Monday, October 31, 2011

A splendid lunch @ Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar, Kuala Lumpur

There are not many restaurants in KL that we can confidently go to, knowing that we would always get a good meal there. Sage has never failed me and our lunch there last week was no exception. 

The last time we came here in August for Baby D's birthday, we noticed that they have changed their chairs. Didn't manage to snap any photos the last time since we were seated in the private room, but here are some photos of the latest interior. 

Open kitchen

We almost couldn't get a table since we arrived pretty late - but luckily we managed to get in. The food was superb, it would have been a real pity to miss it.

Hubby had the Homemade Tagliolini Pasta with Pacific Oyster and Parmesan Cheese. To be honest, we're not really big fans of oysters but Hubby commented that the oysters here were so soft and tasted so good. Is Chef Daniel gonna do it again and convert us into oyster fans?? (We weren't fans of foie before too, then we came to Sage and Chef Daniel converted us)

A really delicious start

I had the Slow cooked smoked salmon with mousseline of cauliflower and ikura. I love ordering any smoked fish from Sage, they have a great quality to them... the smoked salmon was so plump and almost buttery. It was sort of like eating sashimi but BETTER. The smoked salmon's skin has been lightly seared so it is nice and crisp too.

Top-notch smoked salmon

For mains, Hubby had the Herb Crusted Lamb Rack with Dauphinoise Potatoes and Meaux Mustard. OMG - this was really good. He asked for it to be cooked medium, the meat was still pink and absolutely tender and scrumptious. The dauphinoise potatoes have been arranged to resemble a pretty mille feuille.

The herb crust wasn't too overpowering

One of the reasons why I wanted to come to Sage this week was because I saw risotto on the menu. I've eaten risotto once at Sage and it was possibly the best risotto I've ever eaten in KL. Was it possible for them to present me with another winning risotto dish? Yes! The risotto was cooked to perfection and topped with the foie, it was just a beautiful dish. It was served with two types of sauce - mushroom sauce and crab bisque sauce.

Two Way preparation of mushroom risotto with foie gras and king prawn bisque

I loved it! If u ever see risotto on the lunch menu, you have to come to try it. 

Apparently, Sage has a new pastry chef. Dessert for the day was Oven Baked Yogurt Cheesecake with Homemade Milk Ice Cream. The cake was rich and creamy. 

What can I say except another splendid lunch at Sage :)

For the full set of photos, click here.

Opening hours: Lunch:Monday to Friday 12.00pm to 2.00pm; Dinner:Monday to Saturday 6.00pm to 10.30pm. Closed on Sunday.

Service: Excellent.

Price: RM100 nett. 10% off with The Gardens Club card.

Location: Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar, The Gardens Residences, Level 6, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2268 1328


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Some Like It Green with Madame Lawrence Aboucaya @ The Pomelo Restaurant, The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, Ipoh

Did you know that a brocolli sprout contains higher concentration of nutrients per gram compared to a whole broccoli? 

That is one of many things I learnt from Madame Lawrence Aboucaya during the media review recently. Her restaurant in Paris is called Pousse-Pousse (which literally translates to sprout-sprout in French) and is a favorite of renowned chef, Alain Ducasse. 

Sprouted grains are germinated adult seeds which has been grown under lights so it develops chlorophyll. Chlorophyll deploys its preventive and curative protective virtues, including oxygenation, nourishment and reinforcement of blood -- therefore fighting fatigue, boosts health and increasing energy. They contain high anti-oxidants, and makes you feel full faster. A common sprout we can find in Malaysia is alfafa sprouts and can be integrated easily into your salads or sandwiches. 

One 30 ml glass of sprouted grains is equivalent to more than 2 pounds of green vegetable. Superfood indeed! 

"Some Like It Green" event, featuring Madame Aboucaya is available until 6th November 2011 at The Pomelo Restaurant in The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, Ipoh, Perak. A special menu featuring organic, vegetarian cuisine (gourmet pleasure) is the highlight during the event. There will also be cooking classes this weekend for those interested in learning how to incorporate delicious organic food into their daily routine. 

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is a beautiful place, with gorgeous views of 250 million year old caves and the natural hotspring. 

The Pomelo Restaurant

Madame Lawrence Aboucaya

Madame Aboucaya is very passionate about organic, vegetarian food. Her favorite vegetables include asparagus, artichokes, peas and sweet potatoes. When asked what is her favorite ingredient in cooking, she answers "lemon" -- which she believes has many diverse uses in the kitchen.

Some of her favorite tools in the kitchen are slow juicer, steam oven, steamer, sprouters, and of course the dehydrator. Though some of her cuisine involves cooking food, most of them are raw -- raw or living food means none of the ingredients will be heated above 42°C. She believes that eating food as close to its natural state will enhance your health. 

