Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chinese New Year 2017 At Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur

This year, Chinese New Year is fairly early in the year, so actually, just after Christmas, there were already pictures in social media of Yee Sang etc....Another reminder what a dietary disaster the months of December and January are.

The first for me this year (as in first Yee Sang review) was at Celestial Court, one of my favourite pork free Chinese Restaurants, for dim sum in particular.  Time flies, as the last time I was there was actually last year.  Gasp.

The highlight of the night was their signature Nian Gao, specially designed by Dim Sum Chef, Ken Liew shaped as Koi Fish that symbolizes good fortune, success, prosperity and longevity. It is considered good luck to eat nian gao during this time, because ‘nian gao’ is a homonym for “higher year”. As such, eating ‘nian gao’ has the symbolism of raising oneself taller in each coming year (年年高升).

I always thought from legend that Nian Gao was made by wives to seal the mouth of the Kitchen God shut from blabbing tales of their misdemeanours to their hubbies.

 Their r special home-made ‘Nian Gao’ is available in 2 different size package – Twin Koi Fish priced at RM 88 nett per pack or 1-large Single Koi Fish priced at RM 118 nett per box.

A visual feast for the eyes with an array of dazzling colours, Yee Sang, for the uninformed, is as far as I know, a Malaysian invention, and everyone gathers around the platter for a communal toss.  When the sauces and condiments are poured onto the dry ingredients, the server or whoever is pouring the stuff say auspicious words, like "good health and long life", "prosperity in business", "may your life be sweet like the plum sauce",  before everyone uses their chopsticks and toss the stuff high into air, while also regurgitating those same auspicious mantras.  One cannot help but be reminded of the underlying materialistic nature of the Chinese in general.

The yee sang is also available for take away, at the following prices.

Roasted Corn Fed Chicken served with Spicy Onion Sauce RM69(Half Bird) RM135(Whole Bird).

Fragrant Golden Jin Sha Style Spicy Slipper Lobster.  The "fragrant" was no exaggeration, the gorgeous aroma of the sauce permeated the entire restaurant. RM150(S) RM225(M) RM300(L)

Wok-fried Fresh Scallop and Shrimps with Macadamia Nuts and Sweet Bean RM128(S) RM192(M) RM258(L).  Pretty standard fare, scallops were plump and juicy, ...actually the word "KIN HONG" (health) was bandied about a few times, as our menu was specifically catered to be "healthy" with lots of greens.

Braised Abalone Top Shell Meat with Scallop and Black Mushroom In Supreme Oyster Sauce
RM118(S) RM177(M) RM236(L).  They weren't kidding with the health theme, which suited me fine actually.  It was a refreshing change not to be plied with tonnes of meat.

Seasonal Vegetable with Morel Mushroom Topped with Diced Seafood and Crab Meat Roe Sauce
RM80(S) RM120(M) RM160(L).  Touted as the chinese truffle, at least on that table I was on, I personally found the morels did nothing for me, and tasted a tad bland, like a sponge.  The morel of the story is I guess sometimes it's best to stick to the familiar.  Especially if people don't really appreciate how expensive these things are.   I loved the crab meat with the roe though.

And finally, fried nian gao for dessert.  Everyone commented it looked like fried luncheon meat.  Haha.  But taste def was nothing like luncheon meat.

Ours was an ala carte menu, but diners can take their pick from the 4 exclusive prosperity 9-course set menus titled Abundance (财源广进套餐), Fortune (发财好事套餐), Auspicious (恭贺新禧套餐) and Luxurious (一本万利套餐) to treat family and friends. Guests can take pleasure in a variety of the delicious dishes such as Yee Sang with Crispy Soft-Shell Crab and Snow Pear served with spicy Mango Plum Sauce, Braised Sun-dried Oyster, Sea Cucumber & Black Moss on Garden Greens, Signature Roasted Crispy Duck with Five Spice Herbs & Rock Sea Salt, Double Boiled China Pear with Red Dates, Snow Fungus & Kumquat and others more. The price for the set menu starts from RM 1,788 nett onward respectively per table of 10 persons.

Celestial Court will be open during the Chinese New Year celebration from 17 Jan 2017 till 6 Feb 2017 for CNY lunch (12noon to 2.30pm), CNY Dinner (6.30pm to 10.30pm). On weekends during Chinese New Year weekends from 21 to 29 January 2017, the usual Dim Sum Brunch Buffet will not available but replaced with the CNY menu.

To book:  03-2717 9900 ext. 6933
email: celestialcourt.imperial@sheraton.com.
For real time reservations, visit http://www.celestialcourtrestaurant.com/

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Arthur's Pub, Shangri-la KL, With Amazing Steak to Kick Start 2017

Back in the day when Shangri-la KL still sold their privilege card, me being the eternal romantic (choke) would regularly patronize the F&B outlets with the wifey, because it's one person eats free with that card, and really, where ELSE in KL would you find a fabulous prime rib at such a price.  Alas, the Shang has since discontinued that card program, much to my surprise, actually, as quite a number of other hotels still have theirs.

