Friday, March 21, 2008

3-in-1

When I was in Standard Six, my parents finally let me go roller skating with my school friends at
Spinning Wheels in Sungai Wang. I recall my parents (and those of my friends) thinking it was an unsavoury sort of place that bred bad behaviour like swearing, boyfriends and smoking. My god, looking back now it was so wholesome compared to what seems to be goin g on these days! It was totally harmless. Galaxy (or was it Galactica?) in Kota Raya was equally as harmless except for the perilous journey getting there. It involved maneuvering between buses and motorcycles and not to mention the crazy old flasher who was stationed at the pedestrian bridge. I wonder if he is still alive and still preying on young school girls. Anyway, I was never great it. I never did quite learn to stop without slamming into somebody or the railing. A few years later, ice skating in Perth was no better. By the time rollerblading came about, I had decided that these feet are meant for walking period. So it was with much dread when I found out that we were going ice skating at Sunway Pyramid for our staff party.

I didn't realise how much they had extended Sunway Pyramid. Its even bigger than before! We parked in the new wing without realising it and found ourselves weaving through unfamiliar shops and restaurants. How exciting! Okay, I used to think it was a hell hole but now I have to eat my words. Its actually quite pleasant. Mind you, this was a week day at 10am in the morning. Anyway, we had such a great time!!! We had a fantastic coach who gave us very good pointers. It was fun because out of the 40 people, only 2 could skate. So all of us just had a good time laughing at each other. I was doing quite well until someone knocked me over. My god that was quite a shock! I felt the impact of the fall from my hip, up the sides and all the way to up to my head. Now that is definitely a sign of age! We had lunch at Ichiban Ramen. They must have thanked their lucky stars when 40 people walked in for lunch. Although it took a while for them to take our orders, the food arrived fairly swiftly. I am amazed at how fast and efficient the kitchen was. The only thing slow was the drinks. It arrived after we finished our meals. Thats the problem when 40 people order slushies. I think they only have one blender!

The friendly staff assured us that no msg is used in their cooking. I have to say that this must be true because YY is highly allergic and usually starts scratching and looking harassed but she was perfectly fine. My sapporo ramen was a blend of miso broth and spicy fermented bean paste. It has slivers of chicken char siu (wawot!), corn kernels and seaweed. It was pretty good for what it was. Simple, hearty, fast, what more could you ask for at lunch right? Sis' chicken katsudon was pretty tasty. The bits of crab stick added colour and tackiness. Essentials for fast food dining I reckon! The chicken gyozas were rather sad looking and deflated when it arrived. The taste reflected the presentation perfectly. Meow!

After lunch we went back to skate some more and played some games on the ice. I'm proud to say I got quite far on the individuals limbo rock contest. After all that hard work, I was quite peckish by 5pm. A few of us went to Toastbox for coffee and a snack. Hainan bread and kaya are one of the many things I love about Malaysia! Its just so divine! They are simply made for each other, like Adam and Eve, root beer and vanilla ice cream, pork and me... The kaya toast comes with a generous slab of butter that flows onto the plate like a golden river when you squeeze the toast together. Disgustingly delicious! I prefer the brown toast version at Old Town thought and the kaya they have there is nicer too. Still, this was exactly what I needed. Washed down by, what tasted like, instant coffee. I didn't know Toastbox was a spin off from Bread Story. Makes sense I suppose. The one here at Sunway Pyramid is situated at a cosy corner just as you enter "Marrakesh" from the old wing.

I didn't think I could eat anymore but for the sake of research, I would plough on. After all, it was dinner at Tony Roma's. I have never been, ever. I'm not a big meat eater which is why I would DIE if I went on the Atkin's diet. We had asked for a buffet menu and they gave us a nice spot at the back which looks into Sunway Lagoon and the hotel. Unfortunately I didn't get to take any good photos here. The barbecue beef ribs were very tasty and tender. Although some bits were a little dry. The scary looking red things were chicken strips basted in barbecue sauce. It was quite nice. It reminded me of sweet and sour pork. I'm sure kids would love it because it just taste of sauce and nothing else! The grilled lamb chops were disappointing. Overcooked, dry and tasteless. Still all the other things made up for it I reckon. The salad was cool, crisp and dressed lightly with a citrus dressing. I also liked the coleslaw despite the shards of celery, yuck. I didn't bother trying the "pacific cod" (another fancy name for butter fish to fool people with. The other name would be "white tuna") as it looked terribly dry and unappealing sitting in the shafing dish like a white pyramid. I was glad when dinner was over. I just wanted to lie down. And you know what, it was only 830pm! By the time I got home and had a shower, I could feel my legs getting sore. I went to bed thinking what a great time I had and how I never want to eat so much again!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Apartment Revisited

