perhaps 20 pax max?) and offers an ambiance that is as cozy as it is unique in its staffing. Reservation is a must since space is severely limited.
There’s no real ala carte menu here, instead, you choose from a combination of 3-course menu with 1 selection of appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. Prices range from RM 45 to RM 80 for the set, but sometimes they do have specials, such as Japanese wagyu grade A5 which can fetch quite a pretty penny.
bread & breadstick with olive oil & vinegar, appetizer platter
For our dinner, we chose the appetizer platter, pan fried sakura pork loin, and yuzu sorbet for the first set. For second set, we had the same appetizer platter, slow cooked lamb shoulder, and tiramisu.
Like most “almost fine dine” place, we started off with some warm bread, bread stick, with olive oil & vinegar prior to the arrival of appetizer, nothing out of the ordinary.
When the appetizer came, it turned out to be quite a delight. I didn’t care much about the glass plate, or the plating itself, but here’s what we had on it:
spinach and tomato mousse
Each had a unique taste and tasted rather not any less than some of the more fancy places. I’d be kicking myself if I chose the Caesar salad or mushroom soup in place of this platter for RM 5 less.
scallops, pan fried sakura pork loin with red wine balsamic sauce
Oh, we also ordered a small plate of scallops (3 pieces) as additional appetizer. They were decent, and definitely worth the RM 8 asking price.
For my main, the pan fried sakura pork loin with red wine balsamic sauce turned out to be a a winner. The meat was cooked to the right doneness, retaining natural flavor of pork as well as its tenderness. Furthermore, the sauce, made from reduction of red wine, balsamic, onion, and beef oil was so flavorful it made me question my own method of preparing pork chop at home. I need to replicate this!
slow cooked lamb shoulder, tiramisu, ice cream
For the second set, the slow cooked lamb shoulder was a decent dish in itself, with the sauce (red wine, homemade beef stock, tomato sauce) that tasted a bit richer but perhaps lack the excitement of stronger acidity compared to the sauce from pork loin. It was good, but perhaps not the same level as the pork loin.
The sides were potato, tomato, and broccoli for both dishes, they were adequate.
The 3rd course of tiramisu & yuzu sorbet were pretty good choices as well. Overall I thought this is a place worthy for special occasions (perhaps a romantic one) if you’re in Ipoh, and loves pork. I should check out their beef or pasta dishes next time.
When I was a kid, I used to dream that one day I’m going to have ice cream for an entire meal! Imagine, my favorite sweet indulgence for the whole seating, instead of a tiny scoop or a small cone after being forced to chew swallow down the last bit of rice and boiled carrots.
Well, that dream came true!
Häagen-Dazs Explore Mochi Together
I was invited to the launch of Häagen-Dazs‘ two new limited edition mochi flavours – the Tiramisu Mochi ice cream and Cream Cheese Mochi ice cream at Sunway Velocity Mall.
These ice cream are as you suspect – a combination of real authentic ice cream with delicately sized mochi pieces in them, resulting in a rather unique chewy texture that I thought was quite interesting, and one that worked better than imagined, you just have to try it.
The Tiramisu Mochi Ice Cream is inspired from homemade tiramisu using real mascarpone from Italy, while the Cream Cheese Mochi Ice Cream is made with real authentic cream cheese from Europe, carrying the quality you’d expect from Häagen-Dazs.
At the launch of the new Mochi flavors, we got to experience the limited edition menu (available at Häagen-Dazs stores till end of year) with Gondola Tiramisu & Bistro Paris.
Gondola Tiramisu (RM 44.20) is crafted with tempered chocolate made into a bowl with Tiramisu Mochi, Coffee, and Vanilla ice cream. The whole thing is surrounded by fresh cream, caramel, and nut brittles. The best of Italian sweetness on a plate.
As for Bistro Paris (RM 46.50), you can expect cheese, fresh fruits, with a cheesecake and the Cream Cheese Mochi Ice Cream paired with Macadamia Nut ice cream and Raspberry sorbet.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’d absolutely love these.
Häagen-Dazs Macha Latte (RM20.90)
You can get the two new flavors at the following sizes – minicup (100 ml) goes for RM 9.35 while pint size (473 ml) is priced at RM 30.40.
