Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Sushi Making Workshop by Norwegian Seafood Council

Does anyone know that there is a WORLD SUSHI CUP?  Well, it's a pity it's not an Olympic Event, or Malaysia would have had its gold medallist, and we can all watch proudly as our national anthem is played. 

For two consecutive years, 2018 and 2019, Malaysia has won the competition, by Chef Sky Tai and Chef Leon Yap, respectively.  These two were trained in the Global Sushi Academy and tained under sushi master Hirotoshi Ogawa, from Japan, and The Norwegian Seafood Council runs the Global Sushi Academy in collaboration with World Sushi Skills Institute, the only officially recognised sushi body in Japan.

Norwegian salmon commands 90% market share of fresh salmon in Malaysia. As it is also the preferred choice for sushi topping in Malaysia, it is important to the Norwegian Seafood Council that the fresh raw ingredient is handled in the most hygienic manner.  Although I have watched the video several times, it never fails to amaze me the process by which salmon is farmed in Norway, which has the perfect living conditions for salmon. 

The Workshop was held at the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts
KDU University College, Utropolis, Glenmarie, Shah Alam and graced by the Ambassador of Norway, Her Excellency Gunn Jorid Roset. 

After the briefing from the Norwegian Seafood Council and the requisite speeches, we adjourned to the swanky kitchens of the college to witness a simple demonstration on making sushi.  Alright, admittedly it was the basic-esy of sushi, but was an interesting experience nonetheless.  And making it the correct shape etc is not as easy at it looks. 

This shockingly crude sushi and roll were a result of the workmanship of yours truly. 

In stark contrast to the award winning sushi platter prepared lovingly by Chef Leon Yap

For more info on how to contact Norwegian Seafood Council directly,
Contact: Scribe Media Link
                 Angeline Mah: 016 623 9180
                 KW Thong: 012 388 6023
                 Marian Eu: 013 330 1662

Friday, January 10, 2020

First of the CNY Feasts At Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial KL

In the blink of an eye, a new decade dawns upon us, barely had the jingle of the Christmas songs faded before it is replaced by the melodious familiar cacophony of Chinese New Year kongsi songs.  Now, the main difference I reckon is the very money and prosperity skewed lyrics.  (compared to a baby born in the manger etc)

And since we're on the note of prosperity, Celestial Court, the pork free Chinese Restaurant of Sheraton Imperial KL, has three AUSPICIOUS CHINESE NEW YEAR REUNION 9 COURSE SET MENUS.

CNY Wealth Set at RM1688 nett per table
CNY Prosperity Set at RM1988 nett per table
CNY Happiness Set at RM2388.
Who says that money can't buy happiness.

And the mandatory Yee Sang, touted as the UNITY LOU SANG, is priced as below:

Abalone Sliced With Fresh Scallop Yee Sang (RM188 nett/ RM376 nett for large)
Crispy Soft Shell Crab Yee Sang (RM108nett/ RM216 nett for large)
Norwegian Salmon Yee Sang (RM108 nett/ RM216 nett for large)
Jelly Fish Yee Sang (RM88 nett/ RM176 nett large)

It was nice to partake in the "ritual", as it was referred to..... Words ushering prosperity, good health, good business, etc etc represented by the various condiments.  I think yee sang is a brilliant invention, and probably can attribute its origin to Malaysia. 

The crispy roasted Garlic Corn Fed Chicken, Sichuan Spiced Mushroom Sauce.  I enjoyed the moist thighs meat and the sauce had a nice sweet sour tangy zing to it.

Stewed Dried Oyster With Sea Cucumber and Black Moss ("Hair vegetable")
Traditionally, the Chinese word for oyster, Ho See, also sounds like good fortune, and the hair vegetable, FATT CHOY, well, forms part of the KUNG HEY FATT CHOY, so you get the drift.  Our table didn't get to sample this, as there were two sea cucumber dishes, and each table tried one variety.

Our table's version was the Braised Sea Cucumber With Chinese Mushrooms and Yam in Claypot.  A good combination, with the creamy yam, which melts in the mouth. 

Wok-fried prawns with Angled Loufa Gourd, Shimeji Mushrooms and Cashew Nuts
Prawns, like no 5 in Thai, is HA....which of course denoted mirth and joy.

Poached White Pomfret With Shredded Chicken and Mushrooms in Spicy Supreme Stock.  Pomfret is one of my favourite fish, so I was glad our table got the pomfret and the other table got the grouper.

To finish off, pan fried nian gao, which I have to say, was very good.  Not too sweet, well fried with a crispy exterior and soft insides.

Maybank, HSBC or CIMB cards get 20% discount (t&c apply)
Club Marriott members 30%, and Marriott Bonvoy from 10 - 20 % depending on tier. (t&c apply)

For dining and reservations, call 03-2717 9977 or email dining.specialist@sheraton.com

Friday, December 06, 2019

Throwback Gin Jubilee Finale At Sentul Depot

Congrats to the organisers, WHOLLY SPIRITS et al for the incredible finale of Gin Jubilee at Sentul Depot...

It was hard to believe that the venue was in KL, it felt like a different world.

And congratulations to winning mixologist extraordinaire, Shirmy Chan on her Curious PJ, comprising Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, East Imperial Old World Tonic, beating 25 other partner bars. 

