Monday, August 20, 2012

Indelible Ink

5 5 5 7 - A wanted to be, but didn't turn out as a haiku inspired by a feeling (and not any person in particular, really!)....

Memories unwind,
As old scars remind.
(Smiles, joy and laughter,...
... the tears that followed after)

Like shackles within,
Fear starts setting in.
(So afraid to try,...
... thinking the risk is too high)

A permanent mark,
Wicked weakness of the heart.

Emo poet wannabe ;)
PS/ Wakakaka. So I didn't post on food - sorry.

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Monday, August 06, 2012

Going South

Hi y'all. I'm taking a 5 minute escape from work to say hi. *waves* For those of you who don't know,.. well... I've moved to Singapore (for work)... I didn't really tell many people - first of all, it all happened so fast that I kinda lost track of who I told and who I didn't... and secondly - I've never been good at goodbyes. :(
Work has worsened (mostly, especially when it comes to work/life balance) but I'm alive... and it's interesting I guess, this new adventure :) In other news: My external hard disk CRASHED, so I lost all the photos of food I had yet to blog about. (I guess this means I really am starting off on a clean slate *SIGH*) Anyway. I gotta get back to work. (Wish me luck!) Hugs, J PS/ I am much more active on Instagram now actually - so, if you want to have a look at the random and erratic food photos I take on a day to day basis, do look for me there (Username: J_CHOCOHOLIC)... TAGS: , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hopefully Just A Phase

*sings* I work harrrd for the moneeeeyy :)...

Hi there,

I am alive. Really**.
(** Despite the glaring evidence otherwise, like the complete lack of updates)

... between work and a quick holiday/escape and the looming changes in my very immediate future, it's been tough (although admittedly, not impossible if I was more energetic/disciplined) to keep to my usual posting rhythm....

It's just another low point in my life (in terms of blogging)... but I really hope to get out of this sort of hiatus soon.....

Don't give up on me yet, ok? :)

J the chocoholic

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Weekend Buffet @ Rama V, KL

Almost like a mini holiday :)...

This was an invited review, so 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...

What have I not said about Rama V already (in my previous posts)?

Hopefully I don't sound repetitive... but truly, I love the ambience there - it's so wonderfully resort-like, nestled in a low key, charming bungalow on Jalan U-Thant (off Jalan Tun Razak).
(You can almost feel like you are on a holiday, without having to get on a plane):

The main dining area in Rama V....

Recently, I went there to try out a new promotion - the Rama V Weekend A-la-carte buffet.

"A Rama V Weekend A-la-carte buffet? What's that?", you ask.

It means that you get free flow of wine/ beer (or non-alcoholic Fruit Punch/ Soft drinks, if you don't want alcohol, for whatever reason), and you get to order endless rounds of freshly cooked food. :)
(The explanation on the menu that day was a bit confusing but basically, they only try to limit how much you order each round to help make sure that you don't end up accidentally wasting any food...)

Red or white wine, or Tiger beer? - up to you....

We had a lot to eat that day (and we didn't even make a dent in the menu - there's so much choice!)... so I'll keep each description short and sweet.


- Pik Kai Tod – Chicken Wing stuffed with Minced chicken and Mushroom

Great with beer....

Delicious... Crispy yet moist - a nice way to start the meal.

- Chor Ladda – flower dumpling stuffed with minced chicken and peanuts

ALMOST too pretty to eat....

Their famous, beautiful starter that is a nice combination of sticky, moist, sweet and savoury.

- Poe Tak - Seafood soup flavoured with Thai herbs

Generous portions....

Loved this soup - it was everything I enjoy in a Thai soup, fragrant with spices, salty, sour, spicy, and with lots of juicy, fresh seafood.


- Gaeng Ped Pol Linchee – Roasted Duck Curry with Lychee

Quack quack....

I really enjoyed this mildly spicy curry that has moist slices of roast duck, accentuated by the sweet tenderness of the lychee - goes so well with rice.

- Asparagus, fried with garlic

Vegetables are good for your health....

A simple dish but it complements the meal well. :)

- Nuer Pad Prik Thai Orn – Sauteed Beef with Young Pepper, Chili & Oyster Sauce

Yummy! The slices of beef were really tender and the sauce was nice - a nice balance of savoury and slightly sweet.

- Pad Thai Kung Reu Kai – Thai Fried Rice Noodles with Shrimp or Chicken

Looking up at Rama V....

