Friday, July 31, 2009

Grandmama's @ Pavilion, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur

The wait for Grandmama's launch has been excruciating. As soon as it opened, we hurried here for their inaugural lunch and were rewarded with a satisfying meal. The two of us finished five dishes and could barely crawl back to our respective offices to resume work.

We have little experience with fish head noodles, but this was the best version we've ever tried. Loved the milky, tangy soup, a blend of tomatoes & salted vegetables complemented by shallots & scallions. The chunks of deep-fried fish were fresh & hearty.

Sang har meen. Not as good as Soo Kee's but better than Souled Out's. The prawn roe & egg broth was as lip-smackingly rich and creamy as promised.

Sang har hor fun. An interesting change from the crispy noodles that usually accompany these succulent freshwater prawns. The flat rice noodles were silky smooth, but we think we'll stick to the sang har meen.

Char kuey teow. Smoky and flavourful; if only they included cockles in this.

Free-range chicken rice. No complaints. The steamed meat was tender and wholesome, combining well with soft, moist rice and the chilli sauce, sesame oil and light soy sauce.

Refreshing Kiba (banana & cherry juice) and Watermelon & Lychee juice.

Tel: 2143-9333

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Neo @ Jalan Sultan Ismail

Click here for previous review of Neo (July 27).

Returned to this soulful yet sleek place for the second time in less than a week to try some of the items that we had missed the previous round.

It still has a half-finished look, but there's nothing half-baked about the food. Be warned though that Neo only opens for dinner, Monday through Saturday.

Tuna with veal glaze and balsamic reduction over daikon cilantro mash. Succulent stuff, lacking the fishy flavour that sometimes makes tuna a turn-off.

Wasabi prawns with lavender risotto and balsamic reduction. The risotto was perfectly al dente, but the overall combo had a subtle taste that didn't leave a lasting impression.

Duck confit with kumquat risotto and beet passion fruit jus. Absolutely loved this; the duck was tender and aromatic, paired beautifully with the sourish risotto. If you like duck a l'orange, then you'll probably relish this.

Cilantro white cod with black ink spaghetti and salmon roe. A filling portion of pasta, but this paled in comparison to the other platters. Tasted very ordinary.

Terrazas Estate 2005 Mendoza Chardonnay & Malbec (Argentina).

Neo Global Tapas & Luxe Lounge,
Jalan Sultan Ismail.
Tel: 2148-3700

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Bar @ Carcosa Sri Negara, Kuala Lumpur

Stepping into The Bar is like traveling back in time to a lost era when British gentlemen thronged their favourite watering holes to take a break from managing Malaya's rubber plantations. You can almost imagine their ghosts hovering here.

Maybe we should have ordered gin and tonic to preserve the illusion, but we had some lovely (though bloody pricey) red wine instead.

The Bar,
Carcosa Sri Negara.
Tel: 2295-0888

Chinoz @ Mid Valley Gardens

For previous review of Chinoz, click here (May 27, KLCC outlet).

Here's where we start trying to eat healthy...
Rocket, avocado & parmesan salad. Crisp rocket + creamy avocado = perfection.

Prawn, orange, avocado and fennel salad. Refreshing stuff.

And here's where we surrender to temptation...
#9 Pizza topped with duck pastrami, artichoke & aragula. OK but uninspiring.

La Vielle Ferme Cotes du Luberon Blanc, Redvale Shiraz Cabernet and Eye Opener juice (strawberry, carrot and orange).

Chinoz at The Gardens,
The Gardens.
Tel: 2287-8277

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cibo @ Holiday Villa Subang

When we last visited Cibo a few years ago, we had a wonderful dinner and hoped to return someday. But times have changed; the offerings here are now merely passable.

It's still a beautiful place with excellent service. But we were disappointed that many of the recommended items on the menu were unavailable, including monkfish and foie gras.

Cod fish timbale with prawns enhanced with curry and coconut broth. The timbale had the soft, comforting texture of baby food, but with such a fascinating combination of ingredients, it should have tasted more memorable.

Seafood fettuccine with artichoke pesto sauce. A hearty portion with fairly fresh seafood, but not sensational enough to bring us back, with so many better Italian outlets elsewhere.

The risotto was the biggest letdown, comprising bland regular rice instead of arborio rice. It reflected how far this place has fallen from its former heights.

Frontera Merlot. We chose the cheapest house red available, then slapped our foreheads when we realised that we had ordered only seafood and no meat.

Holiday Villa Subang.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Neo @ Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

After months of heated anticipation, Neo has finally opened, perched beside Tamarind Hill overlooking Jalan Sultan Ismail. There's nowhere else quite like this in the heart of the city.

It seems somewhat stark and spartan for now, but it's still an impressive space with the potential to become a major hotspot if it plays its cards right.

The food is unabashedly ambitious, with a range of "global tapas" that incorporate ingredients and ideas from across the continents.

Scallops cooked in baby goat's milk, topped with foie gras and passion fruit reduction. This needed a bit more fine-tuning; the scallops were slightly too dry and the passion fruit reduction was too overpowering.

Salmon cubes cooked over lava stones with beetroot orange mash and foie gras oil. More than praise-worthy; the salmon was grilled lightly enough to retain all its moisture and flavour, blending exceptionally well with the creamy mash.

Gnocchi with lamb loin, sakura (cherry blossom) mix & young goat's cheese. Not a total success; the lamb was tasty enough, but the fried gnocchi was chewy, salty and oily.

Decent drinks here. We had no complaints with the Mojito and White Russian.

Neo Global Tapas & Luxe Lounge,
Jalan Sultan Ismail.
Tel: 2148-3700

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fisherman's Cove @ Starhill Feast Gallery, Bukit Bintang

For previous review of Fisherman's Cove, click here (May 12).

The smoking section upstairs can get a bit too warm for comfort, but it's the better-looking part of this restaurant.

Poached barramundi with assorted vegetables. Absolute comfort food. The barramundi was firm yet flaky, matched very well with a subtly sweet sauce that wasn't overpowering at all.

Honey-&-soy-glazed Chilean seabass with duck confit risotto & butter roe sauce. The restaurant's signature item and a contender for one of the best fish dishes in KL. Even reading that description of ingredients makes me excited!

Angove's Chardonnay Bear Crossing and Dirty Martini.

Fisherman's Cove,
Starhill Feast Gallery.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bijan @ Jalan Ceylon

Bijan's menu has both hits and misses, but it's a lovely, lively place to hang out.

We ordered the otak-otak recently during a supper stop. This was a definite miss; it seemed to have been microwave-reheated. Both the taste and texture were totally unappealing.

The pengat pisang was better; a nice blend of ingredients that wasn't too sweet.

Here's one of the perennial hits. The durian cheesecake is always a pleasure; fresh, creamy, moist and rich with the flavour of the fruit.

The same adjectives apply for the durian ice cream. Very yummy.

Cinta Sejati (white & dark rum, southern comfort, calamansi and soda) and Durian Belanda (vodka, triple sec, soursop and lime juice).

Honey Margarita (tequila, triple sec, ginger and honey calamansi) and Tom Yum (vodka, triple sec, lemon juice, chilli and lemongrass).

Jalan Ceylon.