Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts

Thursday, November 09, 2023


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


Thursday, June 15, 2023


Nasi Maqlubah, Nasi Mandy and Lontong Kering are the ‘must eat’ dishes at Spiced Pumpkin Café.

Derived from the word maqlu which means upside down in Arabic, café owner Mas Zuhairin Zubir explains the maqlubah rice recipe came from her ex-business partner’s husband of Palestinian descent. 


According to Mas, “Our Nasi Maqlubah has to be pre-ordered as it takes time to prepare. Firstly, onion and garlic are sautéed with 14 herbs and spices such as nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon stick among others to flavour the rice. Then we layer vegetables and protein (lamb or chicken) onto the rice. The whole pot is cooked over an open fire. Once ready, the pot is upended onto a plate – that’s why it’s known as ‘upside down’ rice.”


For the lamb version, the meat is roasted before it’s added to the rice whilst the chicken is spice-marinated. The original version uses cauliflower but to suit local tastebuds, eggplant, potatoes and carrots are used instead. Raisins, peanuts and almonds are included as well.  

Aside from mixed salad, Nasi Maqlubah also comes with house hot sauce (concocted with chilli, salt, sugar and pepper) and ‘daqqus’ (a mixture of lemon juice, Chinese celery stalks, mint and pepper) for those who like extra heat and piquancy. A mini pot of Maqlubah Lamb (enough for 3-4 persons) is priced at RM95 while a mini pot of Maqlubah Chicken costs RM65.

Formerly a trainer for the housekeeping department at Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Mas first ventured into the food business by serving mostly healthy salads, soup and sandwiches out of a rented kitchen in an old bungalow, for patrons of a yoga studio in the same premise.


Then she ran a small café at SACC Mall’s indoor kids’ playground before partnering with another home-based caterer to open Spiced Pumpkin Café in 2016.


Now she is the sole proprietor after her business partner opted out due to unforeseen circumstances. “I’ve maintained her husband’s Middle Eastern recipes such as Nasi Maqlubah and Nasi Mandy but I’ve also added some Malay specialities into the menu.”


Mas says Spiced Pumpkin’s Nasi Arab Mandy Chicken (RM21) stands out from the competition as she infused the rice with charcoal smoke before serving. Tinged with the aroma and colour of saffron, the fluffy long grain rice has an enticing, subtly sweet smokiness to it. We enjoyed every mouthful accompanied by the tender, lightly spiced chicken.
The other show-stealer has to be Lontong Kering Rendang Daging (RM14.50). Mas explains it’s a Johorean way of serving lontong, with cubes of nasi impit stir-fried with her signature serunding kelapa (fried and spiced coconut floss), sambal tumis, peanut sauce, fried shallots and hardboiled egg halves.


Eaten together, the dish is akin to a flavoursome party in one’s mouth. Other variations of it include dendeng paru (dry curried beef lungs) and beef, chicken or fish serunding.

Signature light bites such as Pita Nachos Cheese (RM16.50) and Tres Quesos PJBB (RM17.90) are also available to tease the tastebuds of peckish diners. Here, pita bread is cut into triangular pieces then fried until crisp to resemble nachos.

The former comes laden with the house special sauce, melted cheese, hot sauce and chilli flakes. Cheese lovers can relish the latter as the nibbles are topped with three types of melted cheese, beef bacon bits and chopped jalapeño.

To please the younger set, Creamy Pumpkin with Pasta and Beef Bacon (RM17.00), and Spaghetti with Butter Salmon in Salted Egg Yolk Sauce (RM28.90) are among the crowd-pleasing selection featured here. All the sauces are made on-premise by Mas so her extra efforts help to dial up the appeal of her pasta offerings.

Having gone viral on social media, kunafa – a popular Middle Eastern treat made from finely spun phyllo threads drenched with syrup and crushed pistachios – proves to be a compelling dessert at this outpost.


Mas levels up her Kunafa with Tres Leches (RM16.50): mozzarella and cream, orange blossom syrup, dried rose petals and crushed pistachios. The whole ensemble is creamy, mildly sweet and nutty; with pleasing whiffs of orange blossom and rose.

She also bestows similar treatment to Kuih Lopes with Tres Leches and Ice Cream (RM9.50). Coated in coconut flakes, the wedge of pandan-infused glutinous rice pairs marvellously with gula Melaka, cream and vanilla ice cream. Ditto for the Sago Pudding with Tres Leche and Gula Melaka (RM7.50).


Somehow, we couldn’t wrap our head around the South American-inspired Tres Leches Cake (RM15). Dry sponge cake is traditionally soaked in cream, milk and fruits, but Mas improvises hers slightly by immersing the sponge cake into milk prior to serving. Topped with canned fruit, this dessert fails to hit the spot for us.