A Thai classic for the carb addicts.


- Red rubies


My favourite Thai dessert... and the one at Rama V is really good - big enough chunks of water chestnut wrapped in bouncy jelly,.. so refreshing in the icy "soup".

- Mango sticky rice

There's always space for dessert :D....

Another of my faves at Rama V - perfectly ripe mango slices matched so well with the sticky sweet rice.

What a lunch! :D
(They did a good job with the choice of wines - easy to drink and it went well with all the dishes... I liked the white wine better tho)

Price-wise, I think it's one of the best deals in town:
(Better book, to avoid disappointment)
- RM 68.90++ (adults)
- RM 34.45++ (kids under 10 years old)

(12noon - 3pm on Saturdays & Sundays, with last order of food at 2.30pm and last order of wines/beer at 2.45pm)

After our wonderfully long, looooong lunch, we went to check out the new addition upstairs - a new function room, this fully AV equipped meeting room, now available for rental.
(Can seat up to 70 people depending on the type of function - more if its a theatre style meeting, less if it's an annual dinner, or board room time style meeting)
(Oh, and it even has an en suite bathroom - so convenient!)

Part of the function room....

Thanks to the gorgeous Ciki for extending the invite and of course, to the ever so charming Andre Shum and Danny Jee of Rama V for being such good hosts.
(Also to all the bloggers+friends who was there that day - *HUGS* You make a good meal even better with your company...)

So, it's: Affordable price (considering it's an a-la-carte buffet with free flow wine), beautiful resort-like ambience, delicious Thai food BUT nothing bad to say really, if you like Thai food, you'll LOVE Rama V....

Summary Information:
Weekend Buffet @ Rama V, KL

Opening Hours: (For this buffet) Saturday & Sunday 12 noon -3 pm
Phone: 603-2143 2428
Address: 5, Jalan U-Thant, Kuala Lumpur


- Cumi dan Ciki
- PureGlutton
- Eat Your Heart Out
- Bangsar Babe

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Tommy le Baker Boulangerie Pâtisserie @ Viva Residency, Jalan Ipoh KL

A (bread) gem just off Jalan Ipoh....


Sorry I haven't been updating much. :(
I'm back in "Drowning in Work" mode again (to my despair) - this is really not where I imagined my new job would take me, but *sigh* as much as I dislike this new imbalanced life, I am not one to shrug off responsibilities...

(Onwards to the food review, and less bla bla bla)

I recently stumbled upon a little bakery, just off the main Jalan Ipoh area:
(Thank you BFM! - I was in the area running errands when I heard the interesting interview segment with this very passionate baker, Tommy... His bakery was nearby, so I just had to go check it out)

Tommy's Bakery, hidden behind the trees....

It's such a small little place - with only about 4 tables available (as almost half the area is taken up by the large ovens/ equipment/ work area. The proximity is nice because you can smell all the delicious breads baking, and see Mr Tommy and his assistants hard at work.
(Mind you, it can get a bit warm in there though... and it's hard to get a table during peak hours)

Bake bake bake! Super bakers at work... :)....

They don't have much in terms of meal options, just a few sandwiches, and a daily special - it was Chicken Croque Monsieur that day (RM 15.60):

Simple, classic French food....

To be completely fair, overall it was just ok:
Cons - Very normal (although fairly moist) slices of chicken, not quite enough cheese and bechamel sauce.
Pros - The sauce was creamy enough without being stodgy, and MMMMMMM the sourdough bread was yummy! It had nice crusty edges, with a nice hint of sour flavour.
(Would definitely order again if it's on the specials again)

I was already full at that point, but nothing could stop me from having dessert. :D
(My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach that day)

The Chocolate croissant (RM 4.90) caught my eye and I went for that:

The French pronounce it kwah-sonn....

I liked it enough, but unfortunately my expectations were way too high - was hoping for the same "OMGGGGGG It's so goooood" feeling that I got when I ate my first Pan Au Chocolate in Paris. :(
(The croissant at Tommy's isn't fragrant/ flaky/ crispy enough in comparison)

Still, it was definitely one of the better croissants in KL (that I've tasted so far, anyway).

