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.

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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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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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Let’s have a PRIME moment @ Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur

For the past 10 years, since its opening in 2006, Prime at the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur has built up its reputation as one of the city’s favourite place for premium steaks. Living up to its “Prime Grill, Prime Wine, Prime Time” adage, Prime is the place to go for serious steak indulgence. Executive Chef Antoine Rodriguez ensures that every serving of succulent meat is done perfectly: perfectly seared with visibly charred edges yet retaining a tender juicy texture within. Steaks here are usually served naked, without much embellishment (side dishes and sauces are served separately) as only salt and pepper are used to bring out their best original flavours.

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Everyone knows that premium cuts like tenderloin, ribeye or T-bone are the best for steaks and Prime serves all of those from Blackmore Wagyu to Black Angus with a good selection of various US and Australian beef brands.

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However, now when we say “let’s go for Prime’s steaks”, we don’t necessarily have to go for the prime cuts as the restaurant also offers a good selection of non-premium cuts like the oyster blade and rump, among others. In fact, my favourite cut is the oyster blade. Not only is it considerably cheaper compared to the more premium cuts, it is well-marbled, tender and juicy. This boneless steak also has excellent beef flavour!

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Oyster Blade Steak

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D-Rump Steak

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Braised Short Ribs

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Don’t miss some of Prime’s signature dishes though…

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Seared Sea Scallops with parmesan potatoes, poached egg and fresh herbs dressing

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Roma Tomatoes & Red Onions Salad

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Warm Portobello Mushrooms with rocket salad, shaved parmesan & truffle

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Prime Crab Cakes

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Saute’ed Broccolini

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More greens

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Sauces for your meats

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Dining in Prime has now become very affordable with these flavourful secondary cuts – it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg for a decent meal in this elegant restaurant. Lose yourself in those high-backed brown & cream leather chairs and watch the chefs prepare your meal through the glass-walled show kitchen… it’s time to head to Prime soon.

Prime serves halal-certified imported beef.

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PRIME
Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral
Kuala Lumpur Sentral
50470 Kuala Lumpur

For reservations, call +603-2263-7434
email: dining.lmkl@lemeridien.com
website: www.discoverlemeridien.com

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RENDEZ-VOUS BANGSAR – NEW MENU BY CHEF BENJAMIN REILHES

Rendez-Vous in Bangsar appeals to just about everyone looking for a casual French meal in a laid-back atmosphere. Their menu offers a good selection of typical traditional French dishes and to enjoy a meal here won’t bust your wallet either. Owners Arnaud Chappert and Florian Nigen (who also ruled the kitchen) ensure that their customers get to dine on affordable authentic French cuisine in a relaxed and charmingly rustic ambience. Check out my earlier review here.

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Chef Benjamin Reilhes

Now there’s a new chef on board, the dashing Chef Benjamin Reilhes who has brought with him some fresh new elements to the menu. Well trained from Toulouse and Paris, Chef Benjamin’s refreshing touches are a welcome breath on Rendez-Vous’ repertoire. There are modern and pretty touches to the food presentation, reflecting a fun and modern style, typical of stylish bistro dining. We revisited the restaurant recently to check-out what’s new and appealing there.

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Amuse bouche: a dainty mushroom tartlet

Where diners get to choose from set meals and a la carte items on the menu, come Sunday, there’s now brunch available. At RM69++ per pax, diners get to have starters of either a basket of Viennoiserie and bread served with butter and jam or Starters Assortments – and these are usually selected from the list of favourites on the menu and dependent on what’s fresh and available for the day.

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After this, there’s the Main Course (choose a Seafood of the Day or Meat of the Day) and last but not least, Dessert!

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A typical plank platter comprises traditional French pork liver pâté, a medallion of candied tuna decorated with a dollop of cauliflower puree and of course some cheese as well…

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Traditional French Pork Liver Pâté with mushrooms

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Baked Egg with toasted bread sticks

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For the mains, if you are game for meat, the Grilled Ribeye is excellent…

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For seafood fans, the “Filet de loup de mer” – Seabass fillet with creamy carrot puree, avruga caviar and citrus vinaigrette is a popular choice.

