Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Five Bottega-inspired recipes by Italian guest chef Mauro Civiero took centrestage at EQ Kuala Lumpur recently. As part of the collaboration between EQ and Bottega, the 57-year-old Milanese was central in a series of special events including a curated wine pairing dinner and a wine Masterclass.

Chef Mauro embarked on his culinary journey in 1982 after attending catering school. Upon completing stints in several Michelin-starred restaurants, including one in Heidelberg, Germany, Chef Mauro returned to Italy.
He then proffered his mastery at the Michelin-starred Casanova Grill, located at the Palace Hotel. The stint opened doors for him to other prestigious hotels including Florence Grand Hotel and the Porto Cervo Pitrizza in the breath-taking Emerald Coast of Sardinia.

In recognition of his culinary expertise, Chef Mauro Civiero was appointed a representative of Italian cuisine at The Westin Hotel in Tokyo; to promote the culinary traditions of his homeland. His career has also taken him to the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

For the media session at Bottega Lounge, Chef Mauro deftly prepared five recipes on the spot, to complement the Bottega wines selected by Sandro Bottega, president of Bottega SpA.
According to the chef, the recipes were chosen for their affinity with the Bottega wines showcased. “I’ve tweaked and adapted the recipes from the Bottega 100 Prosecco Recipes Gold Book, using my own expertise and to suit the local context.”

The first recipe he demonstrated was Amberjack Tartare, to complement Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC Spumante Brut.

Marinated with sun-dried tomatoes, capers and olives, then placed onto zucchini threads, the delicious Amberjack Tartare paired harmoniously with the bright citrusy notes of Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC Spumante Brut. We liked how the straw-yellow wine with its light floral aroma and balanced acidity offset the fish’s natural richness.
Next came Chef Mauro’s creation of Buffalo Mozzarella Emulsion with wild oregano, tomato jelly and basil. The soft almost mash-creamy texture was sublime; its delicate accents went like a dream with the dry, smooth Bottega Pinot Grigio Venezia DOC. We also detected refreshingly fruity aromas of pear and peach, with a subtle hint of almond finishing.
The blush pink Bottega Rose Gold Pinot Nero Spumante Brut Rosé was the wine of choice for the Venetian Style Crabmeat Salad with eggplant and parsley oil. 

This dish’s clean, pristine flavours proved winsome when savoured with the rosé’s elegant, supple structure and fresh acidity, characterised by faint floral-mixed berries notes.

My favourite was Rosé Veal with Mascarpone Tuna Mousse. The tender meat left an indelible impression when accompanied by the full-bodied ruby-red Bottega Rosso di Montalcino DOC. Pleasant nuances of cherries and plums, and well-rounded tannins made it a memorable tipple.
Sbrisolona, a traditional cake from Lombardy, rounded off our indulgent afternoon. 

Served alongside Bottega Manzoni Moscato Rosé Spumante (exuding a refined rose aroma, its ripe citrusy notes had a tinge of sage) and the lemon-yellow Bottega Limoncino (brimming with the aroma and flavour of ripe lemons), the crumbly shortbread-like almond cake was a befitting finale to the Italian affair at EQ Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023


It was a Mediterranean-style Mother’s Day celebration with Mom. The venue of choice was Marinero, a newly opened restaurant specialising in Mediterranean fare at LaLaport Bukit Bintang City Centre (BBCC).

The food got Mom’s stamp of approval – a good sign as she can be rather picky when it comes to non-Chinese fare. She loves the spacious dining area which is dominated by a circular bar.

Eye-catching wall murals depicting scenes of Mediterranean life are Insta-worthy. One corner is dedicated to a modern wine cellar with its cachet of fine wines.

To whet our appetite, we sampled crisp, battered Calamari Fritters (RM30). Served with lemon mayonnaise, the tender squid rings went down a treat. Even better was the heap of zucchini strips - that airy light batter would make any tempura master proud.


