Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Afternoon tea @ Lounge on the Park, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur

For an indulgent and leisurely afternoon, one of my favorite things to do is to have afternoon tea. I've had a fair share of lousy versions this year (which I did not bother blogging about because it would be a waste of my time) but the afternoon tea which I had recently at Lounge on the Park, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur was quite the contrary. In fact, I would rate this as one of the best afternoon teas I've had the pleasure of having in KL.

The afternoon tea here is available from 2.30pm to 6pm daily. There is two afternoon teas to choose from, The Royal English Afternoon Tea and Holger Deh Chocolate Afternoon Tea (RM78 per person).The sandwiches would be the same for both sets but different pastries will be served.

Both are very nice, but I think my preference would lie with the chocolate afternoon tea simply because the pastries are much more unique. If you like something more classic, then the English afternoon tea is for you.

The tea selection was quite extensive, hence I gave Hubby the task of selecting a tea for me -- green leaves, oolong leaves, black leaves, herbal infusion, white tea and wellness are just the categories of premium tea available! I had the Jing white peony (refreshing, sweet) and Hubby had the hand-smoked T Company lapsang souchong (full mouths with tarry finish).

The Royal English Afternoon Tea is served in a modern three tier

Two types of scones, four types of sandwiches and eight types of pastries.. real indulgence!

Overall, I enjoyed the selection in the Royal English afternoon tea very much. I started off with the fruit tartlet (somehow I was drawn to that first!) and found the pastry to be crumbly with a layer of custard and fresh fruits. The sandwiches were all competently prepared, our favorite being the smoked salmon with horseradish cream. Noteworthy is the bread, which is pillowy soft. 

Fruit tartlet

Looks like a heart shape ♥

For the Royal English set, the scones will be plain and raisin. Both are light and buttery, served with clotted cream, and homemade strawberry jam, orange jam and lemon curd. I found the clotted cream to be quite unusual since it was golden yellow instead of the pale yellow versions (Devonshire) I've eaten in the past. Turns out they use clotted cream from Australia which can be a different shade depending on the season it is produced.

I have to say Hubby's selection of Jing white peony tea for me was spot on. Loved it, perfect accompaniment for the sweets in the afternoon tea. We joked that Hubby's lapsang souchong tasted like a non-alcoholic version of whisky (tasted quite smoky!) -- he could drink and drink and not get drunk. :)

Orange madeleine

Dundee cake, a traditional Scottish fruit cake decorated with almonds. Excellent!

Lemon macaron -- my first time having macarons from MO, the texture is perfect and the filling is not too sweet and creamy. 

Raspberry mille feuille is Hubby's favorite pastry from this set. Beautiful visually and tastes fab. 

Cambridge burnt cream -- rich custard with a silky smooth texture. I like!

We also managed to try some of the pastry selections from the Chocolate Afternoon Tea, thanks to Chef Holger who brought some out for us. I love the chocolate puff pastry, so dainty yet sooooooooo delicious. And the hazelnut macaron is one of the best I've had in a while -- it reminded me of Ferrero Rocher when I ate it. Swoon-worthy :)

Chocolate puff pastry

Milk chocolate cremeux. Did I mention that chocolate is Chef Holger's specialty..... so rich and decadent. 

Hazelnut macaron

Perfect texture

Mango compote with dark chocolate shooter

Soft music from the pianist sets the mood for a wonderful afternoon tea experience.Do make a reservation beforehand, as we almost couldn't get a table because the lounge was so busy that afternoon.

Lounge on the Park Interior

Click here to read my afternoon tea session here in MO KL in June 2016.

Full set of photos available to view here. 

Price: RM78 per person. 1 set is sufficient for 2 persons to share.

