Eat Drink KL: October 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Renoma Cafe Gallery @ Bukit Bintang

Returning to Kuala Lumpur's first Renoma Cafe Gallery. Earlier entry: September 18.

Escargot gets a makeover: forget about the ones baked with garlic butter & check out Renoma's puff-pastry version, still buttery but with much more to sink our teeth into. Partnered with curried lotus root chips, micro cress & sauce madere.

French onion soup, bristling with caramelized onions in tongue-scorching beef bouillon with melted Comte cheese.

Nicoise salad, made nicer than normal with heirloom tomatoes to accompany the usual suspects of quail eggs, artichokes and anchovies.

Another classic, beef bourguignon, supremely hearty slow-braised beef cheek with root veggies, red Burgundy wine, forest mushrooms, pearl onion confit & potato mousseline.

Caramelized sea scallops in a savory-nutty-earthy, juicy-creamy preparation, sprinkled with sesame & salmon roe on a bed of confited salsifies, with a fricassee of chanterelle mushrooms (beneath the salad) & walnut oil.

Also complex (with some assembly required): citrus-cured ocean trout with (deep breath!) Szechuan peppercorn, trout roe, avocado bavarois, baby radish salad, capers, pickled onions & cold-pressed avocado oil.

Potato lovers, this one's for you: Hand-cut, double-fried Russet potatoes, served with Renoma's housemade dips, one tinged with bits of black truffles & the other made Malaysian with a spicy infusion of sambal terasi.

Wild-caught sole fish fillet poached in brown butter, with veggies, kaffir lime leaves & orange maitre d'hotel sauce. Not quite sole meuniere, not quite satisfying, but quite sodium-loaded.

Hanger steak (or as the Brits might call it, skirt steak). Not bad, but what we really loved on this plate was not the meat, nor the ratatouille or the (rather weak) sauce Perigeaux but the fantastic truffled pomme puree.

Splendid cheese selection: Saint-Paulin, Roquefort Crouzat, Saint-Marcellin Fermier, Rocamadour and Trou du Cru.

French Connection (cognac, amaretto) & Bikini Martini cocktails.

Renoma serves some interesting wine by the glasses, including the Chateau Beauregard Ducasse Rouge, Graves, & Veiga Naum Albarino, Rias Baixas.

But with each glass well exceeding RM30, a bottle might prove more economically prudent.

Renoma Cafe Gallery,
510, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2143-9919
Open daily, lunch through late.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kingyo @ Life Center & Ju.Ne @ Solaris Dutamas

A tale of two Japanese eateries: one in the city, the other suburban; one steadfastly traditional, the other cautiously experimental.

First up, Kingyo, which opened at Life Center this month, practically the same time that sushi-serving rival Doraku launched upstairs in this building.

Kingyo's prices are slightly on the steep side; its specialty roll, topped with seared minced 'toro' tuna belly & stuffed with avocado & spring onions, is a melt-in-the-mouth pleasure, but costs well north of RM60.

Salmon-&-tuna sashimi salad, satisfyingly fresh but far from memorable.

Inaniwa udon to round up a meal at a place that might be playing it too safe; the menu is wide, but everything here can be found elsewhere at more competitive prices.

We wish Kingyo luck, but it needs an extra edge to stand out in KL's sea of Japanese eateries.

Next up, Ju.Ne, a fairly comfortable little nook in Solaris Dutamas.

Simmered eggplant with bonito flakes, warm & soft, invite us to linger for dinner.

Ju.Ne's starters include worthwhile fare with fun-but-not-radical twists, including a big bowl of crunchy veggies on ice (love the Brussels sprouts) partnered with a savory anchovy sauce dip that's kept hot over a flame.

Keeping the healthy streak alive: Momotaro tomatoes & Japanese cucumbers, cool & crisp, paired with sauces spicy & creamy.

Crab meat & avocado mayo salad. Can't go wrong with this; tastes exactly as expected.

