Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Latino Fiesta At Renaissance Kuala Lumpur 12-28 August 2016

This is a hurried post, because sadly, I forgot that there was a time period of this...between 12-28 August, Spanish Guatamelan Chef Pablo Crespo will be whipping up a selection of Latin American inspired cuisine at the buffet at TEMPTations, Renaissance Hotel KL.

Amongst the highlights at the Buffet were the  Brazilian Grilled fish with orange sauce, Baleadas
catrachas from Honduras, Chilean Empanadas, Argentinian Churrasco with chimichurri sauce, Colombian Posta cartagenera, Salvadorean Pupusas and Mexican Brownies with chilli.

And what Latino spread could be complete without the quintessential CHURROS...which were actually very good, especially when freshly fried.  I prefer them naked, without sugar coating or chocolate actually.

At the Latino Fiesta at TEMPTationS, diners will also be able to enjoy the buffet, dinner with Latino wines and cocktails every evening while the temperature, gets higher on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with live music. Or, drop by the, Lobby Lounge for some Chilean Pisco sour, Brazilian Caipirinha and Mexican Michelada.

Apart from the Latino selection, the buffet offers a staggering variety of food, from the stellar roast from the carvery, to traditional Malaysian favourites like satay, and of course, the usual seafood platters with raw oysters, boiled prawns, mussels, etc.

The dinner buffet is priced at RM145 nett and half price for kids between 6-12.

The event also launched the Club Marriot card for members....with all the glitterati in town....

My tumpang glamour moment.

Call 03-2716 9388 for reservations

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Wines Are Coming To Town

A few months ago, friend of mine who resides in Melbourne, Victoria, but clearly misses his roots here so much that he has to find any reason to constantly return to the "tanahair", decided to bring in some wines from that famous wine country of his.  So as a preview, we were treated to 3 different brands, 6 FT 6, from Austins & Co, King Valley, AUSTINS, (obviously the same company), and BUNN from Albany, Western Australia.

He set up the wine tasting like you'd get in the Australian wineries, complete with spit bucket etc, but he forgets how much we pay for alcohol here, so hardly anyone spits out their wine, and if there's a tasting, well, it's best to Uber to the venue.


In the 6 FT 6 (I enquired about the name, which luckily wasn't 6 FT UNDER - apparently it's the height of the tank) range, we had:

6FT6 Sauvignon Blanc 2015, citrusy, sweet musk, easy to drink, crisp, but honestly, I personally prefer the New Zealand ones by far.

6FT6 Pinot Gris 2015, fragrant ripe pear, citrus blossom, finishes clean, crisp and moreish.  Would have been good with some spicy food.  Very drinkable, but needs to be served very cold in our climate.

In the Austin Range, we had:

Austins Riesling 2015, aptly described as a Zippy Dry White. from the region of Moorabool Valley, Austrlia.  Incidentally, the Austin range is the more premium range, if compared with 6 FT 6, which are from the same company.

Austins Chardonnay 2014, hand harvested and matured in French Oak, with aromas of sweet peach and nectarine.  Not a chardonnay fan, so I'll pass.

Moving on to the Reds

6FT6 Shiraz 2014, Exotic spice and white pepper mix with bramble berries, dark plum and hint of liquorice.  Easy to drink table wine.

6FT6 Pinot Noir 2014, which struck me as rather heavy for a Pinot Noir... earthy, exotic perfumed with dark cherry, with a dry tannin grip.  Best served chilled, and would probably go well with cold cuts...of the porcine variety.


Austins Pinot Noir 2013, from the Geelong region, earthy exotic sexy, dark cherry, raspberry, fine dry tannins.  Matured in French Oak.

Austins Shiraz 2013, a very drinkable red, from Moorabool Valley, earthy aromas of clove and whitei pepper spice, dark plum, raspberry and cranberry.


Bunn 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, from Albany, WA, deep red crimson, with bouquet of fresh ripe red berries.  Preservative free with no additives.

Bunn 2012 Shiraz, deep red blood cherry, with bouquet of ripe bramble fruits, hints of raspberry, matured in French and Maerican oak for 14 months before bottling.

Bunn 2008 Shiraz, which I think was meant to be the crowning glory for the evening.  Gorgeous dark crimson, with exotic bouquet of red currant, pomegranate, black pepper, star anise, nutmeg, and full bodied silky texture.  Probably the most luxurious of the range.

Watch this space for when they finally make an appearance, with a proper wine pairing dinner.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mooncake Season is Upon Us - Episode 1 - Mooncakes By Komugi

I am guessing by the name and beautiful packaging that Komugi is a Japanese Brand.  Dear Ann texted me one day and asked if I would like to check out some mooncakes, (she was very mysterious about it, and did not reveal which moon cakes they were), and I was excited to see that it wasn't from the usual suspects.

So, the Japanese have their own version of the mooncake festival as well, called Otsukimi, celebrated the same time as the Chinese Mid Autumn festival, ie, 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, but is called the moonwatching festival, and according to folklore, a Rabbit who lives on the moon sent by Japanese Gods for being kind, dances around the moon making mochi.  Well, I'm not sure I want to be banished to live in the moon for being kind, but aneeeway,... that explains the interesting inscription inside the box, which reads

Rabbit oh rabbit, what do you see that makes you hop?
I'm looking at the full moon, it makes me hop.

The mooncakes in various stages of undress....From upper left corner, clockwise, ...Traditional White Lotus, Matcha with Apricot, Blackforest and Azuki Bean Milk

An extra bonus came in the form of this Baumkuchen cake....

..which I quickly consumed with a cup of coffee...that soft sponge, not too sweet with subtle layers,  sandwiched with jam, I think, which actually was originally a German cake, but seems to be equally popular if not more so, in Japan...yes, that's available at Komugi too...

I will not hide the fact that I was CRUSHED, SHATTERED, that none of the aforementioned flavours had salted egg yolk, and whilst my heart lifted for a brief moment when I saw that promising glint of gold in the Matcha one, I realised that fate had played a cruel trick on the eyes, and that it was actually apricot.

Azuki Milk, the sweetness of rich red bean paste, made from selected red beans with the added crunch from melon seeds.  The kids, my co-tasters, voted this the 2nd favourite.

Green Tea Apricot - Despite the devastation of initially believing the apricot was a yolk, matcha with lotus paste actually is a lovely combination.

The German Blackforest, inspired by the cake of the same name, I presume, complete with the mandatory cherry synonymous with its cousin cake, ... For chocolate lovers, a must. Like eating a rich chocolate truffle.  Can't say I cared much for the skin though,....

And finally, the unanimous winner in our household, the LOW SUGAR WHITE LOTUS... which is the most traditionally Chinese of the lot...again, to me, a yolk or two would not have gone amiss.

These Komugi mooncakes are selling for RM88 for a box of 4.   To order...

Just in case you're like me, and can't ead small print...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Auchentoshan - A New Malt Order

I've always liked Auchentoshan whiskies, mainly because in the duty free shops in KLIA, they are priced reasonably and are great tasting.  and I usually end up buying the Springwood or the Heartwood.  So, as a drinker of Auchetoshan, I was more than delighted to attend their "NEW MALT ORDER" party at WIP.  Oddly enough, I had been in WIP the week before, and noticed their extensive promotion banners everywhere.


Auchentoshan stands for its artisanal, approachable and alternative take on single malt whisky. This is why we have introduced ‘The New Malt Order’. We want to invite people to explore the diverse taste of single malt whisky in an unconventional way. During the bar takeover, whisky lovers will be able to create bespoke drinks that they enjoy while still amplifying the key flavours of Auchentoshan and delivering the essence of our whisky to patrons” said Sally Lim, Marketing Manager, Beam Suntory South East Asia.

The guests are given a gorgeous goodie bag, and are ushered to the bar to try their signature cocktail.  At this point, you were NOT allowed to have the whiskies neat, hahaha, although some of us did sneakily try.  Pop up stalls and stations were set up, for guests to try their hand at mixing their own cocktails later on in the evening.

Love the goodie bag, and boy, would I like to get my hands on one of those enamel mugs.

The inimitable Jamey Merkel, Brand Ambassador for Auchentoshan (What a dream job), introduced the whiskies, briefly explaining the trending concept of No Age Statements, and the versatility of whiskies in the use of cocktails.  I found particularly interesting the onde onde inspired one which he described, that ubiquitous local dessert of little pandan flavoured balls covered in coconut with palm sugar within, that squirts out ...Basically the strong flavours of coconut and palm sugar are incorporated into that particular cocktail.

Jamey and I.  Food was prepared by guest Chef Christopher Yee to highlight the various nuances of the three varieties of whiskies, and food ranged from simple fish and chips, to wagyu burgers and crowned with little foie gras canapes which were divine, paired with the Three Wood.

Guest Chef Christopher Yee bantering with Jamey Merkel, explaining the concept of the food pairing.

We had the privilege of sampling the three wood, the 12 years and the 18 years.  All of which were splendid casks, but the three wood with the foie gras...ah, paradise on earth.

So then it was time for the highlight of the evening, mixing your own cocktails.
The New Malt Order presents a bold pop-up Taste Experiment Bar, allowing patrons an exciting way to customize how they experience the signature flavours of Auchentoshan - smooth and gutsy, approachable yet complex and secure enough to be enjoyed on the rocks or mixed into a cocktail.
I opted for the spicy one,


My little creation.... As I said, I love those enamel mugs.  Verdict, well, I think I still prefer my single malts untainted with other flavours.  

I look forward to seeing more Auchentoshan in bars around town.  I'm sure it's here to stay.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tiki Taka.... A Spanish Football Move?

Tiki Taka is actually a Spanish football term, apparently, for short passing movement, and translated into culinary terms, basically it means quick bites, and since there are many movements, quick bites with lots of variety.  Which means Tapas and Pinchos.  What's the difference between the two?  I am not sure how accurate this description is, but thanks to prof McGoogle, apparently pinchos are held together with a toothpick.  Really ah?

Anyway, whatever it is, the two are really like the Spanish dim sum, and TIKI TAKA in Medan Damansara, one of the newest restaurants on that block (Jln Kasah, which used to be Gills), is one of those restaurants that to me, is the PERFECT watering hole, as it has a glorious bar, and well, tapas and pinchos and pizzas really are made for drinkers.

On of the major plus points, in this row that is almost impossible to find parking, is the FREE VALET service...yes, free...but of course, perhaps from the generosity of one's heart one might tip the guy.  Of course, I would avoid bringing a Bentley or Lambo ...if I had either....and would instead bring my Myvi.

We were given the chance to sample almost all their cocktails, this lychee mojitos looked particularly riveting with the two balls of lychee that at a glance look like fish balls...

To start, the Salmon Crema, slices of smoked salmon with blacklumpfish caviar.  RM9 per piece.  Nothing mind blowing, but familiar and very palatable.

This combination of Bacon and Bananas and nutella is pure genius.  RM6 each.  I could easily eat two of these.  There's something indescribable about that saltiness from the bacon upon the caramelised banana...

Just looking at these makes me want to drive over to Tiki Taka now and get some for lunch...  The salted egg crab bun, RM9 and worth every sen.

Singapore Chilli Prawns... Wait, did you say Singapore in a Tapas joint?  Is that like saying British Nasi Lemak?  Actually, part of its charm is, (for us Asians at any rate) is the fact that the menu does seek to incorporate our local favourites into tapas or pintxos form, and they actually have very few selections of "real" Spanish tapas and pintxos per se.  I loved these deep fried mantaos soaked in that chilli prawns gravy, much like the chilli crab we are so familiar with.  RM24

Pork Satay...RM22...pretty good, but if you think about the price of NORMAL satay, hmmm, it seems a bit pricey to be honest.  I mean, usually people dont stop at 1 or 2 sticks of satay right?

Ikan Bakar, RM25, using red snapper.  We found our particular piece a bit on the tough side, which could possibly mean it was overcooked, ...the sambal that goes with it is very good though, which covers a multitude of sins.  However, my personal favourite for ikan bakar is still stingray, (which I hope is not endangered, cos I hardly see them while diving anymore), so it didn't quite do it for me.

Sin Is King RM25.... and

Char Siu Pizzas RM20. both designed for the porcine inclined.  Around 8" diameter, the pizzas are a good size but my comment was that the charsiu could be a little fatter.  This char siu was extremely lean.... Who eats lean char siu, except Singaporeans...

For dessert, nutella wantans, which ironically, I loved the nutella with bacon and bananas, but I didnt particularly like these....

Perhaps its because I am not a nutella fan per se, and whilst the former was masked with bacon and banana, this put the the nutella in forefront.  So if you are a nutella fan, yay for you. RM12

Ice Ice Baby, some new age ice kacang almost, with coconut ice cream, pop corn, toasted coconut, in a combination that works for me.  The crunch of the pop corn gives it that added dimension. RM12.

And of course, which tapas meal is complete without Churros.  RM12.  Pretty good churros.

And now, a whole section dedicated to the Connors Stout. As a Guinness fan, it might be difficult to accept any other stout, so Hans, the owner, decided to "convert" us using a special technique of pour that he says makes all the difference in the world.

So yeah, basically the three pour pint has that little dimple at the top, and actually, it did taste rather fabulous.

And when you drink it, the "cream" should just line the top of the glass!

Great place for some easy going drinks and tasty variety of food.

And free valet, don't forget.

Thanks to the loveliest cutie couple, broughtuptoshare for the invite.

Address: 138 Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara
Tel: 016-328-7438
Mon-Fri, 4pm-1am; Sat-Sun, 9am-1am.