Thursday, September 27, 2007

DIN TAI FUNG @ THE GARDENS

I did something really crazy yesterday. Something that I have not done before but would love to do again in near future. What did I do? Well, you see, a few days ago, I received this brochure from Isetan and in conjunction with the opening of their new outlet in The Gardens, there are a few items (with limited numbers) being put up for sale at a very special price. What caught my attention was the LeSportSac tote selling at RM133, limited to 1 unit per customer and only 50 pieces up for grab! Since Robinsons is also opening up yesterday, I actually took half day off (wanted to take the whole day off but I had a morning meeting) from work to go shopping! Many thanks to WMW, who was kind enough to accompany me to shop but ended up buying more items than me. If you are curious whether I managed to grab the LeSportSac tote, the answer is “no” cos it was all sold out!! WMW and I were both so disappointed.

The best way to cure our disappointment would, of course, be food… glorious food! Most of the eateries were not ready for business yet, so that didn’t leave us with much choice but to try Din Tai Fung Restaurant originated from Taiwan, the first outlet in Malaysia. For your information, they also have outlets in Japan, Indonesia, China, USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and Australia. Read about the history of Din Tai Fung here.

At the entrance of the restaurant, one can see how the Xiao Long Baos and La Mien are being made. I guess this concept is widely used by most Shanghainese restaurants in town.

Since we will be having a buffet dinner later, we decided to order something light to share. I guess our meal there would not be complete without the Xiao Long Bao. Priced at RM11 for 5 pieces, tastewise, I find that it’s not too bad. Just the right amount of saltiness and the pork meat was really fresh. However, I tried to be very careful during the process of transporting the delicate Xiao Long Bao from the bamboo basket to my mouth, trying hard not to break its skin or else the broth within would be splattered all over my plate. I successfully transferred it to my mouth but sadly, I would prefer my Xiao Long Bao to have more broth in it.

WMW was captivated with the photo of the Shrimp Pork Shao Mai in the menu and so we ordered a portion to try. Priced at RM 11 for 4 pieces, the fillings were exactly the same as the Xiao Long Bao but wrapped differently with a shrimp on top of the dumpling. Probably due to the shape of the dumpling, I found that the skin was a bit too thick. Nevertheless, this dumpling had more broth though.

Recommended by the waitress, we had a plate of Deep Fried Chilli Chicken priced at RM 15. The chicken cubes were marinated overnight (I tasted curry/chilli powder) and then deep fried upon order. It is then tossed with lots of minced garlic and cili padi. Funny though as when we bite into the chicken cubes, it tasted slightly oily but the plate it was served on was not oily at all. Anyway, it tasted really good when eaten with the minced garlic.

Lastly, we completed our meal with a bowl of Cha Jiang La Mien at RM12. I simply love the texture of the La Mien, neither too soft nor hard but chewy and ‘QQ’. The minced pork gravy however was nothing to shout about. But after we added in some chilli oil and vinegar….it tasted really good.

Most of the items in the menu, including those we wanted to try were not available yet. Since it was their first day operation, this is understandable. Perhaps the best time to visit this place is to wait for a couple more weeks so that they have everything in order.

With our tummy filled, we happily proceeded with more shopping and we actually shopped for 4 hours!!!! Sniff sniff…I ended up RM600 poorer.

Din Tai Fung is located at:
Lot LG – 207 Lower Ground Floor
The Gardens, Mid Valley City
Lingkaran Syed Putra
59200 Kuala Lumpur

Also check out the review from WMW here.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

NEW DISCOVERY @ KING CRAB RESTAURANT

I have been to King Crab Restaurant numerous times but usually I will order the same dishes over and over again. Even the reviews by fellow food bloggers focus on dishes nothing much more than their famous and also my favourite Butter Crab, Salted Egg Squid, Guinness Pork Ribs and their BBQ Fish. For the month of September, I visited King Crab 3 times to celebrate Jackson’s birthday and also my ex-classmate’s and my mother-in-law’s birthday. It was during Jackson’s birthday that I discovered King Crab came out with menu and only then I realized that they do have lots and lots more to offer. Also thanks to Mr Lew, Group Financial Controller of King Crab and Pathlab whom I have I befriended lately and he introduced me to many great new dishes. So, if you are visiting King Crab soon, do consider these:

NOODLES OODLES

Eating at King Crab does not necessarily costs you a bomb. They do have noodles and rice dishes ranging from RM5 onwards depending on the number of pax you ordered. During Jackson’s birthday, we tried the Long Life Noodle (RM12) which is an auspicious noodle to order during birthday celebration. The egg noodle was served with gravy cooked with pork strips, sliced mushrooms and beansprouts. Not too bad.

