Showing posts with label bread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bread. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

SPANISH TAPAS AT AC LOUNGE

Tapas, meaning snacks or appetisers in Spanish, has evolved into a culinary artform at bars and restaurants around the world. Derived from the Spanish verb tapar (to cover), tapas initially constituted a piece of bread or sliced meat set atop one’s drink to keep flies away. The tapas selection eventually expanded as bartenders proffer them to encourage patrons to drink more.
Today, one can enjoy a tempting array of tapas at the AC Lounge (AC stands for Antonio Catalan) starting from 2.30 pm daily. Thanks to the inimitable touch of culinary consultant Angie Hiew, AC Lounge’s tapas menu makes this cosy hotel lounge a compelling spot to indulge in hors d'oeuvres and drinks with a Spanish spin.
Simple yet flavourful Classic Tomato Bruschetta (RM15) heralded a vivacious start to our sess. We made quick work of the toasted baguette topped with juicy chitose tomatoes marinated in olive oil, garlic, and herbs.
Wading into the AC Grazing Platter (RM50), we had a field day nibbling on three types of cheese, smoked salmon, lamb prosciutto, dried fruits, grapes, strawberries, nuts and crackers. Perfect fuel to spur convivial conversation and the sharing of bon-mots among our dining party.
Not all meatballs are created equal and I daresay the Albondigas (RM45) were out of the park. Juicy with a noticeably meltingly-tender mouthfeel, the wagyu beef meatballs simmered in a chunky tomato sauce aptly captured the essence of Spanish cuisine.
Another winsome must-try dish is Braised Beef Cheek (RM45). Hiew's culinary métier shone through as every bite of the slow-cooked speciality rewarded us with richly tender, deeply flavourful meat. Hints of red wine melded with natural meaty jus were discernible the longer we chewed
The visually appealing Seafood Paella (RM50) also floated our boat. We enjoyed the fragrant saffron-infused rice; its delicate spice sweetness was amped up by assorted succulent seafood: clams, mussels, prawns and squid, in addition to some tender asparagus.

We had no complaints with the sumptuous Gambas Al Ajillo (RM30) either. The irresistibly springy garlic prawns in garlic-infused olive oil should make a dream pairing with a crisp, semi-dry white wine.

An instantly likeable Chicken with Aioli (RM25) comprising tender boneless chicken with delightfully crispy skin also met with all round approval. The delicious chicken paired well with the lush, creamy house-made aioli.
Our merry feast then wrapped up with Churros (RM20) served with Chocolate Sauce. The cinnamon sugar-dusted, deep-fried dough fritters were sublime when dipped into melted chocolate.
Available from 2.30 pm to 10 pm, the AC Lounge’s tapas menu is also served at other AC Hotels in Penang and Kuantan.
For more information and reservations, call AC Lounge, tel: 03-40428000. Address: AC Hotel by Marriott Kuala Lumpur, 8, Jalan Lumut, Off Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur.

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

ON CULINARY CLOUD NINE AT NIMBUS

 


Prawn Bisque Noodles and Herbed Crusted Lamb Rack are two heavenly show-stoppers that left an indelible impression during our maiden visit to Nimbus.
Helmed by restaurateur-chef Fred Choong and his business partner Long Seh Yung, Nimbus draws a relatively young, hip crowd for its fine-dining level menus minus bank-breaking prices. At RM388+ for a four-course menu catering for two persons, it’s considered a snip compared to other atas (posh) restaurants in the Klang Valley.
Dinner started on a promising note with the house-made Almond Milk Bread wowing us with its cottony-softness. Slathered with sublime Mushroom Truffle Butter, it was a harbinger of Choong’s culinary artistry. BTW, the bread and butter are available for takeaway at RM10 each and RM45 per 100g.
For the 1st course, the options listed in the menu included Seared Scallops with Tom Kha Emulsion, Capers and Ikura (supplementary charge of RM15), Turmeric Chicken Terrine, Salmon and Cured Yolk with Smoked Capsicum Sorbet, Prawn Paste and Fungus or the chef’s Octopus and Yam creation.
The natural sweetness of scallops was perked up by the bright, citrusy-grassy and creamy accents of Thai-inspired tom kha emulsion. Subtle bursts of capers’ tartness and salmon roe’s savouriness amped up the dish’s appeal.


