Thursday, October 18, 2018

Jing Ze Contemporary Asian Restaurant, Petaling Jaya

Singaporean chef Nicholas Scorpion's passion for the kitchen has taken him from staging in the forested farmlands of northern Sweden to crafting menus for the sleek Seminyak scene in Bali; he brings that impressive experience to finessed effect at Jing Ze, his new restaurant nestled in a Petaling Jaya residential neighbourhood, marrying Scandinavian savvy with Asian pizzazz and a bevy of border-leaping influences, brimming with vim and versatility.

The offerings at Jing Ze (a nod to Scorpion's Chinese name) are meant to be ever-evolving, a testament to its founder's quest to keep raising the bar. We visited in early October, so the menu has likely changed by the time you read this, but the core of our experience should remain intact: a consistent sense of surprise and satisfaction with the restaurant's imagination and techniques, spawning a blend of the familiar and the unconventional, balanced and buoyed in synergistic harmony.

If the red snapper crudo with compressed pomelo, pickled young papaya and roasted sesame (RM20) is still available, order it - it's a memorable prelude to the main meal, with the red snapper demonstrating a delicious firmness, enlivened by its lightly tangy companions. Jing Ze calls itself a contemporary Asian restaurant, and even though some of these temptations might not look typically Asian, the flavours of peninsular Malaysia and southern Indonesia resolutely shine through.

The beef tartare is extraordinary too, more nuanced than the norm, laced with a Balinese basa genep spice mix that speaks of a nutty-zesty earthiness; the triple-fried chicken fat potato chips are addictive as well, making this a certain should-try (RM25). Also showcasing Balinese inspirations is the rustic duck sausage, gently uplifted by hints of lemon basil (RM15).

A broth of banana shoots is richer than its mainly vegetarian roots might suggest, rounded out with shredded chicken, spring onions, torch ginger, cabbage and lemon balm (RM20), while the wood-fired baby squid is a tender, tasty triumph, blanketed in ulam raja and bolstered by a roasted blue ginger curry (RM25).

Heartier courses make a mark too: The wood-fired rib of beef would be a pleasure even on its own, but it's given luscious depth by a native herb compound butter (RM450; for three to four persons), the crispy duck channels the spirit of Yogyakarta's bebek goreng, accompanied by tender pancakes and textured chilli dips (RM45 for a quarter portion), the red snapper is served escabeche-style but with a hot-and-sour tweak that's subtly more symbolic of Southeast Asia, jazzed up with crispy garlic and fennel (RM60), and the slow-roasted cauliflower is a treasure that we hope will stick around for a long time, slow-roasted and enhanced with a compelling mungbean-and-pineapple curry (RM25).

Sweets also bear the unmistakable hallmarks of our home region: Jackfruit sorbet with crushed lychees, coconut sago and ginger granita (RM20) and steamed layer cake, better known as kueh lapis, paired with the twist of a chocolate ganache with smoky, sultry dimensions (RM20).

Cocktails (RM39 each) are of the easy-drinking variety: Es Teller Painkiller (coconut rum, pandan, avocado, jackfruit), Candlenut Old Fashioned (bourbon whiskey, nutmeg, gula  Melaka, orange bitters), Espresso Coconut Martini (coconut-infused vodka, espresso, coconut liqueur, coconut meringue).

Jing Ze Contemporary Asian Restaurant
22A, Jalan 17/54, Section 17, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 
Currently open for dinner, closed Mondays; will commence lunch service soon. Tel: 03-7931-4801

This feature first appeared on eatdrinkkl.com

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

GrabFood: The 13 Winners From The People's Pick

Thousands of you voted - and the lip-smacking results are in! 

GrabFood, the go-to food delivery service for satisfying our local cravings, fanned the public's appetite in August this year with The People's Pick voting campaign, seeking customers' opinions on which local favourites should be roped into the GrabFood family of restaurants for delivery to our doorsteps.

From an initial list of more than 50 candidates, the 13 highest vote-getters are now officially on board GrabFood, chosen by the people, for the people! These winners cover various cuisines that span popular neighbourhoods across Petaling Jaya to the KL city centre, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Desa Sri Hartamas and Mont Kiara, expanding GrabFood's already impressive roster of eateries throughout the Klang Valley.

Since we were hungry in TTDI on a recent afternoon, we couldn't resist placing orders from three of these newly minted GrabFood People's Pick winners. Here's a look at our lunch of Local Favourites!

Note: If you haven't tried GrabFood before, download the GrabFood app and use this promo code - EDKL10 - to receive a rebate of RM10 per order (the promo code grants the user two times' usage of the RM10 rebate with a minimum spend of RM15 per order, to be applied on the new user's first order with GrabFood; the code expires on 11 November 2018).