Its been almost two months since that fateful evening we dined at The Apartment in KLCC. Last week Plucky and I found ourselves wandering around KLCC looking for a place to eat. Initially we were going to go to Little Penang Cafe but they were already closing at 9:30pm on a Friday night! WTF?! Business must be really good! Anyway, we ended up at The Apartment. It was a beautiful night, the air was cool, people were happy (TGIF!) and the twin towers looked even more ethereal than usual on this clear night. I ordered a duck and mango salad to start followed by a bowl of clams done "Apartment-style". The place was abuzz with happy diners. Service was attentive as before. I had my fingers and toes crossed that the food would be better. Not great but better would be just fine. 

 
My duck salad arrived very quickly and I was definitely taken aback at how good it tasted. It was lightly dressed (thank you! I hate having my salads drowning in sauce!) and refined. I loved how the herbs and greens were thinly shredded. It was light, herbaceous and very appetising. Just as well because the clams were shockingly sweet! I know the sauce said "honey, ginger, chilli" and some other herbs but all I tasted was HONEY.

It was quite disgusting which was such a shame because the clams were very nice. I did complain but they insisted that SWEET is how its supposed to taste like. So what can I say right? So please don't order this unless you like having clams for dessert.

Plucky's Hampstead Steak was perfectly cooked and tasty but unfortunately it was barely warm when it arrived. I didn't like the taste of the mash though. It was flavoured with some oil of some sort. I couldn't figure it out but it reminded me of apples. Two out of three ain't bad I suppose. We decided to try their desserts even though technically I already ate dessert! Ironically, my strawberry and mint parfait was nowhere as sweet as my main course. It looked pretty enough with its pink, cream and latte coloured layers but it was a bitch to eat. Its one of those where you have to pick at it daintily otherwise everything threatens to fall out like Nigella's buoyant bosom (keep wishing Fat Boy). It was no big shakes. Plucky enjoyed her gigantic bowl of chocolate mousse but I found it reeked of cheap chocolate masquerading as something fanciful. They really need to improve on their desserts. Its not always about presentation. You can only eat so much with your eyes. So the million dollar question is "Would I come back again?". The answer is "yes" for the duck salad and because the menu is extensive enough to come back and try something else. Finding something really good is like stabbing in the dark sometimes. Hopefully I can draw some blood next time. 

The view from the park. Call the police, the mothership has arrived!

Dinner cost around RM75 for my two dishes, dessert and a root beer. Plucky's was around RM60 plus with a drink and her dessert. Other reviews : Lyrical Lemongrass

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sun, Surf & Frogs?

What do bermudas and onions have in common? Italy, a pinch of France and pork apparently. I had dinner with Hunky at Bermuda & Onion along Changkat Bukit Bintang last night. Its the latest restaurant to open along this busy road. CBB is akin to Jalan Alor with its one street of culinary hot spots, crazy parking and gwai lohs. At least here, theres valet and less dodgy men and red lights. Ahem. Anyway, located next to FLAM'S, B&O's entrance is easy to miss. In their attempt to create more privacy for the diners on the terrace, the small side entrance is hindered by cars which have parked right next to it. How annoying! Anyway, it was a lovely evening so we decided to sit on the terrace and inhale the fumes of cars going by.

