Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Michelin-Rated Dim Sum at Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur

Dim Sum Chef, Tam To Ming from the award-winning one-Michelin starred restaurant Yee Tung Heen at The Excelsior Hong Kong will be in residence at Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental KL from 17 to 21 October to showcase an array of dainty Chiu Chow dim sum creations.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Tam began his career with Maxim’s Caterers over 20 years ago, before moving on to Lei Garden. Passionate about preserving the art of dim sum, he tirelessly honed his skills throughout his career. He joined Yee Tung Heen in 2003 and his unwavering dedication has earned him numerous awards, including two significant awards in the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s Best of the Best Culinary Awards; Gold Award in 2015 and Silver Award in 2016.

Yee Tung Heen was awarded with 1-Michelin star in the Michelin Guide 2018. The lunchtime dim sum offerings are famous throughout Hong Kong and is not to be missed.

Chef Tam has specially curated a selection of six dim sum items and two desserts to be served in Lai Po Heen, made daily using the best quality ingredients. Made with absolute finesse, the dim sum were delicate and tasted exquisite. The dim sum menu is available for both lunch and dinner throughout the promotion period.

Steamed twin gold fish dumplings with chicken and abalone dumpling (RM48): The siew mai was juicy, topped with a luxurious, tender abalone. The gold fish dumplings come with two different filling; one with chicken and prawn and the other is vegetarian.

Steamed scallop dumpling with garlic (RM38): one of my favorites here, fresh scallop is encased in a delicate skin and sits atop glass noodles in a halved scallop shell. The fragrant garlic topping enhances the taste of the dumpling.

Steamed kale dumplings with beetroot (RM28): beautiful presentation, the dumpling is made to resemble a beetroot. Filled with a variety of diced vegetables, for that delightful crunch.

Steamed Okinawa purple potato buns (RM28): fluffy buns with lava sweet potato filling as well as some chunks of diced sweet potato for added texture.

Deep fried dumplings with diced chicken and dried shrimps (RM38): Isn't the presentation adorable? Made to resemble mini carrots, these deep fried glutinous rice dumplings had a lovely chewy texture with a flavorsome filling.

Steamed Szechuan-style chicken dumplings with emperor vegetable (RM38): loved this! So juicy and absolutely bursting with flavour, complimented beautifully by the spicy sauce.

Coconut and osmanthus jelly (RM28)

Pan-fried green tea pancakes with peanuts, sesame and coconut flakes (RM28)

For the full dim sum menu, click here. Prices start from RM 28 onwards per dish. For dining reservations, please call +60 (3) 2330 8798 or email


Opening times: 12pm to 2.30pm for lunch (Mon-Fri), 10.30am-2.30pm (Saturdays, Sundays & public holidays), 7pm to 10.30 for dinner (Mon-Sun).

Location: Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2179 8885


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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tapas Club Malaysia, Pavilion KL: Authentic Spanish Flavours

When I think of Spanish food, paella, gambas, chorizo, churros and Sangria come to mind. Tapas Club which debuted in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in July this year brings all my favourites to KL and much more.

Founded by world-acclaimed chefs Jose Angel Alonso and Manuel Berganza, Tapas Club promises to bring the finest Spain classics to Malaysia. Chef Alonso is the Executive Chef at Singapore's Binomio and was hosting chef at the World Gourmet Summit 2016. He has also previously worked with many celebrity chefs, including Michelin award-winning Sergi Arola, Francis Paniego and Spain's most celebrated chef, Santi Santamaria.

On the other hand, Chef Berganza is the first Spanish chef to receive a Michelin star in United States through his restaurant Andananda in New York. He also won acclaim as chef at Sergi Arola's Gastro and La Broche in Madrid.

"We want to bring you to Spain, and to bring Spain to Malaysia. We believe we can achieve this by combining the best ingredients with the best talents," said Tan Kai Young, owner of Tapas Club Malaysia.

