Thursday, September 11, 2014

Aberlour, Speyside at Sekeping Sin Chew Kee

The thing I love about this PR Company is their very unique and eclectic choice of venues that never fail to intrigue.  Of course, the whisky in question is undoubtedly the main star of the show, but the entire experience is enhanced of course by interesting surrounds, and in this particular case, Sekeping Sin Chew Kee.

The event, the unveiling of Aberlour, a fabulous Speyside whisky, (ABBA LOW), held here, made it a memorable event.  The media event was slated at 5pm, a jolly good time to start imbibing that golden nectar, but in rather precarious circumstance, for if you see the staircase, one could easily tumble to one's untimely end if inebriated.
Staircase to perdition....

Not to mention getting confused by the array of signboards, left and right...

The media, some waiting, some mingling...before the start of the event

The whiskies of Aberlour, a fine single malt, has officially made its launch in Malaysia, with Mr Darren Hosie, International Brand Ambassador of Chivas Brothers Ltd introducing the whisky to us. The rather jolly scotsman took pride in extolling the achievements of the Scots, from the discovery of penicillin, to the invention of the telephone, to the author of James Bond... all Scots.

Darren Hosie explains with great vigour and enthusiasm, but not before swearing that the next event in Malaysia has to be in airconditioned surroundings, the history of Aberlour, and how in 1990, Aberlour became the first ever single malt to win the Gold Medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition twice.

Aberlour was founded in 1879 by James Fleming... and in light of the introduction of the Scottish achievements, one did wonder if the author of James Bond, Ian Fleming, descended from this distillery.

Located in the heart of Speyside, Scotland, Aberlour distillery had produced single malts that have become the leading brand in France, which apparently is the the world’s biggest Scotch whisky market.  Now who would have thought that!!! I would that thought China would be the world's biggest Scotch whisky market.

Aberlour currently is the 7th bestselling Single malt in the world!

There were some canapes served with the whiskies, Salmon, Foie Gras and Beef Cheeks, but so enamoured was I with the whisky, I completely forgot to take pictures of the food.

The whiff of the 12 year initially knocks you out, as if very strong and very high in alcohol content, but upon sipping it, it totally belies the actually taste, which is smooth, crisp and clean.   The distinct flavour that is a result of the use of ex-sherry casks gives it that subtle sweetness and a wonderful aroma.

Aberlour’s distillers are also masters of double cask maturation. In addition to ex-sherry casks, Aberlour also uses traditional oak casks, including ex-bourbon first fill casks.

“There is an almost unparalleled level of detail and fine control that goes into the making of Aberlour’s velvety whiskies. The expert crafting of spirit and cask has given us today a range of single malts that are elegant, complex, yet exceptionally balanced. In fact, it is the same highly experienced team that has seen the distillation and maturation of the 12, 16 and 18 year old Aberlour whiskies we enjoy today right from the start,” said Hosie.

Every single malt enthusiast would know that a critical component in the whisky is the water, and another factor that makes Aberlour so special is its magical location alongside the River Spey.

The distillery itself is surrounded by water from the Lour Burn. The name Aberlour means ‘the mouth of the chattering burn’ in Gaelic. Local monks in ancient times thought that the noise the burn made, as it cascaded over waterfalls and wooded glens on its way to the river Spey, sounded as though it were talking.  The waters in the area were believed to be able to heal bodies and the soul as well.  Certainly, the addition to the single malt makes it very spirited.

By the way, "burn" is scottish a landform, where water flows from a larger body to a smaller one.

The good news is, Aberlour is now officially available in Malaysia at selected places, retailing from RM400 onwards, presumably for the 12 years.

As far as tastes go, the 16 and 18 year seemed to have an equal number of fans who thought that was their preferred choice.  I personally loved the 18 year...on the nose it didnt assail the senses as much as the 12, very vanilla and honey, and likewise on the palate, a subtly sweet, vanilla like taste that makes it so very smooth and easy to drink.

Tumpanging glamour with the glamour people. Azhar from Newman and Kenneth Chai from the Peak previously, and now ... err... where??  I can't remember. I blame the Aberlour.

For more information,contact Wong Pei Wen at 017 282 4844 or

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

My Favourite Nyonya Is at Park Royal Again! Debbie Teoh's Nyonya Kitchen!