Anyway, fast forward, and what a lovely start to 2017, to receive an invite from Makan Fairygodmother (Marian Eu Hooi Khaw, established Food Writer amongst other credentials), hereafter referred to as MFG, to dine at Arthur's Pub.  I'm no stranger to the place of course, and my whole family are regular customers there, in fact, my parents are almost part of the furniture, dining there in one outlet or another every week.  The night before the review, my dad and nephew were dining at Arthur's Pub as well.

Which is why I was delighted to revisit the place, which I personally haven't been since they discontinued the privilege card, not because #iamacheapskate, but because I felt obliged to use the other loyalty cards in my possession to get more bang for the buck.  I was pleasantly surprised, and honored to be the only guest MFG had invited, together with the Shang Art director, Daniel Lau.  And it turned out to be a lovely evening with fabulous food and company.

Their homemade Ciabatta bread is lovely, but anticipating the food marathon ahead, I decided not to fill myself with bread, as man does not live on bread alone.

Arthur's Bar & Grill is a lovely setting, and I don't know if it's because it's age appropriate for me, but I find the ambience exceedingly cosy, and elegant but yet casual.  Their menu is very extensive, and well, it is called Arthur's Bar and Grill, so it does have the best of both, bar food snacks and a proper menu.  The signature deep fried octopus with Thai chilli dip (RM28) screams out for a beer, which I of course had.

Whilst eating, I regaled MFG and Daniel about the good old days, when Arthur's was known as THE PUB, and how my friends and I used to play board games at the upstairs area from the bar.  Boy, the Shang and I go back a long way.  We reminisced about the Gourmet Corner, etc etc....

I can never resist a good clam chowder, and I was not disappointed by this thick, New England Seafood chowder that makes you wish you were in a cold climate with snow falling on the outside.  Basically I wished I was in New England. RM43.  Very filling, enough for two to share.

Simply called Spicy Snow Crab (RM22), these little baskets of delight are basically crab in a deep fried wantan skin shell.  Again, a snack that screams out for alcohol, and by which time I had moved on to a NZ Sauvignon Blanc, which was perfect.

I did suggest to Daniel that they have two sizes for the Nachos (RM48), as the plate was HUGE, and large enough to feed a hungry horde of marauding Vikings.  Generous dollops of Guacamole and Sour Cream.  A bit too much for a table of three....

Because we are very ahem, classy people, we drink wine with dinner lor. .......

Apart from the Prime Rib, which was my raison d'etre for coming here, this dish, this very "atas" mee mamak, really was superb.  Okay, it's RM62 for this Seafood Mee Mamak, so I am sure, to be very honest, this will cause some to faint, but honestly, it is very good.  Enough wok hei, and chockful of ingredients.  And of course, you ARE paying "hotel" prices, but hey, price is subjective.  A few friends having beers and sharing this very satisfying platter, justifies it all.

Their signature Shepherd's Pie.  Truthfully, I am not really a shepherd's pie fan, so I personally would not order this, but if you ARE a Shepherd's Pie fan, and I realise that among my friends, there are many, then knock yourself out with this. RM62 for lamb and RM52 for beef.  (Theoretically I heard a Beef Shepherd's Pie is called Cottage Pie).

It's like watching a concert, the Chef slicing this beauteous piece of meat....

Perfectly roasted prime rib.....

lying on a HUGE Yorkshire Pudding, (as someone described on Insta, "as big as my face"), with a choice of vegetable and potato sides.

Just look at that perfect doneness, and that glorious streak of fat .....Priced at RM125 nett, I am reminded what good value it is, even without any loyalty discount.  It really can feed two moderate eaters.  And contrary to popular belief, I myself am unable to finish one whole portion myself.

In addition to the Prime Rib, there's also the usual Wagyu Rib Eye, (RM260/300gm), Black Cod Fillet (my wife's favourite, RM140) and even Grilled Boston Lobster (RM290).

The classic Creme Brulee dessert, one of the largest servings I've ever seen...usually it's just a ramekin.  Aromatic silky custard with vanilla bean flavour.

Arthur's also has a live band on Friday nights from 6.45pm to 10.15 pm.  And (the most important info for me), there is happy hour daily from 5-8pm, where:
6 bottles of Carlsberg or Tiger, in a bucket for RM88 nett.
Asahi at RM24 nett
Beer in Tower at RM140 nett (Carlsberg or Tiger)
House wine by glass, buy one one free
Selected cocktails by carafe at RM65 nett.

Operating hours are
 Mon - Thurs, 12noon -1am
Fri & Eve of Public Hols 12 noon - 2am
Saturday 5pm- 2am
Sunday and Public Hols : 5pm - 12 midnight.

Kids below 18 are not permitted after 5pm.

For reservations, call 03-20743900
or visit their website at www.shangri-la-specials.com

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rothschild Champagnes Debut In Kuala Lumpur

On this last day of 2016, I guess it's only appropriate to leave 2016 with a pop of champagne, and what more "atas" champagne to do it with, than with Rothschild.  "Atas" is a local Malay word which means "Above" or "On Top", has since been used as an adjective to denote "finesse", or "upper class"-ness.

On the 23rd of November, we were gathered at the lovely Maison Francaise to witness the launch of Champagne Barons de Rothschild in Malaysia, and Natseas Corporation Sdn Bhd is the official importer of the said champagne here in town.

Champagne Barons de Rothschild is housed in Vertus, a grand cru village within the Cote des Blancs, south of Eperney. As the name (Cote des Blancs) suggests, this is where the most sought after Chardonnays of the region are found.  Interestingly enough, the pronunciation of Rothschild varies, in English apparently it's Roths CHILD, whereas in French it's Roths CHILLED.

Either way, it is a bubbly of fine distinction, and uses a signficant  of Chardonnay in its blends. This grape variety, which accounts for just 28% of the total vineyards in Champagne, is not only the rarest and most sought-after, it is above all a guarantee of a supremely delicate wine.

Photo courtesy of press release
Mr Thierry Le Baut, Executive Chef Maison Francaise; Mr Julian Poh, Chief Executive Officer, Bordeaux Liquid Gold; Mr Gobie Raju, Chief Executive Officer, NATSEAS CORPORATION SDN BHD; Mr Frederic Mairesse,Managing Director, Champagne Barons De Rothschild during the press session.

Photo courtesy of press release

Photo courtesy of press release

Nothing shouts out TONIGHT IS GOING TO BE A GOOD GOOD NIGHT better than seeing bottles and bottles of Champagne lined up for consumption.

Photo courtesy of press release
Mr Gobie Raju, Chief Executive Officer, NATSEAS CORPORATION SDN BHD; H.E Christophe PENOT, French ambassador in Malaysia; Mr Frederic Mairesse,Managing Director, Champagne Barons De Rothschild ; Mr Julian Poh, Chief Executive Officer, Bordeaux Liquid Gold;

Photo courtesy of press release

TAH DAH, presenting the Champagne Barons De Rothschild.

The history of the well-known Rothschild family dates back to more than 250 years. Champagne Barons de Rothschild is made up of the three French branches of the family which individually own a number of wine brands and Bordeaux classed growth estates, including Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Clarke.

Photo courtesy of press release

After the official glitterati launch, it was time to partay...we started with the basic NV Champagne Blanc de Blancs, which is an easy drinking Champagne, paired with the canapes served at the event.

The "drink responsibly" crowd....

My good chum, CCFoodTravel with the bottle of lovely Barons de Rothschild Champagne Rosé asserts gorgeous finesse. The Champagne Rosé is a blend of Chardonnay grapes from Champagne and the Pinots Noirs with a  minimum of three years cellar-ageing.

Don't mind a glass of Rose thank you very much.....

And finally the Brut..
The Barons de Rothschild Brut is aerial Champagne that is rich and complex. The blend uses three to four-year old Chardonnays and Pinots Noirs from the best land in Champagne.
This subtle blend produces a wine with fabulously fine bubbles, elegant golden colour and fine, delicate nuances of white fruit. Low dosage and at least six months’ time after disgorging gives this Champagne beautifully balanced structure on the palate that is highly appreciated when served as the aperitif or throughout the meal. - Source : https://www.champagne-bdr.com/en/brut/

No, I did not finish the entire bottle myself....

Love this shot of the CEO of Natseas, Gobie Raju, and CCFoodtravel, that hawt mama and me.

Interestingly enough, the the Champagne business was set up only in 2005 and now produces around thousands bottles of Champagne each year. Its first vintage champagne, Champagne Barons de Rothschild 2006, was released last year at Vinexpo in 2015.

The distribution of such prestigious product in Malaysia, marks another milestone for Natseas Corporation Sdn Bhd.

Gobie Raju and Dato Prakadeesh Kumar are the founders of Natseas Corporation Sdn Bhd. They have a combined experience of more than 30 years in the industry, sourcing wines, spirits and beers. Along the way they have established valuable partnership with fine wine distributors, vineyards, wineries, distilleries and breweries worldwide.

Chris Low Kam Loong, an experienced wine professional and consultant in the Hospitality Industry, has been engaged as Natseas Corporation Consultant and Sommelier. Chris is also brand ambassador for Tarana wines, a premier Australian wine. Natseas Corporation Sdn Bhd is also the importer and distributor for it.

Natseas Corporation Sdn Bhd is now partnering with Bordeaux Liquid Gold Pte Ltd, a well-known fine wine trader with offices in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, shall successfully launch Champagne Barons de Rothschild in Malaysia, and will continue to bring many iconic wines into the shores of Malaysia.


Name: Gobie Raju
Designation: Chief Executive Officer
Telephone/Mobile No.: 012 3844007/ 0401501919
Email: gobie@taranawines.com