“TREASURES OF THE SEA” WEEKEND DINNER BUFFET @ ALOFT KUALA LUMPUR HOTEL

Come Friday and Saturday, the buffet counters light up with fresh catches from the sea.  At the “Treasures of the Sea” dinner buffet, diners get to indulge in a variety of seafood on beds of ice, in soups, noodles and cooked in delicious ways kept nicely warm in crockpots and colorful cast iron pots.  All this happens in Nook, Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral’s all-day dining restaurant.

This weekend buffet dinner enhanced with Neptune’s treasures is available on Fridays and Saturdays at RM138nett per person, with free-flow of fruit juices and soft drinks.

Besides regular servings of western and local favourites like Braised Beef with Chilli Teriyaki, Chicken Avongolomelo, Irish Lamb Stew and vegetarian dishes of Palak Paneer and Stuffed Beancurd with Vegetable Paste, seafood lovers get to indulge on tiger prawns, green mussels, scallops, squids, flower crabs and bamboo clams cooked in a variety of ways.

Crab Curry – don’t miss this!

We particularly liked the Baked Seafood Parcels, Braised Giant Garoupa Fish Head, Kam Heong Squids and Poached Tiger Prawns.  Even the very simple Prawn Omelette was executed very well and the spicy Crabs Curry had us going for seconds.  The fiery curry was also perfect for dipping freshly-made roti pratha.  Strange but true, this buffet features one of the best roti canai I’ve ever had – it’s so good I had 2 whole pieces all by myself!

Excellent Roti Canai – eat it hot off the grill!

Sarawak Laksa is one of Nook’s signature items and it’s a permanent item on the buffet.  The broth is deliciously fiery with fragrant spices and a squeeze of lime makes it all the more addictive!  There’s also a grill station where diners can get their selected seafood pieces grilled upon order.  We had some really fresh bouncy tiger prawns grilled to perfection which were polished off very quickly!

Treasures of the Sea Dinner Buffet promotion is priced at RM138nett per pax (adults) and RM69nett/per child (aged 6-12 years old) available on Fridays and Saturdays from 6.30pm.

 

ALOFT KUALA LUMPUR SENTRAL
5 Jalan Stesen Sentral
50470 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2723-1188

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COQUO @ Solaris Dutamas – where Delicious Wholesomeness rules!

Chef Toni Valero is boundless in his energy and passion – that’s my first impression of him as I observed him zipping around the open kitchen at Coquo.  If the name sounds familiar, that’s probably because you have heard of this talented chef who used to helm the culinary team in Ohla at The Intermark.  Chef Toni has since moved on to Coquo at Solaris Dutamas where he’s a co-owner and happily showcasing his masterful creations to delighted diners.

The L-shaped seating facing the open kitchen in Coquo allows diners to interact closely with the chef while the meal is being prepared and that brings the dining experience notches above any ordinary meal.  But then again, having a meal prepared by Chef Toni is never just ordinary.  And not because this talented chef has worked in world-class restaurants that other chefs only dream about (read: 3-Michelin-Stars El Celler de Can Roca and 2-Michelin-stars Mugaritz).  It’s all about how Chef Toni presents his creations – dishes that make sense, where fresh authentic ingredients are allowed to shine and not be crowded by too many elements.

Far from being the typical snooty fine-dining establishment, the cosy intimate ambience of Coquo is just the perfect accessible place to enjoy a meal prepared with fine techniques and precise execution – traits that are second-to-none where Chef Toni is concerned.  The dishes served looked deceptively simple but I do know the amount of time, work and skills, of course, that went into that bowl of Mixed Salad, for example.

Mixed Salad, duck ham, pickle radish & anise vinaigrette

The said Mixed Salad is part of Coquo’s Special Menu that’s available until 9 June 2017 only.  The 4-course meal including an aperitif is priced at RM188++ per person.  It’s really pretty good value, considering the fine food trademarked to Chef Toni.  The duck ham in the salad has been dried and smoked in the chef’s favourite Josper oven before being left to cure in the refrigerator for a month.  Using organic radish from A Little Farm On The Hill, the radish has been pickled for a fortnight in a marination of various herbs and spices before being tossed into the salad with lashings of star anise vinaigrette.  Now, wouldn’t you totally appreciate the meticulous efforts behind this salad?

The following course of Roasted Eggplant topped with smoke dry fish sitting on a bed of crisp baby spinach leaves and drizzled with sambal oil isn’t any less easy.  As we all know, the eggplant is pretty bland on its own and Chef Toni does a good job of infusing flavours onto it without compromising its natural form.  The eggplant is roasted and smoked in the Josper oven for about 40 minutes and then topped with homemade smoked and dry fish from Pulau Ketam.  This whole ensemble is further smoked at tableside and what I got to taste was a well-flavoured dish enhanced with wafts of enticing smokiness.

Roasted Eggplant, smoked dry fish, garlic baby spinach leaves & sambal oil

The main course is a fillet of Seabream in lemongrass bouillabaisse and topped with caviar with Sarawak laksa flavours.  Using molecular techniques like spherification, the intense spicy flavours of the laksa are cleverly encased in gel globules which burst in the mouth for that surprising twist.

