Monday, December 31, 2007

Food of the Year Awards - 2007

Welcome to Juliansi.Blogspot.Com's inaugural
FoOTY (Food Of The Year 2007) Awards !

1) This is solely at the discretion of my tastebuds and stomach
2) I will only award those categories where I have sampled at least THREE different vendors
(For example, I love the roast pig from Overseas Imbi, but had only sampled TWO
i.e. Overseas and Rainbow Palace, thus this category is void)
3) I look forward to any feedback!
4) Also look forward to any stalls not on the list which you think are even better!!

OK, time for that list ... here's the result of an entire year of eating ... oops, researching! :-)

1) Funny Mountain Soya Bean (Ipoh)
2) Spring Golden's Char Siew (Shah Alam)
3) San Yulik Chee Cheong Fun (Cheras)



Char Siew
Spring Golden (Section 25, Shah Alam)

Char Kuay Teow
Roberts (Say Huat Kopitiam, Section 17 in PJ)

Chee Cheong Fun
San Yulik (Taman Cheras, Cheras in KL)

Chicken Chop
99 Steak and Chops (Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail)

Chicken Rice
Hainanese Boneless Chicken rice (near Bukit Merah, Singapore)
'He who nearly made it' - Chicken rice stall at Medan Selera (SS2 in PJ)

Curry Mee
Aunty's road side stall curry mee (Near Pudu Jail, KL)

Penang Road Famous Teowchew Chendol (Penang Road, Penang)

Sun Yeong Wai (Taman Ipoh Jaya, Ipoh)

Goreng Pisang
Roadside stall behind Restoran Le Kwang (USJ2 in Subang)
'He who nearly made it' - Ong Kee Jong roadside stall opposite Pelita (SS2 in PJ)

Mizu Japanese Fine Dining (TTDI Plaza, Taman Tun Dr Ismail)

Daorae (Sri Hartamas, KL)

Ibrahim's (Medan Selera, SS2 in PJ)

Nasi Lemak
Village Park (SS21, Damansara Utama)

Pan Mee
Swee Hing (OUG, Jalan Klang Lama in KL)

Restoran Makanan Teow Chew (Taman Desa Aman, Cheras in KL)

Prawn Mee
Prawn Mee Stall in Coffee shop (Lorong Loke Yew, KL)

Hani Satay (Medan Selera, SS2 in PJ)

De Foodland Seafood Restaurant (Bandar Sri Manjalara, Kepong)

Soya bean
Funny Mountain (Jalan Dato Tahwil Azar, Ipoh)

New Chow Yang Restaurant (Chow Yang, SS2 in PJ)
'He who nearly made it' - Keong Kei Poh Ban Roadside stall (Near Pudu, KL)

Tim Sum
Wah Lok (Carlton Hotel in Singapore)
'He who nearly made it' - Xin (Concorde Hotel, KL)

Cilatro (Micasa hotel, KL)

Reunion @ Bangsar Village II

Contemporary, chic, and darn good food ... welcome to REUNION.
Thanks for the reco and the treat, my dear Map.

Great starter ... served and presented beautifully. Nice lighting as well, perfect to highlight the delicate presentation of the dishes.

Porridge with Pei Tan (Century Egg) and Lean Pork to line the stomach ... mmmmh.

Hokkien Mee - The piece de resistance ... Better then Jalan 222's Ah Wah? Quite possibly!

Reunion is the 'new' Yee Garden (same management), hence it is no surprise that their combo platter of roast pork (siew-yoke), char siew and roast duck is exquisite.

Also tried the scrumptious Beef with Ginger ... all the dishes were good!

Superb! The Pomello and Mango dessert was exquisite :-)
The Tong Yuen was rather good too.

Only downside? Expensive. All the above, which included 2 porridge, 2 hokkien mee, 1 platter of roast meats, 1 beef with ginger and 2 mango-pomelo and 1 tong yuen ... for the princely sum of RM$170.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lafite, Shangri-La, KL

What a celebration at Lafite in Shangri-La KL ... Cheers, Richard!
Christmas + New Year = This deserved a celebration of this magnitude!

Here's the actual review ... Kevin Cherkas prepares a special dinner for us

The merry gang ...

Ps. We had a drink at the very christmassy lounge before dinner at Lafite ...

Who's Lafite's Chef Kevin Cherkas?

Article about Kevin Cherkas from The Star ...

An air of change

The venerable Lafite Restaurant has been transformed!

With a lighter and simpler food philosophy, chef Kevin Cherkas tells FRED LIM how he plans to tease the palates of KL foodies. Brimming with enthusiasm, bursting with energy, Kevin Cherkas is the new (food) sheriff in town!

He has just taken over as Chef de Cuisine at Lafite, Shangri-La and already the 28-year-old is making changes. Lots of it. “What’s my style of cooking? That’s a very good question! Cooking is like music, there will always be a guitar, a piano and a violin as these are the basic instruments — tools — for all sorts of music. Cooking is all about the kinds of tools you use in the kitchen too.

