Friday, April 29, 2011

New Hilton KL Website

New lessons learnt :) ....

I learnt a few new things last week, when I went to the KL Hilton.

1) They have a gorgeous, intimate function room on the 7th Floor, called Level7even:
Peering into one of the small but very nice function/ meeting rooms....

The cosy seating area outside - I wish my living room looked like this!....

2) The KL Hilton's nibbles are yummy! :D
Among all the canapes, the beef cubes were to die for :D....

3) This established international hotel is constantly trying to improve itself along with the changing times - now launching a new website geared towards food & beverage promotions, exclusive functions, weddings, behind-the-scenes scoops, celebrity sightings, interviews with guest chefs and more - aptly named
Screenshot of the website....

To add to the excitement of this website launch, they are running a fairly easy contest.

There are so many tempting prizes, but WAH, the Grand Prize really caught my eye:
- 2 days 1 night stay at Grand Executive Suite with breakfast for 2,
- Senses dining voucher worth RM 500 nett (excluding beverages) for 2, AND
- Recovery Massage for 2 worth RM 220 (each) at The Spa & Gym (60 minutes per session).

Anyway, hope you have fun exploring the website, and good luck with the contest! :)


Thanks so much to Karen and Bel for inviting me - It was very interesting to find out more about this. :)

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mother's Day Buffet @ Atrium Cafe, Sunway Pyramid Tower Hotel

Quickly! Mother's Day is almost here!....

Hello!.... :)
Just to give you a head's up, this is an invited review:
(Here are my usual disclaimers)
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...

Here's an important question:
Have you decided what to do for your darling mum on Mother's Day?
(It's soon! - NEXT SUNDAY, to be exact....)

If you have been so busy and haven't yet prepared - here's an idea: Take her for the Mother's Day buffet at the Sunway Pyramid Tower Hotel. :)
(ESPECIALLY, if she, or you, or both of you are Rod Stewart fans)

(Confession: All this time I never realised there's a difference between the Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel and the Tower Hotel... Oops. Actually, although they just next to each other, they are completely different places...)

I loved that it felt comfortable yet classy - also, nicely airy and cheerful with lots of natural sunlight from the skylights:
Part of the dining area....

There also seem to be different "sections" in the restaurant, giving the feeling of some privacy and variety (as each section has slightly different decorations):
Another part of the dining area....

FOOD (Appetizers and Mains):
As with the usual buffet format there was a selection of food ready for you to attack, ranging from Asian (Chinese, Malay, Indian, Indonesian and Japanese food) to Western (salads, cheeses, grilled fish, etc) and even some Middle Eastern fare:
Many many choices....

- Smoked Salmon (yummy - perfect alone, or with bread):
Tasty without being too salty....

- Fragrant Curry Prawns:
Spicy crustaceans....

- The lamb was delicious:
Flavorful and pretty tender....

- Also some roast beef and baked potato wedges:
My slice of beef....

There was also a decent range of freshly cooked food that the friendly chefs will prepare on your request... :)

- Artful weaving at the Roti Jala station:
Round and round it goes....

- I really enjoyed the springy wan tan noodles:
(There was also spaghetti at another station if you prefer Italian "noodles")
Boing boing....

Although I was already pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food, what REALLY surprised me was the quality of the desserts. :D

The variety wasn't exactly mindboggling but the range of Local (ais kacang, ais longan, onde onde, etc) and Western desserts (cakes, pies, ice cream, etc) were more than enough to keep me very happy... especially because everything that I tasted was yummy:

- Strawberry Tart:
Berry nice (lol)....

- Chocolate Tiramisu cups:

- Different flavours of ice cream:
Multi coloured choices....

- Lines and lines of small but luscious (shot?) glasses of jelly, creme and chocolate:
Of course, I loved the chocolate best....

Ah, and remember I said that you should come here if you or your mum are Rod Stewart fans? Well, here's why:
Have I told you lately that I love youuuuuuu....

Sorry, he isn't actually the real Rod Stewart, but apparently, he's just as good as the real thing - his name is Rob Caudill, the world's best Rod Stewart impersonator flown in straight from Las Vegas (USA) for this special day.
(He has more than 10 years experience under his belt)

The Mother's Day Buffet is a one day special - only on Sunday, 8th May 2011 and is priced at MYR 98++ per person. There are special prices for children below 12 (50% discount) and bookings for groups of 10 persons or more (10% discount).
(For enquiries/ bookings, please call Hotel at 03-7495 1888)

Thanks so much to:
- Virgillia for being such a great hostess to us that day,
- to all my fellow diners (nice meeting you/ catching up with you), and
- last but definitely not least, to the gorgeous Rebecca Saw for extending the invite to me. :)

Summary Sheet:

Mother's Day Buffet @ Atrium Cafe, Sunway Pyramid Tower Hotel

Atrium Cafe, Ground Floor, Persiaran Lagoon, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Telephone No.: 03-7495 1888
Parking: OK

Opening Hours:
(For this buffet) 12noon - 4pm, Sunday May 8, 2011
Price: RM 98++ per person



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Monday, April 25, 2011

Restoren Richwell @ PJ

A contender to the popular Greenview Restaurant? :) ....