Familiar Asian flavours shone through the escargot topped Turmeric Chicken Terrine. Sandwiched between thin, crisp puff pastry, we relished the playful textural combination with salted egg yolk cream.

Salmon and Cured Yolk with Smoked Capsicum Sorbet, Prawn Paste and Fungus proved Choong’s adroit ability at mixing and matching flavours and textures. A most creative French-style dish brimming with intriguing Malaysian accents especially that rojak-like sauce. Unbelievable but it worked like a charm.

Similar to the evergreen yam cake, Choong’s tantalising speciality of Octopus and Yam showed how a local favourite can be levelled up. The chef’s ingenious idea of placing grilled baby octopus atop an oblong chunk of yam pudding incorporating dried shrimps and chilli, and puffed rice crisps was excellent.

For the second course of Oyster Royale, dried oyster-infused oil and jus bestow depths of flavour to dulcet-smooth egg custard topped with herring roe. We also found a pair of plump oysters embedded within silky custard.

Riffs of Penang-style prawn mee made the Prawn Bisque Noodles (supplementary charge of RM28) a stellar crowd-pleaser in our book. Toothsome squid ink wantan noodles cooked in prawn broth made a sublime pairing with a whole grilled river prawn accentuated with zingy gochujang for this signature speciality. Slivers of pickled torch ginger flower and ikura added the finishing touches.

Choong’s personal favourite of Herbed Crusted Lamb Rack (supplementary charge of RM98) had us smitten at first bite. The medium rare lamb rack enticed us in with its juicy tenderness. Tricked up with longan jus and roasted garlic alongside potato dauphinoise, the delectable dish was something to write home about.
No less compelling was Mushroom and Artichoke Risotto with capers, sundried tomato and noisette beurre blanc (hazelnut butter sauce). The sundried tomato’s muted tangy accent tempered the creamy rich risotto whilst lightly grilled eringi mushroom gave the ensemble a slight meaty texture.

We found the Guinea Fowl Tortellini with seaweed beurre blanc, cordyceps flower and goji berries a tad underwhelming. It was still delicious but this speciality was eclipsed by earlier, more stellar offerings.


Choong is a dab hand at both savoury and sweet dishes as we soon discovered when it was time for dessert. His exquisite Sesame and Matcha creation with toasted sesame, summer berries and vanilla ice cream was refreshingly beguiling.

Exuding heavenly lusciousness, we readily succumbed to his sweet iterations of Hazelnut and Chocolate, Strawberry and Cream, and Orange Pudding. These stellar treats succeeded in lifting us up to a culinary cloud nine known as Nimbus.



For reservations, contact NIMBUS, 72G, Jalan SS 21/62, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Friday, January 26, 2024

MORE THAN JUST DESSERT AT MADHATTER

 

Banker turned baker Marcus Low shows his creative culinary prowess transcends the dessert realm at the new MadHatter Boulangerie in Kepong.

The 2015 MasterChef Asia First Runner-up remains a wizard at conjuring sumptuous treats as evidenced by the array of luscious dessert creations he plied us with during our visit recently.

Not only does Marcus uses premium and locally sourced ingredients, his artful, judicious pairing of cogent and cohesive flavours readily sets him apart from other pâtissiers in the city.
 