I like working with new tools like liquid nitrogen to create new dishes!”Liquid nitrogen? For the uninitiated, Cherkas was a student for a month at El Bulli restaurant in Spain where he worked with Ferran Adria. Adria turned the world of food on its head with his scientific approach to cooking … instead of just a kitchen, he has a laboratory where he works with liquid nitrogen to turn out foam and the like. Together with London’s Heston Blumenthal of Fat Duck restaurant, Adria started quite a culinary revolution.“It’s true that there are many sceptics about Adria’s cooking philosophy but you can’t deny that he has come up with many innovative ways. I see my job as taking the middle road and to gently introduce some of these radical cooking methods to the general public,” explains Cherkas, who also spent a year in Spain honing his skills at the renowned Arzak Restaurant.

Back to the music analogy: Cherkas likens his cooking to rock ‘n’ roll. “It’s something that is hot and trendy today but it will live on for years The Rolling Stones! My background and foundation is still in solid regional cuisine. Today we can get all sorts of ingredients from all over the world but we can try and cook it the French way.

That’s what I’d like to see... new ingredients married together by sound cooking methods.” As to the gentle introduction of Adria’s cooking methods to this part of the world, Cherkas gets philosophical and offers, “Can you imagine serving gnocchi (traditional potato dumplings) filled with foam or gravy inside to the Italians? Of course they will reject it! What happens if good old-fashioned gnocchi is served with a few of these gnocchi filled with foam? You have to ease palates and appetites into new flavours and textures.”

More than just bringing in fresh approaches to cooking and serving, Cherkas is unabashedly concerned about being healthy. He does not use butter and he cuts down on a lot of oil. This in itself is a great departure from the classic French way of cooking.“I believe that natural flavours speak for themselves. All this is better because of new cooking methods.”

His pan-fried sea bass is a real testament to his belief in cooking without butter as the clean taste of the white fish is nicely complemented by a myriad of flavourful vegetables such as earthy red radish, pungent fennel, and zesty orange while spare drizzles of garlic cream add just a hint of smoothness. It’s also about the cut as root vegetables such as the radish and potato are finely sliced to enhance the delicacy of their flavours.

As a new twist to a classic, Cherkas’s seared lamb with sautéed onions, carrots and celery and asparagus spears has a hint of local flavour in its curry “air”. Yes, this is the controversial flavoured foam created by Adria and now further innovated by Cherkas. Air-whipped curry gravy is drizzled around the lamb chunks for dipping and, it is kind of novel to taste “curried” foam but it makes for a fine accompaniment to the sweet lamb. The light spicy foam does little in disturbing the meaty texture of the lamb, it just adds deep spicy highlights to it.

Malaysia is the first Asian country Cherkas is working in so he is also geared up to find a happy balance between his culinary philosophy and the tastebuds of locals. “I am always tasting and trying new ingredients and local food because I am looking for the composition of these local dishes and what makes them so special to the locals. Then I can start using these familiar components in my own creations.”

So far the roti canai and the Mamak mee goreng have special places in his heart. “I think the roti canai is the best in food I have tasted here but the mee goreng is just out of this world!”

Lafite is on the ground floor of Shangri-La Hotel, 11, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. For reservations, call 03-2032-2388.

Chef Kevin Cherkas & Lafite, Shangri-La KL

Fine dining at Lafite in Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur
Richard hosted this dinner ... and it was extremely memorable.

The room was beautifully set up to greet us as we arrived... Stunning floral arrangement, and beautiful soft lighting.

The bread rolls were scrumptions with the sour cream/butter combination. A taster of things to come ...

Cloudy Bay NZ Sauvignon Blanc ... finest white wine this year, very possibly! Not surprisingly, this is one of the world's best known New World white wines, grown in the Marlborough wine region further inland of New Zealand.

Chef Kevin Cherkas (Award winning chef - having worked at 3 Star Michelin Arzak @ San Sebastian, 2 Star Michelin La Broche @ Madrid, as well as 3 Star Michelin El Bulli in Roses) was friendly, personable and extremely passionate about his creations ... And he introduced each and every dish for us, after Denise had given us the heads-up. What an evening!

The starters ... The first, eaten in 4 bites :-) And, I especially loved the cream of lobster.

Time to switch wines ... Red this time. Katnook Estate Coonawara Cab Sauv. And then, it was time for exquisite Foie Gras, served with ... strawberries (Later on, it gets EVEN more innovative!).

Time for a refreshing pallet cleanser ...

Bring on the mains ... Lamb (which was so succulent and beautiful, it nearly tasted like a fine steak), accompanied with popcorn (Yes! Chef Kevin is truly innovative!) and chocolate sauce ...

And this for me ... was the highlight of the dinner. The aesthetically mesmerising 'English Breakfast' ... kidding! Mango and Coconut chiselled into the form of an .. egg!

Lets finish off the meal with a nice cappucino.

Time to say goodbye ... an innovative, memorable, special, and long dinner (we started at 8pm ... and we left at 11pm). I guess its true what they say, eating beautiful food does take a long time!