Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Stoked With Bertha

Ever since I was Stoked at the Cape Mentelle event, HERE, some months ago, I have been yearning to return, for vision of the duck pate and foie gras encroute haunted me, triggering the saliva glands in anticipation like Pavlov's dog....So when Yin How, proprietor and long time restaurateur  in the KL F&B scene invited us to sample the menu of Stoked, I was ...well, stoked with anticipation.

Located on the same row as his other outlet, Vintry, Stoked aims to be the neighbourhood good value for money good quality fine dining place, without the airs of a fine dining place.  The centrepiece is the Bertha, a wood and coal flamed oven which Yin How described before as a heavy woman with a big heart.  Carted all the way back from the UK, the Bertha is central to a lot of the dishes, directly or indirectly.

To begin, an amuse bouche of chicken...which honestly, wasn't particularly remarkable, and tasted well, like chicken.   But well, there's no point peaking at the amuse bouche stage.

The next dish was immediately a star, a gorgeous medley of baby octopus, chilled tomato puree avocado and caviar, and tasted as stunning as it looked.  Paired with the floral St Clair Family Estate Malborough Sauvignon Blance, it was a perfect way to eat octopus,  the marine flavours, with the tomato puree (almost like a gazpacho),   RM38

Pretty in Pink, I have to reluctantly admit.

What a glorious sight.  Pan seared foie gras with winter melon,... Goodness, I feel like heading there right now and having a slice of this.

Melt in the mouth, seared to perfection.  The slight tang of the jus with the wintermelon, soaked in by that creamy organ, washed down with the St Clair SB, esctasy to say the least.  And I am not just saying it.  RM56.  Too often we've seen foie gras cooked to death and beyond, which is such a pity.

Another stunning simple, yet totally elegant and beautiful dish, that tasted so good.  Beetroot must have only taken off in recent years, when I was growing up, I didn't even think it was available locally, and we only ever ate the canned ones, which are sourish,  Fresh beetroot, so simply grilled, with ricotta, blood orange (hmm, since this is seasonal, I wonder if the dish is too).  Anyway, a most refreshing take on an otherwise pedestrian tuber that is used as an analogy for too much drinking.  MY, YOU'RE AS RED AS A BEETROOT!  I love the earthy flavours of beetroot, and done this way, it really accentuates the taste.  RM28

Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Capsicum Relish - Simple and tasty.  RM25

To accompany our mains, the manager, Daniel, brought out the first of the reds, a lovely Cote Du Rhone, E Guigal, I think it was a 2011.  A medium bodied red, very easy to drink, and rounded tannins make it glide down.

The first of the mains was this grilled FLOUNDER from our very own shores, of  Hutan Melintang.  Yin How believes in using fresh local produce where available, and where quality is of a certain standard.  The flesh of this flounder is firm, and flavourful, and not at all "fishy".  Although not officially on the menu yet, the pricing would be around RM70.

Be still my floundering heart...

The unexpected star of the night, this wonderfowl dish, a guinea fowl,also reared in some farm in Semenyih,.  Okay, at first look, we thought, oh, a small chicken,...but WOW, this was some hot chick!!!! Seriously good, moist tender flesh,

A yam seng with the lovely Fontodi Chianti Classico 2011 was in order....

Strong tannined full bodied wine that paired perfectly with the strong meats that followed...

Sides of Roasted Japanese Potato,

This masterpiece of meat is a Spanish Chulleton, weighing about 1.2kg.... impressive by any standard.  Juxtaposed against the other smaller cousin...

USDA Prime Rib Eye which was around 600g, looked like a hobbit cow in relation to the Spanish bull.  However, as far as taste went, it was unanimously agreed that the USDA rib eye won hands down.  The Spanish cut was a BIT well done in certain areas, but even so, the overall rib eye was tenderer and well, melted in the mouth.

Bits of the Spanish Chulleton ...hmmm, maybe the problem was that the lean bits were just too lean... hahaha, and me being a fat fan... was partial to the rib eye.

Ah, memories of that glorious meat melting in my mouth...

Cabbage With Parmigiano Reggiano, which not everyone liked, but I did, as the sharpess helped cut through the richness of the meat.

The desserts, oh my, salty caramel sticky date pudding, Seriously, for me to rave about dessert, ...

I loved this filo banana tart, with banana sauce and vanilla ice cream, ...fluffy filo wrapped around riped sweet bananas...RM

Okay, didn't care much for this, Sea Coconut Tortellini in Yuzu Sorbet...though the concept was certainly novel.  Desserts are all priced at RM25.

And petite fours to end the night...SUBLIME.

