Showing posts with label Kuala Lumpur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kuala Lumpur. Show all posts

Sunday, February 25, 2024


Banking on the naturally smoky flavours of its Asian-inspired flame grilled chicken as the unique selling point, the maiden Chickita restaurant made its debut at Pavilion Damansara Heights just before Chinese New Year amidst some fanfare.
Conceived by former Park Hyatt Saigon executive chef and F&B entrepreneur Asif Mehrudeen (top pix above), Chickita first opened in Vietnam in 2019. The founder draws inspiration from his 20-year culinary journey through Southeast Asia to conceptualise Chickita, taking pride in nostalgic Asian flavours. Vibrant colours, eye-catching wall murals and trendy décor elements set a welcoming stage at Chickita, to pique the interest of diners.

According to director Charles Chan, Chickita brings to the table its flame-grilled chicken with recognisable Asian flavours appealing to local palates. “At Chickita, it’s a celebration of community and communal dining. We want to uphold the spirit of togetherness deeply ingrained in our Asian culture.”
Aside from chicken, Chickita also serves burgers, wraps, and wings – all flame-grilled to perfection. We took instant liking to the opener of Eda-Mole Dip (RM13.50), a hummus of edamame and avocado blend served with salsa and crispy tortilla.
Toasted pita triangles are the perfect companion to dunk into the mildly cheesy Signature Hot Crab Dip (RM14.50) whilst Chicken Nachos (RM14.50) with original and cheese sauces, salsa and toasted pita can be rather addictive so try to avoid overloading on them, to leave tummy room for mains.

I am all for Chickita’s concept of allowing diners to pick our preferred chicken parts. We found the different variants deliciously on-point, from the flame-grilled Quarter Chicken Leg with Rice & Salad and Quarter Chicken Breast with Yam Pop & Corn to Quarter Chicken Breast with Coleslaw & Crispy Fries and Quarter Chicken Breast with Wok Vegetable & Garlic Bread.

A quarter chicken leg or breast is RM17.50 whilst an additional two side dishes is priced at RM26.50. Chicken wings, chicken tenders, half and whole chicken are also available so peruse the menu to select your choice.

Catering to Asian tastebuds, Chickita incorporates familiar Asian ingredients for its range of signature sauces, to bring its flame-grilled chicken to piquantly flavoursome and culturally resonant level. Our first-hand experience had us settling on our own favourite sauces out of the six available.

On the mild scale, Chickita Original Sauce comprises a bright and tantalising lemongrass-infused blend whilst the Tropical sauce lends nice balance to the savoury chicken with its sweet, sour mango-citrus accents.

My palate found the moderately hot Sexy sauce with roasted red chillies on song with the grilled chicken but the Lucky 8 Asian BBQ variant also comes close as a winner, redolent with familiar spices such as star anise, cinnamon and garlic amidst the chilli taste profile.

Die-hard chilli fiends may prefer the Dynamite Spicy Hot Sauce – formulated with different chillies or Tamarita’s savoury-hot profile which is culled from a blend of tamarind, fish sauce, Asian spices and dried chillies.
Chickita also reimagines dessert by combining ice cream potong with innovative flavours like A Classic Twist (RM14), cendol popsicle with frozen coconut and pandan with green sticky rice; and Vanilla Dreams (RM14), shaved coconut and red bean popsicle with grass jelly.
For more information, call CHICKITA, tel: 03 2011 1243. Address: Lot 1.03.00, Level 1, Pavilion Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur.

Saturday, June 10, 2023


Cancer Research Malaysia CEO Andy Khoo (left) receiving the mock cheque from Four Seasons Hotel KL GM Blaise Montandon (right)

Keeping the late Terry Fox’s dream of a cancer-free world alive, a total of 700 participants, friends and family joined the 5-km run last month. Hosted by Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, the fund-raising event netted RM43,100 in aid of Cancer Research Malaysia. 

Hotel General Malaysia Blaise Montandon presented the cheque to Cancer Research Malaysia CEO Andy Khoo as the culmination of the 2023 Terry Fox Run in KL at a simple yet meaningful presentation ceremony held at Four Seasons Hotel KL. Also present were Regional Director of Marketing Nelson Hilton and Director of PR Dato’ Rosemarie Wee along with hotel team members who donned this year’s Terry Fox Run t-shirts.

Monday, October 03, 2022


For a renowned chef with a global restaurant and hotel empire, Nobu Matsuhisa is incredibly humble and down-to-earth. During his recent one-night-only appearance at Nobu Kuala Lumpur, the affable chef won the local media over with his thoughtful and often witty answers.

