Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tamarind Hill


Tamarind Hill. What a blast from the past. I remember dining there for the first time way back when I did a review for Men's Review. Remember that magazine? Yeah, it was that long ago. I can't actually remember when I last went there for a meal. Probably close to 7 years. Not because it wasn't any good anymore but with all the new eateries and it being tucked away in the depths of Ampang, it simply dropped off my dining radar. Sometime last year Tamarind Hill moved into the KLCC area occupying the lovely space that was once the fine Italian Scalini's, then the very happening Citrus and for a very short stint, Zensake. It was earlier this week when I finally went for lunch. It was strange going up those stairs after so many years. Memories of me stomping down the hill half drunk springs to mind. Those memories seem so seedy in broad daylight. Huh.

The restaurant is quite lovely. It seems to have retained that homey charm and relaxed ambience from its old location. There is ample seating indoors and a long setting of banquettes on the terrace. We were given refreshing shot glasses of tamarind juice while we browsed the menu. Nothing really grabbed us from the lunch menu which sounds pretty reasonable at RM35 for 3 course lunch. We decided to order the Tamarind appetiser platter which consisted of four pairs of their signature dishes. The seared scallops with orange sauce didn't quite go together. Scallops were nicely done but otherwise quite tasteless. The orange sauce overpowered the scallops rather than compliment it. Fishcakes were good. Did not get the chicken and apple rice paper wrap at all. Furthermore the rice paper reeked of dank wet towel. I reckon they must use a wet towel to keep it moist. It really put me off it. I also quite liked the stuffed segment of orange. I'm not quite sure what it was but it was a savoury filling of chicken and peanuts for sure.

We then had steamed river lobster which was really river prawns. The strange thing was they gave us 3 halves. I assume they are normally bigger? Anyway, it was nice enough with the simple lime chilli dressing. Next was the braised wagyu rump cooked in a chilli and tomato sauce. It was salty and that was about it. The texture of the beef was surprisingly tough. The meal was quickly going downhill. Finally, the only saving grace of the meal, the duck and lychee salad arrived. Love the different textures and great balance of flavours. Duck was perfectly cooked and tender. Gorgeous! I'd like to come back again for dinner to try their other dishes. Fingers crossed that it will be a lot more favourable. Lunch was RM190 for the two of us. Bear in mind that we did order all the expensive items.

Click here to visit Tamarind Hill's website
19 Jalan Sultan Ismail. Tel - 03 21483200

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eat Drink & More

Last night I was privileged enough to be invited to Starwood Hotels’ launch of their one-stop online portal for their branded food and beverage and spa concepts aptly named Eat Drink & More. "A portal where guests can find fun, fresh and unique lifestyle concepts including food and beverage, spa, weddings, events and more at a touch of their fingertip". We were introduced to a sampler of culinary diversity from both Le Meridien and Westin. It was a night of showcasing the finest both hotels have to offer and I must say, even for jaded ol' me, I was slightly impressed at the attention to detail.

We started at the lower lobby with a brief introduction by General Manager of Westin Malaysia, Kim Powley. He announces that the newly launched portal will be the first time you're able to make a “live” reservation online. I went to check it out. www.eatdrinkandmore.com. The page is easy to navigate and the search options are thorough. I punched in Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur under hotel and Favola, Prime and Latest Recipe turned up immediately. Reservations are limited to two to six diners. You would still have to call the restaurant directly for single diners and bigger groups. You are told immediately if there are vacancies available and you will be prompted to continue with the reservation. I also like the box for additional information which is useful if you have any requests such as a non-smoking table. I am surprised there isn't that option actually. Apart from the dizzying array of eats, there are also spas to browse to make sure you get a complete sensory experience.

The event began at Favola. Loved the Vibetini cocktail! A delicious concoction of vodka, lychee, midori, and cherry. It was cleverly kept cool with an iced disc which was both pretty and functional. We sampled gorgeous anti-pasti from Favola’s crudo bar. Followed by some jaw-droppingly delicious array of goodies from Latest Recipe. I think I am not alone when I say that the wagyu with polenta and cocoa was the best dish of the night. I love the presentation and attention to detail which I guess only the best of the best hotels can offer. It kind of makes me want to have my wedding all over again. Then it was off to Eest where sipped Jing tea and calmed our stomachs before eating more goodies like skewered kobe and foie gras in a sweet and sour sauce, prawn and black truffle har gow and miniature yam basket filled with prawn and mango. Next was the lively and family-oriented Prego where we had mini lobster pizzas, foie gras terrine on toast and spaghetti aglio olio served in paper boxes. Finally, it was Qba where a spread of alcohol-fuelled desserts were waiting. They have churros with hot chocolate! Brings back fond memories. What a night!

Thank you Cheryl for the invitation and thank you to the Westin & Le Meridien for hosting such a well-organised event. Below, a brief overview of the restaurants we visited extracted from the press kit.

Favola

Made to share. Favola has a distinct, cosy and reustic feeling of home in Italy. The restaurant menu reveals simple yet classic Italian fare.

Pretty in pink martini; baby mozarella balls in pesto sauce; assortment of goodies await at Favola's crudo bar

Latest Recipe

An all-day contemporary restaurant featuring new and old recipes of the Eastern and Western gastronomic delights that change daily.