Location: Lounge on the Park, Lobby Level, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2179 8883

GPS Coordinates: 3.15568, 101.7120

Website: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/kualalumpur

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Aun Kheng Lim Salt Baked Chicken @ Ipoh, Perak

Baby C went on a weekend trip to Ipoh, Perak with her grandparents a couple of weeks ago. They came home bearing (food) gifts -- one of them was the salt baked chicken or 'Yim Kok Kai' 盐锔鸡. Their Ipoh friends recommended the salt chicken from Aun Kheng Lim, the pioneers of salt baked chicken in Ipoh. Established since 1987, this is a must-try if you ever visit Ipoh.

Even though the chicken was tapau-ed back all the way to KL, after steaming for 5 minutes with the paper on, it was still very delicious. The taste of dong quai (Angelica sinensis) herb was quite prevalent, which I like a lot. There was some juices coming out from the chicken, herby and salty at the same time and we mopped it up with the chicken meat. I do find the taste very similar to the One Barrel Chicken ('Yat Tong Kai') that we had in Sim Hap Ke in Cheras (cos they use similar herbs).  

I did not witness it for myself, but apparently the chicken is wrapped in the oiled paper then placed in a wok, covered with sea salt and baked using Chinese traditional cooking methods til succulent.

A chicken is sufficient for 3 persons to share. Though we were still hankering for more when we finished. 

Baby C loved it too... 

The shop is located inside a building with red/white facade, but make sure you go to the right shop since there are quite a few other brands there selling salt baked chicken too.

Full set of photos available to view here.

Opening times: 10am til chickens sold off.

Price: RM17 per chicken.

Location: Aun Kheng Lim, 24 Jalan Theatre, 30300 Ipoh, Perak.

Tel: 05-254 2998

GPS Coordinates:4.594734, 101.083542

Branch: 75, Laluan Tasek Perdana, Medan Tasek Perdana (Off Jalan Kuala Kangsar), 30010 Ipoh, Perak. (Tel:012-533 4993). Open from 11am onwards.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Birthday Eve Celebration @ Frangipani Restaurant, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

We started off my birthday celebration at Cilantro, followed by meals at Prime, Makan Kitchen and Sim Hap Ke with the family. It was indeed a week of indulging in good food. On the eve of my birthday, Hubby took me to Frangipani, a fine dining French restaurant which we have been wanting to try.

One of the most striking things about the restaurant is the interior and ambience that it exudes. In the middle of the restaurant is a still black pool... when we entered the restaurant, we were told 'to be careful not to fall in'. For me, Frangipani is definitely one of the prettiest, modern looking restaurants we've been in KL. I'm so happy we chose this place for my birthday eve meal -- really romantic!

That's the still pool in the middle!

No frangipani as table decor.. the restaurant is named after the frangipani tree that used to stand in front

We spotted Chef Chris Bauer having dinner with some of his friends as we walked into the restaurant -- thankfully, our food turned out well despite the chef not being in the kitchen :) The menu is quite an interesting read; the chef briefly describes what each dish is made of.. it was nice to know what sort of preparation went into each dish (will copy some out and put them in Italics below the dish). Since we had afternoon tea at Mandarin Oriental KL just 3 hours before that, we couldn't handle the tasting menu (RM220 without and RM390 with wine) hence we went for the 3-course menu for RM160 with an option of adding on dessert for RM30.

We were served an amuse bouche (ratatouille on toast) and a pre-starter (smoked salmon with apple and roe) which were both very tasty.

Amuse bouche


For the first course, I had the pan roasted porcini powder dusted Hokkaido scallop with half cooked potato sliced, seared porcini mushrooms and white gazpacho vinaigrette (supplementary RM10). Phew what a long name!

"This little dish packs a huge flavour punch. We roast dry rice until brown, then grind it to a dust and add dried porcini mushroom dust to this, then coat the scallop with this mix before frying it. The result is wonderfully fragrant, beautiful scallop with a light crust that seems to heighten the taste of the sea. Still crunchy potato slices and a few dabs of a lightly acidic gazpacho vinaigrette perfect the dish." 

I feel the chef definitely achieved all the aforementioned, I loved the light crust on the scallop as it provided a nice texture to the bouncy scallop. The half cooked potato tasted a little like turnip, nice crunchy texture. If I had a complain about this dish, it would be that I expected more than 1 scallop since I had to pay a supplementary for this dish (cant see the logic behind the pricing).

