Sunday, February 03, 2019

TOSS UP PROSPERITY & SAVOUR ROMANCE AT NOBU KL


The king of shellfish rules at Nobu this Chinese New Year. Priced at RM288++, the HARHARHAR Prosperity Platter for two will leave you laughing with delight. A whole shelled lobster to symbolise happiness is complemented by batonettes of jicama, red and white dragonfruit, beets, carrot, tsuma (shredded radish), thin slices of Asian pear, green apple and rose apple, crispy strips of wanton skin, seaweed salad, pine nuts and sesame seeds.
What sets this salad apart is the distinctive mixture of wafu dressing (this itself is a concoction of mirin, soy sauce, rice vinegar and vegetable oil), honey and sour plum sauce that manages to raise the whole ensemble a toss above the ordinary.

Executive Chef Philip Leong and his team also offer a Salmon & White Fish Prosperity Platter (RM188++) using similar salad ingredients. The results is no less pleasing as the salmon and white fish proffer succulent texture that are quite different.
Getting into the Chinese New Year spirit, the Nobu team thoughtfully conjures up Steamed Plaiced with Iwashi Dashi, Goji Berries & Black Moss (RM158++) since fish is considered a symbol of abundance and surplus among the Chinese.
It is on-point dish that ticks all the right boxes for me. The main ingredient — plaice imported from Iceland takes centrestage; its natural sweetness shines through unhampered atop the pool of umami-rich iwashi dashi (Japanese sardine stock). All the attendant black seamoss, goji berries and edamame included are to lend hints of colour, nuance and texture.
Sweet prosperity comes with a touch of whimsy at Nobu in the form of its God of Wealth dessert (RM48++). The rotund white chocolate mousse figurine with pineapple yuzu curd, pineapple filling and cheese sable cookies tastes surprisingly light and refreshing on the palate despite its deceptively decadent appearance.
Gather family and friends to celebrate with these auspicious dishes at Nobu from until 25 February 2019.

When it comes to romancing the day of love, Executive Chef Philip Leong and his team are guided by Nobu’s Japanese-Peruvian culinary philsophy in creating the indulgent 7-course Valentine Omakase menu priced at RM500++ per person.
Available from 13 to 17 February, love birds can dive in with Cured Salmon with Caviar, Beetroot Gel & Nuts before segueing into Assorted Nobu Style Sushi. Then set your pulse racing with an exquisite dish of Seared Botan Ebi with Glazed Vegetable, Wasabi Salsa & Ponzu Sauce.

After sampling the seductive Fresh Water Prawn with Butterfly Pea Flower Dressing, Coral Crumble & Prawn Oil, we daresay it would be hard to resist its siren’s call. Again, the focus lies in allowing the key ingredient to shine — the inherent sweetness of the prawn meat, its flavourful oil and coral.
Another winsome main set to steal hearts is Grilled Wagyu Beef & Bottarga with Corn Cream, Dry Miso Popcorn & Roasted Romanesco. An artful composition, it’s a colourful palette of interesting textures and nuanced flavours that may prove too distracting to passionate foodies but then again, there’s no love sincerer than the love of food...


The evergreen maxim of ‘less is more’ resonates soundly in the speciality of Truffle Rice with Spinach Chazuke. Personally, I’d like to equate it to a simplified Japanese distillation of lap mei farn or rice cooked with waxed sausages and pork. A comforting dish packed with all the hearty, rich and soul-satisfying accents nobody ever tire of eating.
A litle tart with just a touch decadence, the Strawberry Pavlova with Vanilla Cream & Strawberry Jelly is slightly naughty without overdoing it in the dessert department. Piped into a lovely rose bloom, it gives the Valentine’s menu the pretty panache for the occasion.

Better hurry and nab a table now before it’s too late. Call Nobu KL for reservations, tel: 03-2164 5084 or Whatsapp: 019 389 5085.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

DORSETT HARTAMAS OPENS IN KUALA LUMPUR


The Rooftop Sky Pool on Level 27 set a breathtaking stage for the opening of Dorsett Hartamas Kuala Lumpur one balmy evening. Plied with cocktails and mocktails concocted by a mixologist from Dorsett Shepherds Bush, London plus delicious Thai canapes from Chakri Palace Sky View, invitees had to skirt around the poolside cautiously lest they get too distracted by the panoramic view of the city spread out before them.
At dusk, few can resist snapping some Instaworthy shots of the darkening skies amidst strands of pearly lights strewn throughout suburbia; from the endless highways to key landmarks such as Istana Negara and in the distance, the KL Tower and the Petronas Twin Towers.

Stepping into the four-star Dorsett Hartamas Kuala Lumpur, we had an opportunity to view some of the 290 guestrooms and suites that evening. As expected, the rooms veer close to five-star standards in terms of plushness and its soft furnishings.
Some easily recognisable ID elements like the birds and Oriental motifs synonynmous with the Dorsett Hospitality International brand are omnipresent.
Later, invited guests joined  Datin Jasmine Abdullah, Vice Chairman of Dorsett Hospitality International and Peggy Tan (above left in maroon dress), General Manager of Dorsett Hartamas KL for the traditional tossing of the Chinese New Year salad, Yee Sang at Table Talk — Dorsett Hartamas’ 158 seat all-day dining cafe cum lounge.

Besides the customary festive speciality by Chef Bryan Teh from The Emperor Chinese Restaurant at Dorsett Grand Subang, the culinary team at Dorsett Hartamas KL also prepared an international spread of tempting morsels.

The dainty servings were creatively presented and showcased, to demonstrate the chefs’ inventiveness and current food trends with a multitude of different culinary influences. 
 
For more information and reservations, call Dorsett Hartamas Kuala Lumpur, tel: 03-6209 8888 or email: info.hartamas@dorsetthotels.com or  visit: www.dorsetthotels.com/malaysia/hartamas ADDRESS: D-G-08, Plaza Damas 3, No 63, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Taman Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

A YEAR OF BLOOMING ABUNDANCE AT HILTON KUALA LUMPUR


Strawberries in yee sang. Seafood soup redolent with oceanic flavours. Fish swimming with nostalgic inspired accents. Brace yourselves for a Year of Blooming Abundance at Hilton Kuala Lumpur's Chynna Restaurant this Chinese New Year.
From the precision of the resident tea-pouring expert to the last morsel of sticky nian goa, our dinner preview was anything but ho-hum. A harbinger of the auspicious celebration ahead, the preview session started with the curtain-raising Yu Sheng Selection (RM128 for half portion, RM280 for whole portion).
A pile of huge American strawberries, bursting with bracing tanginess mingled well with the colourful platter of julienne radish, carrot, pickles, crushed macadamia, fresh coriander and dried kumquat. We were relieved to find the house dressing was light, fruity and didn’t turn the salad into a soggy mess after our vigorous bout of tossing.

In conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration, Chef Lam Hock Hin has conjured up a repertoire of special dishes for the occasion. While the Grand Fortune Set would require a minimum of 5 persons per table at RM688 per head, other festive sets: Abundance (RM288 per person), Prosperity (RM398) and Wealth (RM438) are good for two or more. All the festive menus will be available from 7 January to 24 February.
The night’s show-stopper was the Braised Assorted Dried Seafood with Vegetarian Fins, Crabmeat & Fish Maw; its complex layers of savoury, deep-sea flavours in my experience was the only soup to have come closest to mimicking the real deal. I daresay I lapped up every last drop of that subtly fishy, unctuously thick milieu of crabmeat, seamoss, slivers of fish maw, translucent noodles...it was par excellence. 

Pumpkin sauce was Chef Lam’s way of bestowing a healthy slant to his creation of Braised Abalone Cubes with Sea Cucumber, Pumpkin Sauce & Crispy Smoked Meat. “I got the brainwave after eating a pumpkin dish prepared by my girlfriend” said the chef in jest when he was asked on the inspiration behind the dish. 
“The pumpkin sauce’s golden colour also bodes well for Chinese New Year. Finely diced, crispy smoked duck was added to give the dish more flavour. It makes a nice change from the usual braised abalone and sea cucumber dish.”
Lots of painstaking work has gone into the chef’s speciality of Steamed Wild Caught Giant Grouper Slices with Congee, Fried Ginger & Touchu Chilli Sauce. According to Lam, the rice has to be soaked overnight and underwent several water changes before it was boiled down into that milky white, smooth congee base.

The final dish was a gastronomic treat for fish lovers who are partial to supple, smooth and delicate texture. Again drawing inspiration from traditional comfort food, Lam amped up the fish slices and congee pairing with fried ginger strips for some warm, spicy kick, and briny taucheo (preserved soya beans) with chilli to jolt the tastebuds awake.
Mindful of our multi-racial society, Lam decided a dish with Indian and Malay influences has a place on the Chinese New Year table too. It was on-point too as the spice quotient of the Batter Fried Crispy Chicken with Yellow Curry Sauce proved a hit especially among the young ones. 

We enjoyed the curry leaf-scented okra pieces atop the fried chicken. Marinated with dried shrimp paste, the crispy and moist chicken pieces were delectable to boot.
Another wave of nostalgia hit us when we sampled the Stewed Cabbage with Yam and Shrimps in Claypot. It wasn’t anything to look at but the taste was homey and delicious; good comfort food that you’d want to keep eating. 
 
One dish to ensure you leave Chynna replete is the Ten Grain Rice Stuffed with Chicken Floss. My only pet peeve with this offering is the clumps of rice was a tad sweet for my liking. IMHO, the rice should not have been steamed with sugar since each clump of the multi-grained rice already came with chicken floss on top — in this case, less is more!
Dessert featured a duet Combination of Snow White Coconut Jelly and Nian Gao Roll with Cheddar Cheese, Macadamia Nut and Musang King Durian. The former passed muster but paled into the shadows next to the festive new year cake.
With a powerful King of Fruit filling, we couldn’t detect any trace of the cheese nuance in the Nian Gao roll. Overall, the sweet treat was acceptable but the cheese simply failed to make its presence felt. Otherwise it was a lovely and sweet way to conclude a celebratory CNY dinner.

For reservations, call Hilton Kuala Lumpur's Chynna, tel: 03-2264 2264 or visit life.hiltonkl.com