Refreshed Menu at PREGO by Chef Marco De Cecco, The Westin Kuala Lumpur

Quite a lot has changed since the last time I stepped into Prego, the Italian restaurant at The Westin Kuala Lumpur. There’s a great sense of warm Italian welcome in the cavernous layout of Prego, reverberating from the delicious activities happening in the open kitchen right in the centre of the restaurant.

Chefs can be seen bustling around simmering pots and sizzling pans – a merry sight indeed for anyone hankering for a good Italian meal. Every now and then, insane aromas waft out from the woodfire oven when freshly-made pizzas are ready to be served.

Simple polished wooden furniture, rustic floor tiles and colourful hanging lamps amidst the earthern-theme deco immediately are the perfect backdrop for a pleasant meal crafted by Chef Marco De Cecco and his culinary team. This Chef de Cuisine of Prego hails from Italy and his love affair with food started in the kitchen of his grandparents’ restaurant, Trattoria De Cecco. Graduated a civil engineer, it’s incredible that his passion in the culinary field remains strong in the 12 years he spent in Italian kitchens. He then continued his culinary journey to Libya and his last posting before The Westin Kuala Lumpur was as Head Chef in Capri Singapore.

Chef Marco De Cecco

With Chef Marco now helming the kitchen of Prego, diners can look forward to an enhanced menu featuring many of the chef’s signature dishes. We had a chance to sample some of Chef Marco’s creations recently and could see his culinary skills at work, starting from the very fresh and simple Insalata Rucola.

Insalata Rucola (RM38) Rocket Salad with cherry tomatoes, balsamic reduction and shredded parmigiano reggiano

Saute Asparagus with Garlic

Whenever I see black mussels on a menu, chances are high that I’d order it. Chef Marco’s version comes in a mildly spicy light tomato sauce. Slices of italian bread are served together to mop up the sauce!

Impepata di Cozze – Black Mussels with Spicy Tomato Sauce (RM52)

Pasta and pizzas are mainstays in any Italian restaurant and in Prego, they are all made in-house. Freshly made pizzas are quickly cooked in woodfire ovens and served with gorgeous cheese toppings. We love the handmade tagliatelle in Prego. The smooth flat pasta is such a great comfort food and our tummies heaved with delicious satisfaction slurping down every single strand!

Pasta Divina – house-made tagliatelle with clams, mussels, scallop, prawn, squid in light tomato sauce with lemon zest (RM72)

Prego Pizza with barbeque glazed lobster, mozzarella, red onion jam and olives (RM88)

Chef Marco’s spicy lamb sausages are really good, as we found out. Served with polenta and caramelised onions, it’s pretty substantial serving.

Grilled Spicy Lamb Sausage with polenta, caramelised onions and cherry tomatoes (RM78)

The above dishes are all available in Prego’s a la carte menu and some of them are served in their Viva Italia Sunday Brunch from 11.30am till 2.30pm. This promises to be a very satisfying Italian eat-all-you-can dining experience. The sumptuous selections will have you indulging in a good selection of antipastos, salads, seafood including freshly-shucked oysters, cheeses, premium meats, handmade pastas, pizzas and memorable desserts.

Tiramisu

For dining reservations, please contact Westin Dining at +603-2773-8495, WhatsApp +6017-281-9231 or log on www.thewestinkualalumpur.com

 

PREGO
The Westin Kuala Lumpur
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2731-8333

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YUK SOU HIN @ Weil Hotel, Ipoh

One of the most popular meals one can have in Ipoh is Dim Sum. It’s so well-loved that not only it is eaten at breakfast and lunch, some restaurants do serve it at night as well. Growing up in Ipoh, a dim sum supper was something of a big treat for me, because we were poor and could not afford this very often. Ipoh folks eat dim sum at the crack of dawn – it’s not unusual to see the popular dim sum restaurants being full and crowded by 7am!  As a kid, I was always excited, despite being bleary-eyed, when I had to get up very early to get to the dim sum shop in town.

So, dim sum culture is a thriving “yum cha” thing in Ipoh. I recently discovered Yuk Sou Hin in the Weil Hotel Ipoh and what a nice find this is! Helmed by a Hong Kong chef, Chef Allan Tse, the pork-free dim sum served here does not disappoint. There’s no boisterous crowd here within the elegant walls and service is efficient and pleasant.

Chic and comfortable interior

We picked our items from the a la carte dim sum menu and every dish is cooked fresh and served piping hot. Despite not using pork, the Hongkong-style dim sum turned out beautifully in taste and presentation. There’s no compromise on flavours and textures.

Crabmeat Dumplings (RM12/3pieces)

Codfish Dumplings (RM12/3 pieces)

Chicken Xiao Loong Bau (RM10/4 pieces)

We started off with baskets of steamed dim sum: Crabmeat Dumplings, Chicken Xiao Loong Bau and Codfish Dumplings. Instead of the traditionally steamed Siew Mai, Chef Allan’s version was baked and topped with BBQ sauce. It’s certainly something different but the skewered dumplings turned out to be uniquely delicious! We love the Baked Snowskin Buns with BBQ Chicken too – warm, crusty and crumbly skin with tasty chicken chunks inside.