Restoren Richwell has been open since 2009, and seems to have placed itself as a contender to the already super popular Restoren Greenview, just a few doors down:
(It's the corner shoplot, near the Rothman's Roundabout - just a stone's throw from SS2)
Look for the blinking neon crab and his lobster friends....

Comparatively, the ambience in Richwell is nicer - comfortable (air-conditioned), relatively more modern and classy but without being pretentious:
(They also have a selection of wines and other alcohol here if you want to pair it with your meal)
Brightly lit and comfortable inside....

It was a special occasion that night (as we were celebrating Mr Joe Lot's of Cravings' short visit back to his homeland), so we pulled out all the stops and indulged in the extravagant speciality at Richwell - the Signature Sang Har Noodles (RM 250+):
Their signature dish....

Looks like a mess with all the prawns heaped on top of the noodles, drowning in the egg-y yellow sauce, but trust me it tastes mmm-MMM-MMMMMMMM.

First of all the prawns were fresh as evidenced by their sweet, bouncey flesh, with the added bonus was that most of them had the that wonderful Holy Grail of prawns (prawn roe) and they were all HUGE:
WOWZA. Look at the size of that prawn!....

There was nothing I didn't like about this (except the cholesterol level and price tag *sigh*) - crunchy noodles that didn't taste starchy, silky smooth sauce and of course the awesome prawns as mentioned before.

Another rather extravagant order that night was the Crispy Roast Pigeon (RM 35+ per pigeon):
Poor lil'bird....

The teeny birdies were bursting with flavour, sweet and slightly gamey but in a good way, with the skin perfectly crispy and well seasoned - the price tag is a little hefty because it's considered quite an "atas" (high class) dish, but its a nice treat.

Other than these, we also ordered a few other more normal, day to day dishes to complement our meal:
- Sweet and Sour Pork (RM 20+, medium):
My childhood favourite dish....

It was only slightly crispy on the outside, but overall, a satisfactory eat as there was sufficient bite from the fairly tender mouthfuls of meat, complemented by a slightly sticky sweet and sour sauce.

- Braised Pork Belly with Salted Fish (RM 25+, large):
Clay pot of steaming piggy goodness....

There was only a hint of the briny salted fish but the slices of fatty pork were tender and made for a luscious combination with rice.

- Chinese Cabbage with Yam (RM 25+, large):
Healthy dish?....

Simple but delicious - crunchy chinese cabbage coated with the creamy sauce that was light yet flavourful from the "melted" yam.
(I do wish there were more chunks of yam in this dish though)

- Lemon Sea Coconut (RM 4.50+ per bowl):
Hopefully the lemon helped melt away all the fat :)....

This dessert felt guilt free as it was only slightly sweet and balanced with some sourness from the added lemons.

Had a great time that night, as always - it's always a happy, fun time to celebrate the return of a friend. :)

So it's: Relatively modern and classy ambience, friendly service, good range of Chinese food located near the Rothman's roundabout BUT nothing really bad, just that some of the prices are on the high side and traffic in the area can be bad during peak hours......

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Restoren Richwell @ PJ

24G, Jln 19/3, Petaling Jaya

Taste: 7
Ambience : 7
Service : 7
Price** : RM 55++ per person
Parking: Limited

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-7955 5855
Opening Hours: 11am to 3pm, 5.30 to 11pm
Official Website: Click here :)



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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chilean Wine Dinner @ Hoofed, TTDI, KL

A night of nice surprises...

A funny thing happened at dinner last week - I went there ready to pay for my food but it ended up being complimentary. So, I guess this counts as an invited review? (Here are my usual disclaimers)
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...
Dimly lit, romantic setting inside Hoofed...

I'd been to Hoofed before, and really enjoyed the food there... So, when I heard that they were having a wine pairing dinner, I excitedly made my way over.
(I don't know much about wine, but I've always been curious and what better way to learn than to taste it first hand, right?....)