Watermelon juice

We sampled some of her gourmet pleasure cuisine and was pleasantly surprised -- very tasty, well-flavoured and definitely NOT boring. The raw ravioli was our favorite; the turnip provided a crunchy texture and the hummus filling was delicious. We wouldn't have guessed this was raw. The sprouted chick peas are steamed for 3 minutes only, and then tahini, tamari, and lemon juice is added.

The tajine of root vegetables, one of the cooked dishes, was equally delicious. The organic pumpkin had a lovely natural sweetness, complemented by some chick peas and sunflower seeds for different textures.

Then, we moved on to the no sugar jelly made with pomelo and star anise. Madame Aboucaya uses minimal sugar, but if necessary she will use brown sugar. The gluten-free cake, made with almond powder, green tea and topped with raspberry was  also delicious. It's amazing that she can create such great tasting desserts without using dairy, butter or cream.

Quinoa with greens and lemon zest for added zing. Quinoa is easily digestible with high satiating power -- perfect for detox. 

The raw dehydrated crackers were surprisingly addictive, and would make a lovely snack. It is made with several types of seeds such as sunflower, brown and golden flaxseed, buckwheat, black and white sesame seeds. A very nice crunchy texture and nutty flavour.

Dehydrated lotus root and raw dehydrated crackers with seaweed -- the latter has a nice umami-ness to it. 

Beetroot and chilli raw dehydrated crackers

We also tried the soup from Madame Aboucaya's dinner menu -- green gazpacho soup (RM33), made from avocado, granny smith apples, cucumber and mixed herb topped with some raw dehydrated crackers. It was wonderfully tangy and refreshing to eat. We would have loved to try the desserts but unfortunately we missed last orders.

Other dishes on the "Some Like It Green" menu include:
Appetizer & Soup (RM33 each) - Live organic hummus of sprouted chickpeas, Thousand vegetable leaves, Velvety cold eggplant and almond soup.
Main course (RM68 each) - Quinoa with green vegetables, Soba noodles with raw pineapple and cashewnuts chutney, Tajine of root vegetables.
Dessert (RM29 each) - "Rawvioli" of pineapple, Phyllo pastry with banana and lime zest, Non-dairy ice cream.

It was definitely an interesting and educational experience for us. We definitely wouldn't mind including organic, vegetarian cuisine into our daily diet if it was always as delicious as Madame Aboucaya's food.

For previous post on Some Like it Green, click here. Please contact The Banjaran for more information on cooking courses available.

Full set of photos available to view here. Will be sharing more photos from The Banjaran soon.

Location: The Pomelo Restaurant, The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, 1 Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3, 31150 Ipoh, Perak.

Tel: 05-210 7777


GPS Coordinates: 4.63082, 101.15617

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I cooked: Pan Fried Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes and Caramelised Shallots

During the run-up to the Blogger MasterChef semi-finals, my mind would often work overtime, thinking what mystery ingredient would be given for the Invention Test. One of the ingredients I practiced with (a lot) was chicken, since I rarely prepared this a la Western.

The pan fried chicken with balsamic tomatoes and caramelised shallots was an impromptu creation and turned out to be the best tasting one of all my experiments. You can either served this as an appetizer or a main course. Just adjust serving size accordingly. It is very easy to prepare and is very healthy. Personally, I like the idea of serving it in a spoon, so you can just pop the whole thing in your mouth and let the different flavours work its magic.

As an appetizer

Or as a main course

Pan Fried Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes and Caramelised Shallots
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Serves 2 or makes 8 appetizer portions

1 piece chicken breast or thigh, cut into 4.5cm x 3cm piece
2 tbsp light soy sauce
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large tomato, diced
2 shallots, sliced thinly
1 tbsp honey
A handful fresh parsley, chopped finely
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Spring onion (white part), sliced thinly

1. Firstly, start by marinating the chicken pieces with light soy sauce, 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes. Try to use fresh chicken instead of frozen, so that the end product is moist.

2. Add 3 tbsp olive oil to 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and season with salt. Then add the diced tomatoes and parsley, and mix thoroughly. Leave aside until ready to use.

3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes each side or until thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat.

4. Using the same frying pan, add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add honey and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, constantly stirring until the onions are nicely caramelised.

5. To assemble the dish, place a spoonful of balsamic tomato on the plate/serving spoon, followed by a piece of chicken and then topped with the caramelised onion and spring onions as garnish.

Hope you enjoy it!

A mixture of savory and sweet flavours

Just pop one in your mouth

Can also be served as a main course

The balsamic tomatoes give this dish an appetizing edge

Full set of photos available here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekend Dim Sum Buffet Brunch @ EEST, The Westin Kuala Lumpur

Since we have the Starwood card, we might as well put it to good use and try more restaurants under the Starwood Group. Since I was craving for dim sum, we decided to try EEST in The Westin Kuala Lumpur. We didn't make a reservation, luckily for us, we managed to secure the last table -- phew! 

