Friday, August 25, 2017

SKY HIGH TEA AT NOBU



It seems like only yesterday when I took Mom, sis and bestie to Nobu for afternoon tea. Perhaps it’s time for a revisit since Nobu has just refreshed and updated its Sky High Tea menu. Especially now, with new Pastry Chef Jackie Teo sweetening the experience with his delicate and inventive creations.

The young chef’s pastry prowess shines through in the Premium Menu (RM138 per person). Some of the irresistible treats we sampled were playful whilst others artfully blended French-Japanese influences. 
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Teo’s youthful flair was evident from the offering of Caramel Mousse with Miso & Butterscotch Glaze. We loved the mini dramatic touch of having hot sakura sauce (sakura tea, milk and cream) poured over the chocolate disc with an edible dab of gold on top to reveal the contents inside the cup.
His attention to detail also emerged in the tiny sugared white flowers perched atop the flawlessly smooth domes of Chocolate Miso with Chocolate Sponge. Our palate welcomed the dessert’s lush savoury-sweet flavour combination.
Crisp and soft textures tangoed on our tastebuds when we bit into the Yuzu Mango Mille Feuille, sandwiched with mango cream and tiny dollops of cinnamon curd. For the Matcha Cake with Adzuki Bean Paste & Crispy Tuile, the chef paired it with honey as sauce for the mini green tea cakes, to lend moistness. Apart from the dainty portions, we enjoyed the muted sweetness of each dessert thus ensuring no undesirable cloying aftertaste.

Nobu KL is also known for its range of mixology tipples. Nothing adds further refreshment to sultry afternoons than the well shaken and stirred house Mocktails (RM28 each). Recommended choices include Lychee Passion (pineapple juice combined with passionfruit & lychee), Calamansi Shisho (calamansi lime juice jazzed up with shiso and ginger ale) and Yuzu Pina Cooler (pineapple and yuzu juice infused with ginger and ginger ale).

A somewhat off-beat drink is Strawberry Matcha (RM26) – an interesting, tri-coloured concoction of soya milk layered with freshly blended strawberries and green tea. It sounded kinda whacky but surprisingly, the cold drink proved more than agreeable.

On the savoury front, a joyful riot of vibrant accents and differing textures tickled our tastebuds. While a classic temptation of Smoked Salmon with Sour Cream Roll hardly rocked the culinary showboat, newer nibbles of Snow Crab with Ricotta Aioli and Lobster Tacos with Tomato Salsa managed to up the ante for the touted premium afternoon tea experience. These left us craving for more so I reckon that was a good thing.

I also wanted more of those wickedly delish Toro Tartar on Pumpkin Biscuits. Diminutive in size but chockful of bright, voluptuous nuances and nice textural contrasts, they were delightfully sumptuous. Although I’m not big on fried softshell crab, I was charmed by the on-point Softshell Crab with Watermelon Ponzu as it hit all the right flavour and texture notes. Such tastiness was complemented by delectably hearty Wagyu Gyoza dumplings.

Need more dishes to supplement the tea morsels? Then peruse the menu for samplings of Nobu KL’s house specialities such as Padrón Pepper with Shimeiji (RM28). Known as shishito pepper in Japan, the mild green pepper came slightly scorched and blistered, teamed with earthy shimeiji mushrooms and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds – a sublime appetiser to tease the discerning tastebuds.

A fun way to wrap up your Sky High Tea outing should include a serving of Coffee Jelly (RM20), a light, splendid coffee jelly and cream treat. Just the presentation alone should pique your Instagram interest, trust me.


Nobu KL’s Signature High Tea is priced at RM93 per person while the Premium Menu is priced at RM138 per person, inclusive of complimentary green tea.

For reservations, call Nobu KL, tel: 03-2164 5084.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

SOLD ON SPASSO






Never in my wildest dream would I think the delicious spoils of of Italian and Spanish cuisine from SPASSO Restaurant & Bar would pop up in MyTOWN Shopping Centre. To think about two decades ago, a prominent FMCG marketer told me rather disparagingly Cheras was not her market. Well, how times have changed...Cheras, especially the vicinity around Taman Maluri and Jalan Peel, is obviosuly the market for modern lifestyle malls.
Opened in April this year, SPASSO is headed by Spanish Sous Chef Iker Fernández Caballero (Chef Iker), a San Sebastián native who is out to entice local diners to sample the resto's delectable variety of pork-laden Italian-Spanish temptations. 

