Monday, February 29, 2016

SINGING WITH YOUR DINNER AT BOBO KL




Live music has a new home at Bobo Kuala Lumpur – a cosy restaurant with a ‘hidden’ speakeasy bar cum lounge upstairs in one of Ed Soo’s repertoire of F&B ventures in Bangsar’s Bangkung Row.
Bobo marks a significant ‘coming of age’ phase for Ed who has always nursed a much cherished dream of combining his different passions: food, wine, art and music into one single entity over the years. As serendipity would have it, Ed met renowned Malaysian thespian and entertainer Sean Ghazi at a dinner party and the rest was history.
 
Only an ardent art lover and collector like Ed Soo would conceptualise a restaurant around his treasured artistic masterpieces. From the ambient lighting to the minimalist furnishing in the restaurant, visual feasts abound in Bobo.

Named in honour of Ed’s fave huggable stuffed doggy Bobo (it occupies a discreet corner in the little lounge next to the balcony), the resto’s ambiance exudes as much charm and conviviality as its tasteful, worldly owner.
Local music talents take centrestage at Bobo KL
The pride of Bobo KL is the music lounge complete with a curtained stage, top-notch sound-proofing and high-ceilinged ambient lighting (proof of Sean Ghazi’s expertise), the resultant acoustics and overall vibe are second-to-none. No wonder local musical talents like David Gomes, Izlyn Ramli and Sean G (yes, the man himself!) have taken to Bobo like bees to honey.

After an effusive welcome, Ed got his culinary team to conjure up a repertoire of starters for our sampling. Red and white wines accompanied our companionable evening, amidst cordial chit-chat and bouts of cheery laughter.

Soon we were inundated by a melange of textures, flavours and tastes as the plethora of appetisers appeared. My personal vote goes to the unconventional Bobo’s Caesar Salad (RM28) - a wicked composition featuring a mound of velvety parmesan mousse atop a crouton base.
Crowned with shredded romaine and a baked parmesan wafer on the side, the supporting cast for the wondrous speciality included a strip of anchovy, parmesan shavings, dollops of aged balsamic vinegar and savoury dressing.

It was a naughty way to get non-vegetable eaters to eat greens as there was more of that rich umami mousse than lettuce! Still, a few more leaves of romaine would go down even better.

Coming in a close second is the Charchuterie & Cheese Board (RM39), a platter guaranteed to make fromage fans go weak at the knees. A robust red is best to down with the irresistible cured meat cuts and cheeses.

We were amply satisfied by the big, boldly flavoured chorizo de pavo (fermented, cured and smoked Spanish sausage), salchicón de pavo (cured summer sausage), cecina de vacuno (air-dried beef), manchego (Spanish semi-soft cheese made from sheep’s milk), mahón (Spanish semi-hard cow’s cheese) and nectar-sweet rock melon.

Plump and brimming with hints of their deep-sea origins, you can’t go wrong with Fresh Irish Oysters (RM38) here. Shucked and served on the half shell with a splash of olive oil, black pearly caviar and if you wish, a squeeze of lemon juice, the slickly smooth molluscs go down a real treat.
Decadently voluptuous on the palate, we raved over the slab of Foie Gras Pate (RM45); the chicken liver pate’s unctuous richness aptly balanced by the attendant cranberry sauce and onion marmalade. A serving is ample enough for sharing, to leave your tastebuds well-primed for other good things to come.

The bright and cheery tangerine hue of Salmon Crudo (RM34) demands full attention and rightly so. Drizzled with olive oil and horseradish cream alongside dainty dots of horseradish cream, some micro herbs and salmon roe, the simplicity of this raw fish dish again underscores the ‘less is more’ maxim.
If you prefer warming up with hot stuff, Polenta Fries (RM24) with Lemon Truffle Aioli or Arancini (RM28) should do the trick. Personally, I’ve never been partial to cornmeal but the thick, golden batonnettes came up trumps once dipped into the aromatic and creamy aioli.
The Arancini also ticked all the requisite boxes: crispy crumbed shell – checked, ball-shaped soft, slightly nutty risotto – checked, a melty, oozy buffalo mozzarella filling – checked, tangy chunky tomato sauce – checked.
Choices are aplenty when it comes to mains but I readily vouch for the show-stopping Crisp Paupiette of Barramundi (RM75). Imagine sinking your teeth into sweet, flaky barramundi flesh enrobed in crisp, wafer-thin layers of baked potato. Tender braised leek and shallot in red wine sauce with fresh sprouts lift the dish to heady gastronomic heights.
Red meat enthusiasts will put their hard-earned money on Herb-crusted Rack of Lamb (RM75). Pink at the core, the meat’s juicy tenderness stood out in agreeable contrast with asparagus spears and dauphinoise potatoes (sliced, layered and baked au gratin potatoes with garlic, butter and cream). A little bowl of lamb jus is served on the side to lend flavourful depth.
Garlic and bits of bird’s eye chilli imbued Spaghetti a la Bobo (RM42) with discernible aroma and heat. The aglio olio preparation is switched up with succulent scallops, squid and prawns in addition to cherry tomatoes. A sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs and chopped Italian parsley lends a subtle finishing appeal.
We had high hopes of the Moules Mariniere (RM58) but the mussels’ delicate freshness barely made an impression. Possibly because we were wishing for lashings of white wine sauce to smother the shellfish and those tiny dices of leek, celery, carrot, and onions? You know, put those freshly sliced baguette to good eating. LOL.