Tender melt-in-the-mouth wagyu with polenta and dusted with cocoa; beautifully presentation throughout, attention to detail; smoked salmon with soba noodles beautifully presented in a ketupat shell.

EEST

A fun-filled restaurant serving up pure Asian culture, focusing flavours and recipes. In its five, varied open Asian kitchens. With Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai and Malay cuisines presented with a modern twist, the fine dining experience at EEST is a reflection of a modern day culinary adventure.

Har gow with a twist; delicious crackers bejewelled with salmon roe and herbs; wagyu rendang in a crispy wafer cone.

Prego

A casual and comfortable restaurant to bring the whole family, featuring straightforward yet extensive authentic Italian fare. The relaxed yet vibrant setting is perfect for enjoying a meal with a healthy dash of fun at unbelievable affordable prices.

Silky smooth and decadent foie gras terrine on lightly toasted bread; pumpkin tortellini dressed simply in aged balsamic; cod risotto with parmesan foam.

Qba

A sizzling steak restaurant with Latin American flavours and vibrant hotspot. From the magnificent interior to the live Latin band performances, authentic Latin American cuisines and premium steaks, the biggest Cuban rum collection to the cigar selection – Qba Latin Bar & Grill lets you have a taste of what is a multi-level Latin American experience.

White chocolate-coated egg nog popsicles; a tray of tacos for those that were still peckish; Chef of Qba posing with assortment of alcohol-fuelled popsicles.

Click here to get eatdrinkandmore

Monday, January 04, 2010

Wright Brothers & Borough Market

Before I completely forget about my trip to London last year, I want to quickly write about Borough market and the lovely lunch I had at Wright Brothers.

Every country I visit, I like to nip down to the supermarket or grocery store just to browse the aisles and decipher strange words in mysterious boxes. Something about all the colour and shapes. Borough Market is a must for me. Its not the best market but its the one most convenient. Don't be fooled that a market means "cheap" by any means. The produce here are noticeable pricier. Many tourists (like me!) come here to browse and buy English produce which we would normally not have access to. After all, where in Oxford Street or Old Brompton Road can you find a specialty butcher that makes his own sausages? Or wine-cured cheese by the wheel and assorted homemade relishes?

I always make a beeline for the cheese stalls first. We bought some gorgeous Comte (also known as gruyere de comte) cheese which is my favourite! And we also got some seriously spicy roquefort. It was so spicy that every time I ate it it made me cry! Now thats strong! We also bought some sinfully creamy foie gras terrine and nice crusty bread to go with it. As usual, I spent more than I expected to. I think we spent £50 just on that and some crappy coffee we bought as one of the stalls. I think it was called Maria's. Don't have the coffee unless you like it instant. Pictured below - our spoils from a Sat morning outing to Borough Market.

Apart from the fresh goods, there also quite a few restaurants here. We didn't make it to Roast this time but will definitely come back for that. We did manage to have lunch at Wright Brothers around the corner on Stoney Street. Its a well-known establishment that promises fresh, juicy and deliciously plump oysters and more importantly for all you alkies, an inspiring list of booze! I can't believe I've never been here before but then again, I didn't really earn quite enough to be blowing £££ for lunch. Okay, okay, I'll admit it! I didn't want to splurge on the food when there was so MUCH to buy at H&M, Accessorize, Selfridges, FCUK,... You get the idea. Anyway, what I love about his place is in its simplicity, in both decor and menu. On the menu are oysters of course, a good variety of starters and a board of daily specials. We were the only people in there under 40 and not dressed in a suit. Hmm... Not surprising given the bleak economic outlook at the time. Cousin S knows this play well and I suspect she frequents this place. We ordered a selection of rocks and an extra dozen of Maldon and Wild Colchester because they are her favourite. I have to say that I don't eat enough oysters to know the difference. For me, I like them small, plump and sweet. The ones that fit this description were the Speciales de Claires. Yum! I found the Wild Colchester to be a little fishy at the time. We also ordered grilled monk fish tail with garden pea and girolle mushrooms. For all you fish haters out there, I know you will not be able to get it when I say that it was fucking gorgeous! So flavourful and rich! Hunky's starter of baked scallops with cream and bacon was lovely to start with. It was a small but sufficient portion. I don't think we could've managed the grilled monkfish otherwise. Wright Brothers is the perfect indulgent Friday lunch. Simple and gorgeous!


Below: the simple decor at Wright Brothers; gorgeous, creamy baked scallop with bacon bits; the most delicious fish I've had in a long while - grilled monkfish tail with garden pea and girolle mushrooms.


Wright Brothers at 11 Stoney Street. Click here for more information.
For more information on Borough Market, click here

Sunday, January 03, 2010

TWENTY TEN

Happy New Year!!! Wishing every one a beautiful and peaceful 2010. December was a month of pure indulgence. Between Hunky's sister's wedding, various kenduris and multiple Christmas feasts, I am feeling like that cat on the left. However, instead of my usual waxing lyrical about how I'm going to be thin and healthy this year, I will save myself the shame and you the boredom and announce that Ravenous Rabbit has a new blogger-in-crime called Mr Tickles! A post on Prego is coming up soon! Until then, hope all of you have recovered from the hangovers and have a great week ahead!

Pictured left is my nephew's cam-whoring cat Cicak.