BEATS & BRUNCH @ LAFITE, Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Weekends are meant for food and relaxation.  That’s why weekend brunches are a dime a dozen, almost every cafe/restaurant/hotel worth its salt has a brunch to offer in this city.  In the sea of masses, what do you choose?

You choose something that’s a bit different, a bit unique perhaps?  Then go no further than Lafite at the Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur.  There’s a new concept of brunch at Lafite now on every first Sunday of the month, known as Beats and Brunch!  Starting at 12noon till 3.00pm, indulge on an array of “all you can eat” contemporary French cuisine with delicious entrées, mains, desserts and a la minute delights prepared by Executive Chef Olivier Pistre.  Oh did I say there’s also free-flow of Veuve Clicquot champagne, wines and cocktails?

Free-flow of Veuve Clicquot champagne!

Executive Chef Olivier Pistre

Executive Chef Olivier Pistre with Executive Pastry Chef Paul Gardin

Try all the cocktails 🙂

A mountain of Cadoret oysters!

Things also get jived up with live DJ music as I busied myself at the oysters counter where fresh juicy Cadoret oysters are replenished diligently.  These babies were really good, dripping with marine sweetness at every bite.  I think I had at least a dozen all by myself!

Cherries and strawberries were in season – lucky me!  They went extremely well with the oysters and champagne, trust me.

Cheese selection

The pace picked up as the service crew flitted around the restaurant topping up champagne, wine and serving endless plates of the chef’s signature appetisers such as cold cherry tomato shooters, eggs with smoked salmon, gratinated lobster thermidor, among others.

Lobster for brunch

 

You can be assured that your mains are always served freshly cooked as orders have to be placed for them.  The mains are 6 gourmet specials of Smoked Cohiba Grilled Wagyu Beef, Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder, Seared Hokkaido Scallops, Pan Seared Atlantic Cabillaud, Eggs Parfait and Grilled Octopus.

My personal favourite was the Seared Scallops – big fat Hokkaido ones seared perfectly and served with artichoke velour sauce.  Yes, you can have as many as you like and I think I had at least six of these!

Slow cooked Spanish Lamb Shoulder served with red onions, parmesan gnocchi, pomegranate gel and lamb jus

Grilled Octopus – Japanese octopus grilled and served with corn cream, Japanese black garlic puree and provencal sauce vierge (French sauce made from olive oil, lemon juice, chopped tomatoes, onions and garlic)

Smoked Cohiba Grilled Wagyu Beef – beef grilled and smoked with Cohiba cigars and served with cauliflower puree, lemon gel and oyster & seaweed emulsion

Pan Seared Atlantic Cabillaud – cod fish from France cooked a la minute and served with white beans ragout, baby squid and veal jus

 

Desserts galore!

Save some space for the desserts because you definitely do not want to skip those.  Besides the selection of dainty French pastries and cakes at the dessert counter, you can also order their specials: French Rum Baba and Chocolate Surprise.

French Rum Baba – sponge cake soaked in rum syrup, topped with Chantilly cream and served with pistachio sponge, raspberries and raspberry gel.

Chocolate Surprise – traditional dessert made with Sable Breton crumble (French shortbread cookies).  Presented with vanilla ice cream, chocolate ball, chocolate syphon, fresh blackberries and old chocolate sauce, it’s something to die for!

Chef Paul Gardin, Executive Pastry Chef making delectable ice-cream candies to thrilled diners

 

As mentioned, the Beats and Brunch affair at Lafite takes place on every first Sunday of the month from 12 noon till 3.00pm.  It’s priced at RM499 nett per person.

For reservations or further information, please call 03-2074-3900 or email restaurantreservations.slkl@shangri-la.com or visit www.shangri-la-specials.com

 

LAFITE
Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur
11 Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2032-2388

 

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CHEF MUN AT GOBO UPSTAIRS, TRADERS HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR

The stage is set. Set for some scrumptious steaks and I’m talking about Gobo Upstairs in Traders Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The new Chef there – Chef Mun has just recently taken over the stoves and pans at Gobo Upstairs to welcome and entice diners with his signature Grilled Tomahawk and other fine cuisines.