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Light eaters would love the “Soupe de poissons” which is something new on the a la carte and set menus. It’s a hearty fish soup served and poured at table side, made so flavourful with Rouille sauce and confit vegetables tartare.

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Soupe de poissons

From the Desserts list, what’s new and hits with us are the “Tarte au citron meringue” and “Paris Brest”. The former is a dreamy concoction of hard and soft meringue adorning a crumbly lemon tart. It’s a beautiful balance of sharp tangy flavours and buttery pastry, bound together by the sweet eggy meringue.

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Tarte au citron meringue

“Paris Brest” is the latest addition to the dessert menu by Chef Benjamin. The cute dainty choux pastries stuffed with hazelnut custard make a very pretty presentation and they taste just as good.

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Paris Brest

At Rendez-Vous, families with kids would be pleased to note that there’s also a Sunday Brunch menu specially made for kids at only RM32++ per pax featuring food items and portions suitable for the little ones.

To keep the kids happy and occupied, there are even game sets available upstairs in their “Upstage Lounge”. Apart from hosting kids during Sunday Brunch, the spacious venue is great for live music and even standup comedy shows. With a stage set up, this space has been graced by quite a number of international and many local talents like Steve Allison, Kavin Jay, Papi Zak and Prakash Daniel. The venue is also available for booking of private events.

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So, whether it’s a family dinner, a private romantic date for two, a Sunday Brunch with the brood, a fun night out with the gang or a private party, Rendez-Vous has it all for you.

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RENDEZ-VOUS
100 Lorong Maarof
59000 Bangsar
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2202-0206

Website: www.rendez-vous.com.my
Rendez-Vous opens daily, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am
Upstage opens Mon, Thurs-Sun in the evenings – check their Facebook Page for the latest shows info

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RENDEZ-VOUS @ Bangsar for decent affordable French food

French food is never cheap, well at least not here in Malaysia. But of course it’s not cheap because cheap things are seldom good. And also there’s nothing cheap nowadays, given the sorry state of our Ringgit and the pathetic state of the state. Now, putting our misery aside, it’s a good thing that there still establishments like Rendez-Vous in Bangsar (no less) that serves affordable French food. Yes, decently affordable.

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The well-stocked bar at Rendez-Vous

This French restaurant occupies a corner shoplot in Bangsar Park – you can’t miss its yellow walls and dark brown bamboo shades. It spots a casual ambience with its open concept – no glassed-in walls, the shades were halfway up with ceiling fans whirring but thank goodness they also had the air-conditioning on as it was a blistering hot afternoon. I did secretly wish they had walls to enclose the air-conditioning though – it was like such a waste of the cold air. But I do understand that the owners want to create an open breezy bistro concept here. With lots of al fresco seating space
by the side verandah, it is a nice place to chillout on a cool breezy evening.

DECO Collage

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Amuse bouche

Once we settled ourselves at the table, we were served an amuse bouche of cold smoked salmon rolls. That, and the ensuing starters of Escargots sandwiched between layers of crispy buttery vol au vent calmed my frazzled perspiring skin.

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Escargots with parsley and garlic butter sauce with vol au vent (RM34)

By the time the Foie Gras Terrine came, I was feeling pretty relaxed and at-peace-with-the-world. Especially when that terrine was marinated with white port and fig sauce which I happily piled onto the pieces of toast.

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Foie gras terrine marinated with white port on toast served with fig sauce (RM42)

At this point, a tureen of Fish Soup was served which DL gleefully lapped up with the Rouille sauce. Frankly, I didn’t pay much attention to that as I was busy with my terrine and DL was happy enough to finish every last drop of that bright orangey soup.

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Fish Soup served with Rouille sauce from Sete (RM26)

Now maybe most of you know that I’m not a great fan of cheese, more so goat cheese! Nevertheless, I was game enough to try, especially when I was told by the service staff that their Goat Cheese Toast Salad is one of their signature dishes. So this bowl of glorious greens and reds (tomatoes) came, sprinkled generously with bacon (yes, real bacon!) beneath a thick toast and a big portion of golden-edge cheese. It’s an interesting combo, so I proceeded to break the toast, smeared some toasted goat cheese and piled on the vegetables and bacon and oh my god, there was this beautiful explosion of flavours in my mouth! So, ok… I think I can love goat cheese, as long you pair it with bacon for me.

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Goat Cheese on Toast, honey, salad, bacon, onions, tomatoes (RM34)

Every French restaurant worth its salt would have Boeuf Bourguignon on its menu and Rendez-Vous’ version came served in a claypot. Now, isn’t that a nice localised touch? Taste-wise, it’s gorgeous. The thick sauce was full of beefy goodness enhanced with red wine reduction and every piece of tender beef and potato was pure comfort food.

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Boeuf Bourguignon (RM56) – a splendid Burgundy dish

We also tried their signature Filet Mignon de Porc – medallions of pork tenderloin smothered with a thick creamy sauce made all the more fragrant with the addition of French cepes mushrooms.

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Filet Mignon de Porc (RM46) – pork tenderloin with French cepes mushroom sauce

As stuffed as we were, we found ourselves thoroughly enjoying the Salmon Fillet which came next. The salmon was cooked perfectly – with a moist pink centre. The butter lemon sauce was well-balanced and not overpowering (thank goodness – you know how some chefs love to go overboard with the butter?!) and we mopped it all up with the delicious salmon.

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Thick-cut Salmon Fillet with butter lemon sauce (RM56)

There are flexible lunch sets for those opting for quick no-fuss meals on weekdays. For dinner, guests can either order from the a la carte menu or opt for the dinner sets listed. The set dinners are priced from a modest RM62/pax (3 courses) onwards.

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Crepe Suzette (RM26) flamed with Grand Marnier – you just gotta flambe it!

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Chocolate with mint ice-cream

Although we didn’t have any wine with our lunch (it was a super hot day!) but the wine list in Rendez-Vous offers some very decent French wines at reasonable and affordable prices. In fact, the whole dining experience here was one that won’t bust your wallet. You get decent traditional French fares in a casual and unpretentious environment and service was attentive and friendly.

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French Mojito and Kir Royal

 

RENDEZ-VOUS
100 Lorong Maarof
Bangsar Park
59000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2202-0206

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2OX – New French Kid on The Row, Kuala Lumpur

It’s “two OX’, not “20 x” or “20 multiply”.  This latest French bistro bar along Jalan Doraisamy (known as “The Row”) has got many people perplexed over its name, for sure.  The mystifying “2OX” (and yes, the OX must be in caps) refers to Sainy Chun and Thierry Le Baut, the owner and chef respectively.

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Al fresco dining

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If the names sound familiar to you, it’s because you probably have heard of them at Maison Francaise where they run the show, too.  While Maison Francaise is all about fine-dining, the concept at 2OX leans towards casual bistro dining in an atmosphere which is more relaxed, informal yet retains that element of Parisian chic.

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The decor is decked in a predominant black and white theme but what injected the fun element is the huge colourful wall painting facing the entrance.  Becoming very much its centre of attraction, the painting depicts a group of diners (presumably Parisians)  in the throes of merry-making.

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Chef Thierry has curated a focused menu that includes French classic favourites which are friendly to the wallet.  Everything is listed in just one page which makes ordering really easy.  I would say their fares are good value for money, delivering delectable dishes in a cosy and comfortably elegant premise.

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Shall we start with some wholesome freshly-baked bread?

Spotting piquillo peppers on the menu, I just had to order it as I adore these sweet Spanish peppers.   Chef Thierry’s Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Beef (RM25) had all the culinary elements to serve these sweet spicy (without the heat) peppers in their distinct presentation.  Stuffed with minced beef, the bright red peppers were roasted and topped with a creamy sauce and digging into them was just bliss.

