Showing posts with label fish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fish. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

HOT HITS OF CILI KAMPUNG

Cili Kampung’s show-stealing Gulai Nangka with Pucuk Manis (RM35) won us over at first bite. The chunks of tender young jackfruit and leafy Sabah vegetable (sauropus androgynus) in coconut milk had such well-balanced flavours, we instantly went for repeat helpings.

From the legendary isle of Langkawi comes Cili Kampung’s range of traditional Malay family recipes to tempt Klang Valley folks.
To evoke laidback kampung vibes at the Suria KLCC outlet, fish traps double up as pendant lights, clusters of potted palms and greenery along with paintings of kampung life and little replicas of kampung houses are artfully incorporated into the resto’s décor. There is even a cosy, well-designed private dining room with rustic touches.

The hot and spicy level of its classic kampung fare remain true to local expectations, and our recent lunch was proof of that. Sampling the Sambal Cili Api Chicken (RM40) left us hot and sweaty: the tongue-searing blend of green and red chillies, garlic and red onion was punchy and nice. 
To douse the 'fire', we sought cool comfort in house drinks such as Lychee Lime & Rose (RM16), Bunga Telang Selasih (butterfly pea flower drink with basil seeds RM14), Sirap Pandan Kenduri (RM8) and Rambutan Lengkong (a mildly sweet concoction of diced grass jelly, goji berries and red dates, RM14).
Feasting on the rich and aromatic Beef Masak Lomak (RM48) – sliced beef in a blend of ground chillies, turmeric, coconut milk, lemongrass and turmeric leaves was sublime. Best eaten with rice, the yellow curry can also be prepared with fish, chicken, squid, prawns or hornshell (siput balitong).
Spicy-hot with a tinge of sourness, the signature Asam Pedas Tenggiri (RM65) included aromatic daun kesum (polygonum minus), kaffir lime leaves, torch ginger flower and lemongrass to bestow it with depth and complexity. Okra lent textural interest to the dish.
We found several sizeable prawns in the Sambal Petai Prawns (RM65). TBH, this dish could do with less oil and more petai (stink beans) though you can request for extra petai for extra RM10.
 
A colourful ensemble of palm sugar ice cubes, green cendol jelly, red beans, sweet corn, buttered crumbs, fresh jackfruit strips, fresh milk and coconut ice cream making up Mama Cendol (RM22) hit our sweet spot for the finale.

Richer on the palate was Onde Onde Puding Bakar (RM25), a nice take of kuih bakar, a rich coconut milk-based cake baked over hot coals. Made of buttered bread with pandan and coconut milk, the dessert with layers of palm sugar and grated roasted coconut, came with homemade vanilla sauce.

Conceived to showcase local produce, Bukit Kelapa (RM25) enticed us with triple scoops of coconut ice cream with gula melaka syrup, crushed cookie crumbs, honeycomb, and mixed nuts.
Next time you’re in the mood for some kampung-style fare, trek home to Cili Kampung for your share of comforting Malay food in the city.
For reservations at Cili Kampung, call tel: 014-965 6124. Address: Lot 432 - 433 & OS401, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur. Business hours: 11 am – 10 pm daily

 

Thursday, November 09, 2023

PRINCELY SET LUNCH AT JOON DINING

Lamb, lobster, dry-aged chicken. These are some of the tempting choices you'd find Joon Dining's Set Lunch...minus the princely sum. The restaurant’s 3 course Set Lunch at RM48++ per person and 4 course for RM60++ per person is a good deal these days.

The culinary force here is 43-year old Tyrell Joon whose fine-dining credentials include stints at the much-lauded Les Amis and Iggy’s in Singapore. Opened last year, Joon Dining is part of the Rare Food Company; the modern, minimalist restaurant is located at B.Land in Petaling Jaya where several other hipster joints are also onsite.
 
Chef Joon said “the set lunch is a pared-down version of our degustation menu. Our aim is to entice more local diners to try Joon Dining’s specialities; enabling them to learn about my modern European cooking infused with Asian influences. We hope they will understand and appreciate the new ingredients we use, and our innovative food preparation techniques such as meat ageing and sous vide. We also want to educate more people on food and wine pairings.”
The Set Lunch first course comprised warm, house-made Ciabatta Roll with Garlic Lemon Butter – a nice starter to whet the appetite whilst we perused through the list of five starters, five main courses and two desserts.
My personal favourite starter is the truffle oil-scented Mushroom Cappuccino with Sourdough Melba Toast. Foamy at first sip, we took to the lush and creamy soup instantly; relishing every delicious spoonful in-between bites of the crisp wafer-thin toast.
Tossed with shredded lettuce, purple cabbage and chunks of pomelo sacs, the refreshingly tangy Baby Octopus al ajillo style (it means cooked in garlic) came flecked with crisp garlic and chilli flakes. This on-point salad also got the thumbs up.

