Friday, June 25, 2010

Cafe Stelle by Raffles @ Pavilion KL

Jenn & I are pretty much traditional Chinese, but with a modern mindset of course. We basically have meals 3 times a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner! Pretty much like everyone else I guess :P with the exception of supper which I have stopped for the longest time ever since my waist breached the 35" barrier! Well, once in a blue moon I would actually break the rule.. read my words "once in a blue moon"!!!

Then there's high tea! This term to me, my friend, used to be reserved to those rich tai tai who don't have to work coz their husbands are filthy rich enough. So their only activity is shopping, shopping and shopping. And once they are done shopping with many bags in their hands, it's time to go for high tea session to show off their stuff. Or maybe I watch Hong Kong series too much when I was small??? LOL... when I came to KL, I only realised that even families can have high tea together, provided that their pocket is deep enough. A high tea session in hotel can set you back at RM68-RM88++ per person. So do the math for a family of four (parents with 2 grown up children) :P get the idea?

So when I heard from my friend that a new cafe in Pavilion KL is doing high tea for RM25 nett per person, it piqued my interest. Jenn couldn't believe when I told her for the first time too. So both of us had late breakfast one Saturday and went to Cafe Stelle.

Café Stelle occupies a long, elevated podium and features a runway, mirroring the café’s stylish environs.

For the price that we were paying, we got Bruschetta, smoked salmon, scones, strawberry dipped in chocolate, muffins, carrot cake, etc. All of them were served using a display-like tray.

Condiments - strawberry mousse, butter and marmalade!

Our choice of tea - the waiter actually brought out a case of tea selections for us to choose. In the end, we settled for Chamomile & grand wedding tea.

Leo's verdict - Overall, it is a nice place to relax and unwind after shopping around Pavilion. However, there are choices are fixed compared to what you would normally get in hotel. I can't complain much since I only pay RM50 for two of us. I wanted to take more pictures of the cafe but the supervisor actually came up to me and told me of their no photography rule. Oh well, at least I got to snap a few without their knowledge :P by the way, the high tea is only from 3pm to 6pm.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Char Siew Zhai @ Jalan PJU 1/3F SunwayMas PJ

In the past, Aman Suria area (part of Kampung Chempaka) or Dai Gong as the Chinese call it.. was famous for its gangsterism activities. By the way, I'm just saying what my friend (who lives in PJ all his life) told me. You would still notice the Chinese Village on the left and right before you reach commercial area of Aman Suria from Lebuh Bandar Utama. Just be careful while driving here, as most cars were driven by the aunties without looking left or right (they tend to zoom across the road despite I'm less than 10 metres from the junction) while the motorcyclists are still without helmet.

Nowadays, Aman Suria is famous for another reason - char siew!! Well, at least among the food bloggers. If you think that Ming Kee's char siew is the best, then you have got to come and try the char siew here. only then you can give the final verdict. I don't know about you but I think that 747's version of char siew is the one to beat (for now) followed closely by FSF's and Ming Kee's (but it's just me).

Since everyone was raving on Char Siew Zhai's noodle, it was only a matter of time before I came here. And since I live nearby, a drive to Aman Suria on weekend morning is a breeze. Parking is even easier!

Only a few tables were occupied and I got to choose a table directly under the fan (can't risk making my daughter sweats). Menu was simple with a piece of laminated A3 paper.

Didn't manage to take picture of the foreign workers tossing the noodle high up in the air though, as I was busy feeding Sher Ryn. From what I know, the noodle is boiled before going through a cold bath to retain its springy-ness. Then the worker will throw the noodle up in the air and catch as it falls down to make sure that the moisture is well-drained.

BBQ Pork Wantan Noodle @ RM4 - Jenn normally would go for light breakfast and therefore, a simple plate of wantan mee with char siew is enough.

Combo roast meat noodle @ RM7 - I asked for combination of char siew and siew yoke to go with my wantan mee. Frankly the noodle was great, perhaps one of the best I've ever tried. Their char siew was good & decent but far behind if they were to be compared to 747 and FSF. Siew yoke?? Forget it... maybe I'll try other offering next time.

Leo's verdict - Simply put it... the noodle was very springy and even those picky eaters would think the same. One thing that I love the most is that the place is air-conditioned which is a plus point. Pickled chilly was not good while the beverage was below standard so you can consider to bring your own drink :P lastly, if you were to ask me, I would still go back to 747... as I have yet to find a better char siew that can surpass 747's benchmark. 747's noodle even though not as springy, it was good enough. What I'm looking for is the slightly charred caramelised piece of pork belly that will melt in my mouth. Occasionally, I would order their curry mee as it was good too!!! Google 747 char siew and you would find many blogs on this place... even though I have to beg to differ on Becky's view that FSF's char siew was better :P guess that everyone's taste bud is different!


Friday, June 18, 2010

DARN!!! And I thought that my town is safe!

I always read news on the houses that were robbed or broken into, where the house owners lost their valuables. I also used to think that those people were really unfortunate to face those predicaments, but I never really gave it a serious thought that my house was also at risk. That is, until it was broken into for the first time last night (my very first experience with theft).

My house is located in a neighbourhood where a lot of cops are living there. That is why the thought of my house being broken into never crossed my mind (seriously). There is also one kindergarten which is located directly opposite my house which practically make the area a rather busy one. And yet I miscalculated... I totally forgotten about the concept of work & holiday. Work - the cops still have to work and not stay at home. Holiday - it's school holiday and most people have taken leave to bring their children on vacation. That makes my house vulnerable to those buggers.

We were returning home from my in-law's place after dinner around 8pm and the first thing that Jenn asked when I parked my car was "Hey! Why didn't you lock the door?" My very first instinct was "S**T"!!! I dashed into the house just to find the place was ransacked... total mess! First thing to do was to check on the loss... jewellery and some cash were missing! Important documents were fortunately left untouched.

A careful look at the aluminium grill revealed that it was prised open by force

The cupboard where the valuables were stored was ransacked!

All the cabinets were not spared too...

The door was dusted by the police to check on the fingerprint!

It took me whole night just to make report at the police station. It pays to have connection with the police force, as they were more efficient and faster to get evidence at the house. After collecting fingerprints, taking photos and recording our statements - I have to tell you, ala CSI-style :) of course, do not expect the likes of David Caruso and Gary Sinise lah! They left.. and then we cleaned up the house.

Later at night...

I couldn't sleep... my eyes were wide opened, imagining on what would it be like if we were at home at that time. With a steel rod by my side (precautionary move), I was worried that they might come back again. Then I realised that rushed into the house without checking if the thieves were still inside, jeopardising my family's safety. I was so concerned with the loss at that time...

Then I looked at my wife and Sher Ryn who were sleeping soundly by my side. I gently stroked my daughter's hair and thanked God that she's alright! Things that are lost can be earned back, but there is only one life. We were so pre-occupied with other things in our lives.

P.S: Next time I'm going to do is to install alarm system. I don't feel save and secure anymore after this incident.

Family safety is always the first! How often we forget that! :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ah Tuan Ee @ The Curve PJ

Despite knowing its existence for the longest time, Jenn & I have never seemed managed to make it here. That was, until one particular day when I was feeling a bit adventurous that both of us decided to give it a try. Nyonya food was normally not in my highest priority when it comes to dining out.

We didn't know what to eat when we arrived at The Curve one Friday evening. Then we spotted Ah Tuan Ee's as we crossed over from IKANO Power Centre using the overhead bridge. Lazy to venture further, both of us decided to try this out.

Interior was done Peranakan style... but I reckon more towards Oriental style!

Pineapple fish @ RM20.80 - Fish slices topped with pineapple and sweet & sour sauce. Comfort dish but I thought that the fish slice was rather big . It would be perfect it was smaller :) the Pineapple provided a sweet note to the dish.

Perut Ikan @ RM16.80 - one of Penang's favourite! Concoction of 12 different vegetables & herbs, with prawns and fish maw, cooked to perfection as a spicy, sweetish, sourish, soupy and truly aromatic dish. Let me see how to put it... the gravy tasted just like asam laksa. From its outlook, it looked just like rojak sayur-sayuran but I have to say this.. not everyone appreciate perut ikan so it's more like an acquired taste!

Stir fried brinjal with sambal @ RM11.80 - a simple and flavourful dish but not memorable.

Fried sotong @ RM18.80 - fried squid rings coated with spicy flour & served with sweet chilly sauce. The squid rings were lightly battered with curry-like powder before deep fried, resulting in a delightful crunchy dish. Loved it to the bits! I cleaned almost 80% of the plate :P

Leo's verdict - Overall our dinner was satisfactory. The supervisor was very helpful in recommending the dishes to us even though I didn't ask for any. Dishes were served rather fast and cleaned up as fast too... LOL! Just remember to try the fried sotong ok?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Formosa @ SS2/24 PJ

I think that I better insert this blog ahead of others. Sher Ryn is more than about 15 months now as I wrote this blog. Yes, she's that big :) anyway, nothing is more important than celebrating her first anniversary together with families. For those who read my previous blog, my parents threw a simple birthday party for her in Kuala Lipis. They just hate KL's traffic so much that they just want to celebrate in their own hometown. Oh well, I ran out of excuses to make them go KL.

