Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Restaurant Chef Choi @ Jalan Ampang, KL

An understated Chinese restaurant in the shadow of KLCC....

Oops, sorry - forgot to post this up. My article on Chef Choi came out in The Star about 2 weeks ago. :)
(Thanks for pointing it out, Kenny! *hugs*)

I’ll be the first to admit it: My parents drive me crazy sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them.

I try my best to spend some quality time with them every week, which in the Malaysian context more often than not means making the time to have a good meal. Recently, I decided to take them to Restaurant Chef Choi, which is located in an understated two-storey building off Jalan Ampang between the MCA building and Restoren Pelita.

This restaurant is not new, having opened back in 2003, but somehow I had never got around to trying it till I was brought there recently by some foodie friends. By the way, a nice bonus is that the spacious parking lot around the restaurant is free of charge, as long as you dine there:
Outside Chef Choi: A nice bonus - the spacious FREE parking area around the restaurant....

It was quiet for a Sunday night, which made my parents panic, as they are strong believers that empty restaurants are a sure sign that there is something wrong (either not tasty/ fresh or just too expensive). I assured them that there was nothing to worry about and soon they relaxed in its comfortable, classy but unpretentious setting:
Inside Chef Choi: Classy but unpretentious setting....

Service was friendly and quick, with our mains arriving quickly - the Braised Garoupa Fish with Beancurd Rolls (RM 108++) and the Smoked Baby Pork Ribs (RM 35++):
The Garoupa Fish: Much too big for us 3 but tasted even better the next day....

The baby pork ribs: Not very big but was tender and tasty, down to the bone....

Of course I much preferred the pork ribs with its fairly tender meat steeped with a appetizing sweet, sour yet savoury flavor and enhanced by a slight smokiness. My parents preferred the fish with its uncomplicated sauce that was savoury without being too salty.

We also ordered some vegetables to balance out the meal - Fried Sliced Lotus Root with Water Chestnuts and Celery (RM 23++)
The Fried Lotus Root: A simple dish that my parents loved....

This simple dish turned out to be my parents dish of the night. Overall, its flavor was very "ching" (crisp/ clean) and there was a nice textural mix between the moistness of the different mushrooms against the crunchy lotus roots, water chesnuts and celery.

The thing about Chef Choi is that you don't necessarily need to spend a bomb to eat there. There are a variety of delicious fried noodles available at Chef Choi, with my current favourite being the Tomato Meehoon (RM 24++), which is actually not on the official menu:
The Tomato Beehoon: A "secret" item that's not on the menu!....

If you prefer the deepfried beehoon crispy, then eat it quickly, or let it rest for a while to let the sauce seep in. Either way, I find this piquant sweet and sour dish very appetising, and also love how juicy and fresh the accompanying prawns and squid is too.

We did not have any desserts that night as we were already too full by the end of the meal, but I have tried the crème brûlèe before.

It’s kinda strange to find a classic French dessert at a Chinese restaurant but they know what they are doing. The flavour of fresh vanilla beans in the cream and a not-too-thick layer of caramelised sugar make this a winning item.

The three of us had a really good time that night, and in the end my father was in such a good mood that he ended up paying, even though it was supposed to be my treat.

This was not what I had in mind, but, well, I’m not complaining. :)

So it's: Friendly service, free parking!, fairly wide range Chinese dishes ranging from the affordable to the expensive BUT nothing really bad, just that the surrounding area can be a bit jammed during peak hours......

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Restaurant Chef Choi @ Jalan Ampang, KL

No. 159 Jalan Ampang,50450 Kuala Lumpur.

Taste: 7
Ambience : 7
Service : 8
Price** : RM 65++ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-2163 5866
Opening Hours:
Lunch: 12pm–3pm, Dinner: 6pm–10pm



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Monday, May 23, 2011

Chilling in Times Square

Yo! :)
It's Sunday and the place is buzzing with tourists and locals and police.

Unfortunately the weather is a bit chillier than expected (brrrrrr) but otherwise, I feel like we snagged the best seats in the place to chill n watch the sun set....

