Monday, September 30, 2019

Harumi 23, Plaza Arkadia, Desa ParkCity

Located in Plaza Arkadia in Desa Park City, Harumi 23 is a charming Japanese restaurant specializing in Tokyo cuisine, in particular charcoal grilled kushiyaki and organic Japanese pork, Hokkaido fresh seafood, Tokyo spaghetti and authentic Japanese dashi soup.

On the a la carte menu, you will find appetizers, salads, sashimi, sushi, kushiyaki, yakimono (grilled), agemono (fried), nabe/suimono, menrui (noodles), donburi as well as set meals, with prices starting from RM28.

To start, we had two of the restaurant's signature (and bestselling) dishes, the Mentai tamago (RM12) and Harumi dobin mushi (RM18). The former is a Japanese-style rolled omelette topped with torched mayo mentaiko - simple but very tasty.

The Harumi dobin mushi aka Japanese teapot soup, is made using superior clear dashi broth along with prawn, chicken, and maitake mushroom.

The butakushi (RM6 per stick), skewered pork belly and spring onion charcoal grilled with salt was delish. Other selection for kushiyaki here include hotate bacon, Wagyu, negima (chicken thigh), tebanaka (chicken wings), crispy chicken skin, gizzards, heart, and liver.

One of the highlights of our meal here was the Sashimi moriawase (RM186), which comes with nama hotate (fresh diver scallops), amaebi, ikura, and three types of airflown sashimi (during our visit, it was tuna, salmon belly and salmon). Fresh and thickly sliced, totally satisfying.

Mentai fans can also indulge in the Mentai king prawn (RM32), grilled king prawn with half broiled cod roe. Sweet and juicy.

Tempura moriawase (RM20) - assorted prawn and vegetable tempura (sweet potato, ladies finger, brinjal, shitake, enoki) in a lovely, light crisp batter.

We enjoyed the rather unusual Crispy sushi roll (RM30) with asparagus, salmon and ebiko, which is then coated in panko and deep fried, giving it a lovely crisp exterior.

They also offer a variety of Tokyo spaghetti. Our pick was the Creamy crab and ebiko spaghetti (RM28) which comes with copious amounts of crab meat and ebiko with an onsen tamago for a rich, creamy finish.

Harumi 23 is also well-known for their Japanese desserts such as signature honeycomb, souffle pancake, Shibuya dessert toast, furikake toast, kakigori, jelly, mochi and ice cream.

End your meal with the rich, sinful Chocolate Rocher Shibuya toast (RM19.90) with chocolate and vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.  The Matcha kakigori (RM25.90) is also superb, we love the light texture of the shaved ice topped with the quality matcha sauce and matcha ice cream, served with mochi and red bean paste.

Reservations highly recommended, click here to book your table.

Opening hours: 11am to 11pm.

Location: Harumi23, F-G-02, Plaza Arkadia, Jln Intisari, Desa Parkcity, 52200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Park in Block F and take the lift to Level G).

Tel: 03-2710 9263

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Hotel Review: Novotel Taiping Perak

Travelling from KL to Penang? Fancy breaking up your journey?

Taiping, the town of many firsts, has plenty of interesting tastes and sights to offer such as Malaysia's oldest coffee mill, Malaysia's oldest zoo and Malaysia's oldest museum. It is also the second largest town in Perak after Ipoh.

Novotel Taiping is the perfect launch pad for exploring this quaint town and Taiping's major attractions, thanks to its strategic location in the heart of Taiping town. As the only International hotel brand in Taiping, guests can be assured of a comfortable stay with the familiar brand standards of the Novotel chain.

The hotel boasts 197 well-appointed hotel rooms and suites, a restaurant, main ballroom and six meeting rooms. We stayed in the Grand Deluxe Room, located on Level 12 hence we had a pleasing view of Taiping town. Ideal for a families, the room was very spacious (38 m sq) and comes with a king-sized bed as well as a large sofa (which can double up as a bed for a young child).

The room is also equipped with a 41" LED TV with children's channel, work desk, coffee machine, minibar fridge, safe deposit box, complimentary high speed WiFi and separate bathroom with standing shower.

Relax by the hotel pool located on Level 7, which offers a beautiful mountainous view of Maxwell Hill (Bukit Larut). There is a children's pool (0.45m) in addition to the main pool (1.2m). For fitness enthusiasts, there is also a gym located on this level.

Sunrise by the pool

The Kids club, also on Level 7, where you will find some toys and TV.

Breakfast is served daily at Food Exchange (Level 7) from 6.30am to 10.30am daily. A selection of local favourites (nasi lemak, noodles), egg station, salad and pastries are available. On Saturday evenings, guests can enjoy a Mediterranean BBQ at the restaurant at RM65 per adult and RM45 per child. Some of the highlights at the BBQ include fresh seafood (fish, slipper lobster, oysters), salads, seafood risotto, live pasta cooking station and desserts.

Saturday BBQ buffet

There is also a Gourmet Bar on Lobby level, serving cakes and light bites.

Novotel Taiping is located above Taiping Mall, and shares the same parking facilities with the mall. Hotel guests may park at Level 6 and enjoy complimentary parking during their stay. Guests can also directly access the mall via the hotel lobby.

For those travelling with their family, we highly recommend these attractions, all within 10 minutes drive from Novotel Taiping.

Taiping Lake Garden

The hotel can be seen from Lake Garden

Taiping Zoo & Night Safari - a must-visit if you have kids! We got to feed monkeys, hippos and giraffe - so fun!