One of my favourite Nyonya Chefs is  definitely the inimitable Debbie Teoh, so I was delighted to receive a personal invitation from her to join her and some media at Park Royal to sample her latest Nyonya Kitchen delights.  This lady really exudes beauty, class, elegance, eloquence, and combine that with culinary talent, it's no wonder that she's a celebrity chef.  And she always looks so good in her kebayas.

Although the Best of Malaysia: Nyonya Cuisine by Chef Debbie Teoh, from 5th Sept - 12th Oct will be held at Chatz Brasserie, for this dinner, we had it at the Si Chuan Dou Ha Chinese Restaurant, as I think some other event was happening at Chatz.

..which means we get served tea in this fancy smancy style....

Kerabu Jantung Pisang (literally translated, Banana Heart) With Prawns... I wonder how many bananas had to give their hearts for this dish.  Now, the really bad thing about Debbie's food is, it's all so delectable but screams out to be eaten with rice, and we all know how evil rice is.  Or have been made to believe so.  I loved the light, subtle creamy coconuty sauce, and the texture of the jantung pisang. The prawns were fresh and crunchy.

Penang Perut Ikan.  Fish bladder? Stomach?  A very traditional dish, and almost an acquired taste, with brinjals, pineapple, in a curry like gravy, but lighter, sans the santan.  Oh, apparently this is not part of the buffet spread, but can be ordered ala carte at RM35 each. 

The raw ingredient looks like this: 

Fish stomach...not for the faint of heart.... looks like something out of Dr Frankenstein's lab...

Gotta love love LOVE this Nasi Ulam on so many levels.  For taste, for visual impact, for the heat, and most of all, for the way it complements all the other dishes on the table.

Melaka Ayam Pong Teh, for those without a spicy palate.  Very traditional, wholesome, and reminds me of childhood.  This plus white rice would have sufficed.  Maybe with a fried egg...with runny yolk.  Oops, I hope I am not being sacrilegous.

Ayam Buah Keluak... My absolute favourite.  A rich thick gravy, tender pieces of chicken infused with a gazillion spices, and married together with the enigma that is the Buah Keluak.  This unique seed, apparently if consumed raw, is enough to kill you as it's laced with arsenic, or IS arsenic in its pure form.  Of course, that spawned the dinner conversation of how it must have taken great courage for the first man to try this, and must have decided, wow, it's worth dying for, let's try again and again until we get it right.  There's is something indescribable about the keluak.  The contents are very earthy, almost muddy, the texture, like eating soil.  But it is absolutely delicious.  It really is an acquired taste.  And if you are a keluak fan, then brace yourself your KELUAK KONCENTRATE, in the form of...

Pais Buah Keluak (Keluak Paste).... the mother of all Keluak dishes, this innocuous looking thing that could be mistaken as a nyonya kuih, really packs a punch, and if eating this doesnt Kure your Keluak Kraving, nothing will.  This also is not part of the buffet (apparently 7-10 keluaks go into one pack), and is available ala carte at RM30++ for two pieces.

Gulai Kiam Hu Kut or salted fish gulai.  Absolutely absolutely must eat with rice, and so rich and decadent.  Pieces of long beans, brinjal, with salted fish which surprisingly isn't too salty.

Fish Panggang With Lum Chut Sauce.  For me, the hightlight is the sauce.  The fish itself is fairly ordinary, but add the sauce, wow, a whole new world.

The no carbs lady pretending to scarf some carbs....

Fish maw soup, or Hu Pio Soup.  Chunky pieces of fish maw, that's good for you, a plump prawn ball, in a clear broth that is like the fish maw soup for the soul.  It was so good that after the first bowl, in an Oliver Twist like fashion, I asked, "Can I have some maw???" and Debbie very kindly obliged.  Ask and you shall receive.

Close up of the Kiam Hu in the Gulai Kiam Hu Kut.... not a good idea to be doing this in the morning hungry.

Sheer Peranakan Panache....

For dessert, Rempah Udang, glutinous rice filled with dried shrimp, wrapped in banana leaf and grilled presumably over a charcoal fire.  It falls under the dessert category, but the sweet savoury flavours really allow it to be eaten as anything.

Sweet Potato Kasui - A very traditional, yet not too sweet kuih, that needs no introduction.  The soft melt in the mouth texture and the distinct flavour of sweet potato... and sweet potato is good for you, with the bits of salty grated coconut...the simple pleasures of life.

