Tuesday, July 31, 2012

2012 Mooncakes @ Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental KL

Mid-Autumn Festival is by far my favorite Chinese celebration. Last year, I was dubbed by some of my readers as the "Mooncake Queen" since I sampled at least 40 different flavours from various hotels/establishments. This year, Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 30th but hotels have started selling mooncakes as early as July. Not that I'm complaining, since I'm a HUGE fan of mooncakes... in fact, the earlier, the better for me!

Lotus paste with single yolk mooncake from Mandarin Oriental KL

My first mooncake for this year was from Lai Po Heen in Mandarin Oriental KL. Thanks to Mandarin Oriental KL, I got to attend a mooncake workshop whereby I got to learn how to make their famous mini snowskin durian mooncake and later on sample more than 10 different mooncake flavours!

The newly-refurbished Lai Po Heen

With head dim sum chef, Wu Chee Hong during the mooncake workshop

Simply fabulous...

On offer at MO this year are 5 large mooncakes (baked), 7 medium mooncakes (baked & chocolate) and 3 mini mooncakes (snowskin), all handmade. I daresay I've tried them all.. ;) What I like most about the baked mooncakes are that the paste (filling) is very smooth and not too sweet. They are perfect with a cup of Chinese tea or even eaten on its own. My favorite baked ones are the white lotus paste, lotus paste with single and double yolk, and the pandan essence with macadamia nut. The pandan one especially smelled so good as well!

Some of the baked mooncakes I got to try!

 One of my favorite baked ones, the pandan essence with macadamia nuts

There is also the diced chicken ham with almond, red bean and lotus paste with single egg yolk, and black sesame paste with melon seeds - all which Hubby likes.

Red bean and lotus paste with single egg yolk

Black sesame paste with melon seeds

Diced chicken ham with almond

If you've read my blogpost last year, you will know that MO also does these chocolates in the shape of a mooncake. It's more for the novelty effect, but the chocolates are of exceptional quality. I especially love the milk chocolate with peanut butter crunch (*hint hint CK*).  Other flavours such as white chocolate with orange ganache and jam, dark chocolate with star anise and red bean ganache, and dark chocolate with salted caramel ganache, all which I like too. The key to eating these chocolate mooncakes are to allow them to get to room temperature so that the filling is soft and lovely.

Lovely white chocolate with orange ganache and jam

Milk chocolate with peanut butter crunch - I love!!

Dark chocolate with star anise and red bean ganache

Not forgetting the mini snowskin mooncakes, which are my absolute favorites. I love the mini snowskin with pandan flavour, so fragrant from the smell of pandan. There is also a blueberry and coconut flavour - this has a bit more texture due to the coconuts, and my mum liked this since she likes coconut very much.

This year's durian snowskin is much better too, made from D24 durians- so smooth and I found myself loving it. From the mooncake workshop, I learnt that durian snowskin is the most delicate and slightly more difficult to handle compared to the other snowskin mooncakes. It must be handled very quickly or else the filling will melt/become mushy easily. That would probably explain why ours was so soft last year since we transported it back home to eat and did not put back it in the fridge. Durian snowskin mooncakes are best eaten after it has been out of the fridge for several minutes. I will share the recipe for this soon.

The mooncakes are presented in an elegant purple box. Baby C has already asked if she could have the box to put all her pretty hairclips. A mooncake stand is set-up at Mandarin Oriental KL hotel lobby, with several flavours available to tasting before you make your purchase.

And my favorite baked mooncake, lotus paste with single/double egg yolk enjoyed with a cup of Chinese tea. 

Baby D loves the mini snowskin pandan flavour :)

Full mooncake list with prices.

*There is an early bird 10% discount for purchases made from 23 July to 16 August 2012.

You can read about the mooncake workshop that I attended here.  Full set of photos can be viewed on my Facebook page here. 

Location: Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2179 8885

Monday, July 30, 2012

Spasso Milano Antipasti Buffet @ Pavilion KL

Before Spasso Milano moved to its current location in Pavilion KL, we used to visit their outlet at Jalan Ampang frequently for their antipasti buffet (see previous review here). The food quality was very good with a reasonable price tag.

We have sampled the porkylicious menu at their current location in Pavilion KL (see review here)  and finally, last week we got to try out their antipasti buffet. 

Still as good as before..

Pizza margherita

The antipasti buffet, which includes a full-sized main course is priced at RM28++ or RM36++ per person (depending on your choice of main course - the main course is cooked to order).  This is available Mondays to Fridays between 12pm-3pm. On weekends, they have a full buffet for RM36++ per person.

