Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Exquisite food @ Mandarin Grill, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

Back in December last year, we went to Mandarin Grill to sample dishes from their new a la carte menu. With the arrival of the new chef, Reto Weber, the whole of the starters and mains section has been revamped with his signature dishes, except for the grill items which remain the same. Most of the food here are classic French dishes with a modern twist, and focusing on the use of fresh ingredients. Apparently, the menu will be revised again in the coming months to reflect the seasonal produce that are available. 

The most beautiful piece of cod fish we have eaten in 2011.. 

I have been here once for the MIGF review . In the evening, it is dimly lit, hence perfect for a romantic dinner with your loved one. During the day, natural light floods the restaurant thanks to the ceiling-to-floor windows with a view of KLCC park too... which makes it quite cosy and rather perfect for taking food photos. Surprisingly, the restaurant was very busy during lunch hours.. many people were enjoying the 3-course set lunch which costs approx. RM100++.






We were served two types of bread - sourdough bread and sour cream onion with black pepper bread with salted butter.

We started with a refreshing cured citrus salmon (RM56) with fennel salad and lime vinaigrette. The food presentation here is very impressive, possibly owing from the fact that the chef used to work in Michelin restaurants and other five-star restaurants before joining Mandarin Grill. I like that he uses a lot of edible herbs and garnishes to prettify the dish. I am a big fan of "beautiful AND delicious food."


Bright and delightful

On the menu, it states that the restaurant endeavours to "source local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible". An example would be the smoked duck carpaccio (RM54), whereby the duck is sourced from Seremban. It is served with a mustard honey mayo, plum chutney and brioche. The combination of the slightly salty duck carpaccio and sweet plum chutney worked very well.



The white tomato cream soup (RM28) definitely got us talking. When you think about tomato soup, you instantly think that it should be red, right? But this one's white...how does he do it? Well, the chef still uses the red tomato but he clarifies it to get the white juice and then add cream to the soup. The soup is tangy and rather refreshing, served with a zucchini ricotta tortellini.



For mains, we had the smoky pepper sauce glazed beef cheek (RM88), cooked sous vide. The beef was very tender, and was served with truffled mash potatoes and root vegetables. We also noticed that they had a pan fried foie gras dish for mains (RM160), which we have been told is a whopping 150g worth of foie. Ooo la la!



My absolute favourite dish of the afternoon was the steamed black cod fish (RM98). It looks very simple but it was very delicious. The fish was very fresh and the flesh came off in flakes, just how it should be. It was served with baby spinach and a spicy sweet corn sauce.


For dessert, we had the apple tart with vanilla ice-cream which was very good. Much better than the one at The Deli's, which I find to be too thin and sticky.

Rich cheesecake topped with strawberries


And if you order a steak here, you can choose your own Laguiole  steak knife... check out the fluorescent pink, orange, green and blue ones! Steaks here are priced between RM88 (grass fed Black Angus tenderloin) to RM185 (Master Kobe Grade 10, grain fed tenderloin).


Verdict: Beautifully presented food, which were all perfectly executed. All meat are Halal certified. 

Full set of photos available to view here. 

Pork-free.

Price: Starters start from RM28, up to RM85. Mains prices range from RM64 to RM160.

Location: Mandarin Grill, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2380 8888

GPS Coordinates: 3.155514, 101.711555

Monday, January 30, 2012

Indian Food @ Restoran Sri Anandan Villas, Alam Damai, Cheras

*Update: This restaurant has closed down (May 2012). 

In the papers last week, we read about the shortage of banana leaves hence banana leaf rice is now served on paper leaves in some restaurants. No such problem here at Sri Anandan Villas though, where the banana leaf rice is still served traditionally on a banana leaf!

Authentic banana leaf rice


More on the banana leaf rice later. Early January, I read another article about emerging food trends in 2012 (for UK if I'm not mistaken), and one of it was Malaysian food. Wonder how the Westerners will cope eating Malaysian food for breakfast? Hubby thought it was weird at first that we Malaysians eat rice and noodles for breakfast -- but now he's morphing into one of us too! LOL.

Roti canai happens to be one of our favourite breakfast food. Sri Anandan starts serving roti canai around 9am, so we only come here if we're wanting a late breakfast. The roti canai here is made fresh to order, which makes it taste much better than the ones we get at the mamak (which sometimes has been sitting around for a bit). Their curry sauce which you can order with the roti canai is really good as well, it has a sourish tinge and very flavoursome.

Roti bom


Curry sauce


I have also tried their mee goreng, which is quite decent. I still haven't found the perfect mee goreng in KL yet, used to get a really mean mee goreng from a Malay aunty in my hometown. Any recommendations?

Original lassi


Ice lemon tea


Teh tarik


We've been here several times for banana leaf rice as the restaurant is pretty clean and also air-conditioned during lunch, so it makes dining very comfortable. The vegetable options are nothing fancy, but I do find them very tasty. Along with rice, there will be three vegetables as well as poppadum with a rasam soup -- all served on a banana leaf. I like to drizzle my rice with sauces provided. I don't usually eat much rice for lunch but I find myself able to eat quite a lot when it comes to banana leaf rice! Must be because of the appetizing sauce, I think.


Tofu in spicy/sweet sambal



Bittergourd - I like!


Just normal choy sam but it taste really good for some reason!