Seabream, lemongrass bouillabaisse & laksa caviar

When you dine in Coquo, do have an ice-cream.  Simply because Chef Toni makes all the ice-cream inhouse using fresh ingredients with no added sugar.  The Roasted Pumpkin Ice-cream is ridiculously smooth with light natural sweetness, caramelized from the roasting in the Josper.  The delicate velvety ice-cream pairs well with colourful tropical Macedonia from tropical fruit juice frozen and transformed into cute little round icicles using liquid nitrogen at -19oC! To bind all this wizardry together, Chef Toni spoons in some house-made goat milk yoghurt.

Roasted Pumpkin Ice Cream, tropical fruit macedonia & homemade goat milk yogurt

 

Besides the Special Menu, I also checked out a few a la carte dishes.  The Confit Mushrooms is an interesting dish.  What looked to me like a bowl of braised “fuchook” (beancurd sheets) is actually milk skin cocooning fragrant mushroom duxelles cooked for hours using the sous vide method.  Topped with dry mushrooms, toasted pine nuts and pea sprouts, it’s unique and nourishing.

Confit Mushrooms (RM27)

Using fresh shrimps from Pulau Ketam, Chef Toni’s Prawn Carpaccio is his reinterpretation of Sarawak laksa (yes, that’s his favourite noodles, in case you haven’t grasp that yet!).  By placing slivers of the fresh translucent prawns seeped in laksa spiced oil onto rice crackers seasoned with prawn powder and topping that with some laksa caviar, it’s eating Sarawak laksa in a whole different perspective!  The thing is, I need to share this platter with some friends because I find that this is one dish that cannot be over-indulged!

Prawn Carpaccio (RM38)

I have a thing about the good chef’s house-made ice cream and his Curry Leaves Ice Cream just proved the point again.  The intense red sliced stewed strawberries are laced with Szechuan pepper which leaves an amazing trail on the tongue.  You just have to taste it yourself.

Curry Leaves Ice Cream (RM22)

 

Chef Toni and Coquo are passionate about supporting local farmers and traders.  Not only does he believe in connecting to the community, Chef Toni is a staunch supporter of sustainable farming and firmly subscribes to using fresh local produce for quality which can rival imported ingredients.  He maintains that “if quality of local produce is equivalent to the imported stuff, why not use them as this also brings about affordable dining?”  So, there you have it – creating and cooking fine food with the best local produce in a accessible place without busting the wallet – go Coquo.

 

COQUO RESTAURANT & WINE BAR
D1-G4-6 Jalan Dutamas 1
Solaris Dutamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-6211-2822

email: reservations@coquokl.com
website: www.coquokl.com

*Porky (non-halal)

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Puttin’ on a FESTIVE FEAST at THE RITZ-CARLTON Kuala Lumpur

This year, The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur is putting up their Festive Feast in conjunction with the fasting month. You can call this their inaugural event as they have not done this for many years, probably since almost 30 years ago, I was told. So after such a long lapse, the chefs at The Cobalt Room are now cooking up a stellar showcase of signature dishes representing the 13 states in Malaysia and in addition to that, expect to savour some Middle Eastern specialities, too.

Golden Roast Chicken

Helming the culinary team is Executive Chef Zaffar and together with his crew, be prepared to go on a gastronomic journey through colourful Malaysia as you’ll be able to taste dishes from all the states.

Festive goodies are all available

How about some Sambal Udang Petai? Good stuff, yo!

Ikan Bakar Cencaru

Paru Masak Chili

 

There will be flavourful signature dishes from Johor, Malacca, Pahang, Kelantan, Perak, Penang and all the way up north to Perlis. From Melaka, there’s the Asam Pedas Ikan Tenggiri , Ikan Patin Masak Tempoyak from Pahang, Laksa from Kedah, Nasi Kerabu from Terengganu, Penang Rojak and more. East Malaysian favourites are not forgotten in the showcase and a spread of Middle Eastern favourites will also be featured.

Freshly-grilled meats make up a fantastic shawamar!

The Roast Lamb is always the main attraction!

This guy makes the best ever Roti Canai, I swear!

Murtabak all piled high

The Curry Mee here is really good!

 

Local kuihs are the stars of the enticing dessert counters with classics for blissful indulgence which include Kek Lapis Sarawak, Talam Pandan Sabah and Cik Mek Molek, a Kelantanese delicacy. Looking at the pretty spread of desserts, I felt like Hari Raya has come early as so many of my favourite kuih raya are already being served in this buffet!

 

Price: RM118 nett per adult, RM59 nett per child (12 years & below)

For reservations, please call +603-2782-9099 or email dining@ritzcarlton.com.my

 

THE COBALT ROOM
Level 1
The RItz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Imbi
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2142-8000

 

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Catching up with CHEF WILL MEYRICK at MAMA SAN KUALA LUMPUR

The Streetfood Chef with a global attitude – that’s Will Meyrick. Will is happiest when he’s out at the street stalls and kitchens of local warungs cajoling the local cooks to part their culinary tips and secrets.