San Pellegrino Aranciata Italian soda (RM12.80)

The antipasti buffet is laid out at the counters, directly in front of the open kitchen. It was constantly replenished, just like at the older outlet. The selection, I have been told, changes daily. On the day we were here, there were at least 10 types of antipasti and 2 soups (green pea/asparagus). Cakes are kept separately in a different section.

Most of the antipasti were vegetarian, except a couple with some bits of bacon in them. The antipasti was well-prepared and all very flavourful, and I felt that it kept the meal balanced since I was having pork for my mains. I especially liked the grilled zucchini, oven baked eggplant and baked pumpkin - I kept going back for more.

Oven baked eggplant

Vegetables frittata

Grilled zucchini

Pizza Aromatica

Salad and fresh fruits

I like that I can keep going back for more ;)

Green pea soup - smooth

The main selections will probably change once a month. I ordered the pork valdostana which I had during my last visit here. The portion was exactly the same as you would get if you ordered a la carte and the price on the a la carte menu is RM38++ for this. Do the maths... the antipasti buffet is already well-worth the price! The pork escalope was very tender (topped with baked ham and Fontina cheese) and the fusilli aglio e olio was very nicely prepared.

Watching the pork being prepared in the open kitchen!

The pizza took a little longer to arrive since it was cooked to order in the wood-fire oven so you can always help yourself to the antipasti buffet first while waiting. The pizza margherita was very good, thin crust with slightly charred edges.

For desserts, we tried several cakes and some of the ice-cream/gelato. The cakes were a little too dry for my liking but we tried an apple crumble which was very good. I also like the gelato - the cassata, zabaione and orange Cointreau flavours were good.

Zabaione and cookies & cream gelato

Cassata and orange Cointreau


Morning sunrise :)

Butterfly in our garden in the evening ;)

Verdict: The antipasti buffet is still as good as we remembered it. An added bonus is that pork is now served as part of their antipasti buffet.

Full set of photos can be viewed on my Facebook page here.

Opening times: 10am to 10pm.


Service: Good.

Price: RM28++ or RM36++ per person (depending on main course ordered).

Opening times: 10am to 11pm.

Location: Spasso Milano, Lot 6.44 & 6.45, Level 6, Pavilion KL, 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: +603 2148 0688

Join their Facebook page here for latest updates and promotions.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Namoo on the Park, Korean Dessert Cafe N Bistro, Publika KL

When I read on Sean's blog that Namoo serves rice burgers, my interest was piqued. Namoo on the Park is a Korean Dessert Cafe & Bistro in Publika serving Korean food fused with a modern twist. 

What a cute little cafe..

I loved Namoo's cute mascot (lil animal chef), if I was a passerby in the mall, I would immediately be drawn into this cafe. Inside, the restaurant has tall glass windows and doors and decor is contemporary modern. We took a seat by the front on one of the very comfortable seats. Overall, this place has a very nice ambiance and is fairly quiet, hence it is good for catching up with friends.

A little bit about Namoo

The menu here is a reversal of regular menus, starting with beverages on the first page, followed by desserts and then mains. The desserts apparently were only found in the king's kitchens in the past - it is something I would definitely return to try. The plan was to eat my rice burger and then order desserts but the burger portion was much larger than expected. Not that I'm complaining ;P

There is the option of either grilled chicken breast with bibi sauce (RM19.90) or grilled handmade beef patty with fried egg (RM23.90). The latter appealed to me because of the fried egg option ;) The rice burger is a substantial portion, with the beef patty sandwiched between two thick handmade grilled rice buns. Even the waitress couldn't believe that the rice burger was my order and not Hubby's.

The rice burger feels healthier than regular burgers, and I also felt it was rather balanced with fresh vegetables, rice, meat, cheese and egg. The rice buns are nice but very filling (hence no desserts for me). Was very happy that the fried egg had a runny yolk as well. The rice burger is served with a side salad, which had an appetizing dressing and potato wedges (very nicely done).

Runny egg yolk ;)

Hubby had the kimchi fried rice (RM13.90), whereby the fried rice was served wrapped in a fried egg. Pretty neat way of serving it and it tasted delicious too. This was served with a healthy side salad and pickles.

Verdict: I will definitely return as there are still many things I would love to try such as the white kimchi cold noodles, as well as the desserts!

Join their Facebook page here. 

Full set of photos can be viewed on my Facebook page here, including the full menu.


Service: Good.

Location: Namoo on the Park, Korean Dessert Cafe N Bistro, Publika, Lot 4A, Level G3, Solaris Dutamas, 1 Jalan Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.

GPS Coordinates: 3.171068, 101.665249

*All photos taken with iPhone4S. 
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