On the other end, Jenn's parents are more adventurous despite staying in Kuala Lipis most of their lives. Once in a while, they would go to KL just to visit their friends and families. On top of it, they love trying new food which is just fine for me. After all, I share the same passion :) Jenn's elder sister treated us to an extravagant dinner at Elegant Inn (Menara Hap Seng) the week before and therefore, I scratched my head on where to bring them in return. Then I remember my 555 notebook which was chucked somewhere, collecting dusts. Browsing through the never ending list one by one, I found one particular name which was quite a Stand Out - New Formosa!

Let me list down all the points why this place is the CHOICE
1) It's within 10 min drive from my house
2) It has been ages since I had good Taiwanese food
3) This place stands against the test of time... more than 20 years I think!
4) The price range fits my budget (but I will definitely not reveal it)
5) New Formosa has been patronised by most of my blogger friends... Becky of thenomadGourmand, Sean of eatdrinkKL, Jonathan of alilfatmonkey just to name a few :)

Jenn & I went to pre-order the food on the day before the actual lunch date. Reading all the blogs, we finally made up our mind on what dishes to order. By the way, the waitress has been particularly helpful in recommending some of their popular dishes too. Talk about good service :) no wonder they manage to stay in business even after so long!

Oh yes, I did notice alilfatmonkey's signature comic strip on New Formosa posted at the entrance of the restaurant :) a lot of familiar faces too!

I doubt there are a lot of changes made to its interior from the earlier days. However, it still maintain its charm after all these years. All of us felt cosy and comfy.

We started our meal with Formosa Combinations - Fried Enoki with shell meat & seaweed; deep fried pig intestine with sesame seeds; and 3-Cup Squid (initially I wanted top shell but it was not available) in soy, sesame oil, Chinese Wine & Basil. For once, I thought that the intestine was good as I didn't normally eat pig intestine. All the dishes won praise from Jenn's family.

8 Treasure Chicken - the chicken was served in a whole bird and dissected expertly right in front of us using a pair of scissors, revealing a wonderful sight of stuffed rice and other ingredients inside. The crispy skin and moist chicken meat were another delight!

Pork slices soup - using only lean meat, it was surprisingly tender and joy to bite :) the soup was packed with chinese mushroom, scallion and white cabbage. Very flavourful and healthy! Jenn's family is sucker for soup everytime they have lunch or dinner

Hakka style bamboo rice was packed with flavours and has sweetish note due to the presence of pumpkin. Topped with fried onion and spring onion, it only made the dish irresistable.

Taiwanese famous bamboo prawns with herbs - fresh prawns provided sweet flavour to the already flavour-packed soup!

Sze Chuan style duck - we love the flavour and crispy skin. However, the meat was a bit dry and tough to chew.

Formosa stir fried butter eel - this dish was a hit with everyone but I thought that it was a tad too salty. The butter enveloped each and every piece of the unagi, and the presence of curry leaves further enhance the taste.

Being a true blue fan of pig intestine, Jenn's mother ordered stir fried pig intestine with capsicum and pineapple. I didn't eat this though...

Stir fried kailan with almond flakes and pamelo sacs - sounds healthy huh??? Nevertheless, the combination proved to be a favourite among us.

Fried lily buds, asparagus, green peas, fresh ginkgo nuts and pumpkin - by the time this dish was served, all of us were quite stuffed but this veggie dish was good nonetheless.

Low sugar vegetarian pumpkin yam ginkgo pudding - the pumpkin was served separately on the side of the yam pudding with ginkgo nuts on top.

I also ordered several bowls of the famous "ai yu bing"

Our meal ended on a sweet note (again!) with sweet yam in honey sauce taiwanese style - the piping hot yam was covered with honey sauce & sesame seed before dipped into the icy cold water. As a result, the outer layer was crispy while the yam maintained its moist and softness. The combo pictures below show the actual process.

Complimentary sweet plum drinks were served in order to wash the oil inside our stomach :P

Little Sher Ryn with her cousin, Xueney! Her cousin was nearly twice as big despite older then Sher Ryn 9 days.

A happy mom with the birthday girl :) Sher Ryn has grown up looking like her mom.

Leo's verdict - we had a memorable meal with so many delicious dishes. My choice proved to be a wise one! With so many other dishes to choose from, Jenn demanded that I plan another lunch or dinner here soon :)