Sunday, April 22, 2018

Hotel Esplanada Restaurant @ Dili, Timor-Leste

With a breezy beachside view on Timor-Leste's Avenida da Portugal, Hotel Esplanada Restaurant is a pleasant place to linger in the capital of Dili from morning through sunset - eggs, bacon, sausages, avocados and mushrooms for breakfast, followed by local sabako fish grilled with chillies, herbs and lime or spiced tamarind lamb tukir stew for dinner, accompanied by cocktails and wine.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

SugarBun Borneo Asian Food: 2018 Menu

By Aiman Azri

Two years after expanding to Kuala Lumpur, Sarawak's beloved SugarBun chain has become a staple for fans seeking a taste of Borneo and beyond; this month, we managed to return to SugarBun's city centre outpost in Menara Hap Seng to check out the current selection. The brand also operates in Melawati Mall and plans to continue spreading across the Klang Valley (SugarBun is part of the Franchise Exhibition and Conference 2018 that's running from 20 to 22 April at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre - head there if you're interested in SugarBun franchising opportunities and look out for the SugarBun booth).

Sugarbun, originally established in 1979, currently boasts close to 70 branches in its birth state of Sarawak, spanning Bintangor to Bintulu, Kanowit to Kuching, Sarikei to Sibu, with plenty more in Sabah, Johor and even Brunei, Bangladesh and Melbourne in Australia.

One of its flagship temptations is the Broasted Chicken, specially pressure-cooked and freshly deep-fried in a 'broasting' technique that beautifully retains the flavour of its marination - it's tastily crafted chicken, from the crunchy skin to the tender flesh, far less oily than its peers. It's no wonder this has remained enduringly popular - it's perfect for fried chicken enthusiasts, and it's mind-boggling to imagine how many pieces a home-grown brand like SugarBun has sold of this over the decades.

For a basic set with savoury rice and pickles, pick the Two Piece Broasted Chicken Meal (RM 12). Or try the spicier variant, the Saucy Kano Broasted Chicken Meal, blanketed with a lemongrass-and-garlic kano sauce that's pretty lip-smacking (RM 15). You can also purchase the chicken by the piece - RM 4 for one, RM 11.50 for three, RM 19.50 for five.

SugarBun at Menara Hap Seng is set up in the fashion of a food court, with multiple stalls that you can order your food from. The range offers something for everyone, from the broasted chicken to Asian fare of rice, noodles and seafood specialities. 

The menu here showcases a wider variety compared to many other SugarBun outlets but remains steadfast about its source of ingredients, bringing in key items from East Malaysia to ensure authenticity. 

Nourishing best-sellers for fan of fowl and fish include the Chicken Mushroom Claypot Meal, served in a pleasantly light soup, complemented by a blended sauce that contains chillies from Lahad Datu (RM 14), and the Sabah Giant Garoupa Mee Hoon Soup, showcasing chunky Sabah-bred fish in a refreshingly perky broth (RM 28).

The Borneo Eco Fish Meal is one of SugarBun's most eye-catching treats, placing a whole Sarawak-raised tilapia on your plate, with skin so crisp it makes music between your teeth, nicely buoyed by condiments including the Lahad Datu chilli sauce (a very fair RM 20).

Of course, there's an Authentic Sarawak Laksa available too, evoking the flavours of Kuching with a broth that's satisfyingly savoury and spicy, complete with prawns, shredded chicken, egg and vegetables for a fulfilling lunch (RM 12).

And finally, for the busy office worker who might not have a full half-hour to sit down for a meal, the Fish Burger is your best bet for a quick antidote to banish hunger pangs - it's another SugarBun classic that has stood the test of time (RM 9.50).

Dessert is SugarBun's Ais Kacang with Sabah Seaweed, featuring jelly that's meticulously made in-house for textural contentment (RM 6). Drink recommendations include the naturally cooling Apple Snow Fungus (RM 4.20) and the soothing Three Layer Tea, layered with Borneo's palm sugar of gula apong (RM 4.50).

