Monday, January 15, 2018

CNY REUNION DINNER AT SUNWAY PUTRA HOTEL



Sometimes the mantra ‘old is gold’ holds true in this day and age. The Chinese New Year (CNY) menu we sampled at Sunway Putra Hotel exemplifies the philosophy thanks to Chef Chew Keng Chai and his team.
Two 8-course menus bear testament to the culinary team’s prowess, created to help you reconnect with family and loved ones for upcoming reunion and celebration dinners in conjunction with CNY.
Tradition demands the festive familial feast commences with yee sang – a colourful salad with slices of raw fish to symbolise abundance for the CNY. From our tasting session, the Salmon Yee Sang fits the bill perfectly. Red, green and golden brown hues of the assorted ingredients married with the tantalising accent of plum sauce delighted us with its nostalgic old-school taste. Honest, simple and quintessentially Chinese, we were left thoroughly smitten.

The cheery pace picked up with another on-point offering - Braised Crabmeat & Seaweed with Dried Scallops soup. We love the broth's right degree of viscosity; each savoury spoonful awash with a fine mélange of seaweed, mushroom, crabmeat, crabstick and dried scallop. I couldn’t help raving over it much to the surprise of my dining companions who know I eschew soup.
Retro reminiscence came to the fore yet again when we tucked into the delectable Roast Crispy Chicken with Cucumber Plum Sauce. Tender and juicy with a toothsome bite, the chicken was even more sublime when dipped into the side dish of coarsely chopped cucumber and plum sauce.
Fresh coriander, scallions and superior soya sauce formed the flavoursome trinity that sealed in the natural deliciousness of the Steamed Grouper Hong Kong Style. Although the fish was a tad overdone, we readily overlooked the minor hiccup.
Cheshire cat-sized grins were aplenty around the table once we got to grips with the irresistible Stir-fried Tiger Prawns with Salted Egg Yolk. We didn’t mind getting our hands dirty shelling the succulent prawns and the mildly gritty salted egg yolk sauce was finger-licking good.
Stir-fried Nai Pak (milk cabbage) with Superior Stock helped to fulfil our greens quota for the day whilst the Garlic & Mushroom Dumplings were relished with much satisfaction as the golf ball-sized dumplings were generously stuffed with fish and prawn paste.
Leave some tummy room to fit in the parcels of Steamed Rice with Chicken & Yam in Lotus Leaves. Hearty with a homespun touch to it, this rustic speciality should hit the spot for die-hard rice lovers and leave them replete.
Crowd-pleasing sweet broth of Chilled Honey Dew Sago with Rock Melon accompanied by Baked Spiral Lotus Puffs should leave everyone in a good mood when they walk away from the dining table.
The 8-course CNY Reunion Set Dinner is priced at RM1,188 nett per table of 10 persons and will be served at the hotel’s Coffee House.

For more information and reservations, call SUNWAY PUTRA HOTEL, tel: 03-4040 9888. Address: Level 9, Sunway Putra Hotel, 100 Jalan Putra, Kuala Lumpur.

Friday, January 12, 2018

SINO-JAPANESE REUNION FEAST AT OCTOBER



REUNION is the name of the Chinese New Year theme at October Japanese Cuisine in Johor Bahru.

Swim into the CNY mood with the restaurant’s Prosperity Assorted Sashimi Yee Sang (RM68 nett – regular, RM108 nett - large) with Wasabi Sauce or Sour Plum Sauce. We sampled the refreshing salad that combined Norwegian Salmon, Maguro (Tuna) and Hamachi (Yellow Tail) harmoniously with mounds of colourful, shredded radish, carrot, cucumber, seaweed, pickled ginger and marinated scallop skirts. Lending further textural interest to the ensemble were house-made fried Gyoza Skin, Sesame Seeds and Toasted Almond Flakes.

Tucked away in a quiet enclave, the low-rise, double-storey resto comes with a sculpted pathway on one side - complete with Japanese bamboo, granite garden lanterns, stone paving, faux cherry blossom trees and a torii (traditional gate). The resto interior is simple and practical with an open display of sumo wrestlers and sake bottles. Upstairs features more laidback cafe-style seating and a private dining room.

To fire up the festive spirit, the October team has created Auspicious Flaming Nabe (RM68.80 nett), a hot pot flambé with Kaoliang Rice Wine, Japanese Sake and Miso Soup. Sliced Norwegian salmon, chicken breast, shiitake mushrooms, leeks and carrots co-mingled in the bubbling pot; their inherent sweetness imbued with a decidedly heavy boozy overtone once the spirits were added and set alight.

Have a ball of a time with the artistic creation of Fortune Sushi & Sashimi Platter (RM58.80 nett). The dainty assortment of sushi balls was delightful, nicely complemented by slices of Maguro, Hamachi and Salmon Sashimi as well as Ikura (Salmon Roe).

Customers who spend RM88 and above will be entitled to receive two packs of exclusive October Group ang pows and a RM20 voucher in conjunction with CNY.

House Specialities


The extensive a la carte menu also abounds with tempting possibilities. You can nurse a fave tipple and nibble on Grilled Edamame (RM9.90++) – Japanese green soya beans sautéed with togarashi seasoning and Kawahagi (RM12.90++) – smoky, mildly salty dried leatherjacket or filefish with jerky-like chewiness.

Also available are palate-pleasing Kushiyaki Moriawase (RM44.90++): grilled skewers of scallops, shiitake, enoki niku, okra, leek and eggplant to assuage hunger pangs. We would recommend Surume Ika – tender grilled squid basted with Japanese sauce.

Rice fiends will find rolled sushi aplenty to tickle their fancy. The Special October Maki (RM49.90) consists of 8 types of sushi whilst salmon, crabstick and lashings of spicy sauce made up the Flaming Salmon Aburi Maki (RM29.90++). 

Riding on the salted egg craze is October’s Salted Egg Maki (RM26.90++) in which a deep-fried soft shell crab rolled sushi comes laced with savoury salted egg sauce.

Heftier appetites may prefer opting for the October Special Bento (RM59.90++) – a bento encompassing Japan’s seasonal ingredients prepared in multiple ways to please the eyes and palate.
 
Should you need additional succour, the generous serving of Japanese Fried Noodles (RM19.90) wrapped in a fluffy omelette blanketed with katsuoboshi will do the trick.

To wrap up your outing to October, sweeten the experience with Tempura Sweet Potato (RM9.90++). Inspired by the local combo of sweet potato and yam, this pairing sheathed in light tempura batter. Tartar sauce gave the dish an unexpectedly lush and creamy twist.

For reservations, call October Japanese Cuisine, tel: 017-683 2156. Address: 6A, Jalan Persiaran Jaya Putra 1, Bandar Jaya Putra (JP Perdana) Johor Bahru.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

LE GOÛTER FRENCH AFTERNOON TEA





Afternoon tea may have started with the 7th Duchess of Bedford but oh là là, le goûter is  tea-time in France. Word has it that a sweet snack like biscuits or chocolate in bread is de rigueur after school to keep the young ones going till dinner. I found this blog offers a good explanation of le goûter: https://www.loumessugo.com/en/blog/entry/what-is-gouter-it-s-tea-time-kids
As expected, Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur - as an Autograph Collection property, bestows its own inimitable take on Le Goûter Afternoon Tea. Served in the warmly welcoming, French-style Brasserie 25, you'd be charmed by its exposed rust-red brick arcades, mid-century copper sputnik chandeliers and dark wood floors.


Once we were seated, a chilled welcome drink known as Paradise Pink set a refreshing pace for our maiden French afternoon tea experience. I enjoyed sipping the subtly sweet, pleasant guava juice and pineapple juice concoction mixed with grenadine syrup while the Brasserie 25 team swanned about, discreetly going about their tasks.
Presented in a boxy copper warmer, the curtain-raiser featured a triple serving of Mini Salmon Quiche, Sardine Curry Puffs, Deep-fried Samosas and Arancini Balls. We partook the delicious savoury snacks with freshly brewed cups of Cameronian Gold Blend tea. Coffee is also available for those who yearn for a caffeine fix.
Both the quiche and deep-fried risotto balls covered in breadcrumbs were rich and hearty with varying textures and lushness to tickle the tastebuds. Although we left the curry puffs and samosas for consumption later, the pastries remained flaky and crisp without any trace of residual greasiness. Fillings of both the local pastries were generous and flavourful too.
Two triangular pieces of toasty Grilled Cheese Sandwich made a welcome addition to the line-up. It reminded me of carefree childhood days when the simpler things in life like sandwiches for tea was a treasured treat.

True to its French roots, Le Goûter boasts a comprehensive showcase of sweet temptations. After all, the art of patisserie is much respected so afternoon tea guests here are plied with a heart-stopping selection of delicate French dessert. Presented with white gloved service and proffered on a silver tray, I daresay the visually pleasing and sublime creations would please even the infamous Marie Antoinette who immortalised the "let them eat cake" quote.
My favourite is the Lemon Meringue Tart followed by the delicate Raspberry Macaron. The crunchy Almond Biscotti and Orange Madeleine also hit the spot when paired with cups of milky tea.
The charming frontliners were adept at persuading us to sample the extensive array. We readily succumbed to their gentle coaxing and indulged in dainty portions of the heavenly Almond & Cherry Clafoutis, Langues de Chat - a feather-light, buttery biscuit shaped like a cat's tongue, White Chocolate Truffle Cake and Almond Financier.
Le Goûter Afternoon Tea is served daily from 3 pm - 6pm @ RM70 per person. We were told it has been a runaway success since its introduction especially on weekends so it's advisable to reserve ahead should you wish to experience it.

For reservations, please call Brasserie 25, tel: 03-2038 0000. Address: Hotel Stripes KL - Autograph Collection, 25 Jalan Kamunting, Kuala Lumpur. Website: http://stripeskl.com