Will M2Sometimes you can catch Will in the kitchens of his own restaurants, creating, cooking or generally just “seeing to things”. So, it was in the kitchen of Mama San Kuala Lumpur that I met Chef Will Meyrick while he was meticulously putting the finishing touches to some dishes.

will M1

While waiting for Will to join me, I took in the beautiful setting of Mama San. I couldn’t help but be mesmerised by that familiar signature painting of the Mama San. This same painting, done by a Russian artist, also graces the walls of Mama San Bali and Mama San Hong Kong.

mamasan

The design concept in all 3 restaurants is the same – expounding the colonial charm of Shanghai in the 1920s. The retro-inspired wall mural wallpaper, together with the old-style photographs (taken by Will – his other love being photography) enhanced the “old world” ambience.

MS Collage

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Mama San is an incredibly photogenic venue!

Will’s love for Asian cuisines is apparent in the menu choices of Mama San. Throughout his extensive travels in Asia and his in-depth research of traditional recipes and culinary heritage, Will loves combining flavours and textures, coming up with new refreshed recipes. In the menu of Mama San, there is a good mixture of traditional Asian/Malaysian favourites, some infused with western influences as well.

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A typical example was the luscious Durian Pannacotta which I was happily enjoying while waiting for Will. It’s a great way to start my day – a hearty dessert with my favourite fruit and there were also two mounds of sweetened white sticky rice and vanilla ice-cream for good measure.

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Durian Pannacotta

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Sweet glutinous rice with ice-cream

When Will finally came and sat down, I was just about to dig into the Softshell Crab Rujak Salad – Mama San’s version of our Fruits Rojak. It’s a big serving of the usual cucumber, pineapples and jived up with green mango, rose apples, mint, peanuts and a kickass chilli tamarind sauce.

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Softshell Crab Rujak Salad

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So how do you relate to Mama San, that persona in the painting?

Will: Well, you know how I started by learning all kinds of food preparations from the local women in Asia and these are all very precious and valuable to me. I see myself as a “mama san” safe-keeping all that’s been taught to me, maintaining the authenticity of the cuisine culture which had been so willingly passed on to me.

Having dived deep into street food stalls from India to Indonesia, Vietnam to Thailand and Myanmar to Malaysia, how much further do you think you can take Asian street food?

Will: As long as my wanderlust is ignited, there’s no saying where or when I’ll stop. Asian food culture has always fascinated me and as for how much further, that all depends on how much more I can pillage and plunder from the poor makciks in the food stalls! *followed by loud guffaws!

FACES Collage

What inspires you nowadays?

Will: You know, as I grow older and as I see my kids growing up fast, I realise I need to take a step back and spend more time with the family. I don’t want to miss any significant part of their lives. So what inspires me these days are my family and we are always trying to do stuff that benefit the community around us. Food is the one thing that harmonises people across all regions. We will still continue to explore the culinary landscape of uncharted regions in Asia but perhaps at a more relaxed pace.

mamasan will

What’s the next step in Kuala Lumpur – will you be opening more Mama Sans around here?

Will: Frankly, we are taking it easy this year. As you know, the economic climate for this region in 2016 is not that strong, so we are focusing on stabilising and growing our existing outlet.

What else do you enjoy doing besides cooking and developing new recipes?

Will: I enjoy photography. In fact, all the photos you see hanging on these walls here were taken by me *beaming with pride

photo wall

What’s your favourite dish in the Mama San KL menu?

Will: What you are having now – the Fish Curry cooked with home-blended spices, okra and tomatoes! It goes well with either plain white rice or some naans.

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Mama San Fish Curry with okra, tomatoes & tamarind

Well, I tend to agree with Will as the curry was really good. The spices tasted mildly Indian and there’s a stronger hint of tamarind in it, the tartness working well with the naan we had. We even ordered a super-crispy Roti Canai to go with the curry!

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Roti Canai

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Butter Chicken

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At this point, Will took his leave to attend to more orders in the kitchen. It had been an enjoyable chat with the affable chef – he’s so friendly, down-to-earth and perfectly chatty! His parting words to me were “come look us up when you next visit Bali!” Sure, Will, we will certainly take you up on your offer.

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Ice Cendol

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Indonesian Klappa Tart with raisins and young coconut, almonds, dusted with cinnamon and coconut ice-cream

And if you are heading to Indonesia, check out Will’s restaurants there. In Bali, there’s the fine-dining Sarong, Hujan Locale in Ubud and Tiger Palm in Seminyak Village and of course, Mama San. Don’t forget the regional Thai-style E&O in Jakarta and the glamorous Mama San Hong Kong.

 

MAMA SAN KUALA LUMPUR
Lot G46 Ground Floor
Suria KLCC
Jalan Ampang
50088 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 019-7875810

Website: www.mamasankualalumpur.com

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