Mom gamely tried the Trio Dips Platter with Pita Bread (RM49) and gave it the thumbs up. Her favourite was melitzanosalata (Greek eggplant dip) but found both the hummus (chickpea purée), and tzatziki (shredded cucumber with yoghurt) agreeable when spread onto the soft triangles of lightly toasted pita bread.


Moroccan Lamb Kofta (RM35) made from ground lamb mixed with spices then grilled on skewers – proved to be another winsome appetiser. The house peri peri sauce bestowed a touch of fiery heat when we dabbed the kofta with it.

The only minor hiccup was the underwhelming Watermelon Salad (RM28): the crumbly bits of feta barely left an impression whilst the chunks of watermelon, too big and the sumac vinaigrette and balsamic reduction, too little. We shared the feedback with the Marinero team who promised to improve on this.

For mains, we highly recommend Moroccan Lamb Shank (RM95) with Apricot Cous Cous (the other option is Biryani Rice). The fall-off-the-bone tender lamb shank was scrumptious; its rich meaty flavours nicely soaked up by the fine cous cous studded with dried apricots. Smooth, thick Greek yoghurt sprinkled with pomegranate seeds enhanced the dish further.


Infused with saffron, the Seafood Paella (RM99) came laden with mussels, squid, fish and tiger prawns in addition to red capsicum and peas. What we missed from this deliciously comforting speciality is socarrat, that layer of slightly scorched, crusty rice at the bottom of the pan.

Our meal wrapped up on a high note thanks to the excellent Chocolate Fondant (RM28). Served with a scoop of chocolate gelato, chocolate crumbs and some fresh berries, we were stoked when molten chocolate actually flowed out once we cut into the cake. Few places do this dessert well so kudos to the resto team for pulling this off.


A round of buttery phyllo pastry, chopped pistachios and juicy berries crowned with luscious Vanilla Gelato (RM25) proved a tad indulgent but this sublime treat is shareable when you embark on a Mediterranean culinary “cruise” at Marinero.

For reservations at Marinero Mediterranean Dining & Bar, call 012 673 0046 or visit:

Address: Gourmet Street of BBCC, Lot G-49,50,77, Ground Floor, Mitsui Shopping Park LaLaport, Jalan Hang Tuah, Kuala Lumpur. Business hours: 1130 am to 11pm; weekends until 12midnight


Tuesday, May 23, 2023


For the first time ever, there are two separate pavilions at the newly opened Book Xcess located at The Rooftop, The Gardens mall.

Boasting floor-to-ceiling glass windows, this experiential bookstore perched high atop one of KL’s busiest shopping malls aims to draw more Malaysians especially the non-readers and turn them into readers and book lovers.
The adults’ reading section is inviting with a smooth ‘flowing’ layout: an ascending walkway flanked by aisles of books as far as the eye can see, displays brimming with book-related gift ideas and brain-teasing games, and the Red Red Botak Head restaurant tucked in one corner.
One can explore and browse the different shelves packed with a wide range of genres: from general fiction to literary classics, then pause occasionally to soak in mesmerizing views of the city skyline. Typical of all Book Xcess stores, avid readers will be left utterly spoiled for choice!
Over at the children’s pavilion, reading materials are arranged following their age and various stages of a child's development. Bright and colourful early learning activity and pop-up books abound as are tomes featuring recognizable characters from famous cartoon series, best-selling story books and blockbuster movies.
An enclosed play area furnished with bean bags is also included within this section. In addition, there’s an overhead walkway which accords an overview of the store.
The Red Red Botak Head restaurant serves Malaysian dishes with slight ‘twists’ and draws a decent crowd come meal times. Ample space is available for small events, book launches and other in-store activities.
BOOK XCESS, Level 6 Rooftop, The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur. 

Featured Post


Whimsical. Fun. Impactful. Imagine a flock of butterflies fluttering up once you open Cake Rush’s latest Explosion Gift Box. We were thrille...