Monday, June 25, 2012

Edward Kwon, Celebrity, Actor, Chef, Korean.

To those of you who still subscribe to the mainstream media, The Star, in particular, might notice these lavish full page ads, which if read quickly, might be misread as He has cooked Tiger....and a US President. And there's this boyish figure, who looks like someone out of a Korean drama, that is all the, who is he?


Well, basically he's a Korean celebrity chef who has cooked for Madonna, Tiger and a US President. And, now, he's ahem, cooked for me. And a few hundred thousand others.

A glitterati press event held at the KL Hilton, in midday, was a lovely distraction from the dull humdrum office life. As usual, we were given an insight into the celebrity's life. He is brought in by Li TV, to highlight his new series, Edventures in Asia; in case you're wondering, its about culinary adventures in Asia. To this end, we discovered that his most amazing meal, which he diplomatically declined to say was in our beloved country, was in Mongolia, where they made a lamb stew out of nothing.

Also, he must have told this story a million times, but apparently when he was young, he wanted to become a priest. He didn't elaborate what kind of priest, but I am guessing most priesthoods insist on a certain kind of celibacy. Well, from celibacy to celebrity, that I call a quantum step.

Above, a collage of the various faces of Edward Kwon. Interviewed by some chick with a foreign accent, and also a brief cooking demo with the Li TV Director and a Maybank fella, he whips up a Galbi Jjim, Soy Braised Wagyu shortribs. Of course, such things can only happen on TV, when one can whip up a dish like this in 10 minutes.

Lunch was VERY good!



Sam Gye Tang - Chilled Chicken Roulade, Ginseng Espuma and Jujubes. It's totally unique, and I can't say I've ever had anything remotely close to this before. It kind of reminds me of the chinese chilled chicken in gelatine dish, only much more refined.

Foie Gras and Douen Jang - Which according to google translate is Foie Gras, Korean Bean Paste and Chervil. It was so good, everyone on the table wanted seconds. It's kinda like a soup, but not quite a soup, but not sickly thick either. So yeah, I guess it's like a soup. Again, very unique tastes, with subtle hints of foie gras, complementing rather than stealing the show.

Galbi Jjim (interesting to have two consecutive Js in a word) - Soy braised wagyu shortribs in Romme Puree, Apple Chilli Salad and Root Vegetables. Seriously good stuff. The meat was tender, and must have fallen off the bone, and you can taste the results of the long slow cooking that is involved. The juices and sauces have seeped into the meat, enhancing the taste even more than I thought possible. The tangy apple helps neutralize any heaviness that might be potentially derived from the meat.



Yuza and Bokbunja - Yuza and Yoghurt Mousse, White Chocolate Crispy Rice, Vanilla Plum Wine Jelly, Bokbunja Sorbet. Bokbunja is a korean fruit wine, to the uninformed. Yuza is an expression of delight, YUZAHHHH, korean for yahoo. Okay, I kid. I don't know what it is, as google did not help.

A lovely end to a fabulous lunch. Loved loved LOVED the sorbet.

Well, if you are salivating, (if you are salivating over the man, forget it, he's married, and his wife makes the kimchi), then pay heed to the NUMEROUS FULL PAGE ADS in the papers, offering you numerous ways to win a chance to dine with Edward Kwon.

Thanks Roots Asia for the invite. That was one pleasant surprise.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Delicious, 70 to 45 to 25

As a customer, I find myself very predictable when it comes to ordering food. I am not the seafaring adventurous type, surprisingly, when it comes to ORDERING. But, that's not to say I am not open to new experiences. In fact, I enjoy them, usually, and in a contradictory way, find myself oft very restless and longing for new things to do and try. But, when it comes to food, at the same restaurant, in all probability, I'd order the same thing. In Delicious, I almost always order either the Spicy Crab Meat linguine, or the Roast Duck pasta. In Macdonald's, I always order the Sausage McMuffin With Egg. Gasp, I am a boring eater. Or worse, a boring PERSON! Kill me now.