Many thanks to the SugarBun team for having us.

Sugarbun Borneo Asian Food
Menara Hap Seng 2, Level 1, Jalan P. Ramlee, 50450 Kuala Lumpur.
Open Monday-Friday, 11am-8pm. Tel: 03-2022-0003

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings, F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits. Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link:

Friday, April 20, 2018

O Petit Paris @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail

TTDI bids bienvenue to this new French boulangerie, which beckons customers with baguettes, brioches and bouchée à la reine. Expect a full-fledged Gallic encounter here; O Petit Paris' friendly founder Zac hails from France's northern city of Lille, while chef Pascal comes from Annecy in the south.

Begin with the bouchée à la reine, layered puff pastry filled with chicken sausage, onions and mushroom cream, alongside a simple salad with crunchy, house-made croutons, for a quintessentially French starter with satisfying textures (RM24).

Beyond baked fare prepared with French flour (and French flair), O Petit Paris offers bistro-style hot meals and patisserie sweet pleasures. Le Lafayette is a burger to bookmark - the tender beef patty is blanketed with onion confit and creamy raclette cheese for a distinctively flavourful creation (RM25). 

Don't leave without having a religieuse experience - choux pastries stuffed with achingly soft creme patisserie, coated in chocolate ganache (RM14), paired with French-roasted Cafes Richard coffee, with the soothing sounds of Les Deux Guitares and Pour Ne Pas Vivre Seul flowing from the speakers, the perfect soundtrack for a Malaysian in Paris.

O Petit Paris TTDI
12 Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. 
Open Mon-Fri, 8am-9pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-8pm.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings, F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits. Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Burnin' Pit @ Desa Sri Hartamas

The wait was worth it: After many months of ardent anticipation, Burnin' Pit is finally firing up its grills, bringing sultry Texas-style barbecue to the heart of Hartamas, smoked and sliced in a suave space that's raring to fan the flames of our appetites.

This is merely a teaser of Burnin' Pit's current test run, but it's clear that the restaurant means serious business when it comes to low-and-slow barbecue. The highlight is the premium wagyu brisket, cooked for no fewer than 14 hours, initially over a base of rubberwood, then with the wood of Pahang-cultivated tropical fruit trees, including jackfruit, mango and rambutan trees.

Seasoned simply with kosher salt to let the beef shine, the result is meat made for passionate carnivores, with a clean but memorably resonant richness of flavour that lingers pleasurably on the palate, sumptuously fleshy to the bite, satisfyingly tender to the chew. It'll be no problem polishing off a full plate of this top-notch protein; kudos to Burnin' Pit's founding chef Kok Fung and his team for blazing a fresh trail with their expert execution.

While the Japanese beef is the probable standout (seasonal price; currently RM80 per 100 grams), there's plenty of smoked meat to go around the table. The soft-launch selection also showcases halal-certified BBQ Aussie beef brisket (RM20 for 100 grams), beef ribs (RM30 for 100 grams) and pulled lamb (RM21 for 100 grams). House-blended Peach BBQ and Gula Melaka sauces complement the meat without being overpowering.

Burnin' Pit also puts a local spin on some of its signatures, so in addition to Jamaican jerk chicken, you'll find Malaysian percik-inspired chicken too, plus a brisket fried rice that should be mighty tempting. 

House-made sausages are also available, alongside meaty burgers, sliders and hot dogs, as well as hearty-sounding sides that span mac-and-cheese to corn with coconut milk and plantain chips with pulled lamb, plus sweet treats like beignets and chocolate Oreo sundaes. We'll be back for those.

A cosy den upstairs, lit with bulbs encased in whiskey bottles, complete with a faux fireplace, beckons customers for drinks after dinner, with an alfresco terrace that overlooks the neighbourhood. 

Burnin' Pit
24, Jalan 24/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Open daily; BBQ available 11am-2pm, 6pm till sold out. The rest of the menu is available all day long.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings, F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits. Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: