Showing posts with label modern. Show all posts
Showing posts with label modern. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 16, 2023


Tifa means three in Latin. It’s also the name of veteran restaurateur Angie Hiew’s latest venture at Trillion KL.

Insisting her European-inspired restaurant should not be classified as a fine-dining outpost, Angie explains Tifa incorporates three different concepts under one roof.

“Opened last March, Tifa serves reasonably priced good food in cosy, modest surroundings. Every dish, from the mayonnaise to the sauces, is prepared from scratch by me using market-fresh ingredients.”

The restaurant straddles a spacious and well-shaded patio area where quick and affordable meals are served; an al fresco seating area next to an outdoor fountain area meant for chilling out over drinks, and a nicely decorated ‘by reservation only, private kitchen’ dining space.
Angie cut her teeth in the restaurant business when she was just 18 years old, learning the ropes at Movenpick Singapore which belonged to her late husband. She came into her own with the opening of Flamenco Spanish restaurant in 1995, setting the imagination of local food lovers alight with her signature paella, tapas and Spanish wine selection.
After that stellar decade, Angie took a short break before she pivoted into the restaurant consulting business. To date, she was instrumental in the successful openings of Sentidos Tapas at Starhill, and EQ Kuala Lumpur’s Sky 51 and Blue.
The passionate cook relishes being back in the thick of the kitchen action at Tifa. “Seeing people enjoy my cooking gives me great satisfaction. I also love taking care of my guests, and at Tifa, it’s like having friends over except we're in a restaurant environment. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility to curate menus to suit my guests’ preferences; I can customise dishes based on their food intolerances, dietary requirements, and budget. All I need is advance notice so that I’d have enough time to buy the ingredients and prepare whatever’s necessary. I believe people can have a good meal without paying the earth for it.”

As proof, Angie serves good-value lunch deals on weekdays (12pm-3pm) priced from RM25++ upwards per person at Tifa. Her four-course menu degustation starts from RM148++ per person (by advance reservations only).

We are astounded by the pretty as a picture appetiser: the succulent salmon slices with avocado cream and pine nuts tastes as good as they look.
The subsequent forest mushroom soup is lightly creamy with the discernible aroma of truffle oil. Grilled sliced boletus mushroom, cherry tomatoes and edible flowers piled atop a long slice of toast lend colour and textural contrast.
Less is more seems to be Angie’s approach for main courses. She has mango-red capsicum salsa bestowing subtle fruity sweetness to the smoked chicken breast with pommery mustard cream whilst a full-bodied Rioja is used to braise beef cheeks, suffusing the tender chunks of meat with rich, deep flavours. Accompanied by silky mashed potato, the dish leaves us replete.

Her artisan dessert is whimsically delightful to bring the curtains down on your visit to Tifa. Depending on her inclination, it could be a new-fangled black forest cake in the shape of a luscious, oversized ‘cherry’ atop crumbly chocolate ‘soil’, walnuts and fresh strawberries or a pink, heart-shaped lychee-raspberry mascarpone with chocolate flakes and cookie crumble.
Angie says, “I can rustle up whatever my customers fancy as long as they give me enough time to prepare before their intended visit or any occasion they plan to celebrate. Let me work around your budget and expectations. Anything is possible at Tifa.”

TIFA KL, Ground Floor, KL Trillion, 338, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 017-358 1338. Business hours: Monday – Saturday 11am to 11pm (last order 9.30pm). Closed on Sunday.


Saturday, December 04, 2021


I'm stoked to savour my favourite Ulam Rice (RM38) from Table & Apron (T&A) restaurant after a 2-year hiatus. The prolonged MCO and the inter-district/inter-state distance between my residential neighbourhood and the resto put paid to plans for food deliveries, much less dine-in visits. When a recent invitation to meet restaurateur Marcus Low came up, I couldn't pass up on the opportunity.

This perennial speciality that has been always been on the T&A menu is an updated version.  A hybrid between Hakka lei cha and nasi kerabu, the mound of rice is surrounded by cubes of crisp fried mung bean and split peas tempeh, chopped long beans, chopped fresh mint, chopped daun kesom, shredded kaffir lime leaves, raw and toasted coconut flakes, blanched beansprouts, chunks of ikan tongkol, roasted peanuts, curry leaf-infused oil, and spiced kicap manis.