Chef Fun Keng Mun is the hotel’s Junior Sous Chef and he has lots of experience with a wide range of grilling methods as that’s his favourite kitchen play. Complemented by his passion for food and hospitality, the incredibly young-looking chef is sizzling with hot enthusiasm and talent in his culinary offerings.

At a recent media tasting, we got a preview of what this young chef is capable of. From the delicate piece of roasted beetroot in the amuse bouche to the carefully crafted morsels of appetizers, Chef Mun’s creations were honest, non-fussy and paired cleverly with some rather unusual ingredients. The durian mayo coating crispy prawns may seem rather incongruous at first but once having bitten into that bouncy sweet prawn, the unexpected burst of durian was startlingly pleasurable – but this applies only to durian lovers. If you are not a fan of the King of Fruits, well, I’d suggest you skip that appetizer then.

Amuse Bouche – Honey Roasted Beetroot with toasted walnuts & feta cheese

And using vodka to cure salmon? Well, that worked for me too – the idea behind it was commendable as that faint hint of alcohol did a good job to enhance the marine flavour of the velvety-smooth salmon.

Starters: GUP Cold Platter – Mackerel Tartare, Wedges Salad 6, Vodka Cured Salmon


GUP Hot Platter – Salmon Crab Cake, Crispy Prawn with Durian Mayo, Balsamic Tuna

Paired with Vina Maipo Vitral Chardonnay

Soup: Lobster Bisque – lobster ragout, tarragon cream, dash of brandy
Paired with Vina Maipo Vitral Merlot

The star dish of the meal was of course Chef Mun’s impressive Wagyu Tomahawk. It was grilled to a perfect “medium” bordering on “rare” which is the optimum done-ness for any wagyu. Being a premium cut, the wagyu tomahawk was tender, juicy and full of sublime fatty goodness.

Wagyu Tomahawk with pomme puree & buttered vegetables

Chef Mun’s Baked Cod with Miso Honey was executed well too. The chunk of tender flaky cod, baked to a perfect done-ness, was sweet in its freshness. Served with healthy sides of beancurd and lettuce, it’s just nice for the light eater.

Baked Cod with Miso Honey , wasabi, beancurd and wilted romaine
Paired with Vina Maipo Vitral Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay

We had a taste of the Grilled Lamb Loin as well and I must say it wasn’t exactly my favourite. The loin being a lean cut, was a tad overcooked and dry and therefore I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the cod or tomahawk.

Grilled Lamb Loin with arancini, broccolini & porcini sauce
Paired with Vina Maipo Vitral Cabernet Sauvignon Pampas Del Sur Estilo Malbec

Dessert: The delightful Cherry Bommm

 

There are still quite a number of promising dishes on Chef Mun’s menu which we’d like to go back for as this young chef is one to look out for. As the new head honcho at Gobo Upstairs, grilled meats are Chef Mun’s forte and he’s all geared up to retain Gobo Upstairs Lounge & Grill’s respected reputation in this.

 

GOBO UPSTAIRS
Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2332-9888
website: www.tradershotels.com

 

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SAPORE – authentic Italian & Spanish-Mediterranean Flavours in Ampang

What is “flavours” in Italian? SAPORE, of course and it’s an apt name for a restaurant that celebrates the authentic flavours of not only Italian food but also Spanish-Mediterranean favourites. Located in a quiet suburb in Ampang, Sapore Restaurant is the quintessential neighbourhood eatery that beckons with delicious comfort food and a relaxing place to just chill out with artisanal food and fine wines.

Chill and relax in this casual cosy space!

