Eat Drink KL: August 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Lam's Kitchen & Sun Huat Kee @ Jaya Grocer, The Intermark

A sparkling food hall with a deliciously unexpected twist has opened this month at Jaya Grocer's latest foray into The Intermark.

The hall in this upmarket "Grocerant" is separated into two sections; one's a free-for-all, but the other's what roused our appetite & ruled our attention: A restricted zone of pork-serving stalls like Lam's Kitchen & Sun Huat Kee.

Birds of no feathers flock together at Lam's Kitchen, hanging out with a big slab of pork belly.

The roast duck at Lam's Kitchen is not bad; pretty fair in terms of flavor & juiciness.

Throw in some tasty siu yok & char siu for a meaty triumvirate that costs slightly over RM30.

 The menu at Lam's Kitchen is broad, including kopitiam-inspired fare like yummy noodles with prawn-stuffed wantan. Takeaway orders are possible.

 Check out Sun Huat Kee too, an offshoot of the well-known outlet at Bangsar's Lucky Garden; loh shi fun with minced pork, sausages & pork balls are the attraction.

 There's also another branch of Menya Musashi here for the many ramen lovers out there.

 The food hall's halal section is perfectly fine too; there's Bonjour Garden for sandwiches & more. Expect to hear more about this interesting destination in the months ahead.

Lam's Kitchen & Sun Huat Kee,
The Grocerant, Jaya Grocer, 
Lower Concourse, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.

Oro Cafe @ Hilton KL & The Bakery @ Marks & Spencer KLCC

It's a cornucopia of carbs! Checking out a couple of new bread-laden destinations: Oro Cafe at Hilton KL & The Bakery at Marks & Spencer in Suria KLCC.

Our stop at Oro was for window-shopping: We browsed but never bought these bagels (RM26++), stuffed with the likes of roast beef, mozzarella & sun-dried tomatoes.

The quiches (RM21++) looked alluring; one had spinach & feta, the other promised smoked turkey & leek fondue. Maybe next time. Definitely next time.

Danishes, macarons & cakes are also available at Oro, as is coffee. The Hilton describes this lobby-level outlet, which is part of the hotel's F&B revamp, as a "classic barista cafe," complete with a polished marble bar counter.

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.

More waistline-wrecking temptations to be found at KLCC's Marks & Spencer, where an in-house bakery opened this month, serving a sweeping, scrumptious selection.

 Everything from Bramley apple turnovers to peach-&-cream tarts; resistance truly is futile.

 The Bakery's croissants, beautifully flaky, are born of French-made dough, flown into Malaysia to be baked right here inside this KLCC store.

 Malted wheat baguette, slow-baked with bran & barley malt flour, evincing a golden-crisp crust.

Muffins oozing with lemon cream; densely moist & flavorful, exactly how they ought to be.

Oh, remember that turnover? Here it is, made with Britain's most popular cooking apple.

Almond croissant & choc chip shortbread. Caveat: We've purchased these pastries at various hours over the past two weeks, learning eventually that they taste terrific when bought at 11am, but the stock that's left at night (with a 50 percent discount) has clearly faded in freshness.

 Our indisputable favorites here: The sweet stuff, including this buttery, sugar-topped Eccles cake with a potently fruity currant filling.

 Caramel tart with nuts. Gooey greatness; this one might haunt our dreams for many months.

 The Bakewell tart, with a sponge of almonds & base of jam surrounded by shortcrust pastry, is less decadent but nonetheless delightful.

 The Bakery is inside Marks & Spencer's food hall, where other pleasant surprises await: this intriguing bag of crisps is emblazoned with the words "Honey Roast Wiltshire Ham" & a non-halal sticker. The ingredients list shows no pork, but the crisps do have something of a hammy taste.

Love the Cornish clotted cream honeycomb ice cream. Nothing at M&S is overpriced; pastries hover north of RM6, with everything above clocking in well below RM80.

Oro Cafe, 
Lobby Level, Hilton Kuala Lumpur. Open 24 hours a day.
The Bakery,
Marks & Spencer, Concourse Level, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ohla Tapas Bar @ The Intermark, Tun Razak

It's the tapas bar KL has been waiting for: Ohla is one of 2013's most exciting new eateries.

