Friday, December 30, 2011

Stickhouse @ Sunway Pyramid Shopping Centre

Gelato with a twist, or a stick, in this case..........

I don't know about you, but I would usually expect gelato to be served on a cone, or in a cup... So, when I received an invitation to the grand opening of a gelato place called Stickhouse in Sunway Pyramid, I thought, "Eh?":
An interesting new gelato franchise from Italy....

What is their unique selling point (USP), other than the gelato being conveniently served on a stick?

100% natural ingredients, without added preservative, colouring or flavoring, some added goodness (like inulin for digestion) and all freshly made (hand crafted!) in house**:
(** As we were told by the very healthy looking marketing manager of Stickhouse who advocates a good balance of yummy food and exercise as part of his regime)
"Balance is an important part of healthy living"....

- Precision Gelato Stick Making In Process:
(The expert staff there carefully create the delicious sticks of gelato)

- Watch people skate around as you eat your gelato:
(There is a small seating area behind the main booth, if you want to sit down and eat)
Zoom zoom zooooom....

- A Variety of Interesting Fruit Flavored Sorbets:
(SO fresh that you can even taste yummy bits of fruit pulp inside the ice cream)
All the goodness of the fruit in a refreshing sorbet format....

- Chocolatey Gelato flavours too:
(This might be the slightly more sinful option... but of course I liked these much more *grin*)

My fave was the hazelnut gelato with (optional) chocolate and pistachio coating:
(The balance of creamy hazelnut flavour, with the slight sweetness of the chocolate coating and slight saltiness of pistachios was very nice)
My fave combination that day....

Here are some details on the different flavours and optional toppings available:
- Classic Range:

- Premium Range:
1.Giandula (mix of hazelnut and chocolate)
3.Strawberry Cream
4.Green Tea
7.Yogurt strawberry
8.Soy Chocolate
9.Milk Natura (no sucrose sugar)
10.Hazelnut Natura (no sucrose sugar)

- Classic Range:
1.Green Apple

- Premium Range:

- Just the gelato or sorbet (on a stick):
Classic: RM 6.90
Premium: RM 8.90
Mini: RM 4.90

- Optional Toppings (hazelnut, pistachio, or almond) & dips (dark, white, or milk chocolate)
Half: RM 1 additional
Full: RM 2 additional

So, is it cheap? Definitely not....

But overall, I think the price is worth it, considering the quality ingredients that go into this refreshing dessert. :)
(So, if you want some delicious and relatively healthy gelato and sorbet, you know where you can go....)

Thanks to Dila and Rebecca for the invite! :D

Summary Sheet:

Stickhouse @ Sunway Pyramid Shopping Centre

Lot LG2.RINK, (1 floor above the ice rink, opposite KFC)
Jalan PJS11/15, Bandar Sunway,
46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Telephone No.: -
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm.

(They also have another outlet in Citta Mall)

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Urban Spoon @ Plaza Damas 3, Sri Hartamas KL

Fusion food, just a stone's throw from the new palace....

How super classy Mont Kiara/ Hartamas is becoming.

It's already well known to be an expensive expat area... but now, a palace in the vicinity too? WOW. :)

Anyway, just down the road from the palace, there is another new development called Plaza Damas 3 (shophouses and a new condo), just across the road from Hartamas Shopping Center and the original Plaza Damas... There are not that many shops/ restaurants open there yet but Urban Spoon is leading the way:
(There's also the Urban Bistro just above and what looks like a buffet restaurant a few doors down - Lemon Tree? Something like that)
One of the only places open in this new block of shops....

The ambience is nice in this new restaurant - modern and comfortable:
Comfy ambience and friendly service....

In terms of the menu, they seem to be going down the path of Western classics with a fusion twist...

- Mushroom Soup (RM 17.80++):
Mushroom soup with taufupok instead of croutons....

The chunky mushroom soup was a little underseasoned, but otherwise, interesting with crunchy bits of taufu pok (beancurd skin) instead of the usual croutons.

- Classic Caesar Salad (RM 12.80++), add chicken (+RM 10++):
Classics, with a twist....

