Thursday, December 11, 2014

Shangri La Christmas Tree Lightning

Actually almost annually, we have a family picture at the lobby of Shangri-La KL with their Christmas tree, which is always quite grand.  However, this is the first time I've been present to witness the lighting of the tree, and this year was a rather unique tree too, if I may say so.

The theme of this year's tree (I didn't realise trees had themes) was Merry Nutcracker Joy Ride. Amazing works of  crafted sugarpieces of Nutcracker soldiers and trains are stacked up on a conical steel structure to form the 12-foot-tall Christmas Tree.

Quite a joy to behold....even before it was lighted up.


The event was preceded by High Tea at Lemon Garden, unbeknownst to me, the event was a charity, to raise funds for 10 children with severe heart ailments, and also as a treat for over 100 disadvantaged children from Tasputra Perkim and Pusat Penjagaan Kanak Kanak Cacat Taman Megah, and children from the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).




General Manager Manfred Weber (centre) with Dato’ Rosemarie Wee, Area Director of Communications, making their rounds to present the recipients of the assistance rendered to the ailing children with heart conditions.  It really was very heart wrenching to see these cute children who despite their cheerful disposition, were suffering life threatening ailments.... I cannot begin to imagine the pain and suffering the parents must also be undergoing.  :(

After having had our fill of food, everyone was ushered out of Lemon Garden to the lobby to witness the tree lighting....

Incidentally, The sugarpieces are for sponsorship by donors, each for a minimum donation of RM1,000/-. The donors’ names or company logos will be prominently displayed against each sugarpiece.









And the tree is lit...and the trains go round and round!!!!

Luke 2:13-14
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”




SIX... NO, NOT HALF PAST... JALAN TELAWI 3

When one of my favourite people in F&B invites me for an event, regardless of whether it's to sample different types of Malaysian Mineral Waters or fancy cocktails, I most certainly try my bestest to make it.  Yeah, so when Ann Lee invited me for SIX, or was it TO SIX, I just hope she hadn't developed those New Zealander accents where NEXT is NIXT, and BEST is BIST...

How I've never observed that a new establishment called SIX had opened just above Creperie la Caroline is really quite beyond me, as I ply that route nearly EVERYDAY, which really makes a case for ground floor rentals.  Nevertheless, I was intrigued, by yet another F&B outlet, or rather, as I was to discover, just a B outlet, as the F is virtually non existent for now.

Described by the lovely Ann as "An Adult Playground"...  Six is actually a cocktail bar with the most smiley mixologist I have ever seen, Imran, who exudes such passion in his Chemistry that one cannot be contagioned by his enthusiasm.

Actually if time was not of the essence, I would not have rushed this post, BUT, the event was to promote their six new cocktails in the month of December (which is like NOW), and laid out for us were the very fascinating array of ingredients...ranging from ginger & lemongrass to pandan to kaffir lime...which made me think, well, if your cocktail fails, you can probably make curry instead....







To start, A 6 Hit Wonder. Tequila done differently. An aged tequila is infused with lemongrass and kaffir leaves, together creating a fresh clarity that sings throughout the drink, while viscous Vermouth, and Aperol add body and depth to this beverage. Sweetened with organic agave nectar, balanced with SIX house bitters.
(Selling price: RM36 nett)



To start, I thought this was a refreshing cocktail, almost with a healthy taste to it, with a slight bitter tinge, which I liked.  I asked why bother with organic agave nectar, it's not as if we're going to be reaping the healthy benefits, but the simple answer was, "the taste"....Okay, if I thought that all cocktails should be more aptly called pussytails... I was wrong.


Ann strikes a pose as she tells us to pay attention to what she has to say.....



Ta dah, the SIX HIT WONDER.  That glorious colour is almost enough to make me happy.


Next was Commodores 6 Times a Lady, or if you're slightly younger, Lionel Richie.  I guess over the years the lady must have err.. gained some..

Sipped Slowly like a Martini, this seductive Rum is infused with Pandan & selected
Mexican Reposado. It seduces your senses with a squeeze of lime citrus, tantalises &
teases your tastebuds. Topped off with a shaving of ginger and moist tender coconut,
sprayed on with SIX sublime house bitters to add scent, style & elegance to the finished
concoction -not to be ignored.
(Selling price: RM36 nett)

By the way, the Italics imply that it's cut and pasted from the press release.  When the press release contains words like seduce and tease, I think it's no point reinventing the wheel.  Okay, truth be told, I am not a fan of white colored drinks, because I have a psychological thing about lactose and alcohol.... although in this case, there really is no lactose, and the white is from coconut.  The erect screwpine leaf might be symbolic of something, I'm not sure.





First batch of 6 Times a Lady.  At this point, I think, it was when I asked Ann, why no SIX SIX SIX ah?  She promised to make sure there would be one named after me.

See, I told you, Imran the Mixologist is always smiling....

Back to Square 6

It’s time to man-up. Hendricks Gin with a generous splash of Shochu Wanko, stirred to
minimise dilution. A pinch of Salted Syrup and a dash of infused Cucumber Bitters brings
balance, creating a manly Martini style drink that can stand toe to toe & challenge the
average classics. It’s a drink fit for a warrior, powerful, with a wild side, waiting to be set
free. ;)
(Selling price: RM42 nett)

That aptly describes me of course, WARRIOR, POWERFUL WITH A WILD SIDE...ahem, quite the stallion that I am.  Well, Hendricks is my current favourite gin, since I can't afford Monkey 47 (which incidentally, they stock at SIX)

..I had to ask Imran to pose with this holy grail of gins...

What did I say about the smiley guy???


Thinly almost mandolined slices of cucumber as is the natural partner for Hendricks... is used as a garnish, and no doubt to give us some roughage and fiber..

This Back to Square 6 is my favourite, though honestly, I am not too enthused by the name.  But until I can suggest a better one, I better shut my gab.

Ann the two of SIX dashing owners.  (and I actually mean 6 number of owners, or at least that's what I think I heard).  I actually sounded like I was trying to pick up Lester (far right) when I asked him what scent he was using, because it smelt so good.  It was Issey Miyake.  Make mental note to buy at DFS.


What's this???  Truffle? Vodka??? Wow, truffle infused vodka.

The Lesser of 6 Evils
A particularly silky black truffle and organic olive oil infused vodka, brought into its element
with a drop of lime, simple syrup, and lemon zest -while an egg white adds creaminess
and luxurious texture to this simply divine concotion -served up, Martini style.
(Selling price: RM38 nett)




Send the rain, send the rain...  .. It sure looked like he was doing a rain dance of sorts...

(Photo courtesy of Ann...since I must have too inebriated to remember to take...)
The Lesser of 6 Evils...  Well, if you have vodka, truffle, I guess it does mitigate any evil...


Next up, not my favourite ingredient in food, or drink,...LAVENDER...  my first taste of lavender ice cream resulted in me commenting, oooh, a mouth spa...


Cloud 6
A delicious libation using Singleton Single Malt whisky, toasted lavender and a dash of
lemon syrup, providing sweet early notes -whilst a drop of SIX Pedro Ximinez delivers a
rich fruity flavoured concotion to the table. Served over an aromatic apple and lavender.
(Selling price: RM38 nett)

But on the other hand, it contained Single Malt wor, (he used Glenfiddich instead of Singleton), and I have NOOOO idea what a SIX PEDRO XIMINEZ is.

Imran covers the glasses of pounded lavender to seal in the infusion...

And just case you MISSED the first round of lavender libation, there's some LAVENDER ICE thrown in for good measure....

I have to say, a very pretty drink...... and really, quite refreshing, despite my aversion to lavender, which in the end, was very subtle, and not overpowering like some potpourri people burn in toilets...

As a bonus, for being such nice people, we were treated to home made mince pies, made by baker extraordinaire, Ann, who has been aging her mince for A YEAR, with XO!!!!!  Seriously LARVERLY buttery pastry that melts in the mouth and mince that isn't too sweet.... AIKS, is it Christmas ALREADY???

Well, according to the next and final cocktail, it is!!!!

6 Eggs Short Of A Basket (with alcohol)
Our take on the eggnog as such. Made with spiced rum mixed with our special house-
made creamy custard infused with a beautiful blend of spices – cinnamon, nutmeg &
cloves.
(Selling price: RM25 nett)

6 Eggs Short Of A Shot (non-alcoholic)
Our mocktail version of the eggnog. Made with our special house-made creamy custard
infused with a beautiful blend of spices – cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves.
(Selling price: RM18 nett)






Circumcising the cherry rather than popping them... he gently places one on the rim of each glass..
The egg nog cocktail I have to say, really went well with those fabulous mince pies... One almost felt compelled to go HO HO HO all the way home.

And an encore performance of Whisky Sour for those who stayed later...

A special mention must also be made about the bar’s Guinness Tarik cocktail recommended
to be shared between 2 -4 persons and is Imran’s take on the popular teh
tarik, but with Guinness instead!

SIX promises to provide a different experience every night, but always a good time!
Check it out!

SIX Bangsar is located in Telawi 3, above La Creperie de Caroline and next to Alexis the
Bar. Opens every day except Monday, 5pm – late.

#sixbangsar

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact:

Les, 1/6  (Les is More)
SIX Digits: +603-2202 0029 / +6019-231 7000
SIX Cyber: sixouttasix@gmail.com
SIX Social: https://www.facebook.com/SIXBangsar

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this cocktail bar, and will certainly be back with my cocktail loving friends.  

MAD - Modern Asian Diner In PV128, Setapak...

When long time friend Nazeen sent me an email inviting me to this restaurant called MAD, I skimmed through the details, and thought, hmm, fascinating, chef previously from Suffolk House, trained with the CIA, etc etc...  I immediately said yes, for before this, most of Nazeen's invites had always clashed with my birthday, and I could never make it for her events.

Now, what I didn't read was the fine print, and LOCATION of this MAD place.  So, what exactly is MAD?


Take your pick....it could stand for any of the acronyms listed above, and more.

Where is MAD?

Well, it's in that neck of town I hardly ever go to, SETAPAK, at a complex called PV128, hitherto unheard of.  So it was with a bit of apprehension that Ciki and I wazed our way through village roads, passing the "River of Life", (yes, there IS actually a bridge near some Syabas outfit behind Jln Pahang/Jln Genting Klang that has that label), only to emerge back on the main road and subsequently to this hive of hustle and bustle.  Of course, I felt particularly ancient the minute I stepped into MAD, because the demographics of the place was clearly those who've eaten less rice than I have salt.


Bright, cheery and young....


The effusive chef behind this is Dave Looi, clearly a passionate, gifted and exceedingly nice chap, although he's Singaporean (but in his defence, his wife is Malaysian), who as I said earlier, has worked all over the place, including New York, and his last stop before venturing into MAD territory was at Suffolk House, Penang.




An assortment of canapes kicked off the evening, all very creatively presented, albeit a rather lavish use of ice cream cones...the mushroom cones with the cones coated in nuts was particularly good.  Oh, the place is waiting for it's HALAL certification, so there were no "naughty drinks" in sight, which meant we had to derive our entertainment elsewhere.


"Nazeen, you should have told me to bring my hip flask", I hissed under the table...


Okay, let's call a spade a spade, and this establishment, even based on its pricing, is certainly not meant nor does it pretend to be a fine dining place, or hipster cafe.  The pricing is such as to attract the younger crowd in the vicinity, and I have to say, it is damn good value for money.


Although we didn't know it yet when we took this picture, I am certain that Chef Dave and me are gonna be good buds, since he drinks, and very loudly proclaimed, "I AM LONELY"... you see, he IS a Singaporean who lived in Penang and has moved to KL, so has no friends.  On it's own, that plaintive cry would have fallen on deaf ears, but his inclination to libations...well... that almost seals a friendship for me immediately.  I'm shallow that way.

Kitchen Tour - The MAD kitchen is anything BUT MAD, it's rather orderly and organized and of course, spic and span.  I likey.  David was kind enough to bring us on a guided tour.

Dave showing his creation...

Our first dish was an interesting one...Peanut Butter Cheong Fun.  His Penang influence where cheong fun is eaten with prawn paste might have been the inspiration to try other dressings.  I thought the combination worked, and isn't as surprising as it sounds, ...think of it as a thicker satay sauce with cheong fun.



Mushroom cappucino.  We were served in little cups, so I wasn't sure if this RM9.50 dish was really served in such small portions, but turns out, it's actually served in a regular sized bowl.  I thought it was a really good mushroom soup.  The texture of mushrooms intact, very flavoursome and had a nice bite.  The froth that made it a "cappucino" gave it a certain lightness.  I'd definitely order this.

Seafood sambal at RM19.50.  With scallops and mussels.  Rice, I need rice.  But my personal opinion is, at the price, there's no need to luxurize it with scallops, (which in sambal is cooked to death and back anyway), and better to stick with "cheaper" but more substantial sambal worthy seafood like squid.


Chicken Curry With Roasted Potatoes - RM14.50- Okay, the curry, which is normally a bestseller, was a trite watered down, maybe because it was sold out....  the curry flavours had not infused into the chicken, so it tasted like blanced chicken with curry powder.  But Dave assured us that it wasn't normally like that, and usually this is a best seller.

Marmite Chicken RM13...certainly better than the curry chicken. Very tasty, crispy outside with that caramelized marmite coating, and a drizzle of crunchy sesame.


Undoubtedly the star of the show, the Seafood Ma Lat, with its spicy sichuan peppers really packed a punch.  It is their signature dish, and is really quite unique, unlike anything that you'd normally eat.  RM24.50, considering the ingredients, and unique ingredients, it's a STEAL.  No wonder the place was hustling and bustling.

Stir fried water convulvulus aka Kangkong, which we needed badly as there was no vegetation in sight.  RM11

Another must have is the Rendang Lamb Shank.  Priced at RM28.50, this is the most expensive dish in the entire menu, (some places, even the cheapest dish is double the price of this), and is well worth the ringgit paid.  Tender, falling off the bone, spicy lamb .

For desserts, carrot cake with cream cheese, mango mousse and baked cheesecake.


To end the night, seeing as to how we are in the yuletide season, bonus Christmas presents for the guests!!!!


The place has found a suitable niche, and given its pricing, more than above average food generally and some star dishes, I would certainly drop by if I'm in that hood again!

MAD operating hours:
Sunday- Thursday (11:00 am – 11:00 pm)/ Friday-Saturday (11:00
am – 1:00 am)