Friday, August 31, 2012

Burger Panggang Station @ Kampung Baru

Our burger addiction rages unabated: checking out Burger Panggang Station at Kampung Baru.

Burger Panggang Station's friendly two-man team operate a street stall for over six hours starting 6 p.m. everyday except Sundays (though timings might vary for this Aidilfitri month). Customers can build their own burgers, matching their choice of patties with toppings.

We're calling this the Red Meat Cheese-osaurus: a lamb patty topped with a beef one, interspersed with three cheeses _ mozzarella, strong cheddar and edam _ for a full-flavored behemoth of a burger.

Here's the Cheeky Chicken: chicken patty and chicken meatloaf with mayonnaise. For Burger Panggang Station's location, see http://www.facebook.com/burgerpanggangstation1.

Finally, the Spicy Rabbit: rabbit patty with a double whammy of cili padi and black pepper sauce, enough to leave us panting for water. BPS' prices are OK: this trio totaled thirty ringgit.

Burger Panggang Station a.k.a. Pileh Grilled Patty,
Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Just Heavenly Cafe @ BSC

Hark! The hungry angels sing, "Glory to the new cafe!"

After more than a decade of widening the waistlines of cake addicts across the Klang Valley, Just Heavenly now has its own full-fledged eatery, serving cool salads and hot snacks. If there's true justice in the gastronomic world, a thousand slices of this cinnamon-toasted sourdough, topped richly with ripe bananas, nutella, hazelnuts and an orange reduction, will be ordered and enjoyed before 2012 is over.

 Heavenly gives deviled eggs their due, partnering them with watercress in this super-sandwich. Culinary comfort can't get creamier than buttered croissants spilling over with mayo egg salad, gently spiced with mustard, cayenne and paprika.

Crab-and-egg tart, flavored with kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. The filling seems mushier than expected, but that complaint's a matter of personal preference.

 Heavenly has a well-earned reputation as a bane for weight-watchers, but they won't need to run like hell from this cafe, thanks to offerings like a tangy organic quinoa tabouleh, tossed with roasted Mediterranean veggies, red onions and Greek yogurt.

:Let them eat pie! Patrons will be pleased that Heavenly's prices are righteous: this pastry-crusted Wagyu beef stew, complemented by a mash of potatoes, peas and gravy, is the menu's costliest item, but it still falls short of RM30 even after taxes.

Dieting saints will discover an all-day-breakfast menu here that won't deliver them into temptation.

From macadamia muesli with cranberries and raisins to fruit-filled bowls of red dragon fruit, papaya, honeydew, strawberries and watermelon, there's enough vitamins, antioxidants and fiber in these recipes to counter the countless calories of the cakes (they're coming!).

 Greek yogurt with honey and toasted almonds. At RM7++, the cheapest order here. 

 In the end, Heavenly encourages some sinning. All of Allan and Nigel's signature cakes are present, from Death by Chocolate to Choking on Choc & Cheese and Punishment by Peach (OK, OK, we made the last two names up).

The road to Heavenly is paved with peanut butter and red velvet cupcakes, ensuring our teeth will be less than pearly-white by the time we reach the Pearly Gates.

Coffee, tea and sparkling water, all very virtuous; Heavenly is promising to change some of the water on its menu into wine eventually. 



Just Heavenly Cafe,
Level 2, Bangsar Shopping Center, Kuala Lumpur.
Open 10am-9pm

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

JP Teres @ Grand Hyatt

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur has launched a restaurant wholly dedicated to Malaysian cuisine, spanning everything from otak-otak to char kuey teow and tandoori chicken.

JP Teres boasts a lovely layout, with both an air-conditioned interior and an alfresco area in the shadow of the city center's skyscrapers.

Show kitchens form the centerpiece of this eatery, enabling customers to watch their satay being flame-grilled, noodles being wok-fried and their roti canai tossed.

Lamb satay (RM18++ for six sticks), irresistibly chunky and irreproachably marinated.

Oyster omelet (RM20++), more flavorful than we thought a halal version would be.

Ice cream sandwich, a localized interpretation featuring a brick of fragrant 'teh tarik' flavor in between crisp 'love letter' rolls. Excellent.

Cocktails to partner perfectly with satay: Lemongrass Martini and Ginger Ale Pimm's Cup.


Needing more liquor, we took the elevator up 38 floors to Thirty8. On a haze-free afternoon, it's nice to see the hills beyond KL's office buildings.

A place to examine the difference between a Caipirinha and a Caipiroska (RM30++ each).


Main entry on Thirty8's food: August 27, 2012.

JP Teres

Thirty8

JP Teres


Thirty8

JP Teres,
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Forty Licks Ice Cream & The Potong Artisan Pops

KL's ice cream scene keeps heating up: the future looks deliciously cool, thanks to a big freeze of budding brands that'll have customers chilling out with funky flavors.

A futsal-loving former management consultant might not seem like the likeliest candidate to make ice cream for the masses, but 26-year-old Tat Wei has spurned societal stereotypes, withdrawing from the white-collar world this year to chase a chocolate-laden vision encapsulated in his new Forty Licks enterprise.

Tat Wei has a long history with ice cream, first producing a disastrous version at a cooking class with an ex-girlfriend a decade ago. But there was no escaping ice cream throughout his five-year stay in London, which spawned indelible memories of egg-and-bacon ice cream at The Fat Duck and late-night salted caramel binges at Arbutus.

Forty Licks, its name inspired by The Rolling Stones hits CD (remember the stuck-out tongue?), emerged following months of experimentation in Tat Wei's family kitchen. Discarding dreams of liquid nitrogen ice cream (imagine a Malaysian incarnation of Chin Chin Laboratorists), Tat Wei settled for making handcrafted treats that range from a popcorn flavor with a sweet-savory sting to milk chocolate with sticky bits of peanut butter.

Sensuously smooth and fast-melting, distinguished by flavors both aggressive and indulgent (every two mouthfuls felt like an inch added to the waistline). Comparisons with The Last Polka are inevitable but unnecessary for this post. Forty Licks owes a debt to The Last Polka for blazing the trail in KL, but both deserve devoted fans.

Our favorite might be the honey ice cream, tasting like the best nectar a bee could collect, studded with bittersweet jewels of dark chocolate. Expect more eventually: possibles include eggnog ice cream for Christmas and pineapple tart for Chinese New Year. Prices are fair; we paid RM40 for a six-cup sampler.

Tat Wei has reveled in surprised reactions by customers who say his ice cream exceeds expectations. Deliveries are the main way to sample Forty Licks, but look for Tat Wei starting Sept. 9 at the Plaza Mont Kiara Sunday market. Forty Licks might soon also surface at several burger and coffee hangouts. Keep an eye on www.facebook.com/FortyLicksIceCream.

Also worth many licks: The Potong Artisan Pops, which many enjoyed at Jaya One's Food Bites in May. Now available at Bangsar Village's Wondermama and Section 17's Food Foundry.

We haven't met The Potong's founders, but their creations leave little doubt about their passion, leaving us feeling like six-year-olds in a kindergarten playground, sucking on sweet popsicles to keep our spirits high.

Nutella and coconut make for a fun mix, while mango, grapefruit and rose water combine for terrific tropical temptation. A booster shot of flavor and less of plain ice ensure that customers won't scream 'potong stim.'

Our recommendation: A&W classic root beer, vanilla cream and maraschino cherry. Chic-a-cherry cola, I want you, indeed!

To wash everything down: Wondermama's 7-Up and kumquat fizzy concoction.

Forty Licks Ice Cream & The Potong Artisan Pops.
Consumed at Wondermama, Bangsar Village, Kuala Lumpur.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Thirty8 @ Grand Hyatt

Malaysia's first Grand Hyatt has officially opened, occupying highly coveted real estate within a five-minute walk of the Petronas Twin Towers.

The star restaurant here, Thirty8, takes up the hotel's entire 38th floor, showcasing a 360-degree view of KL's skyline and exuding a calm, confident elegance.

Thirty8 isn't as immediately striking as, say, Marini's on 57 at Petronas Tower 3 nearby, but it's a risk-free bet for folks seeking a spacious venue to mix business with pleasure.

A battalion of workers whips up a melting-pot cornucopia of Chinese, Japanese and Western specialties at Thirty8's open kitchens. Something for everyone, since Grand Hyatt KL features relatively few F&B outlets (more on that in awhile).

Thirty8's executive chef is Swedish-born Tommy Fransilla, who has toiled at Hyatt hotels in London, Melbourne, Bangkok and Sao Paulo. Not sure whether he was around when we visited Thirty8, but his Kuala Lumpur team worked very well nevertheless.

This sushi-sashimi platter supplies pure and simple satisfaction. Sure, it's less memorable than what top-breed Japanese restaurants offer, but it's still impossible to criticize.

Two can share a RM120++ serving. Thirty8 probably charges up to 40 percent more for its food compared to earthbound establishments.

Half a duck roasted with Chinese five spices, served with pepper compote (RM60++). Other Oriental offerings here include wok-fried Szechuan tiger prawns, double-boiled chicken soup with wolfberries and soon hock fish with soy sauce and spring onions.

Hot off the Western section: uber-creamy, ultra-sweet pumpkin soup, with notes of walnut oil singing through each slurp. Sunshine in a bowl.

Macaroni and cheese, filling and fulfilling. Like the soup, it's also RM20++. More elaborate (but extravagant) options on the menu include a whole Boston lobster salad and Australian Wagyu and Black Angus steaks.

Thirty8's wine is costly (five reds are available by the glass _ the cheapest is RM29++, with each subsequent one priced progressively higher up to RM69++), but the choices are inspired and the pourings are generous.

Sacha Lichine Merlot (Languedoc, Fr, 2009) and the most potent vodka martini (RM30++) we've sipped this year. Bucking the trend for hotel outlets, Thirty8 serves still water for free.

Service at Thirty8 is award-worthy by every possible measure. To get here, take the elevator from the ground floor to Grand Hyatt's Sky Lobby, where guests check in.

Grand Hyatt has two excellent other eateries: the Malaysian-centric JP Teres and the alfresco Poolside. Reviews to come very soon.


Thirty8 Restaurant and Lounge,
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur.
Hotel line: 03-2182-1234