Looking forward to Gin Jubilee 2020!!!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Chez Gaston by Rendezvous, A Little Gem Tucked Away in Bangsar Utama

It's always heart warming to visit an establishment that is run by a passionate Chef cum Owner, and Chez Gaston is one such place.  An unpretentious place, nestled in a rather odd location really, so much so you'd least expect to find a French restaurant in such a hood.  Undoubtedly parts of Bangsar Utama have become rather gentrified in recent times, with speakeasies, bars and coffee places mushrooming, but this particular location is away from the main stream gentrification.

I'm not sure if it is by design, but this is the only signage that would clue you as to its existence.  It does look rather rustic, tucked amongst the leaves and bushes. 

The interior is simple, almost minimalist.   It doesn't pretend to be a fine dining place, and indeed, a bulk of the lunchtime crowd are from surrounding offices, who patronize the place because of the incredibly reasonably priced set lunches, which change daily.

The rather serious Chef Florian, who hails from France, but has been here for 10 years or so, explains that he himself goes to the market every morning and sources the freshest ingredients for the lunch menu, so therefore it is not possible to predict the day before what will be available for lunch.  Such a system has its pros and cons, no doubt, but at the end of the day, it goes to show his commitment to freshness of ingredients.

The name Chez Gaston itself refers to his grandfather, who was also a chef.  You see, if this was set in a charming countryside in France, this story would garner oohs and ahhs, and awwws.....

We start with an amuse bouche of  pate, pickles on toasted baguette.

Some of the aperitifs Chef let us sample to tickle the palate.  I personally found both too sweet.

French Onion Soup, with a grilled cheese (Ementhal) topping done very uniquely, which made it perfect for dipping into the sweet onion broth. RM17

Fish soup, RM18, made from Chef''s father's recipe.  It's a rather thick fish soup, and very substantial, complimented perfectly with bread and butter.  I would recommend sharing.

Escargots, swimming in wine sauce...which on it's own is a tad salty, but once you mix it up, and dunk some bread, is rather good. RM24

Possibly my favourite starter, because I am such a foie gras fan, and yes, the pan seared variety.  Now, that onion relish is soooo good, and so were those random slices of smoked duck.  The other real surprise was that fried bread beneath the foie gras, which had absorbed all the goodness of the foie juices.

The salad with goats cheese and bacon bits was good, well, you can't really go wrong with a salad that has chunks of pork bacon, and the dressing, very subtle, slightly tangy, refreshing.  RM26

Scallops in creamy sauce, RM35, very nice indeed, and that sauce ..ooh lala.

I can't see or hear Beef Bourguignon (that's a lot of vowels) without thinking of that movie Julia Julia...and have ALWAYS been fascinated by the dish.  To prepare takes like forever, so I'm glad there's a version that I find quite nice (although to be fair I have no yardstick to compare).

Rouget en Papillote A La Creme de Ciboulette, basically red mullet baked in "Papillote",

PSA - In the culinary arts, the term en papillote refers to a moist-heat cooking method where the food is enclosed in a packet of parchment paper or foil and then cooked in the oven. ... Word meaning: En papillote means "in paper" or "in parchment" in French (Courtesy of Google)

What distinguishes this dish is the multi layers within that parchment vessel, so you have to dig deep to savour the different flavours and textures.

Pork tenderloin, okay, I prefer fattier cuts of meat, so this would too lean for me, although the sauce was nice.  Come to think of it, a lot of creamy sauces.

Chicken isn't a dish I would think of ordering in a French Restaurant, firstly because they always use breast, but to my surprise, Chef Flo uses thigh, and the result was actually a very good chicken dish.
Cuisse de Poulet Grillee Fromagere RM42.  On top of the chicken is goat's cheese.

This Italian Veal dish thrown in for good measure, very rich and delicious, but it's a special, so don't count on being able to order it randomly.

The Bouillabaisse, the iconic Marseilles seafood soup, is chockful of goodies, tiger prawns, mullet, and the soup, which is more bisque like than clear (unlike the usual Marseilles ones), is so good that left all of us wanting more.  Now, the main surprise was the breads, because well, it's bread, and at this stage of the meal, no one wants more bread, BUT one per chance bite into that crusty piece of goodness, it didn't take long before all of it was gone.

We all agreed that we could have done with more soup though. RM68

Pretty decent house pours...

Although we were bursting at the seams, Chef Flo insisted we try his blood sausage.  Whilst I am not a fan of pig's blood, (not even in curry mee), Fay loved it, as did the others.

For dessert, this floating meringue island..

But this dark chocolate mousse wins the dessert trophy in my book.

Apparently in France they have their cheese platter with salad sides.  We found this out when Anitaeats queried Chef Flo why was there a patch of salad...

And apple tarte tatin...  with vanilla ice cream to end

As I said, it's a cosy unpretentious environment, casual French dining that won't burn a hole in your pocket.  The wine list is adequate, and very reasonably priced as well.  I really am looking forward to that chicken and beef bourguignon again.  Oh, and the scallops.  Oh, the the foie gras. 

Chez Gaston
12G Jalan Bangsar Utama
59000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : 011-3993 0036