Dessert can be partaken at the lounge upstairs upon request. At Ed’s persuasion, we did just that…although I daresay we were far too distracted by the intimate environs and melodious renditions of Malaysia’s piano man aka David Gomes that evening. Hence no photos – only ebullient memories that make me yearn to return. Music to Ed Soo’s ears, yes?
 
For reservations, call BOBO KUALA LUMPUR, tel: 03-2092 5002. Address: 65-1, Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Latest music performance updates in www.facebook.com/BoboKualaLumpur

Saturday, February 13, 2016

THE DEBUT OF DORSETT PUTRAJAYA



A trio of traditional Indian drummers, a Malay kompang group and a Chinese lion dance troupe ensured a rousing start to the soft launch of Dorsett Putrajaya Hotel recently.
 

Resplendent in their traditional apparel, the multi-racial drummers and performers drew attention to the arrival of guest of honour, Deputy Minister of Federal Territories YB Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan.
Alfred Paulsen - the Hotel GM giving his speech
Datin Jasmine Heng Abdullah, Vice Chairman of Dorsett Hospitality International
Deputy Minister of Federal Territories Datuk Dr Loga was the guest of honour

Following speeches by the day’s VVIPs: Alfred Paulsen, Dorsett Putrajaya’s General Manager and Datin Jasmine Heng Abdullah, Vice Chairman of Dorsett Hospitality International and the Deputy Minister, guests in attendance were treated to a multi-racial drum performance.

Then the pair of ‘lions’ presented the symbolic prosperity platter to the VVIPs present as a form of blessing to mark the hotel’s soft launch. Dorsett Putrajaya also presented mementoes to the first guest and all paying guests who checked into the hotel on that soft launch day.

The 218-room Dorsett Putrajaya is within walking distance to the National Registration Department, Customs Department and Ministry of Health offices among others. Once fully ready, guests will find the hotel offers an all-day dining restaurant, a Lobby Café, multi-functional meeting facilities, a ballroom, gym and infinity pool on site.

For reservations, call Dorsett Putrajaya, tel: 03-5031 6060 x 5027. Address: Precinct 3, Putrajaya, Malaysia. www.dorsetthotels.com

Saturday, February 06, 2016

JOURNEY TO GOOD CNY EATS




Braised goose webs ain’t a mainstream dish one finds in KL especially during Chinese New Year (CNY). So it was a mind-blowing moment when I bit into the Braised 20 Head Green Lip Abalone with Goose Web & Sea Cucumber and Superior Brown Sauce at Celestial Court.

Granted, goose web like duck’s tongue is kinda bizarre to eat but heck, I’m Chinese so I consider them real delicacies. Frankly, I was more smitten by the fall-of-the-bone tender goose web skin at dinner compared to the abalone. The rich brown sauce was par excellence too.
 
The show-stealer was one of the many dishes we sampled when Sheraton Imperial KL hosted us to a preview of their CNY specialities. Earlier, we had a rousing start, creating much astir with Boston Lobster Yu Sheng with Banana and Chinese Pear (RM250 half portion, RM500 for full portion).


Executive Chinese Chef Vincent Loo and Dim Sum Chef Ken Liew pulled out the stops, creating an array of festive dishes including seven types of Yu Sheng. Quirky as it may seem, the addition of banana works unexpectedly well with the colourful salad.

Seafood also dominated most of the night’s menu but nobody minded. We lapped up every drop of the Thick Broth with Baby Lobster Meat, Shredded Jade Abalone, Dried Scallop & Sea Cucumber although I personally found it too salty for my liking. Apart from that minor grouse, the strips of seafood in the soup were welcomed by all and sundry.

The Braised Superior Bird’s Nest Broth with Assorted Seafood & Spinach fared better, colour and taste-wise. Having bird’s nest in savoury soup was a novel albeit agreeable idea as the pricey ingredient brought a touch of luxe to the meal.

Red-hot chilli heat singed our tongues lightly as we delved into the plate of Sautéed Fresh Scallops and Sliced Cuttlefish with Flower Fungus and Garden Greens in Spicy Beijing Sauce. A rave-worthy dish with delightful textural contrasts and light but assertive accents.

Similarly, the Dual Combination of Tiger King Prawns: Deep-fried with Spicy Chilli Salt and Sautéed Sichuanese Style left an indelible impression. Springy to the bite, the prawns retained their natural sweetness amidst the strongly flavoured seasoning. Crunchy snow peas were the vegetable du jour to lessen the guilt factor.

Much as we enjoyed the Braised Ee Fu Noodles with Seafood, Dried Oysters and Beansprout in Abalone Sauce, the metallic fishy overtone of the dried oysters tasted at odds with the overall flavour palette which was subtler and more delicate.

Still, the premium dessert of Double-boiled Bird’s Nest with Red Dates, Sweet Pear, White Ginseng & Snow Fungus more than made up for the minor hiccup. The faintly bittersweet herbal nuance was amply tempered by other sweeter niceties so everyone left happily ever after.
The dishes sampled were a concise selection from Celestial Court’s CNY set menus priced at RM1,988, RM2,088, RM2,288 and RM2,688 nett per table of 10 persons.

For reservations, please call Celestial Court, tel: 03-2717 9900 x 6933. Address: Level 3, Sheraton Imperial KL, Jalan Sultan Ismail,

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