Tuesday, January 17, 2017

PROSPEROUS BEGINNINGS AT TOH YUEN




Chef Rick Teoh of Toh Yuen, Hilton Petaling Jaya and his team will pull out the stops to ensure diners welcoming the Year of the Rooster sit down to a choice of three festive set menus, to ensure a prosperous beginning to the Lunar New Year.
Our dinner preview hosted by the Hilton PJ Marcomm team led by Brin Vinda saw us tossing with gusto the platter of colourful Prosperity Yee Sang (raw fish salad) with Fresh Salmon, Hokkigai (surf clam) and Top Shell.

 
As expected, the succulent slices of raw salmon, surf clam and top shell blended well with the mixture of pickles, crisps, shredded vegetables and condiments. The salad had the right amount of sauce and oil; every mouthful deliciously well-balanced in texture and taste.
As tradition dictates, every festive banquet would invariably feature soup. Although yours truly hardly bother with broth or soupy stuff, I am partial to certain thickened version like the Brasied Superior Broth with Bamboo Pith, Sea Cucumber, Fish Lips, Egg White & Crabmeat served. Velvety smooth thanks to the chunks of egg white and endowed with rich nuances drawm from the luxe melange of premium items, few diners would pass up on savouring this.
One of my fave dishes of the eve was Steamed Canadian Cod with Dried Orange Peel & Julienne Ginger. The milky white flesh - delicately scented by the strips of dried mandarin peel - was marble smooth while the flavourful soya sauce and fish jus proved good enough to lap up.
I have yet to come across any CNY menu without the ubiquitous 'hou see fatt choi' and it's a good thing too as the dish is cherished for its auspicious symbolism of 'good tidings and burgeoning prosperity'. Hence everyone thoroughly relished every morsel of the Braised Shell Abalone, Mushrooms, Dried Oyster & Seamoss offering. Slicked with glossy brown sauce, this was a surefire crowd-pleaser through and through.
Happy laughter is sure to follow when there are prawns on the dining table. Despite the high prices, most CNY menus would include crustaceans with chefs giving their creative touches to them. Thumbs up to the dual platter of Fried Tiger Prawns with Oriental Sauce and White Prawns with Mango & Mayonnaise. We love the strong, robust flavours from the sauces used and the prawns' fresh bounciness were unmatched.

The musky aroma of dried oyster permeated the hearty parcel of Hong Kong-style Glutinous Rice with Dried Oyster in Lotus Leaf. A salted egg yolk lent it scant richness. best of all, the overall savouriness was balanced ingeniously by a spoonful of subtly sweet chicken floss and chopped spring onion.
Dessert fortunately came in manageable portion: a piece of Crispy Fried Nian Gao accompanied by Chilled Creamy Yam Puree with Vanilla Ice Cream. I'm partial to yam so both treats hit the spot without leaving any cloying feeling.
Available now until 17 February, Toh Yuen's three sets menus are Everlasting Happiness (RM1,888 nett), Luck & Joyfulness (RM2,188 nett) and Sea of Prosperity (RM2,688 nett).

For reservations, call Toh Yuen, Hilton Petaling Jaya, tel: 03-7955 9122 x 4073.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

SAVOUR THE SPLENDOUR OF SPRING AT LE MEI


Specially curated set menus will be available for those celebrating the upcoming Chinese New Year at Le Mei Chinese Restaurant, Le Meridien Putrajaya.
Available from 8 January to 18 February, 2017, Chef Michael Wong and his team will proffer pork-free Cantonese dishes in four special set menus to welcome the Year of the Rooster. We were treated to samplings of the chef's choice picks from the planned menus price from RM1,688 per table onwards (for 8-10 persons) in a recent preview.
As custom dictates, we began dinner with a rousing toss of the resto's Four Seasons Prosperity Yee Sang. Slices of butterfish, salmon, tuna and jellyfish melded nicely with the assortment of crisps, fresh vegetables and pickles. Blackcurrant-plum dressing pulled the ensemble together; symbolising a lively year in store for us.
A whole abalone, dried scallop and bamboo pith enriched the subsequent course of Double-boiled Chicken and Dried Vegetable Soup. The clear broth was food for the soul, brimming with clear sweetness which is typical of Cantonese-style soup.
Mini dices of dragonfruit, mango and strawberries were the fruits of choice for the tropical fruit salsa, a rather delightful riff lending the Crispy Prawns coated with Lemon Dressing a most agreeable lightness. Crunchy tobiko (flying fish roe) gave the palate-pleaser a spot on finishing touch.
Tradition rules in the ubiquitous festive offering of Braised Japanese Sun-dried Scallops, Dried Oysters & Black Sea Moss (Fatt Choy). Such familiar and rustic dishes always cherished for the rich symbolism and auspicious connotations; an apt reminder of how things change yet some remain the same.
 


