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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Favola @ Le Meridien Hotel KL

I think that the first blog I read on Favola was through Sean's eatdrinkkl. I wondered where this new restaurant was located until I realised that al-nafourah was closed and replaced by Favola. Soon more and more bloggers started to flock to the new Italian restaurant and came back with good reviews. Well, if self-proclaimed Italian food lovers like Sean raved about this place, what could possibly go wrong right??

So one night when Sher Ryn was under my in-law's supervision, Jenn & I came here for a date! We used to go out on date a lot in the past, and dating was something that I love to do with someone I love. Don't get me wrong, my definition of dating is very simple - does not necessarily means going out for expensive meal or vacation. What matters to me was the fact that there were just the two of us spending time together, chatting the night away. Since Sher Ryn was born, those opportunities got lesser and lesser. That's why I treasure the time that both of us had together :)

I must have not come here for a long time as I was surprised to see the entrance of Le Meridien's brightly lid with artworks. Googling further, I plagiarised alilfatmonkey's description of this artwork "Earlier this year, Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur has transformed its hotel entrance into an art portal, commissioning the unique work of Chinese artist, An Xiaotong entitled ‘Everywhere’. Upon arrival at the hotel, guests are welcomed with striking colours displayed at the hotel entrance and ceiling along a narrow walkway. With the intention of resetting the guests’ mind when entering the hotel, the art piece features extended branches in bold red branches against electric blue to exemplifies a network of cities that spans everywhere throughout the world." Credit has to be given to this profilic and funny blogger :)

Taking the lift to Level 8 where the Middle Eastern restaurant Al-Nafourah once operated, we were shown to our table (why? You think that I would risk not having table on weekend evening? Hell no... I made reservation two days earlier)

Complimentary breads with 3 different dippings were absolutely spot on - one of the best in town. The breads were freshly baked and the variety of dippings were delicious enough to whet my appetite to gorge on the main course later.

After cracking my head, I settled for Risotto con Aragosta @ RM45 - lobster, lemon zest, and green pea foam. What I love about this dish was the distinctive taste of the lobster.. the portion was generous and I loved it to bits! Risotto lovers take note :)

Jenn's choice of Conchiglioni marinata al cartoccio @ RM40 was a right one - baked parcels with seafood (clams, scallops & lobsters to name a few), extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and tangy tomato sauce. Topped with melted cheese on top, shell pastas were used to "trap" the sweet & flavourful sauce and went straight into your mouth. The result??? Fantastic is all that I can think of to describe this dish!

I was in the mood for something alcoholic so I ordered this Vibetini @ RM30 - lychee, sugar syrup, vodka and a dash of midori. Sweet but I think that the alcohol content was not potent enough!

Cassata @ RM20 - layered ice-cream with a few different type of flavour. The recipe remained a secret that Chef Antoine & his friend (who gave him the recipe and made him swear not to reveal it) know. I wonder why all of you didn't try it as this was perhaps one of the best ice-cream I'd tasted in my life!!!

Leo's verdict - Before my starwood card expires end of Sept 2010, I definitely will come here to savour on their other dishes again! Two thumbs up for Favola as it made into my Top 10 Italian restaurants!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Little Dim Sum Place @ Jalan SS2/63 PJ

This place is definitely lesser known or popular compared to the likes of Jin Xuan and Hung Kee Dim Sum, but still manage to fend of fierce competitions in the PJ, particularly SS2 area. It seems that they have managed to carve out a market for themselves despite the fact that there are no less than 10 outlets that serve dim sum within 5km radius. Aren't we spoilt by choices???

In fact, I have known this place for quite a long time. Located on the same row as the much hyped Sanbanto and KTX Food, I noticed a lot of patrons dining there everytime I passed by the shop. So one fine Saturday, Jenn & I made our way here as parking was definitely easier. The shop is divided into smoking (alfresco) and non-smoking (air-conditioned) areas.

The interior was simple and bright and most importantly, air-conditioned! Perfect place to bring Sher Ryn (who sweats easily like her dad) here.

We tried variety of dim sum selections not available elsewhere, starting with Honey BBQ pork bun or char siew bao to the Chinese. Not bad although I still prefer Jin Xuan's version.

Sesame golden - the aromatic smell of sesame and black sesame seeds used proved irresistable!

Prawn dumplings - fresh prawns but not in the best of shape. I like to see the skin intact when they served this dish.

Sharkfin dumplings - hmmmm... I didn't notice the shark fin though!

Bacon roll - my favourite order of the day! However, it'd be perfect if they didn't put the mayonnaise on top of the bacon. Sinful but I love it!

Sze Chuan fried turnip cake with leek - not bad but not spicy enough despite using dry chilly to prepare this dish!

Vietnamese crispy fried rice with crispy prawn cracker bits - lack wok hei but I love the crispy cracker bits everytime I took a bite. Prawns were fresh too!

Jasmine tea @ RM1.60 per person

Leo's verdict - At the time I wrote this post, their limited time promotion of RM2.98++ and RM3.98++ for selected dim sum items should be over! Their selection of dim sums are unique compared to some of the bigger dim sum places out there. Price-wise it was reasonable and service was attentive. I'd reckon that this place worth a visit!

P.S: Non-halal (^_^)

1) I'm not paid to promote/endorse any particular event, restaurant or person in this blog. ALL are based on my unbiased personal opinion.
2) My reviews are based on my own personal taste and preference and therefore may vary for others.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Elegant Inn @ Menara Hap Seng KL

Have I ever mentioned that Sher Ryn is like 9-days younger than her cousin? That's not an important issue but this blog has something to do with what I've said earlier. If you know when Sher Ryn's birthday is, then most likely you will know how old this blog is :P

As you know, Jenn & I celebrated Sher Ryn's birthday at New Formosa's. A week before that, we went to Elegant Inn in Menara Hap Seng for her cousin's birthday dinner. Initially they wanted to dine at their Connaught's outlet since it was nearer to Cheras home but for the same price and food, why not settle for a better ambience??? And it marked my first time coming to the much hyped refurbished Menara Hap Seng (previously MUI Plaza).

Since we arrived here 30 minutes earlier than the appointed time, I had plenty of time to take pictures of the place and its surrounding! Using the best settings, I took some pictures but some of them still turned out rather dark, especially inside the restaurant.

Craving for seafood??? Just make sure that the wallet is thick enough :) or else, credit card would suffice!

One year old Sher Ryn together with her equally gorgeous mom!

Initially I wanted to suggest that we went for a-la-carte but 1) Jenn's sis didn't want to crack her head and 2) her husband was paying for the meal, therefore I zipped my mouth. They settled for the Wealthy Menu which was priced at RM988++

The first to arrive at our table was of course the Yee Sang... aptly named Bountiful Harvest Salmon Lou Sang, it was truly a fresh sight to see :)

Ingredients such as abalone, jellyfish, salmon, shredded carrot, cucumber slices and pears were thrown in.

Hopefully it'd be a good year for everyone who "lou' it! What I loved most about the yee sang was that it tasted as fresh as it sounded! Everyone praised the freshness of all the ingredients, and felt healthier too.

Braised shark fin with dried scallop and Bamboo Pitt came next - not much of shark fin. I know that this dish was controversial but then I was not the one who ordered it. apart from that, the soup was flavourful.. good till the last drop!

Steamed estuary garoupa with dried prawns and winter vegetable - I had two rather not-so-pleasant experience on estuary garoupa prior to this meal. However, I was wow-ed this time... as the meat was firm & flaky. The winter vegetable used has sweetish note in it. Blissful!

Steamed Chinese Village Chicken with fragrant sesame sauce - accompanying ginger dipping was superb! Normally I was not a fan of steamed chicken as I prefer roasted or fried chicken but I had to give this dish a thumb up. The chicken meat was Succulent and smooth, and sesame seeds used made this dish more aromatic. Exceptional!

Sauteed Sea Tiger Prawn with goose liver and Chinese Olive - to-die-for gravy made possible by the usage of foie gras. Those huge tiger prawns were fresh and when they were paired with the gravy, each and every of them were finger lickin' good :)

Eight Vegetarian Treasures in Chef's Sauce - thin & crispy fu chuk, lotus root slice, celery, black fungus, shredded spicy scallops, cabbage, mushroom and red chilly were used in this dish. Something not so heavy to prepare us to the next dish.

Braised Chinese Egg Noodle with Australian Abalone and fish maw - one slice of abalone & fish maw per diner (not more and not less). Egg noodle was done just right with lip-smacking egg gravy. I thought that the noodles were soggy when I first saw the dish but I was wrong!

Pan fried traditional rice cake and hazelnut cookies - nothing much to shout about the cookies but the pan fried "nian gao" was a delight to eat. Normally this nian gao is available during Chinese New Year!

Double boiled sea coconut, lily bulbs, longan in ginger soup - the dessert signalled the end of our satisfying meal.

Leo's verdict - Yeah I know... this menu is not available anymore. Actually I'm planning my second visit to Elegant Inn to try their a-la-carte dishes that I have read so much in other blogs. There are still many items that I have not got to try yet. Price-wise it's more towards fine Chinese dining but I reckon that the money was well worth spent :)

And yes, we still had time to cut the birthday cake.