That is why, there is always a tingle of excitement down my spine (yes, I do have one) when an invite comes for NEW DISHES. Especially when it's been so painstakingly designed, and shortlisted by their (E&O's) Group Executive Chef, Chef Kasdi Dahari and Chef Steve Allen, the E&O Group Creative chef, from a staggering 70 choices, down to 45, and finally down to 25. Those dishes must have felt like contestants in American idol, and if those dishes could speak, I wonder what they'd say when they were kicked out.

Lunch was a casual affair, at Delicious at Bangsar Village, hosted by that Loke Poh Lin lady. I honestly hoped that they will not try to kill us by force feeding us with 25 dishes. What's good for the goose (the foie gras variety) might not be good for our gender. Anyway, Poh Lin assured me that the portions will be sensible. To start, we had the Crab & Avocado Salad with gazpacho and cos lettuce.

You might not be able to see it here, but beneath that pile of healthy greens, is another layer of healthy gazpacho, that is exceedingly refreshing. The crab meat is decadent, and tosses out any notion of healthiness, as you toss the salad.

Do NOT be deceived by these Chick Pea and Parmesan Bites. They are EXTREMELY filling, and very addictive. That is one lovely Chick...Pea...Actually it's something you'd have with a nice ice cold beer. Which I didn't have, because it was lunchtime.

Lemon and Blackpepper Parapdelle, with deep fried mozarella bites. Deep fried cheeses are really the epitome of sinfulness. Crispy on the outside, melt in the mouth on the inside. They really ought to be banned.

Red Pesto Gnocchi with Tomato and Aragula Salad. A must if you are a gnocchi fan. Gobs of knocky made healthy with rocket, is a light tangy dressing. It's a very Tai Tai dish.

Pan fried red snapper. Actually to be honest, when I looked at it, and cut it, I thought the snapper looked like it had been out of the sea too long, ie, dry. But to the chef's credit, it was actually done quite well, and wasn't dry at all.

My favourite dish of the day, Harissa Parmigiano Baked Eggplant with tomato, Mozarella & Basil. A fusioned Moussaka so to speak. Be warned, a normal average person cannot possibly finish one portion of this as it's very rich.

For dessert, we had the chilled pineapple cheesecake. A surprise lies within the cake....and no, no hot chick jumped out of it.

Tah Dah, and nope, it is NOT luncheon meat. It is actually a raspberry coulis. Gave the cake that added zing.

Raspberry & Mango Tart. If you do not like sour stuff, then this is not the dessert for you. I personally felt the tart was a bit too a condensed milk kind of way. It does look gorgeous though.

The professional version of the Pan Fried Red Snapper With Harrisa, Spiced Stewed Chickpeas, and Zuchinni Red Peppers.

The brains behind the food...Steve Allen and Kasdi

Cripy Tiger Prawns in Coriander Batter With Lime chilli Dip

Well, this lunch only covered 9 of twenty five new dishes. I simply must go check out the other 16 soon. I have to say the 16 hour braised boneless beef short ribs looks GOOD! (RM32.90 only).

A complete list is appended below for reader's convenience:

Cream of pumpkin soup with Parmesan & truffle oil 13.90
Roasted tomato soup with crumbed Mozzarella & basil 13.90
Crab & avocado salad with gazpacho & cos lettuce 26.50
Pumpkin, mushroom & spinach crumble tart 19.90
Tomato, leek & zucchini quiche with black olive tapenade 19.90
Roast beef sandwich 30.90
Baked rigatone with sundried tomato, beef bacon & eggplant 25.90
Harissa Parmigiano baked eggplant with tomato, Mozzarella & basil 22.90
Lemon & black pepper parpadelle 22.90
Mama’s beef Bolognese spaghettini with meatballs & Parmesan 22.90
Pumpkin risotto 25.90
Red pesto gnocchi with tomato & arugula salad 22.90
16-hour braised boneless beef short ribs 32.90
Pan fried red snapper 32.90
Roast loin of lamb & braised rump of lamb 40.90
Chick pea & Parmesan bites 10.90
Crispy tiger prawns in coriander batter with lime chilli dip 22.90
Eggplant & sesame chips with fennel yogurt dip 8.90
Tamarind BBQ chicken wings with cucumber & spring onion 15.90
Thai fried calamari with green peppercorn ginger jam & tartare sauce 22.90
Apple, hazelnut & cranberry crumble slice 14.90
Chilled pineapple cheesecake 14.90
Cold chocolate fondant 14.90
Raspberry & mango tart 14.90
Warm melted “Chocolicious” pudding 14.90

