Monday, January 21, 2019


Midday Specials. Social Bites. The Cookbook. These catchy names denote the new lunch, light snacks and dinner menus at Cedar on 15, the  rooftop restaurant and lounge at Impiana KLCC Hotel in line with 2019.

Following a fresh approach taken by Chef Helmut Lamberger, Corporate Chef (WACS Global Master Chef), local media peeps were given first dibs into the culinary team’s versatile repertoire.
Waitstaff swooped in bearing trays of Social Bites, catching our eye with the unusual presentation. Our Version of Bitterballen (RM26) — crisp potato croquettes flavoured with smoked turkey ham and cheese finished with dollops of avocado mousse (pix below)  were scrumptious enough that I unashamedly went for repeat helpings.
Cocktail parties definitely would be more fun with wickedly delish Rockefeller Shrimp Popcorn (RM40) — crunchy deep-fried shrimp ‘popcorn’ in waxed newsprint cones served with roasted garlic aioli (bottom top pix). These nibbles easily reel you in so keep a tight grip on your own resolve or else...
Simpler but no less appealing on the palate is Vine Tomato Bruschetta (RM39). Amazing how sublime Cameron Highlands baby tomatoes baked with ricotta cheese, parsley oil and crushed pepper (bottom top pix) can taste when paired with some nice tipple. 
According to Chef Helmut, the new menus focus on classic European favourites with modern updates, to cater to today’s discerning diners. He emphasised his team also took into consideration key issues such as seafood sustainability, the use of locally-grown herbs and mushrooms, changing food trends and evolving palates.
One of Chef Helmut’s notable creations, Carpaccio of Portobello Mushroom (RM54) actually won him the coveted ‘Chef of the Year, Austria’ by Gault Millau back in 1991. His latest interpretation in which the thinly sliced fungi came dotted with burrata cheese and whipped horseradish was a delicate, no-frills composition of rustic earthiness — to symbolise the Forest in The Cookbook (dinner menu).
The evening’s showstopper for me was the Earth-inspired Cream of Kohlrabi (RM44) with butter-seared scallops, baby greens and coral tuille. Also known as German turnip, this temperate vegetable is now grown in Camerons. Part bulb and part vegetable, it’s a cross between a radish, jicama, collard green and broccoli.
The Cedar on 15 team did an excellent job turning it into a lush, creamy soup that allowed the scallops’ natural sweetness to shine and enveloped the asparagus tips with its sleek smoothness. 
With sustainability issue gaining traction in the food industry, Chef Helmut and his team selected Pan-fried Fillet of Malaysian Barramundi (RM64) as their main course of choice during the menu launch. A good decision as the fish itself proved on-point, accompanied by churned almond butter and sides of artichokes, potatoes, asparagus tips, olives, herbs and lemon wedges.

Passion is essential to chefs and the entire gastronomic feast we had experienced proved Chef Helmut Lamberger and his chaps spared no efforts in ensuring we went home happy. Their finale appeared in the form of A Medley of White Chocolate & Raspberry (RM44) with citrus crème and crispy snaps. Cloud-light with a well-balanced quotient of sweet and tangy accents, it hit the spot for me although I’m no fan of mousse-type treats.
The chef also demonstrated the preparation of some signature dishes such as Skaagen or Scandinavian Shrimp Salad, Foie Gras ‘Magyar’ and Barbary Duck Breast during dinner. A plethora of specialities from all three menus was also displayed for us to photograph and view at the launch.
For reservations, call Cedar on 15, tel: 03-2147 1111. Address: Level 15, Impiana KLCC Hotel, 13, Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur.

Friday, January 18, 2019


A private tropical villa situated within Century Langkawi Beach Resort, Dani Beach Cottage — a rustic beachfront property in Pantai Kok is owned and managed by S&W Premium Collection. The minimum rental duration is 3 days/2 nights but Langkawi has so many tourist attractions and activities that visitors can easily spend up to a week here.
The frontyard of Dani Beach Cottage is lush & green
The dramatic palette of sunrise from our seafront room
Just a short drive away from the Langkawi International Airport past tall waving coconut trees and undulating country roads, Dani Beach Cottage — once part of the sprawling Century Langkawi Beach Resort — is nestled amidst clusters of greenery.  
At hand to meet and greet us at our scheduled arrival time was Dani Beach Cottage’s affable caretaker Ms Azura. Besides explaining to us on the villa’s layout, house rules and key facilities, she also plied us with cold drinks and set out a welcome fruit basket on the sideboard.

Much to our delight, we found each of the spacious and airy bedrooms has its own sea-facing patio in addition to an en-suite bath and shower. There are a total of five beds within the three rooms. Thoughtful touches like the provision of cotton batik sarongs, flip-flop slippers, bath towels, liquid handwash and mini bottles of shampoo and shower gel are much appreciated.

We find the living area large and tastefully furnished, with strategically placed objects d’art, rugs, floor lamps and books giving it an inviting, homey feel. Long settees, comfy couches and a day bed with throw cushions and portable seat paddings are more than enough to host a party of eight.
At the entrance, the long sideboard does double service as breakfast and drinks bar. Bottles of drinking water, sachets of instant coffee and tea are provided along with a kettle, toaster and mini fridge. Breakfast is an enjoyable affair especially when eaten at the breezy patio area, serenaded by the splashing waves and rustling of tree leaves.
Complimentary WiFi is provided at Dani Beach Cottage although the reception is somewhat spotty in certain parts of the villa. Otherwise, the connection is considered good since we’re on an island resort up north in Malaysia!

An indoor dining table won’t be remiss too as it can serve as a breakfast nook on rainy days or as a convivial gathering point. It would be great if there is a mini kitchenette and sink or dishwashing area. Such a facility will come in handy for guests to clean up after themselves and help maintain the general upkeep of Dani Beach Cottage in the long run.
For reservations or more information on Dani Beach Cottage, visit this link: