Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mother's Day Celebration @ Toh Lee Chinese Restaurant, InterContinental KL

This year, Mother's Day fell on the 13th May 2012. How did you celebrate?

Hubby took me to DISH on the Friday and Singapore the previous weekend for my Mother's Day treat. Every year, on Mother's Day we will bring my mum out to eat... this year, I was thinking Japanese since mum loves Jap food. 

Just a few days before Mother's Day, I woke up to a nice tweet from Intercontinental KL telling me that I had won the "Mother's Day #mummyq Twitter Contest". What a nice surprise! The prize entitled us to "Delightful Dim Sum Set for 4" (worth RM500) in Toh Lee Chinese Restaurant. I immediately shared the good news with mum and she too was delighted. 

It was our first time dining in Toh Lee, though we have visited this hotel in the past when it was still known as Hotel Nikko. The restaurant was spacious with elegant decor. We had the whole restaurant to ourselves, being the first guests of the day, but the restaurant started to fill up around noon (we opted to start our meal at 10am since we wanted to let kids nap after). 

Toh Lee ,also known as the “Good Luck Peach”, is a symbol of prosperity. They offer a variety of Beijing and Sichuan cuisine with a touch of fusion.

Turns out the "Mother's Day Delightful Dim Sum Set" was a 7-course meal. With a name like that, we mistakenly thought it would be dim sum throughout but only the first course was. The Toh Lee Homemade Dim Sum Platter was beautifully presented, and included har kau (steamed prawn dumpling), siew mai, deep fried spring roll and deep fried prawn wantan, all which tasted fresh and nicely prepared.

I like the way it is served on a long plate with an orchid in the centre - pretty

Deep Fried Items

Dim Sum Lover :) *big smile*

Next was the clear consomme of shark's fin, fish maw and shitake mushrooms. Nice and warming, since the restaurant was quite cold.

The next two dishes were tea-infused. The sauteed scallops and celery was cooked with four season tea leaves as well as gingko nuts and mok yee (black ear fungus). This tasted good, though the tea wasn't very prevalent. Lots of nice textures going on in this dish.

 I can never say NO to scallops ;)

We enjoyed the smoked village chicken with ginseng king tea leaves. This time, we could definitely taste AND smell the aromatic tea.  Baby C liked the cute carved out bird.

Being Chinese, the stewed fish maw and kai lan with sun dried scallop sauce went down a treat with us. The sauce was very flavourful.

Noodles are usually just a filler during a Chinese meal (you know during a Chinese wedding there are always lots of leftover of noodles or rice), but we found the noodles here very delicious. We wouldn't mind eating another plate of this. Baby D loved it, and he finished a whole bowl of it on his own. Good boy!

Longevity noodles with braised shredded chicken and crab stick

Yup, he feeds himself ;)

Dessert was the double boiled eight treasure with papaya and almonds. I didn't have this since I can't eat papaya but my mum said it was very good.

Fortune cookies

"Love will always find a way into your life"
(Earlier in the meal, I found a heart-shaped tea leaf - how apt)

Overall, we enjoyed our meal here very much. Most importantly, MY MUM, had a memorable meal. Thanks to Intercontinental KL for choosing my tweet as the winning slogan for their contest, you made our day :)

Full set of photos available to view here. 

Opening times: Lunch 12.00 noon to 2.30pm (Mondays to Fridays), 11.00am to 2.30pm (Saturdays),
10.00am to 2.30pm (Sundays and Public Holidays) and Dinner 6.30pm to 10.30pm (Daily)


Service: Attentive.

Price: We didn't pay for our meal since this was a prize for a contest I won, but the set costs RM118++ per person. 

Location: Toh Lee Chinese Restaurant, InterContinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 165 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur (previously Hotel Nikko).

GPS Coordinates: 3.160249, 101.717584

Lunching @ Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar, The Gardens KL

With so many new restaurants opening around KL plus the fact that Baby C has started pre-school this year, we have not been to Sage for a while for lunch. The promise of foie gras, scallops and steak was all it took to prompt Hubby to make a reservation at Sage. 

Unfortunately, it's not so easy to get a reservation at Sage these days... the restaurant is often closed for private functions. Can't blame everyone for wanting to eat here, it is afterall one of my favourite lunch spots in KL

Still as good as ever..

We were greeted by a few familiar faces when we arrived, but there were many new faces amongst the waiting staff. It was good to see Chef Daniel cooking in the open kitchen (IGB chairman etc were dining there on the same day). We were also pleased that a good friend of ours, Quay Po could join us for lunch.

Complimentary warm bread  - I think Sage is the place I can eat the most bread at! The bread is so good and I love the basil dip. 

To start, Hubby and Quay Po had the consomme of maitake mushroom with duck foie gras and sea scallop. It came with a hefty portion of foie and two big scallops.. I was so jealous that I didn't order this! The consomme was poured tableside. Both my dining partners enjoyed this very much.