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Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Beef

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Pork Tenderloin with caramelized onions on Toast (RM30) – the medallions of pork tenderloins were marinated and grilled delicately before being served with sweet caramelised onions and accompanied by crispy toast.

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Pork Tenderloin with Caramelised Onions on Toast

The pork tenderloin, together with Chef Thierry’s Pate de Maman (RM40) are perfect examples of traditional homely dishes that are popular with the French.  These simple provincial-style pork dishes are typical food eaten at home cooked lovingly in the family kitchen.  The pork pate had that delicious rustic touch which was best enjoyed with some pickled gherkins and fresh tomatoes.

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Pate de Maman

We had 2 more appetizers – the Fusilli Pasta with Rocket Salad, Tomatoes, Peanuts & Pesto (RM22) and the Duck Rillette served with Pickled Gherkins (RM38).  The fusilli pasta was definitely hearty and healthy.

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Fusilli Pasta

We loved the duck rillette – the flavoursome duckmeat was so good when eaten with the toasted French bread and topped with house-made pickled gherkins.  Those crunchy tangy gherkins were pickled according to Chef Thierry’s father’s recipe.  They were absolute must-have’s to accompany the rillette and pate dishes.

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Duck Rillette

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We took a peep at the kitchen of 2OX and were impressed by its professional set-up and its line-up of state-of-the-art equipment.  The Josper oven stood out with its gleaming doors, just next to the sous-vide boiler.  Chef Thierry was mighty proud of these master-toys and insisted we tried some dishes cooked by them.

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Beef Oyster Blade

The first of our mains was the 7-hour Low Temperature Cooked Beef Oyster Blade (RM88).  The slices of oyster blade were fork-tender, infused with its own juices mixed with a variety of herbs.  Hearty and wholesome, those oyster blades would please many beef fans.

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Just look at how tender the Oyster Blade is!

From the Josper oven, we had their Pork Chop (RM75) and Squids with Fresh Lemon (RM59).  I felt the pork chop was over-cooked as personally I prefer my meat a bit pink in the centre.  Nevertheless as the pork chop was eaten immediately and because it was well seasoned, the slightly-hard texture was forgiveable.   Be sure to inform the level of done-ness preferred when placing your order.

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Pork Chop from the Josper oven!

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Fresh squids do not need too much cooking – just a nice blast from the Josper oven was all that’s needed to produce squids that’s evenly cooked with some charred edges while the texture remained tender but with a good bite!

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Grilled Squids with Fresh Lemon

The desserts list was not long and we tried most of them.  The Classic Creme Brulee (RM15) was wobbly and creamy beneath its caramelised surface.  The texture was definitely softer than what’s usually served in other eateries.

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Classic Creme Brulee

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Bourguignon Pear & Vanilla Ice Cream (RM20) – essentially a simple rustic dessert, chunks of pear were cooked in red wine before being served with vanilla ice cream.  Do eat this quickly as the house-made ice cream melts very fast and can turn mushy within minutes.

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Bourguignon Pear & Vanilla Ice Cream

The Lemon Tart Meringue en Verrine (RM15) and Dark Chocolate Mousse (RM15) with buttery crumble were our favourites.  The tangy lemon tart was a good palate cleanser.  The fragrant buttery crumble added a nice touch to the luscious chocolate mousse.

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Lemon Tart Meringue en Verrine

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Dark Chocolate Mousse with lots of buttery crumble!

 

2OX has an impressive line-up of affordable French, Chilean and Australian wines starting at RM20 per glass.

Presently, there is a special promotion where guests can create their own 3-Course Menu at only RM88++ but do note that some dishes require some additional charges.

2OX will definitely be one of the more exciting eateries in KL this year.  There aren’t that many casual dining places serving affordable French fares and in such lovely ambience too.

 

2OX
56G Jalan Doraisamy
50300 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2692-2233

website:  www.two-ox.com

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