Honey, soya sauce and sugar were just some of the condiments the chef revealed to us when asked about the moreish marinade for the Baked Salmon Fillets with Honey & Onion. The fish had such a shiny sheen thanks to the saucy glaze but we were kinda disappointed to find the fish cooked through, rendering it too dry for our liking. This minor hiccup was compensated by the sweetness of the sautéed onions.
The Fried Rice with Diced Lobster and Tobiko was a sight to behold with the vibrant green spring onion, shiny orange tobiko and speckled orange-white lobster reminding us of festive colours. Too bad the lobster meat was a tad overdone, taking the edge out of such a luxe dish.
Sweet treats came in pairs with Crispy Deep-fried Chinese Brown Sugar Balls with Sweet Potato accompanied by Double-boiled Snow Lotus with Peach Gum, Dried Longans, Red Dates & Pao Shen.
We couldn't fault these dessert options especially the latter which included new-fangled ingredients. The novelty of eating peach gum and snow lotus alone would be enough to divert familial attention away from thorny topics you wish to avoid at the dinner table. 
Also the humble sweet potato - once an absolute taboo ingredient - became acceptable thanks to its elevation to superfood status and with some culinary wizardry thrown in, now appeared in the guise of golden deep-fried balls. That's certainly something to crow about this Year of the Rooster don't you agree?

For reservations, please call Le Mei restaurant, tel: 03-8689 6888/6847/6868. Address: Lobby Level, Le Meridien Putrajaya, Lebuh IRC, IOI Resort City, Putrajaya.
 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

BRUNCH-ING OUT AT 2OX

The family that eats together, stays together. Now that a New Year is dawning, 2OX aims to encourage familial dining with the introduction of its Weekend Brunch. Channelling the charming, minimalist chic of Parisian-cafes, 2OX is the sister resto of Maison Francaise - an informal yet stylish French bistro with a skylight, shiny white tiled walls and rustic timber flooring.
Priced at RM120++ per person, Executive Chef Lescouezec Florent shows his prowess with a 3-course set menu of refined Euro-French brunch fare every Saturday and Sunday, from 11am till 3pm.
We had a sampling preview of what was in store recently. To get us into high spirits for the weekend, titillating Eye Openers (RM25++ per glass) featuring Kir Royale, Red or White Sangria, Rossini or Bloody Mary were proffered. My hot and zingy Bloody Mary was boozy enough to leave me hot under the collar...
Much to our delight and surprise, the opening volley comprised a triumvirate of hearty French starters: Chopped Caesar Salad (centre), a mini skillet of Scrambled Eggs with Salmon & Fine Herbs (left), and Focaccia with Melted Brie & Green Apples (right).
A fleshy anchovy lent a hint of brininess to the dainty mound of savoury dressed lettuce, jazzed up with crunchy cubes of croutons and grated cheese. The fresh green crunchiness was a nice textural contrast to the fluffy, custardy soft eggs which had bits of salmon in it. True to the French culinary essence, the simplest offering of focaccia toast with a generous slice of slightly melty brie atop sliced green apple was the day's stunner.
 