 The sister restaurant of The Intermark's heavily hyped nightclub Providence, Ohla throbs with the talents of not one but two head chefs: Toni Ruiz & Mario Valiente, both of whom plied their trade in Barcelona before taking a stab at Southeast Asia.

 It's a narrow space; seating's limited to one long bar & a communal table. The bar boasts the best seats in this industrial-chic house, facing the open kitchen where every move & misstep of the food preparation is nakedly exposed to searing scrutiny.

 Chefs Ruiz & Valiente (the latter of whom oozes a Gosling-esque masculinity) are far from the chattiest of chefs, but that's OK; they let their cooking speak volumes.

 Ohla's one-page, soft-launch menu features nothing but tapas; everything's worth trying, particularly the pan-fried foie gras with sous-vide egg, mashed potatoes & shaved truffles (RM40, nett it seems, based on our receipt).

 Crazy-chunky liver, super-runny egg, milky-creamy potatoes, stunningly generous servings of truffles: immediately after finishing this, we seriously contemplated ordering it again right there.

 Mediterranean black rice (RM46), firm to the bite, cooked with squid ink & olive oil, mixed with pleasurably chewy bits of squid & crowned with little prawns. The flavors of the soil & the sea blend together beautifully. Love it, want to worship it.

 Ohla serves pork; the chefs can't imagine cooking without it. Can't blame them, since these scallops grilled in a Josper oven & laid on a bed of citric mash (RM46) might be less ravishing without being blanketed in pork belly. Tastiest scallops we've had this year.

 Octopus with potato foam, potato water & crispy Pimenton de la vera (RM35). What thrilled us about each recipe here was its revelation of intricate nuances; it's food that's meant to be chewed slowly, first savored wordlessly but then discussed enthusiastically.

 Who knew a sad-looking soup could prove a stunner? Almond-&-garlic broth with dill & olive oil (RM32), layered & complex, featuring the freshest flavors of terra firma.

 Wrap up with a Spanish cheese platter (RM35), made intriguingly innovative with pairings like quince paste & almond meringue for specific cheeses.

 Wines are offered mostly by the glass, with cava starting at RM20. On a recent weeknight, we were the only customers at Ohla from start to finish, but expect this place to explode eventually.

 Final note: We're ready to start talking about the next phase in this blog's evolution. On Oct. 1, we hope to launch an initiative (call it Eat Drink KL: 100F for now), a project born of passion. It'll require the moral support of readers to succeed, so many thanks in advance & in anticipation.

Ohla Tapas & Cocktails,
G-18, Ground Floor, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.
Currently open daily for dinner starting 6pm. Will open for breakfast & lunch eventually.

Koryori Enoshima @ Wisma Cosway, Raja Chulan

It's the circle of life: Koryori Enoshima has replaced Ozeki Italian Cuisine, which closed at Wisma Cosway after only a year in business.

The place has been refurbished extensively, for a fresh, contemporary feel. Sorta nice, actually.

Enoshima's menu is a canny mix of conservative favorites & newfangled fare; begin with this innocuous complimentary amuse bouche of fried snapper & salmon.

Konnyaku sashimi (RM14++), the gelatinous "devil's tongue" root-plant jelly, sliced thinly & served sashimi-style with mustard-miso dip. Kinda fun; the texture matters more than the taste.

Prefer raw fish? The flying fish sashimi should satisfy, but at the steeper cost of RM38++.

Keeping it simple: Wagyu beef kushiyaki (RM25++), a meaty skewer well-marinated enough that it needs no togarashi spices for seasoning.

Enoshima maintains a smidgen of its predecessor's Italian influences, obvious in this piping-hot combo of tuna sashimi, grated yam & mozzarella cheese (RM22++).

Shirasu baby sardine & spring onion pizza (RM16++), sufficiently unusual to entice the curious.

Sake is available, as are wine & shochu-fruit combos like this one with tangy grapefruit.

Ozeki Italian Cuisine might be gone, but signs of its existence linger. All in all, Enoshima's a good-enough Japanese restaurant, though it lacks much of Ozeki's ambition.

Koryori Enoshima,
G22-24, Ground Floor, Wisma Cosway, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur.
Open for lunch & dinner. 
Tel: 03-2148-9390