(Another day, when I dropped by to buy more bread) I also tried the La Jaconde (RM 12) cake:


Luverly. :)
Moist layers of nutty sponge, chocolate and cream made for a delightful pairing with my cup of coffee... and what I loved most is that this dessert was just nice in terms of sweetness - a rarity in Malaysia where most times, the desserts are sweet enough to give you an immediate toothache and sugar high.
(There were also a few other tarts on display that looked really interesting - planning to stop by to try those soon)

Of course, being a bakery, there are a selection of breads (prices vary from RM 3 to RM 8 depending on the bread):

A simple thing but hard to get right....

There are not that many different types available but so far, so good. :)

I particularly like the sourdoughs (they have 3 types - Country, Farmer and Fruit) and have been making sandwiches for breakfast over the last few weeks.

I brought some home and had a chunky slice of Tommy's Farmer's sourdough (RM 8 for a whole loaf) topped with Gouda cheese, smoked pork loin slice and tomatoes, lightly toasted for breakfast - a great way to start the day!:

My stacked breakfast....

As much as I am a typical Asian (I love rice. LOVE it), the foodie in me really enjoys good bread.... and boy, am I glad I found Tommy's. :)

OK. Now I gotta get back to work. :(

Take care y'all!


So it's: Small but delicious range of delicious breads and some pastries, a few sandwiches and hot meals (daily special) BUT there's only 4 tables for "dine in" and when there is a sudden surge of customers, service level drops although it remains friendly (Aiyah, just don't be so fussy and wait your turn la hok? There's only 3 of them manning the shop and baking at the same time)......

Tommy le Baker Boulangerie Pâtisserie @ Viva Residency, Jalan Ipoh KL

B-0-7 Viva Residency,
378, Jalan Ipoh
(Opposite KLPAC)

Telephone No.: 03- 4043 2546
Opening Hours:
Tues - Fri, 10am - 8pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday , 10am - 6pm
(Closed on Monday)

Official website: Click HERE


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- Brought up 2 SharE
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rockpool Restaurant @ Burswood Entertainment Complex, Perth, Australia

A guest review from an old friend :) ....

Dear Miss Bella (aka. Mrs Van Nistelrooy) is always complaining about how my blog taunts her with photos of food in Malaysia which she misses and can't have (since she is in Australia now).

Q: So, what does she do?

A: TAKE REVENGE by writing a wonderful post on delicious food in Australia that I can't have because I'm in Malaysia!



The exclusive Rockpool restaurant by Neil Perry, has gained a bit of a following among fine dining enthusiasts over the years. A quick scan of its menu(s) online and googling ‘Neil Perry’ reveals that the chef is at the top of his game and knows it. (He has a great passion for fresh food, seasonal organic produce and ethically sound farming practices)

With the resources boom in the oft-overlooked state of Western Australia seeming to have no end in sight, Perry had observed a change in the tastes, dining preferences, and importantly, wallet sizes of its citizens - Partnering with Crown-owned Burswood Resorts and Casino, Perry opened his third Rockpool restaurant in the Southern Hemisphere.
Boozey start 1 - So many interesting beers in Australia....

I have not had the opportunity to dine at Rockpool Sydney, however my dining companion has, and he was very enthusiastic about trying out Rockpool Perth.

We arrived about 20 minutes earlier than our booking time, and we were ushered to the bar to have a drink while they readied our table. I started with a 2009 Honey Moon Vineyard ‘Brut Rosé’ sparkling wine and my dining companion a White Rabbit, a dark, robust ale.
(There didn’t seem to be very many people at the time, but mind you, it was only about 6pm)
Boozey start 2 - Also, many many interesting wines in Australia :D....

At 6.30pm, we were ushered to our table by our maitre d'.... For the sake of this review I will call him Jean-Luc - he had a French accent and the more I called upon his expertise to explain the menu to me in plain English, the more I actually addressed him as so, even though I had no idea what his name was.
(Could have been Pierre. Or Jacques. Or Nicolas Sarkozy)

Before I dive into the food, I apologise for the poor quality of the photos – point and shoot camera are terrible in dim lighting.

First off – a side of bread and butter.

The bread was warm, fresh and chewy, the butter not too salty. I did like the bread, but I felt it was something I could easily get from the New Norcia Bakery.
Crusty bread and salted butter - yums :D ....

We started with the Ceviche of Prawn and Red Emperor with Avocado and Cherry Tomatoes (AUD $ 32++).