So many more items to check out at Stoked, note that we had no porcine dishes, so am definitely targetting to return for that.

Stoked Restaurant
120-122 Jalan Kasah
Medan Damansara
Tel:03- 20948262



Kuala Lumpur, 17 September 2015 – The BEST DAMN EXCUSE!, an animal-rescue fundraising cum
awareness event, is back!

Themed ‘Halloween Edition’, the BEST DAMN EXCUSE! will be held on 10 October at El Sid’s Bar at
Jalan Setiapuspa, Damansara Heights to raise funds for non-profit animal welfare organisation
CherishLife Home as well as to raise awareness on animal adoption.

Set up in August 2013, CherishLife Home is a private/self-funded/non-profit organisation initiated
to rescue, nurse and rehabilitate traumatised and injured animals. Founded by animal lover Lau
Choy Sze, or Auntie Winnie as she is fondly known, the shelter currently houses 254 dogs and
41 cats. CherishLife Home is a registered private/self-funded organisation and has no direct source
of income and relies on donations from the public to cover all expenses, including veterinary bills,
food for the animals and monthly utility bills.

This time, BEST DAMN EXCUSE! hopes to raise as much as RM26,885, of which some of the funds
will go towards purchasing a generator that can sustain and keep CherishLife Home running
smoothly during power cuts, as well as to purchase animal kibbles.

“Last year, with the amount raised, I managed to pay off some of the outstanding veterinary bills
and buy some kibbles for the animals in the shelter, for which I’m extremely grateful. I was also

very happy with the turnout last year. It was a very joyous occasion not only for pet owners, but
for us as we felt we had successfully raised awareness on the importance of giving animals a

second chance through adoption,” said Auntie Winnie.

“This year, I hope we will raise enough funds for a generator, which will be used to run water
pumps, supplying water used for cleaning the shelter and bathing the dogs, during power cuts,”

said Auntie Winnie.

“With this being the third BEST DAMN EXCUSE! we have organised, we feel this is a great event as
it is fun for the whole family and more importantly, it helps create awareness on the importance
of animal adoption,” said Dee Dee Quah, the organiser of BEST DAMN EXCUSE!.

Held from 4pm to 8pm, BEST DAMN EXCUSE! Halloween Edition features various activities such as
a pet buffet, lucky draws, auctions, sale of CherishLife Home merchandise as well as items for
pets, kids and adults alike. Patrons of El-Sid’s also get to enjoy happy hour on all draught beers.

“Adopt & Give an animal a second chance”

CHERISHLIFE HOME (PPM-018-10-30082013)

Lot 9025 & 9026, Kampung Sungai Macau,
Batu 14, 43100 Ulu Langat
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Contact Number: 6012 3321256

In line with the Halloween theme, there will be a best-dressed competition for dog and owner,
a treat-hunting competition, and a pumpkin-carving competition for adults, among other

This event is targeted at all non-Muslims -adults and kids alike. It is also a dog-friendly event,
allowing pet owners to have a fun day out with their pets and to meet other animal lovers.

As the venue sponsor, Sid’s Pubs will be donating a percentage of proceeds raised from the sale of

food and beverage to CherishLife Home.

“This is the third time Sid’s Pub will become the venue sponsor for CherishLife Home’s BEST DAMN
EXCUSE! We are privileged to be given the opportunity to help out CherishLife Home and to play
our part in improving animal welfare,” said Geoff Siddle, Managing Director of Sid’s Pubs.

For more information on CherishLife Home, kindly visit



BEST DAMN EXCUSE! is a charity event aimed at raising funds and awareness for various nonprofit
organisations. Created by animal-lover and volunteer Dee Dee Quah, the BEST DAMN
EXCUSE! is supported and made possible by volunteers and sponsors who work together to
organise a fun-filled event. All proceeds raised through the event goes to the respective charity
Home. The first BEST DAMN EXCUSE! was held in 2013.

Issued by:

Winnie Lau Choy Sze
President, CherishLife Home
Tel: 012-332 1256


Wong Ee Laine

012-679 7711

Dee Dee Quah

012-239 0081

“Adopt & Give an animal a second chance”

Monday, October 05, 2015

New Formosa .... That Warm Familiar Feeling

There are some places that I actually feel guilty I don't visit often enough.  The last time I was here in New Formosa was for lou sang with my cell group, for LAST LAST Chinese New Year, gasp, in 2014...time just flies, but this is one of those places that I always feel at home, coming to, not least because of the wonderful effervescence of the lovely proprietress, Mrs Lee.

