Friday, October 31, 2008

Martin Ngim at Bangkok Jazz, Chulan Square KL

Add: Lot B1-A, Chulan Square, 92, Jalan Raja Chulan, KL
Tel: +603 2145 8708

Bangkok Jazz is a great venue for live jazz, we decided to check out Martin's band one evening...

Martin and The Boys are ...
Ee Jeng @ Piano
Daniel @ Bass
Martin Ngim @ Drums

Here's Martin!

Ah ... a couple of drinkies.

Sure Pizza, Plaza Damas at Sri Hartamas KL

Add: SURE PIZZA @ P37, Plaza Damas Ground Floor, Hartamas Shopping Centre, Jalan Hartamas 1, KL
Tel: +603 6201 6014)
Opening hours: Daily (10am-10pm)
Note: Pork-free
Located: Next to Sao Nam (Vietnamese), and opposite Kim Gary (HKie)
The star: Paolo, a quiet-spoken but pleasant Italian man + Chef + Restaurenteur!

RC recommended this place late one evening, and I was actually glad our original choice of Fogal Meat Market and Deli (Which I have still yet to indulge in!) was closed! I was introduced to Paolo, the rather quiet spoken but brilliant chef, who promptly showed us the fresh clams he had just purchased from the market at 4am in the morning!

Spaghetti alle Vongole - Spaghetti with clams, this was fabulous! Al Dente taken to a new level, perfectly firm to bite. What struck me about this dish was the top-notch Olive Oil used, brilliant. The condiments of minced paste of onion-garlic in olive oil, as well as "sambal-like" tomato-chilli paste was simply to-die-for!

Pizza Primavera - I can't remember which pizza I chose, it may have been the Primavera. Whatever it was, it was exquisite! One of the best pizzas I have ever had in KL, moist, fresh, and cheesy yet not-poweringly so!

Tiramisu - I ta-powed this home, hmmm... it's still in the fridge! It comes highly recommended, mmmmm!

Most dishes each cost between RM$20-25, and represent good value considering the freshness of the ingredients, as well as the generous portion size.

Note: Apologies for the rather crappy photos, I only had my 'berry on me :-( Shall come back with a larger group next time, and try out ALL the dishes, as well as bring a camera that is worthy of the excellent food i.e. Nikon D80 with Tamron SP90 Macro lens!

Safe Egg - Pasteurised eggs at Mercato, Plaza Damas

saFegg or Safe Egg company ... Pasteurized Shell Eggs!? What on earth is this ... I was so surprised to see an egg supplier go through all this trouble and expense, at Mercato in Plaza Damas, Sri Hartamas.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Malaysian Today - Santai, TTDI

As featured in the local paper, MALAYSIAN TODAY.

This is my 6th write-up, featuring Thai-Malay restaurant Santai which is located at Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL.

Santai, Taman Tun Dr Ismail

As featured on Malaysian Today, 30th October 2008!

One of the definitive "local-celebrities-tea-hangout" and best Malay restaurants in town, this is ... Taman Tun Dr Ismail's Santai.

Add: Santai Restaurant and Café @ 10, Persiaran Zaaba , Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, KL
Tel: +603 7728 8173

Seafood Tom Yam - Spicy, but well balanced, and full of flavour. RM$6.50

Telur Bungkus - Another one of Santai's signature dishes, tasty but not too sweet. Close to perfection! RM$5

Prawns with Petai (RM$6), Stir fried Kai-lan with Salted Fish (RM$5.50) ... Nothing to shout about, but still decent.

My other favourite Santai dish, after their Tom yam ... Nasi Goreng USA (Choice of chicken or beef, I chose the latter), RM$7.50.

Malaysian Today - Chinoz on the Park, KLCC

As featured in the local paper, MALAYSIAN TODAY.
This is my 5th write-up, featuring Chinoz on the Park, located in KLCC.

Tastings by Chinoz on the Park, KLCC

As featured on Malaysian Today, 23rd October 2008!

Menu: Tastings by Chinoz on the Park
Add: Chinoz on the Park, G47, Ground Floor, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2166 8277
Note: Pork-free

I was in the mood for some fine-dining one evening, and we made our way to the Twin Towers in the heart of KL. This was my first visit to the much talked-about Chinoz on the Park. The decor is rather stark, with a blend of steel and light-coloured wood used as decor. For a moment I wasn't quite sure if the "fine-dining" theme worked, but when we were presented with the chef's special menu, known as "Tastings", my eyes lit up.
Chef Haffizul Hashim who was appointed as Chinoz’s new chef de cuisine in early 2008, came across as being quietly confident, and had a boyish charm about him. He was clearly passionate about his food, especially when he presented us with details of the menu items. He has a bachelor of culinary arts degree from London, following which he worked in the gastronomic capital's finest restaurants, including the Mirabelle and Ritz. It was here where he learnt the trade from Michelin-star rated Chez Bruce.

Before the meal arrived, we enjoyed warm nutty wholemeal bread, followed by a dainty pumpkin-based pallet-cleanser. The latter was so good, and it made me eagerly await the main courses.

I could not resist selecting the Degustation Menu, RM$160, which was a selection of Chef Haffiz's creations, and it was a scrumptions choice! The meal started with a Cauliflower veloute with hokaido scallop and truffle. This was served as a shot-glass of Cauliflower foam, which was really good in its own right. However, when combined with the really fresh scallop and thinly sliced truffle, the flavours come alive.

The next course was the Blue fin tuna, with lemongrass-vanilla oil. Whilst having this dish, my dinner partner pointed out Chef Haffiz's signature style of mixing textures. The finely sliced green beans as well as little flowers sprinkled over the top, provided a burst of textures and colours, and was well appreciated.

On to the two main courses, the first being the Roasted barramundi in potato wrap, with seared scallop, parsnip vanilla puree. The barramundi was full in flavour, and the potato wrap was remarkable, tasting of potato yet having a rosti-like texture which I have not had since my days in the UK. The scallop was once again fresh and flavoursome, whilst the parsnip was delicious.

Then came the masterpiece, a slow braised daube of beef cheek a la Bourguigonne with pomme puree. The beef flakes away when the knife is applied, and it simply melts in your mouth. This was probably the result of the classical french cooking technique of slow stewing and reduction, and it was simply marvelous.

I had to make room for the dessert, which was the Chocolate parfait peanut tuile, beurre de cacahuete ice cream. Tasting of peanut butter, with crisp-to-bite textures, this was a chocolate lovers dessert. Coffee was then served. I felt that the quality of food and reasonably generous servings more then made up for the RM$160 price tag of this menu.

RC who had chosen the restaurant, having previously enjoyed the many creations of Chef Haffiz on two previous seatings, chose the ala carte "Tasting" menu instead. She had a starter of Parsley risotto with sauteed escargot, portobello mushroom confit, RM$36. The flavours of the escargot, mushrooms were perfectly blended with the beautifully cooked risotto. Simply a marvelous starter!

For the mains, Chef Haffiz strongly recommended a fish, the Red Mullet, which was served with two citrus fruits, both Blood orange as well as Grapefruit at RM$78. It was so beautifully grilled that the flavours and moist texture of the mullet were well preserved, and the citrus combination complemented the dish perfectly.

For dessert the delicious and heavy Pistachio and Olive Torte, with strawberries, vanilla ice cream, RM$20, was well enjoyed. This was a truly generous portion, with two large slices of torte or cake served, and the sharp tasting minced strawberry flakes went well with the sweetness of the pistachio torte.

Overall, the service at Chinoz was attentive, and the food was both beautifully presented and creative, as it was delicious and enjoyable. Do give this special venue a try, whilst Chef Haffiz is in town. Be prepared for a sublime dining experience in KL!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Social, Bangsar - Another reunion, this time its Glenfiddich time!

Add: 57-59, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar baru, KL
Located: Opposite Bangsar Village II
Tel: +603 2822 2260

TC and me seem to like returning to Social at Bangsar!

We enjoyed a late dinner of ... Marinara Aglio Olio (Alas, the pasta was over-cooked and "hardly" al-dente!), RM$24. And, Aromatic Crispy Duck (This was outstanding, loved the pancakes, duck, hoisin sauce, shredded veges and the nice touch of adding "chilli oil" ... Ah, just like "old days in the UK"!) RM$29. The duck was enough for 2 to share if one isn't too hungry!

For drinks, our foursome enjoyed ... Glenfiddich whiskey (Each shot, RM$23), Bombay Sapphire Gin and Tonic (RM$17), etc. Hic hic, quite the evening, rounded off with a Davidoff Cigarillo.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Amazing Race Asia 3 - Epsiode 7 (Macau)

Originally screened on AXN, Thursday 23rd October 2008, at 9:00pm Malaysia time. This is the 7th leg of the Amazing Race Asia 3 series.

Ida and Tania of Malaysia were still in , despite ending up last in the previous leg ... Leg 6 in Hong Kong

Notes below are courtesy of Wikipedia.
Mong Kok, Kowloon in HK
Tung Choi Street – Goldfish Market ... Additional tasks At Mong Kok, teams must pick up four goldfish and bring them to a designated pet shop at Bonham Strand.

This is war! Geoff and Tisha decide to yield (Delay another team, for the duration of an hour-glass) our local team!

Startled, but not surprised. Bernie and Henry of Malaysia knew they were the strongest team in the pack, and expected to be Yielded!
Then the teams go across ... Hong Kong (Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Pier, Hong Kong) to Macau. They then head to Senado Square, followed by Macau Tower
In this leg's Roadblock, the chosen team member must climb to the top of the Macau Tower, obtain their next clue there, and go down back to their partner before reading their next clue.

Sai Van Lake – Dragon Boat Pier) ... In this leg's Detour, the choice was between Dance or Chance.
In Dance, the team members must correctly perform a lion dance routine to the satisfaction of the performance troupe.
In Chance, teams must don formal attire and play a game of blackjack; they must beat the dealer nine times (as denoted by the letters of the word COMPLETED) before receiving their next clue.
At Sai Van Lake, teams must paddle a dragon boat around a floating Caltex buoy.

Finally ... At Ama Culture Village, teams must rearrange lanterns bearing the animals in the Chinese zodiac in their correct order before being let into the Village and the Pit Stop.
Geoff and Tisha were victorious for the first time in seven legs, and have possibly become joint favourites to win, together with Bernie and Henry. But who knows ... there are still dark-horses in the HK boys and Singaporean gals!

The HK boys survived...

As did the pair who were yielded ... Here's Bernie and Henry of Malaysia.

And not surprising ... in last place ... Ida and Tania of Malaysia.
BUT what was a surprise was ... This was a second consecutive pre-determined NON ELIMINATION leg, so they go through once again!

Will the Malaysian gals' luck run out next week, there can't possibly be ANOTHER non-elimination leg, so we shall see...