Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mochi Sweets

We've never been major fans of mochi, but the delicate rice cakes at this new kiosk in Pavilion's Tokyo Street bowled us over. Could this be KL's best mochi?

Try all 12 flavors, for glutinous goodness' sake: sakura, black chocolate, cream chocolate, yam, red bean, caramel macchiato, chestnut cream, green tea, peach cream, mango yogurt, strawberry & blueberry cream. Ingredients are flown in from Japan.

Eaten chilled for a refreshing dessert that features lovely flavors laced with a subtle sweetness. The skin is like a petal-soft coat, swaddling a gooey paste that could be a compromise between caramel & ice cream. Impatience prevented us from letting these thaw a little longer.

Will mochi be this year's macarons? Probably not, but the ones here are certainly worth the calories. An elegantly packaged gift set comprising the complete dozen costs RM44.50.

Mochi Sweets,
Tokyo Street, Level 6, Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hokkaido Santouka Ramen

Pavilion's "Tokyo Street" precinct is a warren of eateries, but its biggest crowd-puller so far is this ramen specialist, which started out in Hokkaido in 1988 before expanding to other parts of Japan, the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and now, Malaysia.

Santouka's signature recipe is the Shio Ramen, which the menu says comprises a "mild, creamy soup seasoned with salt and topped with a crunchy pickled plum." Top-notch noodles, firm and fun to slurp, swimming in broth that boasts a clean but deep flavor.

Miso Ramen. A more savory, emphatically robust option that meat lovers would relish, combining pork broth & miso paste with pork rib char siew & bamboo shoots. Fans of ramen no longer need to cross the road to Fahrenheit 88's Marutama Ramen.

Service is supremely efficient; the restaurant runs like the proverbial well-oiled machine, with customers in and out within 30 minutes even during peak hours.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka,
Tokyo Street, Level 6, Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ploy @ Damansara Heights

Ploy: Round Two. Earlier entry: July 22.

This round at Ploy yielded both hits & misses. The tuna, scallop & avocado "mille-feuille" on sushi rice looked like a cool creation, but it tasted like a regular maki at an upscale Japanese restaurant. Not a terrible thing, but not terrific either.

Salmon with "laab" shoyu & lime sauce. Sashimi, suffocated in sourish saltiness.

Crispy baby squid in sesame sauce. Works as a bar snack; as addictive as it sounds.

Butterfish marinated with shoyu, sake & mirin. Ploy's version of char siew; the fish boasted a honeyed smokiness and a firmer bite than expected.

Notable desserts include the durian gelato, made with the highly valued "raja kunyit" breed for a singularly sweet flavor with a mildly bitter aftertaste.

Durian panna cotta, blending Asian & European sensibilities in one creamy confection. If there's one thing to admire about Ploy, it's the risk-taking here.

Thrab thim krob _ Thai red rubies with water chestnuts & shaved coconut ice. Refreshingly cold and well executed, ensuring a satisfactory finish.

Thai-inspired cocktails: Basil Mojito & Ginger Cosmopolitan.




Ploy @ Clearwater,
G-02 Work @ Clearwater,
Jalan Changkat Semantan, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2095-0999

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boys' Night Out @ Fukuharu

Fukuharu has launched "Boys' Night Out," in which male customers enjoy one complimentary serving of sushi and a free flow of the restaurant's signature cocktail through 9pm Thursdays.
Earlier entries on Fukuharu: June 10, 2009 & Jan. 21, 2010.

Everyone's favorite: mentaiko tamago sushi, on the house tonight for men. Equal rights are ensured, since ladies who visit Fukuharu on Wednesdays receive this without charge too.

Mochi Caesar salad with ponzu mayonnaise. Deliciously different from regular Caesar recipes; the rice cakes supply a glutinous feel that some might prefer to the crispness of croutons.

Luscious avocado, blanketed in brilliantly light tempura batter.

Sea bass with pepper seeds & dried seaweed. Bored of typical sashimi preparations? Mix everything on this plate up for a crunchy, sharply spicy treat.

Breaded tuna, served rare. No complaints, but not the highlight of this meal.

Claypot rice with unagi. Might work better with a bit more eel in the bowl.

Three intriguing ice cream flavors: white sesame, miso & dashi (kelp & bonito flakes). Plenty of sweet-savory sensations here, reminiscent of cocoa & salted caramel.

Blue Twilight, a surprisingly potent sake-&-shochu-based cocktail. We were only here for an hour, but the two of us downed six of these, thanks to the free-flow. Kudos to the service team for always replenishing our drinks without us even asking.

Fukuharu,
Terrace @ Hock Choon, Off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tate @ Intermark

Returning to Tate, this time to test how many cocktails two people can consume after having finished two bottles of wine elsewhere that night.
Earlier entry on Tate: June 30.

The time stamp for this photo reveals that we began at two minutes past midnight with this Ginger Smash, a heady brew comprising sagatiba pura, luxardo maraschino cherry liquor, sour apple, ginger juice, sugar, fresh lime & pineapple.

Time seemed to speed up, slow down, then speed up again as we spoke of love, life and other mysteries while nursing a beautiful Pomegranate Margarita (don julio reposado, cointreau, pomegranate juice, lime juice, pomegranate, fresh lime).

A Charlie Chaplin movie unfolded silently on the screen of our booth while we nursed this Pimm's Fizz (pimm's No. 1, chartreuse, lime juice, egg white).

The Elder Black (ketel one, st germain elderflower liquor, blackberry puree, lemon juice, mint). Tate's priciest cocktail, at RM52++. But worth its weight in intoxication.

Provencal (tanqueray No. 10, martini extra dry, cointreau, orange twist). Our final sip, at two-thirty. A few more cocktails would have been nice, but everyone else was leaving the bar by then, and it seemed wrong to keep the service team trapped here.

The best trail mix EVER! We must have had five complimentary servings of this (many thanks to the staff for continuously replenishing our plates).

Tate,
Ground Floor, The Intermark,
Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2161-2367

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Heritage Food

Another year, another outlet takes over this address. In 2009, it was Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa; last year, it transformed into Nasi Lemak Tanglin. Now, Heritage Food takes a shot at showcasing Malay street food here.

Nasi minyak hujan panas. Reminiscent of nasi briyani; perhaps not as rich, but commendably aromatic nevertheless. We couldn't tell what went into the rice _ bunga cengkih? buah pelaga? kulit kayu manis? _ but this is something we wouldn't mind munching every Aidilfitri.

Laksa Johor, with spaghetti, bean sprouts, cucumber, lime & other garnishing, accompanied by a thick fish gravy (mackerel? maybe). We like this better than Penang's Assam Laksa, since it seems less fiery and not so sourish.

Lontong. Comfort food, blending sweet, savory & spicy nuances in a warm broth. Heritage Food's offerings are moderately priced by Bangsar's standards; most items cost below RM10.

Nasi lemak. The rice itself was OK but forgettable; instead, order this for the surprisingly tender paru goreng, possibly this neighborhood's best.

Freshly fried cucur ikan bilis, a little less common than cucur udang.

Lempeng kelapa, a fluffy pancake partnered with sambal & gula melaka.

Bubur durian, served with pulut. Hot, sticky and subtly stinky.

Teh tarik, served in mugs like hot chocolate.

All in all, a pleasant place, with well-prepared food and a friendly, helpful service crew.

Heritage Food,
51, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2282-8862