Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Noble Mansion, Jaya 33 Annex

I'm not sure how many people who read this blog remember the good old days of James Clavell's Orientally skewed novels, like Shogun, Tai Pan, Gai Jin and of course, Noble House.  I don't know if it is by occident that the Oriental group has also named their restaurant Noble House and now, Noble Mansion.  There must be something noble about the word "Noble".

It was a few weeks ago, when we were at neighbouring Japanese restaurant at Jaya 33 annex, that Pure Glutton pointed to Noble Mansion next door, and asked, interested to come and try this place out?  Hey, it's the Oriental group, and quite honestly, in as far as Chinese restaurant "chains" go, the Oriental group's outlets which have mushroomed faster than zits on a pubescent teen, are one of my favourites.  My family are regulars at the Ming Room in BSC, and have had many occasions in Han Room.  My brother in law had his nuptials in Noble House, in Jalan Delima, we are no stranger to the offerings.  But the great thing is, unlike other "chains", each one is unique, much like children, whilst sharing perhaps a common DNA, exhibit different traits and form their own distinct personalities.

Noble Mansion is the spanking new baby, in Jaya 33 Annexe, and boasts Shunde cuisine.  It's a region in Guangdong, and I guess due to it's proximity to Canton, (Guangzhou), inevitably there are some similarities. 

We start with a range of oriental like tapas.

BBQ pork meat in a skewer.  Yes, the resemblance to a local dish of ours hailing from Kajang is startling.  But one bite into that luscious porcine paradise and you'll say, like Dorothy, "I don't think we're in Kajang anymore".  RM12 per portion

Although the menu said Zuchinni with Minced Ginger, it was actually Japanese Cucumber.  A very refreshing dish, and quite healthy too I'd say, apart from the oil dribbled liberally.  RM8 per portion

Smoked Vegetarian Spring Roll RM8 per portion

Liver sausage char siu roll.  Oooh, happiness in a roll.  Or is it on a roll.  RM16 per pax of melt in the mouth goodness, with shivers of pleasure tingling down the spine at the porkiness of it all.

Blogging at lunchtime is a very bad idea.  Just looking at these babies makes me want to cry.  Steamed Fresh Water Prawn, I'd be happy just to slurp up that sublime stock and roe-y goodness.  RM28 per pax (that's for half a prawn). 

This is unique, Steamed Ocean Garoupa Shunde Style, at RM330 each, served with a silky rice noodle that virtually glides down your throat unguided. The flavours are very unique, tangy, salty, sweet, covering a wide spectrum that will loosen any tongue.

A bonus pig, since everyone on the table expressed such undivided enthusiasm at the mention of suckling pig.  Look at that fabulously glazed skin, one of their closely guarded trade secrets.  The Chef and part owner, who graced us with his company, told us that there must always be some trade secrets passed down from generation to generation.  eg, in the Lee Kum Kee family, only the Lee boys are privvy to the secrets of the oyster sauce making.  The suckling pig was extraordinary, the skin so crisp and flavourful.  RM330 per pig.

Very classy, got palate cleanser mid way through the meal.  A refreshing drink of lemon and carambola juice.  The chinese sorbet, so to speak. 

Now, this is a rather strange dish.  Lobster with Chicken & Pig Stomach in Spicy Sauce.  Why strange?  Well, because it's one of those dishes, where each of the parts in a star on its own.  The yellow skinned free range chicken, so wholesome and succulent, the lovely lobsters, which I could eat a whole plate of, the pigs sotmach which is my favourite...get what I mean?  There was no real benefit I felt in putting all three together...maybe it's like a concert with the three heavenly kings or something.  But I felt the sum of the parts was definitely greater than the whole.  RM80 per portion.

The next dish cleared some myths.  Wolfberry shoots, like wolfberries, I've been told, (Gei Ji or goji berry) are good for eyesight.  So, naturally one assumes that wolfberries come from the plant of the wolfberry shoots.  But no, apparently they are not related.  How can that be?  RM28 per portion.  Braised wolfberry shoots with eggs. 

Roasted Suckling Pig with Glutinous Rice RM330.  Piggie number two has skin that is more common, but the surprise lies underneath, layers of glutinous rice.  Problem eating this dish towards the end is, one is too full to eat the rice, such a waste. 

Rice Noodle With Abalone Sauce RM28 per portion.  This is something new, totally foreign to me.  The mee hoon is fried to a crisp, and then soaked in the hot sauce, which is bursting with flavour. 

Chilled sweetened fuji apple with snow jelly, gingko, fresh lily and red dates. RM13/pax.  More often than not, Chinese desserts aren't decadent, and are really designed to cleanse the meal, rather than whack you with one final heavy blow.  I really liked this, and even finished the apple.

