Thursday, September 20, 2018

Swoosh TTDI

Swooping into TTDI, Swoosh serves a fun variety of crowd-pleasing food and beverages in a playful setting, with multiple screens tuned in to sports and tables set up for beer pong. It's a buoyant neighbourhood venue for a casual lunch or chilled-out dinner, with an energetic soundtrack that streaks from Biggie to Drake throughout the evening.

Swoosh showcases a sense of imaginative exuberance in its specialities: Start with the chicken wings, which come in no fewer than seven different flavours. 

The most unique choices include this trilogy of Yellow Fever Hot Wings (glazed in hot sauce blended with pineapple and turmeric), Swoosh Hot Wings (blended with several different types of chillies) and Ugly Hot Wings (a pretty tangy blend of coriander salsa verde with starfruit) - the fresh-cooked wings boast crunchy skin and tender flesh, with sufficient kick in terms of tastiness. Other options include honey-glazed wings with garlic, salted egg wings, buffalo hot wings with paprika, and extra-hot wings with capsicum (RM18 per plate).

The kitchen pours care and creativity into its efforts, so even the bar bites are elevated, since every sauce offered here is house-made. Nachos (RM15.80), crispy calamari (RM14.80) and porky fries (RM18.80) come with the likes of cheese sauce, salsa and salted egg sauce, so there's plenty of dunking pleasure to go around, courtesy of the creamily addictive dips.

Fairly priced, reasonably well-executed pizzas are Swoosh's highlight for communal feasts, also promising some intriguing twists. Put an egg on your pie with the Pizza Ala Bismarck, loaded with grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, pomodoro sauce and a sunny-side-up (RM25.80). For patrons who prefer Asian inspirations, check out the Malacca Delight (RM22.80; meant to evoke asam pedas, featuring prawns with a spicy-sour sauce and fragrant herbs) and the Gosh Masala Pizza (RM24.80; mushrooms with coconut cream and Ceylon-influenced spices). If you're planning a pizza party, it's worth scooting into Swoosh.

The selection of pastas should also satiate the stomach; for a guilty indulgence, the Swoosh Carbonara could be the most popular pick, a garlic-infused temptation heaped with bacon chips and a poached egg (RM28.80), followed by the Cheesy Porky Mac, essentially a mac-and-cheese with a crispy-bacon flourish (RM25.80). Ultimately, whether you favour chicken, pork or seafood, there's a pasta for you here - the grilled chicken marinara pasta (RM28.80), the sauteed pork bacon aglio olio (RM26.80) or the seafood tom yam with mussels, calamari and prawns (RM28.80).

For a fuss-free, hearty meal, main-course possibilities comprise herb-marinated lamb shoulder, roasted with pepper sauce (RM18.80) and chicken chop that's rich with nuances of garlic and chillies (RM15.80), both complete with fries and fibre. There's also a pork tenderloin cordon bleu that sounds interesting, but by this point, we naturally were far too full for more.

Cocktail choices include familiar staples like the Long Island (RM25), Margarita (RM25) and Mojito (RM28); shooters are available too, as is draught beer (with a Tiger starting at RM12 per mug or RM50 for five mugs, Heineken and Guinness at RM16 per mug or RM79 for five mugs).

Many thanks to Swoosh for having us here.

Swoosh
125, Jalan Aminuddin Baki, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Daily, 12pm-2pm, 5pm-1am. Tel: 016-886-7511

This feature first appeared on eatdrinkkl.com

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Celestial Dynasty @ Petaling Jaya

PJ's latest Chinese banquet restaurant promises an extensive repertoire of engaging recipes, served in spacious halls and private rooms.

For lunch, customers can indulge in a variety of dim sum - our favourite is the pan-fried Shanghai pork bun (RM12.80 per plate), lightly crisp on the first bite, yielding beautifully to a fluffy interior, with juicy but textured meat at its core, lusciously seasoned. Order this, absolutely.

Deep-fried prawn rolls layered with jackfruit (RM11.80) also makes for an intriguing combination, offering a distinctive duet of naturally sweet fillings.

If you relish fried fare, the sesame scallion crepes (RM12.80), bean curd rolls with prawns (RM11.80) and stir-fried radish cakes with prawns (RM16.80) should be ideal for an afternoon indulgence.

The full dim sum menu (which includes more than 40 dishes, including steamed ones of course) is available daily, but bargain-hunters, take note: On weekends, a selected range (slightly over 25 items altogether) is offered at RM5 per serving.

An a la carte menu for both lunch and dinner is equally sweeping; Celestial Dynasty's main chef has more than three decades of professional experience, so the fundamentals are all taken care of.

Highlights that caught our attention included a peppercorn soup brimming with an unconventional pairing of pork intestines and Australian lamb meat (RM68) and a gelatinous extravaganza of braised pork tendons with fish maw (RM68).

The range swerves from the tried-and-tested - siu yok - to the risk-taking - pan-seared iberico pork ribs with punchy notes of coffee and cocoa (RM28 per person).

Conclude with carbs - the Hokkien mee should satisfy, but it's worth requesting extra pork lard for that additional crunch.

Thanks to Celestial Dynasty for having us.

Celestial Dynasty
16, Jalan 19/1, Seksyen 19, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Daily, 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm.

This feature first appeared on eatdrinkkl.com

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Keto & Low-Carb Menus: Thirty Seconds, Bandar Sri Damansara

By Aiman Azri

Six months ago, the Phua family that runs Bandar Sri Damansara's Thirty Seconds embarked on the ketogenic diet, the high-fat, low-carb regime that has become increasingly popular this year in the Klang Valley. The results for their health have proven encouraging enough that the cafe has now introduced a Ketogenic Food Menu as well as a Low-Carb Menu, both crafted to satisfy the taste buds without sacrificing flavours or textures.

You'll find a full section dedicated to keto dieters: Our favourite might be the surprisingly hearty Keto Baked Eggs, showcasing luscious eggs over a creamy, curry-laced medley of sliced chicken, bell peppers, mushrooms and chilli flakes, rounded out with mozzarella cheese - it's absolutely addictive, steaming-hot comfort fare that's worth returning repeatedly for (RM28).

The ketogenic diet prescribes adequate protein, fulfilled by the Keto Pesto Fish (RM28; pan-fried tilapia blanketed in a nourishing sauce with fresh basil and cashew nuts), and the Keto Curry Chicken Chop (RM26; tender chicken with curry sauce that packs plenty of heat). Family matriarch Sharon, who helms the kitchen, makes all the sauces in-house, preparing these recipes exactly as she would for her husband and children; since March, she has lost 15 kilograms and her diabetic condition has also improved significantly.

The Ketogenic Food Menu meals come with Bulletproof Coffee or Tea; Thirty Seconds' Bulletproof Coffee uses butter and coconut oil to create its version of a keto-friendly latte, with the earthiness of the butter beautifully balancing the bitterness of the coffee.

For customers who are not on the keto diet but also prefer a low-carb lunch or dinner, Thirty Seconds also offers a low-carb menu with highlights such as the Fatty Cauli Rice, a reinterpretation of nasi lemak that relies on cauliflower 'rice' (RM18), and the Mitsubishi Cauli Rice, a Japanese-inflected concoction with hints of seaweed and sesame seeds in the fried cauliflower bits (RM20). Both are aromatic enough that they're delicious substitutes for actual nasi lemak and fried rice - for those of us who fondly remember food made by our moms, it's heartening to realise that Thirty Seconds' creations genuinely are cooked by a real-life mom, evoking the soulfulness of home.

If you prefer regular versions of these dishes, no fear: Thirty Seconds still maintains a comprehensive menu for devotees of rice and other carbs.

Speaking of nasi lemak, Thirty Second was a pioneer of savoury nasi lemak cakes way back in 2016; the cafe has since also introduced a low-carb variation with cauliflower rice, mingled with scrambled eggs, completed with all the essentials of crunchy cucumbers, peanuts, ikan bilis and sambal, for a charming temptation that'll make your meal feel extra-celebratory (RM18).

Other health-conscious options include Low-Carb Bread in possibilities like Mozzarella Cheese Bread and Chocolate Bread. These convey a pleasantly mellow flavour and intriguing texture that resembles a hybrid of cake and bread (RM5 per slice, RM35 for a loaf). Low-Carb Cakes are also available, made with almond flour, in flavours such as Chocolate Cheese and Mixed Berry Cheese, as well as Keto Buns and Keto Crackers - Thirty Seconds is clearly serious about its Keto and Low-Carb menus, pouring plenty of thought and effort into them.

And speaking of pours, Thirty Seconds was first born in 2014 as a coffee-centred cafe (its name, after all, refers to an ideal measure of time for extracting an espresso), and while it has evolved into a full-fledged restaurant, its coffee remains an unmistakable highlight. The cafe has organised the Free Pour Latte Art Championship (FLC 2016, 2017, 2018) in the past, and Aaron, one of Sharon and Richard's sons, won third place in the Malaysia Barista Championship 2018.

Aaron's deft touch makes for confidently balanced cappuccinos and flat whites that utilise Degayo coffee beans (RM10.40 each) and a lovely, ultra-refreshing Crazy Cascara, the perfect cool-me-down, a coffee cherry tea mixed with soda, cinnamon and a lemon twist, served with a slow-melting ice cube that ensures the beverage remains full-bodied even after 10 minutes of leisurely sips (RM10).

For a final drink or dessert, check out Thirty Seconds' Affogato and the Matchagato (RM11.30 each), which showcase a special surprise, constructed with coconut ice cream instead of the typical vanilla. The Affogato comprises a coffee base, while the Matchagato comes with premium green tea, both harmonising nicely with the mild-mannered coconut ice cream, embedded with ripe coconut flesh.

Many thanks to the Thirty Seconds team for having us here; it was lovely to be back and to see the cafe going from strength to strength. 

Thirty Seconds
7, Jalan Margosa SD 10/4a, Bandar Sri Damansara, 52200 Kuala Lumpur.
Open weekdays except Wednesday, 8am-9pm; weekends 8am-10pm.

This feature first appeared on eatdrinkkl.com

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