During my ex-classmate’s birthday, Mr Lew ordered a small plate of Hokkien Noodle for us to try. Priced at only RM5 (for 1 pax), the serving was quite substantial with lots of pork slices and fish cakes. Tasted fairly average but they are really generous with the crispy pork lard, making the dish very aromatic.

The best among the noodle dishes I had got to be the Venison Hor Fun (RM8) we ordered during my mother-in-law’s birthday. The Hor Fun was full of wok hei, a sign that it was tossed in hot wok before the gravy was poured all over it. The soft and tender venison meat was cooked with lots of sliced young ginger and spring onions. Love it!

CRABS
When Mr Lew told me that Steamed Flower Crabs with Egg Whites is a must try, I know it is a must try! It was indeed very good. The flower crabs was so sweet and surprisingly very meaty too. What I love best was the taste of the silky smooth egg white which has been enhanced by the crab’s juices. Marvellous!!

For something spicy, I would recommend the Singapore Chilli Crab. Personally, I still prefers my crab to be done the simpliest way to retain the flavour. The gravy nevertheless tastes great when dipped with their pillowy soft bun.

Another style of crab which I would recommend is their Marmite Crab. It tasted so wonderful and I had a great time licking the shell all coated with the marmite gravy. MMmm….delicious!

CREATURES FROM THE SEA
I usually order the BBQ Tilapia Fish which came coated with lots of sea salt. But this time, we ordered a saltwater fish called ‘Hoi Tai Kai’ to be barbequed ‘primitive style’ – meaning no marinade or seasoning added. Can’t remember how much the fish cost (by gram) but definitely a very good quality fish. The fish was grilled to perfection and served with their famous Thai Chilli Sauce. The flesh was sweet and firm. My in-laws love it so much, nothing much was left after the meal, not even the skin!

My friends gave their thumbs up for the Buttered Prawns. The prawns were fresh and bouncy and the dish was not oily at all. I simply love the flavourful butter flakes…mmm…pure indulgence!

The Clams with Superior Stock was good too. I love the stock more than the clams as there was a hint of Chinese herbs in it. I was told that this dish is only available if they have good supply of clams.

GOING GREEN
I have recently developed a passion for stir-fry lotus roots so when I spotted the waiter serving it to the next table, I want one too. If I ‘ever’ go vegetarian, this is a dish that I wouldn’t mind eating, well, at least for the first few meals. The lotus roots were tossed with snow pea, wood fungus and lily bulb. So healthy isn’t it?

That’s all on my new discovery for now…and I shall be back to try their eels. Yes, life eels are available!!

King Crab is located at:
No. 103 - 107, Jalan SS25/2
Taman Mewah Jaya
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangot
Tel: 03 - 7808.2388

Do check out my previous posts on King Crab here, here, here and here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

SPANISH FIESTA @ MAX! KITCHEN

UPDATES!!! (1 June 2009)
Max has been relocated to:
Lot No. 32 Jalan Jati
Off Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel. No: 603 - 2142.9720
Opens daily from 11.00 a.m. till 11.00 p.m.

----------------

My previous experience at the Spanish Cheese and Wine Tasting organized by Max! Kitchen was simply unforgettable. So when I was invited once again to a small gathering to sample Spanish seafood and Cava, I knew it was an event not to be missed.

Turned out that the chef for the night was not Max but a Spanish chef, a young and handsome chap, Miguel Zurriaga. Spanish chef cooking Spanish food….hehehe…sounds so promising!

The next two tapas; Mojama with Sheep Cheese and Anchovies with Cherry Tomatoes served together in one plate were my favourite.