Owned by Chef Fabio Ruggiero, a talented chef who has turned Sapore into a popular venue serving a good selection of dishes prepared and cooked with passion. With his talent and vast experience garnered from various 5-star hotels in Italy and London and more recently, from Marini’s on 57, Chef Fabio’s creations are remarkable indeed.  Here there’s no fancy fine-dine stuff… diners come for the premium quality ingredients used unabashedly by Chef Fabio in his tasty dishes.

Freshly-baked focaccia studded with herbs and dried fruits

The regulars know exactly when to appear for their favourite specials, like the Paella Party every Sunday. I wondered if they had actually smelled the crazy good aromas from the bubbling rice and meats in the flat pan – they all came when the paella was just about ready to be served!

Watching Chef Fabio cook the Sunday paella, I could appreciate how hearty that big pan of deliciousness was. Chef Fabio’s version of this popular Spanish rice dish used Iberico pork neck to give it that robust intense flavour while the fresh prawns contributed a marine sweetness to the grains. True enough, once the paella was served, I couldn’t stop eating it, which is really crazy because I’m not a rice fan actually! The paella is usually ready by around noontime on Sundays.

You will be tempted for more of this!

If you come earlier on a weekend, then catch some of Sapore’s popular breakfast dishes. The Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon that we had was scrumptious – eggs done just right and so satisfying when eaten with the smoked salmon on baguette slices.

Breakfast/brunch on weekends!

Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon (RM28)

When we spotted Guanciale Ham as one of the ingredients, we just had to order the Spaghetti Carbonara and it was an excellent choice especially when there’s also Pecorino in it!

Spaghetti Carbonara (RM28) with Guanciale Ham, eggs and Pecorino cheese

One of Sapore’s main attractions is their tapas, both hot and cold types. It’s quite the thing to do here…people love the tapas, cold cuts charcuterie, antipasti or just a selection of excellent cheese to go with their wines, beers or cocktails.

We checked out some of their tapas bestsellers…

Baby Octopus stewed with Tomato (RM22)

Spanish Green Olives (RM12)

Salad Beetroot & Queso de Cabra – goat cheese (RM16)

Artichoke & Sun-dried Tomatoes (RM18)

Anchovies marinated in Olive Oil (RM22)

Lardo (RM25) – Flavoured Tuscany Pork Lard

Jamon Iberico (RM45)

Salad Momotaro (RM15)

 

Do note that Sapore is open only from 2.00pm on Mondays to Fridays till late, 11.30pm. On weekends, it’s open from 10.00am till 11.30pm. So, if you find yourself feeling peckish and need some bites and drinks during this time, pop over to Sapore for some Italian, Spanish-Mediterranean love!

 

SAPORE
18 Persiaran Ampang
Desa Pahlawan
55000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 03 4266 6362

www.facebook.com/saporemy
Business hours:
Mon- Fri: 2.00pm – 11.30pm
Sat & Sun: 10.00am – 11.30pm 

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BOTTEGA MEDITERRANEA: Your One-Stop Fine Foods Store

Bottega Mediterranea has been making a name for itself as a great venue to have good coffee or wine and more-than-good gourmet sandwiches. More than that, as an importer of fine Southern European food (particularly from the Italian peninsula) the venue at Jalan Ceylon, Kuala Lumpur stocks a huge selection of delectables. They’ve been here since June 2011. The deli and shop here receives fresh produce and authentic ingredients regularly every 7-10 days so you know you are getting the real deal here.

For those of you who dreads going downtown to Kuala Lumpur, here’s the good news: Bottega Mediterranea does home delivery as well! You can order their range of items from their website here, at least 1 day in advance and your order will be delivered accordingly. Telephone and email orders are equally welcome.

Bottega Mediterranea stocks the highest quality of fresh and aged cheeses, fresh and cured meats, halal cold cuts, gourmet pastas and condiments, white and black truffles and many more. I found this out recently when they sent me a goody box filled with pasta, cold cuts, cheeses, pickles and sauces and a bottle of wine, all packed nicely in their customised box.