Still missing you tho,

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, May 21, 2011

End of the world?

So far I'm having the best n worst n overall, most memorable holiday moments in New York so far. :)

Miss you all (yes, you, n you n you n you *hugs*) and kinda look forward to
coming home already.


Ps/ so enjoying the food here tho! :D
(om nom nom nom nom)
(oh n hopefully the world doesn't end tomorrow
as predicted by some dooms day theorists)

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Notice of Hiatus

*J does happy-happy, holiday dance*
\o\ \o/ /o/

Guess where I'm going?:
(Here's a clue)

It's pretty obvious, right?

Well, I've been saving up for a while now and headed to one of my top "Have To Visit Before The End of The World" destinations. So, just to let you know: I will not be updating my blog till Friday, 3rd of June 2011...

I'll try to squeeze in a few posts in this time, but only if I manage to get access to a computer. :)
(In the meantime, please don't forget about me, ok?)


PS/ Please wish me luck - a part of me is very worried of possible Al Qaeda retaliation, (following recent news on the killing of Osama Bin Laden by US forces in Pakistan)... but well, *sigh* I hope that nothing will happen....

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Monday, May 09, 2011

Rolland Collection Wine Dinner @ The Pressroom Bangsar, KL

Travelling around the world, with the help of The Rolland Collection...

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...

The Pressrooom is one of the newer additions to Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC) post face-lift, offering a relatively more sophisticated European dining to the list of options:
Lush, glowing amber coloured wall...

That night, I was attending a really interesting wine pairing dinner, where the owners (, oeneologists and consultants) Michel and Dani Rolland had flown in all the way from France to share on their wines:
The beautiful, passionate Dani Rolland...

- Tian of Crabcake With Avocado & Tomatoes dressed in Cilantro Oil
Matched with a Chateau La Grande Clotte 2007 Blanc
Delicious way to start the night...

I thought the wine had a really pretty colour...

The crabcake was yummy! - moist on the inside and crumbly/crunchy on the outside, with a mild seafood flavour accented by the piquant avocado and tomato salsa.

As for the wine, it was interestingly complex for a white wine, tasted fresh and smooth but with strong and a surprisingly long finish - complemented the seafood very well.
(I don't usually favour white wines but I thought this was nice...)

- Roast Duck Spring Roll with Jackfruit Salsa, Hoisin & Lemon Dip
Matched with a Castillo Spanish Campo Alegre 2007 from Toro
An exotic concept, but needs to be tweaked...

Another delicious wine, this time from Spain...

To be fair: The wine is perfectly nice on its own, medium bodied with undertones of berries and spices (and pepper, according to Eiling, but my palate is not as good as hers when it comes to wines, I think!). Unfortunately, it was overpowered by the strong flavours of the nangka....

- Foie Gras Ravioli And Beef Consomme with Truffle Foam
Matched with a Chateau Le Bon Pasteur 2006 from Pomerol
Tasty ravioli hiding in the truffle foam...

The star wine of the Rolland Collection...

I was greedy, lamenting that the foie gras pieces weren't gigantic and that the truffle scent was a bit mild... Still, I really enjoyed this dish - a delicate balance of richness from the foie, earthiness of the truffles and savouriness from the consomme.

The wine was really nice - full bodied, robust flavours and with a strong finish but somehow not overpowering the relatively subtly flavoured food.
(This wine was rated 90 points by Wine Spectator, which as I understand it, is a pretty big deal)

- Orange sorbet
A really nice citrus sorbet...

Tell you something funny: I didn't remember the menu properly, and I thought this was the dessert! - turns out its a something a bit "atas" called a palate cleanser, where you refresh your tastebuds in between courses by (usually) having something sour.

- Wagyu Cube Roll With Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Maldon Sea Salt
Also matched with a Chateau Le Bon Pasteur 2006 from Pomerol
2 slabs of wagyu, topped with some sauce...