They have also opened their 9th Cafe, at Setia City Mall in section U13, Setia Alam, Shah Alam.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hennessy VSOP New Bottle - Part 2

One might think it strange that a car designer should design a bottle. So, why Chris Bangle for Hennessy V.S.O.P?
Maison Hennessy was seeking a designer who was experienced in industrial design and who knew how to respect Hennessy V.S.O.P’s history while opening the doors to the future.
Maison Hennessy was attracted to Chris Bangle because his work in the automobile world has given him technical knowledge combined with a never-ending creative quest; his work embodies the intrinsic values of V.S.O.P.: dare to pursue your dreams, create your own legend. And considering the old bottle design of Hennessy VSOP was quite iconic in its own right, it certainly was no mean feat to out do that.

What road map was Chris Bangle given for this job?
Maison Hennessy asked Chris Bangle to upgrade the bottle rather than create a new one. It was important for Maison Hennessy to move forward in a spirit of continuity, seeking inspiration in the history of V.S.O.P. (highlighting the arm and axe, for example) as well as in the future that we want to shape for it (for example, by adding a hollow bottom for easier handling by bartenders who have to have fast, safe gestures). It was also important to ensure that the major features of V.S.O.P. (harmony and balance) are embodied in the bottle’s curves.

Why spend so much time on anti-counterfeiting efforts?
In order to ensure that there are no imitations or counterfeits, Maison Hennessy seeks to protect their products, which are made in Cognac in a respect for their traditions and their know-how.
The Hennessy brand in itself is a guarantee of extreme quality, and could never be associated with products it does not make. Above and beyond the quality of the cognac served, there is the question of food safety. All their products are carefully inspected out of respect for the trust that consumers place in them.

Has the content of the Hennessy V.S.O.P. bottle changed?
The Hennessy V.S.O.P. blend has been kept unchanged, thanks to the constant work by the Cellar Master and his Tasting Committee. This was pointed out back in 1986 by Maurice Fillioux, a former cellar master at the House, who explained, “Every eau de vie that we use to produce our V.S.O.P. has a distinct personality. These personalities enrich each other. It is up to us to blend them to achieve the best result. We reproduce this result year after year, working with the vineyards and the years. Only the greatest brands are able to ensure such consistent quality”.

What notes come out when tasting Hennessy V.S.O.P.?
Hennessy V.S.O.P. is characterised by its harmony and its balance.
During tasting, this cognac reveals:
A crescendo of aromas…: on the nose, the first fragrances perceived are soft spices such as vanilla, clove and cinnamon. Then, delicate toasted notes follow, arising from its maturation in oak barrels.
A natural balance of strength and smoothness…: On the palate, the natural balance of strength and smoothness creates a harmonious blend in which maturity combines with vigour. The structure is softened by the unctuousness of the grapes.
A long lasting finish…: the highlight of the tasting is the long lasting finish, revealing the natural balance, cue of a superior cognac.

Oh, and from a baking point of view, it really enhances the value of any cake!

Do log on to and click LIKE ...(if you do lah).