We were delighted with the selection of salami milano, lomo iberico, porchetta, smoked speck, prosciutto, bresaola and my favourite jamon serano – all vacuum-packed individually. Together with the cheeses – parmigiano reggiano, asiago, gorgonzola, taleggio and even burrata, these are good to go with that bottle of Zabu Grillo. I must make sure some of the cold cuts and cheeses go into making some sandwiches for me as the family can get overboard with these fine stuff.


Check out the pickles and sauces…

Everything you need to cook that perfect Italian meal at home!

So the next time you want to throw a party featuring fine foods like these, you don’t need to stress yourself with having to search for them in the supermarkets and shops – just get the good folks at Bottega Mediterranea to pack and send them to you!

 
BOTTEGA MEDITERRANEA
1A Jalan Ceylon 
50200 Kuala Lumpur

T +603 2070 4222
F +603 2070 4223
E home@bottega.my

Website: www.bottega.my

Opening hours:  Mon-Sat 9am-8pm
Sun Closed

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FAVOLA, LE MERIDIEN KUALA LUMPUR: AN UPDATE from CHEF DOMENICO PIRAS

The first time I tasted Chef Domenico Piras’ dishes was last August when he first started at Favola, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur. I can still remember vividly his amusing tales about Sardinia where he grew up and where his mother still lives. Chef Domenico is an absolute wizard when it comes to pasta, most of which he makes inhouse in Favola. How can one forget the deliciously rustic and comforting trofie and malloreddus pasta cooked by this gregarious chef? (read more about those here)

Chef Domenico has recently made some changes to his signature menu, introducing new dishes and maintaining some of his bestsellers. One of this most popular bestsellers is Chef Domenico’s Sardinian-style Malloreddus… comforting rustic pasta cooked with braised lamb sauce and showered with mild Pecorino cheese. It’s a filling dish, one that will leave you with a smile as the wholesome pasta and thick meaty sauce leaves a comforting trail.

Sardinian Malloreddus (RM52) with braised lamb sauce and mild Pecorino cheese

Two new starters on the menu are the Tartufo and Vitello Tonnato. Tartufo is a lovely ensemble of mixed greens paired with truffle burrata, sprinkled with shaved black truffles and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some sweet fig compote.

Tartufo (RM72) – truffle burrata, figs compote, shaved black truffles, mixed greens and extra virgin olive oil

The Vitello Tonnato is more robust with poached veal eye rounds topped with tuna chunk, capers and gherkin sauce – an enticing appetiser which really got the palate going.

Vitello Tonnato (RM62) – poached veal eye round topped with tuna chunk, capers and gherkin sauce

Two new mains the Chef Domenico is dishing out to diners these days are his Livornese-style Cod and the simple Chicken Breast. You’ll notice that the Chef’s menu is really very simplistic, listing dishes which are dear to him and using the freshest produce of the season.

Livornese-style Cod (RM158) – served with tomatoes, basil, black olives, garlic, onion, extra virgin olive oil on a bed of mash. Velvety flaky sweet cod lies beneath the thick aromatic sauce – it’s a light mains and perfect if you just want a simple meal that won’t weigh you down.

Likewise, the Chicken Breast is cooked just nice and is tender and succulent. I like the layered potato tart as together with the Scarmoza cheese, it’s well-paired with the chicken.

Chicken Breast (RM78) topped with zucchini, Scarmoza cheese, creamy potato tart and light jus

For a simple but very wholesome carbo mains, have the Creamy Carnaroli Rice – it’s Chef Domenico’s signature risotto dish!

Creamy Carnaroli Rice (RM72) using gorgonzola and beetroot sauce drizzled with truffle oil

Chef Domenico’s Cassata is a must-try as it’s from a secret recipe given to him by an Italian chef and he’s sworn to never reveal it. So, just have it and enjoy the layers of cake, ricotta cream and candied fruits buried in between!