I was a bit afraid when I initially saw the beef - it looked entirely too lightly cooked (as I usually take my steak Medium done)... but after one bite, I was SOLD... and proceeded to inhale the steak.
(Tender, juicy, beef-y in the best way possible and no "bloody" taste surprisingly)

Other than being my favourite course for the night, this was also my favourite wine pairing - I think the Pomerol really shone, with the berry flavours somehow accentuated and complemented the beef very well.

- Chocolate Cigarillo with Honey Mascarpone Cream & Coffee Mocha Ice Cream
Matched with a Remhoogte 2005 from Stellenbosch South Africa
Chocolate and coffee - love this combination...

Chocolate, caramel, berries and coffee - this is a combination that I like but in this case, it was a bit too sweet for me to really enjoy.

The wine made it interesting though - beyond the medium body and fairly spicy and dry finish, the Pinotage grape in the wine gave it a nice smokey aftertaste that helped balance out the sweetness of the dessert.

The one thing I find very special about Michel and Dani Rolland is that their passion for wine is not constrained to one country or terroir... and by showcasing a selection from their wineries around the world, it kinda made me feel like they took me on a journey with them....
(Definitely had a wonderful time that night)

Thank you to:
1) Michel and Dany Rolland for coming all the way to Malaysia to share their passion for wine with us that night,
2) The management and Chef Bob of Pressroom for the wonderful meal,
3) Michelle, and everyone from Sunrise Wines for the kind invitation, and
4) My fellow diners - thanks for the wonderful company!

BTW: If you want more details on these wines (and where to get them), you can contact Sunrise Wines & Spirits, at +6012-215 4811 (mobile) or +603-6272 8288 (fax).
(Also, here is the link to the Rolland Collection website)

Summary Sheet:

Rolland Collection Wine Dinner @ The Pressroom Bangsar, KL
G110 Ground Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Jalan Maarof, KL

Price** : Call restaurant to ask
Parking: OK

** Can be customised according to your event

Telephone No.: 03-2095 8098
Opening Hours: 12noon - 12midnight
Parking: OK



- 3iling

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Friday, May 06, 2011

Whisk Espresso Bar and Bake Shop @ Empire Shopping Gallery

Not so new cafe inside Empire Shopping Gallery :) ....

Work keeps me busier than I'd like...

.. so sometimes its nice to take a short break, to enjoy some coffee and some sweet nothings (or well, desserts will do too):
Small location, in Empire, next to GNC and near the supermarket....

The dining area inside was a little on the small side (cramped, even) but it had a nice charm to it, cosy and homely... I just wished the wooden stools were a bit more comfortable:
Small little black and white tiles remind me of an old restaurant....

They have an interesting range of coffees there, but the Dark Chocolate Latte (RM12) immediately caught my eye:
Smooth, creamy, chocolatey coffee....

I am glad I chose that - it had a nice balance of coffee complemented by a creamy chocolate taste that was not too sweet. The texture of the coffee was also really nice - medium thickness and smooth.
(Would definitely order this again)

I couldn't resist the cheerful coloured Macaroons (RM18 for 10 pieces, or RM2 per piece) which came in a variety of interesting flavours like Peanut Butter, Lychee, Passion Fruit as well as classic ones like Chocolate and Vanilla:
Bite sized macaroons....

We excitedly chose a few different flavours and dug in....
... and it turns out to be just "ok" to me.

The texture was decent (lightly crisp on the outside, with a layer of moist cream inside), but it was too sweet for my tastebuds. Also, I know that macarons are hard to make but they just weren't as "pretty" as I would have liked, with its slightly dimpled exterior and unsymmetrical shape.
(I really miss the macarons I ate in Paris! :( *wail*)

Their cakes are pretty famous/ popular (especially the Red Velvet and Hummingbird) so probably I'll try that the next time I drop by here for a coffee fix. :)

So it's: Casual cosy ambience, friendly service, fair range of savoury and sweet baked goods, yummy coffee BUT can be hard to find a table inside (limited seating)......

Summary Information:
Whisk @ Empire Shopping Gallery

Opening Hours: 10am till 10pm daily
Phone: +603-5022 2060
Address: LG 03A, Empire Shopping Gallery, Jalan 16/1, 47500 Subang Jaya

Map: (Below)



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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant @ Midvalley Megamall, KL

So many forms of glorious porkiness :) ....