Baked Siu Mai (RM11/4 skewers)

Baked Snowskin Buns with BBQ Chicken (RM12/3 pieces)

Deep-fried Chives & Prawns Dumplings did not look very appealing initially but they were so good and once we bit into them, there was no stopping! We like the Stir-fried Radish Cake, tossed with eggs and crunchy beansprouts and big whiffs of “wok hei”!

Deep-fried Chives & Prawns Dumplings (RM10/3 pieces)

Stir-fried Radish Cake (RM10)

Prices of Dim Sum we had that morning ranged from RM7-RM12 per portion.

Besides Dim Sum, we just had to try Yuk Sou Hin’s ever-popular house special, their Signature Roast Duck specially smoked over fragrant lychee wood. We totally understand why this duck is so sought-after… crispy skin and tasty tender meat bound with a delicate smoky aroma, we couldn’t get enough of it.

Signature Roast Duck (RM45 half duck)

Still feeling puckish, we heeded the restaurant manager’s recommendation of their signature noodles, Fried Mian Xian. The silky noodles tossed with chicken slivers, eggs and fat crunchy Ipoh beansprouts left a comforting nudge in our stomachs. Ahh…but for a satisfying round-up to our brunch, Yuk Sou Hin’s famed Avocado Puree and Glutinous Sesame Balls did the job well.

Fried Mian Xian (RM37)

Glutinous Sesame Balls (RM12)

Avocado Puree (RM12/bowl)

Yuk Sou Hin’s cosy and stylish ambience makes it the perfect spot for a leisurely yum-cha session, away from the madding crowds that quite often describes other popular dim sum places in Ipoh. Service is attentive and pleasant and the best thing is that the food is cooked upon order and served piping hot from the kitchen. For more privacy, there are 8 private rooms in the restaurant.

 

YUK SOU HIN
Weil Hotel Ipoh
292 Jalan Sultan Idris Shah
30000 Ipoh

Website: http://www.weilhotel.com

Open daily – breakfast & lunch:
Monday-Saturday 10.30am-2.30pm
Sunday & Public Holiday 8.00am-2.30pm

Dinner: 6.00pm – 10.30pm

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DIM SUM @ NOBLE MANSION, Plaza 33, Petaling Jaya

Dim sum has always been my go-to comfort food.

As a kid growing up in Ipoh, we didn’t have much money, so having a dim sum meal was like Chinese New Year. Heck, if I got to eat just two char siu pow only, I’d be jubilant and won’t stop smiling that entire week. Back then, there wasn’t that many fancy dim sum restaurants around and I remember the best dim sum joint was this crowded kopitiam next to the wet market in town. So, munching on my favorite har kow and lor mai kai and putting up with the interesting smells of the nearby market, my world was always right whenever I had dim sum on the table.

Nowadays we are luckier – I don’t have to wait till CNY before I can have a dim sum meal. And of course, being in the Klang Valley, dim sum in many restaurants have now evolved beyond the rudimentary har kow and siu mai. Dining trends and competition in the F&B industry have pushed the bar many notches higher… chefs are now innovating more creative items on their menus!

The Oriental Group of Restaurants needs no introduction – their network of restaurants in the Klang Valley is popular and familiar to many. Noble Mansion in Petaling Jaya is well-known for its Cantonese and Shunde dishes. Fashioned after a traditional Chinese mansion, the elegant interior provides a pleasing backdrop for an unhurried meal here. Recognising that dim sum is always welcome and popular among diners, Noble Mansion recently unveiled its dim sum menu.

Creamy Carrots Swan Puffs (RM12.80)

What would probably grab your attention would be their visually-appealing Creamy Carrot Swan Puffs, Longevity Piglets Buns, Peanut Lava Carrots and Pan-fried Dumplings with Superior Stock.  Apart from the cute piglet buns, I love the puffs and the dumplings. The swan puffs are filled with warm savoury radish; the “carrot” puffs have wondrous gooey peanut filling spilling out the moment you bite into them and the pan-fried dumplings dunked in superior broth are really good. The piglet buns are appealing visually but it’s just the regular lotus buns given a cute facelift.


Peanut Lava Carrots (RM15)

Pan-fried Dumplings with Superior Stock (RM11.80)

Longevity Piglets Buns (RM16)

At Noble Mansion, regular dim sum are given various twists for differentiation from the masses. The har kau has extra crunch, thanks to addition of Australian asparagus and the siew mai are scented with black truffles. Although the char siew pau comes with Iberico pork filling, I really can’t tell any difference from regular pork as I don’t think the uniqueness of Iberico can be discerned in the sweetish diced pork filling. Nevertheless, I enjoy the well-executed char siew pau.

Har Kau with Australian Asparagus (RM11.80)


Siew Mai with Black Truffle (RM10.80)


Iberico Char Siew Pau (RM12)

Another item which I really like are the Prawns & Baby Fungus Dumplings in Cordycep Flowers Soup – the ingredients alone will tell you that this is a premium dim sum dish. Cordyceps, a prized herb, is valued for its immunity-boosting and lungs strengthening properties – I made sure that not a drop of the soup was left.