EEST serves Dim Sum Brunch on Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday (11.30am to 2.30pm), whereby diners can order unlimited servings of dim sum from a special menu. This a la carte buffet is priced at RM98++ per person. 

EEST is non-halal so you can expect to find some porky dishes here. The menu is divided into a few categories; Steam, Crisp, Garden, Chee Cheong Fun, EEST's Grain, EEST's Noodles and Sweet. 

Restaurant interior

Nice water feature

We ordered from various categories at each time, but for the purpose of this blog post, I have rearranged the photos into each category.

We found some of the steamed dim sum to be rather disappointing as the skin has gone mushy, possibly from sitting on the steamer for far too long. Surprisingly, although they practice an a la carte buffet system here, the steamed dim sum is not cooked to order, unlike many other places which we have eaten at before in the past.

Crystal prawn dumpling "har kau" with crisp dried scallop - the prawn was big and succulent, but the skin stuck to the steamer basket. 

Crab bisque xiao long bao - very disappointing, as soon as we tried to lift the XLB with our chopsticks, the skin broke. Also, the skin was far too thick for our liking. 

Crystal dumpling with crab roe and crabmeat - same problem with the skin

But not all is bad. We enjoyed most of our other orders from EEST.

Chicken and shrimp dumpling topped with fish roe (aka siew mai) - this was rather delicious. 

Steamed spare ribs with salted black bean - liked this. The sauce was very flavorful. 

Double cooked grouper and bamboo bean curd skin roll - Hubby liked this very much, the fish was moist and the sauce again was very flavourful. 

Chicken feet with XO sauce - Hubby doesnt like chicken feet so I finished the whole plate by myself. Finished = good :)

Steamer baskets

Chef in action

There is a live cooking station for porridge. They have two styles of porridge available, cooked to order.. cant remember what they're called now. Anyway, the waiters and the chef kept asking me to try the porridge so I did. Can't say I liked it - too bland even with the addition of all the side dishes.

Porridge side dishes


We found all the crisp "deep fried" items very good.

Octopus mousse with salted egg yolk coat with golden thread - nice. 

Cheese and prawn bean curd roll - I love this. The cheese just oozes out when you bite into it and also the saltiness from the cheese works very well with the juicy prawn.

Garlic chive and chicken pot stickers - the filling was pretty moist but I think if they use pork, it would have been even better. 

Flaky barbeque chicken pastries - this was one of our favorites, we kept ordering this over and over again. The pastry was very flaky and the filling was very flavorful. 

Chee cheong fun 

We tried both the 'sea scallop & XO sauce' and 'crystal river shrimp' chee cheong fun. Give the sea scallop one a miss since the scallops are about the size of a 5 sen coin and do not have much flavour in them. The prawns one are much better since the prawns used are of a decent size.

BBQ pork

This is not on the menu, but they have roast pork, BBQ pork and roast chicken by the dessert counter. They ran out of roast pork (siew yuk) by the time we came around to ordering it so we only tried the BBQ pork (char siew). Another disappointing dish - I only ate 1-2 pieces since the texture was very hard and the fat layers was not very nice. Hubby finished most of it since he doesn't like to waste food.

Dessert / deep frying kitchen

There are quite many Western desserts on offer such as tarts, cakes, fresh fruits but we didn't try any of them.  We were attracted to the handmade mochi which came in four different flavours. OMG they're really good - pillowy soft and the fillings were really nice. They came in four different flavours, our favorite was the dark chocolate.  And they come in such pretty colors as well.

Dessert counter

Handmade mochi

Fresh fruits

We had multiple helpings of the handmade mochi - they're excellent!

The eggs tarts here are really good too.. the kind that I like with flaky pastry. :) I think they have a very good pastry chef here since we liked the pastry items.

The teh tarik ice cream is actually served with pisang goreng, but we forego the banana and just ordered the ice cream. Unfortunately, the ice cream was too icy.

The black sesame ice cream mochi may not look like much, but it was rather interesting and tasted good too. Basically, the mochi makes up the outer layer and is filled with ice cream inside.

The mango pudding was supposed to be served with chocolate ganache and hazelnut wanton but the last two items did not arrive with the pudding. However, we were too full to enquire further. The mango pudding was decent, though we would have preferred the mango taste to be more prevalent.

Wibble wobble

EEST restaurant exterior

You can enjoy Starwood privilege discount for this dim sum brunch. 

Verdict: Service was very pleasant, although the food had some hit and misses. But overall, we enjoyed our dining experience here. Mochi, egg tart and flaky chicken pastry is highly recommended. 

Full set of photos available to view here.

Price: RM98++ per adult, RM49++ per child, RM6++ for chinese tea.

Location: EEST, Level 1, The Westin Kuala Lumpur, 199 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03- 2731 8333

GPS Coordinates: 3.14779, 101.714569
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