Nothing beats banana leaf rice for a midday meal, especially if we don't have to battle traffic and parking problems to get a warm plate of spicy cooking! That's exactly what we savoured from Ravi's Banana Leaf in Mont Kiara - our lunch came neatly packed within half an hour from ordering (10 minutes less than estimated!), providing terrific value for the complete set of rice with two vegetables, two papadoms, fried bittergourd, salted dried chillies, rasam and sambar.

The range at Ravi's is encyclopedic - beyond banana leaf rice, the restaurant's hottest hits include everything from roti bom to tosai masala, chicken varuval to sotong fried with onions, mutton peratel to fried fish eggs, and much more; if you're looking for a classic South Indian meal with rich, time-honoured flavours, this is one to keep in mind on GrabFood.

Also paying tribute to traditional recipes, Santai has long been a culinary landmark in TTDI - an entire generation of residents in this neighbourhood grew up on Malaysian and Southeast Asian temptations here, which includes our orders of ayam kunyit and udang masak petai, bursting with the aromatic goodness of turmeric and cluster beans respectively.

There's something for the entire family at Santai, from daging masak merah to sotong masak pedas, kerabu mangga to tom yam, nasi goreng padprik seafood to kuey teow Penang and mee bandung. It's no surprise that Santai was one of The People's Pick winners (it's often busy at lunchtime, so we're glad that GrabFood helped us save time and skip the queues), and we expect it'll remain one of TTDI's top eateries for at least another generation!

The Local Favourites winners include Chequers, founded by a young Malaysian couple who've been serving TTDI's most inventive waffles, both savoury and sweet, since 2014 - the Quack Quack waffle will give you something to squawk about, showcasing smoked duck with a waffle that's laced with scallions and chia, rounded out with roasted sweet potato and creamy garlic butter sauce. 

That's just one of many unique waffles on Chequers' menu (alongside a broad repertoire of Tex-Mex fare like fried chicken burritos, brunch offerings and pastas), all of which can be conveniently browsed on the GrabFood app before ordering, making this a terrific platform for food discoveries.

Food like waffles is best served fresh for optimum textures - a fact that's understood by both Chequers and GrabFood, since our waffle remained crisp to the bite, fluffy to the chew, with smoked duck that stayed juicy to the final mouthful.

The local Klang Valley community also selected these other restaurants as part of The People's Pick campaign, so they're also now all available for orders in areas near you:
Mont Kiara and Hartamas: Solaris Cafe, Chi Mac, Breadfruits
Petaling Jaya: Nasi Lemak Goreng Chef Fauzy, TNR By Sean And Angie (My Toast And Roast), Lorong Seratus Tahun
KL City Centre: Apam Balik Nusantara, Restoran Dapur Sarawak, Satay Capitol 1951-Warisan, Soong Kee's Beef Ball Noodle

As GrabFood continues to grow, we look forward to seeing many more local favourites serve the community on this platform, bringing further convenience to households and offices everywhere - delicious times ahead, indeed!


This feature first appeared on eatdrinkkl.com

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Maple Food Market: Great Eats At Great Eastern Mall

Rice bowls bursting with braised ribs and crunchy chicken for the Asian palate, bagels and hot dogs crafted with inspiration from the Big Apple, cheesecakes with Basque burnt flair and pastries with French choux flamboyance: This November, Maple Food Market will transform Great Eastern Mall into a wonderland of temptations that leapfrog through the borders of the world and the boundaries of the imagination.

In the second part of our sneak peek into the upcoming Maple Food Market, we take a glimpse at Malaysia's homegrown purveyors who'll be serving fresh, ready-to-eat meals throughout the event, happening 1-4 November 2018, 11am-8pm (look out for our next chapter soon, focusing on products that you can purchase to bring home or as gifts).

Click here for earlier introduction to Maple Food Market.

Aiden Picnic

Making its debut at Maple Food Market, Aiden Picnic excels in hearty meals prepared with honest ingredients, topped with Aiden's Sambal for a spicy kick - highlights include the  Ayam Grepek (crispy chicken with rice, kyuri and steamed corn), Ox Tongue Rice (with slow-cooked ox tongue) and Ribs Rice (with braised beef ribs, Japanese cucumber and natto beans), perfect for a weekend lunch with family or friends.

Good to know: Aiden Picnic originally began as a home-cooked food delivery service, founded by Shahidan A'madudin two years ago, made available for his colleagues to pre-order. Shahidan now produces his own range of hot sauces with varying degrees of heat, from tomato-based and tamarind-based to lime-based and even fermented durian-based!

Chi Fan KL

Chi Fan promises 'nostalgia on a plate,' serving old-school household favourites that evoke soothing memories from childhood times. Though time-honoured comfort food rests at the core of its recipes, Chi Fan brings a twist with modern techniques that revitalise its repertoire of predominantly Pahang-inspired cuisine, breathing new life into vintage local staples. 