The promotional price of RM85nett is only applicable until 11th September.  From Friday 12th of September the price will be RM125 nett per person.  

For Reservations Call 03-21470088.
And the High Tea with Sunday Cooking Class sounds like a STEAL!!!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Tedeschi Wines By Asia Euro, at Prego Westin

Wine on a Thursday evening always sounds good.  Thursdays afterall are the precursor to Fridays, so it really is almost as good as the weekend.  At least that's how I replied the invitation by Asia Euro, for the masterclass of Tedeschi Wines, which hail from Verona, Italy.  The event was held at Prego, Westin.

The Tedeschis' name is one of the names rooted in the history of Valpolicella Classica wine. The estate's first documents date back to 1630. The winery is situated in Pedemonte, and is a point of reference for the Valpolicella area and is run by Renzo Tedeschi together with his children Antonietta, Sabrina and Riccardo.

We were honoured by the presence of MARIA SABRINA TEDESCHI,co-owner and Marketing Manager ...boy do they sound sexy when the speak in English with their Italiana accenta....just loved listening to her explanations on the various wines.

"As one of her university teachers declared, she was probably born in a fermenter. She smiled, but immediately afterward reflected on just how much truth there was in his words...
She was so receptive to the examples set by her dad Lorenzo and the stimuli she got from his work as a winegrower. She doesn’t know how her father managed to pass on the genes of enthusiasm, inquisitiveness and strong will which she now finds within us in equal measure. If it could ascertain that her parents really did transmit those genes, then her passion for wine would almost be traceable to a trademark, and the same would be true for the entire Tedeschi family"

Maternigo House..

Aging Cellars at the Winery.

Upon arrival, we were given the nicely chilled Soave DOC 2012, from the Garganega grape, which personally reminds me of the sauvignon blanc, but I could be blaspheming here.  Strong fruity aroma, with clean notes of dry of and almonds.  Good body with an almond after taste.  Perfect to go with the cheese platter that was laid out before us.

The Soave enjoying a chilling ice bucket challenge.

I have to say the hard cheese selection really complimented the wines, and I particularly like the flatbreads with the lovely jams.

The Valpolicella Superiore DOC 2011, from a combination of Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara, Rossignola, Negrara and Dindarella (gosh, are all these really names of grapes?!!! They sound like characters from a drama).  Ruby red colours, with clear notes of cherry and currants.  An easy to drink red wine, exudes a rather informal party air about it.

The Capitel Monte Olmi Amarone Della Valpolicella DOC Classico 2008 made from Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Rossignola.  This appears to be a more formal wine, with a fuller body, and complex notes of spice, fruit, and notes of Slavonia Oak.

Maria explaining the various wines in that wonderful passionate and animated way of speaking that is so Italian.

Maria & The Makan Fairy Godmother, Marian Eu Hooi Khaw (The Malaysian Insider).

To order or to find out more, contact

Su Ling Lee
Senior Marketing Executive
Asiaeuro Wines & Spirits Sdn Bhd
DID : +603-78832855 | FAX : +603-78832928 |

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Ante Kitchen & Bar, Upping The Ante - My Most Fun Brunch of 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT: In conjuction with the launch of their new Brunch Menu, diners who dine at Ante Kitchen from 1-12 September will get a 50% discount voucher for when they return for Brunch.  

There's something about the word Brunch, that for me is automatically associated with holidays, bubbly, friends, ...afterall, one does not brunch alone.  You can lunch alone, but brunch.... never.

When I got the invitation to try out the new brunch menu at Ante Kitchen in Solaris Dutamas, (actually, I'm not sure what the difference is between that and Publika), I was in a bit of a fix, because none of the bloggers I asked were available, so what to do, what to do, one cannot brunch alone.  I very uncharateristically unashamedly asked Nigel (from whom the invite sprang forth) if I could bring a few friends, to which he very generously said no problem, for I did assure him that these friends are food lovers and are likely to be return customers.  One of them even lives in the block, so yes, they were good candidates as return customers.

Can't miss the location, for it's right at the entrance of the carpark, opposite Duta Tropika.

A well stocked bar is always a welcome sight, and they do stock a substantial variety of wines, and alcohol at rather reasonable prices.

