Eat Drink KL: August 2020

Monday, August 31, 2020

Anggun Chef Café Restaurant, MITEC

With a vibrantly colourful interior and an alfresco area that offers wide-open views, Anggun Chef Café Restaurant returns with a revamped setting that beautifully complements its creative cuisine. The culinary centrepiece of the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) is now ready to reintroduce itself following months of refurbishment - take a cool marble table by the rattan swing beneath neon-lit lettering and enjoy this venue, a five-minute drive from Publika.

If you love flowers in your photos, Anggun Chef's new decor is set for your snapshots, with lavender-hued petals coiling down from arches of 14-foot-high ceilings. Seating booths surrounded by hydrangeas promise a picturesque peek out of the windows.

While the restaurant is ideal for a casual meal with friends or family, it's also available for parties, product launches and events, with a capacity of 100 people seated or 120 including standing room. A private dining space can accommodate 25 people.

Anggun Chef's kitchen is no less noteworthy, furnishing a contemporary perspective to familiar favourites from Malaysia and abroad. The restaurant's founder, Mimie Azura Mohamed, harnesses more than a decade of experience in running F&B businesses to serve up flavours that are robust without being overpowering, crowd-pleasing for every palate, wide-ranging and wallet-friendly.

Embark on your exploration with Anggun Chef's most prized dish, the Anggun Nasi Lemak Rendang Peanut Butter (RM18), a recipe that the restaurant has successfully fine-tuned over time. Every component has been prepared and cooked separately to showcase its best characteristics, from the emphatically aromatic rice to the extra-special sambal (infused with Cajun spices, for a KL-meets-New Orleans kick), though the star of this platter is the chicken rendang, coated with peanut butter that balances out the spice of the rendang for a rich, rounded texture, with an aftertaste that potently conveys kerisik (toasted grated coconut).  

The fusion fun continues with the Anggun Asam Pedas Lamb Grill (RM25), another longtime Anggun Chef creation. This is painstaking to prepare - the New Zealand lamb is marinated with a medley of Asian and Western herbs and spices for two weeks, yielding savoury-sweet succulence. It's served with Anggun Chef's own asam pedas sauce, a thick and tangy match for the meat, lusciously paired with al dente strands of spaghetti and a crisp slice of garlic bread for a double dose of irresistible carbs.

Anggun Chef is not merely about innovation but also execution, reflected in the classic pizza, the Margherita (RM20) - it might not be baked in a wood-fired oven, but it still strives to do justice to Italian traditions, with dough and tomato sauce that are both meticulously house-made, resulting in a fresh-tasting, crunchy-creamy foundation for a back-to-basics pizza that's brightened with edible flowers sprinkled over melted mozzarella.

Similarly, while mushroom soup might sound conventional, Anggun Chef jazzes up its Soup De Champignon (RM13) with plenty of shiitake, white button and other mushrooms, crowned with milky foam for additional dynamics, gracefully laid with more edible flowers. Dunk Anggun's own-made garlic bread into the soup to make a splash.

There's much more to tempt us back - from Nyonya-style curry mee to grilled smoked duck confit with pineapple risotto, Cantonese-style fried yi mihn and Malaya oxtail soup to salmon steak and filet mignon, each with its own twists and flourishes.    

Desserts are equally delectable. The popular picks are well-represented and extremely affordable - Molten Lava Cake (RM10) comes crafted with Callebaut Belgian chocolate for that luscious, steaming-hot centre, topped with blueberries, strawberries and strawberry sauce, while the Tiramisu (RM10) layers cream with Anggun Chef's house-blend coffee, finished with ladyfinger biscuits and chocolate sauce. Other desserts to tickle your fancy include Belgian waffles, Creme brulee, and an intriguing Seri Muka brulee with pandan vanilla sauce.  

Beverages all meet the mark too - the Cafe Latte (RM10) relies on a house blend of French-roasted pure Arabica beans, dark and chocolaty with subtle hints of spice. An organic roast is also available for customers who favour a fresher, fruitier flavour.

