Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hotel Review: Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel - New Deluxe Rooms

Understanding the need to stay relevant in the competitive KL hotel industry, Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel recently unveiled it first batch of completely restyled West Wing Deluxe guest rooms. Whether you're here for a weekend getaway, family staycation or for business, this 5-star luxury hotel located in the heart of the Golden Triangle is sure to impress.

The restyled rooms feature a modern, contemporary design, with sizes ranging from 40 sqm. To our delight, we were allocated a corner room, which is much larger than the regular Deluxe rooms. We immediately fell in love with the sleek interior in the well-appointed room. Taking on a neutral colour palette, the ergonomically designed room is fitted with reengineered wood flooring, and a day bed (which converts into an extra bed). Not forgetting the king-sized bed which comes with Marriott's Plush Bedding with topper and rich linen - contributing to a really good night's sleep.

Sofa bed

Baby D "chup" the sofa bed right away ;)

Furthermore, our room boasted a fantastic view, overlooking the pool area.

One of the reasons to get the corner Deluxe room is the cool revolving television (only available in these rooms). Yup, you can rotate the Samsung 48" full HD Smart TV (with kids channel) so that you can watch TV in bed or while relaxing at the sofa area. Click here to watch a short video of the room.

The reconfigured bathroom offers guests greater space and is installed with 4 bay bathroom fixtures with rain shower. There is also a bathtub in the bathroom, which for us is a huge plus point.

The New Deluxe rooms are also equipped with a Nespresso coffee machine for guests to enjoy, as well as complimentary WiFi in all rooms and common areas.

The pool area is located on Level 4 of the hotel, and features a children's pool, as well as an Olympic-sized pool (depth 1.2m) and a children's pool (0.6m). The pool area is beautifully landscaped, with tall palm trees providing shade and substantial lounge chairs for hotel guests. We even bumped into a certain famous star from the upcoming Crazy Rich Asians movie at the pool area.

Our kids had fun splashing in the pool and we also partook in the weekend grill, and enjoyed some beef sliders and grilled fish by the pool.

There is also a 24-hour 1300 sqm, well-equipped Fitness Centre. If you're looking for rejuvenation, pay a visit to Mandara Spa, a luxurious urban retreat located on Level 3 at the East Wing. The Spa Menu offers a range of treatments incorporating the wisdom of ancient cultures with the latest Spa science from Elemis spa-therapies. I had the pleasure of experiencing their bestselling massage, the Balinese Massage and it was an amazingly invigorating experience. Read more about my experience here.

Breakfast is served daily at TEMPTations, the hotel's all day dining restaurant. Being one of the largest hotels in KL with 910-rooms, breakfast time is extremely busy and crowded, however we were impressed with how well-organised and how quickly the spread gets replenished for hotel guests. Other than breakfast, TEMPTations also offers buffet lunch and dinner, as well as an a la carte menu, showcasing inventive Asian-fusion specialties and local favorites.

The award-winning Dynasty Restaurant is now pork-free but still offers innovative and authentic Cantonese delicacies. Diners can choose from a wide range of appetizers, barbecued and roasted meats, soups, live seafood and a variety of claypot dishes as well as dim sum served daily, while dining to a view of the Petronas Twin Towers. Read more about Dynasty Restaurant here.

Room rates for the New Deluxe rooms in the West Wing starts from RM357 per night. Check in time 3pm, check out time 12 noon.

Location: Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel, Corner of Jalan Sultan Ismail & Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2162 2233


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Friday, May 26, 2017

Rumah Asap Borneo KL, Cheras, KL

We were happy to learn about Rumah Asap Borneo KL, a new restaurant in Cheras serving Borneo cuisine. Rumah Asap Borneo KL operates a food court concept, whereby you will find several stalls, each serving their own specialty within the shoplot. Simply place your order at the stall, grab a table and the food will be served to your table. Drinks order will be taken by the waiting staff at your table.

Some of the dishes you will find here include Kolo Mee Sarawak, Mee Goreng Basah Sibu, Laksa Sarawak, Wantan Mee, Mee Sup Sarawak Style, Pan Mee, Char Kuey Teow, Mee Kari, Nasi Campur Segera (Sibu Market Style) and Nasi Ayam. They also offer some special dishes such as pansuh, babi bakar, ayam bakar (rumah pinjai style), umai and more.

We ordered the red kolo mee (RM5) and Sarawak laksa (RM7) to share. The standout dish was the kolo mee - the noodles had great texture and was nice and flavorful. I would order this again.

The Sarawak laksa was enjoyable, especially the flavorful broth though we did find it a tad oily. They use the regular thin meehoon here, topped with beansprouts, two fresh prawns, shredded chicken, tofu puff and half a boiled egg.

Drinks (RM5.50) - nice asam boi.

A revisit is in order to try out more of the Borneo cuisine on offer.

Opening times: 7am to 12am daily.

Location: Rumah Asap Borneo KL, 9-G, Jalan Orkid 9, Taman Orkid, Batu 9, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.(Street parking available)

Tel: 019-2667178

GPS Coordinates: 3.078552, 101.768408

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Recipe: Hakka Mee Pasta

A few months ago, I received an email from Filippo Berio asking if I would be interested to join their Food Lovers Campaign. Filippo Berio is the Number 1 olive oil brand in UK and US, and is a brand I have used in my kitchen, to cook pasta, steaks or prepare salad dressings.

For the campaign, we were tasked with creating a recipe, with Filippo Berio Olive Oil as an ingredient. Hence, I decided to create a dish which brings together local flavours of Malaysia as well as Italy - The “Hakka Mee Pasta”.  This dish is inspired by Hakka Mee, which originates from my hometown of Seremban, consisting of noodles with minced pork, spring onions and pickled green chilli. I have substituted our local flat noodles (mee) with Italian pasta. 

For this dish, you can use either spaghetti or tagliatelle. I chose spaghetti as it's BabySumoKids favorite type of pasta. Filippo Berio olive oil is an excellent olive oil with a mild taste and golden colour, suitable for cooking and pasta. The minced pork is sauteed with garlic and olive oil, and simmered in chicken stock to create a flavorful sauce for this dish. Toss the pasta in the sauce, and serve with fresh basil and pickled green chilli. Everyone in my family loved this, so I'll definitely be making it again :)

Hakka Mee Pasta
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 1 minute
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Serves 4

350g spaghetti
200g minced pork
4-5 tbsp Filippo Berio olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

To serve
Fresh basil, thinly sliced
Pickled green chilli or jalapeno

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes, until al dente.

2. In a large frying pan or wok, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 - 1/2 minutes, until lightly golden.

3. Add the minced pork and saute for about 3-4 minutes until cooked through, then add the chicken stock and simmer over medium heat for another 3-4 minutes. Taste and season with light soy sauce and black pepper, as necessary.

4. Add the cooked spaghetti from Step 1 into the minced pork sauce and toss until well-coated.

5. Serve immediately, and garnish with thinly sliced fresh basil and pickled green chilli.

Note: You may substitute pickled green chilli with pickled jalapeno. For kids, you may omit the pickled green chilli and serve with grated Parmesan cheese instead.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bonfire Restaurant & Bar, The Starling Mall, Damansara Uptown

Located at Damansara Uptown's The Starling Mall, Bonfire is a new restaurant and bar serving modern Australian cuisine. Drawing inspiration from award-winning Australian restaurant, Porteño in Sydney, the restaurant has a custom-made woodfire and charcoal oven as a centrepiece in the kitchen.

As you can imagine bonfire consumes a lot of wood and they have artistically incorporated firewood into the interior design. Exposed brick walls and ornate floor tiles, along with a colorful, striking mural completes the look of this casual dining restaurant.

We sampled several dishes from both the lunch and dinner menu, all of which were executed flawlessly. We started off with the Braised Wagyu Cheeks (RM42) served with pumpkin puree, crispy shallots, broccoli, mushroom pudding and a sunny side up egg. A well-thought out dish, marrying wonderful flavours and textures together. We loved the tender, gelatinous beef cheeks as well as the interesting mushroom pudding.

From the lunch menu, we had the Crispy skin salmon with scrambled eggs (RM29) served with brioche toast and baby spinach. I am quite picky when it comes to eating cooked salmon in restaurants, however I am glad to report that Bonfire passed with flying colours. The salmon was perfectly cooked, just the way I like it - crispy skin, yet with the salmon flesh lightly cooked resulting in a moist, almost buttery texture.

The highlight of our meal was Big Bonfire Platter aka the 3-meat platter (RM165). Diners can choose from Wagyu skirt steak, Whole red snapper, Mediterranean baby spring chicken, Rack of lamb, and Pineapple glazed beef short ribs, all which are cooked in the woodfire oven. By using the woodfire oven to cook the meats, it imparts a lovely smokiness to the meat. If you come in a smaller group, you can also order them individually or go for the 2-meat platter.

So for our platter, we had the Wagyu skirt steak, snapper and lamb. When it arrived at our table, we all thought it looked mighty impressive.

The Wagyu skirt steak is one of their bestsellers and it's easy to see why. Cooked sous vide for 18 hours and then finished off in the woodfire oven, the meat was amazingly tender and flavourful. It is recommended to eat this with the confit garlic served with the platter.

The Australian rack of lamb was my personal favourite. Beautifully pink and tender, it is served with a mint and pea puree.

Not to be missed is the whole red snapper, locally sourced from the markets daily. The fish is seasoned with Cajun spices, cooked and served with a coconut beurre blanc. Incredibly moist and fresh.

The platter also comes with the Pana de Casa, house baked bread, toasted in the woodfire oven and served with a dried fruit (prune and apricot) butter.

Bonfire is currently offering a Free bottle of wine for every 3-meat platter purchased at the moment... what a deal! Available Mondays to Thursdays (6-9pm).

For desserts, we shared the Caramelised milk panna cotta (RM19), served with a nutella cigar and fresh berries. Whip your cameras out, jiggle it about and snap a Boomerang. Light and delicious!

Opening times: Sun-Thurs 11am to 12am; Fri & Sat 11am to 1am.

Location: Bonfire Restaurant & Bar, Lot G-032, The Starling Mall, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Tel: 018-919 8226


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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Somerset Damansara Uptown Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Staycations have been all the rage for a number of years now, as folks look for a weekend getaway within the city they live in. Serviced residences nowadays provide facilities on par with hotels, often with the added bonus of much more space at very competitive rates.

To keep things exciting plan your stay based around the serviced residences location as we did when we recently stayed at Somerset Damansara Uptown Petaling Jaya Serviced Residences. Visit the nearest mall, eat at the neighbourhood restaurants and explore a new part of town, and return home feeling well-rested and rejuvenated.

Somerset Damansara Uptown is one of the premier collection of The Ascott Limited's serviced residences in over 100 cities around the globe. It is conveniently located next to the new Starling shopping mall as well as right in the middle of a commercial hub where numerous offices, restaurants and cafes are situated, making it the perfect home away from home for travellers, those on business or for families looking for a new experience.

The 24-storey serviced residence features 211 contemporary serviced apartments, with a choice of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.  We stayed in the two-bedroom premier apartment, which comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, a living room, dining area, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. We were impressed with the spaciousness of the unit (1066 sqft) which can comfortably accommodate up to five people.

There is a king-sized bed in the master bedroom, as well as a separate working area and ample wardrobe space.The ensuite bathroom comes with shower and eco-friendly bath amenities.

Twin single beds in the second bedroom, just nice for our kids :)

BabySumoKids love their welcome gift

Making themselves at home in the stylishly furnished living area

The apartment is elegantly furnished, with homely comforts such as LED television with home entertainment system, DVD player, washing machine and dryer, a steam iron and ironing board and complimentary Wifi in rooms and all common areas. And since it is a serviced residence, there will also be complimentary housekeeping services which will come and tidy your room for you.

All snuggled up for movie night

In the kitchen, on top of the usual coffee/tea making facilities, you will find cooker hob with hood, microwave oven, toasted, oven, refridgerator, glassware, crockery and cutlery; all of which are available for use should you wish to cook during your stay. Otherwise, there are lots of fantastic dining options within the vicinity. Some of the local eats that we checked out included: Annie 1, Nam Heong Ipoh, and Village Park Nasi Lemak.

There are kids channels available on the TV, or pay a visit to the Children's Playroom located on the Reception level. It kept our kids entertained for hours; they can engage in role play, read a book or play with the toys.  Daniel wanted to take the Shark home.

For guests, there will be a small continental spread served for breakfast, such as cereal, fried rice, fried noodles, eggs and pancakes as well as coffee/tea and juices. You can enjoy an alfresco breakfast or in the Resident's Lounge.

There is also a fully-equipped gymnasium, as well as outdoor gymnasium area should you wish to work out. There is also an outdoor swimming pool as well as children's wading pool with lounge chair to just sit back, relax and enjoy the city skyline.

Verdict: Great for family staycations. We love the swimming pool and children's playroom and there is a shopping mall directly next door if you are looking for more things to do (eat/visit the bookshop/watch a movie). 

The Ascott Limited is a member of CapitaLand. It is one of the leading international serviced residence owner-operators with more than 300 properties in over 100 cities spanning more than 25 countries across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. It operates three award-winning brands Ascott, Citadines and Somerset, and lyf.

Room rates start from RM292.50/night for studio. Check-in time 3pm, check-out time 12 noon.

Location: Somerset Damansara Uptown Petaling Jaya, 2A, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. (For parking, head to Level 3 of The Starling Mall, and follow signs for Somerset guest parking).

Tel: 03-7730 0888

GPS Coordinates: 3.135867, 101.623416

If you enjoyed reading my posts, LIKE me on Facebook! You can also follow me on Instagram (@babysumo) for more photo updates or Dayre for daily updates. Thanks :)


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