Eat Drink KL: November 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Croisette @ Cascadium

Gallic food at an unlikely venue _ a poolside cafe hidden in a Bangsar condominium.

With a French chef at the helm, Croisette serves traditional recipes & twists on familiar cuisine; this "pistou rotizza" represents the latter _ evocative of the healthiest roti canai ever, topped with an aromatic spread of basil, garlic, sea salt, olive oil & tomatoes.

Duck confit with roasted herb potatoes. A no-frills interpretation of a French favorite. Less sodium-packed than versions elsewhere, but every bit as juicy.

Hearty, honest-to-goodness beef bourguignon. Feels home-cooked, with red wine-braised meat accompanied by stewed carrots & mushrooms. Julia Child, who called this recipe "one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man," might have approved.

Another wine-not-optional classic: coq au vin, marinated with Riesling & simmered to succulence. Croisette's prices are reasonable, particularly for Bangsar; most mains cost north of RM20, with starters & desserts priced much lower.

Pumpkin veloute. Warm & thick, with a sweetness that tastes reassuringly natural.

Chocolate & orange parfait. Indulgently creamy, but since its flavor emanates mainly from cocoa & orange peels, instead of spoonfuls of sugar, this might work as a low-guilt pleasure.

Much wine is available. Angove Nine Vines Shiraz Viognier, an agreeable South Australian red.

Croisette Cafe @ Bangsar,
Cascadium Condominium, Jalan Penaga, Bangsar.
Open Monday-Saturday through 10pm.
Tel: 016-330-4477

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Estate by BIG

The birth of this new gastrolounge, swathed in sexy shadows, heralds virgin territory for the busy birds & bees of the BIG Group.

Estate at The Intermark blends a bevy of influences into one establishment; if Ben's, La Bodega & The Library engaged in a ménage à trois, this might be the offspring _ a love child that inherits its parents' best traits (yes, all three of them, genetically impossible as that may seem).

Estate's forte is British pub grub, hooking customers up with everything from fish & chips to roast beef & Yorkshire pudding. But there's also haute cuisine, embodied in the sensual embrace of truffle-poached egg with Parmigiano-Reggiano & mushrooms on soft polenta (RM29.90++).

For even more carbs & cholesterol, this starter of egg & pillow-soft melted cheese on a bed of thick, toasty bread sprinkled with truffle oil (RM19.90++) might serve as culinary foreplay to set pulses racing and libidos roaring.

Earthiness assured: pizza voluptuously topped with sauteed wild mushrooms, mascarpone & truffle oil (RM35.90++). The truffle oil component could be more potent, but this is nevertheless nicely emblematic of BIG's "cendawan tumbuh lepas hujan" approach to opening eateries.

Working up a sweat in our truffle triathlon with these smoldering-hot fries (RM15.90++), impregnated with the perfume of truffles. Estate's prices are steep _ but justifiably so _ compared to most of its BIG siblings. A three-course meal here can easily exceed RM100.

Cheeseburger with shoestring fries, arugula & white balsamic dressing (RM79.90++). The inside of the Wagyu 5 patty was excellent, with lovably luscious hand-cut beef. But both the patty & sesame bun suffered from an excessively charred flavor on the outside.

Beer butt chicken (RM79.90++), with an open can of beer stuffed into the fowl's behind while it's being roasted, resulting in monumentally mouthwatering meat that makes us thankful that not all forms of posterior penetration are criminalized.

The chicken is chopped up for convenient consumption & partnered with duck fat roasted potatoes, gravy & bread sauce. This raunchy recipe is also available at Huck's Cafe in Bangsar.

Be tickled pink by this tangy twist on the strawberry sundae, featuring a fresh strawberry salad topped with raspberry granita, strawberry & lychee sorbets & rose meringue.

Sticky date pudding with homemade vanilla ice cream & toffee sauce. Warm comfort _ moist but not stodgy, sweetly flavored but not sickeningly sugary.

Bathing in the afterglow of a Cranswick Lakefield Cabernet Merlot. Alas, only one red wine is offered, a stark contrast to Estate's exhaustive beer list.

Cocktails are unavailable at Estate, so customers have to head next door to Tate for a climactic concoction like this classic Aviation (tanqueray 10 gin, maraschino liquor, lemon juice).