Prawns & Baby Fungus Dumplings in Cordycep Flowers Soup (RM14)


Cheong Fun with Duck Meat (RM11.80)


Pork Ribs with Black Beans (RM9.80)

Besides dim sum, there are appetizers, congee, noodles and desserts to fill the stomach. My favourite appetizers here are…

Icy Japanese Vegetables (RM28)

Chilled Abalones with Sakura Shrimps & Chilli (RM38)


Stuffed Century Eggs with XO Sauce (RM18)

Prawn Toast topped with Bonito Flakes & Shredded Cabbage (RM18)

 

And if you still have tummy space, go for these…

Porridge with Iberico Pork & Wolfberries (RM18)


Roast Pork (RM20)


Japanese Buckwheat Noodles with Iberico Pork & Black Truffle (RM48)

I must mention the splendid Crab Noodles from the main menu.  Even if you are there for dim sum, do indulge on this plate of divine slippery smooth noodles wrapping a huge succulent crab claw – you won’t regret it!

 

We totally love the desserts in Noble Mansion and wanted to order every one of them! However, good sense set in and we could only manage these top favourites…

Thousand Layer Cake (RM9)

Golden Pudding with Bird’s Nest in Whole Orange (RM23)
Fuji Apple with Snow Jelly, Gingko, Red Dates & Fresh Lily Bulbs (RM16)
Summer Breeze Coconut Jelly (RM14)

Prices of dim sum at Noble Mansion are understandably above average, given the more premium ingredients used. Iberico pork, black truffles, cordyceps – these are clearly for more discerned palates and the classy and quieter ambience is another plus point for a more relaxed and enjoyable dining experience.

 

NOBLE MANSION
P1-01, Level 1 Podium,Plaza 33
No. 1 Jalan Kemajuan,
Seksyen 13
46200 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7932 3288

Mondays to Saturdays
11.00 am – 3.00 pm
6.00 pm – 11.00 pm
Sundays & Public Holidays
10.00 am – 3.00 pm
6.00 pm – 11.00 pm

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“TASTE OF FREEDOM” & FRESH RIVER FISH at ZUAN YUAN, One World Hotel

I think it’s pretty apt for the good folks at Zuan Yuan to select Double Boiled Soups as the highlight of their “Taste of Freedom” promotion in August. August is our month of independence as Merdeka Day is celebrated on the 31st, hence, “freedom” comes into the picture. Now I also think there’s no better comparison than the sweetness of double-boiled soups to denote “freedom”!

We all know how nourishing double-boiled soups are – simply because the best ingredients are used and the long boiling time extracts the sweet flavours well.  At Zuan Yuan, this month, you get to savour winning double-boiled soups like Fish Maw Soup with Dried Scallops, Abalone, Sea Cucumber & Mushroom, Village Chicken Soup with Jade Abalone Dendrobium & American Ginseng, Chicken Soup with Korean Black Garlic, Abalone & Sea Cucumber, Fishbone Soup with Abalone, Monkey Head Mushroom, Dried Scallops & Lotus Seeds, among others.

Double Boiled Fishbone Soup with Abalone, Monkey Head Mushroom, Dried Scallops & Snow Lotus Seeds

There are other speciality dishes too in the extensive a la carte menu. Highly recommended are dishes like Claypot Eggplant with Cuttlefish & Shrimps in Spicy Chilli Sauce, Chef’s Special Sweet Sour Chicken with Dragonfruit, Braised Housemade Beancurd with Lily Bulbs & Dried Scallops and Crabmeat Eggwhite & Pine Nuts Omelette eaten with fresh lettuce leaves.

Crabmeat Eggwhite & Pine Nuts Omelette

Come September, Zuan Yuan will be highlighting fresh river fish in their special menu. With high content of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats (the good fats!) these fishes are highly recommended. My favourites are the Deep-fried Black Tilapia with Light Soy Sauce and the perfectly steamed Jade.

Black Tilapia – deep-fried with Light Soy Sauce

Jade Fish – steamed with crispy carrot & golden garlic

The fish dishes go well with plain rice but if you are not a fan of carbs, skip that and just go for the sweet, smooth and tender fish!

We couldn’t resist checking out some of Zuan Yuan’s popular dim sum (available at lunch only).

Steamed “Siew Mai” with Japanese Baby Scallop

Steamed “Phoenix Eye” Dumplings with Prawns & Black Truffle

Deep-fried Prawn Rolls with Century Egg & Oatmeal

“Cheong Fun” (rice rolls) with Goose Liver “YiuTiao” (fried crullers) Hong Kong-style

Chilled Pomelo, Snow Fungus & Nata De Coco with Lemon

So, August and September are certainly exciting months in Zuan Yuan with all these goodies lining up to induce food coma of the delicious kind!

 

ZUAN YUAN
One World Hotel
Bandar Utama City Centre
47800 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7681-1111