Monday, December 31, 2012

Ril's Restaurant & Bar @ Telawi, Bangsar

A year after first making its mark in Chinatown, Ril's has unveiled its second branch, bringing stylish soulfulness to a two-level restaurant & bar in Bangsar.

Ril's street-level fine-dining eatery captures a sense of classic elegance long lacking in Telawi, while the curtain-cloaked bar upstairs boasts sexy theatricality that forms a luxurious backdrop for bartender Danny Winter's flamboyant concoctions.

The a la carte food menu here wasn't available in time for our visit, but since Ril's recently bagged Time Out KL's "Best For Meat" 2012 accolade, expect to bite into succulent steaks like the ones we've savored at Ril's original steakhouse outlet.
Entries for Ril's @ Chinatown's Warehouse: Sept. 30, 2011Oct. 4, 2011 & Nov. 13, 2011.

Other Ril's stalwarts that might find favor in Bangsar: sweet potato & corn croquette with spicy beetroot compote, lemon creme fraiche & fried quail egg, as well as crispy chicken stewed with white wine & served with potato pancake.

Ril's seafood specialties: prawn cocktail with revamped marie-rose sauce, scallops served sweet, sour & salty, plus lobster tails with truffled macaroni & cheese.

Tuna steak, prepared medium rare, alongside a tomato & red onion salad tossed in red wine & parsley vinaigrette. Rest assured there'll also be fresh entries on Bangsar's menu not found at the Chinatown outlet.

Signature touches like this staircase to the bar ensure this branch remains unmistakably Ril's.

Plan your next rendezvous here: Ril's Bar could be a game-changer for this neighborhood, a shadowy, breathtakingly beautiful hideaway complete with Chesterfield sofas, timbered ceilings, marble-topped bar, smiling servers in bow ties & even a stuffed parrot somewhere.

Cocktails curated with candy floss or swirling with smoke will be available by this coming week; the best time to sip them might be on Fridays & Saturdays, when live jazz performed by the likes of Karen Nunis Blackstone will cast its spell on customers.

Chief bartender Winter can whip up cocktails to suit personal preferences; try this mix of tequila, lime, agave nectar & raspberry compote for something sweetly fruity.

Classic cocktails with charisma: New York Sour & The Old Fashioned.

Ril's was meant to open in early December, but it's been beset by everything from plumbing problems to a nighttime burglary. Let's hope smoother sailing lies ahead; this could turn into one of Bangsar's brightest stars for years to come.

Ril's currently opens only in the evening but will start serving lunch very soon (knock on wood!).

Ril's Bangsar,
30, Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2201-3846
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

F4 Fish Head & Brother Yat @ Subang

Deep within factory-filled Subang, two warehouse-like restaurants have cultivated loyal followings.

First up, F4 Fish Head, where the specialty is self-explanatory. We like it steamed with ginger, served satisfyingly fresh & surprisingly fleshy.

Herbal chicken, a tender winner at this breezy outlet that's more comfortable than expected.

Salted egg yolk squid, the tastiest version we've had in ages. Fabulous flavor, slightly sweet.

A crowd-pleasing classic: Pork belly with salted fish in claypot, steaming-hot & savory.

Seafood tofu, recommended for folks who like this soft instead of firm.

Sweet potato leaves, as good as it gets. Total cost: RM140, a reasonable bill to foot.

Scarcely a thirty-second drive from F4, here's Brother Yat, a more modestly sized eatery.

Brother Yat's beer-cooked "sauna prawns" are the signature recipe here.

Succulent & remarkably flavorsome, costing below RM50 per half-kilogram.

Pork knuckle in "Mongolian" brown gravy. Meaty where it must be, comprising plenty of parts that cater to both fat-seeking & crispness-craving customers.

Tea-smoked chicken. Not bad, but in the battle of the fowl, we think F4's herbal one triumphs.

In the clash of seafood tofu though, Brother Yat's fried one might prove the victor.

Stir-fried veggies with some crunchy, root-like fibers. Addictive, almost.

Spinach soup & two-style kai lan to wrap up a meal that merits its RM160 price tag.

F4 Fish Head @ Subang

Brother Yat @ Subang

F4 Fish Head & Brother Yat,
Jalan Subang 4, Subang Jaya.
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kaihomaru & Kazu Sushi

Returning to Kaihomaru at Bukit Bintang and checking out Kazu Sushi at Viva Mall.
 Earlier entry on Kaihomaru: December 27, 2011.

With much more in the ocean than salmon and tuna, it's nice to visit a Japanese outlet serving seafood recipes that are relatively uncommon in KL, like baby squid preserved in soy sauce. Squishy stuff, not for the squeamish.

Marinated squid guts with pan-fried boiled potatoes. Waste no part of the cephalopod _ not even the ickiest bits, memorably slimy and intensely briny.

Shirasu with white radish. Baby anchovies, soft ones with a bit of a 'wet dog' taste.

"Mozuku" seaweed, a key export of Okinawa. How to describe this? Maybe it's like the Chinese black moss ('fatt choy'), except that it's vinegared in this preparation.

Fleeing the sea for awhile and heading for the hills: Japanese mountain yam with a mound of wasabi. Crisp but somewhat flavorless.

Drowning in a watery grave of sake. Goodbye, cruel world!

This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.

For food that's less unusual, moving on to Kazu Sushi, which fulfills the basic requirements for a casual Japanese eatery in a suburban mall _ nothing more, nothing less.

Avocado hand rolls, made to order. Fresh and well-filled at about RM3 apiece.

Conveyor-belt sushi is also available, topped with everything from seaweed ...

... to the various colors of fish roe _ black, red and a few other shades in between.

 Grilled eel reverse roll. Competently prepared, but not necessarily memorable.

Maki of chopped tuna with cili padi. Fiery, but not that fearsome.

Sake makes it all worthwhile. Somewhat, anyway. 


Kazu Sushi.

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

Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: