Monday, April 30, 2012

EST Steaks @ The Intermark

KL's latest steakhouse, EST, marks The BIG Group's unmistakable foray into fine dining; everything from the food and prices to the service and setting here strives to be taken seriously.

This small, sealed space beside Estate features barely 10 tables. It'll probably be polarizing _ some might call it intimately elegant; others may consider it intimidatingly elitist.

Meals here begin with what could become EST's famous complimentary signature starter _ empanadas _ hot, buttery and flaky, filled with ricotta cheese and broccoli.

The selection of steaks is compact but commendable. We sprang for two Australian rib-eyes, starting with this Ralph Meat Company grass-fed, 21-day-aged slab of succulence, satisfyingly bold in flavor (RM136++ for 310 grams).

Greg Norman rib-eye, marble score 5, 30-day aged (RM228++ for 325 grams). Teething troubles might be evident; our steaks came out medium instead of medium-rare, but the second time around, EST's maitre d' had no hesitation returning it to the kitchen and bringing us bloodier beef.

Other bovine beauties here include bone-in AACO Tomahawk Wagyu that could cost many hundreds of ringgit, but wine lovers will be relieved to hear that EST's list is wide and well-priced. A simple bottle of Beringer Stone Cellars Merlot costs a fair RM99++.

Smoke Boulavardier (RM58++; maker's mark, campari, martini rosso, lagavulin 16-years, lemon) and Gentleman's Cobbler (RM58++; hendricks, tio pepe, pineapple, lemon, orange, sugar).

Dessert drinks: Rum and Port Flip (angostura 1919, lbv port, egg yolk, sugar, nutmeg powder) and Tiramisu (ron zacapa 23, patron xo cafe, espresso, mascarpone cheese, chocolate sauce).

Beef-haters, take note: EST also serves everything from crab salads to scallop ceviches, barbecued calamari to beech wood-smoked salmon.

Meats here are seem to be char-grilled Latin American "asado" style on open fires for a smoky flavor. Servers offer a choice of sauces including chimichurri, horseradish and more.

EST @ The Intermark
Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2163-5731

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Scents & Sensibility @ Deliciously Chocolate

Now is the springtime of our contentment; Deliciously Chocolate has unveiled "Scents and Sensibility," a season-inspired selection of sweets that blossoms with fresh fragrances of nature.

Macarons, perfumed like no other in KL, filled with fantastically rich buttercream. Violet macarons with blackberry buttercream infused with rose and violet (our favorite of the bunch!), peach macarons with peach and vanilla buttercream and green tea macarons layered with jasmine flower and green tea-flavored buttercream. RM18 for a bag of six.

Mini cupcakes, with lots of luscious frosting, precisely the way we like 'em. "Bella Rosa" features white chocolate cake with rose-aroma strawberry filling, topped with lychee buttercream, while "Choco Cayenne" is a gently spicy aphrodisiac of dark choc cake with chili-tinged ganache.

Should come with a "Danger: Highly Addictive" warning: "My Darling Lemon Thyme" (nice name!) _ thin, crisp dark choc cookies, laced with lemon thyme and sea salt for sweet-savory nibbling.

Let 'em eat cake: chocolate and orange marble loaf, dense and not too sugary or too dry.

Handcrafted chocolates are also available; we prefer the fully milky ones to the nutty ones.
Earlier entry on Deliciously Chocolate: November 10, 2011.

Deliciously Chocolate,
Menara IMC, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.
Open weekdays, 10am-6pm.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Putik Pauh & Maistreet

Checking out a couple of Malay eateries that have opened this year at Taman Tun.

First up, Putik Pauh, which channels northeastern fare, including compulsory rice dishes. Might not be mind-blowing, but unpretentiously comforting nonetheless.

Laksam, also satisfactory. Prices are pleasing; a meal for two can come under RM20.

Not far away, Maistreet mollifies seekers of street food and shisha.

Basic fried rice, with chicken, fried egg and omelet. Stomach-stuffing, but nothing more.

Putik Pauh,
Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

Maistreet Cafe,
25, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 7, TTDI (behind Presto supermarket).

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mado Ice Cream @ Bukit Bintang

Mado might thaw the hearts of city dwellers seeking cold comfort amid the afternoon heat and others intrigued by this cafe's inimitable inventory of ice cream.

"Dondurma" is Mado's specialty _ ice cream originating from the Turkish region of Maras, made of goat's milk and "salep," a flour obtained from the tuber of mountainside orchids.