Be transported to Spain as soon as you step into Tapas Club. The luxurious, elegant interior, by Spanish designers, Madrid in Love is striking with rich red tones and reflects a classic Spanish restaurant. Andalusian motives are brought to life with a combination of vintage porcelain and steel, along with rustic textures and linear arrangements. The centrepiece is the bar area; look up to see an inverted bullring, where the iconic Spanish bullfighting takes place.

Helming the kitchen here is Head Chef Gabriel Bonnin Roig, who hails from Mallorca in Spain. He works closely with Chef Alonso and Chef Berganza to create the menu that you see in Pavilion KL. To achieve the authentic flavours of Spanish cuisine, most of the key ingredients, including spices and the finest Iberico pork are flown in from Spain. Furthermore, the beer and wine selection are also directly sourced from Spain.

The Sangria here is really good!

Spanish gin (Xoriguer) and tonic

Owner, Tan Kai Young

The menu features cold cuts, tapas, tapas+ (main courses), paella and desserts. I like their picture menu as it gives me an idea of what to expect, but if you're still confused as to what to order, you can always ask for recommendations from the staff or choose from their 6, 8 or 10-course degustation menu (RM168, RM288, RM399).

Come in larger groups, like we did and you can sample more of their tapas offerings.The Mushroom Croquettes (RM21) are crisp on the outside, with a creamy filling made with button mushrooms and butter.

The bestselling tapas here is the Gambas Alajillo (RM26); with plump, juicy garlicky prawns served with homemade bread, it's no wonder this is a favorite with diners.

Another signature dish here is the Tortilla de Patatas (RM19), a delicious Spanish omelette made with eggs and potatoes.

We loved the Calamares con Chorizo (RM29), which is made using locally sourced fresh squid, stuffed with Spanish chorizo. The squid is perfectly cooked, hence texture is tender and is balanced nicely by the spicy, savory chorizo.

The Deep fried suckling pig with spinach Catalan-style (RM27) is the ideal snack to go with a glass of light, refreshing Ambar beer. The whole suckling pig is first marinated, then slow cooked overnight and then deep fried before serving, for that lovely crunch.

The Spanish Ambar Beer

When asked what his favorite dishes here are, Tan replies the "Huevo, Patata y Jamon" (RM29) as well as the "Roasted pumpkin with Iberico chorizo"(RM29). The former features diced potatoes, Iberico ham and sous vide egg, for a more refined version.

Tapas Club also introduced three new tapas dishes on 9 October, to commemorate Spain's National Day in October. The Eggplant chips (Berenjena Frita - RM19), drizzled with some honey were crispy and very addictive. The Pincho Moruno (RM25), Iberico pork skewers were marinated in a mix of spices such as paprika, cumin, cinnamon and coriander and grilled - tender, juicy and flavorful. There is also the Pimientos de Piquillo Rellenos (RM27), stuffed Piquillo peppers with minced meat.

My favorite dish here at Tapas Club is the Arroz Negro (RM78), the squid ink paella with clams, fish and squid. The paella here is literally perfection; made with bomba rice, lovingly stirred with seafood stock for 20 minutes and a final blast of heat to create the essential soccarat (ie crust) at the bottom of the pan that a good paella must possess.

There are a total of five different paellas to choose from; vegetarian, chorizo, chicken & seafood and squid ink noodles (fideua negra).

Paella Mixta (RM78) - chicken and seafood paella

For dessert, why not have both the Traditional churros with hot chocolate sauce (RM20) AND the Tapas Club deconstructed cheesecake (RM28) - they're both equally good and will guarantee a sweet end to your meal.

Chef Bonnin with Tan

Tapas Club is currently running a 1-for-1 Tapas promotion on weekdays for lunch (12pm -3pm).

For the full menu, click here.

Opening times: Mon - Sun 12pm - 11pm.

Location: Tapas Club Malaysia,Level 7, Dining Loft, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2110 2718


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