The Cucumber Virgin Mojito (RM12) is the cool thirst-quencher to combat our tropical heat, a mocktail mix of soda water, cucumber syrup, lemon concentrate, mint syrup, lime and lemon slices, plus asam boi for that mouth-puckering local kick. This is also served in four other flavours (original, blueberry, apple mint or strawberry); other mocktails include the Virgin Passion Margarita, the La Vie En Rose, and a Fruit & Spices Lemonade.

Shakes and smoothies are sip-worthy, convenient for having here or getting on the go, spanning the Cookies & Cream Milkshake to the Salted Caramel Mocha Frappe. For a relatively wholesome treat, try the Mango Yogurt Smoothie (RM12), natural fresh yogurt with mango puree, topped with chocolate sprinkles. Alternatively, check out the Do It Yourself orange and lemon juice, enabling customers to squeeze out their own drink using professional restaurant equipment.

Many thanks to Anggun Chef Café Restaurant for having us here.

Anggun Chef Café Restaurant

MITEC, South Entrance, Jalan Dutamas 2, Kompleks Kerajaan, Kuala Lumpur. Open Monday-Sunday, 7am-9pm. Tel: 019-312-0689

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Craft Burgers, 'Babs & Burritos

Burgers stuffed with Korean bulgogi; Turkish doner, Greek gyro and Moroccan kefta that take inspiration from kebab traditions; burritos, quesadillas and chipotle bowls bursting with more than merely Tex-Mex flavours: Craft Burgers, 'Babs & Burritos seeks to bring a world of border-breaking, belly-busting comfort food to your doorstep, run by longtime restaurant founders who are now branching into a dynamic new delivery brand.

You'll find Craft on Foodpanda for now, stretching mainly from Bangsar to Old Klang Road, with more delivery areas planned soon and a physical outlet also in the works. We had a sampling of their specialities recently, comprising plenty of vibrant, bold-tasting creations.

With nine burgers on the launch menu, everyone might have their own favourite; most of the burgers have beef or chicken options, with lamb and vegetarian patties also possible. 

Our Umami burger was as rich and robust as promised, with all the savoury, earthy dimensions of a grilled beef patty partnered with a parmesan cheese crisp and shiitake mushrooms, balanced out with roasted tomatoes and caramelised onions for the perfect proportions of a punchy burger (RM17.90). Other beefy picks range from The Chorizo (with beef chorizo) to The Sonic (with chili con carne) to The Itaewon (with bulgogi beef).

The burger patties are freshly ground - Craft currently offers a limited number of burgers each day, so get your orders in early.

Kebab creations come next: If you love smoky seasoned meat that evokes rotisseries, order the Turkish Doner (from RM15.90), in a choice of grilled chicken or lamb, tantalisingly textured, packed into a pita with crispy potato wedges, plus tzatziki strained yogurt, toum garlic sauce, red onions and lettuce, for the sort of satisfying snack you might grab off street stands that span Istanbul to Athens. 

Prefer your 'bab in a bowl? The Arabic Guys (from RM16.90) makes for a convenient, fuss-free lunch or dinner, with sliced chicken or lamb kefta blanketing biryani-style rice, layered with falafel, hummus and salsa for a nicely balanced ensemble of everything you'd need in a Middle Eastern-influenced meal.

We'll wrap - literally - with our favourite genre from Craft, with burritos, quesadillas and chipotle bowls. Craft captures the unmistakable potency of a powerhouse burrito with its Texas Jalapeno Popper, plumply stuffed with sliced Aussie rib eye steak, jalapenos, jalapeno aioli, cilantro lime rice, beans, mozzarella, cheddar and pineapple salsa - all that meaty, fiery, cheesy, zesty jazz rolled into a bundle of lip-smacking joy (RM14.90).

Fusion fun makes its mark in the Gangnam Style Quesadilla, a mouthwatering mess that brings together Gwangju and Guadalajara with a medley of caramelised bulgogi beef that's spiked not only with kimchi mayo but jalapeno ranch for a lively, full-bodied fermented tang (RM15.90). 

But if you crave cleaner-eating nourishment, the salad bowls should please: Our best bet is the Mexican Chipotle Bowl, hearty but still relatively healthy, with grilled chicken or steak on lime cilantro rice with the works - guacamole, beans, sour cream and salsa (RM16.90).