Elegant Inn
2.01, 2nd Floor, Podium Block
Menara Hap Seng
Jalan P.Ramlee
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-20709399

P.S: Non-Halal

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nathalie's Gourmet Studio @ Solaris Dutamas

Having lunch with a bunch of food bloggers is fun! Imagine a group of people come together to share a common passion - FOOD (obviously). Simply introduce yourself if you spotted unfamiliar faces and then just sit down and chat while waiting for the food to arrive. Everyone will whip out their usual weapon - camera - to take pictures of the place and its surrounding while waiting for the food to arrive. For the pros, normally you'd see them with DSLR while simple guy like me are always armed with my trusty 1 year old Canon Ixus :) Similar scene can be seen when the food arrive where no one can touch the food or drink until the cameras have finished snapping!

However, I have to be as efficient as most of them in posting up this blog, especially Becky of thenomadgourmand fame who had posted up about this place 2 days after the outing. Every other posts will have to wait. It's only a matter of time before Memoirs of a Chocoholic post her write-up. For me, I don't wanna ketinggalan jauh by posting this blog a few months later (judging at my speed in posting up new blogs right now).

The decision to join them at Nathalie's was last minute. I had to make sure that the time is right as there were a lot of things to do on that day itself. Jenn and I made it on time :) locating this place wasn't easy as it was my second time going to Solaris Dutamas (the first time went to The Pink Sage which was facing the main road). But being a person who has good sense of direction, nothing is too difficult for me :P

Joa-Quim arrived earlier than us while Becky came shortly. We were shown to our table which was outside the restaurant itself. Honestly, the chairs were very short and thus making it rather hard to dine comfortably.

I like the place a lot - the decor was simple and contemporary, everything inside and outside were neat & tidy. There was a corner where they actually sell the macarons but the section was rather crampy with only a small passage.

I managed to snap a picture of Chef Nathalie herself in the kitchen where they prepare all the food for the customers. There is another kitchen which is used to conduct culinary classes.

Complimentary freshly baked breads were served together with butter. Still warm & fresh, every bite on its crunchy outer crust was a delight! However, I still prefer Prego's version of bread :P

Jenn ordered the Ricotta & Herb Raviolis, Carrot & Ginger Broth (RM30). It was a hit for me. Personally, I think that the carrot & ginger broth was superb! Its puree was orange coloured and sweet - I never knew that these 2 could make a perfect match. Halfway through the meal, I switched my meal with Jenn's!

Jerine (it's nice to meet you) and I meanwhile had the Chicken & King Prawns with fennel ragout & bisque sauce (RM37). Another lovely creation from Nathalie's that made me craving for more. The bisque sauce was simply fantastic & added another notch to the already great dish!

Joa-Quim ordered 2 dishes - 1) Revised Momotaro Tomato Mozzarella (RM23) as starter; and 2) Beef Cheek Bourguignon with fresh pastas (RM47) as the main course. I managed to try the starter (thanks J) and was completely blown off by the sweet tomato jelly at the bottom (made by pure tomato juice). The accompanying fresh tomato was just... well, you know, FRESH! And the basil cream on top was good too!

No comment on the beek cheek dish as I don't eat beef (so does Jenn) but you finished the whole plate right, J??? LOL!!! It looked very nice though (how I wish that I could take beef)

Becky started with Vegetable Quiche, mixed lettuce with preserved lemon dressing (RM18). The quiche was packed with flavour and still hot inside, a perfect comfort food.

by the time her Nathalie's Revised Chicken Nuggets with emmental cheese dip & Ratatouille (RM15) arrived, she was already not feeling well. Looking at the Ratatouille, I could not help but to think that it looked the same as Hakka Mui Choi! DOn't blame me because first, I have never seen a real Ratatouille dish before and second, I thought that it should somehow look the same or at least similiar to what I've seen in the Pixar's movie Ratatouille... LOL! What happened to this dish in the end?? Most probably ended up in someone else's stomach I assume :P

Jenn's Virgin Mojito (RM11) was refreshing!

Joa-Quim ordered the All Chocolate Dessert (RM15) to complete her meal. Trust this girl when she said that the dessert was good because she's a Chocoholic after all!

Another thing that Nathalie's is famous for is the Macarons. There were a few who claimed that her macarons are the best in KL so far. Costing at RM4.40++ per piece, I had the Praline and Black Sesame to be shared between both of us. Jenn said that it was too sweet and being someone who can withstand sweet stuff, I somehow had to agree with her. Flavour-wise it was great though!

Leo's verdict - My Saturday lunch started well and ended very well! Wished that I could stay a while longer but since Jenn had doctor appointment, we had to leave early. Before that I managed to meet up with Paranoid Android and Ciki who came here around 2pm for their lunch appointment. It was rather embarassing moment for me when PA actually didn't recognise me (who happened to sit right in front of him) and asked "Where's Thule?"

Nathalie's Gourmet Studio
Unit A4-01-5
Solaris Dutamas
Jalan Dutamas 1
Kuala Lumpur