Chef Joon’s Sautéed Wild Mushroom with slightly chewy Duck Gizzard and Balsamic Crème proved winsome too. We enjoyed the varied range of textural interplay from the custardy soft onsen egg, chewy gizzard and tender fungi. The lightly toasted pieces of bread were great for mopping up the sauce.

Another locally inspired appetiser is Pani Puri. The fried semolina-wheat dough, sized like ping-pong balls, came with an appetising filling of diced salmon, compressed apple and ginger ponzu dressing. So fun and delightful to eat.
Vegetarians and health-conscious diners may opt for Roasted Cauliflower with Salted Egg Gribiche, Pumpkin Seeds, and Sultanas. Joon tweaked the gribiche (French cold egg sauce) with salted egg yolks, emulsifying it with oil and mustard then adding chopped chervil to finish. Sultanas and pumpkin seeds lent mild sweetness and crunch to the dish.

Zingy Sichuan peppercorns’ tongue-tingling heat dialled up the appeal of Mala Mongolian Lamb Ragout. Served with mini fried mantou buns, we had a field day chomping on the juicy chunks of lamb amidst soft radish pieces and deep-fried lotus root crisps.
Chef Joon’s meat-ageing showcase is exemplified by his Free Range Dry Aged Chicken Confit with Tajin Lyonnaise Potatoes and Sweet Corn Velouté. Complemented by sweet, creamy smooth velouté, caramelised onion and fried baby potatoes, the tender chicken and spiced potatoes hit the spot for us. He told us the ageing process tenderises the meat and intensifies its flavour.

For a supplementary charge of RM18, you can savour the chef’s show-stealing Lobster Pasta. The natural sweetness of the wild-caught spiny lobster meat was accentuated by mellow spicy-sour kimchi sauce, making it a superb pairing with his fresh, handmade pasta.
Tuak along with chilli and garlic was Joon’s choice to flavour his famed Vongole Pasta (RM48). Suffused by the heady rice wine and aromatics, the Bornean clams’ sea-sweetness was thoroughly soaked up by the house-made pasta.

The Super Seafood Paella (supplementary charge of RM28) was laden with clams, prawns and half a lobster (mixed seafood may change dependent on catch of the day). Rendered with tomato cream and sweet basil aioli, this hearty rice dish left no room for complaints.
From the a la carte line-up, we fished for Broiled Izumidai with Ulam Raja Parmesan Espuma and Choy Poh Popcorn (RM58). TBH, we found the tiny bits of preserved radish ‘popcorn’ barely made a difference to the sweet white Nile tilapia, somewhat eclipsed by the more distinct nuances of parmesan and local herb.

Dessert was a tad underwhelming as only Lemon Cheese Curd Tart was available during our visit. Even though the tart had canned peach slices and honey tuile as adornments, the lemon curd didn’t leave any impression.
Dry-ageing eel and chicken in the special cabinet at Joon Dining

For reservations at Joon Dining, call tel: 016-848 4257. Address: Lot 1, b. Land, 2, Jalan 51a/225, Seksyen 51a, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Business hours: Mon-Sat 12 noon – 2 pm; 6 pm – 9 pm

 

Saturday, October 28, 2023

TASTES OF THE PAST AND PRESENT AT PALOH RESTAURANT AND BAR

Guests will never go hungry at Temple Tree Langkawi, thanks to the recently launched Paloh Restaurant and Bar. Aptly named after Perak’s state capital fondly known as “Pa-Lo” in Cantonese, the all-day dining restaurant is located inside the lovingly restored 120-year-old Ipoh House.

Word has it the name “Pa-Lo” refers to the dams constructed along the Kinta River in Perak for fishing. The restaurant’s stately space with classical interior design features: colonial-style windows, distressed wood beams and ceilings, mosaic floors and wooden shutter doors among others segues into sheltered patio and portico areas.

Tastefully outfitted in emerald, teal and turquoise cushioned sofas and eclectic cane furnishings, glimpses of the resort’s namesake tree, lush lawns, main pool and the Pool House are visible from strategic seating spots.