Yup, this is another invited review....
Sorry if seems like quite a lot lately - 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...

I'd actually been to Brotzeit before, but forgot my camera and didn't blog about it:
Felt warm and cosy inside the modern restaurant....

So, when the kind Mr WaLauWei extended an invite to try this place out (again), I just couldn't say no. :)
(Pork pork pork!)

It was a pretty massive turn out that night in the already usually packed restaurant,... but I felt comfortable in its modern, high class pub setting. :)
(Twas nice to be able to catch up with a few familiar faces as well as meet some new friends)

We started off with the Cold Platter (RM82++).....
A large serving of choice cuts....

... and the Sausage platter, served with sauerkraut (RM 78++):
If I'm not wrong, they prepare these in-house....

The hefty wooden board was stacked with a variety of quality deli meats slices, obatza cheese, eggs, pickles, etc and all tasted delicious whether eaten alone or mixed and matched....

As as for the sausages, there were 4 different types and they all tasted wonderfully meaty and fresh, balanced well with the tart but not overpowering sauerkraut.
(Loved that there was none of that horrid synthetic tasting low quality processed meat)

The highlight for me that night was the Oven-roasted Crispy Pork Knuckle served with sauerkraut and potato salad (RM85++):
(WARNING: There's limited stock daily - Best if you call ahead to book)
Porky BLISS :D....

While the meat was good (medium tenderness and well marinated), the part that really stood out to me was the awesomely crispy skin - somehow, they managed to achieve a sort of "fluffy" crunchiness that was simply addictive:
Cross section of the crispy skin....

Another favourite that night was the Cheese Spatzel (RM 34++):
Food for the soul....

Zero marks for presentation *lol*, but this carb-y, cheese-y dish was like the ultimate comfort food on a bad day. :D
(Yums - my table was extra greedy and "stole" some from a neighbouring table, since the girls did not seem to like calorific carbs)

One of the many porky options that night was the Grilled Pork Fillet Medallions wrapped in Smoked Bacon, served with fries and sautéd mixed vegetables (RM 44++):
Cute little pork fillets....

Flavourful and fairly tender, with a nice extra oomph from the added bacon - it was a pretty good eat and I could see why this is a popular order at that restaurant.

If you wanted something healthier though, you could go for the Mozzarella cheese salad (RM42++) instead - fragrant rocket leaves matched with fresh buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, pesto sauce, and extra virgin olive oil. All in all a refreshing, delicious combination of tastes and textures:
A salad to balance the sin? :)....

Yet another favourite was the crispy Ham pizza (RM 32++):
Love well executed thin crust pizzas....

The fairly thin pizza base was perfectly crunchy (not starchy - yay!), and piled with enough ham, cheese, olives, onions and capsicum to make it a delightfully savoury eat.

I don't know how we managed but we also managed to fit in a couple of desserts - the Apple Strudel, served with vanilla ice cream (RM 22++):
A classic dessert....

... Bavarian vanilla cream, with chocolate sauce and almonds (RM 12++)
Smooth creamy dessert....

... and Vanilla Cream with pumpkin seed oil and almond flakes (RM 16++):
Another creamy option....

All 3 desserts were nice, depending on what you prefer - the Apple Strudel was tart and fruity while the Bavarian Vanilla Cream and Vanilla Cream with Pumpkin Seed Oil were relatively more creamy and decadent.

Needless to say, I had a wonderful time dining there. :) Thanks to:
- the talented chef and management of Brotzeit for having us there,
- the wonderful Jason for extending the invite, and
- to all my fellow diners for making the night even more fun.

So it's: Cosy, modern ambience, friendly service, good range of porky food and AWESOME crispy pork kunckle 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:

Brotzeit German Bier Bar & Restaurant @ Midvalley Megamall, KL

Lot GE(018) Mid Valley Megamall, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur

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

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-2287 5516
Opening Hours: 11am to late
Official Website: Click HERE



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