As I understand it, they hold these wine pairing dinners once a month and it's priced at RM 160++ per person. It's not cheap, but it's pretty reasonable as it gets you:
- a 3 course meal,
- 4 glasses of wine (2 for the starter, and 2 for the main course), and
- coffee or tea.

The wine is expertly matched with the food by their knowledgeable suppliers (trained sommaliers). Usually, they will also be there during the dinner, mingling and answering any questions you may have about the wines.

What a small world though, as it turned out the Wine Expert on "duty" that night was none other than the affable Mr Jonathan Cheah from Albert Wines, whom I'd met before at another wine related event.

- Prawn Bisque
Matched with a Castillo de Molina Chardonnay
Vivid colours and flavours...

The soup was robust (thick, prawn-y in a good way). At first I thought it was a bit too salty but as I took another sip, the bits of savoury bacon and sour pickles helped balance it out well.

The wine managed to hold its own, complementing the briny flavour with its crisp, slightly sweet/fruity taste.
(Perfect match!)

- Pan Seared Salmon served with Pineapple Sauerkraut and Hoegarden Beurre Blanc
Perfectly executed fish...

... OR...
- Blue Cheese Crusted Tenderloin served with Bacon Mash and Black Pepper Sauce
Blissful beef...

Matched with Castillo de Molina Pinot Noir

I tried a bite of the salmon (stolen from a generous fellow diner *grin*) - Fresh, moist fish perfectly grilled and brought to the next level with the really good white sauce that was creamy without being cloying.

I enjoy my beef much more though as:
1) I'm a bit of a red meat lover/ carnivore
2) It was the perfect doneness! Seared on the outside but still moist and tender on the inside, and
3) Wonderfully accentuated with a dash of the spicy black pepper sauce and slightly pungeant blue cheese crust.

The magical thing about the wine was that although it is a red wine, its berry undertones and medium body matched well with both the beef and the fish.

- Red Wine Poached Pear served with Ice Cream and Wine Reduction
Tart dessert...

This was a refreshing way to end the night - the tart, cinnamon infused flavour of the pear (slightly sweet but with a sour edge) went well with the slightly thick wine reduction and ice cream.

What a wonderful night. :)
I am a novice (or worse?) when it comes to wine, but I managed to learn a bit more that night, all kindly explained to me in the friendliest of manners.
(That, and MMMMMMMMMMMmmmm, the food was delish!)

Thank you to:
1) Colin, Shawn and Chef Tim of Hoofed for the wonderful meal.
2) Jonathan, and everyone from Albert Wines for making it even better!
3) My fellow diners - thanks for the wonderful company!

BTW: If you want more details on Albert Wines (they export, wholesale and retail a wide range of spirit and alcohol brands), do check out their official website: Click here.

Summary Sheet:

Hoofed @ TTDI, KL
18A, Lorong Rahim Kajai 14 (on top of Tom Dick & Harry’s), Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 KL.

Price** : RM 160++ per person (for this wine pairing dinner)
Parking: OK

** 3 course meal, 4 glasses of wine, and coffee or tea

Telephone No.: 03-7728 8567
Opening Hours: 4pm till late
Parking: Limited



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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ristretto @ 10 Mont Kiara, KL

New cafe serving delicious coffees, conveniently in the heart of Mont Kiara :) ....

Ristretto** has only been open about 6 months, and has already become a firm favourite lazy weekend brunch spot for my friends Jackham and Nini.
(** It is actually named after a particular coffee serving style/recipe)

I can totally understand why.
Outside Ristretto....

First of all, they love coffee, and the coffee here tastes nice. :)
(The owner/ chief barista has many years of experience in this field, and has brought all he learnt when he was in Sydney and applied it here)

Also, it is conveninently located at the base of the 10 Mont Kiara (10 MK) condo and the ambience is simple but feels very cosy and comfortable - lots of natural lighting streaming in though the ceiling to floor glass panels but it did not feel warm.
Nice, sunny seating area inside....

On top of that, they have a decent range of light eats and some Asian food there which tastes pretty good and is reasonably priced.

Oh, and lastly, the parking is free (Yay).

I had a really enjoyable lunch there, and I can see how it's also gonna quickly become one of my favourite places to hang out when I want a dose of delicious caffeine.

Review on the Food and Coffee:

- Potato with Ham Salad (RM 9+)
Carby, comforting food....

A mix of moist potato cubes, pickles, olives and chicken ham tossed in a creamy (but not too heavy) dressing - simple but tasted nice.

- Homemade Chicken Balls (RM 10+)
Moist mouthfuls....

Tender and moist texture but flavourwise, these were just ok.. Loved that they tasted freshly made though.

