Eat Drink KL: January 2021

Sunday, January 31, 2021

WhatBalls Italian Street Food, KL

Italian streets, Malaysian eats: WhatBalls specialises in arancini, the Sicilian deep-fried rice balls, prepared by a Sicilian who has lived in KL for the past decade.

From ragu to rendang, WhatBalls features four flavours that range from the traditional to the tweaked (RM10 each, or RM30 for four).

Beef buffs can choose from the Alla Carne (punchily stuffed with slow-cooked halal Australian beef, Italian tomato paste, Malaysian home-grown herbs and mozzarella cheese) and Beef Rendang (faithfully recreating the spiciness of the Malay staple in a golden-brown, crisply breadcrumb-coated treat, for a different kind of rendang-and-rice pairing).

The Al Burro, bursting with a savoury blend of chicken ham and b├ęchamel sauce, is the poultry pick of this quartet, while the Al Funghi is jam-packed with an oozy-creamy mix of mushrooms, roasted sesame and cheese for the vegetarian-friendly selection.


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Crottys Bakery, Taman Tun Dr Ismail

All it’s craic’d up to be: Crottys Bakery channels Irish roots to bring a bit of Carlow to KL, tracing its lineage to a family that's been baking since 1830. 

TTDI-based home baker Donal Crotty promises authentically traditional specialities like Brown Soda Bread (RM14 for 550g, with baking soda and buttermilk replacing yeast), rustically textured with a tightly dense crumb, best with some salted butter or jam.

The Crottys family recipe for Yeast-Based Gold Medal Barm Brack (RM28 for 700g) reputedly won a baking award in London in 1959; six decades later, it deserves to be a big hit in KL too - fundamentally a fruit bread that takes three hours to bake, fluffy-rich and full of sultanas, like a fruit cake transformed from the crumb up into a gargantuan hunk of bread, perfect for gatherings of carb-lovers. 

Crottys Bakery

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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Shocking Greens: Umami & spice make a sister's pickles shiok-ing nice

The red-hot family recipe for Shocking Greens was born 18 years ago, when two Malaysian sisters' masak-masak sessions took spicy inspiration from their mom's love for chillies. 

Experimenting with recipes to turn up the heat, they made a mix of pickled mustard greens, chillies and aromatic ingredients - the foundation for Shocking Greens' bottled condiments, newly launched in October 2020.

Shocking Greens is spearheaded by one of the two sisters, who has consistently prepared this recipe for herself and close friends.

The essential elements, with proportions perfected over two decades, comprise the salted vegetable base of pickled mustard greens, plus plenty of chillies, garlic, anchovy sauce, organic vegetable seasoning and Omega-3-rich canola oil, the latter two in line with more wholesome eating.

Shocking Greens come in two varieties: Natural Blusher is relatively tamer, while Tear Jerker is exactly what its name implies, more ferociously sweat-sparking and palate-burning. Each bottle costs RM15.90, with delivery available for the Klang Valley.

The condiments are pork-free and MSG-free, with no artificial preservatives, additives, colouring or flavouring - making them perfect for health-conscious households. They are best consumed within three weeks after opening, ideally refrigerated to maintain their vibrancy.

Consuming these condiments offers a one-two combo of flavours - the experience kicks off with an umami-deep tang, followed by the fierce punch of local chillies.

The Natural Blusher is a pleasurable pedas, tolerable and tantalising for most Malaysians who enjoy some extra scorch and sultriness in their food.

The Tear Jerker is a stealth explosion, unleashing its fury on your taste buds after the third bite, a fever dream that teeters close to a fiery-food challenge.

Texture-wise, the pickled mustard greens convey a bright, certified crunch that brings a welcome boost to many types of meals, like the Malaysian equivalent of kimchi. 

We savoured its versatility with local staples like rice and noodles, but it would also be an appetising accompaniment to everything from burgers and tacos to hotpots, fried chicken to pizza and more, transforming a regular recipe to something special.

Many thanks to Shocking Greens for pleasantly surprising us with this mouthwatering sampling, making us a hot mess in the best way.

Shocking Greens

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Friday, January 29, 2021

Rise by G

As Malaysian home bakers continue to step up with wonderful work, Rise by G soars with fragrant focaccia and lovable loaves, crafted by architectural designer Gina, who's currently swapping blueprints for buns and colour boards for cookies.

This week, we sampled Rise by G's two specialities of Focaccia and Cinnamon Loaf. Gina also bakes Coconut Gula Melaka Loaves, Bread Rings, Cardamom Buns and Brown Butter Cookies, all sent out in recyclable packaging. 

The focaccia is addictive - golden-brown and pillowy-light, studded with sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, rosemary and basil (RM40), folded and stretched over a few hours, sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil as soon as it emerges from the oven. 

This is focaccia that's as fresh and tender as you can find, with the perfect thickness to tear it up and make a mouthful of it, flavoursome enough to enjoy on its own - though dipping it with more olive oil enriches and enlivens the experience even further.

The eight-inch cinnamon loaf (RM35) is also popular - its braided layers are beautiful, its buttery filling is moist and creamy, elevating Rise's delightfully dense rendition above dreadfully dry ones. Kids may relish this best, but we can't stop munching too!

Many thanks to Rise by G for crushing our carb cravings.

Rise by G

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Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral: Lunar New Year Trio of Yee Sang, Roast Duck & Chicken

As the tumultuous Year of the Rat yields to a hopefully brighter Year of the Ox, Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral offers takeaway and delivery specialities to celebrate at home, including three varieties of Yee Sang, Cantonese Roast Duck and Almond Chicken, with free delivery within a 10-kilometre radius of Aloft.

Please call 03-2723-1154 or email kulal.b& to book.

When 2021 began, we had the chance to raise our chopsticks for Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral's intricately prepared ox-themed yee sang, specially embellished for the occasion, enhanced with crispy whitebait for extra crunch.

For customers seeking to toss at home, Aloft promises Triple Happiness with three crunchtastic Yee Sang flavours - Shimmering Silverbait, Bountiful Salmon, or Double Happiness Abalone & Yee Sang. Prices start from RM98 for a regular tray and RM128 for a large tray. Reservations are required 48 hours in advance.

We also managed to savour Aloft's roast duck, which fans of fowl will love for its luscious meat.

For the Lunar New Year, feast at home with Aloft's four-course sets with either the whole crispy Cantonese Roast Duck with Plum Sauce or Almond Chicken as your main course. Both sets come with Yee Sang, plus one vegetable dish and one dessert. Both sets feed up to five persons - the Cantonese Roast Duck set costs RM208 nett, while the Almond Chicken set is RM188 nett.

You can also order the roast meat a la carte: The Cantonese Roast Duck (whole) is RM98 nett, Roast Chicken is RM78 nett, and the Almond Chicken is RM78 nett. Orders must be made 48 hours in advance.

Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral

5, Jalan Stesen Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur.

Please call 03-2723-1154 or email kulal.b& to book.

Free delivery within a 10-kilometre radius of Aloft.

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