Golden consomme

Luscious foie

Simply gorgeous

I had the cold buckwheat noodles with tuna chutoro, flying fish roe and Togarashi pepper. Now that I look back at the menu and photos, they seem to have missed out the flying fish roe on my plate. Hmmmmm. I do love the cold noodles at Sage plus the tuna chutoro was so fresh. My only complain is that the portion is too small (for me anyways).:P

Pretty and petite

We also love the steaks that we get here at Sage. The Angus Beef Striploin was cooked to medium rare, as requested and the presentation is slightly different since the last time we came. Hubby feels that this is much more aesthetically pleasing. The steak as usual is very flavourful and delicious.

Angus Beef Striploin with Potato Gratin, Sauteed Vegetables and Dijon Mustard

Dessert was fresh mango with passion fruit puree and ricotta ice cream. It was nice but a little boring to be honest. I would have preferred a bavarois, mille feuille or chocolate molten cake, all which they do so well here at Sage.

Quay Po made us some of these delicious carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting to take home for the kids. Thanks so much dear - my children loved them very much! I do hope that you enjoyed your lunch session with us at Sage. :)

Full set of photos available to view here. 


For their weekly lunch menu, click here. Full a la carte menu here.

Dress code: Smart casual.

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

Price: RM100 nett per person for 3-course lunch. 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

*Children below the age of 6 are no longer allowed in the restaurant. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Taste of Finland with Sara La Fountain in KL, Malaysia

Celebrity chef Sara La Fountain is in KL and I got to attend her cooking demo at The Royale Chulan Hotel Kuala Lumpur today, thanks to Asian Food Channel and American Express! :)

Isn't she gorgeous?

Not only is she gorgeous, this American-Finnish sensation can cook too! Sara trained at The Culinary Institute of America, the world-renowned culinary school in New York and is currently starring as one of the hosts on New Scandinavian Cooking airing on the Asian Food Channel. Sara is also a fashion model, and in Finland where she is based, she is a popular media personality and has her own cooking show, Avec Sara. She has also published several books and her first cookbook, A la Sara, earned her the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Award in the "Best First Cookbook" category. After four years of hard work, she has launched her second cookbook titled Passion for Food, which focuses on food that is easy to prepare and influenced by the different seasons in Finland.

Talented and gorgeous!

Live life to the fullest and enjoy it..

Despite being a very slim chef, Sara loves trying new food - food is where Sara's passion lies. She hopes to inspire people at home to cook and enjoy food. Her grandmother and mother inspired her love of food, she recalls that at the tender age of 4, one of her favorite food was oysters. Sara tells us that she has very good memories with food and through her show, hope to instil the same feeling for her viewers.

During the cooking demo, Sara showed us how to make 3 simple yet delicious dishes. The first one is a goat's cheese salad with beetroot, dark sweet bread croutons, marinated red onions and blueberry-balsamic vinaigrette, or in short "Sara's Finnish Forest".  Blueberries happen to be one of her top 3 favorite Finnish ingredients - other two being mushrooms (chanterelles in particular) and crayfish (she tells us to visit Finland in August, that's when they throw crayfish parties!). An essential herb for Finnish cooking is dill.

Sara is meticulous when it comes to plating of her dishes, with girly and feminine twists. It is certainly evident in her beautiful plates of food. And she brought along with her the dark rye bread all the way from Finland to complete this dish!

Jovial Sara :)

Putting on the marinated red onions

Posing with the finished dish

Sara's Finnish Forest - isn't it pretty?

Not to mention delicious too. 

For Sara, the five most important components in food is the flavour, idea, love (sharing with your friends and family), fun and easy to prepare. Next, she shared with us a dish that she love to eat during summer. She uses seasonal ingredients such as peas, potato and radish for this dish. A simple, yet nicely executed dish - fried fish with summer potato vegetable salad. 

The salmon roe, sugar snap peas and radish adds colour to the dish!

Fried fish with summer potato vegetable salad

Sara shares stories about her cookbook, Passion for Food, with us. She styles and takes her own photos for the cookbook!

Who doesn't love milkshakes and popcorn!  Unfortunately this cookbook is not available in English yet.


Lastly, Sara prepared a summer pavlova with passionfruit cream served with strawberries and pistachio - definitely my favorite dish of the day :)

Sara loves music and is currently taking DJ lessons. She hopes to do disco cooking in the future, that sounds so FUN!

Sara is so photogenic, don't you agree?

Delicious dessert

Lucky me got to take a photo with celebrity chef, Sara La Fountain! :)

Will be sharing the recipes for the three dishes soon! Sara will be holding a sit-down dinner with cooking demo tomorrow in The Royale Chulan KL, more details here. 

Location: Bunga Emas, The Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur, 5 Jalan Conlay, 50450 Kuala Lumpur.

For more photos, please click here. At the same, do give my Page a like ;)
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