Squeeze the kalamansi lime over the rice, then pour the dark soy dressing over it and stir everything thoroughly. The cohesive mingling and melding of textures and flavours make this an incredibly appetising dish we thoroughly enjoy eating with great relish. Each mouthful is a riotous flavoursome party. Our only complaint is the roasted peanuts which would have been better crushed.

That's basically the crux of Table & Apron's success formula. According to founder Marcus Low, “It's hard to pigeon-hole us but Table & Apron is a Malaysian restaurant at heart. Most of the dishes we serve come with unexpected twists that seem familiar to our guests yet at the same time, they’re also something new.”

The former mechanical engineer reveals he couldn’t resist the siren’s call of culinary after he had given engineering his best shot. Recalling his earliest interest in food was sparked when he was around 12 years old, Marcus says he decided to get his feet wet in the restaurant business by starting out as a dishwasher and kitchen porter.

Marcus Low...Photo courtesy of Table & Apron 

Fuelled by passion, resilience, and determination, Marcus sought various other roles within the kitchen before embarking on his own private supper club stint. One thing led to another, and his dream of being a restaurateur finally came true. Marcus is understandably proud to have celebrated Table & Apron's (previously known as The Kitchen Table) 7th anniversary recently. It's a significant milestone as countless F&B entities have fallen by the wayside in the Klang Valley’s cut-throat F&B scene, amidst prolonged MCO shutdowns during the pandemic.

According to Marcus, "It's my restaurant, but I now want it to be our restaurant - a compelling reason for our employees to own their craft. It's reason enough to realise that as much as we are in the business of food & service, we’re actually really in the business of people.”

My admiration for Marcus and the T&A team grow exponentially when I realise the restaurateur is a caring, empathic employer who goes the extra mile for his team or community as he calls them. By inculcating T&A with its own corporate culture and treating the team with care and respect, I personally can bear testament to the positive pay-offs as a paying customer, (T&A prefers to call us guests). All my past visits to T&A have been positive experiences. Much to their credit, the team has always been on the ball, from the minute we step in up to the time they bid us farewell.

Not many F&B owners bother to offer a designated area for their team to rest in-between operation hours, serve familial-style meals to foster esprit de corp, conduct daily sharing/debriefs sessions, and allocate a budget for regular market intelligence to enable team members to stay abreast of F&B trends...kudos to T&A for such initiatives. 

Now the proof of such internal community TLC is reflected in the food and drink we partake, starting with the handcrafted tipples such as Pineapple & Assam Boi (RM14) and Earl Grey Milk Tea (RM15). Easily recognisable among the local populace, the slightly salty, sour and sweet Pineapple & Assam Boi drink offers a refreshing juicy version of our Malaysianised way of eating fresh guava slices sprinkled liberally with assam boi (salted preserved plum) powder.

As for the latter, Marcus recounts the Earl Grey Milk Tea as a Merdeka Day tribute some 4 years ago when bubble tea was all the rage. “We decided to put our own spin on it with Earl Grey tea, gula Melaka syrup and salted whipped cream.”

Although it doesn’t contain any boba, the fragrant, milky and lightly sweetened tea comes with a good frothy crown and an enticing bergamot scent.

Should you prefer something gut-healthy, there’s tangy Kombucha. Brewed by a former T&A team member who has since moved on to start her own artisanal F&B biz, the fizzy drink has a nice tantalising tartness to it.

Marcus and his team have grown and progressed over the years too. They also operate the adjacent Universal Bakehouse which supplies T&A with Assorted Sourdough (4 slices-RM4, 8 slices-RM8). Various condiments, ranging from Butter, Sea Salt (+RM3) to Smoked Mackerel Pate (+RM10) are available to complement the toasted bread.

Interestingly, the team is flexible enough to accommodate certain dietary requests where permissible. For instance, the Smoked Mackerel Pate – concocted from cream cheese, chopped spring onions and onion – comes sans onion upon request from one of our dining companions. Personally, I like the bursts of sharp, fresh acidity so I’m happy with the original version as it is.

Another show-stopper which has kept evolving and unfailingly gain a loyal following is Pineapple Ketchup Glazed Ribs with Tamarind and Chilli Dip (4 pcs, RM30/8 pcs, RM56).