Jean-Luc had warned that the ceviche had chillis which can be rather spicy. The ceviche was delicious, a great opener to our meal. The raw prawns and red emperor were soaked in lemon juice for just the right amount of time, and it was bouncy with a bit of chewiness to it.
Ceviche - a healthy South American seafood salad?....

The avocado and cherry tomatoes were a fresh addition to the prawns, and the parsley gave a really nice herby kick to it. As for the chillis? Not even close to spicy, but it did lend a sort of sweetness to the dish. A very refreshing starter.

Our second starter was the Duck and Walnut Galantine with Spiced Orange Marmalade and Toast (AUD $ 20++). Compared to the ceviche, this was very rich.

The gallantine was delicious, with walnuts dotted throughout the dark meat. The gallantine with the marmalade, which had a slightly burnt aftertaste to it (a good thing!), creates a fantastic taste explosion.
Delicious slab of duck....

After much argument, I ordered the Mount Barker Free Range Chicken, Char Grilled Corn, Pumpkin, Roasted Garlic and Bread Salad (AUD $ 39++). My dining companion complained that my dish was going to take 50 minutes (as warned on the menu), and he’d be dead from starvation by then. Still, our starters kept us filled while waiting.

Free range organic chicken definitely tastes very different from normal chicken. It was soft and almost had a velvety quality to it, with the skin melting in some parts but deliciously crispy in others. I really enjoyed this dish, and the sweet grilled corn it came with provided a good counter to the savoury chicken.
Real chicken is delicious....

My dining companion had the Wood Fired Grilled David Hohnen’s Arkady Lamb Loin Chops and Cutlets with Mint Jelly (AUD $ 38++). Don’t be fooled by the picture, you can actually add ‘sides’ to this dish.

We argued about this as well, considering the starters we ordered. He wanted Hand Cut Fat Chips AND Onion Rings, but I said that was going to be too much, so he settled for Onion Rings.
Meat lover's delight....

The lamb was nicely cooked, grilled brown on the outside and still pink on the inside - the meat melts in your mouth. The mint jelly was nothing like the stuff you buy in a bottle from the supermarket. You could practically smell the fresh mint like it was just plucked from the plant - Loved it.

The onion rings were a little bit hit and miss. I’m not sure whether they sprinkled salt over it, but the first one I had was very salty. Having said that though, the rings were coated in a delightful light batter, and it definitely went well with the lamb (and chicken!).
The onion rings look good....

By the time our mains were taken away we were full to bursting. We still asked Jean-Luc for the dessert menu though. There is always room for dessert, especially at Rockpool.

My first trip to Rockpool had been for dessert. While my colleagues ordered ‘healthier’ items like a cheese platter to share, I went rogue and ordered the Profiteroles and Ice Cream with Chocolate (AUD $ 16++). I did not regret it and have been dreaming of it since, so I zeroed in on this dessert once again. Jean-Luc advised that the ice cream this time was caramel.
A stack of delicious profiteroles....

It was just as I remembered.

Profiteroles topped with hardened chocolate, nuts and crunchy crystallized sugar, with caramel ice cream sandwiched between. I was back in heaven. It’s the kind of dessert that has a little bit of everything to make you completely satisfied – pastry, chocolate and caramel. No other dessert will ever come close to this. For now, anyway.

Jean-Luc recommended the 2009 Xanadu ‘Cane Cut’ Semillion Savignon Blanc (Margaret River) dessert wine to go with the profiteroles. This wine was warm, rich, and robust, with fruity undertones that went very well with my profiteroles.
Feeling tarty? :)....

As for my dining companion, he went for a favourite as well, the Peanut, Caramel Chocolate Tart with Milk Ice Cream (AUD $ 23++). The tart was outstanding – it's very hard to find well-made chocolate tart anywhere, and I have to say, this was a very good chocolate tart, with the mix of chocolate, peanuts and caramel, along with the house-made vanilla ice-cream.
High class popcorn....

Ooooh, popcorn to go with coffee! Yum!

My initial reservations with ‘fine dining’ is that I’d end up having to drive through McDonald’s after. However, Rockpool is surprisingly generous with portions, so my reservations were completely unfounded.

Overall I’d say the Rockpool dining experience was good, with attentive, knowledgeable staff, both at the front line and in the open kitchen, an extensive wine list, and a rich, earthy restaurant décor.

