Wednesday, November 30, 2016

9 BRUNCH DISHES TO EAT AT THE DAILY GRIND

Fluffy Waffle & Fried Chicken (RM22++) for brunch? If the thought of hunky crispy fried chook paired with waffles leave you crowing with delight, then make haste to The Daily Grind for your share of this delectable dish every weekend from 9am to 2pm.
 
This long-standing casual eatery has a cheerful and laidback vibe about it so feel free to saunter in with your brood or besties in tow for a good chow-down.
Served with spicy tomato chutney and maple syrup, the boneless chicken fillet was flavoursome; the outer layer of skin coated with crumbly, crunchy batter. Several slices of briny beefy 'ham' drizzled with maple syrup complete the delish platter.
 
Top placing went to crumbly Smokin' Seaside Scones (RM28++) - a creative, savoury permutation of classic English scones which formed a solid flavoursome basis for a pair of poached eggs with hollandaise sauce alongside smoked tuna and swordfish, and fresh peppery rocket.
My personal fave of Goddess Bowl (RM22++) edged in at third place...it could have easily trumped the rest just on looks alone especially the generous pool of smooth house-made Vietnamese yoghurt in plain and blueberry flavours. A milieu of colourful edible flowers, fresh berries, mango dices, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, oats, coconut flakes and berries coulis surrounded the lush, tangy yoghurt.
Neck to neck in terms of subtly sweet appeal would be Pancake Soufflé (RM23++). The stack of pillow-soft pancakes resembling soufflé drenched in lemon cream was feather-light, with textural interest lent by scatterings of wild berries and assorted nuts, and shards of honeycomb. Ideal for the sweet-toothed without loading up on too much guilt.
  
Named after two historical heavyweights, the Napoleon & Churchill (RM25++) was anything but. A fallback for those who prefer their brunch along the perennial pairing of sausage and eggs, this plate of savoury cheddar cheese-filled crepes drew us in with seared chicken sausages and a salad of fresh rocket and green apple slices with romesco aioli.
The savoury crepes made a nice change from the usual bread or potato hash found in most brunch platters. A shoo-in for less adventurous eaters who like the tried-and-tested with just that slight twist. 
Tickle the funny bone of prankster friends or family members with a sense of fun and humour with The Mockery (RM18++). It looks like a classic English breakfast but doesn't taste anything like it at all! Suffice to say we had a good laugh digging into the inventive, mind-bending creations.
Since The Daily Grind's reputation is built on burgers, it's inconceivable something like Burger Me Breakfast (RM27) would appear in the brunch array. Burger fans can rejoice for this delectable dish comprises brioche bun bearing a juicy beef patty and crisp slices of beef bacon, livened up with tomato jam and hollandaise sauce. Satisfying fare to start lazy Sundays with.
Salty and sweet accents reigned in the Herb Brioche Pudding (RM29++). Laden with salted caramel, walnuts, sultanas, air-dried beef and rum, we were nonplussed by this unconventional speciality. Frankly, I wasn't gaga over the busy mixture of flavours but go ahead, give it a go and decide for yourself.
Rum & raisin ice cream is so hard to come by these days that I'd steer towards Captain Morgan's French Toast (RM23++) in all likelihood. Studded with plump rum-soaked raisins, the heady, faintly spicy sweetness was splendid once it started to melt onto the thick slices of French toast. Crushed pistachios and maple syrup provided the finishing touches.
 For brunch reservations at The Daily Grind, please call: 03-2287 6708. Address: LG8, Lower Ground Floor, Bangsar Village 1, Jalan Telawi, KL. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

EURO ART OF CUISINE AT D EMPIRE

Strips of smoked salmon laid out in the house Smoked Salmon Salad (RM29.90) - an appetising fresh salad of hydroponic lettuce leaves, diced green apple and beetroot, microsprouts and walnuts dressed in balsamic vinaigrette paved the way for our dining experience at D Empire, a modern European restaurant at Pavilion KL.
 
Previously located at Main Place USJ and Mont Kiara, D Empire is now soaring high at posh new premises with super-high ceiling and picture windows giving shoppers expansive views of its polished brasserie-style setting. It's a befitting stage allowing us to dine as princelings without turning us into paupers.
 
The classy, warmly lit interior may seem intimidating but upon stepping in, you'd find the timber flooring, streamlined panelling and long banquette seating along with sturdy bentwood chairs and dining table a desirable haven to dine and unwind.
After we warmed up to some of the house mocktail concoctions, Chef Dallan Tan set about preparing a feast for our sampling. A veteran with close to three decades of experience, his speciality lies in fine European cuisine from past working stints locally and abroad.
After the initial green curtain-raiser, we got to grips with a plate of piping hot stuffed Escargots Bourguignon (RM26.90, half dozen).
Bathed in a golden pool of melted butter on silky smooth mash, those moreish, succulent snails with chopped garlic and herb tasted sublime. We couldn't resist pairing them with crusty baguette pieces dunked into that luxuriant buttery sauce.

There's a timeless appeal in the Italian speciality of risotto - its rusticity and basic simplicity referencing those comforting dishes we cherish. Chef Dallan Tan displayed his well-honed culinary prowess in the Creamy Mushroom Risotto (RM32.90), artfully ensuring the plump, al dente grains burst with the delicate scent and woody nuances of button and oyster mushroom.
The chef highlighted that the menu is a work-in-progress hence he rustled up his latest Pizza Bandiera (RM28.90) for our sampling. Channelling the tricolour Italian flag through sliced roma tomatoes with fresh rocket leaves and savoury cheese shavings, the scrumptiously crisp pizza ticked all the right boxes: texture, toppings and taste for us.
For a quintessential grasp of Italian culinaria, we highly recommend savouring the Olio Bacon (RM26.90). Simply tossed in olive oil with a trinity of bird's eye chilli, flat leaf parsley and smoky beef bacon slivers, the pasta left us smitten with its bare-frill deliciousness.
A surefire crowd-pleasing choice came in the form of charbroiled and baked Chicken Whole Leg (RM29.90). It tasted way better than its ho-hum description - the deboned chicken thigh and drumstick flaunted such crispy skin and juicy meat, it had us clucking with approval. Accompanied by Mediterranean-style grilled veggies with a splash of tangy and lightly creamy caper sauce along with flavourful chicken jus, Chef Dallan Tan said  getting the right chook of a particular weight is key to the dish's making.



A drizzling of sensuous beef jus made from scratch and a smear of mustard provided the finishing touch to the grilled grass-fed Black Angus Ribeye (RM58.90). Unfortunately, we found the steak cooked to medium tottering on the brink of well-doneness which didn't cut it for those of us who preferred it medium rare.
Things soon returned to even keel when we reeled in the ship-shape speciality of Salmon Trout (RM46.90). The slab of fish had a spot-on blush pink centre; its richness amplifying the piquant accents from the accompanying spicy coulis + caper cream sauce.

Passionfruit cheesecake (RM17.90) brought sweet closure to our maiden visit to D Empire. It was a luscious yet light enough creation to see us off into the night without leaving us feeling like deadweight.
I have a feeling we'd be back in view of D Empire's winning factors: strategic location, elegant ambiance, decent food quality and reasonable pricing. Check out the Executive Set Lunch too which offers fab value for money.


For reservations at D EMPIRE ART OF CUISINE, please call tel: 03-2110 6196. The resto is located at Lot 6.33 & 6.34, Level 6, Pavilion KL, Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL.

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