While most restaurants proffer Westernised hickory smoked barbecue accents, T&A takes great pride in teasing our tastebuds with juicy fall-off the bone ribs suffused with sticky fruity-sweet and savoury flavours. You can opt to amp up the appeal even further with the tamarind-chilli dip but IMHO, it doesn’t need it.

Slightly charred at the edges, spiked with slivers of tart onion pickles balancing the creamy ricotta, the Roasted Cauliflower, Ricotta, Pickled Onion and Breadcrumbs (RM21) is the type of vegetable dish everyone will happily devour without fuss.

A hefty rib shoulder cut of Sanbanto Pork Chop (RM58-medium, RM65-large) with Chimichurri & Charred Baby Kailan. Dotted with caramelised garlic pips, the slices of lean meat are trimmed with enough fat to make it enticing.

Where possible, the T&A team advocates the use of local ingredients – the Fish N’ Chips being a good example, highlighting local catfish instead of imported fishes. The sizeable chunks of battered fish accompanied by thick-cut fries go down a treat, coated in T&A’s signature buckwheat batter that renders each piece crunchy-crisp. This was a constant best-seller when it was first introduced as a tea-time takeaway treat so much so T&A finally made it permanent in the menu. Personally, my vote still goes to the much-loved buckwheat fried chicken...another T&A must try!

Our dessert of Apple Crumble Tart with Salted Crumble and Thyme – a newish creation – is a tad underwhelming after the earlier succession of high points. We reckon an old-school apple pie would simply hit the spot better.

For reservations (highly recommended) at Table & Apron, call tel: 03-7733 4000. Address: Jalan SS20/11, Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Saturday, July 13, 2019


Our recent staycation at WEIL Hotel, located next to Ipoh Parade Shopping Mall, proves Ipoh is very much on every travel hipster ‘must visit’ list. Be it within the hotel or out in town, the capital of this Silver State is fast gaining a reputation for its good local food.
Thanks to the generosity and courtesy of WEIL Hotel, our weekend staycation was thoroughly enjoyable from the get-go. For the uninitiated, the hotel name is a reversal of the owner’s surname – Liew – the family behind Malaysia’s famous Pagoda brand groundnuts.
This is our second stay at WEIL Hotel but I’m happy to note the 313-room property still appears as immaculate as ever and has established itself as a notable special events/weddings venue in this neck of the woods.
Flaunting soaring high ceiling with modern circular light fittings, the spacious lobby has clusters of cosy armchairs, ottomans and two-seater lounges that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also evoke a convivial welcome for every guest who steps in.

After a hassle-free and quick check-in, we spent some time lolling around in our tastefully furnished Premier room: neutral wood, sand, white and grey tones coupled with unfussy clean lines made us feel right at home instantly.
Later, we slept like logs, snugly tucked into the pristine white linen-covered bed laid with fluffy pillows. There’s plenty of space on the in-room elongated table top to keep our personal knick-knacks – the generous space is a boon for biz travellers who need to work.

Besides a two-seater sofa, we couldn’t resist nestling in the comfy chaise reading lounge; perfect for avid bookworms like moi. We also helped ourselves to the complimentary canned soft drinks and packets of Pagoda nuts provided. The little courtesies were in addition to our in-room coffee/tea-making facilities and comp bottled water.
My fave space is the glazed white tile, warmly lit bathroom with its dark marble-topped vanity area, walk-in rain shower cubicle and a standalone bath tub. Subtle luxe touches like fluffy towels and premium toiletries add to its allure.
Another plus point here is the handy smartphone – a complimentary guest amenity offering free connectivity, localised travel-centric and visitor-friendly content, relevant services and in-destination offers.
Facilities such as function rooms and a Ballroom are available on-site. I’d recommend heading up to the Rooftop Infinity Pool for a dip and a panoramic view of Ipoh. Fitness bunnies will find the in-house gym adequate for basic workout routines.
A canopied patio furnished with weather-proof outdoor mock cane-weave chaise lounges, and pool deck chairs make the poolside a relaxing haven for guests to while time away after their swimming and recreation session.

WEIL Hotel probably ranks as Ipoh’s best hotel at the moment. Its strategic location and comprehensive facilities make it a preferred choice for discerning travellers, for personal or business purpose.

Coming Up – Part 2: Wine, Dine & Party Options at WEIL

For reservations and more information, call tel: +6 05 - 2082 228. WEIL HOTEL IPOH is located at 292, Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

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