In order to capture a clearer picture, I asked for a small white plate so that I could take my portion out to take a close shot. And tada…..a toothpick holding the two tapas together. Never a fan of sheep cheese but when served together with a piece of Mojama (sun-dried tuna loin) on a slice of bread, the combination tasted so good. Just couldn’t help myself to second helpings. But turned out the Anchovies wrapped around the cherry tomatoes was even better! The aromatic sourish anchovies really changed the whole flavour of a cherry tomatoes. Pop it into the mouth and BANG! It was amazing! Again, couldn’t help myself to second helpings even though I know there are lots more of food to come.

Next came a plate of Aioli and Potato Mash with Bacalao to be dipped with bread roll. It simply tasted like Mashed Egg and Potato, such a simple dish but taste great nonetheless. We even asked for more bread to go with the mash.

Another two tapas were served together; Wood Roasted Piquillo Peppers with Scallops and Gratinated Fresh Cod Fillet ala Zurriaga.

My portion of the scallop hidden beneath the roasted red capsicum was huge, juicy and bouncy. Surprise surprise, being not a fan for fish, I find that the Cod fillet faired much better. The fish tasted really good when eaten with the layer of cheese on top.

Served in a very nice glass, the Warm Crab Meat with Green Asparagus Emulsion was very very good! Quite surprised as I expected it to be green instead of red. It didn’t taste much like pure green asparagus puree either but also with a hint of capsicum. We had a great time figuring out the ingredient while savouring this yummy soup.

Once we finished off with the long list of Tapas, the Main courses were served. The first dish was the Rosenberg Sweet Water Prawn with Duck Tongue Clams. The gravy was light orangey in colour, thanks to the cholesterol laden prawn heads! The prawn I had was fresh and bouncy but I didn’t like the duck tongue clam at all. I think it’s slightly overcooked and the flesh shrunk and quite chewy.

For me, the Salsa Verde Braised Venus Clams and Artichokes was the best among the main dishes. The Clams were huge (I should have measure the size) and cooked to just the right texture. Slurps…not a single drop of gravy wasted.

Lastly, the Portabello Mushroom Coulis laced Seabass Fish with Spanish Bell Pepper Salsa which I didn’t like at all. The Seabass tasted muddy hence it spoilt the taste of the whole dish. And probably we were already too full, thus we didn’t take more than one bite of the fish.

Over food and non-stop chat and laughter, I didn’t realize I took so many glasses of the Cavas. Don’t underestimate it ok…the moment I stood up, the alcohol raced to my brain. I can feel myself getting really tipsy ……almost like floating in the air…….wwwweeeeee!!!

Lastly, a dessert to end the perfect meal. Goat cheese with Four Berries Marmalade. Served warm, the goat cheese was semi-melted, thus create a slight chewy texture. Like I said earlier, goat cheese is not something that I fancy but I simply love this. I even had Hubby’s untouched portion.

Priced at RM150++, the meal was well worth it with all the yummy seafood and Cava. When the dinner almost ended, Max informed that it was also his shop 1st birthday that night…..so that means more toasting, more Cava! Hick! Happy Birthday to Max! Kitchen and many many more to come! Hick!

Also check out review from Boolicious here.

Max! Kitchen & Wines
27, Tengkat Tong Shin
50200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : 03-21418115
(Do call for reservations - closed on Sundays)

Spanish Passion
B2-3A Astana Damansara
33 Jalan 17/1
46400 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7957.9404
Email: victor@spanish-passion.com

Friday, September 21, 2007

SUKIYAKI ALA PRECIOUS PEA'S STYLE

Still remember my post on all the yummy goodies my Hubby brought all the way back from Tokyo? Among the goodies is a packet of bonito flakes which Hubby said is used to make soup. I consulted Boolicious and she too told me that together with seaweed and some other ingredients which I could not remember, bonito flakes is added to make Dashi, a very delicious stock used to cook Japanese dishes. Without any recipe to follow, I didn’t do anything with it till I watched Ratatouille. Inspired with Remy’s ability to whip up dishes according to his sharp senses, I headed straight to Jusco supermarket after the movie to get ingredients for sukiyaki. At one point, I was at lost as I couldn’t recall the essential items in a good bowl of sukiyaki. So Hubby came to my rescue as he said “Be like Remy, just put whatever ingredients you like”.

