Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lunar New Year Home Meals: Ampersand & Cafe 5 Takeaways

Bringing home a meal this month from Damansara Uptown's Ampersand by Culinary Rebels: The restaurant's Chinese New Year Yee Sang - ravishingly designed to resemble a colourful pair of koi fish - was one of the tastiest, most textured tosses we've enjoyed in 2016, with no fewer than 18 ingredients, filled with the freshness of jicama, purple cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, chewy fu-chuk & more, with crunchy sweet braised shredded pork to replace the customary seafood - it conveyed a more substantial savouriness in each bite compared to the typical yee sang, but it made for a nice, nuanced change from the norm. A strong start to a dinner that also included Ampersand's increasingly renowned chicken wings (CCB Belacan & Devil Szechuan Peppercorn Oil) & super-succulent pork ribs (fennel-rubbed), partnered with the double-carb whammy of Japanese sweet potatoes & chive-mashed potatoes. We over-ordered, so we ended up with leftovers - that's not to disparage the pastas, which were both well-prepared (the aglio olio is above average, & the kimchi with cumin cream is an interesting experiment). Talk about guilty indulgences - the bacon-wrapped pork balls with mozzarella cheese were total calorie bombs; but in the end, the eating was worthwhile, thanks to surprising pleasures like the deep-fried sliced lotus roots - order these for certain; they're almost guaranteed to be gigantically crowd-pleasing in any group that loves the Chinese New Year season's arrowhead chips.

Pearl International Hotel's Cafe 5 was a conveniently located choice for us to attempt a takeaway spread; we're thankful that it turned out to be a (mostly) satisfactory choice for a reasonable budget of below RM500. The Yee Sang with jellyfish & baby octopus could have been skipped (too cloying), but the Seafood Poon Choy was a worthwhile bet for slightly south of RM300, brimming with a total of 10 sizeable prawns, as well as sufficient dried scallops, mussels & sea cucumber, plus slices of smoked duck, chicken, lotus roots & broccoli too. Again, the food proved too much, but in any other situation, we'd have utterly devoured the fall-off-the-bone herbal steamed whole chicken (coupled with chunks of arrowhead, a distinctively flavoursome alternative to the common potato) & lotus leaf-wrapped glutinous rice (an addictive match with pieces of punchy waxed duck).

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10 comments:

  1. The yee sang look so good!

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    1. Shane: and it didn't taste half bad either! ;)

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  2. The first Yee Sang dish sure comes in a huge portion... which is good; probably symbolizes abundance :P

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    1. Ken: heh, yeah, abundant enough for six to share :D

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  3. Your CNY poon choy looks great! :)

    I didn't know Pearl International Hotel does a poon choy, it wasn't in my research list for poon choy, unfortunately. Thanks for letting us know, I'll be sure to check it out next year. The lotus wrapped glutinous rice looks good too.

    LOL @ &'s creatively named CCB chicken wings. :D

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    1. Huai Bin: it was surprisingly good - i have to admit, i had not-too-high expectations of Pearl, but it delivered a more-than-satisfactory poon choy for the price. and the glutinous rice was quite addictive ... unfortunately i still haven't had lap mei fan this year though :) haha, yeah, the Ampersand people sure had fun with that choice of name ;)

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  4. Pay close attention to waist line during CNY :) we tend to overeat

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    1. Leo: agreed ... i've been over-eating since last week :D

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  5. That sure saves a whole lot of trouble, no need to cook one's own. Hey!!! I love that monkey!!! Can't find any nice ones here for decorating my house. :(

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    1. Suituapui: yeah, nobody in my family has the energy to cook for long hours anymore, so takeaways are a godsend ;) haha, that monkey was kinda cute. Maybe you could make your own monkey cut-out! :D

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