The sauces to drizzle over the rice


Another must-have for us here when to go with our banana leaf rice is the mutton curry. It's very delicious, plus you get quite a lot of meat (some places give lots of bone or gristle) which is tender and flavoursome.

Full set of photos available to view here.

Opening times: 9am to 9pm.

Price: Reasonable.

Location: Restoran Sri Anandan Villas, Damai 8, No. 15, Jalan Damai Puspa 5, Alam Damai, 56000 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. (next to KK Kopitiam and Food Court by the market/police station)

GPS Coordinates: 3.057312, 101.746117

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Christmas Day Dinner: Roast rib eye with roast potatoes and natural jus gravy

I was contemplating between lamb or beef for Christmas dinner, but in the end settled for beef since everyone at home loves it and it's also very easy to cook and error-free. Usually, we will just grab any cut of roasting joint that we see and last Christmas, we just took the most expensive cut available. This year, we took advice from a chef friend, Chef Antoine of Prime / Le Meridien KL - Hubby asked him what would be the best cut for roasting at home and he recommended that we used the rib eye for a tender, flavorful roast. 

"Rib eye for a tender, flavourful roast" - Chef Antoine Rodriguez, Prime Le Meridien KL

We got ours from Cold Storage, but you can also find rib eye roasting joint at Ben's Independent Grocer at Publika (much cheaper here). For best results, rub it all over with olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper the night before and remember to take it out 1 hour before roasting to allow meat to come up to room temperature. 

For medium rare, the cooking time is 5 mins per 100g at 180°C. Allow to rest for at least 15-20 minutes before carving (this is important!). Full recipe for roast beef can be found here. For the best roast potatoes, click here for recipe. I would recommend that you use Russet potatoes for maximum eating pleasure. 

Our Christmas menu 


Medium rare doneness!


Roast potatoes

Juicy roast beef


Roast rib eye in natural jus gravy, with roast potatoes, steamed brocolli and carrots


Hubby likes to pile his plate with lots of everything!



Baby C enjoying her roast dinner :)

Don't be fooled by the portion on my plate - I always go for seconds or thirds ;P

Full set of photos available to view here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Christmas Day Lunch: Jamie Oliver Inspired Chunky Mushroom Soup with truffle oil and summer truffles, served with garlic toast

For Christmas day lunch, it will usually be something light since the timing between meals are quite close. Soup is the perfect option -- though it looks rather simple in nature, it is the most time consuming dish I had to make on Christmas Day. Right after breakfast at 8am, I started making the chicken stock (click here for instructions on how to make chicken stock), which takes roughly 2 hours. If you would like this to be vegetarian, by all means use a vegetarian stock. 

Since my daughter and mother both love mushroom soup, I decided to make this for lunch. I adapted Jamie Oliver's recipe to make my version of chunky mushroom soup. I used white button, grey oyster, white oyster and cep/porcini mushrooms for my version-- you could also use chanterelles, girolles, trompettes de mort, shitake if available. Since we like our mushroom soup creamy, I added 100ml of dairy whipping cream at the end but you could skip this if you find it too rich. 

If I could say so myself, it's a rather delicious soup and we thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Chunky mushroom soup with truffle oil and summer truffles, served with garlic toast




Chunky mushroom soup
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes (not including time to make stock)
Serves 4-5

Ingredients
A small handful of cep/porcini mushrooms
115g white button mushroom, cut into small pieces
100g grey oyster mushroom, cut into small pieces
200g white oyster mushroom, cut into small pieces
2 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 onion, peeled and chopped finely
2 tbsp olive oil
100ml whipping cream (in KL supermarkets, it's hard to find single/double cream)
1 1/2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
A handful of parsley, finely chopped
A knob of butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Truffle oil
Summer truffles

You can get cep/porcini mushrooms from Ben's Independent Grocer, Publika
It makes the soup much more luxurious

Four types of mushroom


1. Soak porcini/cep mushrooms in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes, then remove and leave it to dry. Soak in boiling water for another 10 minutes, rinse and chopped roughly ready for adding. In a large pot over medium high heat, add oil and fresh mushroom (grey/white oyster and white button) and stir around quickly for a minute.  Add the garlic, butter, and onion.


2. After a minute, you will notice some moisture cooking out of the mushrooms. At this point, add the porcini mushrooms. Strain the soaking liquid, removing any grit and add to the pot. Carry on cooking for about 15 minutes until most of the moisture disappears.



3. Add your stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for another 20 minutes over medium low heat. Remove half the soup and using a hand blender, whiz it to a puree (Note: If you like it less chunky, then puree more of the soup). Pour it back in, add the parsley and mascarpone cheese as well as whipping cream (if using) and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. For the garlic toast, click on the recipe here. All ingredients and steps are the same, however please omit the Parmesan cheese. It will take about 10 minutes, so you can put this in the oven before you blend the soup.

Garlic butter

5. Serve the soup together with the garlic toast. Add a few drops of truffle oil and a few thin shavings of summer truffles and garnish with a parsley leaf and a few drops of cream.


Gone in 10 minutes! 


Garlic toast


Goes well together

Baby D enjoyed the garlic toast.. he had a few pieces.


Baby C also enjoyed her garlic toast, and she also had a serving of mushroom soup, made with love.

Yummy!

Full set of photos available to view here.
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