Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kirishima

Homemade black sesame tofu

I still remember going to the Dua showroom a few years back. My friend Crispy was looking for a bachelor pad and the area around KLCC was just about sprouting with development. The showroom was impressive. Crispy didn't stand a chance. Couple of weeks later, he parted with his gin & tonic kitty and became proud home owner. Ever since he moved in last year, he has been keeping my updated on the renovation progress of the annex. Finally, late last year the restaurants finally opened. Delicious and Kirishima. Kirishima looked promising as the menu seemed reasonable for Japanese fare. When I say reasonable, its similar to Kura's ( at One World Hotel) pricing.

Crabstick and avocado salad doused in mayo

Meow Meow was back from HK and along with Cuz, we met Crispy for dinner one night back in December. The decoration is tastefully done and typical of Japanese restaurants with one exception - chandeliers. Sparkly chandeliers illuminate the length of the restaurant. Unusual. That was perhaps the only thing out character. The menu features a good variety of the usual Japanese fare. They were having some opening promotions at the time. We took advantage of the discounted sashimi moriawase featuring seven types of fish. Our waitress had no clue what she was serving us. Furthermore, we would not have understood anyway since she tried to tell us the names in Japanese. There was salmon, tuna, hamachi and mackerel. The other three were mystery meats that tasted fresh and sweet. Good enough for me! I was keen to try their homemade tofu. However when it arrived, it was black as tar. They failed to mention it was homemade "black sesame" tofu. The texture was gelatinous and a little coarse from the ground sesame. I'm still undecided whether I like it or not but I will tell you that its definitely an acquired taste. 

We also had grilled salmon with salt, maki with eel and avocado, wagyu on hot stone which was tasty but nothing spectacular, crabstick and avocado salad (the only salad Cuz eats, that is, one that is drowning in mayo). We also had another maki that was adorned with a crown of cheese and mayo sauce. Another request by Cuz. It was deliciously junkie. At the end of the meal, we decided that we wanted just one more dish and we picked a croquette. Its not something I would order again because its just too junkie for me. Imagine a crispy deep fried shell filled with oozy creamy mayo cheese saucey thing. Too much! Might as well dip a yau char kway into a bottle of Hellman's innit?! I did enjoy my meal at Kirishima. We all agreed that it was pleasant enough and that ample parking was also a plus. If you like your sake, they also have a good selection here. So the next time you find yourself at lost to eat at KLCC, walk or drive over to Dua Residence and check out Kirishima.

Avocado and crabstick mayo topped with unagi

Kirishima is located at Dua Annex of Dua Residence on Jalan Ampang. Opposite American Embassy. Tel 03 2162 8127

Other reviews: Masak-Masak

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pre Chinese New Year Madness

Orange and Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake

The past week has been pure madness! People rushing everywhere. Rushing to buy last minute items the colour of prosperity. Rushing to bank those darned cheques. Rushing to catch the bus home. Me? I was rushing to get well. Of all the darnest luck, I am down with the flu 5 days before Chinese New Year. No peanut butter cookies nor crispy fried ngah ku. Not even a segment of a mandarin. I've been coughing like a chain-smoking crack whore the past couple of days. The result is a pretty sexy husky voice. Oh, and plenty of time to unpack, organise and bake. You see, I moved into my own place in December and kind of just threw everything into whatever space there was available. With the new year just a day away, I made sure everything was sorted in a orderly fashion and scrubbed the floors clean. Heck, I even managed to bake two cakes yesterday. 

There is a reunion dinner at Aunt L's place tonight and I couldn't decide whether to bring the fail proof crowd pleaser, butter cake or something more risque like a cheesecake. Cheesecakes are one of those cakes that can vary from fluffy eggy ones (favoured by the Japanese) to those that are so dense they stick to the top of your mouth. I'm not a cheesecake person but I do, very rarely, crave for the odd one. I like mine light but dense at the same time. I decided to make one from Nigel Slater's recipe. You can just tell from reading a recipe that its going to be a good tasting cake. 500g of mascarpone and 200g of cream cheese. Yes, how can you go wrong with that? I had alot of ginger snap cookies from IKEA left so I decided to use those instead of digestives. It was a easy recipe to follow. And the result... Well, its good but I'm not sure if its worth all that money. The cheeses already came up to RM50. Well, I guess its definitely decadent in terms of calories and money. In hindsight, I should have realised that those biscuits were a lot oilier than digestives. It was not a good idea because it all stuck to the bottom of the loose-base pan. I cannot for the life of me pry it off without breaking the whole damn cake. So, butter cake it is then for the family!

Orange and Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake (from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diary)
  1. Melt 80g butter and crush 250g of digestives. Combine the two and press 2/3 of mixture into 8"-9" loose-base pan. Pop into the freezer to set.
  2. Meanwhile, turn on the oven to 140C and put the kettle on
  3. Beat together - 500g mascarpone, 200g cream cheese, 150g castor sugar, 3 eggs, zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  4. Once combined, fold in juice of one lemon, 150ml cream and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  5. Remove pan from freezer and wrap aluminium foil around the pan, making sure you cover it all the way up the sides of the pan. Do it twice so that the water doesn't seep in
  6. Pour cheese mix into pan. Place pan on tray and immerse in hot water (halfway up the sides of the pan). Bake for 50 minutes. 
  7. Turn the heat off and let cool in the oven completely
  8. Remove base from pan and press remaining crumbs into sides of the cake. This was such a messy affair. 
  9. Chill for a few hours before serving
This cake softens very easily so don't worry about serving it straight from the fridge. 5 minutes later and its all soft like its fresh from the oven. Happy baking! Wishing all of you a very happy and harmonious new year. Gong Hey Fatt Choy!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Super Tanker Revisited