The funny thing is, after you’ve had a lot to eat, you tend to feel a little bit guilty. I didn’t feel it one bit, in this case. Perhaps Perry’s idea of fresh produce and good cooking makes it a less guilty experience?

Who knows? It’s definitely good cooking, though.


Thanks to Miss Bella for her awesome review! :)

Rockpool Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Summary Information:
Rockpool Restaurant @ Burswood Entertainment Complex, Perth, Australia

Opening Hours: Lunch Sunday to Friday, Dinner 7 days
Phone: + 61 8 6252 1900
Address: Burswood Entertainment Complex, Great Eastern Highway, Burswood, WA 6100, Perth, Australia
(Rockpool is located at the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel)
Map: (Below)
Website: Official website here



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- Urban Spoon
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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Toast And Roast @ SS2, PJ

Oh pork. How you soothe the soul...(and clog the arteries *sigh*) ....

Some food places are so hidden...

Tucked away in the middle of a small block of shop lots between a condo and some houses (a very residential area) in SS2, Toast & Roast almost seems like it's purposely trying to avoid attention:
(I had no idea it was so close to my home...)

Modern signage but standard coffee shop "ambience" inside....

It's really simple inside - pretty much a relatively clean and comfortable coffeeshop setting.... with an array of tantalising, glistening roasted meats hanging in the "stall" in front.
(Actually, that's the only stall in the coffeeshop)

The main star there is the Premium Char Siew (Small RM 8, Medium RM 16, Large RM 24):

Delicious (and harmless?) sin....

It had a nice balance of moist yet crispy - the slightly charred bits contrasted so well against the tender meat, which was not too cloyingly sweet...
(The best cut to order is "poon fei sao" (Half fat skinny)... which has the added yumminess of the perfect balance of melt in mouth fatty bits and tender meat)

You can of course eat the char siew with rice, but that day we had the Hakka Mee with Mince Meat (RM 5) instead:

A hearty meal of carbs and some meat....

Although saltier than I would have liked, the bouncy noodles topped with moist, savoury minced meat sauce was a yummy eat, especially since it was topped with crunchy chee yau char (Um. Pork fat croutons?).
(I think the Char siew would go better with regular steamed rice though.... The noodles are almost a meal on it's own and the meat sauce, although tasty, overpowers the char siew...)

We also ordered the Green Curry Pork (Small RM 6, Large RM 10), which they have on certain days:

A random bit of Thai cuisine at a Chinese coffeeshop....

I'm not sure if its completely authentic, but it was still yummy - lemak (creamy) enough with a good fragrance of basil, and not too spicy.

Thank goodness for my dear food-aholics who rescue me from my episodes of work related food hiatuses.

(*waves at the gorgeous Bangsar Babe (and Rif)... and to Nips for giving us a good reason to meet up*.. THANKS Y'ALL!)

So it's: Relatively comfortable ambience (for a coffeeshop), good range of roast meats and some noodles/ side dishes BUT nothing bad really, just that some of the pricing seems to be on the higher side (for a coffeeshop) and parking can be a bit of a pain......

Restaurant ReviewSummary Sheet:

Toast And Roast @ SS2, PJ

No. 20, Jalan SS2/72, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Taste: 7
Ambience : 6
Service : 5
Price** : RM 11 per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks

Telephone No.: 016-682 2249/ 013-340 3983
Opening Hours: 9am to 4.30pm (or until stocks last, as their Facebook page warns...)
(Closed on Tuesday)



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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Entree Cafe @ Damansara Jaya (Uptown), PJ

A new(-ish) cute little fusion cafe in the Uptown area :) ....

Sometimes** I am guilty of letting too much time pass.... and miss out on important things like catching up with treasured old friends (and also updating my blog. Sigh)....
(** Getting to be too often, actually)

I don't think it's just me though - everyone is busy one thing or another (whether work, dating, kids, family, etc) so the lapses can really drag on.

I have known Z since high school (OMG, so long ago I am so old *wail*) and after many months, we finally got an overlapping free time slot in our schedules, and met up in nearby Damansara Uptown... We hadn't meant to end up in Entree Cafe (which is fairly new, I think), but it looked interesting as we were walking past:

Just outside Entree....

I liked the ambience inside - simple yet comfy, with its casual setting and small quirky touches like the chalk drawings on the walls:

Cosy :)....

I tried the Lemongrass Tea (cold) (RM 3.80+) - It was very refreshing with a light sweetness and nice fragrance that was not overpowering:

My drink....