Malaysia’s multi-cultural foodscape is well-represented in Paloh’s various menus, be it for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner. Changes are often made to the menus; to ensure new and exciting temptations lure repeat patrons with fresh incentives whilst popular specialities are retained for a sense of familiarity.
The launch event was a fine example. Many Langkawi-based expatriates and regular resort guests invited for Paloh’s launching expressed surprise and delight over the beautifully restored heritage houses on-site as well as heaping praises on the various local dishes served that evening.
Designed like an exploratory trail around Temple Tree’s grounds, each culinary stopover at the different heritage houses highlighted Nasi Lemak, Lontong, Pasembur and Teh Tarik; synonymous with the different states where those houses originally came from.
The leisurely pace was atypical to the unhurried pace of a Malaysian kampung (village), allowing guests to have greater appreciation of the local flavours and aroma of each dish.

FEASTING FROM DAWN TO DUSK



A modest buffet breakfast spread comprising Malaysian and Mediterranean dishes inspired by the island and resort setting took centrestage each morning. House-made breads, pastries and cookies jostled for attention alongside hot dishes of fried noodles, sausages, and eggs cooked to your liking.
Juices, freshly sliced tropical fruits, cereals and yoghurts, along with coffee and tea completed the line-up; to ensure a good start to the day.
There’s also the unique floating breakfast experience for guests who reserve under the current Unforgettable Escape package.
A large acrylic tray with a choice of brekkie items: think Nyonya Nasi Lemak (RM28) with chicken rendang, chicken satay, tempeh and requisite condiments, Big Breakfast (Rm32), Cheese Vege Omelette (RM24), Pancakes (RM22) or Waffle Toast with Scrambled Egg (RM22) will be prepared for your enjoyment.
The whole tray of goodies will be ‘floated’ your way, to enable you to savour brekkie without having to interrupt your pool-dipping time. Should you wish to enjoy a picnic breakfast, discuss with the Temple Tree team to make it happen.
 
Lunch for us was specially hosted at the beautiful Colonial House, where we partake the resident chefs’ splendid offerings. We had nothing but praises for the tender Satay (6 chicken skewers RM28, 6 beef skewers RM32) with an on-point peanut sauce and a deliciously smoky-charred Fried Kway Teow (RM38).
A heap of Sardine Sandwiches evoked great memories of the good old days whilst our healthy vege quota was fulfilled by Paloh Nutri Salad (RM28): a huge bowl of mixed mesclun, juicy pomegranate seeds, capsicum strips, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, artisan cheese and citrus dressing.
Hearty Paloh Burger (RM29) comprising beef patty, sliced tomato, salad and honey mustard has already become a firm favourite with resort guests.
In addition to the existing Italian selection such as Pasta Bolognese (RM32) and Pasta Al Pomodoro (RM26), pizzas baked to perfection using a high heat pizza oven are available.
Made fresh on premise, toppings include imported cheese and local ingredient such as locally produced buffalo mozzarella. We took instantly to the two appealing 12” Salmon Pesto and Margherita Pizzas.
 
A few of us tried the drinks too and they came up to par. Mango Float (RM22) – fresh mango with crushed cookie and gula melaka syrup, and Cleansing Juice (RM19) – a healthy blend of cucumber, celery and pineapple were ideal thirst-quenchers for us to wash everything down.
We also joined a fun-filled cooking session with Chef De Partie Roziyanishima Talhad. She shared some tips on how to prepare one of Paloh’s signature dishes, Daging Kerutuk. The trick to this fragrant beef curry is to sauté the spice paste until the natural oil emerged. Also go easy on the coconut milk and simmer until the gravy is thick and glossy.
After relishing cocktail and mocktail at sundown, we sat down to sample a plethora of kampung dishes which used the freshest, locally sourced ingredients for dinner.  
According to Resort Manager Irene Vairo, the specially composed menu highlighted tastes from the past together with the present. She said the team tries to present dishes synonymous with the heritage houses and places where they came from.
Whetting our appetite were piquant Kerabu Tauge Udang (local salad of beansprouts and prawns tossed with fried grated coconut, chilli and spices), Ulam (fresh raw local herbs) with Sambal Belacan, and Terong Belado (fried eggplant with chilli and spices).
Several robust curries such as Daging Salai Cili Api (Negeri Sembilan’s grilled beef strips in spicy creamy turmeric sauce RM45), Curry Debal (Melaka-style fiery Portuguese chicken curry RM25), and Asam Pedas Johor (braised Andaman-caught sea bass in tamarind gravy RM25) fired up our tastebuds.
We also shared a deftly prepared Siakap Bakar (whole grilled fish with spiced paste) before wrapping up the meal with a chilled bowl of Mango Sago Gula Melaka (RM16).
Live music performance at Paloh Restaurant & Bar amps up extra merriment on Monday nights whilst patrons can revel in daily Happy Hour offerings, alongside cool resort vibes at dusk.

To book a table at Paloh Restaurant & Bar, call Temple Tree Langkawi, tel:+6017 599 5935 or email: enquiries@templetree.com.my

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