Showing posts with label asparagus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label asparagus. Show all posts

Friday, June 12, 2020


Pineapple Prawn Curry. Salted Cod Fillet. Blackened Top Hats. Beef Wellington. Apom Bongkwa. East meets West with culinary aplomb at the new Java Tree restaurant, Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Hotel Penang, making it a notable outpost to dine in.
Named after a historical java tree planted in the hotel’s garden promenade even before the E&O Hotel was established in 1885, Java Tree sets a stately stage for the showcasing of Nyonya specialities and classic European dishes.
The iconic tree – immortalised on an expansive feature wall – draws the eye when you step into Java Tree. Accentuated with dark wood trims and sparkling chandeliers, the resto’s understated ambience is further enlivened by wall sconces, the occasional gilded columns, starched white linen-sheathed tables and earth toned upholstered chairs.
Otak Otak also available a la carte at Java Tree
An appetising trio of Blackened Top Hats (pastry shells stuffed with shredded jicama, carrot, cuttlefish and egg with salmon roe), Lobak (stuffed roll of chicken, shrimp, yam, shredded egg and salmon roe) and Otak Otak (steamed spiced local mackerel mousse with coconut cream, turmeric and kaffir lime leaves) from my Nyonya Signature Set (RM135) makes an great impression from the get-go. 
The Otak Otak deserves special mention as I find the mousse's spice quotient distinct on the palate, with subtle bursts of heat to set the tastebuds tingling. Spoonfuls of the soulful Itik Tim (pickled mustard vegetable with duck soup) summon up childhood memories of meals partaken at my grandparents’ house, a fond reminder that old is indeed gold.
More titillating temptations: Oxtail Gulai (braised oxtail, mustard seeds, vinegar and spices), Pineapple Prawn Curry (deep-sea tiger prawns with pineapple curry) and Terung Tempra (eggplant with lime, soya sauce and chilli) call for plain white rice – the best canvas to capture the dishes’ plethora of bright, piquant flavours. IMHO, the collective servings are generous enough for two light eaters.
A pretty floral shaped Sago Gula Melaka (sago pearls served with coconut milk and palm sugar syrup) brings the sumptuous meal to its sweet conclusion.
On the European Classics front, no appetiser evokes more nostalgia than Prawn Cocktail (RM30). Presented in a cocktail glass with tender romaine lettuce lining the base, Java Tree’s version has three cooked prawns in cocktail sauce (concocted from mayo, ketchup and lemon juice) perched over the rim. Mango dices and mustard sauce give the ensemble a touch of zippy sweetness.
Sweet caramelised onions makes the French Onion Soup (RM30) a siren’s song for the soul. Two gratinated gruyère toasts add depth and richness to the savoury broth, leaving us smacking our lips with satisfaction.
Poached in milk and wholegrain mustard, the signature Salted Cod Fillet (RM125) with baby spinach, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce is an on-point palate-pleaser. Although the dish sounds indulgent, any scepticism proves unfounded once you sample the fish’s lush yet delicate creaminess.
Meat lovers should sink their teeth into the scrumptious Entrecôte 10 oz Steak Café de Paris (RM80) with Baby Vegetables – my partner’s request for medium rare doneness is acquitted with aplomb. We also give thumbs up to the Butter Grilled Asparagus (RM30) with poached egg and truffled mushroom.
Other scrumptious options include Beef Wellington (RM85), Lamb Rump (RM75) and Chicken Fricasse (RM75) among others.
Remember to save stomach space for Java Tree’s seductive sweets from the dessert cart. Succumb to decadent creations of mildly tangy Lemon Tart or a sumptuous Paris-Brest – a circular shape choux pastry with praline-hazelnut crème, or the classic Crème Brûlée. Also recommended is the Apple Streusel Tart (RM28), a yummy crumble-topped treat with custardy apple worth the extra calories.
Currently, Java Tree is open for dine-in from 6.30pm to 10pm. For reservations, please call 016-419 8923 or click:

Wednesday, January 08, 2020


If there’s a dish to soup up the upcoming Chinese New Year celebration, the excellent Shunde Style Traditional Shredded Fish Soup by Le Mei’s Chinese Executive Chef Lim Kian Meng will be the hottest choice.
Similar to a hearty bisque, the creamy white broth enhanced with fine slivers of wood ear fungus, snake gourd and carrot is to-die-for. Shredded seabass amps up its lush sweetness with crumbs of the deepfried fish give it a subtle crunchy finish.
This stellar speciality is one of the many show-stoppers featured in Le Mei’s three CNY menus: Wealth & Fortune Set RM3,388, Everlasting Prosperity Set RM2,388 and Spring & Happiness Set RM1,688 per table of 10 persons; available now until February 8. 
The customary Yee Sang (from RM50 upwards depending on variant and portion size) with salmon is par for the course. Personally, I find the salad platter a tad too sweet but it’s a minor hiccup easily remedied by reducing the sauce. Overall, the ingredients jive together well enough.
Pix courtesy of
Chef Lim’s two decades of culinary experience from past stints in Macao, Russia and locally stands him in good stead. Gastronomic proof of his culinary prowess is apparent when you savour the Stewed Sea Cucumber with Free Range Chicken and Black Truffle in Claypot.

His judicious inclusion of black truffle paste prior to serving transforms a downhome offering into a raveworthy speciality. The discernibly musky scent of truffle coupled with the milieu of big, robust flavours from the toothsome, juicy chicken and plump mushrooms make this a divine dish to remember.
Wok-fried Scallops with Asparagus and Fresh Mushroom in XO Sauce maintains the impressive streak. Sweet and tender, the scallops imbued with a dash of the zingy house XO sauce will surely tantalise the tastebuds and get the thumbs up. 
Inspired by Hong Kong’s famed pei fung thong (typhoon shelter) style of preparation, the Fried Lamb Racks with Crispy Garlic and Chilli follow a similar approach. According to Chef Lim, the lamb is marinated with herb juice prior to being battered for frying. We find the blush pink lamb deliciously juicy; the crisp fried garlic and chilli bits setting the palate alight with bursts of flavourful piquancy.
Dense and firm, the meat of the Sabah Giant Grouper Steamed with Premium Soy Sauce is a winsome, classic way to ensure the pricey fish (loong da'rn in Chinese) fulfills the sumptuous and auspicious quotient for the festive table. 
Mindful of today’s health-conscious clientele, Le Mei serves Fried Organic Brown Rice with Seafood and Tobiko. Tiny Hong Kong dried shrimps, dices of fish, prawns and a generous topping of tobiko make the fried mixture of brown and white rice a surefire crowd-pleaser.
The sweet-ender of Pan-fried Glutinous Rice Cake is not your average nian gao. Dim sum chef Yau Fong Peng uses pheen thong (flat brown blocks of unrefined cane sugar) to ensure the festive CNY cake is lighter, less sweet and sticky.  Each slice is seared to give it a brown crust and amplify the caramel flavour. You can’t ask for a better way to welcome the Year of the Rat in 2020.
Picture courtesy of Le Meridien Putrajaya
For reservations, please call LE MEI, tel: 03-8689 6888/
6847/6868. Address: Lobby Level, Le Meridien Putrajaya, Lebuh IRC, IOI Resort City, Putrajaya, Sepang

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