Thanks to Craft for this preview of its temptations.

Craft Burgers, 'Babs & Burritos: Facebook | Foodpanda

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Ăn Viet: The Beefiest Phở

What makes a bowl of phở that hits the spot, from the first slurp of the slick noodles to the final sip of the soothing soup? For Ăn Viet, the soulful secret might rest in its beef, whose essence is in every spoonful of its newly revised recipe - the slices swathed over the surface, surrounded by all our favourite beef parts, with bones infused slowly but surely into the very broth.

Ăn Viet launched this elevated version of its much-loved phở in early August, so if you haven't been back to this restaurant recently, this is the one to order next - especially if you're here on Tuesdays, when Ăn Viet is currently offering up to 50% off the phở once a week to celebrate this new rendition (more details below). Dubbed the 'Beefiest Phở You'd Love,' it lives up to its name for one of the most beautiful bovine creations you'll find at any venue in KL for Southeast Asian cuisine.

We had a glimpse at how each bowl is assembled, starting with the familiar flat rice noodles, a smooth, safe base for the beef galore above, the clear stars of this show. As Ăn Viet's fans know, patrons can choose their personal noodle portion - 100, 150 or 200 grams - to accommodate their own appetite and avoid food wastage.

You have three main customisation options - for the works, the Vietnamese Beef Noodle Special is loaded with handmade 100% beef balls, premium raw rib eye beef, beef brisket, tendon and honeycomb tripe. Alternatively, the phở can be savoured simply with raw beef and beef brisket for a pure, full-bodied meaty experience, or with raw beef and beef balls if you're not a lover of offal. You can also choose your own add-ons if you have your favourite parts, like the tendon.

After nearly half a decade, Ăn Viet has fine-tuned its phở to ensure an enjoyable experience. The beef balls are naturally textured with a nice tenderness; the rib eye, served raw before the steaming-hot broth is poured over, is delicately luscious (leave it lightly cooked); the brisket is fleshy, the collagen-rich tendon is clean-tasting, and the tripe has been upgraded to the most coveted honeycomb. Every component plays its part capably - beef buffs should be pleased with the protein.

What brings it all together is the precious broth, which we'd happily drink a bowl of, even on its own. Ăn Viet now relies on a variety of bones, from the neck for a sweeter flavour to the marrow for a richer texture. It's MSG-free, so what you taste is the goodness extracted from beef bones, simmered for hours with traditional Vietnamese spices and seasonings.

You can also harvest fresh basil leaves from Ăn Viet's live plants (at The Gardens Mall, Sunway Pyramid and Paradigm Mall) and select assorted condiments to brighten your meal.

From now until 30 September 2020, Ăn Viet is offering a special promotion every Tuesday - order one serving of the phở and enjoy 10% off the price; order two servings and enjoy 15% off; order three servings and enjoy 25% off.

Ăn Viet's subscribers can enjoy double the discount, up to 50% off. Subscribing is easy and can be completed instantly at any of Ăn Viet's restaurants (in The Gardens Mall, Sunway Pyramid, Paradigm Mall Petaling Jaya, or Gurney Plaza in Penang).

You can also subscribe through this link:

The phở is more than sufficient for a complete meal, but we can't help indulging every time we visit Ăn Viet - from appetiser platters of rice paper and green mango salad, sugarcane prawns, and fresh and fried spring rolls with tiger prawns, to dessert of Viet-ffogato (Vietnamese coffee with coconut ice cream), Ăn Viet shines in putting its best into each preparation.

Ăn Viet also has a genuine heart for the community and the environment - be sure to finish all the food you order and Ăn Viet will donate 10 sen per meal to the Food Aid Foundation as part of efforts to curb food wastage and feed the hungry (about 200,000 meals were finished at Ăn Viet last year!).

Many thanks to Ăn Viet for a phở-nomenal lunch.

Find Ăn Viet at:
The Gardens Mall (LG-203B)
Paradigm Mall PJ (Lot LG 02-03A))
Sunway Pyramid (LG2.127)
Gurney Plaza (B1-32A)