Upon sampling Marcus’ distinctive dessert creations such as Raspberry Rose Lychee, Chocolate and Cherry, Local Chestnut & Coffee Tart, Chocolate Calamansi, Apple Cinnamon and Banana Bread with Caramelised Cardamom Cream, we find ourselves spellbound by his superior skills and knowledge.
Striving to use more locally sourced ingredients, Marcus tells us his supply of rare jungle fruits and other exotic produce is procured from the Orang Asli community and through like-minded partners such as Langit Collective and Chocolate Concierge.
 
A good example is Bidara or Indian jujube, a local fruit that’s rarely if ever used in French pâtisserie. Instead of raisins, Marcus gives bidara the major role in the fruity filling for his Pain Aux Bidara (one of the distinctive items found in MadHatter Baked Boulangerie).
Marcus who made his maiden business debut in 2017, opened his MadHatter Desserts shop in Uptown Damansara to much social media fanfare. Now, post-pandemic times has driven him to streamline and relocate; he is focusing on providing dessert solutions for businesses whilst his ‘food with a purpose’ philosophy continues through attempts to include more locally sourced ingredients into his creations.

The new MadHatter menu also offers a selection of hot dishes in addition to dessert. Top of the list is MadHatter Signature Focaccia with Deli Cold Cuts (RM28). According to Marcus, the two distinctive charcuterie items: Smoked Paprika & Cocoa Husk Lamb and Ayam Kampung Ham with Turmeric Leaves are made on premise. We find the localised tastes punching above their weight; the emerging accents palate-pleasing and instantly cognizant.
Our enlightening culinary sojourn continues with Faux Liver Paté with Cerapu Jam. Whipped up from an ingenious blend of cashew, nam yue (red fermented beancurd) and blackened kulim (jungle garlic or Scorodocarpus borneensis Becc.), the meatless spread is winsome. We like its nutty creaminess accentuated by complex nuances of nam yue and kulim.

Spread onto toasty bread slices and cocoa husk crisps, we couldn’t stop raving over how well it paired with the cerapu (button mangosteen) jam’s delicate tart-sweetness.

According to Marcus, the cocoa husk crisps we tried is made from ground cocoa husk. “Cocoa husk is high in protein and pectin. Ground into powder, it can be used to make noodles and bread just like flour.”
Tasting somewhat woody-earthy like mushroom, the thin Cocoa Husk Crisps serve as a perfect foil for the deliciously creamy Smoked Mackerel Paté studded with salmon roe.
Fast gaining favour among local gourmands thanks to its musky-garlicky-truffle scent, kulim (another local fruit) when infused in olive oil, bestowed depths of flavour in the freshly baked and sliced Focaccia with Tomato and Kulim Olive Oil.
Adventurous eaters should wade into the boldly inventive Deep Fried Pomfret Open Sandwich with Tempoyak Mayo (RM32). Much to our surprise, the fish’s inherent sweetness held its own amidst the pungency of the creamy fermented durian mayo. Possibly not for the faint-hearted but this is a notable option if you seek something off the beaten culinary path.
Offal fans will find much to love in the Beef Tongue Stew with Swiss Cheese, Chimichurri & Bagel (RM36). Irresistible chewy-soft textures and unapologetically big, hearty flavours rule here. The accompanying coleslaw adds refreshing contrast to the ensemble.
Redolent with the warmth of spices, the Johor style Kacang Pool proved on-point. Topped with a sunny side up egg, the comforting bean stew induced us to lap up everything.
 
There is nothing coy about the Kukur Mushroom Pate Pizza Focaccia (RM22). Earthy-woody nuances abound in every mouthful – something mushroom enthusiasts will appreciate.
So if you’re tired of the ho-hum café fare, go give your tastebuds a rejuvenating jolt with the noteworthy and one-of-a-kind savoury and sweet treats from MadHatter.

For more information, please call MadHatter, tel: 03-6734 9632/012-370 4327. Address: 26, Jalan Medan Putra 4, Medan Putra Business Centre, Kuala Lumpur.

Featured Post

EXPLOSIVE SURPRISE FROM CAKE RUSH

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