The lightly dressed Caesar didn't taste too sinful with its relatively light dressing, topped with grilled chicken that tasted of mildly of pandan/lemongrass.
(Mixed reviews of this: I thought that the chicken breast was ok, tender enough considering the challenging cut of meat, but SooJ thought it was a little dry)

- Lamb Keema Pizza (RM 28.80++):
Not your usual pizza....

This was my favourite that night - chunky bits of minced lamb, fragrant of spices and blending well with the generous layer of cheese and some egg atop the crispy pizza base.
(I like pizza, in general, and I found this Indian twist on an Italian classic yummy)

- Wagyu Sirloin (RM 108++):
Tender beef....

A bit pricey (or not? Considering that it's Wagyu..) but so tender! The sauce again tasted a little underseasoned to me, but nothing a few flicks of the wrist armed with a salt shaker couldn't fix.
(Disclaimer: I usually like my food pretty salty)

- Emperor Tang Duck (RM 38.80++):
Le duck....

This time, a French classic with an Asian twist with the salty/piquant soy calamansi reduction enveloping the tender meat and (fairly) crisp skin...

- Strawberry and Peace? (RM 15++):
A sudden addition....

We were quite sad that they didn't have any cakes that night, but they placated us by whipping up a simple but delicious dessert that was not on their menu - strawberries and peaches in a creamy sauce, that can be matched with a chaser of watermelon mint juice on the side.

- French Apple Tart (RM 12++):
Classics, with a twist....

We also tried another dessert (which is on their usual menu) - overall, not bad.. A straightforward combination of pastry, tart apples and vanilla ice cream that did not weigh down too heavily at the end of the night.

So it's: Interesting range of classics with a fusion twist, reasonable pricing (considering serving size and that it's in Mont Kiara) BUT nothing bad really. :).....

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Urban Spoon @ Plaza Damas 3, Hartamas, KL
B2-3A, Plaza Damas 3, 63, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

Taste: 6
Ambience : 6
Service : 7
Price** : RM 70++ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-6201 2108
Opening Hours: 11am to 11pm



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Friday, December 16, 2011

My Bad


Hi there...

I'm not sure if you noticed the very erratic pace of blog updates (with many long lapses in between posts)...

... but yeah, I've been busy.
(Basically, my day job is really beginning to take over my life...)

- One of my many late night dinners at home over the last few weeks: Tom yam instant mihun soup with a side of uncomplicated red wine (in a coffee mug).... Sophisticated? Nah. Comforting after a long day? YES.
Food for the soul....

While I can't say that I haven't eaten out at all (there is a big backlog of posts building up), I haven't been quite energetic/ disciplined enough to blog properly.
(I admit: A few times, I had free time but I was so tired, curling up into a ball and sleeping seemed like a much better option rather than turning on the computer to blog)

Anyway, just so you know: I am alive. :)
(Will try to get back to updating properly as soon as I can)


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Friday, December 09, 2011

Martin Yan and Jacob's Creek Chinese Food Wine Pairing @ Mandarin Oriental Hotel KL

Mmmm... Australian wines taste great with Chinese food! :)....

Hi everyone... Just so you know - This is an invited review, k? Please find my usual disclaimers as follows:
1) I have not been paid to write this, but neither have I paid a cent for my meal, and
2) I will still be as objective as possible re. the food/wine.
The elegant ballroom in the Mandarin Oriental, where the event was held....

I am not the most pious person on earth, but when I think about it I gotta say, "Wow, thank You God(s) for all Your blessings!".

While I may not be rich/ famous/ gorgeous/ super smart, I have had the opportunity (through blogging) this year to meet with some really interesting people, whether fellow bloggers, passionate restaurateurs or (now) famous chefs!

What am I talking about? Well, just a few weeks ago, I got to attend Jacob’s Creek and Pernod Ricard (owver of Jacob’s Creek Wines) Chinese Food Wine Pairing with Chef Martin Yan!

- 1st Course: Chilled Scallop and Jellyfish
(Prepared by MO KL Chef Ricky Thein)

Matched with a Jacob's Creek Steingarten Riesling
3 interesting morsels....

The crisp JC Riesling....

An interesting mix of flavours and textures (sweet/ spicy/ sour, moist/ crunchy) that went well with the crisp, relatively dry wine that had slight citrus and mineral-y notes.

- 2nd course: Oven baked Sea Treasure Broth served in coconut
(Prepared by MO KL Chef Ricky Thein)

Matched with a Jacob's Creek Reeves Point Chardonnay
Rustic presentation housing a very sophisticated blend of flavours....

More robust and fruity of the 2 white wines that night (I liked this a lot)....

Delicious! :)
A generous array of seafood (abalone, fish maw, dried scallops, etc) in a clear, sweet broth that was accentuated by the underlying fragrance of the coconut.
(Strangely, the delicious coconut fragrance reminded me of laksa but not in a bad way)

This matched really well with the wine - medium finish, slightly fruity notes (peach?) and pleasantly sweet without being overpowering.
- 3rd course: Cantonese style Steamed Cod with Superior Soya Sauce
(Prepared by MO KL Chef Ricky Thein)

Matched with a Jacob's Creek Reeves Point Chardonnay
Good cod....

Prepared in the classic Cantonese styled, steamed with soya sauce - simple but well executed, with the perfect balance of salty against the natural sweetness of the tender fish.

The refreshing sweetness of the Chardonnay matched this well, with the fruity notes complementing the saltiness, somehow. :)

- 4th course: Peking Sweet and Sour Prawns
(Prepared by THE Chef Martin Yan)

Matched with a Jacob's Creek Steingarten Riesling
Big crustaceans....

The prawn was perfectly cooked (moist and bouncey meat yet lightly crispy on the outside).

I thought that the strong tasting sauce would overpower the wine but the Riesling definitely held its own, balancing out the spiciness and strong sweet and sour flavour well.

- 5th course: Australian Lamb Cutlets in 3 chili sauce
(Prepared by THE Chef Martin Yan)

Matched with a Jacob's Creek Centenary Hill Shiraz
The classic pairing of red wine and lamb with an Asian twist (one of Martin Yan's signature dishes)....

Beautiful red....

Of course it's generally accepted that lamb matches with red wine, but this perfectly cooked lamb with an Asian twist went really well with this robust Shiraz and its strong berry flavours and fairly long finish.

- 6th course: Chocolate Mango Sweet Temptation
(Prepared by MO KL Chef Holger Deh)

Sweet endings....

So, who said you can't pair Asian food with wine? :)

It felt like the whole dinner was about straightforward, unpretentious flavours... (not in a bad way, mind you....).

Execution was pretty much flawless throughout and it was awesome to see/hear/meet Chef Martin Yan** - not only is he super skilled (saying that he can wield a knife well is an understatement actually!), he is also very entertaining with his brand of self depreciating humour and repeated pledges of admiration for all things (Chef) Wan.
(** I remember his TV show, Yan Can Cook, very fondly from my childhood days especially his signature line, "If Yan can cook, so can you!" and the addition of, "If Yan can't do it, don't even try!". Lol)

If you didn't already know, Chef Yan now hosts a new show on AFC called “True Passion with Martin Yan” which highlights the matching of Asian food with Australian wines (Jacob's Creek, in this case).

SHOUT OUT - Thanks a million to:
- Maggie, Joey and Pam from KTALYST International for inviting me (So honoured),
- Pernod Ricard/ Jacob's Creek for providing such excellent wines (They have more than 160 years experience in wine - Don't play play!),
- Chef Martin Yan (of course!) and the also very talented Chef Ricky Thein and Chef Holger Deh of the Mandarin Oriental,
- to my fellow bloggers there that night, nice to see you! *hugs*, and
- to all the nice people at my table that night, it was really nice to meet you and thanks for the interesting company. :)

Lastly, here's all of us with Chef Martin Yan at the end of the night:
My fellow table mates, with Martin Yan....

Contact details

Mandarin Oriental Hotel KL

Mandarin Oriental Hotel,
Jalan Ampang,
Kuala Lumpur City Centre,
50088 Kuala Lumpur

Telephone No.: 03-2380 8888
Opening Hours: 24 hours


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Monday, December 05, 2011

Buffet @ Mosaic, Mandarin Oriental KL

A beautiful new addition to the Mandarin Oriental serving up delicious buffets :)....

Hi everyone... Just so you know - This is an invited review, k? Please find my usual disclaimers as follows:
1) I have not been paid to write this, but neither have I paid a cent for my meal,
2) I will still be as objective as possible re. the food/ restaurant, and
3) If I go back to the restaurant incognito and find that the food/service is horribly different from this experience, I will amend my ratings here...