Antong Coffee Mill - Malaysia's oldest coffee mill

Spritzer Eco Park - we came here to play mini golf and it was super fun.

Perak Museum, Malaysia's oldest museum 

Check-in time 2pm; check out time 12pm. Room rate starts from RM316 per night.

Location: Novotel Taiping Perak, No. 1, Jalan Tupai, 34000 Taiping, Perak, Malaysia.

Tel: 05-8208288


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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Skillet x Beta KL: Where Modern European meets Malaysian cuisine

From now until November 2019, Skillet at 163 will be collaborating with Beta KL to present Skillet x Beta, with a special menu featuring new creations and old favourites showcasing the best of both restaurants.

The food, which will be served in Beta KL, is a spectacular combination of modern European and Malaysian cuisine. On the menu, you will find many wonderful local ingredients such as Malaysian caviar, Pahang single origin chocolate and Lawas Highland rice.


To start, we had a variety of snacks; the truffle and rojak tart. The Truffle, is made with shitake mushrooms, topped with a sliver of pickled pumpkin and finally scented with truffle oil for the truffle aroma. The Rojak Tart on the other hand features a crisp spring roll tart filled with sengkuang and pineapple tossed in peanut sauce.

We also had the Kuih Loyang, a traditional snack commonly found during the Malaysian festivities. The crunchy biscuit is tinted with charcoal powder and topped with salted egg yolk cream, deep fried curry leaf and shallots, for a delicious sweet and savoury bite.


The Duck Rillettes was one of our favourite appetizers here. The duck leg is marinated in a pongteh marination for 2 days and then cooked sous vide, before the meat is shredded for the dish. Served with gula melaka syrup, starfruit gel, charcoal tuille and is best enjoyed with the crusty onion or sourdough bread.

Not to be missed is the Salmon Marble inspired by the Sarawak umai. Here, homecured Norwegian salmon is marbled with squid ink and served with pickled radish, mascarpone and a tangy fermented pumpkin juice.

We relished the sweet, juicy Tiger Prawn, skewered onto sugarcane and then deep fried with some quinoa. It was served with a spicy turmeric cream inspired by the gulai masak lemak from Negeri Sembilan. The accompanying spicy winged bean salad with budu was delish.

A marriage of French and Malaysian cuisine, the Escargot & Chicken Mille Feuille combines the flavours of otak-otak from Muar and escargot mille feuille. The water chestnuts and potato skin give texture to this dish while the spicy percik sauce gives it a nice flavour boost.


We love the unique Scallop Risotto, which is made using two types of rice grown in the Highlands of Lawas, Sarawak - Adan (white rice) and Beras Keladi (black rice). The Adan is a fine, small grain and is used for its fluffy and sticky texture. The Beras Keladi, on the other hand, is very rich and emits a sweet pandan flavour when cooked.The rice are cooked with cheese to give it a rich, creamy flavour and then topped with seared scallops and deep fried cordyceps flowers. BabySumoKids favourite mains here.

The Chicken Roulade, which has been cooked sous vide and then seared to finish, was wonderfully moist. Enjoy it with a touch of ginger, coriander and spring onion pesto, chargrilled chives, potato dauphinoise, pickled shallots and chicken jus.

My personal favourite was the tender Lamb Rump, which has been infused with all the bak kut teh goodness. The roasted garlic puree, along with the bak kut teh sauce further enhances the bak kut teh flavours. So good!

A beautiful, luxurious rendetion of the Penang prawn mee, the Lobster Noodle features pasta tossed with honey, butter poached lobster tail and a rich prawn-based sauce. 


And then it's time for desserts. And when Executive Chef Raymond Tham makes his appearance, you know there is bound to be some dessert magic.

BabySumoKids were enthralled and captivated by the Signature Texture of Chocolate (Summer 2019 edition). Liquid nitrogen brings this chocolate dessert to life, and one of the kids were asked to pop it open using the mini hammer. As the name suggests, the dessert showcases different types and texture of chocolate, cocoa soil, and lavender popcorn along with a Thai milk tea sauce.

Specially created for the Mid-Autumn Festival is the Edible Lantern. Perfect for coffee lovers, indulge in the intense coffee mousse, coffee soil, chocolate flowers and tuile wafer.

Pretty in pink, the Strawberry Parfait comes with a rhubarb and ginger compote, white chocolate and pistachio crumb. Light and delicate.

Durian lovers, this one's for you. Featuring the king of fruits, the Musang king durian parfait with pandan cream, peanut croquant, Semai 72% chocolate from Pahang and edible gold paper was rich and creamy - every mouthful a delight. What an indulgent way to end the meal!

Petit fours - Smoked lemon praline and Coconut cookie with coconut cream and jackfruit


Oriental - apple vinegar, jujube, cinnamon, orange

Virgin Bird - pineapple, all-spiced, bitter orange cordial, CO2

Planter Mix (watermelon, rosemary, elderflower, ambra) and Asian Martini (earl grey, Asian cordial, lavender)

You can choose to have a 3-course meal at RM128 or a 7-course degustation menu at RM350. There is also a Lunch Menu, with prices starting from RM18 for a main course.


Opening times: Lunch 12pm-3pm; Dinner 6pm-11pm. Bar open from 5pm-1am.

Location: BETA Restobar, East Wing, 163 Fraser Place, 10 Jalan Perak, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Parking: 1st hour RM4, every subsequent hour RM3).

Tel: 03-2181 2990


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