- Mexican Cottage Pie, choice of chicken or beef (RM 15+)
Sort of like Shephard's Pie....

I was expecting the Cottage Pie to be spicy (as described in the menu) but it wasn't. Otherwise, the mix of moist meat and vegetables with the smooth mash potato and melted cheese was quite nice.

- Beef Burger (RM 18+)
Messy to eat! :)....

Delicious but so messy to eat. The patty was fairly tender and went well with the juicy slices of mushroom and slightly piquant BBQ/ Worchestershire(?) sauce. Also, the french fries at the side were too addictive - crunchy on the outside yet moist on the inside, just the way I like it.

- Apple Pie with Ice Cream (RM 8+)
Tart apple crumble....

I liked that the lovingly stewed slices of apple were moist and with a slight sour edge (vs. some other apple pie fillings which are just too sweet) and topped with crisp puff pastry.
(Some may find it the apples too soft though - depends on how you like it)

- Latte Macchiato (RM 5+)
Smooth, flavourful coffee....

- Flat White (RM 5+)
Not too bitter :)....

I liked both coffees, as they were smooth and flavourful without being too bitter. It was also really nice how they served it at just the right temperature - you can drink it straight away without worrying about burning your tongue and throat.

So it's: Casual cosy ambience, friendly service, nice coffee, decent range of light eats and a few Asian dishes for reasonable prices, free parking! BUT nothing bad really, just don't expect the food to knock your socks off - tastes good but it won't change your life......

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Ristretto @ 10 Mont Kiara, KL

S-B5-3A, The Fare @ 10 Mont Kiara, Jalan Kiara 1, Mont Kiara, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

Taste: 6
Ambience : 6
Service : 7
Price** : RM 35+ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-6211 1183
Opening Hours: Everyday, including public holidays, 8.30am to 11.30pm
Official Website: CLICK HERE



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Monday, April 18, 2011

Source Code

Fast paced, entertaining sci fi/ action/ romance movie....

I haven't done a movie review for a while now, despite having watched quite a few movies recently - there were none that I liked (or hated) enough....
(Note: I have been making a concious effort to avoid watching Black Swan and 127 hours because of how disturbing I heard they are)

After watching Source Code though, I just had to blog about it - really enjoyed it!

- One of the movie posters:
Jake Gyllenhaal like being The Hero...

I'm really upset that Jake Gyllenhaal did not show off his any of his hot Prince of Persia-esque physique in the show.

Otherwise, he made a very likeable hero stuck in a Quantum Leap ("jumping" into another person's mind/body) meets GroundHog's Day (keep repeating the same time frame) situation that managed to stay interesting.

Also, Michelle Monaghan made for a very believable love interest, neither a plastic-y, damsel in distress nor an unbelievable "RAWR. Grrl power. I am not trained but I can suddenly pick up a gun and fight" type character that seems to appear in some other movies.
(The chemistry between them was also good despite no removal of clothing)

- BOOM goes the train:
What would you do if you had a minute to live?...

Of course the storyline is not perfect - you need to take a leap of faith when it comes to the pretty "out there" scientific explanations they make, and some parts are a bit too soppy.
(Still, definitely worth a watch)

- Russell Peters makes a cameo! :)
(Look in the background, past Michelle Monaghan's shoulder)
A stand up comedian cameoing as a stand up comedian...

If there's only one thing I took away from the movie though, it's this: Sucks to be you, Sean Fentress.
(LOL. You'll understand after you watch the movie)

Watch it! :) It's exciting yet with some well balanced human moments. Try not to overthink the plausability of the "out there" scienfitic explanations though.

Main characters:
- Jake Gyllenhaal as Colter Stevens
- Michelle Monaghan as Christina Warren
- Vera Farmiga as Colleen Goodwin
- Jeffrey Wright as Dr. Rutledge
- Michael Arden as Derek Frost
- Russell Peters as Max Denoff
- Gordon Masten as Conductor
- Frédérick De Grandpré as Sean Fentress Reflection

When decorated soldier Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up in the body of an unknown man, he discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. In an assignment unlike any he's ever known, he learns he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.

(Note: Synopsis adapted/borrowed from Rotten Tomatoes, which gave this movie a very good rating of 90% fresh!)

Here's what some others thought of the movie:
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Jake's Charbroil Steaks @ Medan Damansara, KL

Oops. Forgot to post this up - My review from the StarTwo Lifestyle section last Saturday....

The Ship, Victoria Station and Jake’s Charbroil Steaks are the three grand old dames of steakhouses in KL, in my humble opinion.