Cassata (RM42)

 

Catch the gregarious and entertaining Chef Domenico in Favola whenever you have cravings for rustic Italian fares, particularly of the Sardinian type!

 
FAVOLA
Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral 5
Kuala Lumpur Sentral
50470 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2263-7888
Open daily at 12.00pm-2.30pm; 6.30pm-10.30pm

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MARCO CREATIVE CUISINE – a culinary journey like no other!

Over the past couple of months, you may have noticed that social media was flooded with news about Marco Creative Cuisine. Marco Creative Cuisine opened its doors in 1-Utama in end March 2017, helmed by Chef Daren Leong who used to own and helm Miam Miam and Franco restaurants.

The 62-seater restaurant with attractive furnishing in soothing hues of green and natural wood is the perfect venue for Chef Daren’s distinctive culinary creations. His hand-crafted multi-course western-influenced menu uses fresh artisan produce moulded by his extensive experience and incredible talent.

When you dine at Marco, you will be treated to a myriad of flavours and textures that will engage all the senses,” enthused Chef Daren as he explained the workings and experiential journey behind his creative dishes. He elaborated that each dish he created represented a part of his own personal journey with food, just like the Duck Breast with Orange Pureè and Roasted Beetroot. Taking the Cantonese roast duck as an inspiration, Chef Daren sous vide his duck to retain its tenderness without compromising the moistness and served it with a sauce made from Navel oranges and 66% dark chocolate.

The Journey of Flavours multi-course menu is priced at RM78 (incl.6% GST) per person and offers diners choices from 3 soups, 3 entrees, 6 mains, 3 desserts and 3 drinks, ie choose one from each category.

We started off with a Velvety Macha-Lime Shooter to cleanse the palate.

Velvety Macha-lime foam covering chilled lime snow

This was followed by a dainty appetiser of Savoury Eclair made from Gruyere-flavoured pate à choux decorated with Aubergine Caviar, Green Chilli Pesto and Tomato Confit.

Savoury Eclair

For soups, we chose the unique Strawberry Gazpacho and Truffled Mushroom Soup. Chilled cold soup of strawberries, garnished with dehydrated strawberries and garnished with microgreens.

Strawberry Gazpacho

Truffled Mushroom Soup

Our entrèes were Chicken Liver Parfait and Chef Daren’s signature Savoury Ice Cream Salad. The creamy chicken liver was covered with a brûlèe served with toasted bread and apple chips. Brilliant.

Chicken Liver Parfait

Savoury Ice Cream Salad

Assorted baby leaves, heirloom tomatoes, seasonal microgreens and violet flowers with savoury ice cream made up that incredibly photogenic Ice Cream Salad.  It’s such a visual feast!

For mains, we tried the Salmon with Jetblack Hollandaise, Chicken Roulade with Brussels Sprouts and the signature Duck Breast with Orange Purèe & Roasted Beetroot.

Chicken Roulade with Brussels Sprouts 

The juicy chicken roulade won many points with us – in fact, it was the best mains among the three, I think. I liked how the brussels sprouts were still very crunchy and the flavourful chicken jus was perfect to mop everything up on the plate!

Atlantic Salmon with Jet-black Hollandaise

The Atlantic Salmon was also executed well. The jet-black Hollandaise was blended with squid-ink with colourful pickled beetroot and green chili pesto by the side.

Duck Breast with Orange Purèe & Roasted Beetroot

Chef Darren’s desserts are like artwork on plates…

Deconstructed Lemon Meringue Pie – lemon curd, passionfruit gel, Italian meringue and white chocolate sherbet

Raspberry Decadence – luscious raspberry cheesecake with raspberry gel, lemon meringue shards and passionfruit gel

My drink: Sparkling Iced Berry

 

This multi-course menu will be changed every few months so in the meantime, these creative dishes are drawing the crowds. I can appreciate the science and meticulous work behind every dish and the thoughtful presentation on the plate. Where else can you get a multi-course meal like this for under RM100? It’s great value for your money, I tell you!

