Sunday, June 30, 2013

Whisk - Espresso Bar/Bake Shop, Empire, Subang Jaya

Red Velvet Cake - This will be the second time it is making an appearance in my blog. The first appearance was made during my dining experience at Plam B, Midvalley. Not having any benchmark to compare, I've made up my mind that I will make another trip elsewhere for a slice of this brownish red layer cake topped with cream cheese icing frosting. I felt the version here is slightly better than Plan B's. The cake layer is not too moist and the cream cheese icing is not too tooth-numbing sweet. A slice of Red Velvet is RM11 here... Oh yeah, the "here" is referring to Whisk, a small cafe, or rather a espresso bar cum bake shop in Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya.

Here is a photo justifying it to be an espresso bar. Coffee beverages are freshly brewed and they range from RM8 onwards. For non coffee drinkers, sorry to inform you that you are limited to hot chocolate, few type of teas and orange juice only.

This is my Picollo Latte (RM9) which literally means "baby latte". From the name, its clearly a smaller serving of latte. Perhaps coffee aficionados or baristas would like to enlighten me further? I have problems differentiating Babycino, Espresso Machiato and now Piccolo Latte. But I have certainly no problem enjoying this drink. Smooth but not overpowering, it managed to keep me awake throughout the whole train journey back to Ipoh later.

This is their Granny's Apple with Butterscotch Cream Cake, RM13/slice if I'm not mistaken. Well, it was supposed to a standard triangular slice but somehow my friend was too hungry and she chomped part of it when I was at the counter placing my orders. Not overwhelmingly sweet, the presence of apple was not very much felt. The butterscotch cream frosting on the top manage to enhance the overall taste, else it is quite bland.

Whisk takes pride in their Macarons too beside their Red Velvet Cake. They are among the top search results in Google with regards to these tiny morsels. Believed to be of French origins, macarons in simple are meringue based dessert made popular during afternoon tea. They have different fillings - the 3 here are pandan, peanut butter and strawberry. It's RM2.50 per piece if I remembered correctly, still cheaper than the ones being sold in Ipoh. Not really a fan of Macaron so I can really give a good judgement whether these are the betters ones in town.

I bumped into a coursemate there, and she said she purposely dropped by for a shot of espresso. Besides that, Whisk has another branch in One Utama, so I guess the hype or rather "trend" is kinda accepted among KLite culture.. There, this quick high tea session and catching up with a net-friend sums up my KL trip and I'm glad I managed to return with fond memories and good harvest of input for my blog. Till, then cheers and happy eating :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

BBQ Plaza, IOI Mall Puchong

The familiar looking solid above is definitely a core ingredient to your "elixir of life" concoction. Yup, the magical pieces when fried, it will breath life to your favourite stir fry dishes - be it pork noodles, fried noodles, stir fry vegetables, to name a few. Well, its just a sarcastic remark to a piece of lard. Its presence brings a glimmer of hope to another NON-HALAL food review. Yes, I've finally get to try B.B.Q. Plaza a franchise from Thailand which reached our shores in 2005. They intended to open an outlet in AEON Station 18, Ipoh but till now it seems like they have trouble in securing a shoplot.

Most of the people here will go for the sets which is priced from RM20+ onwards. Depending on the price, you may get different combination of meat and the quality of the ingredients. This is the best of the lot, called Deluxe Supreme set. What do we have here: Sirloin cuts, beef slices, Australian lamb, pork slices, bacon, chicken slices, squid, shrimps, jelly fish, processed stuffs - green tea tau fu, fish paste "mushroom", udon, lettuce, corn, mushroom, cabbage and pumpkin. This set can easily feed 2 people. If it doesn't, ala carte portions are available from RM3+ for vegetables and RM6-RM10 for meats.

The garlic fried rice is an alternative to your plain white rice, with a small upgrade charge of RM1.50. Oh, the reason most people go for the sets is because you get complimentary white rice. Coming back to the garlic fried rice, I would suggest you go for the plain rice instead. The garlic fried rice is prepared in bulk so its not hot anymore.

Modus operandi is simple here. Cook the vegetables in the broth at the circular ring. Leave the meats to be grilled on the dome shape portion at the centre. Self grilling is the best part here!

Within minutes, you will see the meats come into life! Bear in mind that most of the meats, if not all, are not marinaded at all. The advantage is you can taste its original flavour. The downside is.... if the meat is not fresh, you will be able to detect it. If all else fails, just depend on the dipping sauce provided. For my preference, I depended on the sauce a lot as besides the bacon, plain non-marinaded meat is not my cup of tea.

Finally, I've met BarB Gon, the mascot of BBQ Plaza. Nothing really spectacular though as I doubt I would return again. However, the inclusion of pork really made the difference here and I would anytime pick this place compared to the buffet themed Seoul Garden. I mean, what is "Korean" food without pork right? Now that I've subdue the curiosity within me, looks like I will control myself to avoid bracing the crowd should BBQ Plaza arrive in Ipoh. Perhaps a second visit with my parents if there is an outlet in Ipoh, but no rush. NO RUSH at all :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Komugi - 日本仕込みで毎日、 焼きたて

Did the photo above capture the same sight which draw queues at a new bakery in town? Yup, a similar sight in Midvalley, Sunway Pyramid and Pavilion, KL? Scroll down and affirm for yourself whether we are on the same channel. Most likely yes, if items like cream puffs and cheese cakes ring your bell. This is Komugi, a bakery chain baking fresh hand made bread, cakes and confectioneries

Besides their cheesecake and cream puffs/horns, their other items like colourful Macarons, Mille Crepe, Swiss Rolls, meringue themed confectioneries to name a few. I was given a friendly warning that no photography is allowed inside the bakery, so that's all I can extract from my memory power.

First timers might be skeptical and try one piece or two. But once you are hooked, you wont be surprised to see people buying them in boxes of half dozens or even few dozens! Their Signature Hanjuku Cheese is actually semi baked cheese cake. Yes, it lifts up to its claims, it is indeed light and creamy.

Do not be underestimated by its size! It is premium cream cheese being used here, resulting into total satisfaction in every bite! Well, that's not much bite a RM3.50 per piece can bring you. But rest assured, its rich and creamy and will win the hearts of the most fussy cheese cake lovers out there. Although they come in chocolate and green tea variants, I recommend you get the original one if it's your first time here. Besides this, they also have the Hokkaido Cheesecake in cupcake form, which is supposed to be lighter compared to this.

This is the Cookie Cream Puff, another forte of theirs. Spoilt between the horn and the puff, I went for the latter. Both are priced at RM4.80 if I'm not mistaken. I'm sure I remembered this price correctly because if you were in my Facebook friend list, you should remember the joke about the an uncle asking for price and later blatantly ordering 2 dozens. Yup, this is how premium food outlets managed to survive in KL. Purchasing power and demand from customers is just as equally on the quality of your food.

Back to the taste, if I'm not mistaken, both the Cookie Cream Puff and the Creamy Custard Krones are filled with cold custard filling. The cream puff is actually not really the typical chewy puff you get in your local bakery. The one here is very light indeed which is slightly on the crumbly scale. I really love the pastry here, which tasted a bit similar to Beard Papa. However, the quantity of custard cream pumped inside is a sign of over generous. It's not painstakingly sweet but the proportion of pastry and custard may cause some to nod their head while some might shake in disagreement.

Being a lone ranger hunting for new food in Sunway Pyramid while my friends are taking their nap, there is a limit to how much I can  try. I definitely will be back again, hoping to make a trip to their outlet in Pavilion KL (situated at the 5th floor - the Japanese zone), which is cafe themed. You can order drinks to go along with you bread and pastry as they are tables nearby. Till then, drop by Komugi to satiate your sinful cravings! ^^

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

San Kan Chong/3JC Noodle House

San Kan Chong was previously known as 3JC, a famous food chain selling pork noodles. The type of pork noodles made famous here is unlike the ones you normally have in hawker stall, whereby you get lean meat, minced meat balls/patties and some internal organs. Missed out my earlier post on my visit to Lot 10's food court, well, let's take a recap about this version of pork noodles. :)

This is one of their best sellers - Dry version of handmade noodles. You can opt for Lou Shu Fun, Hor Fun or yellow noodles but I would normally go for something special - their own noodles which resembles pan mee texture. Cooked to an al dente mouth feel, the noodles are then tossed in a dry sauce and topped with minced meat sauce. The minced meat paled in comparison with the stall in Lot 10 Hu Tong, supposedly the famous one from Jalan Imbi. Served in mildly peppery and slightly "porkish" soup, the pork meat balls here are bouncy and smooth in texture and the saving grace was the pork sausages, which only appeared in a pair of thin slices. Overall, I feel the one in Lot 10 Hu Tong have the slight edge thanks to the better proportion of aroma of lard and dark soya sauce in the minced meat. The set shown above is RM8.90, not very pricey if you compare the price of a bowl of noodles in the urban coffee shops, given the cleaner and air conditioned environment, spanning a few outlets in Sunway Pyramid, Low Yat and One Utama.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hui Lau Shan, KLCC. Healthy desserts, anyone?

As soon as I stepped into Hui Lau Shan outlet, the mango platter which consists of 3 items immediately caught my attention. When the HLS craze swept our shores about a year ago, I’ve seen a similar photo being posted on Facebook. I found out the name was called Mango Romance – which consist of a mango puree based item, a mango sorbet and a mango mochi. 

Yup, this is the one I'm talking about, a familiar sight in your Facebook news feed some time ago right? This photo was grabbed from the Official Site.

This time around, there is a new platter called Mango Feast which is featured in the photo above. Priced at RM13.90, I would say this is not relatively cheap. Perhaps the desserts like shaved ice in Tong Pak Fu also will fetch almost RM10 too.

The first item in the platter is Mango Icy with Coconut “Noodles”. Well, some might think the “icy” is more like a sorbet than ice cream. The “noodles” are actually coconut flesh which is very refreshing and complementing well with the sorbet. There is a small serving of fresh mango cubes. Nothing really out of the ordinary but it was a decent affair.

The second item is a mango puree dessert served with glutinous rice balls……….. and more mango cubes. Not overwhelmingly sweet, I would love it more if they include a bit of sago inside. The tang yuan (glutinous rice balls) has a bit undercooked texture, still on the over chewy side. Just small flaws, else its a good attempt.

I have no idea what is this from the photo in the menu. It turned out to be a "ice cream" bar. Fresh cream with small cuts of mango flesh (again!) with dusting of biscuit crumbs/nutty powder. Seriously I have no idea what is it but it tasted good.

Apparently the KLCC outlet is their 13th or 14th outlet in Malaysia. And from a insider source, I was told that this outlet menu is priced slightly higher than the rest due to high rental fee. To add salt to the wound, a service charge of 10% was charged, in addition to the Government tax, the total bill came to a whopping RM16+! Will I return again? Hmmm... most likely not :p

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Murni, SS2 - Mamak Redefined!

What will you normally order in your local mamak? I think your answer would roughly range from nasi lemak, maggi goreng, roti tissue, teh tarik.... In this post, I will relive the nostalgic moments of my university. I really miss those days where we would drive all the way from Serdang to SS2 for a taste of fusion mamak food. Some might call it an over-rated mamak but I prefer to use the term "Mamak Redefined". Formerly known as Murni... they now have few branches in Sunway Mentari, Aman Suria, to name a few.

But nothing beats dining here in the streets of SS2... They now have a more extensive menu with colourful pictures. They haven't increase the price much and you can still find your favourites from yesteryear, namely the Roti Hawaii (Indian flatbread stuffed with sausages, cheese, pineapples and minced chicken), Claypot Lou Shu Fun, Mee Raja (Wong Dai Mein - egg noodles lightly tossed in oil with chicken meat, prawns and squid) and your favourite fried rice with chicken chops. Now, have I convinced you that this is THE mamak which you can find Malay, Chinese, Indian, Western food all under one rood? And this is THE mamak which you can see customers from all races enjoying their food in the walkway or roadside?

Although I was ditched for dinner, I never really complaint as my budget hotel was just a stone throw's away. I already have  this place in mind for dinner. But being just one person, it is a tough moment to decide what to order. For drinks, the Mango Special (RM6) is one of the best sellers alongside Ribena Special. I'm not sure how pure is the mango blended is but the presence of the real mango is there instead of just plain cordial. Topped with a few lychees and generous serving of Nata de Coco, you can find a few pieces of honey dew at the bottom (order the Ribena and you will get watermelon instead). That's why I said: Mamak Redefined!

Fearing that Roti Hawaii (RM5) is not filling enough, Mee Raja'a (RM8) portion being too much as it was said to be able to feed 2 person, I decided to try something new instead of the Nasi Goreng Napolean (RM15 for a chicken fillet with cheese sausage wrapped in it, a humongous portion of fries and fried rice and a sunny side up egg). This is the Nasi Goreng Ayam Pandan (RM8). Generous amount of fish cake, chicken breast meat and 2 prawns thrown in for good measure for this slightly spicy, Malay-ish fried rice. Though a bit oily, the taste was just so-so but the the portion is humongous! Murni is never skimpy when it comes to ingredients. You get a full drumstick with thigh! The pandan chicken was fried earlier as it was not piping hot compared to the rice, else the dish would fetch a higher score. I think I shall stick to the safe options of Mee Raja, Spaghetti Seafood or Nasi Goreng Maryland or alike.

I heard that the owner is an Indonesian Chinese and I'm not sure whether they have a recognised Halal Cert. Nevertheless you can see many Malays patronizing this place. The SS2 outlet still bears the original Murni name though now other branches has the signboard Murni Discovery. Whichever outlet you decide to go, you will definitely be mesmerized by how innovation gives mamak a fresh makeover... :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Disappointing dinner at Sands Cafe, Kinta Riverfront, Ipoh

As usual, I am always procrastinating on this blog post but I am determined to post this up tonight. Besides having more input for reviews from my latest KL trip last weekend, I feel the fire of desire burning in me after an accusation of people who snap photos of food are having signs of early mental illness. Yes, I'm sure most of you who are here reading my blog do not really agree with that article, do you? My colleague quoted Wong Zhi Wah (chinese talk show host/comedian) saying that "its stupid to post photo of food on social network as we all know the egg you had for breakfast had a yellow yolk and egg whites, unless you have a blue yolk, then don't post"

My friends like nature, so they post their scenery photos on FB. No Problem!
My friends like animals, so they post their animals photos on FB. No Problem!
I like food, so I post the food pic on FB and blog. Why you say I got mental problem???

Sorry for some ramblings, I just can't take HATERS who are against us food bloggers. I mean, if it weren't for us, you might enter a new restaurants and leaving with a frowning face.... and most likely a lighter wallet too. We do blog reviews on food so that we can share our recommendations, opinions on what to order and what to avoid, out of passion... most of us do not even get paid.

Having said that, I shall continue with my passion and my responsibility to warn you dear readers to give a second thought over this over hyped place called Sands Cafe, which is situated along the Kinta River. It's under a big tree which is at the river bank adjacent to Kinta Riverfront Hotel. Yes, the place may be trendy, overlooking colourful neon and LED lights of shapes of trees. Yes, they do serve their ice blended drinks on small pails which kinda fit to the theme. But the price tag on the drinks is not cheap -ranging from RM5+ for normal hot beverages and near RM10 for the blended juices.

I was attracted to this place because I read another "mental patient" who snapped pictures of the BBQ skewers for this place. Unfortunately, the mental patient from this blog is unable to try them as apparently the waiter told me that "they are too busy handling the customers and don't have enough staff to man the BBQ pit". Disappointed, I refrained from ordering beer. After all, I wouldn't pay RM16 for a small bottle of beer if I don't have good finger food to go along with it. And yes, the Fried Abalone Mushroom (RM8+) is NOT a good option for finger food. The batter is so thick its like eating fried dough than mushroom. Total failure!

The Chicken Wrap (RM15.90) is  more pathetic than the one served in KFC! The meat is dry and no longer hot. The fries are soggy and seems prepared few hours ago! The tortilla bread was not toasted prior to serving. It is a total lackluster effort!

I think those food served in Air Asia can simply beat the standard set here. The Baked Fish Fillet (RM19.90) came in a measly portion and with dilute tomato puree. The Mashed Potato is bland and not hot. I warned my friend to refrain to order Dory fillets but he persisted and the price to pay was to endure the muddy stench of the fillet.

I did not order any main course for myself as me and my friend shared this Spanish Seafood Paella (RM26.90 if I'm not mistaken) and it was a total nightmare! The same diluted puree from the Dory fillets was used to simmer the rice. The seafood were not fresh! The prawns texture is deformed and soft and the scallops have frozen smell. I need to bite the fried mushroom with every spoonful of rice. Its really a torturing meal!

I am damn surprised that this place is kinda full that night. Perhaps it's due to the hype of the scenary at night and like the Cantonese saying, its a "new toilet effect". Ipoh people are very fussy with their food, I doubt most of us will return for a second time as there is no food worth returning for. And the price is not cheap also. Even a simple Kung Pou chicken rice will cost you RM9! Trust me, just go for the night camwhoring with dinner elswhere, you won't wanna experience the horrific meal here. Oh yeah, if your name so happen is Lorian Low and you are reading my blog, you are just contradicting yourself as you do appreciate us food bloggers' efforts. Shame on you for calling us as having early signs of mental illness!