I shall miss Biba - I hadn't been there that many times in the past (just twice, both on company dinners) but I distinctly remember enjoying the food there:
The main entrance to Mosaic, on the MO ground floor....

As I walked into the brand spanking new Mosaic (Biba's replacement, in the very established Mandarin Oriental Hotel KL), I thought it had a lot more character, with its beautiful modern setting with an Asian twist, lush wood carvings and exotic decorations:
Classy setting inside the restaurant....

As with its predescessor, there is a really nice variety of Asian and Western food served up in the buffet, ranging from healthy salads, pastas (prepared fresh at the live station), pizza to luscious curries, noodles, and much much more. :)

- Big fresh oysters, among other seafood:
Large fresh Irish oysters....

- An array of curries and chutney that went so well with rice:
Nice blend of spices that was not too spicy....

- Classic, tasty tender grilled meat with a dollop of brown sauce:
Carnivore's delight....

- Oodles of noodles:
Many yummy carbs to choose from....

- Thin crust Italian Pizza:
Simple and nice....

- Local desserts available too:
Fluffy kuihs....

- Chocolate fountains are always good:
Chocolate sauce soothes the soul :D....

While the many different cakes available were good**, it was the freshly cooked (at the dessert live station) caremelized pan fried strawberries with honey and a side of ice cream really rocked my boat - so simple yet perfectly executed.... gorgeous fresh flavours of the strawberry went perfectly with the delicious in house ice cream:
(** Overall, was quite pleased with the desserts - this adds a lot of points for me)

So delicious - I had 2 servings :D....

I have to admit: I have grown to dislike buffets (as I can no longer consume as much as I could in my younger days without permanent fattening results) but if I had to, I would definitely not think twice about going to Mosaic given the nice setting and food.

Mosaic is open 24 hours and serves buffet breakfast from 6.00am to 10.30am, lunch from 12pm to 2.30pm and dinner between 6.30pm to 10.30pm. The restaurant seats up to 148 diners.

For reservations, call +60 (3) 2179 8881 or email

Lunch: RM88++
Dinner: RM108++ (Mon – Thurs), RM128++ (Fri - Sun)

So it's: Nice ambience, good food, good service BUT nothing bad to say really :) there may not be such a mind boggling array of food as some other buffets but everything I tried tasted nice ....

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Mosaic @ Mandarin Oriental Hotel KL

Mandarin Oriental Hotel,
Jalan Ampang,
Kuala Lumpur City Centre,
50088 Kuala Lumpur

Taste: 7
Ambience : 8
Service : 8
Price** : Lunch RM88++, Dinner RM108++ (Mon – Thurs), RM128++ (Fri - Sun)
Parking: OK

** Price per adult
Telephone No.: 03-2380 8888
Opening Hours: 24 hours


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Friday, December 02, 2011

I Won?

Delayed reaction :)....

So I won an award last week and all I did was write my favourite nasi lemak place (Village Park, Damansara Uptown)...

It's hazy, but I vaguely remember the initial announcement going completely over my head as I stood with the other shortlisted bloggers on the KLPAC stage, then finally hearing it, looking like a deer in headlights then doing a really embarassingly undignified jump-jump-jump on the stage as it started setting in that I won.
J - The proud new owner of a TOKL plaque....

If I had to try to sum it up, I am: Happy, shocked, gleeful, nervous, flattered, flustered, proud, unsure.
(This is the first time I've ever really won anything like this)

Thanks a million to:
- TOKL (Nazeen especially) for coming up with this interesting new category (Bloggers' Choice) in their annual Food Awards,
- everyone who voted for me, whether they liked my post(?) or just love Village Park as much as I do.
- my best friend and my dad, for (saying that they were) voting for me when I was starting to freak out about how I didn't mind losing but didn't want to lose so badly lah shy ma,
- everyone who has been reading my blog all these years (thanks for your support!), AND
- Village Park! For consistently serving up my favourite nasi lemak all these years!

Still stunned and really hoping this doesn't sound gloat-y in any way,

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vin's Restaurant & Bar @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL

I submitted this to The Star but it never got published... so waste not! I really like this restaurant :) ....