For fans of live music, Estate will likely have bands performing here starting at 9pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays. At other times, expect to hear the likes of Florence + The Machine blasting on the speakers.

All things considered, a sultry hangout for a swinging night out.

P.S. BIG is still sowing more wild oats at The Intermark, with at least two more outlets that offer interesting concepts to open in this building. Next month: EST.

The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tapis Rouge & Urban Lounge

In terms of looks & service, Tapis Rouge is the closest thing to fine dining at Kota Damansara's Red Carpet Avenue, though its secret weapon is its cabaret & theater performance lounge (!).

We haven't checked out the lounge, but the restaurant is OK. The menu is littered with common recipes, from Caesar salad to lamb shank, but whatever we sampled was well-prepared. The smoked duck breast with rocket, parmesan & balsamic glaze proved light but flavorsome.

Beef ribs in Tex-Mex barbecue sauce. Tender & tasty, though the portion was puny, considering the RM50 price tag.

Montelpuciano DOC Majolica 2005 (Italy).

All in all, Tapis Rouge's restaurant marks a pleasant departure from the noisier pubs that dominate Encorp Strand, though its performance lounge _ which hosts song-&-dance extravaganzas & comedy nights _ will likely be more boisterous.

And here's another place for chilling out: Urban Spoon at Sri Hartamas has launched a first-floor lounge that serves as a beautifully calm, comfortably spacious refuge.

Hungry? Try the hearty Wagyu beef burger with egg & tomato chutney _ a fine, sloppy mess.

Basic cocktails, nicely executed: Mojito & Cosmopolitan.

So we like UrbanLounge, though its choice of music could be better. A Dire Straits CD currently overpowers the playlist, giving the place a dated feel. How about something more contemporary, but soft & jazzy nonetheless?

Earlier entry on Urban Spoon Bistro: October 24, 2011.

Pretty nice view of Hartamas Shopping Center across the road.

Tapis Rouge Restaurant & Theater Lounge,
Red Carpet Avenue, Encorp Strand,
Jalan PJU5/22, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

Urban Lounge,
63, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Taman Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-6201-2108

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kim Ma

One of the quietest Chinese restaurants ever, but well worth visiting for its wide range of both classic & contemporary recipes.

Szechuan chicken 'ravioli.' More like wonton or sui kow instead of ravioli. Still, it's deftly done & not too spicy, with flavorsome minced meat encased in delicate dough skin.

Stewed 'Shanghai' duck in claypot. A generous portion of reasonably tender fowl, with a subtle infusion of Chinese herbs.

King prawns with flat egg noodles in lobster broth. Not as stellar as hawker versions of sang har meen, but sufficient to satiate crustacean cravings.

More prawns, coated in coconut milk & cheese. Could comfort food be more cholesterol-laden?

Crispy ginseng milk with baked banana & citrus sauce. A sweet sensation; the perfect combo of light, crisp batter enveloping soft, silky cream.

Trio Conchay Toro Chardonnay (Chile). Wine is available by the glass, thankfully.

Kim Ma,
Palace of the Golden Horses.

This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

PH Pastry House

Back to PH PastryHouse. Earlier entries: Nov. 14 & Nov. 16.

Embarking on an egg-sploration of PH Pastry's breakfast menu, with a pair of sunny-side-up ones, perfectly prepared. Alas, we can't praise the hash browns, which were bland & doughy. Loved the toasted brioche with caramelized onions though.

Our favorite: the fluffiest, most flavorful scrambled eggs ever, with bacon, cheddar cheese & chives over buttered ciabatta. Heavenly.

Poached eggs with sauteed mushrooms & spinach. Healthy, really! And delicious too, since the spinach was wonderfully executed _ tender but not mushy.

Turkey ham omelet topped with parmagiano cheese. Brekkie is served till 6pm. Yay!

We've changed our mode; next up, healthy salads, like this pineapple salsa with cucumber, tomatoes, coriander, green chili & lime cream.

Marinated mushrooms with frisee, vinaigrette & eggplant. Earthy but unexceptional.

Starchy salad: potatoes with smoked salmon, sour cream, chives, dill mayo & onions.

Lamb shank shepherd's pie. Nicely presented comfort food for both carnivores & carb-lovers, with plenty of creamy mash. The meat was juicy, but it could have been less gamy.

PH PastryHouse,
54, Jalan Utara, Off Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2141-2208