They are available at Häagen-Dazs outlets nationwide as well as major supermarkets including Aeon, Ben’s Independent Grocer, Family Mart, Jaya Grocer, 7-11, Village Grocer, and more.
A week ago I was invited to Opus Bistro for a revisit, this time around it’s an event organized by MilkADeal, the group buy website that not coincidentally, is having a good deal for Opus Bistro right this moment. Details of the deal at the bottom of this post.
We were seated on the first level, a tastefully done dining area fit for private functions as well as cozy dinner without the usual noise associated in a busy restaurant.
Many of you aren’t necessarily interested with the thickness of chair cushion and how many replica pantings are on the wall, so lets go straight to the food, shall we?
seafood antipasti platter
Like most finer dining places, we started off with some bread that you dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar while sipping a glass of white wine, but that is pretty dull to describe, move on to the first dish then – the seafood antipasti platter (RM 45.)
Here is a dish with some of my favorite ingredients – squid, scallop, tiger prawn, and clam. All perfectly prepared but come in different texture and flavor that compliment each other rather well. I love it.
risotto ball, seafood spaghetti, grilled lamb cutlets in red wine sauce
Then there’s the risotto ball (RM 22), something that is quite unique to Opus. It is sort of a vegetarian “meatball” that the health conscious should love, but meat lover such as me find slightly lacking.
The seafood spaghetti (RM 22/36) is a delightful dish especially if you didn’t have the antipasti platter to start off dinner. Here you find mussels, prawns, squid, and clams accompanying the pasta in olive oil and herbs, almost healthy.
The grilled lamb cutlets with rosemary in red wine sauce (RM 58) is a dish that can satisfy anyone with a huge appetite for meat. There’s a choice of mint sauce too if red wine sauce isn’t your thing. The meat is tender and succulent.
aglio olio with smoked duck, roast cod, tiramisu, chocolate desire
For those who love to venture into the slightly wilder side, there’s linguini aglio olio with smoked duck (RM 17/30.) The smoked duck breast carries a slightly salty smokey taste that will satisfy your curiosity.
We also tried both versions of roast cod (RM 58) at Opus. I personally favor the one with white wine sauce over the lemon caper sauce but truth be told, both were excellent.
For desserts we had tiramisu (RM 16) & chocolate desire (RM 20). The hot chocolate in pastry combine well with the cold vanilla ice cream to serve as the far better dessert for the night.
Haze, KY, Ringo, Kerol, and Suan at Opus Bistro
Opus Bistro is in effect, a place with pretty good food at a still affordable pricing, a poor man’s fine dining restaurant if you would.
The good news is, in the next 6 days (till 10th of May, 2011), you can get a deal from MilkADeal that maks Opus a must-visit place. The deal is – RM25 instead of RM74 for a Main Pasta + Wine / Fruit Juice / Soft Drink. Click on it, purchase, redeem, and enjoy!
Address: Opus Bistro
67, Jalan Bangkong
59100 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.138116, 101.669197 Tel: 03-2092 4288
A couple weeks ago @missyblurkit invited a few of us to a food review session by describing it as “lets have some Italian food” at Jalan P. Ramlee.
As it turned out, nothing could be further from her misinformation, the dinner at Trattoria Cucina Italiana turned out to be so overly plentiful and wholesome that describing it that way is akin to describing a 20 feet stretched Hummer limo as “some car”.
Trattoria Cucina Italiana
Trattoria Cucina Italiana is located on the ground floor of Rohas Perkasa, which is about a stone’s throw away from KLCC and Mandarin Oriental hotel and a pebble’s flick away from Thai club and Beach club.
The restaurant is beautifully furnished and tastefully decorated, but for some reasons beyond comprehension, it is represented by a very cheap looking “mamak style” backlit blue sign board with yellow fonts. I fully blame this banner for the invisibility of this eatery despite it’s prominent location.
By the way, there are free car park spaces right outside the restaurants for diners.
Caesar salad, caprese (buffalo mozzarella), seafood salad
We were served beer and the typical bread with olive oil and vinegar to get started, but soon enough the antipasti and salads came.