Longevity Piglet Bun RM28 for four.  Filled with a lovely salt egg custard, these cute lil babies...well, you would only order them for birthdays I guess.

That was a most scrumptious fulfilling meal.  Thanks to Pure Glutton for the invite.

1st Floor, The Plaza @ Jaya 33,
No.1, Jalan Semangat, Section 13,
46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03-7932 3288
Fax: 03-7932 3988
GPS: 3.109636,101.638201

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Relaunch Of Cava's Menu

Being the peasant that I am, I always thought Cava meant Cave, in some language.  Maybe it does, but certainly not in Spanish, where it actually is the Spanish sparkling wine of DenominaciĆ³n de Origen (DO) status, most of which is produced in Catalonia, (cut and pasted from Wikileaks Wikipedia), I guess in much the same way sparkling wine from Champagne is called Champagne, and only those from Champagne can be called that.  So if you're going to use grapes from Genting Highlands to make sparkling wine, no, you cannot call it a Cava.  Maybe BatuCaves can la.

An invite from Peter Yew, the high powered fella who is in charge of most of the restaurants along Jln Bangkung, is always a welcome invite, for there is always a promise of good food, wine, and company, not necessarily in that order.  And new menu launches are always exciting, although, truth be told, as I age, I am getting less adventurous, and am happy with half boiled eggs every morning.

We start with their signature red wine Sangria.  I'm not a sangria fan, because I find the whole concoction too sweet.  That's the God honest truth.  We had a choice of red or white sangria.  Unlike the normal stuff you see elsewhere with fruit floating around like flotsam and jetsom from a sunken vessel, this one didn't have any debris that might choke your vocal chords as you imbibe. 

What the Cava management had done was, to get a guest chef from Spain, the very lovely Chef Maria Elena who spent three months training the chefs of Cava KL to produce authentic Spanish cuisine. 

I wonder if her most asked question during her tenure was, HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM, CHEF MARIA? (To the tune of Maria in the SOUND OF MUSIC).  Somelier Jonathan Lim also explains to us the various wines that were to be paired with the dinner.  Meanwhile, Ciki and I were fidgety and couldn't wait to lap up the wine, instead of the sangria.  Shameless we are.

We were seated at this little nook in the restaurant, kind of like a private dining area.  The picture of the wolf on the snow, is topic for it dying? Is it napping?  Do wolves (or is it a dingo) sleep with their eyes open? 

The chic and tasteful interior of Cava.  Pictures of various diners, not necessarily celebrities, adorn the walls, across from a well stocked bar. 

Maria says that with our balmy hot weather, the idea of a cold soup shooter would be refreshing.  Of course, cold soup goes against the grain of every Asian, and in particular, Chinese tongue, whereby if the soup doesn't scald your tongues, it needs to be sent back.  But when in Spain, do as the Spanish do.  The wonderfully refreshing carrot tomato soup titillated our palate for more food. 

Pulpa a la Gallega, Spanish octopus with potato, lightly dusted with paprika.  The texture and taste of this Spanish tentacled creature is amazing.  Unlike some of the rubbery stuff that wash up on our local shores, manufactured by Dunlop, this octopus is tender, and flavourful, almost as if it was spawned by abalone and err...very young calamari. 

Patatas Bravas With Cava's Famous Chilli Padi Pesto - For the brave, spicy tomato & Aioli.  I loved the chilli padi pesto, and reckon Cava should bottle and sell it.  The baby potatoes are so flavourful, crunchy yet soft, creamy almost.  Apparently this is a staple tapas in Spain.  I wouldn't know, as the closest I've been to Spain is...Italy.

Grilled Asparagus With Romesco Sauce, a lovely lovely paste almost made from roasted almond, garlic, capsicum, olive oil and paprika.  Simplicity embellished with culinary genius.  The perfect combination. 

Olives Villeroy with Creamy Pesto. Basically breaded olives, which I forgot to take a cross sectional of, but you can see it at CCFOODTRAVEL and BROUGHTUPTOSHARE blogs.

Cava's Specialty Arroz Negro, a squid ink paella with squid and prawns, with garlic aioli. Which begs the question, who first discovered that squid ink is edible? And how did they verify that? Did they test it on an animal first?  Just one in a list of a thousand food questions that constantly run through my head.

Back to the dish at hand, thumbs up for this paella.  Different from the usual ones, which are usually inundated with every imaginable seafood and meats.  Again, the sheer minimalistic-ness of this dish really serves to help the eater focus on the flavours at hand. 