A choice of three roasts: lamb, salmon or beef is yours for the picking when it comes to the main course. After sampling the available options, the consensus flocked to the superbly tender, juicy Roast Lamb. The on-point doneness, when complemented by house made Yorkshire pudding, coleslaw, mashed potato and green beans, instantly won our hearts and minds.
Coming in neck-to-neck was Roast Beef. Accompanied by the same supporting sides, the roast was distinctly hearty and should leave no room for complaint. Personally, I found it a tad heavy but hubby had no such qualms so that itself was a positive sign.
 
Fishing for an alternative? Then you'd fall hook, line and sinker for the Roast Salmon. We expected the dish to be up to scratch and naturally, we weren't disappointed. Cooked on the outside with a translucent pink core, the slab of salmon was ship-shape in the taste department.
Fresh banana and caramel formed a winning combo for the dessert option of Sticky Toffee Banana Cake with Butterscotch Sauce. Chopped walnuts added crunch to the cake, making this an irresistible choice for those who like old-school cakes made with TLC.
Sheer indulgence aptly described the second confection of Crème Brûlée French Toast with Candied Walnuts, Roasted Apple & Whipped Cream. A wickedly decadent dessert to jettison one's dietary resolve but we suggest sharing this to ease up on the guilt factor.
 
Breads and pastries are something the French take seriously. Hence the Baker's Basket should please morning peeps who simply cannot forgo their daily bread. The feather-light, flaky mini croissant, scone and chocolate pastry served with a pat of butter and fruit preserve were manna for the soul when savoured in the company of family and loved ones. 


For reservations, please call 2OX at tel: 03-2692 2233. Address: 56G, Jalan Doraisamy, Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

OPULENCE BOWL & FORTUNE SHAKE CHEER FROM SANGKAYA

Early birds like us caught a taste of Chinese New Year fever at Sangkaya amidst the whirl of Yuletide festivities recently. The homegrown brand, famed for its signature Coconut Ice Cream, launched two NEW products - Opulence Bowl and Fortune Shake for the coming Year of the Rooster in 2017.
The evening took on a decidedly CNY feel when thunderous beats of drums and clashing cymbals roused a pair of prancing lions to conquer the Sangkaya premise.
From 15 December 2016 to 28 February 2017, Sangkaya will entice ice cream and dessert lovers with their Opulence Bowl creations: Orange Tang (left) and Pineapple Zest (right). Each of the delightful treat is priced at RM8.40.
Behold the Orange Tang in which orange infused Sangkaya Signature Coconut Ice Cream comes prettily presented in a floral waffle cup, with a wedge of fresh lime and dried orange peel dices. A dash of freshly squeezed lime juice gave the ice cream a nice zesty tang and stirred up the appetite for this enticing treat. A fortune cookie lent it a fortuitous CNY touch.
 
The Pineapple Zest fought for our attention too with equal fervour. Here, pineapple infused coconut ice cream came topped with fresh chunks of pineapple, served in a floral waffle bowl together with a crunchy fortune cookie. We found the pineapple nuance subtler but just as pleasing.
You can even pack these two new Sangkaya ice cream flavours home with the specially designed Sangkaya cooler bag. Limited edition angpow packets will also be given away with any two purchase of the new products. Do check with the friendly Sangkaya team for more information.
Based on past weather patterns, the CNY period tends to be hot so nothing beats a cooling drink like Sangkaya's Fortune Shake. We recommend Orange Sunrise (RM7.40) - a splendid thirst-quencher of orange ice cream shake infused with coconut water and dried orange peel. One sip and you'd be slurping the drink down!
Alternatively, there's the captivating appeal of Pineapple Breeze (RM7.40) - an irresistibly chilled drink of pineapple ice cream shaken and stirred with coconut water and pineapple chunks. Now, this thirst-quencher is worth raving about too.
 
In case you're wondering if Sangkaya has all but forgotten about Christmas, the festive spirit can be found in the Christmas Glee creation. Pairing a crimson red velvet cupcake swirled with cream cheese frosting, it is crowned with a scoop of luscious Sangkaya Coconut Ice Cream, toasted grated coconut and a pretzel. Yummilicious!
 
For more information, visit Sangkaya Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sangkaya/ or Sangkaya website:  http://sangkaya.co/