I felt like something soupy, so I chose the Tom Yam Seafood Mihun (RM 13.80+) from their a la carte menu - It was a little sweet, spicy but only slightly sour. Overall, not bad but probably not my fave tom yam in town:

Mixed seafood tom yam mihun....

My friend opted for the Set Lunch, which comes with a choice from a variety of mains, and a free drink - he chose the 46th Street Rangoon Laksa (RM 9.80+). I took a bite and wished I had ordered this too.

It was a lovely, hearty dish with a thick broth - a great balance of earthy, sweet and slightly spicy (with a nice sour zing too, if you add the lime).
(My kind of comfort food. Yummy!)

Unusual but delicious laksa....

We didn't try any desserts that day but scanning the menu, there were many interesting fusion dishes that caught my eye - looking forward to go back there soon.
(Pricing is pretty decent too)

So, a new discovery with friendly service + good food + nice ambience all added up to make our nice catch up session even better that day.

So it's: Nice casual but quirky ambience, friendly service, good range of Western, Asian and fusion dishes at decent prices BUT nothing bad really, just that they are quite empty on weekends - don't take this as a bad sign :) The food is pretty good..

Restaurant ReviewSummary Sheet:

Entree Cafe @ Damansara Jaya (Uptown), PJ

33 Jalan SS 21/56B, Damansara Uptown, 47400 Petaling Jaya
(Near The Ship)

Taste: 7
Ambience : 7
Service : 7
Price** : RM 30+ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks

Telephone No.: 03-7732 8540
Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm



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Friday, February 10, 2012

Sexy In Red AND Delicious

Have your cake and eat it too :)....

It's always tough looking for the perfect present (especially for special occasions like Valentine's Day)...

When I saw these beautiful "roses" from Just Heavenly, I thought "OMG! How perfect! - a present that's not just gorgeous, but delicious too!"

A close up of the sexy red rose....

I know....

V Day is becoming overly commercialised... but well, if you want to get a little something to make the day extra special for your honey bunny sweetie pie then well, this is pretty good option**.
(** In my humble opinion, anyway)

A look at the whole bouquet....

One of the major T&C's for this yummy cupcake bouquet is that you need to order at least 3 days before... So, if you want to get these beautiful (and delicious) cupcakes as a present then well, call NOW.

For more details, check out the Slice Of Heaven website

RM 100 (Optional +RM30 for delivery within certain KL areas)

What you get:
8 moist, chocolate Just Heavenly Cupcakes, arranged in a elegant white vase

How to order:
1) Go to their "A Slice of Heaven" outlets (in Jaya 1, Pavilion, O Gourmet (BSC) and Terrace @ Hock Choon, Ampang), OR
2) Call their office (03-2287 9866 or 03-2284 9866).

Craving some chocolatey goodness,

No lah. No one paid me or bribed me with cupcakes to post this up. I just really love their cupcakes. :P

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Thomas K Hardy's Dizzy 201 Wine Pairing Dinner @ Urban, Istana Hotel KL

Robust Aussie wines inspired by a cricketing legend :)....

Hi everyone...
Just so you know - This is an invited review, ok? Please find my 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.

Istana Hotel is (probably) one of the oldest hotels in KL....
(Well, it's been there as far back as I can remember anyway)

I admit, I hadn't been there for ages - So, I was really looking forward to checking out the new-ish addition (Urban restaurant) during a wine pairing dinner by a very established Australian winery, Thomas K Hardy:
(5 generations of wine making experience! That's a lot...)

Just outside the entrance to Urban, inside the hotel....

Despite the rather traditional sounding name and facade of Istana Hotel, Urban restaurant is modern, with a nice, warm ambience inside. It can either be more casual (sit at the bar) or more intimate/formal (sit at the tables in the main area or the private area behind):

Romantic lighting and warm colour scheme....

Once we got settled in, we were shown a video of the inspiration behind the wines - Australian cricket great, Jason "Dizzy" Gillespie:

Mr Gillespie talking to us through the projector screen....

I am not a cricket fan, so I had no idea who this Jason "Dizzy" Gillespie is. According to fellow diners (and the people from Hardy's), he is a legendary cricket player that amazingly, not only bowled well, but broke a lot of batting records too.
(So, I guess that's like a record breaking football goalkeeper who also a really good striker?)