Accompanied by Ichibaku Kobayashi – General Manager of Nobu Tokyo & Regional Director of Asia Pacific, Chef Herve Courtot – Corporate Chef EU & Middle East, and Chef Philip Leong – Executive Chef of Nobu KL at the interview session, here are some surprising facts about the Co-Founder behind Nobu and Nobu Hotels:

1.    The most memorable meal he has ever cooked was for the late Princess Diana. It was a private lunch where he had a chance to meet the late Princess of Wales who left an indelible impression on Nobu-san when she told the chef she had read about him. When he learned of her passing, he felt incredibly sad and said the experience of having cooked for her was unforgettable. 

2.   The most memorable meal someone has ever cooked for him was by his wife-to-be before they were married. He recalled she prepared an egg dish for him. “Although the dish tasted a bit strange, I think it was wonderful because it was something she cooked from the heart.”

3.   The three food ingredients he cannot live without: rice, shoyu and miso soup. He attributed these ingredients as most essential to a Japanese diet especially steamed white rice. 

4.   The secrets to his success: While luck may play a role in Nobu-san’s success, the master chef believes his team is one of the fundamentals of his continued success.

“Passion and heart are also essential,” says Chef Nobu. “Without passion and heart, it’s not possible to do well.” 

5.   His favourite dishes from the Nobu menu are:

·      Black Cod Miso – When Nobu-san started his restaurant over two and half decades ago, he chose to buy cod as it only cost 25 cents per pound. Without credit he had to pay cash so he chose to work with cod as a more affordable option: slicing, defrosting then marinating the fish with mirin, sake, sugar and miso paste for 3 days instead of shoyu and miso. After broiling, the cod tasted like butter fish and his customers love it. Robert De Niro loved it and the media started to publicize it, making it famous worldwide. 

·      Soft Shell Crab Roll – Nobu-san enjoys eating soft shell crabs in French and Italian restaurants where they are pan- and deep-fried. When he served deep-fried soft shell crabs to one of his customers, the latter requested Chef Nobu to wrap the leftover soft shell crab pieces into a rice roll, and voila! the soft shell crab roll was created.

·      Squid ‘Pasta’ – this dish was created for a friend’s child who was a fussy eater. Since pasta was the kid's favourite dish, the quick-thinking Nobu-san cut and blanched squid; turning the resultant squid pieces into conchiglie (shell-shaped pasta), prompting the kid to eat everything up without realising it wasn’t pasta he ate but squid. You can attempt to replicate this dish at home:

·      New Style Sashimi – when a lady customer sent back a plate of sashimi, informing Chef Nobu she doesn’t eat raw fish, the chef pondered how to entice her to try it. He then heated up some olive oil until smoking hot, poured it over the thin slices of sashimi, causing the fish to cook slightly. After sampling the new dish, the customer ate everything up. 

“She managed overcome her fear of eating raw fish from that experience. Before that, she shied away from sashimi as she thought it’d taste fishy but we proved to her fresh fish tastes delicious” said Nobu-san.

6.   No bizarre food please. Chef Nobu is not a fan of weird or strange food. He has tried nasi goreng, laksa and seafood on his visit to Malaysia, and he admitted he's more comfortable with Asian food than French food.

Ever respectful of his customers’ cultural differences, the chef was even inspired to create his signature wasabi pepper sauce after noticing a customer enjoying a mixture of shoyu and wasabi as a bread dip at Nobu restaurant.

The Pandemic Years

Having to travel 10 months a year and feeling jetlagged, Nobu-san said he was happy to stay home in Los Angeles during the pandemic years.

“It was the first time in over 25 years I had stuck to a routine: being able to wake up and go to bed at the same time, every day. Yet it was also stressful but with FaceTime and modern technology, I can still communicate with my team.”

Some Nobu restaurants were closed during that time whilst others coped by doing take-out. According to Chef Philip Leung, Nobu KL was under renovations then but they also did take-out during the later MCO phases.

Now that things have returned to normal, Nobu restaurants are busier than ever with customers returning in droves.

New Nobu restaurants and Nobu Hotels are also opening in Marrakesh, Rome, San Sebastian, Madrid, Toronto, Atlantic City, Atlanta, Da Nang, Bangkok, and Dubai.

According to Nobu-san, he has no plans to set up a culinary academy or pursue anything too adventurous due to time constraints. He's happy to focus on the restaurant business and see his customers enjoying his cooking for now.

7.   His last meal on earth? As a true blue Japanese, sushi is his dish of choice.

For reservations at Nobu Kuala Lumpur, call tel: 03 2380 0028 or email:
ADDRESS: L4A-05, Level 4A Shoppes at Four Season Place, 145 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

Thursday, May 05, 2022


 Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” Leonardo da Vinci

Tofu with Soy-cured Egg Yolk, Tomato Water and Herbs (RM22). Drunken Cockles with Rice Wine, Taucu and Mustard Seeds Oil (RM38). Grouper Head Terrine with Chayote, Szechuan Pepper and Chilli Vinaigrette (RM32).

When you encounter such show-stopping house specialities, it dawns on you Shhhbuuuleee isn’t any run-of-the-mill rooftop bar and restaurant. The defyingly simple yet intensely flavour-packed curtain-raisers are mere harbingers of what to expect from this quaint outpost, ‘hidden’ atop RexKL, an old cinema reincarnated into a hip cultural and creative hub.

Upon arriving at RexKL
, the hunt for the resto’s ultra-discreet staircase entrance in a mini adventure in itself…hint: it’s within Book Xcess. As I climbed the flights of stairs up to the outpost, I felt like Alice heading into ‘wonderland’.

The interior of Shhhbuuuleee features a seamless integration of the old: RexKL’s original flooring and walls; and the new: extended bar seating, minimalist eclectic elements and retro touches are artfully combined to evoke a casual, laidback atmosphere.

Like those art house flicks produced to appeal to a discerning audience, Chef Mui Kai Quan is the culinary director whose creative force comes from past stints gleaned from Osteria Mozza and Esquina in Singapore, Ledbury in London, Maaemo in Oslo and Sprout in Johor Bahru. While his modern Malaysian fare takes centre stage at ChoCha Foodstore, Mui now intends to shine the spotlight on East Asian fare with his inimitable touches at Shhhbuuuleee.

After that stellar cast of curtain-raisers, good conversations flow smoothly along thanks to the recommended tipple: Shuho Awesome Karakuchi (RM35 per glass, RM280 per bottle) is winsome for its clean, refreshing taste. The chilled saké paired superbly well with the specialities mentioned earlier as well as the appetite-whetting Wagyu Tartare with Pickled Radish & Seaweed Crackers (RM52).

Local produce also takes the limelight when possible. The chef is an earnest supporter and advocate of local farmers and food producers like the Langit Collective, and champions more sustainable eating in the local F&B scene.

Ample proof of the chef’s mantra is evident in the Grilled Peppers with Sesame & Peanut Butter (RM26). Locally grown, the colourful assortment of banana and shishito peppers tossed in sesame and peanut butter tastes delicately sweet and deliciously tender.

The other scene-stealer was Red Glutinous Rice with Sakura Shrimp & Salt-Cured Fish Roe (RM24). We relished every bite of the nutty, slightly sticky home-grown red glutinous rice which has absorbed the rich savouriness of both the shrimps and fish roe.

Sweet with a fair amount of smooth, fine flesh, the Tai Head with Bamboo Fungi Broth and Puffed Rice (RM88) easily reeled us in. The accompanying broth – chicken stock and bamboo pith simmered for hours – alone was so chockful of flavours, we lapped up every precious drop.  A chilled shochu, Satsumamura Aka Shochu (RM35 per shot) enhanced our enjoyment of the said dish.

Drawing inspiration from his Chinese roots, Mui uses fu yue (fermented beancurd) to conjure up the homely Braised Tripe & Tendon with Fu Yu Broth, Daikon, Lotus Root & Tang Oh (RM48). For the uninitiated, the savoury Chinese condiment tastes similar to cheese; lending depth and complexity to the various ingredients which soaked up all the wonderful flavours of the braising broth.

After being bedazzled by a slew of palate-pleasing blockbusters, subsequent contenders such as Fried Sole with Shiso and Salted Mustard Green (RM42), as well as Sautéed Kale and Wood Ear Mushroom with Kombu Butter (RM22) had to fight harder to gain attention.

Perked up with a relish of chopped salted mustard green (ham choi) and fresh beefsteak leaves serving as an edible wrap for the panko-crusted fish, the former was akin to fish and chips gone East and ‘fit’.

Healthy eating won’t be topping your agenda when you’re at Shhhbuuleee but the kale and wood ear mushroom combo makes an appearance in the menu for good measure. Although the dish was a tad underwhelming, we dutifully polished off every morsel due to its super-nutritious content.

Mui admits he’s still working on dessert and the menu changes based on the availability of the ingredients and produce. So be prepared for more culinary sequels to savour at Shhhbuuleee.

For reservations at Shhhbuuuleee, call: 012-6120786 or Address: 3rd Floor, RexKL, 80, Jalan Sultan, Kuala Lumpur.

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