Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sushi Zanmai @ The Gardens

This is my second time dining in Sushi Zanmai at The Gardens. We arrived a little earlier (12.30pm) to avoid the long queues. The last time I was here, we had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated as the place was really busy with customers.

We were seated at a table for 4, but asked for a table change 5 mins later because the woman next to us kept coughing (and never bothered to cover her mouth!). So inconsiderate! Please keep your germs to yourself woman. Luckily, the staff was able to seat us elsewhere.

We ordered the chuka idako (baby octopus-RM6.00), my favorite! It was really nice (and tasted really fresh) and it was quite a big portion. Sashimi was also very fresh, 3 slices for RM6.00. The waiter recommended the soft shell crab okonomi-yaki (RM12.80) -it's a Japanese savoury pancake with egg, onions, topped with "soft shell crab" and shrimp roe. We didnt like it; firstly, it didnt taste very nice and secondly, the soft shell crab was almost non-existent, it was more like flossy skin. So disappointing. I was going to order a soft shell crab temaki but since we ordered the okonomi-yaki, I had the unagi temaki (RM3.80) instead. I also had the chawanmushi (Japanese egg custard - RM4.80); it had a really silky texture and one of the best I've had in a while. To complete our meal, we had ebiko sushi (shrimp roe - RM3.80). Sushi is good for filling one up!

From top-bottom(sashimi, chuka idako, okonomiyaki and ebiko sushi)

All in all, it was a good meal. Food was fresh and presented well. Service was prompt and good service for green tea refills. Good place for a quick lunch.

Location: Sushi Zanmai, T-217 3rd Floor, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur. (next to Borders / Robinson's side)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I cooked : Oriental oxtail soup with root vegetables

When thinking about soups, one of the first to spring to mind is oxtail soup. There are various versions of oxtail soup that exist. But the common property of the various types of oxtail soup is the fact that it is the perfect comfort food to reenergise the body and provide some much needed warmth. I did some research on various types of oxtail soup and decided to invent my own version of oxtail soup which has strong oriental influences mainly from chinese and korean cuisine. It is a relatively simple dish to prepare and is really flavoursome.

Oxtail soup
Preparation time: approx 2 hours
Serves: up to 4 persons

600g oxtail
2 carrots
1 whole radish/daikon
2-3 large onions
2 tomatoes
2 large stalks of spring onions
2 tbs korean bean paste (doenjang) or miso
1 tbs korean red pepper paste (gochujang)

1. Firstly boil some hot water in a pot. Place the oxtail in the water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove foam that forms on the surface of the water.
2. Clean, peel and chop the carrots, radish, onions, tomatoes and spring onions roughly.
3. Fill water in the pot until it covers the oxtails and bring to a boil.
4. Put in the radish and cover pot. Boil for about 10 minutes
5. Put in the carrots and onions. Cover the pot and boil for about an hour.
6. Next, put in the bean paste and pepper paste. Ensure that the paste is dissolved in the soup properly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Optional : If you do not want to use the bean paste/red pepper paste you can substitute it with beef stock for a milder, 'beefier' taste.
7. Put in the tomatoes for the last half hour of boiling and the spring onions for the last 5-10 mins. You can start preparing the rice at this point.8. Serve the soup with rice or any other side dishes of your choice.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Krispy Kreme vs Big Apple Donut

Two famous doughnut brands in Malaysia... who makes better doughnuts?

Without a doubt, Krispy Kreme! They have a nicer texture to them, soft and heavenly. Krispy Kreme still tastes so good even after reheating them in the microwave for 8-10 seconds, as good as when it comes off the conveyer belt in the shop. My favorite is the original glazed. :-)

A dozen original glazed for RM19.90. A dozen pre-assorted varieties for RM23.90.

Big Apple Donuts tastes very ordinary, just like any doughnut you can get in Jusco or any bakeries out there. Furthermore, they taste really rubbery if you reheat them in the microwave.
For a limited time, 1/2 dozen original/semi glacier doughnuts for RM6.00 and 1 dozen for RM10.00.

I'm so glad they decided to bring Krispy Kreme to Malaysia...... no other doughnut can ever compare.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The C. Club @ Pavilion KL

I had a lunch date with my friend, Ping and having not dined much in Pavilion before, we weren't sure where to go. The dramatic chandelier inside C.Club caught our eyes - it was dazzling, sparkly and looked oh-so-cool. So, we decided to give this place a try since one of my friends said this place does amazing desserts. However, this restaurant turned out to be one of those restaurants which fits the English idiom 'Never judge a book by its cover'.

Carat Club downstairs, where you can shop for diamonds

Okay, the restaurant may look posh and all, and you may instantly think "fine dining". And for the prices you pay in there, you would expect the food to be half decent. But, we were so wrong.

The Bar

For drinks, I ordered the C.Club Special Homemade Ginger Beer but was later told that they had ran out of this drink. Bearing in mind, we arrived around noon and they have only started business for a couple of hours. The waiter recommended the Virgin Lychee Mojito (RM18); he assured me it was "very good". Honestly, it wasn't that good, in fact, it was far too sweet for my liking.

I had the grilled aged tenderloin on wakame and hijiki with wasabi and sea urchin beurre blanc, topped with brocollini and tempura shimeji mushrooms (RM69) for my main. The food presentation was good, however.... it's one of the worst piece of steak I've ever tasted in my life. The tenderloin is supposed to be the most tender part of the cow! However, this piece of tenderloin on the plate in front of me was so chewy - I couldn't even chew and swallow it. I think only 20% of the meat was edible.

Ping had the lamb (can't remember the exact description) but there is no doubt that her dish is better than mine. She kindly offered me some lamb and offered to help me eat some of my meat, but even she struggled with it.

When the waiter came to clear our table, I showed him how much meat I had left on my plate and politely asked him to ask the chef to try some of his handiwork. He came back and apologized for the bad meat, but it was a little too late for apologies. He offered us a complimentary dessert, and we had the C.Club supermisu which was the best thing I had in there that day.

Needless to say, this is one place I would not be returning to.

Comfort: Nice decor, but I didnt like the plasticky chairs at the entrance. Even though they were designer chairs, they look tacky.
Service: Service was good despite the bad food.
Price: A little on the pricey side, but nothing is cheap in Pavilion.
Food: Do I need to repeat myself?
Location: The C.Club, Level 6, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fennel seed warm drink

Fennel seed warm drink for swine flu prevention

Not sure how true this is, but it was published in Gulfnews and also on Wikipedia. I guess there is no harm in trying this "drink" as fennel has many medicinal uses.

Sharjah: Drinking a decoction made of fennel seeds soaked in warm water first thing in the morning could prevent you from catching swine flu says a study published in a Chinese medical research magazine.
According to report published in Al Khaleej a local Arabic daily, the study has resulted in an increase of fennel seeds sales by 50 per cent in some Asian countries.

The report read that similar increase in sales was also visible in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The fennel seed warm drink is being distributed to people who are making pilgrimage to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Instructions: Add 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds to a cup of warm water and leave for 5-10 minutes before drinking.
Tried and tested: Tastes and smells herby.
Where to buy: Available in most supermarkets at the condiments/spices/herbs section
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