I’ve taken liberty to name the dishes in English rather than the more “authentic” name in Italian as specified on the menu. First was the Caesar salad (RM 26, or Insalata Caesare, if you woudl) and seafood salad (RM 27, Insalata tiepida di mare) that were beautifully presented and equally as delicious. I particularly love the fresh seafood and the juicy clams on the seafood salad!
The picture on the middle of the collage was Caprese (RM 33), fresh buffalo mozzarella with tomato, very interesting and should satisfy any cheese lover, though I don’t find myself fancy the whole serving of this all to myself.
mixed Italian cheese platter, tuna salad, eggplant pie
The other half of our appetizers consist of the lovely Italian cheese platter (RM 37), tuna salad (RM 26), and this interesting eggplant pie (RM 23) that was stuffed with mozzarella and tomato.
The cheese platter was served with a few tiny bottles of sweet fruit jam, I didn’t know the combination of pungent blue cheese with jam could taste so good, it was addictive! Tuna salad didn’t disappoint either, and the eggplant pie turned out to be less exciting as I’d imagined. It was not bad though.
seafood pasta, spinach pasta with mushroom sauce, ravioli with salmon sauce
It is a sin to not have pasta for any Italian food review, thus right after the antipasti and salads, we were served several signature pastas from Tattroria.
I had the chance to gorge myself more of those yummy juicy clams from the seafood pasta (RM 35, spaghetti allo scoglio), so needless to say it was another good dish.
The spinach pasta (RM 29, papperdelle verdi ai funghi) is served with mushroom sauce, and the ravioli stuffed with seafood (RM 32, raviolo nero di pesce al salmone) and swims in salmon sauce. Both of these dishes were pretty rich and creamy and should suit the taste of those who prefer their pastas served as such – rich and flavorful.
gnocchi with bolognese sauce, cappelletti pasta, mushroom risotto
With the pastas, we also had potato gnocchi with bolognese sauce (RM 34), cappelleti pasta (RM 31), and mushroom risotto (RM 38).
Gnocchi is another very rich tasting dish with strong potato and bolognese taste. Cappelleti pasta is stuffed with cheese in cream and turkey ham sauce. At this point, I was a bit overdosed with cream and rich cheese based sauce already. I’m sure they tasted much better when you don’t have so many of similar dishes at once.
The mushroom risotto provided a sense of balance and departure from the creamy pasta taste. They prepared it quite true to the origin, as in “not very well cooked”, but that’s the way them Italians like it, and I find it quite nice actually.
1kg T bone steak, sliced tenderloin, grilled lamb
I thought we were done after the 9 of us went through 12 different dishes, in fact, I was mentally prepared to see desserts coming, but what came instead was another half a dozen dishes. Only they’re even bigger this time. *pengsan*
The 1-KG T-bone steak (RM 128) was huge, and can easily feed 3 adults, or about 27 skinny models. Though it is not wagyu prime ribs at Prime, the T-bone does hold up to it’s own, pretty juicy and flavorful, if lacking the marbled fats.
The sliced sirloin (RM 59) had a smoother and softer texture that I liked, and I do feel that the aromatic herbs with rocket did add some welcoming sophistication to the meat.
Grilled marinated lamb chop (RM 71) is another dish that can feed 2 smaller eaters. I found it to be pretty average though, not something I would order myself, there a lot of better choices on the menu.
seafood grill, mixed grill, pizza
The seafood grill (RM 126, griliata mista di pesce) came with 4 huge tiger prawns, cod fish, squid, seabass, and some grilled vegetable. This is another dish to share, and it was actually really good, especially the seabass, so yummy!
Mixed grill (RM 120, griliata mista di carne) is another dish that is impossible to finish alone. There’s grilled chicken, sirloin, lamb chop, and chicken sausage. I tried some of the chicken sausage and they were surprisingly good.
I also took a small slice of the pizza carnivora (RM 68) that had tomato, mozzarella, beef salami, chicken sausage, and turkey ham. It was pretty good, but at that point I was already seriously over fed.
desserts galore – tiramisu, cake
After 18 different dishes, of course, it was dessert time. The tiramisu (RM 26), apple cake with chocolate cream and vanilla ice cream (RM 24) were rich and pretty tasty. On the other hand, the shaved iced lime with strawberry thing (not on menu) was rather refreshing and gave the palette a good wash.
ice cream with espresso, molten chocolate cake, creme brulee
There’s also the vanilla ice cream with espresso (RM 17, affogato), the classic creme brulee (RM 22), and my favorite dessert of the night – molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream (RM 26, fondente al cioccolato) that was so rich and flavorful we finished it in a bout 0.8 second.
The good chef also treated us a shot of chocolate liquor each. This supposed traditional breakfast drink for Italian was so rich, sweet, and concentrated I felt I was drinking some gourmet liquefied chocolate with alcohol. I liked it a lot.
While Trattoria Cucina Italiana might not have a very welcoming sign board, do check it out if you are into authentic Italian cousin prepared by real Italians and favored by expatriates. Drinks and some desserts are priced slightly on the higher side, but overall I find that most of the main dishes and appetizers were of great value.
Give it a try, remember there’s free hassle free parking right in front of the restaurant too!
Address: Trattoria Cucina Italiana
Wisma Rohas Perkasa
8 Jalan P. Ramlee,
50540 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.15485, 101.708711 Tel: 03-2163 2368
Last week Haze and I went to meet Ciki for some catching up and plenty of red meat. The location was Prime, one of the five star restaurants that isn’t exactly known to be budget friendly.
We went there anyway only because Ciki promised a 50% discount she was getting from the friendly Director of Communications, Cheryl, whom I also met over the fabulous review session at Favola, the Italian restaurant at Le Meridien.
the irresistible wagyu prime rib
Torn between a lavish self indulgence and not bursting budget, we ordered a bottle of wine and the wagyu prime ribs (per kg RM 478) to share among the three of us.
Prime ribs and filet mignon are my two favorite cuts when it comes to red meat. While I had filet mignon a few times since coming back from the States, this was the first time I had my beloved prime ribs since 6-7 years ago.
served with wedges, and just look at the pink center of the beef
The prime rib is the cut of meat between the 6th and 12th ribs of a cow, and in this case, Wagyu beef. This cut usually has quite a lot of fat marbled muscle that makes it very tender and juicy.
Needless to say, the Wagyu prime rib was excellent. We had it prepared medium rare, Idaho steak fried potato , wild forest mushroom friscassee and light black summer truffle jus are accompanied the dish, we didn’t really need them to enjoy the beef though. It was already so good as is.
The portion was huge too, the three of us actually had trouble finishing it.
red wine, spinach and mozzarella salad, lobster bisque
As we were about to finish, Cheryl joined us “for a drink”. The one drink turned out to be two extra bottles of red wine, and she ordered the spinach and mozzarella salad (RM50) and lobster bisque (RM 45) for us to try too.
The salad came with Master Kobe that were grilled perfectly, figs, aged balsamic vinegar dressing and of course, very delightful mozzarella cheese. The lobster bisque did not disappoint either, I especially like the combination of golden pastry and the bisque, sophisticated.
tiramisu, crème brûlée, chocolate pecan mud pie
After all the meat, salad, and soup, we activated the second stomach for desserts. The Illy Coffee tiramisu (RM 30) was perfect for someone who loves their dessert with plenty of alcohol (Sambucca liquor), texture wise it was a lot softer than normal tiramisu. Of course, the alcohol is added only to request, I recommend it.
Crème brûlée (RM 25) was made with Tahitian vanilla beans and served with fresh berries, we finished it.
My favorite dessert of the day, however, was the pecan mud pie with chocolate sauce (RM 30). It was very rich, flavorful, and absolutely sinful.
KY, Haze, Ciki
The girls spent the next couple hours talking about anything and everything while I made my limited verbal contribution from time to time. It was an awesome dinner and great hang out session that only made better by ….. the fact that Cheryl signed off the bill!
So thank you Cheryl, and when I’m loaded, I’m gonna go to Prime more often. 😀
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur 50470 GPS:3.135631,101.686476 Tel: 03-2263 7888