I have many fond memories of visiting these restaurants with my family when I was younger because dining here was considered a rare treat in our middle-income lives. (Of course, Coliseum would be on the list too, if you consider less formal settings.)

Somehow, through the years, the lapse between visits grew longer and longer, mostly due to my being distracted by all the new restaurants opening around town. At the back of my mind, though, I wondered if the quality of these classic steak places had held up over the years. So, when I had to entertain a friend from out of town (who really likes steak), I decided to take the opportunity to revisit Jake’s:
Outside Jake's....

While the restaurant is fairly easy to find, parking in this area at peak hours can be a hassle. There, is however, a jockey service at Jake’s for a reasonable rate of RM5, so it’s fairly convenient. Inside, the decor is quite kitschy, with the whole Wild Wild West feel running deep and all the waiters dressed according to the theme:
One of the many booth seats inside....

As for the menu, there is a wide array of different cuts and grades of beef, ranging from the affordable to the more expensive options like Wagyu, Kobe and Black Angus. Of course, there are also non-beef options like lamb, chicken and fish.

While waiting for our food, we played “Guess the Celeb” game with all the photos around our booth, noting that even our famed Malaysian Angkasawan (Astronaut) had dined here at some point:
One small step for man, one big step for Malaysia?....

Service was prompt, and we started off dinner with a selection of appetisers — the Hungarian Beef Goulash (RM 10.90++), Beef Nachos (RM 22.90++) and Potato Skins (RM 9.90++ for 2 pieces):
Cheesy beefy nachos....

Potato skins - Loaded with onions....

Hot soup....

I enjoyed the hearty soup as it had a medium consistency, with a nice meaty flavour complemented by the taste of tomatoes and spices. The crunchy nachos topped with minced beef, melted cheese and a dollop of chilli sauce were also delicious, but do be careful because the chilli is quite spicy. I like it, though, because it adds a nice kick.

As for the potato skins, they were also crunchy and almost paper thin, topped with a generous amount of cheese and loaded with cubes of capsicum, beef bacon and onions. They are nice if you like the natural sweetness of very lightly cooked onions — there were a LOT of them in each bite.

Of course, the main highlights at Jake’s are the steaks, and that night we all tried the Australian Rib Eye, 200g (RM 58.90++). This comes with sides of boiled vegetables, corn on a cob and a fluffy baked potato. You have a choice of three sauces. We chose the mushroom sauce and black pepper sauce.

So how was the steak?:
The steak is halal btw....

Well, I thought it looked really good — perfectly grilled with its seared criss-cross griddle marks. Taste-wise, it did not disappoint either, with its moist texture and nice pinkness in the middle (as we chose to have it done medium). I would have preferred if the accompanying sauces were a bit more flavourful, but they did well to complement and not overwhelm the natural flavour of the steak:
Cross section of the steak - perfectly pink!....

As for desserts, they don’t have an extensive selection. We ended up ordering almost everything they had, to share — the Cheesecake (RM12.90++), Pecan Pie (RM12.90++) and Nut Brittle (RM12.90++):
Classic cheesecake....

Moist pecan pie....

House special - nut brittle....

While the other two desserts weren’t bad, what really stood out for me was the Nut Brittle. I admit, when I saw it, I thought, “Good grief. What kind of presentation is this? Looks like broken bits of brittle carelessly thrown onto a plate!”

However, one bite of it, and I didn’t care anymore. Loved it! It was wonderfully crunchy, with a lovely salty yet sweet caramel flavour that was well balanced by the chunky cashew nut pieces. Overall, a simple dessert that will have you licking your fingers afterwards.

Ok. So the furniture and decor might be a little worse for wear, but I think the charm of Jake’s is that it is simple and straightforward, evocative of the simple joys of the past, when things seemed so much less complicated.

Anyway, just so you know: They also have a newer outlet located in Star Hill, if you want a fancier ambience.

(Link to the article on the Star website: CLICK HERE)

So it's: Friendly service, wide range of steaks and other Western food for reasonable prices BUT nothing really bad, just that the tables are a bit cramped......

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Jake's Charbroil Steaks @ Medan Damansara, KL

No. 21 Jalan Setiapuspa, Medan Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur.

Taste: 6
Ambience : 6
Service : 6
Price** : RM 85++ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-2141 5290
Opening Hours:
Mon to Sat: Lunch 12noon - 3pm, Dinner 6pm - 11pm,
Sun: Dinner only 6.30pm - 10pm

(They also have an outlet in Starhill, 03-2148 1398, Mon-Sun: 12noon to 1am)



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