Saturday, December 31, 2011

U Restaurant

One of the sturdiest survivors on Jalan Bangkung, this beautifully furnished outlet has cemented a reputation for satisfactory Japanese fare & stellar service.

The sushi platter here comprises a reasonable range of imported fish & seafood. But its price tag of RM135++ feels too hefty, with merely nine pieces of nigiri sushi alongside the California maki.

If you like it then you should have put a zing on it: Deep-fried sea bass with ponzu sauce. Fleshy fish in seemingly weightless batter, topped with a refreshing citrus dressing.

Potato Maki, with cucumber, crabstick, tobiko & deep-fried shredded potatoes. Sounds interesting but tastes ordinary, despite the coat of shallot-like potato strips.

Cod fish porridge. Feels home-cooked; served piping-hot, thick with chunks of cod.

Cali Cheese Maki, with crabstick, avocado, unagi, cheese & tobiko. Nice enough, though similar-tasting to any decent roll at other outlets.

Sake...

... or wine? Pick your poison.

Business at U Restaurant is sometimes slow compared to its neighbors (Leonardo's, Cava, Opus Bistro & Four Seas), so this might be the place to escape the crowds.

U Restaurant,
Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Muzeum

A weird watering hole, where replicas of dinosaur bones occupy a place of pride on the wall alongside the Venus de Milo & Michelangelo's David.

The food here boasts inventive monikers: this Picasso Pizza features Purple Moon cheddar, soaked with red wine & tossed with mozzarella, scallions, cream cheese & port reduction. Sadly, it tastes unmemorable, similar to cheesy pizzas elsewhere. Muzeum's other pizzas are named Queen Margarita, Al Capone, Shogun, Viking and so on.

Freddy Fulputter & Suffering Bastard. What's in these cocktails? The menu never explains.

On certain nights, Muzeum's customers might be entertained by a young duo harmoniously belting out Chinese-language ballads.



Muzeum,
Red Carpet Avenue, Encorp Strand,
Jalan PJU5/22, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

Toshokan

The Library's fourth watering hole, Toshokan, is a Japanese-themed venue at First Subang Mall. To recap: the original Library at e@Curve seems Western-influenced, its Avenue K outpost is French, while the Puchong one is Chinese.

The influence of the Land of the Rising Sun is embedded in the decor, not the drinks. Frangelico Caipirinha (frangelico, lime wedges, sugar, cranberry juice) & Hpnotiq Mojito (sagatiba pura, hpnotiq, mint leaves, lime wedges, soda, sugar).

Archer's Peach Schnapps & Bailey's. The lighting makes it all yellow (cue Coldplay).

Business is booming, like every other Library, Overtime & their fellow bar businesses that have spread throughout the Klang Valley.

P.S. We're still a little let down by First Subang Mall though. Guess we were hoping for something with more original outlets, instead of mainly offshoots from outlets elsewhere (Coffee Chemistry, Wong Kok, Edo Ichi, Chatime, Austin Chase, etc).

Toshokan,
First Subang Mall.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Verona Trattoria

This street is steaming up; opening next door to Bistro a Table at Section 17, Verona Trattoria is stirring up a taste of Italy to complement its neighbor's French sensibilities.

Expect the basics here _ simple pastas, pizzas & no-frills fare. If some of the food feels familiar, that could be because Chef Enzo Dente of SS2's Buonasera is Verona Trattoria's consultant chef. Prices are democratically affordable; nearly every dish here costs below RM30.

Potato gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce is a surefire stomach-stuffer; it seems slightly too stodgy, but that describes nearly every gnocchi in KL.

Risotto with beef bacon & pecorino cheese (that's what the menu says). Errmm, what cheese? Still, if you must have carbs, this is far more fun & flavorsome than porridge.

Spinach & cheese ravioli. Insidiously rich & creamy, ensuring that we'll never be able to fit into our mothballed, size-28 jeans anytime soon. Or even 30, at this rate.

Speaking of Bistro a Table, head there this month to sample mind-blowing desserts like this mangosteen pavlova. Ripe morsels of our favorite fruit, resting in a child's sweet fantasy of cotton-candy-sticky meringue accented by Chantilly cream & kaffir-infused candied cucumber.

Profiteroles with Gula Melaka, pandan cream & cracked pink peppercorn. If only the French had colonized Malacca _ instead of the Portuguese or the Dutch _ this might have been something we could have savored all our lives, instead of waiting for chef Isadora Chai to create it only now.

Verona Trattoria @ Section 17,
Jalan 17/54, Petaling Jaya.
Closed Tuesdays.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Salon Du Chocolat & Bubbles

Sugar-seekers, search no further than Telawi, where two outlets _ Salon Du Chocolat & Bubbles _ now supply Middle Eastern confectioneries & Taiwanese bubble tea respectively.

First up, Salon Du Chocolat, a Hong Kong-based enterprise that has made Malaysia its first Southeast Asian beachhead. Besides this Bangsar venue, another branch at Publika Shopping Gallery in Solaris Dutamas should launch soon.

Everything from rose-scented chocolate to Turkish Delights laced with apricots & pistachios is available here. Exquisitely crafted tidbits _ a study in lush, floral fragrances that we might be tempted to wear as cologne.

Dark chocolate stuffed with dried figs are an empyrean treat. Mix & match whatever you want; the selection costs slightly above RM20 per 100 grams, which comes up to roughly five pieces.

A two-minute stroll away, Bubbles at Telawi 2 is a homegrown operation that aims to challenge the likes of Chatime & Gong Cha, using fresh tea from Cameron Highlands.

Malaysian flavors are the highlight _ we tried the Milo Ais bubble tea with chewy black pearls & the Durian milk tea (!!!) with burst-in-the-mouth yogurt-filled pearls. Both are rich & refreshing enough to recommend.

Other flavors include taro, watermelon, kiwi, lychee & teh ais. Small cups start at RM4.90.



Salon Du Chocolat @ Bangsar,
Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur.

Bubbles @ Bangsar,
Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, Lumpur.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kaihomaru

If Kaihomaru's location feels familiar, that might be because it replaced the Federal Hotel's Kapoh Muneharu (which in turn took over from Sushi Dokoro Maeshima). But extensive refurbishment has rendered the outlet unrecognizable.

Kaihomaru's menu sets it apart from other Japanese eateries; the restaurant focuses on seafood, serving nearly no chicken, beef or other meat.

This deluxe 28-piece sushi platter costs slightly north of RM200 _ worth the expense, considering the quantity & quality of ingredients. The selection could include ootoro (the fattiest of tuna belly), sea urchin, amberjack, shrimp & scallops. No run-of-the-mill salmon, for sure.

For a fleshy fish with a mackerel-like flavor, this grilled arabesque greenling should satisfy seekers of succulence.

Yellowtail simmered with soy sauce. Aside from the raw fish, Kaihomaru's offerings are far from pricey; a meal here without sushi & sashimi shouldn't exceed RM60 per person without drinks.

A little sake never hurt anyone, right? A lot, though, would be a different story.



Kaihomaru,
The Federal Hotel, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2144-3088
Last orders at 10:30 p.m.