Showing posts with label lemon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lemon. 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, April 12, 2017


Malaysia deserves better. It is this personal belief that spurs chef cum restaurateur Daren Leong to return from Singapore and make his mark back on home turf. After grabbing a
piece of the F&B pie with Miam Miam and Franco, Leong is once again turning the local resto scene on its head with his newly opened Marco Creative Cuisine in the same premises.

Before naysayers jump into the fray to rain on his parade, remember this plucky and enterprising chef-restaurateur has gone where eagles fear to tread. Now, instead of queuing up for Miam Miam's soufflé and thick French-toast, people are now being pulled towards Marco to gawp, zombie-like, at the translucent sea creatures floating around in the tank at the resto entrance.

We love the modern Tiffany-blue chairs and banquette seats amidst Marco's all-white interior, discreetly crisscrossed with burnished gold trims. According to Daren, the name Marco refers to his son and also to legendary traveller Marco Polo. “Marco Creative Cuisine embodies the same sense of adventure, imbuing excitement into the culinary adventure awaiting diners at this dining outpost.
Fascinated by how memory and personal experiences influence the way we taste food, Daren invites diners to experience and discover A Journey of Flavours. Daren says each delicious creation at Marco Creative Cuisine represents a culmination of his own personal food journey. "Every dish is made from scratch using fresh, locally source ingredients as much as possible."

Determined to encourage local diners to try his new multi-course menu concept but minus the high price, Marco's sumptuous 7-course meal only cost RM78 (GST inclusive but not service charge) per person. Right from the get-go, his frothy palate cleanser of Velvety Matcha-Lime Shooter awakened our tastebuds to its intense yet fleeting citrusy notes.
Playfully light on the palate, the dainty appetiser of Savoury Éclair won us over thanks to the crisp, airy Choux topped with squiggles of Gruyère flavoured Pâté, Aubergine Caviar, Green Chilli Pesto and Tomato Confit. The cornucopia of dense and ethereal textures interspersed with bursts of lush creaminess, zingy freshness and smoky-fruity flavours sent our expectations soaring for the other courses to come.
Don't let the plain Jane look of the Truffled Mushroom Soup fool you. A spoonful of it soon convinced us of its voluptuous earthiness was merely waiting to be unleashed, to flood our tastebuds with gusto. One of the show-stoppers of the night this.
While my choice of French Onion Soup was no less flavourful, the thick broth's rusticity somehow lack the dramatic finesse of my dining partner's offering. Served with two thick-cut French toast points, we soon warmed up to the rich, caramelised yellow onion accent of the soup.
Cold soups aren't common in Malaysia but Daren feels our year-long tropical summer weather calls for a chilled broth similar to the Spanish gazpacho. Instead of tomatoes, he combines Cameron Highlands strawberries with capsicum, onion, cucumber and peppermint to create his signature Strawberry Gazpacho. The resultant pink soup was indeed light and fresh; a harmonious blend of delicate fruit and vegetal nuances. A perfect counterpoint to the dense and decadent Chicken Liver Parfait.
A sheath of crackly brûlée top gave the densely creamy Chicken Liver Parfait a sugary overtone. Spread onto toast triangles with dehydrated apple crisps, I personally couldn't decide if I'm for or against such savoury-sweet pairings. Apparently, this is trending right now around the world so you'd have to try it and make up your own mind. For me, the jury's still out there.
I'd rather return for the simple yet distinct entrée of Savoury Ice Cream Salad. It was like a precursor to spring, this pretty cluster of Assorted Baby Leaves, Heirloom Tomato, Seasonal Microgreens and edible Violets. A swirl of olive oil and a quenelle of sea salt-flavoured ice cream somehow managed to sync everything together.
Reworked from the classic Cantonese roast duck, the chef chose to inject classical French flavours of Valrhona Dark Chocolate, Roasted Beetroot and Orange Purée to the house speciality of Duck Breast. The result yielded a captivating trinity of sour, bitter and sweet notes in the sous vide then pan-seared duck.
Daren paid tribute to his Hainanese grandfather's culinary legacy through his creation of Chicken Roulade with Brussels Sprouts. Fond memories of holidays spent at his grandparents' bungalow in Fraser's Hill and feasting on chicken chop, roast turkey and mince pies had been translated into a crispy skinned roulade made using juicy chicken thigh. Special mention must be made of the stellar supporting cast comprising slightly charred Brussels sprouts and sweetcorn nibs, and concentrated chicken jus.
Squid ink hollandaise lent a dark, edgy tinge to the crisp yet tender-pink Salmon with Jet Black Hollandaise. Garnished with Pickled Beetroot, Green Chilli Pesto and Tobikko, this main caught our imagination and tastebuds too.
After the slew of inventive offerings, we found the Pomodoro Cream Seafood Pasta far too stoic and stodgy. Was this dish of penne with baby squid, clams and mussels a throwback to the chef's Miam Miam days or included as a pragmatic kid-friendly option?
Like a child in a candy store, I derived great delight from my Deconstructed Lemon Meringue Pie. It reminded me of world-renowned Chef Alvin Leung's crazy dessert in a good way once I savoured the yummy Lemon Curd with Italian Meringue. Dots of Passion Fruit Gel, a quenelle of White Chocolate Sherbet and some buttery pastry 'soil' heightened the palate-pleasing experience.
The much-touted Raspberry Decadence came in a close second. It was a prettily plated dessert with the winsome pink Raspberry Cheesecake taking centrestage. Accompanied by Lemon Meringue Kisses and Passionfruit Gel, it was as close as you'd get to a guilt-free finale.
Spoiled by all that earlier razzmatazz, it was almost discomfiting to find something as mundane as Crème Brûlée with White Chocolate Sherbet in the menu. Still, I suppose some diners like to find comfort from the tried and tested egg custard baked with a caramelised top.

A choice of French Press Coffee, Loose Leaves Tea or Sparkling Iced Berry Drink concluded our culinary journey. Do take note the list of dishes reviewed here went beyond seven courses as our dining party of six shared and sampled each other's selection of courses throughout. 

A La Carte orders available with Soup/Entrée at RM18+ per serving, Main at RM35+ per serving (add RM10+ for Duck Breast) and Dessert at RM20+ per serving. Lunch is served from 12 noon to 3 pm while Dinner is from 6pm to 10pm daily.

For enquiries or information, call Marco Creative Cuisine, tel: 03-7731 8293. Reservations is recommended. Address: Lot G146, Ground Floor (Old Wing),
1 Utama Shopping Centre, 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

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