My friends and I are always on the lookout for new restaurants to try, so when I heard about Vin's in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, we headed over there for dinner.

It's located in the Datuk Sulaiman area of TTDI (near the TTDI mosque), just a stone's throw away from the main TTDI shophouse area. From the outside, it looks pretty low key with its muted, earthy color scheme but it is the first fancy looking restaurant on that block of shops, so don't worry - it's pretty hard to miss:
Just outside Vin's....

I liked that it was comfortable, fairly quiet and relatively smoke free inside, despite being somewhat of a pub/bar setting. I suppose this would be entirely reliant on who happens to be dining at the same time as you though.
(On the night that I was there, it was mostly families and yuppies)
Comfortable ambience inside....

There's a fairly extensive menu of Western food ranging from pub fare (eg. bangers and mash, fish & chips) to Italian (eg. pizza, pastas) and some Asian dishes.
(It seems like almost every Western restaurant in Malaysia just HAS to have Italian on the menu, doesn't it?)

We started off the night with a few appetizers to share:
- Mushroom Soup (RM 12.90++):
Creamy mushroom soup....

Nothing to really fault about this classic soup - the texture was a medium creaminess, and flavourful enough without being too salty.

- Chicken Nachos (RM 26.90++):
Ay caramba....

This mix of crunchy nachos and juicy sliced chicken breast slathered with a tomato salsa, melted cheese, chili, sour cream and lettuce, was a crowd pleaser that night and disappeared in mere moments.
(If there's only one thing bad about this though, is that I found the serving a bit small for that price)

- Mushroom Bruschetta (6 pieces) (RM 16.90++):
Mushrooms atop bread - delicious....

This is such a simple dish, found in many restaurants, but Vin's executed it well - The chunky slice of bread was crisp and not starchy (yay!), topped with a mix of sliced mushrooms, garlic, spices and cheese that was tasty without being too salty.

As for the mains:
- We tried both the Beef Burger (RM 25++) and the Grilled Chicken Burger (RM 22++):
Chunky beef patty....

Tasty chicken burger....

Both came served with some yummy chunky french fries, and I liked that both patties tasted freshly made and were fairly juicy. Out of the 2, I preferred the chicken burger, as it came with a generous slice of half melted cheese. :)

- Spicy Tuna Pizza (RM 27++):
Crunchy thin crust pizza....

What a nice surprise - the pizza base was perfectly crunchy and not starchy. There was also an adequate amount of juicy toppings (spicy tuna, capsicum, onions and cheese), making it a nice meal. Of course, those that dislike fishy flavours had better stay away from this dish - It is topped with tuna, after all. :)

- Pasta Carbonara (RM 25.90++)
Decadent pasta....

I was feeling naughty and chose to have the sinful pasta carbonara that night. :)

OMG. It was luxuriously creamy, with the pasta done just right (al dente). I would warn against trying to finish this all on your own though, because as delicious as it is, it is also really filling.

- Mee Mamak (RM 18++):
More carbs....

If you, for some reason, feel like having something Asian here instead, you can opt for the Mee Mamak which they claim is one of their specialties. Overall, it tasted pretty nice and comes in a really big serving but I found it a bit too spicy for my tastebuds and without the extra oomph of smokey wok hei (wok fried fragrance).

- Chocolate Lava (RM 16.90++):
Chocolatey dessert....

Despite eating so much already, we decided to share a dessert, or more like, I insisted we did, as I love desserts!. The moist chocolate fondant, nicely gooey in the middle, balanced well with the vanilla ice cream and was a nice way to end the night.

What a night! :)
I almost had to roll myself back to the car but definitely had a good time stuffing my face and catching up with my friends in this comfortable restaurant.
(I've been back a couple more times after that, and even organised a company department dinner there - gotta say wow! They are really consistent in quality!)

So it's: Friendly service, comfortable ambience, good range of Western and Asian dishes BUT nothing bad really, just that some of the pricing seems to be on the high side......

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Vin's Restaurant & Bar @ TTDI, KL

No. 6, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1,
Taman Tun Dr.Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur

Taste: 7
Ambience : 7
Service : 7
Price** : RM 50++ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks

Telephone No.: 03-7725 9053‎
Opening Hours: 4pm - 2am everyday (Lunch or other times by special booking only)



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