The casual yet classy ambience of SPASSO spurs the popular culture of sharing and dining together. We were stoked to find lots of Tapas, those bite-sized Spanish delicacies in addition to crowd-pleasers that run the gamut from Spanish omelette and paella to traditional Italian pizza and pasta.
Chef Iker brings with him close to 20 years of culinary experience, having worked in renowned Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury hotels in and around the Mediterranean. Eager to introduce the ‘pintxos’ (tapas) culture distinct to his hometown, Chef Iker is confident local diners will find SPASSO specialities up to their liking.

Unfamiliar with Spanish food? Start with the likeable Spanish Omelette (RM10) for brekkie. It’s a fluffy light yet hearty omelette with potato and onion confit that should appeal to both young and old.

Another agreeable dish to try is Iberico Ham (RM23), thinly sliced Spanish ham with subtle smoky brininess. The best way to enjoy them is placed the ham slices on toasty sourdough enhanced with dollops of housemade tomato sauce.

Health-conscious diners may find refreshing succour from Spanish Salad (RM15), a nest of mixed lettuce greens enlivened with eggplant ratatouille in chunky tomato sauce and a whole poached egg. We welcome the liberal pile of matchstick potato crisps which adds contrasting texture to the ensemble.


Open your hearts and palate to discover a litany of yummy Spanish tapas here. Best for sharing, we suggest starting with the notable Garlic Prawns (RM38) – decent sized prawns bathed in olive oil infused with garlic and chilli flakes. Now this may look like a simple dish but it’s a tricky one to get right. We are happy to vouch for SPASSO’s on-point rendition – the springy prawns sweet to the bite, slicked with garlicky oil and a touch of the chillies’ fiery, smoky hotness.  


Returning to more familiar ground is Mussel Marinara (RM16), lushly flavoured with spicy tomato sauce and white wine. Again this speciality hit the spot well; the deep-sea nuances of the fresh, succulent mussels melding with the bright tanginess of its irresistible sauce were akin to a zesty party in the mouth.

Personally, I'd return for the convivial options such as Iberico Pizza (RM39) and Seafood Paella (RM56) that encourage communal or familial sharing. The Iberico Pizza was a definitive winner in our book although the crisp, thin crust base only had sliced Spanish ham, fresh rocket leaves and a scattering of parmesan cheese as toppings.
Heartier with beloved homey flavours is one of Spain's most recognised dish - Seafood Paella (RM56), a house speciality of saffron-scented rice with assorted seafood. Served in a flat cast iron pan, we are sure locals will take to this like ducks to water.

Prefer breaking bread with family and friends? Then savour Pork Secreto Sandwich (RM28), a choice of toasted foccacia or ciabatta filled with cooked pork, blue cheese and roasted capsicum. The tasty combination of savoury-sweet should piqued the interest of die-hard sandwich fans.
Vegetarians will find the Vegetable Pesto Risotto (RM28), a meat-free serving of creamy-nutty risotto with tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower tossed in pesto up to expectations. The flavours are lush, vibrant and stimulating to whet the appetite.
Bring the curtains down on your meal with a serving or two of Crema Catalana (RM8), the Spanish version of crème brulee with a crackling scorched caramelised top. Dense and smooth, finish it accompanied by a cup of coffee.
SPASSO also serves a wide range of beverages such as draft and bottled beer, wines, Italian favourite Pascucci Coffee, infused teas and a healthy selection of cold-pressed juices.

Open daily from 10 am to 10 pm, SPASSO Restaurant & Bar is located at G-038, Ground Floor, MyTOWN Shopping Centre, Jalan Cochrane, Seksyen 90, KL. For reservations, call tel: 03 9202 9299, email spmt@out2dine.com.my, Facebook @spasso.mytown OR Instagram @spasso_mytown