Eat Drink KL: June 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Unkai @ Bangkok Crowne Plaza

The Crowne Plaza has a reasonably tempting tagline for its Japanese restaurant: Discover why Unkai is always the popular choice for Bangkok residents seeking authentic Japanese recipes.

This journey of discovery begins with sesame-studded broccoli, one of my favorite veggies.

Hot broth, brimming with lotus root, asparagus, mushrooms, carrots & fishcakes.

A savory, protein-packed selection of cooked egg, meat & seafood.

Raw's more welcome: the ubiquitous salmon & tuna sashimi, fresh as can be expected.

Unkai is a porky restaurant, so we leaped at the chance to have crisply breaded pork loin.

Chawanmushi, alongside a simple lettuce-&-tomato salad in sesame dressing.

Rice with pickled veggies. All in all, everything tastes true to the art of Japanese cooking, with well-composed ingredients.

Miso soup before we say sayonara (or should we bid sawatdee?).

Might prefer ice cream to fruits, but fine, this is healthier.

Crowne Plaza Bangkok, Lumpini Park, Thailand.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bread Of Life @ Universiti, Petaling Jaya

A bakery-cafe with close clinical ties: Located smack across the road from University Malaya Medical Center, Bread Of Life is operated by the same folks who run Harvey's Cafe at Penang's Gleneagles Medical Center.

Bread loaves, sandwiches, croissants & cakes, not all them healthy-looking, but many with plenty of seeds & nuts nevertheless.

Walnut & almond tarts, packed tightly for takeaway, & cheese tarts that look fairly fresh.

Business hours haven't been finalized, but it's safe to head here on weekdays before 6pm.

Warm meals are available too; the nasi lemak's not bad, though it won't haunt us.

Cream puffs taste satisfactory too, impossible to gripe about.

Cranberry apple tarts, bountifully brimming with sticky-sugary fruits.

Carrot juice to round up a meal that surely won't land us in the hospital.

Bonus stop: Only a three-minute drive from the recently opened Bread Of Life, let's see how the decades-old Rennie's House of Oxtail on this same road is faring.

Old-school comfort food: Oxtail stew, packed with potatoes, served with crisp bread for dunking.

Rennie's is one of the few bars that stocks no wine, so beer-haters must bank on whiskey.

Bread of Life,
Jalan Universiti, Petaling Jaya.
Parking potentially available in building basement car park for customers.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ichiriki @ The Gardens, Mid Valley

Opening this week at The Gardens Mall, Ichiriki is run by the folks behind a more established Japanese brand, Yuzu, known for branches at KLCC & Mid Valley.

Ichiriki specializes in tonkatsu; unlike Yuzu, its menu features plenty of pork & nearly no sushi.

Here's what elevates Ichiriki further: Premium meat. Flavorful Kurobuta pork from the black pig is used for this katsu (RM25++), drizzled with dark-brown Hatcho Miso dressing.

Iberico pork is also served here, succulent in sweet-savory miso yaki sauce (RM45++).

Iberico pork rib karaage (RM20++); we could happily devour five of these.

 Gnaw it to the bone; each bite proves as tender & tasty as pork can be.

Masumi Gold sake (RM45++ for 300ml), by a brewery that traces its lineage to the 1600s. 

Expect to hear more about Ichiriki in the months ahead; the restaurant will expand its menu eventually to include the likes of teppanyaki octopus "tako" in garlic oil, skewered meat, noodles & much more.

Ichiriki Japanese Restaurant,
F237B, 1st Floor, Isetan Wing, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2284-0688

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Yamamomo @ Centrepoint Bandar Utama

Some interesting stuff at Yamamomo, a new outlet in Bandar Utama's oft-forgotten Centrepoint.

Chilled charcoal soba with salmon sashimi rose & lightly seared butter fish (RM38 before taxes), a reinvigorating recipe to counter our much-too-hot weather.

A risky fusion of Japanese, Tex-Mex, Thai & Indian inspirations (!!!): Tuna sashimi with guacamole & spicy Sriracha sauce, piled on paratha flatbread (RM32). Does it work? Well, yeah.

Uni chawanmushi (RM20). Quite a fair bit of sea urchin for this reasonable price.

Marinated tsubugai whelk (RM15), the chewier Japanese version of escargots.

Yamamomo serves interesting rolls, but the results are hit-&-miss. The foie gras maki, with seared liver, mango, egg & fish roe (RM35), sounds like a smash, but its flavors clash awfully.

Stick to a safer route: Anago sea eel tempura roll topped with avocado (RM32).

Grapes of glory: the Kyoho variety, imported from Japan. Sweet & juicy, RM18 for six.

Sumomo peach, RM22 per fruit. Expensive, but probably worth trying.

Peanut butter alert! Don't often see peanut butter in Japanese joints, especially not peanut butter ice cream. RM7 for each enjoyable scoop.

Sake is available, of course, as well as whiskey, but not wine.

F113, First Floor, Centrepoint, Lebuh Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya.
Tel: 03-7733-1220
Open daily for lunch & dinner.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Agape: Love Your Food @ Setiawalk Puchong

Not a bad nook for nibbles; this new European eatery is on a sparsely traveled corridor in the Setiawalk complex, but it's worth sniffing out for its pork-loaded menu. Plus, there's currently an opening promotion of 30 percent discounts off food through June 30.

Prawn-pork perfection: Brochettes of plump crustaceans wrapped in juicy-savory bacon (RM18.50 before taxes), served with tequila lime sauce.

Spice-rubbed grilled pork belly rashers with baked potatoes & bok choy (RM29.80), meaty cuts, tender & reasonably flavorsome.

Slow-braised belly with crispy crackling, pan-fried potatoes & apple demi-glaze (RM29.80). Pleasant presentation, but the pork tasted past its prime for this one.

Plenty more on Agape's ambitiously wide menu, from beer-basted ribs to garlic-herb knuckles, Boston butt to brine chop, kebabs to meatballs, Cuban honey-baked ham sandwiches to chipotle pork wraps, sausage spaghettis to pepperoni pizzas.

Open all day long, noon through 11pm, Agape is spaciously suitable for families, though it caters for friendly outings too, with Aussie wine offered at wallet-loving rates of RM65.

Agape: Love Your Food (located above Brussels Beer Cafe),
5, 1st Floor, Block I, Setia Walk Mall, Puchong.
Tel: 03-5882-0139