Tada…although I try to be as creative as possible, I still think that I should stick to the basic ingredients for a ‘normal’ bowl of sukiyaki. The ingredients I bought were Japanese leek, carrots, enoki mushrooms, tofu, chicken breast, udon and finely sliced beef meant for shabu-shabu. Since I have Hotate lying in my freezer, I dumped it in as well.

For the soup, I used three big pieces of chicken breast (actually it’s for Pea and Pumpkin) to make chicken stock. For extra sweetness, I added into chopped carrots as well as the stem from the Japanese leek. Boil for an hour, add in the bonito flakes and simmer for another 15 mins or so before sieving it to get a clear soup.

I remembered that the soup is supposed to be light brown in colour. But merely adding in soya sauce would not taste as good. I got to praise myself here for having such great talent *blush*, I decided to caramelized some sliced onions with tiny bits of sugar and soya sauce before adding it into the soup. The smell was amazing!!! The wonderful whiff of aroma from the caramelized onions, the bonito flakes and the leek combined was just so so good.


As for the other ingredients, I actually prepared it while waiting for my soup to be ready. Pretty simple, all you have to do is to soak some shitake mushrooms, shred the carrots and leek and cut the tofu into smaller pieces. Blanch all the veggies and udon in hot boiling water and arrange it nicely on a bowl. As for the beef, I did it the shabu-shabu style where I dip it into the boiling soup for just a few seconds and take it out while it still slightly pinkish in colour. The hotate was boiled in the soup to further enhance the flavour of it.

Once all the ingredients were nicely arranged, pour the delicious soup over. Mmmm……there you go, a delicious bowl of Sukiyaki with Udon ala my style!

Verdict:
Soup was fantastic…..I find it almost similar to the real thing. However, I was quite upset with the Udon. The imported Udon from Japan costs RM15 for 2 packets where the locally made Udon costs RM 8 for 3 packets. I thought the local version would taste just the same and how wrong I was. It was like eating normal fat noodle, just like those used for Hokkien noodle. Flour-ish and lack of texture. Total disappointment! But the rest of the ingredients were good…and enough to fill my stomach even without finishing the Udon. Will I cook it again? Well, maybe not cos the whole meal costs us almost RM50 (the beef was already RM25), not exactly cheap for a home-cooked meal for two. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the whole process and the sense of achievement for the end results. Three cheers for myself!


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

SCRUMPTIOUS EVENING AT JALAN BANGKUNG

“Jalan Bangkung? Where is Jalan Bangkung?” Embarassed to say this but despite living so close to Bangsar for more than 20 years, I have never heard of Jalan Bangkung until I was invited to a scrumptious evening at this hidden boutique boulevard located in Bangsar.

Thanks to Nigel of Just Heavenly, I took up the invitation to this event organized by Maxnetic which offers MAX Privilege Card that allows members to enjoy discounts at participating merchants, ranging from restaurants to bars, retailers TO pampering services. For more details on MAX subscription and list of participating merchants, do check it out at their website here .

The afternoon started at Fit For 2 Studio and Cafe. The Fit for 2 Studio offers various classes suitable for all stages of parenthood whereas, the Cafe serves a variety of food and beverages. I also found out that the owner of this place also owns Bijou, Bisou and Bianco.

The afternoon tea started by sampling of the mini chocolate brownies and mini cupcakes that came in 3 flavours; peanut butter with chocolate, orange vanilla and chocolate fudge.
The chocolate brownies tasted pretty average while the icing on the mini cupcake was a tad too sweet for my likings. Probably because it was so tiny, the proportion of the icing and the cupcake was almost the same, thus slightly on the sweet side. Being a fan of chocolate and peanut butter, I guess I don’t need to say more which flavour is my favourite.

We were also served with tuna sandwich and chicken sandwich. The bread was really thick and after a few bites, it immediately filled up my stomach.

Tuna Sandwich
Chicken Sandwich

To wash down the sandwiches, Pumpkin soup was served. I can't comment whether the soup was good or bad as this was my second time having pumpkin soup. Rich and buttery, I find it slightly on the sweet side.

Fit for Two is located at:
1st Floor, No. 75 Jalan Bangkung
Bukit Bandaraya
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2093 9088
Website: www.fitfor2.com.my

*****

Located a few doors away from Fit for Two, we made a stop at CAVA for a Spanish Tapas, Paella and Sangria.