 
MARCO CREATIVE CUISINE
Lot G146, Old Wing
1-Utama Shopping Centre
Bandar Utama
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7731-8923

Open daily:
12.00pm-3.00pm: Lunch
3.00pm-6.00pm: Coffee & Desserts only
6.00pm-10.00pm: Dinner

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BRASSERIE 25 @ Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur

Have you heard? Kuala Lumpur’s latest hotel – Hotel Stripes, an Autograph Collection property has just opened its doors to guests a few days ago. There’s a distinctive vibe about this YTL Luxury Hotel – old-world charm mixed with chic contemporary touches exuding a unique character which is iconic on its own.

We were privileged to be invited to experience one of its F&B outlet – Brasserie 25. This French-style restaurant, located just to the right of the hotel’s reception, impresses with its rustic charm. The red brick arched arcades and dark wood floors light up with a warm glow from the copper sputnik chandeliers hanging elegantly from the ceiling.

Some warm bread & excellent butter to start off

 

The menu is simple, offering simple French fares inspired and prepared with fresh, locally produced ingredients. We started off with some appetisers like Baked Burgundy Escargots and Pâté et Rillettes. I must say those big plump escargots were really good, having been baked with chopped garlic and herbs with a good measure of butter.

Baked Burgundy Escargots (RM40/6 pieces) with garlic herb butter

 

We decided to have chicken and duck and found the perfect choice in the Pâté et Rillettes. The chicken pate was really smooth – it made a great combo with the duck rillette, especially when eaten with some toasted baguette slices. As for the smoked duck breast, it’s best eaten on its own to savour the full delicious smokiness.

Pâté et Rillettes (RM40) -chicken pate, smoked duck breast and duck rillettes

Saumon Fume (RM40) – home-smoked salmon, iceberg lettuce and pommery dressing

 

We knew we wouldn’t quite leave the restaurant without trying the foie gras so we teased our palates with its Foie Gras Poêlé. Perfectly cooked, silky smooth texture, exquisite flavour – I wished the portion was bigger!

Foie Gras Poêlé (RM50) – pan-seared foie gras with warm onion marmalade and spice bread

 

For mains, DL had the Pan-roasted Black Cod Fillet with Ratatouille while I decided to check out the Ribeye. DL made a good choice – the black cod was amazing: fresh sweet flavours oozed from the smooth flaky fillet. The ratatouille was refreshingly tangy and paired well with the delicate cod.

Cabillaud (RM80) Pan-roasted Black Cod Fillet with Ratatouille

 

My medium-cooked ribeye was decent, nicely charred at the edges yet retaining a juicy tenderness within the meat. The brandy cream sauce served with it was delicately flavoured and didn’t overwhelm the steak. While the flavours worked, I was disappointed with the sloppy presentation. I’m not sure if the correct plate was used but it wasn’t appealing at all when everything was crammed onto a too-small plate. The fries were hanging over the rim and the small saucer holding the sauce shouldn’t be placed on the saute’ed mushrooms-mixed-with-zucchini.

L Èntrecôte de Boeuf (RM120) Chargrilled 200-day grain-fed Angus Ribeye with French fries and brandy cream sauce

 

Our desserts of Crêpe Suzette and Grand Marnier Soufflè were just average. Again here I felt the presentation can be improved.

Le Soufflè au Grand Marnier (RM30) with vanilla ice cream

Crêpe Suzette (RM30)

 

Overall, the ambience was lovely, service very attentive and food was decent despite some shortcomings in the plating. Being still so new, I’m sure every feedback will be noted and improved upon.

 
BRASSERIE 25
Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur
Autograph Collection
25 Jalan Kamunting
50300 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2038-0000

They have some great opening promotions – do check out their website for more details!

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