For reservations at Spiced Pumpkin Café, call hp no:019 2728317. Address: Lot 291, Kompleks KPPMS, 2, Jalan RU 3/9a, Shah Alam, Selangor. Business hours: Mon-Thurs 12 pm –7 pm, Sat 12 pm – 930 pm. Closed on Sun.



Monday, November 28, 2022


‘Tis the season to be feasting at Vasco’s with Chef Kazi Hassan and his team decking the dining hall with traditional and inventive specialities for you to eat, drink and make merry.

Plump and juicy, the Honey Glazed Spice Brined Roast Turkey with Yorkshire pudding and grilled vegetables is a showstopper in its own right.

Other delectable delights competing for your attention include Braised Spice Lamb Shoulder, Australian Prime Rib Roasted with Mustard Jus, Grilled Tomahawk, Tangdi Kebab and Honey Braised Chicken with Chilli among others.

On most December weekends diners can surf Vasco’s Seafood Market where the festive seafood-themed lunch or dinner highlights Freshly Shucked Irish Premium Oysters (Traighenna) and French Oysters (Fin de Claire), alongside scrumptious Baked Slipper Lobsters, Seafood Paella, Fresh Live Tiger Prawns cooked with Garlic Chilli Sauce, and Whole Poached Salmon.

Colourful platters of Assorted Mediterranean-style Salads, Oven-fresh Pizzas, and Soft Shell Crab Pasta dial up the festive vibes in the celebratory main section.

Be sure to leave ample stomach space for sweet Yuletide treats too. The decadent appeal of Mont Blanc Tart beckons, rivalled by mod-arty creations of Christmas Yule Log Cake, rich and fruity Christmas Pudding, traditional Dresden Stollen and Panettone Pudding.

Hilton guests will also be entertained by live band performances at The Lounge, Christmas carollers, and Santa Claus appearances. 

Festive takeaway hampers, chocolate and Yuletide treats are available from Aviary Bar and Oro Café, whilst special set menus at Chynna, Iketeru, Chamber's Grill, and The Lounge await.

Festive Buffet Lunch (1 to 31 December 2022)

·  Monday to Friday, 12pm to 2.30pm: Festive at Vasco's

Price: RM148 nett per adult and RM88 nett per child (5yrs to 11yrs) 

·  Saturday and Sunday, 12.30pm to 3pm: Festive at Vasco's

Price: RM208 nett per adult and RM108 nett per child (5yrs to 11yrs)

Festive Buffet Dinner (1 to 31 December 2022)

·  Sun to Thurs, 6.30pm to 10.30pm: Festive Seafood Buffet

Price: RM198 nett per adult and RM98 nett per child (5yrs to 11yrs) 

·  Fri and Sat, 6.30pm to 10.30pm: Festive Super Seafood Buffet

Price: RM228 nett per adult and RM118 nett per child (5yrs to 11yrs)


·      Beverage package: RM120 nett per adult (2 hours)

Enjoy free-flow house wine, Carlsberg bottle beer, soft drinks and chilled juices

Christmas Eve Dinner Special (24 December 2022)

·      A Cracking Christmas at Hilton Kuala Lumpur

Price: RM298 nett per adult and RM128 nett per child (5yrs to 11yrs)

Time: 6.30pm to 10.30pm

Christmas Day – The Big Festive Feast (25 December 2022)

·      Christmas Day Lunch:

Price: RM298 nett per adult and RM128 nett per child (5yrs to 11yrs)

Time: 1.00pm to 3.30pm

·      Christmas Day Dinner:

Price: RM268 nett per adult and RM118 nett per child (5yrs to 11yrs)

Time: 6.30pm to 10.30pm 

·      Beverage package: RM160 nett per adult (2-hours)

Enjoy free-flow house wine, Carlsberg bottle beer, soft drinks and chilled juices

New Year’s Eve Dinner Celebration (31 December 2022)

·      New Year’s Eve Dinner:

Price: RM298 nett per adult and RM149 nett per child (5yrs to 11yrs)

Time: 1.00pm to 3.30pm

·      Beverage package: RM160 nett per adult (2-hours)

Enjoy free-flow house wine, Carlsberg bottle beer, soft drinks and chilled juices

New Year Lunch Celebration (1 January 2023)

·      New Year Lunch:

Price: RM208 nett per adult and RM108 nett per child (5yrs to 11yrs)

Time: 1.00pm to 3.30pm

·      Beverage package: RM160 nett per adult (2 hours)

Enjoy free-flow house wine, Carlsberg bottle beer, soft drinks and chilled juices

For reservations or more information, please call Hilton Kuala Lumpur, tel: 03-2264 2264 or visit

Featured Post


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