Being a seafood lover, I was totally captivated with the Seafood Paella, beautifully arranged with big prawns, mussels, clams and squids. Being a fussy person when it comes to texture of my rice, I was disappointed as the paella was soft and mushy. But can’t blame the chef as it’s not easy to cook such a big portion and get it right. Well..I speaks from experience as I always screwed up when I cook for guests. Could it be stress??

Among some of the Tapas served were:

Sauteed Black Pepper Beef
Spanish Omelette
Potato Bravas
Sauteed Baby Octopus
Spanish Lamb Boulette

Cava is located at:
71 Jalan Bangkung
Bukit Bandaraya
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2093 6637
Website: www.cava.com.my

*****

From Spanish fiesta, we strolled over to Opus Bistro for an Italian Affair. I quite like this restaurant as the moment I entered, I felt really cozy and relaxed.

Upon seated, we were served with a mini serving of carbonara pasta. Thank goodness it’s mini serving as I was already so stuffed with the food from earlier stops. The Carbonara pasta was deliciously cheesy and creamy. I find the serving just right cos anything more than that, I guarantee that I will definitely suffer from overdose of food.

Next came the Roasted Cod Fish with Lemon Capers sauce which tasted pretty good too.
Sadly, I only took one bite as I was really, really, really stuffed!

To complement the fish, we were served with white wine from Italy (if not mistaken it is called Garofoli) courtesy of Wine Cellar which I will introduce more in a short while.

Satisfied with the food in Opus, I will definitely come back again to try more of their dishes, especially their best selling Antipasti – Seafood platter.

OPUS is located at:
67 Jalan Bangkung
Bukit Bandaraya
59100 Bangsar, KL
Tel: 03 – 2092.4288
Website: www.opusbistro.com
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday (Lunch and dinner)
Sunday (dinner only)

*****

I was delighted that the next stop doesn’t involve any food; in fact, it was a tour at the Wine Cellar which I find is a good way to allow a bit of digestion before dessert being served.

There are more than 500 varieties of wines from various countries such as Australia, Argentina, France, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and USA with different price range to satisfy every needs.

So the next time you shop for wine, do drop by at Wine Cellar located at:
65 Jalan Bangkung
Bukit Bandaraya
59100 Bangsar, KL
Tel: 03 – 2093 1919
Website: www.winecellar.com.my

*****

For the last stop, we were ushered upstairs which turned out to be The Attic, a stylish and classy gallery bar lounge. Besides being a great cocktail bar and charming art gallery, it is also a wonder place to unwind with live music.

The La Dolce Vita I tasted was quick a kick. I was told that it is also known as “Tiramisu in a Glass”. Apart from drinks, they also serve food and desserts.

The Attic is located at:
61-2 Jalan Bangkung
Bukit Bandaraya
59100 Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 – 2093 8842
Website: www.attickl.com
Opening Hours: 5p.m. – late (weekdays)
12 p.m. – late (weekends)
Closed on Monday

*****

I managed to digest a little to make space for dessert, courtesy of Just Heavenly. My plate of dessert came with three lovely cakes. The Mango Upside Down was lovely! The crumbed base was topped with chunks of caramelized mangos….mmm…love it.

The chilled lemon cheesecake was not too bad too, light and creamy.

Of late, my tastebud changes a lot and recently I have developed a passion for raspberry. So it's not surprising that my favourite cake turns out to be the Raspberry Madeira, a very rich and moist sponge cake soaked in raspberry crush. Really heavenly pleasure.

I have blogged about their cakes before, so do check it out here. Also drop by to their website to view their selection of yummy cakes.

Just Heavenly is located at
No. 47 Jalan Terasek
Bangsar Baru
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 – 2287 9866

Just Heavenly Pleasures is located at
G1.05 Epicure
Jalan Medan Setia 1
Bukit Damansara
Tel: 017 – 251 3202

*****

And that completes a satisfying 3 hours food journey at Jalan Bangkung. Once again, thanks to Max for this complimentary food tasting session which is valued at RM120. I will certainly return to Jalan Bangkung again soon!

 

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