Fun fact: Chi Fan also operates as a small restaurant in Taman Melawati, run by Shurqi, a former lawyer whose caseload now consists of cooking and baking - her specialities include mee calong, a heritage recipe from her Pahang coastal hometown of Beserah, comprising noodles topped with kitchen-made fish balls prepared with ikan selayang.

Yoohoo Hot Dogs

Yoohoo Hot Dogs tackles classic hot dogs with a variety of house-made toppings - think melted Swiss-inspired raclette cheese poured over your freshly steamed hot dog, or red cabbage sauerkraut, onion relish and mustard blanketing a warm, tasty beef or chicken sausage for the Yoohoo New Yorker, bringing the beloved snack-food of a stadium baseball game to Malaysians.

Happy Ele


Mel's Kitchen



Food made passionately with love, for you and your loved ones: Mel's Kitchen is all about family favourites that will satisfy generations of foodies, from scrumptious salted egg yolk chicken toasties to savoury steamed yam cakes.


Gula Goods


The pleasures of pasta come vibrantly to life with Gula Goods' signature seafood aglio olio, sure to charm both adults and kids, brimming with fresh seafood in a lip-smacking garlic-and-herb sauce laced wholesomely with olive oil. Truly a taste of Italy in the heart of KL.

Marge's Kitchen


Steaming-hot bowls of Laksa A'la Sarawak by Marge's Kitchen will win the hearts of local food enthusiasts; after savouring your bowl, remember to purchase home some jars of Marge's speciality homemade curry powder mix and salsa pastes to bring a punch of flavour to your own kitchen too.


Far Eats (Non-halal)


Fine artisanal pork sausages and bacon, completely gluten-free, sumptuously bursting with flavour, juicily hand-made with absolutely no fillers - you won't have to travel far out for your sausage fix with Far Eats appearing at this November's Maple Food Market.

Bakeology's

This November, Bakeology's will launch their new Cinnamon Rye Pound Loaf at Maple Food Market! It's certainly a should-try pound loaf with the elegantly classic Cinnamon Spice with Rye - a can't-fail combination that'll pair perfectly with your favourite black tea or coffee!

Wise Crafters

Founded by a father-daughter duo, Wise Crafters is the smart choice for customers seeking healthier options for their sustenance, with grab-and-go overnight oats and homemade kefir drinks to fuel your day. Every ingredient is hand-selected - from fresh fruits to roasted nuts - to provide the perfect balance of flavour and nutrients for a protein-rich meal.

Big Cookie Theory



Desserts made from cookie dough and brownie batter, combining imagination, gusto, experimentation and a playful sweet tooth: Big Cookie Theory endlessly pursues the perfect crumble, far and wide across the universe of cookie creations.

6th Street Desserts


6th Street Desserts might be best known as a purveyor of cakes, cookies, pavlovas, macarons, tartlets and cream puffs, but for the Maple Food Market, visitors can also look forward to its savoury offerings, such as the homemade mom's-recipe Nasi Lemak Panas as well as a cornucopia of Malay kuih for your teatime treat.

A Pie Thing


A Pie Thing is a speciality artisanal pie establishment serving pies, pies, and more pies, both savoury and sweet. Grab a few of these fresh-baked treats, unpretentiously delicious with top-quality ingredients, before they run out at Maple Food Market!

Gula Cakery



Gula Cakery's cakes are baked fresh daily with premium ingredients and no added preservatives. They'll be bringing their signature cakes and desserts  to Maple Food Market, along with choux pastries, caramel brownies, Swiss rolls and their best-selling doughnut range! 

Kohi Yatta


Kohi Yatta - loosely translating to Yay! Coffee! - is a Japanese-inspired cafe on Sungai Besi that's setting up shop at Maple Food Market with its best-selling burnt cheesecake, plus a range of bottled beverages such as Cold-Steeped Chocolate, Cold Brew Coffee, Matcha White and Houjicha White, freshly baked and brewed in-house with premium ingredients.


Espressolab

Espressolab is dedicated to roasting and seving speciality coffees from around the world; with its pop-up store at Maple Food Market, visitors can relish the freshest roasted coffee and select from a a variety of arabica beans to sample at home.

Nutiweed

Nutiweed's collagen beverages comprise naturally grown seaweed without artificial fertilisers, preservatives or bleaching chemicals - each bottle is rich in antioxidants, dietary fibre, enzymes and vitamins, refreshing the palate, nourishing the body and helping to regenerate the skin - the ideal antidote for a hot, humid day in KL!

Amrita Kefir


Kefir and Kombucha are probiotic health drinks with beneficial bacteria and enzymes that help maintain gut health. Amrita Kefir's beverages are lovingly blended with the brand's own Kefir and Kombucha mix, resulting in delectably nourishing drinks that help restore and balance your system, supporting your health and well-being.

Images of food and products are courtesy of the respective vendors.
Great Eastern Mall is at 303, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Customer Service Hotline: 03-42598090 

This feature first appeared on eatdrinkkl.com


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