Looks like the scallop is dusted with gold dust :)

Hubby had the Fresh tiger prawn ceviche with avocado cream, dried tomato reduction and chillies. Tangy, refreshing and delicious.

"The combination is an absolute classic. Prawn, avocado, tomato but here we have given each ingredient an interesting twist. The prawn isn't cooked in the usual sense, it is turned into a ceviche, a method by which acidity of lime juice is used to 'cook' the prawn. The tomato is dried and then turned into a very concentrated sauce and the avocado is diced, fried and then blended into a cream. This process brings out a completely different flavour dimension in the humble avocado."

For the second course, I had the 'Black' Rice risotto with grilled fresh water prawn, baby squid and oyster. Although it is called a risotto, the chef did mention in the menu that "this is not a risotto nor is the rice black" but calls it one of his best dishes to date. This dish is made using risotto rice, and then a creamy (cheese?) sauce is poured over the dish in front of us. The black lines at the side of the plate is squid ink, mixed into the sauce will make it black, hence the name. The rice is perfectly cooked, and this was a dish which I enjoyed the more I ate it.. it has a lovely umami-ness to it.

When Hubby ordered the Warm tea smoked salmon with confit potatoes crème fraîche and salmon roe, the waiter said 'Good choice sir'. This ranks high as one of the best smoked salmon we've eaten (another place which does awesome smoked salmon is Sage), love the pairing of ikura roe with it. The confit potatoes was lovely too, served in many pretty layers.

Palate cleanser -- honeydew sorbet with pink peppercorns

For mains, I was torn between the duck confit and braised wagyu beef cheek. In the end, I ordered the braised wagyu beef cheek served with braised red cabbage, mole sauce and pumpkin dauphines.  The beef cheek was braised til it was tenderly soft, so so yummy. Then it is grilled so you get a lovely crust. I didn't really care much for the Mexican mole sauce though, made with nuts and bitter chocolate.

Hubby picked from "Today's Special" (supplementary RM28), the Grilled Wagyu Rump with Portabello mushrooms tempura, sauteed Brussel sprouts with truffle glaze. The steak was perfectly cooked to medium rare, super juicy. The tempura mushrooms is a nice twist.

We were full to the brim by now, but decided to share a dessert. Since there was quite a few to choose from, we ordered the Trio of Desserts (supplementary RM5) for a taster of smaller portions of three desserts picked by the pastry chef.  We were presented with the iced green apple soufflé with cinnamon crumbs and a tarte tatin on the side, super dark chocolate and pistachio terrine with passion fruit mascarpone custard & forest berry coulis and pistachio & white chocolate cheesecake with Irish tea sauce, toasted pine nuts and pistachio cream filled Russian cigarette.

Our favorite of the lot is the super dark chocolate, using 80% Valrhona which tastes really rich and sinful.

Iced green apple soufflé with cinnamon crumbs and a tarte tatin on the side

Pistachio & white chocolate cheesecake with Irish tea sauce, toasted pine nuts and pistachio cream filled Russian cigarette. 

Super dark chocolate and pistachio terrine with passion fruit mascarpone custard & forest berry coulis

More photos of the restaurant interior... absolutely love it. 

Went upstairs to have a look at the trendy Frangipani Bar

Verdict: The food definitely impressed, but what really left a mark for us is the interior and ambience. Perfect for celebrating a special occasion. 

*If ordered a la carte, first course is RM38, second course RM58, third course RM80 and dessert RM35. Supplementary may apply for certain dishes. 

For the full set of photos, click here

Opening times: 7.30pm, 10.30pm last orders. Closed on Mondays.

Service: Excellent.

Parking: There is an open air car park next to the restaurant, RM15 per entry. 

Location: Frangipani Restaurant & Bar, 25 Changkat Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2144 3001

Website: http://www.frangipani.com.my

GPS Coordinates: 3.147404, 101.70825
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