Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sakai's Curry @ Solaris Mont Kiara

We love Japanese curry - when it's done right, it's unbeatably fulfilling. So we were eagerly looking forward to this place, presuming it would specialise in comfort cooking to warm us up on one of KL's current typically storm-soaked evenings.

Sakai's Curry (the name refers to the Japanese owner) is an interesting-looking place that's run by a friendly & obliging team. This new eatery in Solaris Mont Kiara is expected to be the prelude to several more branches in the coming months, with the next to open in Kota Damansara's Encorp Strand Mall.

For the curry section, customers can choose rice & curry with pork cutlet (our order), prawn, chicken, hamburg or vegetables. While it's not terrible, it falls short of its full potential - the curry's one-dimensional, the rice isn't exactly leave-no-grain-behind, while the cutlet is a tad too thin, considering this portion costs RM18.

The kitchen might still be working out the kinks; everything we tried had issues in terms of taste & texture - overly seasoned, overly oily, overly soggy or something else - from the fried chicken with leek sauce (RM17) ...

... to the mushy-inside hamburg steak (RM12) with the blandest broccoli & carrots we've sampled this year ...

... to the slightly rubbery scallops 'ajillo' with garlic sauce (RM31), a representative of the menu's unexpected Latin American & European-influenced sections (which include nachos, guacamole & Caprese salad) ...

... to deep-fried octopus (RM14) that could be summed up in a phrase that's suitable for the food here - 'could be a lot better.' Still, we like Sakai's theme & his team, & we want to wish them well; we hope they'll be able to revamp or refine their recipes.

Wine & cocktails are available (but not sake, for now). The bar manager is warm & enthusiastic; we'll leave it at that, & we hope to hear positive feedback from other customers about Sakai's Curry & Bar in the future.

Sakai's Curry & Bar
Jalan Solaris 3, Solaris Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur
Daily, lunch & dinner (open through late, closed on public holidays)

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for October-December 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. 
This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.cld.bz/2014D 
This link expires Dec. 31, 2014. Please check the newest blog entries after that for fresh links.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
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Sausages to sambal. Muffins to marshmallows. Peanut butter to mango chutney. Cornflake ice cream to honey aloe yogurt. Lavender-laced lemonades to lychee-&-guava juices.
Eat Drink KL: Small Businesses, Huge Flavours is the first eBook to help customers navigate the diversity of independent F&B entrepreneurs who bake & boil in their own kitchens, offering some of Malaysia's finest, most fascinating food products.
This resource will be continuously updated with new listings: www.eatdrinkkl.publ.com/businesses 
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Austin @ Telawi, Bangsar & San Telmo @ Melbourne

Beef seizes the spotlight for this protein-powered entry; we kick off with The Austin, a new Texan-inspired restaurant spearheaded by the Austin Chase coffee chain in Bangsar.

The Austin's wide-ranging menu sounds promising - coffee-rubbed rib-eye with truffle sauce or Roquefort cream (RM36.90), spiced beef burgers with avocado & BBQ sauce (RM27), slow-cooked beef chili (RM15.90), plus a bevy of non-bovine recipes - spinach salads, devilled eggs, phyllo-wrapped salmon, tiger prawns with mango salsa & penne arrabbiata with lamb meatballs. Everything a respectable steakhouse might require.

Alas, much of the menu remained unavailable when we visited, so we settled for this pan-seared tenderloin with mushroom ragout. All things considered, it hit all the minimal marks - tender, juicy & flavoursome, prepared perfectly rare as requested.

Wine is available by both glass & bottle (Chilean Cab Sav starts at RM24); the service team is obliging & tries to please.

Bonus stop for beef: San Telmo, a Latin American eatery in Melbourne, influenced by Buenos Aires' 'asado' barbecue venues.

The restaurant, dressed in a cow-hide decor, is all about cooking on a bespoke, hand-made 'parilla' charcoal grill, resulting in smoky-succulent triumphs like these O’Connor pasture-fed beef short ribs (AUD30) ...

... & side dishes like veal sweetbread (AUD15), something we're constantly craving back here in KL ...

... plus porky pleasures like the braised Berkshire jowl ‘cheek’ with crackling (AUD19).

Everything from the condiments to the beverages is meant to evoke the spirit of Argentina too, with a wine list reputedly sourced from that country's bodegas.

 Pinot Noir 2011 (The Kid; Patagonia, Argentina), alongside the El Pato cocktail (Beefeater gin, Noilly Prat dry vermouth, Rossoi Antico, Campari & Cointreau served on the rocks).

The Austin
Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur

San Telmo
14, Meyers Place, Melbourne

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for October-December 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. 
This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.cld.bz/2014D 
This link expires Dec. 31, 2014. Please check the newest blog entries after that for fresh links.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Sausages to sambal. Muffins to marshmallows. Peanut butter to mango chutney. Cornflake ice cream to honey aloe yogurt. Lavender-laced lemonades to lychee-&-guava juices.
Eat Drink KL: Small Businesses, Huge Flavours is the first eBook to help customers navigate the diversity of independent F&B entrepreneurs who bake & boil in their own kitchens, offering some of Malaysia's finest, most fascinating food products.
This resource will be continuously updated with new listings: www.eatdrinkkl.publ.com/businesses 
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mono Sushi @ Solaris Dutamas, Outside Publika

One restaurant, 120 different types of sushi - that's the hook for Solaris Dutamas' new Mono Sushi.

 Our favourite thing about Mono Sushi is its setting, tastefully composed - no surprise, since the restaurant is run by the talents who crafted the polished look for Cosans Coffee. It seems plausible that - similar to Cosans Coffee - Mono Sushi is intended to eventually progress into a chain of eateries too.

