Friday, August 31, 2018

Kopun, Taverna Sirena & Taj Mahal @ Dubrovnik

As night falls on Dubrovnik, a magical glow descends on the old town's streets - turn a different corner and you'll discover intriguing restaurants like Kopun, a chicken specialist that serves a 16th-century recipe of capon stewed in a sauce of honey, oranges and white wine, as well as a risotto of capon with apricots, curd cheese and green pesto; round off the meal with rozata, a Croation flan-like pudding flavoured with rose liqueur.

At Taverna Sirena, the catch of the day is the recommendation, hauled in off the Dalmatian coast by dawn & served after dusk.

Taj Mahal tackles the cuisine of neighbouring Bosnia-Herzegovina - the speciality is veal and turkey rolled in dough with mushrooms and cheese.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Dante's Italian Fusion Cafe @ Kelana Jaya

By Aiman Azri


The Italian poet Dante Alighieri is best known for The Divine Comedy, a sprawling narrative saga of doom and gloom that stretches over 700 pages. The Italian eatery Dante’s, on the other hand, is making its mark with some of PJ’s most pleasurable pasta, served at crowd-friendly prices that scarcely strike RM15 per serving. Which Dante makes us happier? Truth be told, we’ll skip the Inferno and stick to the restaurant.



Dante's founder Najee has been a chef for almost a decade; at Dante's, which opened this year, Najee succeeds in blending his skills and experience to whip up well-executed recipes, prepared with kitchen-made sauces, packing plenty of heat.

The most popular pasta here is the Soft Shell Crab Buttermilk, its light creaminess balanced with a spicy flair, showcasing a stellar crustacean crunch (RM15). The Smoked Salmon pasta is also a solid choice, relying on a potent tomato cream base that complements the fish, fired up with chilli flakes (RM12).

The kitchen is constantly creating new specialities - less than a week after we visited, we learned that a 'soft shell prawn aglio olio' is now also being offered. Colour us intrigued!

If you favour meat to seafood, check out the Buttermilk Chicken instead (RM12) - but the surprise standout might be the Beef Mac, basically mac and cheese with beef bacon, based on a three-cheese sauce made with mozzarella, parmesan and cheddar, conveying rich, punchy dynamics without being cloying in the least (RM10).

Dante's selection is impressively extensive for a casual space, spanning everything from pasta with freshly made meatballs to creamy mushroom alfredo pasta. Many thanks to the Dante's team for having us here.

Dante's Italian Fusion Cafe
RG21, Kelana Sentral Apartment, Jalan SS6/12, Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Open Monday-Saturday, 11am-10pm. Tel: 017-372-8473


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2018 Menu: Impressoul Gastrology @ Sunway Pyramid Hotel West

By EDKL Writer A.A.

Ask anyone familiar with Sunway Pyramid where they might chill out in the evening, enjoying live music and excellent beverage promotions, and Impressoul Gastrology should rank high on their recommendations. Sleek and stylishly futuristic, this restaurant is a distinctive destination for its decor alone, but its food and drinks deserve consideration too. We visited for lunch when everything was calmer, leaving satisfied with their selection of contemporary fare with Japanese and Korean inflections.

Chef Kenny Chin spearheads the kitchen, whipping up an extensive range of tasty temptations. 

Grab a cowhide-covered seat and rustle up some crustacean comfort: The Spicy Crab Salad, mixed with avocado salsa and a ginger dressing, is a pyramid of pleasure, beautifully plated and perfectly balanced in its refreshingly nuanced flavours and textures (RM22), while the Kani Kara-age distinguishes itself by rolling soft-shell crab in deep-fried wantan skin, so you get double the crunch, from both the crab and the wrappers (RM40). You won't go wrong with these two contrasting recipes, the first indulgently luscious, the second addictively crackling.

Testing the freshness of Impressoul's ingredients, the Premium Sashimi Combination passed with flying colours (RM210). From otoro (the fattiest part of the tuna) to chutoro (coveted medium-fatty tuna) to salmon, yellow tail and hotate, this is thoroughly a treat for raw seafood devotees.

Pair the sashimi platter with Impressoul's Sake O-Sashimi, which showers the salmon with a captivatingly aromatic sauce, enhanced with truffle oil for a lovely earthiness that harmonises well with the fish's natural sweetness and smoothness (RM30). Definitely a dish we'd order the next time we're here.

If you prefer your fish cooked, check out this showdown between black cod and Norwegian salmon.

In the battle between both, the victor is the Gindara Saikyo Yaki - our entire table swiftly polished off the cod fillet, triumphantly thick, tender and buttery, bolstered by a blended miso sauce; if you love cod, you'll adore this (RM82). 

The salmon steak is still no slouch though, prepared perfectly to underscore a crisp skin and juicy flesh, with a miso teriyaki sauce and salmon roe for bursts of umami oomph (RM40). Bonus points yet again for the painstakingly gorgeous presentation. 

While the menu might seem slanted toward seafood, there's no lack of meat to engage the carnivores: To share, the Gyu-Niku Cube Steak succeeds as an Asian-accented tapa that showcases Australian rib eye beef (RM48), while the Korean Spicy Dak-Bokkeum conceals a Japanese secret - the stone bowl of sauteed chicken layered sinfully with cheese owes its spiciness mainly to Korean gochujang chilli paste, but the dressing has been balanced with Japanese shoyu sauce to mellow out the heat (RM40; served with two steamed rice portions).

Browsing through Impressoul's cocktail list, standouts might include the Yuzu Martini, made with vodka, yuzu puree, triple sec and lime (RM28) and the Sweet Basil Mojito, with rum, strawberry syrup, basil leaves, cranberry juice, syrup (RM28). The repertoire of beverages is comprehensive, spanning beer to bourbon to brandy, with Scotch and Japanese whisky all also accounted for.

Promotions include a Ladies' Night complimentary free flow of Sangria for female customers every Wednesday, 8pm-10pm - ideal for sipping while the bands play from 9pm till midnight. 

Mocktails filled with fruity fun are available as well: The Stimulator represents a rejuvenating mix of kiwi, pineapple, mango, strawberries and honeydew, while the Red Dragon is striking with strawberries, watermelon, dragon fruit and beetroot (RM15 each). Lattes are served in nifty steel mugs (hot RM10; cold RM12).

For patrons seeking more intimacy, multiple private rooms of various sizes are offered, each with its own different look.

Our thanks to Impressoul Gastrology for having us back.

Impressoul Gastrology
Ground Floor, Sunway Pyramid Hotel West, Bandar Sunway, 46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Open Sunday-Thursday, 1130am-1am; Friday-Saturday, 1130am-2am. Tel: 03-5650-5188


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