Monday, August 30, 2010

Japanese Buffet @ Yuri Japanese Restaurant, Seremban

Those who live in Seremban will attest that you will find the best Japanese Buffet in Seremban at Yuri Japanese Restaurant located in Klana Resort (formerly Allson Klana Resort). The restaurant consists of a main dining area, four private Tatami rooms, sushi bar and teppanyaki counter.

On the day we went, the restaurant was very busy as there was a group of 50 people celebrating their relatives' 80th birthday! Still, the restaurant managed to keep up with the demand and kept churning out plates of food to keep the patrons happy.

The restaurant can seat up to 85 people.

Since we arrived early, the food were still untouched so I couldn't resist going around snapping pictures of everything.

Start with some appetizers, such as edamame (baby soybeans), jellyfish, Japanese salad etc

Semi-cooked salmon - not really my kind of thing but the aunties dig it.
What surprised me was that the fruits on display (strawberries and grapes) get snapped up within 30 minutes of the buffet starting.

Buffet spread

Grilled crabs

Grilled king prawns

Some cold noodles with fishcakes and crabsticks

Cooked mussels

Cold soba noodles

The sushi/sashimi bar where you can get fresh sashimi (usually salmon and tuna), raw oysters, and California rolls

At the teppanyaki counter, one can get chicken or beef or seafood teppanyaki. Plus huge chunks of delicious grilled unagi (eel)!

Beef/chicken sukiyaki

The chawanmushi (steamed egg) here is miles better than the ones at Royale Bintang.

Food, food, food.

And some fruits and desserts (cakes and jelly) to end your meal.

To read about my previous buffet session at Yuri, click here. They also serve excellent set lunches on weekdays. A favourite for Japanese expats in Seremban.

Verdict: Pretty good Japanese buffet for Seremban standards. However, for authentic Japanese cuisine, the set lunches and a la carte menu are recommended.

Japanese buffet is available on Sundays from 12.00pm to 2.30pm. (Reservation recommended)


Price: RM45++ per person.

Location: Yuri Japanese Restaurant, Klana Resort Seremban, PT4388, Jalan Penghulu Cantik, Taman Tasik Seremban, 70100 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. (Click here for location map.)

Tel: 06 - 766 7888


Saturday, August 28, 2010

I cooked: Bibim Guksu (Korean spicy cold noodles)

Together with The Unc, we made bibim guksu for lunch today. Bibim guksu literally means 'mixed noodles'.

Perfect for the hot Malaysian weather, bibim guksu is a traditional Korean cold noodle dish made with very thin wheat flour noodles called somyeon and topped with various julienned vegetables. A combination of spicy (from the gochujang), sweet (from the honey and sugar) and sour (from the vinegar) flavours. Sesame oil is essential as it enhances the richness of its flavour.

And best of all, it is healthy, appetizing and delicious at the same time.

Bibim guksu
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 3-4 minutes
Serves 3

200g Japanese soba noodles (or somyeon)
2 carrots, julienned
1 cucumber, julienned
2 pears, julienned
1 1/2 tbsp gochujang (red pepper paste)
4 tbsp soy sauce
8 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1-2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
2-3 tbsp of lightly toasted sesame seeds
3 eggs, boiled and peeled

1. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the soba noodles for 3-4 minutes until al dente.

2. Drain the noodles in a colander and immerse in cold water / ice water for 1 minute. Drain well.

3. To prepare the sauce for the noodles, mix the gochujang, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds in a big serving bowl.

4. Place the cold noodles into the serving bowl and mix until coated with sauce evenly.

5. Top the noodles with the julienned carrots, cucumber and pear and garnish with a hard boiled egg.

6. Mix the noodles and vegetables well and serve with a side dish of kimchi.

This is definitely on par (if not, better) than what we've had at Ko Hyang.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nathalie's Gourmet Studio, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur

Beautiful food excites me.

My first meal at Mesana, the 1 Michelin-star restaurant in Marbella ignited my love for beautiful food, and consequently sparked my interest in food blogging. Sure, the taste of the food is of the utmost importance, but for me, visually appealing food brings the dining experience to the next level.

So when I first read about Nathalie's Gourmet Studio (and saw pictures of her food), I was blown away and it was only a matter of time before I would dine there.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were greeted by the colourful macaron display at the entrance. Other than being a restaurant, Nathalie's Gourmet Studio also houses a sleek professional kitchen for cooking classes. As I did not want to sit on one of the high stools in the main dining area, we chose to dine in the professional kitchen. It was great, as we felt we had more privacy and it was much more spacious in there. However, lighting is not that great back here for pictures.

The professional kitchen; table setting; Nathalie at work; orchids

Colourful macarons on display

Learn to cook like Nathalie. Find her recipes in her book, Cuisine Passion available to purchase for RM150.

Nathalie's operates an open kitchen concept, so we watched her and her staff work away in the kitchen. It was nice to see the chef herself putting the finishing touches to our food.

The menu selection here is pretty small, with 5-6 items per course. Small it may be, everything on the menu sounded good.

Freshly baked French bread is so good. So good that I'm now inspired to bake my own bread. Available to buy for RM1.50 each.

The drink portions here were a little small, although they do provide cold water on request. Hubby had the Mango Smoothie (RM11), The Unc a Cappuccino to wake him up (RM11) while I had the Virgin Mojito (RM11), which was refreshing and one of the best versions I've had.

Thick, luscious mango smoothie


Refreshing Virgin Mojito

Being a scallop lover, I was instantly drawn to the Crispy Scallop Tart, Melted Onions and Sechouan Pepper Sauce (RM29). The scallops, served on a bed of sweet caramelised onions and light, crumbly pastry were seared to perfection. Did I also mention how big, plump and juicy the scallops were? I was delighted with my choice of starter. Absolutely gorgeous.

A visual beauty which is immensely tantalising to the tastebuds.

Hubby went for the Crab Mille-feuille with Nathalie's Pesto sauce (RM27) and he was delighted with his starter too. The flaky, delicious crab, tangy tomato salsa and creamy avocado puree were sandwiched between ethereal layers of pastry.

Absolutely delightful

Again, The Unc surprised us by ordering the Revised Nicoise Salad (RM20), a bed of fresh salad leaves with generous strips of tuna and a boiled egg with a still-runny yolk. Hearing The Unc utter "love" and "salad" in the same sentence was non-existent, until today.

The French, especially in the Nice area, will clearly state no cooked vegetables are to be used. "[...]la salade niçoise ne contient pas de légumes cuits." However, Nathalie's has revised the salad to include blanched and sun-dried tomatoes.

A robust salad bursting with flavours

A burst of colours

Starters were excellent, could Nathalie repeat her ingenuity with her main courses?

The Unc's main course of Risotto Like a Paella with King Prawn, Squid and Chicken and a Saffron Emulsion (RM57) arrived first. The risotto, cooked al dente was rich and creamy. The king prawn was succulent. The Unc declared this the best risotto he has EVER tasted.

Hubby's Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin with a glazed red wine sauce, grilled polenta and vegetable skewer (RM59) was equally amazing. The meat was so tender, it cuts like butter. Cooked medium, just the way he likes it. So excellent, that he also declared this the best steak he has had in KL.

The perfect steak

My appetite has been waning as of late. Wanting to leave room for desserts, I thought it would be a good idea to order from the kids menu for my main as the portions would be smaller. Kids are not food critics, so it was unfair of me to pass judgment on the fresh lasagna served before me.
Fresh lasagna (RM15)

Desserts are said to be Nathalie's forte. I couldn't agree more.

trio of Raspberry Mille-Feuille, Lytchee and Raspberry Espuma and a Lytchee Sorbet (RM22) was beautifully presented. Beautiful to look at, beautiful to eat. Each component perfect. The pastry was light and flaky with layers of fresh, tart raspberries and raspberry puree. The lytchee (or lychee) sorbet was wonderfully refreshing. The espuma (foam) was mousse-like, light as air and not overly sweet.

A sight to behold

Hubby chose the Selection of Small Desserts (mini vanilla and caramel choux, chestnut and chocolate espuma and a macaron) with expresso (RM18). Once again the excellence of the choux pastry shines through. The espuma was rich and light at the same time.

Famed for her macarons, a visit to Nathalie's is not complete without tasting some of the delectable morsels. From the 16 flavours of macaron available that day, Hubby had to choose 1. Tough choice, but he settled for the coconut flavour (noix de coco) which was rather nice. He received another complimentary macaron, framboise flavour (French raspberry) since his expresso was slow to arrive. Of course, I made him share his macarons with me! And we ended up buying another 6 macarons to take home with us (which I shall write about in a different entry).

Espuma, macaron and choux

Macarons, perfect for those with a sweet tooth

The Unc also made an excellent choice with his dessert, the Matcha Green Tea Tiramisu with a Chocolate Touch (RM18). Pleasing to the eye, the mascarpone is infused with green tea with a layer of rich chocolate in the centre.

A fantastic dessert to end a fantastic meal

The menu here changes on a monthly basis, so there is still time to come and try the August menu. Can't wait to see what the September menu has to offer.

Verdict: Nathalie's food definitely hits all the right notes and it is now one of my favorite places to dine in KL, along with Cilantro and Sage. Sure, the food here is not the cheapest, but the quality of the ingredients used was evident. Great flavours and food presented with grace, there is nothing not to love about this place.

Informal and relaxed setting, whereby one can turn up in casual clothing and not be frowned upon and still enjoy some fine French cuisine.

Opening times: 9.00am to 6.00pm. Closed on Sundays. Breakfast served between 9.00am - 11.30am.

Service: Food service was good, but we had to wait quite a bit for our drinks to arrive.

Price: Expensive. Our bill came to RM370 for 3 persons (3 courses + drinks + macarons).

Location: Nathalie's Gourmet Studio, Solaris Dutamas, Unit A4-01-5, Jalan Dutamas, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Walk to the left hand far end [left when you're facing the main road] until you spot Heidelberg Kaffehaus, then take the escalators to the fourth floor)

Tel: 03-6207 9572
GPS Coordinates: 3.1711, 101.66583
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