Brunch @ Mandarin Grill, Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Gosh. It’s already February and I had only updated my blog once. *sweats*

Photobucket

It was certainly one of those odd days where I found myself seated inside Mandarin Grill restaurant on a Saturday morning. In case you didn’t notice, fine dining is not a monthly affair (not even yearly!) to me. But then, a friend actually made the effort to arrange the brunch, so there is no reason for me to reject, isn’t it?

*Oh, just a quick note for those who are clueless about Mandarin Oriental (like me, duh. I actually had to ask the guard in KLCC on the direction to the hotel), it is actually located right next to Suria KLCC. There are just too many hotels in KL that we sometimes lost count (and lost their sense of location as well). For a complete list of Kuala Lumpur hotels, you could always check out hotel booking website such as Asia Web Direct.

It was a quiet Saturday morning. We were the first bunch of patrons of the day and we get to sit next to the high window overlooking the KLCC park – plenty of natural light for snapshots. A menu is presented to us with limitations (RM78 for 2 courses and RM94 for 3 courses) – 3 items for each appetizer, main and dessert categories. There were four of us, therefore we ordered almost everything from the menu except the fruit platter.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

For starters, we had the Vitello Tonato (roasted veal with tuna cream sauce and endives), Scallop Carpaccio (fresh scallop paired with green apple dressing and apple slices and coriander cress and Roasted Beetroot Salad (beetroot chunks served with blocks of feta cheese, crushed pine nuts and leafy greens). Out of the three, the scallop carpaccio has our highest votes for freshness and the sourish green apple dressing complement the scallop nicely. The veal fillet were a little bit dry and stringy, while the beetroot doesn’t seems roasted prior to serving.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

The mains – Braised Short Rib Ravioli (with cauliflower puree and rosemary jus), Butter Poached Salmon Fillet (served in lemon balm consomme and fennel) and Tagliatelle Pasta (tagliatelle in tomato concasse). The pasta texture was too soft (overcooked?) to my liking and nothing outstanding with the tomato sauce. The ravioli fares better, the shredded short rib filling was flavourful but portion too small. The salmon was nicely charred on the sides, with slight crisp and the consomme not too overpowering the fish.

Photobucket

Photobucket

We skipped the fruit platter and went for the more sinful ones when it comes to dessert. CK had the Chocolate Ice Cream Coupe (with caramelized pistachio nuts and chocolate swirl) while me and the others had the Creme Brulee with fresh berries. The ice cream definitely came from a premium manufacturer (not sure which company though) – silky smooth and bursting with intense chocolate taste. The Creme Brulee was pretty nice as well – the caramelized sugar on top wasn’t too thick and every spoonfuls of the custard were full of egg-y flavour, with the berries lent a slight tang to the dessert.

Mandarin Grill @ Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre,
50088 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.

Tel: +60 (3) 2179 8818
Fax: +60 (3) 2179 8659
Email: mokul-sales@mohg.com
Web: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/kualalumpur/dining/restaurants/mandarin_grill/

Advertisements

Tong Ah Restaurant, Chinatown, Singapore

Happy New Year to you! How was your Christmas and New Year celebration? 2011 marked my first time throwing a Christmas Eve dinner – preparations were ok, but it turned out a little bit chaotic when the guests starts arriving but we managed to pull it off.

Last year, I made a resolution to increase my postings but it seems that I failed to achieve that. But anyway, here’s my first posting for 2012, with the new layout.

Photobucket

Trip to Singapore has becoming more and more frequent for me, thanks to the affordable air fares by Jetstar/Tiger Airways/AirAsia etc. It is a good opportunity for me to meet and catch up with my friends who are working and staying there, as well as exploring what Singapore has to offer on the menu too. Singaporean friends knew that I write about food, so they took great effort to bring me around for a good meal whenever I goes down to the Merlion City. With that in mind, I found myself standing in front of a charming colonial corner shoplot in Chinatown called Tong Ah (not Ah Tong, as I initially thought. Pardon the label on the picture).

Photobucket

Mr. D insist that I have to try this: Coffee Spare Ribs (again, pardon the label on the picture, I’m just too lazy to re-edit a new one). Now, this is new to me… I’ve heard about Coke Chicken before (rumour has it that it was invented in Hong Kong, anyone can confirm this?) but I have not tried it before. So, how does the Coffee Spare Ribs tastes like? I would say it’s like a cross in between Marmite Chicken and “pai kuat wong” (spare ribs in dark, sticky sauce). The sticky, caramelized coffee sauce has a good coffee aroma and not bitter, but the spare ribs were kinda tough, though. Nevertheless, interesting try.

Photobucket

Photobucket

In between eggs and green veggie, we succumbed to the temptation of “fu yong dan” (Fu Yong-style omelette). Loaded with small prawns, chopped onions, sliced Chinese mushroom and spring onion, this was rather ordinary, but delectable nonetheless. On the other hand, their deep fried beancurd with minced pork and chilli was good – silky-smooth homemade beancurd brimming with egg-y aroma and topped with loads of chillied-minced pork and in-house special gravy, this was a great accompaniment with white rice.