Lovely portraits adorn the restaurant's walls, illustrating Mono Sushi's philosophies - the outlet's founders say Mono means simplicity, silence & focus; the feel here is ostensibly inspired by the Japanese city of Kawagoe & its old, evocative buildings.

 The sushi menu is divided into 12 main categories, each with a different seafood topping: Aji (horse mackerel), ika (squid), hamachi (amberjack), suzuki (sea bass), tai (sea bream), hotate (scallop), ebi (shrimp), unagi (eel), sake (salmon), managatsuo (butter fish), tako (octopus) & maguro (tuna). Pretty presentations.

 Each of the 12 categories then contains 10 different preparations - a clever concept that results in a dizzying parade of potential choices. Squid with natto, cheese, kimchi or ume shiso sauce? Horse mackerel tempura or tataki? Amberjack with mango or mentaiko? We could have listed more of the options, but the service team told us to stop photographing the menu.

 Most of the pieces of sushi are priced at RM3.80 or RM4.80 each, reasonably priced enough for many visitors to Publika (though our favourite, the scallop, is a still-fair RM5.80). Customers can stop by for a light snack & spend less than RM20 for several pieces of sushi or splurge on a full-blown meal for very likely south of RM60 per person. 

 Flavour-wise, Mono Sushi somewhat falters for us; the sushi showcases respectable effort, with sufficiently fresh seafood, but this is ultimately more of the mass-market variety, with imperfections in intricacies like the balance of flavours & the preparation of rice, falling short of the bar set by places like Sushi Hinata & Ichiro Sushi Bar - the price to pay for lower prices.

Mono Sushi
A2-G2-3A, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur. Outside Publika, same floor as MPH. Walk out, on the same row as Mee Jawa.
Open daily for lunch & dinner. Tel: 03-6206-5239

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for October-December 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. 
This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.cld.bz/2014D 
This link expires Dec. 31, 2014. Please check the newest blog entries after that for fresh links.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.


Sausages to sambal. Muffins to marshmallows. Peanut butter to mango chutney. Cornflake ice cream to honey aloe yogurt. Lavender-laced lemonades to lychee-&-guava juices.
Eat Drink KL: Small Businesses, Huge Flavours is the first eBook to help customers navigate the diversity of independent F&B entrepreneurs who bake & boil in their own kitchens, offering some of Malaysia's finest, most fascinating food products.
This resource will be continuously updated with new listings: www.eatdrinkkl.publ.com/businesses 
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my

Monday, October 27, 2014

Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake @ 1 Utama & OW:L Espresso @ SS15 Subang

East Asian desserts seem destined for dominion in the weeks ahead; here's a short-&-sweet peek at Uncle Tetsu's Cheesecake in 1 Utama, the first Malaysian outpost of the popular Japanese chain ...

... followed by the independent Korean-owned OW:L Espresso, set to become one of Subang Jaya's coolest new hangouts.

At Uncle Tetsu's, you'll find customers constantly clustered around the counter throughout the day, waiting patiently as timers count down the painful minutes until the next set of orders can be taken & the next batch of cakes will be ready. Uncle Tetsu's upside is also its downside: Cakes are baked to order - they taste soft, warm & fresh but need at least 20 minutes to make.

Consequently, these aren't the most convenient cheesecakes; many patrons - including those in China, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines & Thailand - might empathise: We stopped by at 3:05pm & were informed it'd be 25 minutes till our order could even be taken. We couldn't linger, so we came back at 6:30pm, had our order taken immediately & waited 20 minutes for the cake.

But the tale has a happy ending: These cheesecakes - reputedly made with top-flight cream cheese, eggs & milk - are (probably) worth the effort. They're supremely fluffy, almost more of a souffle than cake, with a surprisingly sumptuous, sweet-savoury flavour considering their light texture.

Each 16-centimetre cake costs RM19.90 & can be shared by six people, so it's not especially or excessively expensive.

Next up, OW:L Espresso, a first-floor perch in Menara Rajawali where college students of a feather flock together, right beside Inti International University in SS15 Subang.

Korean 'bingsu' is the star attraction - the renowned Korean shaved ice dessert that's increasingly casting a cold snap over the Klang Valley. OW:L's version is indulgently smooth & well-tuned in flavour. Varieties include Injeolmi with glutinous rice cakes, Milk Fat, Cookies & Cream or Yoghurt & Fruit, but we placed our bet on this unique cross between bingsu & affogato, crowned not only with azuki beans but ice cream, & served with a shot of espresso. RM14 for a 'small' that two can easily share. 

No coffee no cry - OW:L Espresso serves Marley Coffee, founded by the son of Bob Marley.

Ice cream toasts are available, fruity with yuja citrus fruit & berries (RM13); hearty, but a better choice of bread might make this more enjoyable.

Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake
LGK-2A, 1 Utama New Wing, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. Near Best Denki.

Uncle Tetsu Cheesecake
LGK-2A, 1 Utama New Wing, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. Near Best Denki.

OW:L Espresso
Menara Rajawali, Jalan SS15/8, Subang Jaya. Open daily, 10am-midnight

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for October-December 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. 
This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.cld.bz/2014D 
This link expires Dec. 31, 2014. Please check the newest blog entries after that for fresh links.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Sausages to sambal. Muffins to marshmallows. Peanut butter to mango chutney. Cornflake ice cream to honey aloe yogurt. Lavender-laced lemonades to lychee-&-guava juices.
Eat Drink KL: Small Businesses, Huge Flavours is the first eBook to help customers navigate the diversity of independent F&B entrepreneurs who bake & boil in their own kitchens, offering some of Malaysia's finest, most fascinating food products.
This resource will be continuously updated with new listings: www.eatdrinkkl.publ.com/businesses 
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my