Xin-fully Good Still

Time really flies. The last time I met Julini, that lovely Marketing & Communications Manager of Concorde, was before last Ramadan, when she invited me for the Melting Pot's Ramadan Buffet Spread preview. And before you know it, in the blink of an eye, 9 months or so have elapsed. If I had been pregnant when I last met her, I would have definitely given birth by now. Anyway, this time round, the invite was for Xin Chinese Restaurant's new items on the menu, lovingly crafted by Chef Alfie Hoh. The only drawback about going to Concorde, on a weekday after work, is the mind boggling traffic at that Jln Sultan Ismail and Jln Ampang intersection.

Nevertheless, I wasn't SO late, the food that was laid out for the press was still there and still being photographed, like a celebrity hounded by the ruthless paparazzi. It was one of those strange occasions where the other guests were all from the main stream media, and some not so main stream, like Red Tomato, and Orange ....something or other.

Braised Thick Soup of Golden Superior Broth with Fish Maw and Seafood

Actually who needs Sharksfins, when the alternative soups are really so fabulously flavourful. Superior here is an apt description, for the soup really is lovely, and the broth ....put it this way, when we heard how many hours goes into preparing the broth, and the amount of stuff that goes into it, from duck to chicken, it's definitely not something you can replicate at home. Unless you have an industrial kitchen...

Pan-fried Prawn with Orange Juice in Milk Sauce
Oh, incidentally, if any of you people think I have suddenly developed a literacy in the Chinese language, I can assure you I am still disgracefully a banana, and that Chinese script you see is courtesy of the hotel, and all I do is cut and paste.

I digress though. Fresh crunchy prawns, made even crunchier is a crispy batter. Usually I am wary of orange juice sauces, because they tend to taste like cough mixture or haliborange, but this was not so, and the tastes were really complementary.


Such a delightfully colourful dish, that one cannot but feel one's spirit lifted, though one may be heavy laden.
Stir-fried Lily Buds and Sweet Peas with Straw Mushroom. You've heard how it is prescribed we should eat 5 different colored foods, or specifically fruit and vegetables, a day. Well, there you go, the dish that says it all.


Stewed Cod Fish with Soya Paste with Tomatoes
Chef Alfie said he toyed with the idea of using Miso paste, but it seemed so common. I am not sure what exactly Soya Paste is, (the interviews with the Chef were conducted mainly in Cantonese, and my Cantonese is ...enough just to get by at kopitiams to order food, and understand 30% of Infernal Affairs), but it tasted good.

Wok-fried Flat Noodles and Seafood with Prawn Sauce. Kueh Teow la, in layman terms. Now, apparently some people could identify the prawn sauce, (oh, I guess because it was because they had shellfish allergies) but I couldn't really pinpoint that it was a prawn sauce. The fried noodles were nice, and a bit overkill on seafood, not enough kueh teow that kind of thing.
Delicious, but more "liu" than kueh teow, but I guess in this carbo hating world we live in, it might not be a bad thing.


Deep-fried White Soufflé with Red Bean Paste. It looks a bit like puffs, but it is nowhere near the texture. The puff/souffle is actually made from pure egg white. Very skillfully using the presumably whipped egg white to form a ball around the red bean paste, it is then instantly fried. Chef explained that it requires quite a skillful hand to be able to manipulate whipped egg white, and to be able to achieve that kind of ethereal airiness.



Chilled Seaweed Jelly with Osmanthus and Wolf Berries. An OUTSTANDING dessert. I wish I could have this everyday. Refreshing, and I don't know if it was psychological, but it felt so cleansing. Ah, I am having a craving for this as I type. Ooops, did I mention pregnancy in the first paragraph?


Part of the dinner conversation revolved around the history of Concorde, and it's Merlin days. The true test of a true KL-ite is whether or not they knew what was BEFORE Concorde, and the legendary tortoise pond that was outside the Chinese restaurant. But even now, Xin does have a certain retro charm, as it HAS been around for awhile now.


Chef here being fielded by the media.

In my book, Xin has always been consistent in their Chinese food, and these new dishes introduced give me no doubt that they will be as good as they were during the press review.