Photobucket

Photobucket

And there are more meat for the carnivores! Belacan Fried Chicken smells really good but it lacks the pungent belacan taste to it, perhaps more belacan would make a difference to the dish. And lastly, dry Butter Squid with thin butter/margarine-based batter encasing the squids. A pretty decent dish without the heavy use of butter/margarine – allows you to taste the squid without being overwhelmed by the batter.

All in all, Tong Ah serves some decent Cantonese dai chow fares. Service can be a bit slow especially during peak hour, so if possible, go with a bunch of friends or family members and chat away while waiting, just like we did. No price tags were availabe for each individual dish as it was a treat by my friends 🙂

Tong Ah Restaurant
36, Keong Saik Road (intersection in between Keong Saik Road and Teck Lim Road),
089143, Singapore.

Kelantan Delights, Wisma Consplant, Subang Jaya

*Disclaimer: This is an invited review, extended to me by PureGlutton.

Photobucket

I have not been to the east coast of the Peninsular of Malaysia but I heard a lot of good things about their food from J2kfm and WMW. My chance to try out some Kelantanese-Malay cuisine was knocking at my door when PureGlutton extended the invitation to dine at Kelantan Delights to a few of us last month.

As Kelantan and the southern part of Thailand are just next to each other, there are some minor Siamese influence on their cuisine, such as the Sireh Daun Kadok (RM 21.50, picture above) which resembles Thai appetizer Mieng Kam. Their keropok lekor (RM 8.50) – a type of eastern coast of snack made of fish – was rather good with black pepper added for extra flavour.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Typical rice dishes one could find in Kelantan are the famous Nasi Dagang, Nasi Tumpang and Nasi Kerabu – of course we couldn’t leave without trying their Nasi Tumpang (RM 18.00 with fried chicken). Wrapped with banana leaf in a long cone shape, the package also includes sambal, meat floss and curry. The rice were rather moist to our liking but the condiments were great.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Nasi Kerabu Daging Bakar (RM 20.00, top picture) and Nasi Dagang Kerutuk Daging (RM 20.00) were another two rice dishes we sampled. The blue colour is added to the rice with the use of bunga telang (blue pea flower) to give it an interesting blue hue. It is then mixed with a plethora of finely shredded aromatic herbs and served with daging bakar (roasted beef), salted egg and crackers. Nasi Dagang on the other hand, is one of Kelantan’s iconic dish – usually served with gulai ikan tongkol (tuna curry) but here you can opt to have it with beef or chicken.

Photobucket
Photobucket

If you’re a big eater, try Nasi Budu (RM 19.00) which comes with ulam (raw vegetables), fish, gulai kawah and sambal.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Ok, enough about rice for the moment, here are some a la carte dishes. Belut (eel) Cili Kering (RM 24.00) and Tom Yam Udang Kelapa Muda (RM 21.50) are the spicy ones we had, with the latter served in a hollowed coconut “bowl”. We had two types of fish actually – the one showed here is Ikan Siakap Daun Kadok (RM 49.00) and Ikan Siakap Serai (lemongrass, not shown here). The lemongrass version definitely fares better in terms of flavour and aroma in my opinion. Then comes the Puyoh Goreng (RM 23.00) which are essentially fried quails. My first time trying quails, there aren’t much difference to spring chicken except maybe spring chicken has meatier drumsticks?

Photobucket

The only noodle dish (if one could call this a noodle…) we had that night was Laksam (RM 14.00). Yes, Laksam, and no, that wasn’t a typo. It is very much like chee cheong fun except it is served in rolls with thick and milky coconut milk-based gravy with a hint of fish, lots of shredded herbs, dry sambal and hard-boiled egg. Not a dish for everyone as some might find it too heavy to the palate (especially with the thick coconut milk gravy).

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

For dessert, we had 4 types, with Lopes (RM 7.00), Pulut Durian (RM 9.50), Royal Plate (RM 14.50) and er… Ketupat Sotong (RM 9.50). Yes, even sotong (squid) can be made into dessert as well! Lopes – glutinuous rice cake with shredded coconut and gula melaka (palm sugar) tastes very similar to our onde-onde, while for the Pulut Durian, it has a strong durian aroma but I wish they would serve it without the seeds. Royal Plate essentially has everything that Kelantan has to offer on dessert, which includes akok (slightly burnt pan cakes), jala emas (noodle-look alike), bunga tanjong (yellow beads made of duck egg’s yolks that were very rich and dense) and finally, tahi itik (literally translated as duck’s droppings). Oh yeah, the Ketupat Sotong definitely stole the limelight that night as none of us ever imagine, let alone try it. The roasted squid is stuffed with glutinuous rice and served with a savoury brown gravy. I can’t really describe how it tastes like, perhaps PureGlutton could shed some light on its mystery, hehe.

Photobucket
Photobucket

Photobucket

Kelantan Delights
Ground Floor, East Wing,
Wisma Consplant 1,
No 2, Jalan SS16/4,
47500 Subang Jaya.

Tel : 03-5611 7845
Web: http://www.kelantandelights.com/ver1/main-subang.html
Business hours : 11am – 11pm
For map, click HERE.