The inimitable Mrs Lee, unlike the restaurant, hasn't aged a bit!!!! One of the reasons for the invite by Makan Fairy Godmother was to celebrate the restaurant's 36th Anniversary.  Anyway, one doesn't really need a reason to revisit, and it's always a delight.  That a restaurant can survive and thrive for 36 years in KL speaks volumes.  I can't think of many others that have survived the ravages of time, and recessions, and currency fluctuations.

I arrived just in time to capture this lovely Village Chicken With Black Fungus and a liberal dose of ginger that really gives it that added zing.  I love village chicken, the meat is firm as opposed to the vapid supermarket chickens whose meat melts in the mouth for all the wrong reasons.  More like disintegrate in the mouth. This juicy fowl with its glorious skin reminds me of my Hainanese ancestry.  Speaking of ancestries, the name Formosa does not refer to a water theme park in Malacca, but the original name for Taiwan.

Bamboo rice, their signature rice dish.  I am not sure if there is any involvement of real bamboo, or if the name refers to the receptacle in which it is served, but regardless of nomenclature, it is one tasty rice dish, with bits of delicious chinese pork sausage, dried shrimp, crispy shallots... a meal on its own really.

Formosa special combination, Yam Balls, that just melt in the mouth.  Yam features  a lot in Mrs Lee's menu, so they seem to take great pains to ensure their yam is totally yammy.. oops, I mean yummy.  Taiwan famous 3 cup sotong (squid), which actually I believe is an ala carte item on its own, butterfish slices formosan style, which is actually fish cooked in that butter style, and not butterfish as in butterfish you get in Japanese buffets that I hate, (the fish, not the buffet), deep fried oysters Taiwanese style, and their signature stuffed lotus root with fish paste.  Something similar to the concept of yong tau foo but this is yong leng ngau...

I was shocked to see this dish, because it's such a luxury to be served crabs with only the claws.  I wonder what she did with the rest of the body.  Glorious crustaceans in that fabulous chilli crab sauce accompanied with fried mantau.  Actually by this time we were, or at least I was, already quite stuffed, not unlike the lotus root from the earlier dish. I could just eat that sauce with toast and some butter and be happy.  It takes so little to make this person content.  This dish is part of the RM598++ set dinner for 10.

Local Seabass in Hot Bean sauce.  A bit unphotogenic, but hey, the fish is dead.  Okay, I am not really fan of fish drowned in sauce, I am more a clear steamed fish person myself, but if you are the saucy type, then you'd like this dish, especially slathered on a bowl of rice.  (back when it was still respectable to eat rice... poor rice, like eggs and butter, 20 years down the line research might say, oh, it's actually good for you).  I digress of course.

Mrs Lee expertly dissecting the fish for easy serving.  She's one of those Nigella Lawson-esque personalites who after fluttering around in the kitchen and serving food and still look immaculate and unflustered.  Like this...

This is in between flitting from table to table, chatting with guests, serving some, and making sure food is eaten correctly.  I lurve Mrs Lee!!!

For the finale and piece de resistance, the Formosa Stone Fire Pot...Actually this dish alone is enough to feed a small army.  The dish starts with the sauteeing of some onions, garlic, chilli to give it a fabulous aroma, and chicken...which is fried, the smells wafting through the entire restaurant...

To get this dish of chilli chicken...

As a special treat, (this is apparently not on the regular stone fire pot menagerie of livestock), because we were with Makan Fairygodmother, fresh plump sea prawns, sauteed in the residue of the chicken oils, before all the rest of the stuff is tossed in to one big hot pot.

Round two is for the vegetables, like the taro (yam lah), corn, seaweed, pumpkin, and by this time, of course that broth is to die for.  Never let it be said that too many cooks spoil the broth...the myriad flavours from that soup... so good that I even packed the balance home.

This stone fire hot pot is available for only RM20 per head!!! What a steal!

A special matcha pudding (matcha as in green tea, not the Indian brother in law), with red bean paste.  Probably inspired by green tea ice cream with azuki, and what a great combination it is too.  The pudding, or jelly, milky green tea and lovely wobbly texture.

And no visit to Formosa is complete with I YAM WHAT I YAM...  Yam covered in caramel and then plunged into cold water to crystalise it...initially I thought I'd give this a miss, as I was stuffed, but succumbed to temptation, with no regrets.  Crispy sugar coated on the outside, soft and tender on the inside.  A bit like me...Oh, wait, I am not sugar coated.  Just crispy and cold.

In conjunction with their 36th Anniversary, these celebratory set menus are available at RM498++ or RM598++ per set for 10 people.

New Formosa
Tel: 03 7875 7478.
Address: 46, Jalan SS2/24, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.