Monday, December 30, 2013

OUT OF WEST AFRICA

Tucked away in a discreet corner of Publika, few people realise this rather snazzy Cocobar & Kitchen Club Lounge adorned with billowy, satiny drapes and shiny patterned steel finish feature walls serve some of the tastiest West African fare in this part of the city.
Lolling comfortably on one of the sectional lounges, plush sofas and ottomans, we warmed up to the place with some of the house cocktails rustled up by the bartender (or mixologist as they are known nowadays).
Pink Pussy to add a blush to your face...a mixture of milk, grenadine, triple sec & vodka



Sexy Lesley to tickle your cocktail fancy
We were tickled pink by some of the concoctions' racy names such as Sexy Lesley and Pink Pussy but if you feel prudish asking for them, try more sedate-sounding Chocotini or Sea Breeze. Most of the cocktails  are priced from RM20 onwards. Cocobar also has an extensive range of shooters, wine, beer, liquor and champagne to boost your spirits up all night long.
Sea Breeze to ensure your evening at Cocobar remains smooth sailing
Should you feel peckish, keep hunger pangs at bay with light & easy finger food such as Hot & Spicy Mexican Chicken (RM15 - 6 pcs) - chicken wings coated in a piquantly tangy-fiery sauce. Think Tex-Mex buffalo wings with enticing hints of full-bodied sweetness. They are so scrumptious you'd pick the bones clean.
Fiery Mexican Chicken to set your tastebuds ablaze
The Coco's Spicy Gizzard (RM15) is another conversation stopper. It is amazing how a coarse, tongue-searing blend of chilli, garlic and African spices can transform such humble 'spare parts' into such sublime, mind-blowing morsels. A definite 'must try' if you're big on gizzard.
Guzzle on these delectable gizzards
Being the ignoramuses that we are, Cocobar owner Andy Daniel told us that chilli peppers, spices and herbs are prevalently used in West African cooking especially in Nigeria. Surprisingly, rice is a staple too besides maize (corn).
Rice and shine out of Western Africa
Proof of the pudding can be found in Cocobar's African Fried Rice Special (RM45) which is as different as chalk and cheese from our local version. You'd have to wait a good 45 minutes to an hour for it but trust me, the dish is well worth the wait. A platter of golden saffron yellow, every grain of the rice is suffused with deep-seated flavour. Apparently, its painstaking preparation requires the rice to be par-boiled and washed several times before the rest of the other ingredients are added. Studded with bits of sausage and mixed vegetable, the rice is complemented by fried plantain and a big chunk of fried fish on the side. Being the rice fiends that we are, we left no grain unfinished.
A real hooker of a fish to tantalise you
Like the proverbial saying not to judge a book by its cover, we learned not to judge a Grilled Whole Seabass with Plantain (RM85 with two glasses of red or white wine) by its plain appearance. Topped with some raw, fresh onion rings alongside green peli chilli sauce and mayonnaise, the fish reeled us in with its inherent sweetness. Marinated with chilli, onion and some stock before grilling, it made for very good eating when complemented by the creamy, sweat-inducing hot dips and nectar-sweet caramelised plantain.
Culture in a bowl...a collision of textures & flavours in the Egusi & Poundo combo
More adventurous eaters may like to sample Egusi with Poundo (RM35 & RM45), a typical West African soup. A far cry from the usual watery or creamy broths that we're familiar with, egusi is thick and grainy due to its base of ground melon seeds. Scented with spices and blended with smoked fish, boiled cow skin, spinach and chilli, it is eaten with poundo.
Traditionally made of pounded white yam (Dioscorea rotunda), the modern version simply calls for the mixing of processed yam powder with water to form rotund, dense loaves that looks like oversized Indian idli. On its own, poundo is completely tasteless with a heavy, starchy texture. You'd have to take bite-size portions of it and eat with the curd-like egusi, to let the egusi's melange of explosive accents to shine through.