Flavors include pumpkin, fig, persimmon and pomegranate, all supposedly natural, formed with real fruits and plants. Might be an acquired taste, far less saccharine than most ice cream, with a fascinatingly chewy-sticky texture that's worth trying at least once.

Kazandibi _ caramelized milk pudding, a chilled confection of wobbliness, shouldering more Turkish ice cream. Another fun fact about the dondurma: it melts very, very slowly.

Kunefe, a hearty traditional dessert wrapped in kataifi pastry, topped with crushed pistachio, filled with mozzarella-like halloumi cheese and served with pistachio ice cream.

Handmade baklava and sarma pastries, showered with chopped walnuts and honeyed and sugared to a system-shocking extent, accompanied by ice cream slices known as "kesme," a denser version of dondurma that some recommend eating with forks and knives.

Supangle _ sponge cake layered with ultra-creamy chocolate mousse and ice cream. Sumptuous, but must be shared; the portion isn't massive, but it's too rich for one person.

Complimentary kitchen-made lemonade at the end of the meal, gently tangy.

Service is speedy and smothered in smiles. Note though that tables are limited.

Mado Asia Cafe,
Jalan Bukit Bintang (intersection with Jalan Sultan Ismail), Kuala Lumpur.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

LOKL Coffee Co


LOKL Coffee Co: Round Two. Earlier entry: April 16.


Chomping down on meat and bread makes for a simple but satisfying lunch when the combination is as well-prepared as this handmade chicken hot dog. At first glance, we weren't sure whether it was worth RM20.90, but at first bite, all doubt was vanquished.


Tea-smoked chicken breast sandwich with sliced apples and honey-mustard salad (RM21.90). Something like this reminds us that making sandwiches is an underrated art; it takes talent to marshal a set of ingredients that complement each other in fulfilling fashion.


Pulled beef, slow-cooked in BBQ sauce and served in a burger bun (RM11.90). We were hoping for savory succulence. Sometimes, you can get what you want (even if it's not what you need).


Putu mayam toastie (RM8.90) _ freshly grated coconut, fried with molasses and stuffed in bread. This crisp, creative concoction works not only as a sweet finish to our LOKL entries _ it whets our appetite to see what else the kitchen will whip up eventually.


From LOKL, it's less than a 10-minute drive to another current favorite, Ril's Steakhouse.


A recent addition to Ril's menu: Truffle boiled egg, caramelized with a sweet chili glaze and served with asparagus soldiers and a salt dip.


A little soft and a little crunchy, with a terrific triangulation of sugary-savory-spicy sensations. Sharing is possible but highly not recommended.


Ril's also has a new bartender or two, one of whom has dreamed up novel cocktails like this Dragon Scotch _ whiskey, spiced rum, dragon fruit and lime.


New York Sour _ whiskey, red wine, egg white, rum, lime and lemon.




LOKL Coffee Co,
30, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2022-0788 (BackHome hostel's number)
Open office hours on weekdays.

Ril's Steakhouse,
198, Tun H.S. Lee, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2022-0528
Open dinnertime, except Mondays.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Barcode @ Jaya One


A welcoming hangout with a massive menu; thankfully, the hits outstrip the misses.


Booze-laced recipes here include spicy seafood soup with julienne veggies and a dash of Sambuca. Hot, thick and tangy, but we can't tell if the anise-flavored liquor makes much difference.


Char-grilled chicken linguine, a fusion-style pasta with ginger and 'shau xhin' wine in brown sauce. The meat is marvelous _ succulent and flavorful in a lick-your-lips way that chicken rarely is. But the strands of linguine seem bland and characterless.


Barcode's version of poutine? Shoestring fries, topped with an enjoyably sloppy, savory mix of stewed beans, sliced sausages and assorted cold cuts. It's one fine mess.


Here's egg on our face: a thirteen-inch, thin-crust pizza, topped with turkey ham, salami, tomato, mozzarella and oregano. As tasty as it looks, maybe even more.


Cocktails galore: Income Tax (Bombay sapphire, vermont, orange juice, angostura bitter) and Barcode Specialty (Gordon's gin, mango liquor, basil, mango juice).


Fuck You Charlie (Jose Cuervo, elder flower, 'lit chao,' apple juice) and Barcode Shooter (Russian Standard, Bombay, Jose Cuervo, Bacardi Gold, Grand Marnier).


Spanish Fly (chivas regal, jose cuervo, martini rosso) and Japanese Slipper (midori, jose cuervo, lime, pineapple juice)


Barcode's house red and Hand Grenade (tequila, cranberry juice).


Barcode,
Level 1, Block M, Jaya One.
Tel: 03-7931-6980