- 1st Course: Chilled Pea Valute with Bacon Foam Rock Oyster and Avocado Garlic Cream and Salmon Roe.
Matched with a 2010 Dizzy Vintage Reserve Chardonnay

The oyster course....

The first Chardonnay....

Delicious - the oh so fresh oyster topped with just enough sauce/ seasoning to accentuate the natural sweetness, balanced with the creamy avocado and salty (pop pop popping) sweetness from the salmon roe. :D

This went really well with the Chardonnay, which was smooth, with a light sweetness of white fruits.

- 2nd Course: Seared Diver Scallop with Cauliflower puree, Australian Red Claw Salad, Apple Curry Mayo, Mixed Cress and Truffle dressing.
Matched with a 2009 Thomas K Hardy “Imprimatur” Chardonnay

Interesting bites of seafood, nicely presented....

The simple flavours of the fresh seafood, and variety of sweet and savoury accompaniments went very well with this stronger Chardonnay. I found it more robust than other Chardonnays I have tasted, with delicious citrus and oak tones.
(One of my favourite wines that night)

- 3rd Course: Farmed Quail with Crusted Almond, Ernest Soulard Foie Gras Escalopes, Caramelized Red Cherry and Seafood Ginger Sauce
Matched with a 2009 Dizzy 201 ‘Vintage Reserve’ Shiraz Cabernet

A quail! First time I tried this type of bird actually :)....

One of the lovely shirazs that night....

A hearty course, as the quail had a lovely, sweet yet crunchy coating, and an added decadence from the foie gras.

This needed a wine with character to pair it, and it came in the form of this delightful Shiraz blend which was not too spicy (balanced by the Cabernet perhaps?), slightly mineral-y, with mild tannins.

- 4th Course: grilled Australian grain-fed beef tenderloin, served with king mushroom, glazed turnip and marjoram with olive sauce
Matched with a 2008 Thomas K Hardy ‘Family Tradition’ cabernet sauvignon

The steak that night....

Although there was nothing to fault with the beef, it was the perfectly cooked, smoky yet moist mushroom that stood out. :)
(Not much of a surprise, I guess? - I do love mushrooms after all)

The cabernet sauvignon was easy to drink; smooth, with rich berry undertones, balanced tannins and a long finish - a very good accompaniment to red meat.

- Fifth Course: Aussie Cheese Selection, Fig Compote, Honey, and Cranberries Chutney
Matched with a 2005 Dizzy 201 Commemorative Shiraz

A few cuts of Australian cheese....

I thought this was a safe selection of cheeses - nothing too dribbly or smelly. :)
(Which I appreciate, since I'm not that big on cheese as a dessert course** - much prefer it melted over toast, or on a pizza)
(** I is still very Cina sometimes? Lol)

This made the signature, limited edition wine stand out more, with its relatively spicy taste and nice oak undertone, long finish and heavier body.
(I generally don't like spicy wines, but found this delightful)

- Dessert: Lemon Tart with Yuzu Sorbet, Cinnamon Ice Cream, Sweet Basil Leather, Gin & Tonic Agar Agar and Rose Bud Syrup
Matched with a Geoff Hardy ‘Full Front’ Liqueur Frontignac

Sweet and sour desserts - a nice way to end the night....

A potent liqueur to end the night....

A refreshing way to end the night; the desserts were sour enough and creamy (loved the yuzu sorbet especially) and when chased with a sip of the rather strong sweet liqueur - perfect. :D

Overall, it was a lovely meal - not just the food, but having the opportunity to reacquiant myself with a long lost hotel, all accentuated by a great variety of wines :D...

Thank you to:
1) Thomas Keith Hardy and the rest of his team, for coming all the way to Malaysia to share his wonderful wines with us,
2) Mr Praba Menon and Patricia of Istana Hotel for the wonderful meal, and
3) Mr Felix Darrel, and everyone from JFS Boutique Spirits for the kind invitation.

BTW: If you want more details on these wines (and where to get them), you can contact JFS Boutique Spirits at +6017 678 2038, email or check out their website - click here.
(Also, here is the link to the Dizzy Wine's website if you want more details about these wines)

Contact details

Urban Restaurant @ Istana Hotel KL

Lobby Level, 73, Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 Kuala Lumpur.

Telephone No.: 03-2141 9988
Opening Hours:

- Mimi's Dining Room
- Chasing Food Dreams

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