Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Beta Restobar @ Fraser Place

Budu, belimbing buloh and bird's nests: Traversing traditional temptations that hopscotch from Pangkor to Rembau, Bentong to Kuching and Kota Bharu, Beta Restobar stakes a claim as one of Kuala Lumpur's most dynamic new dining destinations of 2018, refashioning familiar flavours from throughout our country into a playfully modern representation of charismatic cooking.

Beta's recipes are one-of-a-kind, looking toward both the past and the future. 

Head chef Raymond Tham, whose team also runs contemporary European restaurant Skillet At 163, hails from Negeri Sembilan - the braised-and-grilled ox tongue on Hainanese toast with turmeric and belimbing buluh (RM27) is informed by his home state's heritage, specifically the robust richness of lemak-style Minangkabau cuisine. 

You'll also savour a burst of vivid, spice-laden nuances from shrimp on sticky sago-and-squid-ink crackers with calamansi and an aioli inspired by Sarawak laksa broth (RM30).

Malacca's cincalok is rarely spotted at KL's eateries, and never like this, with the fermented shrimp infused into a granita, sparkling in its distinctive flavours, buoyed by the invigorating crunch of choy sum flowers, raja ulam and jambu batu (RM32).

Speaking for peninsular Malaysia's west coast (Pangkor island to be precise): Salted tenggiri fish balls, mixed with chicken, balanced with white radish (RM30). For the east coast of Kelantan and Terengganu: Winged beans, furnished with a spike of umami from budu aioli, anchovies and chilli (RM27). For the central region, shining a light on Pahang: Sous vide chicken with Bentong ginger, lotus crisps and a local herb pesto (RM45). And for something that reinterprets a snack that Malaysians nationwide know: 'Inverted' karipap, constructed with curry cream in hollow potato crisps for a textural treat with resonant subtleties of flavour, fragrant with star anise and peppercorn (RM30).

Desserts lend an air of drama to the proceedings, particularly with the swirl of vapour that encircles the delicacy of bird's nest in a coconut sphere with water chestnuts and lychee (RM80). For a less elaborate but no less enjoyable conclusion, try the banana crisp with sesame seeds and peanuts, rounded out nicely with condensed milk ice cream (RM38). House wines pair satisfyingly with the food selection.

Fun fact: Beta's name was chosen for its dual meanings - the second letter of the Greek alphabet, it's now the second restaurant of the Skillet At 163 team. And of course, in the Malay language, it's a royal pronoun used by sultans and kings.

Beta Restobar
Fraser Place, Jalan Perak Kuala Lumpur. Open for lunch and dinner, except Mondays. Tel: 03-2181-2990

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Le Gouter @ Sutramas Condominium

The French connection: With Edith Piaf playing on the speakers, and croissants, madeleines and mini spinach quiches in the showcase, the new Le Gouter seems like a secret slice of Saint-Etienne in KL. 

This casually charming bakery-cafe is helmed by three Malaysians - Lyndssey, Justine and Wei Yen - who are married to Frenchmen and whose children study at the nearby French School of Kuala Lumpur. Tucked calmly in a condominium, it could become a hotbed of happiness for fans of baked European fare from the neighbourhood and beyond, with everything from rustic loaves to chocolate cakes and peach tarts represented. 

Le Gouter Boulangerie Patisserie
G-11, Sutramas Condominium, Jalan Dutamas Melati, Segambut, Kuala Lumpur. 
Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm; Sat, 9am-2pm. Tel: 019-726-7511

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:

Monday, January 22, 2018

Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur: Chinese New Year Gift Boxes 2018

February's festive celebrations are looking brighter than ever, courtesy of Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur's unique Chinese New Year Gift Boxes, built to dazzle with their exquisite inventiveness.

Available while stocks last, these gorgeously crafted boxes shimmer with soft LED lights that cast a spell with their glow, illuminating four different frontal designs that reflect the auspiciousness of the season, with themes that range from Blooming Prosperity to Flourishing Wealth.

Thus, the Chinese New Year tradition of gift-giving continues, but in a strikingly memorable new way - instead of the typical hamper baskets, these boxes can ultimately be used for years as decorative pieces, as treasured keepsakes to hold precious belongings and accessories.

The contents of the boxes are as distinctively attractive as their exterior: Instead of commonplace CNY cookies, Concorde Hotel offers a collection of four hand-made CNY cakes, freshly baked without preservatives, in varieties that comprise the delightful Pineapple Tart, Salted Egg Pastry, Yam Pastry and Red Bean Pastry.

We enjoyed each one, which conveyed well-balanced, crowd-pleasing flavours, with sumptuous, melt-in-the-mouth textures - they're absolutely guaranteed to be a hit for Chinese New Year. Alternatively, customers can also choose classic sticky rice cakes for their set.

Each box costs RM118 nett (inclusive of the contents) and comes with its own USB port and cable.

You'll find the full collection on sale at Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur's lobby kiosk, daily from 10am through 9pm. Orders can also be placed through:
Hotline: 012-399-5436 (Direct Line) or 03-2149-2799 (office hours)

Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

Konoba Kantun @ Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor is terrific town to get lost in, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with centuries-old homes & cat-filled streets set amid the rugged mountains of the Balkan nation of Montenegro. The local food is far less unforgettable, but a plate of seafood-studded 'red risotto' should still make for a satisfactory lunch in a traditional restaurant like Konoba Kantun.