Monday, November 11, 2019

Salana Boutique Hotel, Laos

If breakfast influences your choice of accommodation, consider Vientiane's Salana Boutique Hotel, where the morning buffet showcases Laotian specialities galore, from noodle soup to sticky rice with local sausages.

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

RokuNana Washu Bar, Solaris Dutamas

RokuNana is a convivial new destination for Japanese dining and drinking: Its focus might be on the spirits, but its food is no less noteworthy - head chef Vincent Lai harnesses two decades of experience in the craft of Japanese cuisine to lead a team that includes young Malaysian alumni of Le Cordon Bleu and Sunway University.

The seasonal fish tataki is a succulent surprise, elegantly embracing a subtly smoky citrus dressing, enlivened further with torch ginger flower and pear for captivating nuances (RM33). The menu may not be extensive, but everything we tried was a triumph, from fleshy fried baby fugu pufferfish, perfectly paired with a gentle hollandaise sauce (RM28), to tofu, lightly bruleed, with caviar, shallot oil and soy foam, rounded out with a herbaceous spring onion veloute, an admirable palate-awakener (RM18).

RokuNana's yakitori also intrigues, with an emphasis on texture, making these some of the most delicately juicy chicken skewers in KL (RM8 for liver; RM10 for bonjiri). Other possible highlights span sashimi and sushi to Japanese wagyu beef seasoned with Sarawak's Bario salt.

RokuNana is a shrine to sake, with temptations galore for devotees, including some labels possibly unavailable elsewhere in Malaysia. The bar's manager and certified sake sommelier, Gino Lin, is on hand to suggest a suitable bottle - our Takijiman Ginjo (RM116 for 300ml) proved a lovely, light-bodied match for our meal, with a fruit-forward liveliness.

RokuNana Washu Bar
D5-G3-2, Solaris Dutamas, Outside Publika, Jalan Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur. Open Mon-Sat, 5pm-1am. Tel: 016-296-3777

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Art of Salmo Deliveries

Sashimi-grade Norwegian fjord trout, delivered to your doorstep in KL and Selangor, with twists like a Thai larb-inspired version that pairs the raw fish with seasonings that supply sweet, sour, savoury and spicy notes (RM19.90, not including delivery fee, for a serving of six slices, perfect for a light, luscious lunch). 

Art of Salmo
The Hub SS2, Jalan Harapan, Seksyen 19, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Order at for delivery or pickup. Fees and instructions on their website. Tel: 010-211-9019

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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Quan Fengtai, Hainan

From chicken soup with coconut to crab curry with potatoes, chilled duck tongues with coriander to claypot spinach beancurd with pomegranates, Quan Fengtai offers Hainanese fare in thoroughly engaging, terrifically executed recipes.

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151 Hugh Low Kopitiam, NU Sentral

151 Hugh Low Kopitiam's nasi lemak relies on a generations-old family recipe: The brand's founder's grandparents first started a street stall selling nasi lemak in Ipoh in the 1960s before moving to a shop-house whose address furnishes this contemporary KL kopitiam with its name (though Hugh Low Street has since been renamed Jalan Sultan Iskandar).

Nasi lemak is the highlight, served with more than 10 choices of accompaniments, from lemongrass fried chicken to rendang beef, sambal prawns to curry vegetables. The salted egg fried chicken makes for a decadent coupling with the rice, which proves pleasantly soft and coconut-rich in the old-school style (RM16.90). Other traditional options here span Ipoh hor fun to chicken floss on Hainan toast.

151 Hugh Low Kopitiam
LG-26, NU Sentral, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Kuala Lumpur.

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Friday, November 8, 2019

In House Coffee Roastery, Petaling Jaya

What happens when a Klang-born former pharmacist who practised his trade for a decade in Taipei returns to Malaysia to run a coffee bar? Kent Tan specialises in hand-brewed coffee with a healthier perspective, meticulously sifting through his beans both before and after roasting to discard defective ones, striving in his process to minimise the potential for caffeine headaches, palpitations and stomach upsets.

For the ideal In House experience, order the Premium Single Origin Set (RM31; suitable for two people to share), with current choices from Ethiopia and Guatemala. Kent will prepare the coffee at your table (pour over, siphon, or moka pot), patiently clarifying the rhyme and reason of the entire procedure, from timings to temperatures - the Guatemala Huehuetenango is a medium-roast to relish, each silky-smooth sip conveying the purity of a lovely, low-acidity earthiness. 

This is a pleasant space for lingering, with cosy and charming corners - check out the wall lined with world clocks spanning a cavalcade of coffee source nations, from Papua New Guinea to Panama, in a shop-lot that also houses a printing shop. 

Cao Le In House Coffee Roastery
D3A-8-G, Jalan PJU 1a/4a, Pusat Perdagangan Dana 1, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Open Mon-Thurs, 11am-7pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-8pm.

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