This 8 Piece pork nuggets are really the best snack food to go with alcohol.  I'm not really a nugget fan per se, afterall, it's usually associated with dry, processed meat, but these were fabulously moist and tasty.  It is afterall, pork. RM15, less than RM2 per nugget. 

Chicken Wings and Drumlets.  Nicely bread crumbed, and another perfect accompaniment with booze. RM12

Deep fried soft poached egg.  In my haste, I forgot to take a photo of the glorious golden yolk oozing out like lava from a volcano.  Bits of bacon, hollandaise, on an English muffin.  RM23.  I feel hungry just looking at this. 

The quintessential English Big Breakfast, with bratwurst, bacon, eggs, sauteed mushrooms and baked beans and milk toast.  RM35.  It really is a very big breakfast.  The sausage is thoroughly porcine, and has a lovely smokey taste.  I guess you could opt for your eggs to be done differently. 

Croque Madame, bacon and wine infused cheese, with egg baked into the middle of the milk toast.  I asked the "manager", CK what the difference was between a Croque Madame and Monsieur, to which he replied, Madame got hole.  RM28.  It's huge actually, and very very filling. 

Rosti and Bratwurst, ... Potatoes rosti-ed (grated and roasted), with generous helpings of meat. I personally need my eggs, so this would not have been one of my first choices. RM26. 

Baked Eggs in Cocotte,  With Chorizo Sausages.. Lovely creamy texture, with the slight tang and heat of the chorizos, and garlic bread for dipping into the entire thing.  RM29.

Their signature dish, the Chargrilled Pork Steak, (my son described it as one heck of a sexy cut of meat), is really worth trying.  RM46.  The sear on the meat is gorgeous, and the meat itself, just the right balance of fat and lean, and the quality of the meat itself is really superb.  Who needs black iberico when you have this kind of pork steak!!! It is described as the best cut from the shoulder.  I have been having dreams about this dish ever since! 

The real bacon carbonara.  RM28.  If you like carbonara, then this is the ultimate decadence.  I used to love carbonara when younger, but now I find it a bit too rich, and after the first two mouthfuls, I feel I can't go on, which makes this the perfect dish to share actually.  Bits of crispy bacon, loads of button mushrooms, ..

Gnocchi Napoli, home made potato pasta dumplings in a glorious tomato sauce, with a hint of cream, parmesan cheese and a few token strands of arugula... RM24.  Actually, I never realised how palatable gnocchi can be...but again, I think I myself would not be able to finish an entire plate.  Another sharing dish.

Onion Rings, RM15.  Beer food.

My type of pasta.  I could easily finish this myself, so utterly delicious, and "clear" (as opposed to creamy).  Caramelised Garlic Olio... bits of crisp crunchy caramelized garlic, streaky bacon bits, a dash of white wine, button mushrooms.  RM25.

Another utterly decadent dish, Pork Diane, RM35.  Slathered in a rich creamy diane sauce, the tender pork sits in this pool of creamy delight.  Yummy.

Ultimate Pork Belly Sandwich, ..fatty and lean pork that melt in the mouth, crispy bit of pig ear confit, a tangy homemade salsa sauce, with two wholesome slices of milk bread.  RM29, with fries and side salad.  My only complaint is there wasn't enough pork belly! 

Garlic Bread,  6 slices of toasted baguette with generous slathering of garlic butter.  RM9.

What a spread.... It's like running a food marathon, so I was really grateful that the owners and Nigel Gan had allowed me to bring my friends...the Beatles song, comes to mind, especially this part:

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends
Ooh, I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends,
with a little help from my friends

Special thanks to Mr Leon, who so generously brought a Monkey 47 Gin, and to John & Leon for sharing the Nikka Coffey!!!

Incidentally, corkage is RM50 for wines, and RM70 for liquor. 

Thanks to CK for the very generous spread, and for the alcohol as well!!!

Bread and Butter pudding, RM9...

I thoroughly enjoyed this apple crumble, also RM9. 

And thus ended an epic afternoon of great food, great company and great booze!!! Truly my best best review of 2014.

Thanks for the invite, Nigel Gan!

Ante Kitchen and Bar
Solaris Dutamas 1
Jalan Dutamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Phone:03-6206 3364
Hours: Open daily 7:00 – 10:30 pm