Minced prawn stuffed in lotus root. Warm & juicy, but it might need a sauce to add some zing.

Garlic bread, a tad too stodgy, to be topped with a terrific mix of tuna belly, anchovies & wasabi.

Oyster-stuffed omelet, a mouthwatering finish to a creative meal whose hits outpace the misses.

Cute sake cups; customers choose their favorite when the service team offers a tray of them.

Kingyo @ Life Center, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.
Ju.Ne @ 4A-G2-3A, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur.

Monday, October 29, 2012

El Rincon @ Changkat

El Rincon: Round Two. Earlier entry: May 2, 2012.

Comfort food at its absolute best: eggs, potatoes and Parma ham. Outstanding.

Andalucian Salmorejo from Cordoba, a puree of savory pleasures, spilling over with garlic bread, tomato, Jamon Iberico ham and hard-boiled egg. One of the best soups we've had this year; reminiscent in color to gazpacho, but much thicker and more flavorsome.

Roasted piquillo peppers stuffed with blood sausage, soaked in their own rich sauce.

Seafood and chicken paella. No one can accuse El Rincon of being saffron-stingy.

 Garbanzos con callos _ a rustic, salty stew, laden with lots of tripe, chorizo and chickpea.

 Cod fish cooked in tomato and roasted pepper sauce. A fine change from the run-of-the-mill cod recipes we often see in KL, thanks to a sauce whose comfortingly tangy, formidably creamy nature is the perfect partner for this fish.

Iberico pork ribs, cooked medium-well for a lip-smacking vestige of bloodiness that would normally be associated with lamb chops instead.

Suckling pig. Meaty, but carries too much of a porky stench for our liking.

Americano (martini rosso, campari, soda) and Maraschino's Dream (maraschino, orange).

Martini Dry and Sans Rival Ouzo.

Cava in Champagne flutes.

Sangria, constructed with cava instead of wine, for a bubbly liveliness.

El Rincon,
14, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2142-7633

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Zuo @ Publika & Zeven @ Puchong

Checking out two Chinese eateries, one in Publika & the other in Puchong. First up, Zuo, which specializes in what it calls "homespun nostalgia."

A 38-item menu explores everything from lap cheong omelets to pi pa tofu, but here's Zuo's forte: hot & hearty rice platters, served with the likes of okra & quail eggs.

Few matches seem as heaven-made as steamed white rice with a bowl of chunky pork belly, peanuts & lotus roots simmered in fish sauce with rock sugar.

Wok-fried rice with smoked bacon, diced carrots, green peas & white cabbage. This cost RM10.90, reasonable for something that'll crush hunger pangs for hours.

Oh, most of our orders came with complimentary, slurp-worthy salted veggie soup.

All the typical beverages are offered, from winter melon with lemon to sea coconut.

Zuo @ EAT Food Village, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur

Zuo @ EAT Food Village, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur

Next up, Zeven Recipe in Puchong prides itself on MSG-free home-style cooking that it insists is low in salt & sugar.

Fermented bean curd pork, as meaty & flavorsome as can be expected.

Sakura pork slices, served cold for a mild-tasting, mighty refreshing starter.

Herbal chicken. A sterling example of Oriental soul food, filled with comforting aromas.

Minced pork. Well-prepared, but won't linger in the memory for many months.

Steamed fish, fleshy & fairly fresh. But not impressive enough to head to Puchong for unless you're already in this area.

Dongpo pork, always a pleasure. One of our favorite Chinese culinary classics.

Chicken feet, something we're learning to like, for all its gelatinous glory (if only we could have this boneless though, for sheer convenience).

Mixed veggies & mushrooms, the obligatory dish for a Chinese dinner.

Bean curd with spicy sauce. We kinda prefer softer, silkier & more mellow preparations.

Zeven Recipe,
25, Jalan Puteri 1/4, Taman Puteri, Puchong.