Game for a real West African culinary adventure? Then Cocobar is a dark horse that's worth hedging your bets on.

COCO BAR &KITCHEN CLUB LOUNGE, Block D4-G4-9, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-6211 0708

Saturday, December 28, 2013

BOSCH UPS THE COOKING ANTE



 
BOSCH - Europe’s leading household appliances launched its newly introduced Asian Range hobs and hoods  recently.
Gary Ong, Chief Executive Officer of BSH Home Appliances Sdn. Bhd. highlighted that the INTELLI innovations were conceived to cater to Asian kitchen needs and Asian cooking techniques, enabling its users to cook in style while keeping the kitchen and the rest of the house clean and odour-free.

According to him, the gas and electric hobs of the Asian Range are designed wider than the existing European Range, to accommodate Asian-style cookware such as woks and larger pots. He also points out that the oil collection channel on the hoods come with a patented double filter system to capture condensed grease instantly and diverts it to the oil cup, keeping the kitchen grease free.
Ong said: Kitchen is the heart of the home, a place where cooking is devoted to loved ones. We endeavour to produce efficient and elegant products with the most advanced technology  for kitchens around the world. The Asian Range brings German efficiency and technology to the Asian kitchens such as even and precise wok burners, efficient extraction for hoods and INTELLILINK, an innovative, convenient and practical feature that links the hob and hood.” 
Chef Alina Hew demonstrated Bosch's latest Asian Range by whipping up a quick, stir-fry dish at the launch. Canopied tents were also set-up to show the versatility of the hobs where Thai, Korean, Indian, Malay and Nyonya dishes were served for guests' sampling.
 
Also present at the launch was Jimmy Ang, Head of Marketing for BSH Home Appliances Sdn Bhd. Product manager Ms Chee Lin Kit also explained in detail some of the features of the new Asian Range.
Priced from RM1,388 onwards, there will be 10 different models available from January 2014 onwards. For more information on Bosch Asian Range or to locate the nearest Bosch dealer, visit www.bosch-home.com.my 

Monday, December 23, 2013

"MERII KURISUMASU" CHEER


Warm & cosy Eyuzu
Tired of turkey and the same old, same old Noel fare? Make your way to the Eastin Hotel and let Eyuzu take you on an extravagant culinary tour of Japan via its Christmas Eve buffet dinner on 24 December.
Maki sushi rolls add extra sparkle to your meal
You'd be spoilt for choice as the chefs have left no stones unturned and pull out all the stops to whip up a palatable parade that includes salad and appetisers, assorted hot dishes and several action stations where chefs will prepare inviting specialities for your sampling pleasure.
Raw appeal - how can you resist such sumptuous succulence?
For our exclusive 'sneak preview', an impressive composition of Sashimi that has raw salmon, marinated white tuna, oysters and yellowtail piled atop a bed of crushed ice gave us a good idea of what to expect at the Sashimi & Sushi action station.
Salmon Avocado Maki that's smooth and scrumptious
Salmon Avocado Maki and Soft Shell Crab Maki will have your festive party on a roll; their rainbow pretty hues coupled with zesty flavours and varied textures guaranteed to 'rice' and lend extra shine to the occasion.
Take flight to culinary heaven - baked chicken wings from Eyuzu
We envisage the Baked Chicken Wings with Honey-Soy Sauce will be another major crowd-pleasing favourite. The sticky sweet and mildly briny sauce coating the wings even had us licking our fingers and picking the bones clean so keep your eyes peeled for those delectable offerings.