We are told by the waiter that the menu is "Italian and pork". So why did I order cordon bleu you might ask? Well, I don't know! I guess because I've only had chicken cordon bleu before and I always thought it would be fantastic with pork. We were not particularly hungry so for starters we ordered a bacon with asparagus skewer and a belly pork with brown sauce skewer. There is a fair selection of paninis, salads, starters and skewers. Hunky ordered pork milanese for his main course. At RM9++, its the most expensive sliver of bacon and asparagus I've ever had I reckon. The bacon was crispy and fatty and delicious with the asparagus. The belly pork skewer (RM12++) was disappointing. It was not aromatic and not particularly tender. Furthermore, the brown sauce, which tasted like Bovril ( I actually love Bovril ), was too intense for the pork. Perhaps we should've tried the proper starters instead. Hunky's pork milanese arrived piled high with chips and looked pretty impressive. It was every bit as crispy as it looked. Can't go wrong with breaded fried pork surely. My cordon bleu pork was miserable looking next to Hunky's. Two halves of rolled up pork. I could barely taste the ham and I'm pretty sure they forgot to add the cheese. And it was that Bovril sauce again! Hmmph, I should known better than to order a French dish at an Italian restaurant. We were too full to order dessert. I think we should have stuck strictly to the Italian menu since it is owned by FLAM's after all and the chef is Italian. I wouldn't mind coming back to try their pastas. The wild boar fettucine and ham ravioli with lardons sounds fab!

NOTE: More about the restaurants within the area
For those of you who never got around to trying
Beijing Roast Duck, I'm sorry to say that you will never get to try it because they have very recently closed down. I knew that fork in the road was bad feng shui!

Opening very soon!
Werner's on Changkat and Chiaroscuro

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Teppanyaki Ice Cream, Pea Curry & Chocolate Fountains

Teppanyaki ice-cream, pea curry and chocolate fountains. Where would you find all three? At a buffet of course. We all know Malaysians love buffets. What else could be better than to have everything at your table and being able to flit from sweet back to savoury and cold to hot and back again. I am not a big fan of hotel buffets because I prefer to pay the same price for a great 3-course dinner rather than sampling over 30 less than average dishes. The problem with buffets is that after while, they all start looking and tasting the same from one place to another. Chocolate fountains used to be novelty but now you can find them everywhere. The latest buffet in town is the newly revamped coffee house in Le Meridien Hotel called The Latest Recipe.

Boolicious, Lyrical Lemongrass and I met up for dinner several weeks back. We divided the stations and proceeded to conquer them plate by plate. One of the first plates to arrive back on the table came from the Japanese section, of course. Teppanyaki beef and scallops. The beef was quite sublime! Tender, juicy, buttery and full of flavour. The scallops were a little undercooked but it came with a sinfully creamy sauce. I reckon it might have been a mixture of cheese and mayo. Mmmm! There was also a small variety of freshly rolled sushi and sashimi.

The Indian section was fanbloodytastic! We were really surprised to find such brilliant Indian food at a hotel buffet. Every single dish was very good and not watered down to cater to foreign palates. I think all of us went back for seconds. I asked the cook at the Italian station to make me his special as I just couldn’t choose between the variety of fresh ingredients. All I asked was that it wasn’t creamy. So he made me a squid ink fettucine with assorted seafood. It was light, tasty and just what I wanted.

While Boo and LL busied themselves at the salad section and marveled at all the assorted oils and vinegars, I helped myself to seconds at the Japanese section. This time the scallops were much better. The only disappointing thing in the whole buffet was the dim sum from the Chinese section. The dim sum is not made in house and tastes genuinely foul! They really ought not to serve it at all. The Shanghai noodles in hot and sour broth was delicious. I don’t usually like broths that have been thickened with corn starch but this wasn’t too gooey and was incredible appetizing.

I think we underestimated the buffet and overestimated our stomachs. We made a feeble attempt at the dessert section and stuck mainly to the dark and milk chocolate fountain. The white chocolate fountain had broken down much to LL’s dismay. Still, there were heaps of others waiting for our full bellies. We moved on to the must-try teppanyaki ice cream which is basically where they mix various ingredients of your choice into ice cream. The trick to this is a very cold plate steel which keeps the ice cream from dissolving into a messy rainbow of mush. I picked coconut ice cream and asked for everything he had in his little station. I really liked it because it was so colourful and all the bits added a nice texture to the soft ice cream. All and all, it was pretty good value for RM78++. For those of you who like to eat your money's worth (yes, you know who you are), there are also oysters, prawns and yabbies in the chilled section.