Cava's Specialty Piquillo Peppers, stuffed with seafood, served with creamy piquillo sauce and asparagus.  These unique peppers are found only in the North of Spain, and Peru.  Either way, both a long way from here. The piquillo sauce is such a treat to the palate. 

Saucery, with peppercorn, chimichurri, Gorgonzola, and Mushrooms and Wild Ceps to accompany....

Australia Goulburn Valley Premium Grass Fed Sirloin...after the exotica of the Spanish filled ingredients in the dishes, I'd say the beef was comfort food.  It was nice to try the meats with the different sauces, of which, I loved the gorgonzola.  The beef was seared nicely, and tender enough.

The mains were paired with CVNE Monopole Viura 2011 (Rioja) White or Altanza Le Altanza Crianza 2009 (Rioja) Red.  Riojas hail from the Alta Region in Spain, and are of higher quality than lower lying grapes.  The whites taste much like the Sauvignon Blancs.

Dessert was a simple strawberry with fresh whipped cream, or more exotically, FRESAS Y NATA.  Can't go wrong there, if it's good enough for Wimbledon, it's good enough for me.  Nice to pair with Castillo Perelada CAVA Brut Reservation NV. 

That's us!

Cava Restaurant and Bar
71, Jalan Bangkung,
Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar
59100 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: +603 2093 6637
Business Hours:
Mon – Sat: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm – 12:00 am
Sun: 6:00 pm – 12:00 am

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

KLonuts At Dessert Storm, It Doesn't Get Punnier Than That

Cronuts, the latest craze in New York, the unholy spawn of the Croissant and Doughnut, a name so cleverly trademarked that now no one can really use it, but fortunately, the imagination has no bounds, and there's now the Cro-Do, (from Lord of the Rings, no doubt, as someone mentioned on Facebook), Doissant, and whatever other permutation you can think of.

Of course, down at BIG, Publika, where puns are more rampant than rumours of fraud during the GE13, the new pop up dessert store (where T42 used to be, and next to B Wiched), named DESSERT STORM, these little babies have been brilliantly called KLonuts.  Double entendre there no doubt, they hail from KL, and that is probably how the general chinese populace might pronounce Cronut.

Helmed by the lovely Mabel Cheah, who is actually trained in New York as a pastry chef, the pop up store offers KLONUTS in a variety of flavours, (ie, fillings), plated desserts, and you can actually feast on the interesting array of sandwiches from neighbouring B Wiched.

Check out the names of the sandwiches. I wanted to order them all!!!  Fortunately, there were five of us, so we did manage to sample a few, namely...

Meat Jagger, a cheesey meaty sandwich, that will almost definitely fill you up, with that much bread.

Caesar Salad within that pita roll. Rich and creamy, like a caesar salad.

Shia Le favourite, slices of roast beef with a lot of caramelized onions.  Ideally I would want this filling with the pita wrap. 

My favourite name of all, Christina Arugula...the BIG team must have spent a lot of time brainstorming.  Vegetarian, for all intents and purposes.  Not my thing.

After we had filled ourselves, rather unnecessarily, with copious amount of bread, that were now expanding like a sponge,  it was finally dessert time.

I shudder whenever I see these decorative cake items.  Cake decoration and I go together like Superman and Kryptonite.   I wondered why we were presented with what is of absolutely no interest to me.

Turns out, we were given the opportunity to fill our KLonuts and decorate around the hole.

You shove the cream of choice in, and start pumping to fill the hole.  Or rather, to fill around the hole.  The hole is never filled.

You then embellish your KLonut with sprinkles and what not.  Compare and contrast the workmanship of Artisan Baker, Swee San of Sweet Spot, so elegant compared to my kindergarten effort.  Some more got lemon curd overflowing from every orifice.

The amazing plated desserts, and very reasonably priced too. RM15 for the orange pavlova with cranberry orange compote and orange caramel

Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake...Baked cheesecake on a lovely bed of strawberry coulis, and the unique Nilia wafer crumb, which is made from scratch.

Death By Chocolate - Too sinful to describe, but this death is followed by chocolate heaven.  Pliable Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Mousse, Meringue Drops. Decadence to the max.  And ONLY RM15!!!!

Mabel and me....

I finally popped my pop tart cherry.... I've always wondered what they were. They're basically biscuit with filling.

Anyway, like the Pop Tart, the stall is also a Pop Up Stall, and won't be there forever, so quickly head over to DESSERT STORM at Ben's Independent Grocer, (B.I.G.) Publika, for a real dessert treat.  I've since brought my sister whose kids all enjoyed the KLONUT.