Such a tasty dumpling ground
Be prepared to have a ball or two or more the minute you sink your teeth into the Deep-fried Breaded Prawn and Salmon Dumplings. The golden, crispy orbs which yielded softer, springier textures definitely had us hooked at first bite.
Turkey temptation remains intact
Surprisingly, the customary roast turkey will still be putting in an appearance at the special Christmas carving station for the chef wouldn't dream of depriving diners of the traditional speciality. Served with cranberry sauce, giblet gravy and braised vegetable, the moist meat is worth gobbling up.
Terrific teppan grilled turkey
For a moreish, inventive Japanese take on this, we suggest you go for the Teppanyaki Turkey Breast with Garlic-Butter Sauce, Decked with fried garlic flakes and smeared with a little teriyaki sauce, the tender discs of teppan-grilled turkey got the thumbs up from everyone of us who tasted it.
Soba to slurp up in hot or cold broth
If you have more tummy space to spare, twirl around with servings of Cha Soba that are flecked with crispy bits of tempura batter and slivers of nori (laver).

Nice ice cream that makes you go green with envy
Dessert comes in individual portions of popular Macha (green tea) Ice Cream with Red Bean Mash, puffy-light Dorayaki pancakes that can be topped with your choice of condiments: honey, peanut butter, jam, kaya (egg and coconut milk spread), etc or Abekawa Mochi (glutinous rice balls with crushed peanuts).
Nuts about this?
fresh raw salmon, butterfish, oysters, octopus and marinated white tuna - See more at: http://pureglutton.com/festive-buffet-dinners-eyuzu-eastin-hotel-petaling-jaya#sthash.4DqCra92.dpuf
fresh raw salmon, butterfish, oysters, octopus and marinated white tuna - See more at: http://pureglutton.com/festive-buffet-dinners-eyuzu-eastin-hotel-petaling-jaya#sthash.4DqCra92.dpuf
Priced at RM118++ per person, Eyuzu's Christmas Eve buffet will be served from 6.30pm to 10pm. An equally sumptuous line-up will be available on 31 December as well.
Pancake please...add your fave toppings to go
For reservations at EYUZU, call tel: 03-7665 1111 x 203.
7665-1111 ext.203

Friday, December 20, 2013

FEASTS, GIFTS AND CHRISTMAS CHEER


 
 
 An epic Christmas feast of gargantuan proportion ... that's the larger-than-life theme Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC) has laid out this year to celebrate the merry Christmas and year-end season.
 Shop for Christmas decor & festive trimmings for your home
Clusters of real-life pine trees imported from the US of A decked the retail halls; the evergreen scent perfuming the air as shoppers rush to grab last-minute gifts or revel in BSC's 12 Feasting Days activities.
Drop by the Sothy's gift station at the Christmas Bazaar to discover glowing beauty secrets for gals and guys or shop for crafty stocking stuffers from the various trinkets, delicious goodies or toy stations.
 Whimsical selection from Marquise
 
Spread some good cheer for the less fortunate by donating your pre-loved books, playthings or any thoughtful gifts at the Charity Booth. Little ones can even write a letter to Santa and mail it there and then. The best 3 letters will be invited to attend lunch with Santa so hurry up and drop him a line!
 
 
 
Speed fiends should pose with the McLaren mean machine and post their pics on BSC's FB page. Who knows, that racy snapshot may just earn you a mystery gift.
 
 
 You can even rustle up a complete festive feast at Jason's Food Hall or surprise loved ones with the most irresistible foodie finds from BSC's many restaurants or cafes. We love those imported Christmas cakes especially the whiskey-laced ones!
 
Also look out for old-school rock candies, fancy gourmet chocs from Patchi, whimsical Christmassy cakes from Just Heavenly and panettone in sumptuous packaging. Stunning stuff that foodie friends will love to receive. Hint, hint! :D
 
 
 
Carollers, string quartets and wind ensembles will add to the lively ambience - I suggest you check BSC's FB: BangsarShoppingCentre page and www.bsc.com.my for the calendar of events and activities to fill up your days from now until the last days of 2013.
Don't miss out on freebies like stripey candy canes and Konitz designer mugs (for purchases above RM800 or for CIMB cardmembers RM600). Helpful elves to wrap your pressies are at hand over at the Gift Wrap station.

So eat, drink and be jolly at BSC from now until December 29. Call 03-2094 7700 for more details.