Yes, all that glorious food for just one dish

With all the great restaurants we have here in Malaysia combined with our lurve of eating, its no wonder we're the most obese SEA nation. There are some simply superb restaurants that I've been to once or twice but never really get around to going again. Super Tanker is one of them. It was all but forgotten until sometime in November when Raf's dad took us to dinner. The dishes he ordered were very different to the ones I had back in September 2007. It left me with such a deeply sublime impression that it was the first restaurant I thought of when the sisters and I decided to meet up for a catch up dinner. I was a little late despite leaving from 1 Utama. I tried to be clever and took a short cut and ended up in some hardcore kampung area. Anyway, it was fairly busy for a Thursday night. Best to come on a weekday if you don't want to wait forever for your food. Weekends are chock a block and getting semi decent service is impossible. 

I had already pre ordered yet it was still quite a while before we got our food. Mind you, "quite a while" in a Chinese restaurant is anything over 15 minutes for the first course and 5 minutes between courses. The yee sang was pleasant enough. I don't like it when they give you the dyed stuff. Otherwise it was crunchy, tangy, sweet and appetising. The best part is always when you toss the yee sang together. I can't remember what auspicious mumbo jumbo we were chanting while tossing the salad together. Something to do with money, money and money? Next up, the pièce de résistance. Literally translated "prosperous wind duck". Actually I had a fine old time describing the dishes over the phone as I didn't know what they were called. "Um, you know that roast duck thing. With the bun and the deepfried pancake with the spring onions?" In my very mediocre cantonese. But it was more fun asking for the pork. "Um, pork ribs cooked in a gingery broth. Its kinda yellow. But not clear. Yea, with fermented beancurd". Back to the food.
 The roast duck was every bit as good as I remembered. It may not look like much but it is an incredibly rich dish. Crispy duck skin sandwiched between fluffy white bread and deep fried scallion pancake that is filled with mushrooms and radish. Lets just add more oil to the tub of oil eh? I managed 3 pieces, that was all the oil I could muster after having eaten only very light, mainly vegetarian meals since the year started. Besides, I could tell Lemongrass, Boo and Pea were really enjoying it. Finally, my "above the ocean ribs" arrived bubbling away in the claypot. The colour is more mustardy then anything actually. LL and Pea thought it smelt very creamy and milky but we figured it was probably more like bean curd that added to the creamy texture of the broth. I could eat this everyday. The taste is so subtle but flavoursome at the same time. I forgot that it comes with blanched chrysanthemum vegetables because I don't like it. It reminds me of celery, pah! That was the token bit of green we had. If you don't count the radish and ginger shavings in the salad! Dinner came up to be around RM45 each. Money well spent for a deeply satisfying meal!

Super Tanker - for reservations and directions, call 03 77267768/ 03 7726 7769.

Other reviews: 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Year New You

2008 passed by with a blink of an eye. Don't you find as you get older time seems to fly by even faster. Last year was an amazing year for me. I may not have achieved some of my goals but I got to travel so several new places that I had been longing to see for a long time. This  year my goal is to, wait for it,... Run the mini marathon in July. Its only 10km which is highly achievable. I haven't attempted to run since er... 2002? Its going to hurt but no pain no gain right? I will blog about my progress along the way. Last year was about new places, this year its about revisiting some forgotten (and blacklisted) places. First post of the year, Chinoz at KLCC.

My gripe about KLCC has always been about the lack of good eateries. Admittedly the choices are diverse but most of them mediocre. The two saving grace, in my humble opinion, Chillis and Little Penang. Anyway, it is a rare occasion that I find myself in KLCC these days. Today Hunky and I found ourselves thwarted after doing a quick shop at Isetan. What to eat, what to eat? It was barely 11am. We decided to go to the Chinoz to check out their breakfast menu. Its been so long since I've been here that I didn't even know they offered buffet breakfast on Sundays now. And a Sunday Roast lunch from 12pm to 3pm for RM69++. We were too early for that so we opted for
 the breakfast menu instead. I ordered the eggs benedict with "Chinoz salt beef". I was interested to see whether the salt beef was anything like the one at Selfridges in London. Hunky ordered the Norwegian Eggs which was scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on English muffin. 

It was very pleasant sitting there in the empty restaurant, the calm before the storm. It was a lovely day but it was going to be filled by last minute chinese new year shoppers soon enough. Our meals arrived swiftly. Hunky's scrambled eggs was buttery and not overcooked. It was nice and rich, broken only by the sharp saltiness of the smoked salmon. The "salt beef" turned out to be beef bacon. The cheek of some people! Nonetheless, the kampung eggs were perfectly poached and the hollandaise artery cloggingly luscious. All in all, a reasonable breakfast for under RM50 for two people. Coffee and tea included. Perhaps there is hope for Chinoz after all. Service may still be crappy but the food is palatable. 

Thursday, January 01, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR


Wishing everyone a fantastic 2009 filled with hope, love, happiness, gastronomical delights and friends to share it with! Cheers to a brand new year of feasting & friendship!