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

Steam Boating At Celestial Court, Sheraton Imperial

It suddenly dawned on me, as I stared at the title, where on earth did the term "Steam Boat" come from?  It must, MUST have been a translation from somewhere, but it does sound so much more imaginative than "HOT POT"....Can't be cantonese, which if translated, means "Beat Roadside".

In my mind, steamboats are best appreciated in Winter... and since well, we here on the equator have no winter, (unless you count some shopping malls airconditioning as winter...and CINEMAS! Can they reduce the coldness and save some money and reduce the price of tickets??  Cinemas are frigging frigid cold rooms here)... steamboating is usually not high on my to do list or to do eats.

After regretfully having to turn down many an invite from the kind marcomm people at Sheraton Imperial, I was relieved that I could finally say yes to the invitation for the Celestial Court special 5 broth steamboat.

As fate would have it, it was a cold rainy day, almost wintery, and as far as I'm concerned, in KL, if the temperature drops to below 27C, it's winter.  So it was perfect weather for steamboat!!!

Platters of raw ingredients were laid out .... some merely as "teasers", cos it was "see no touch".... We absolutely must discourage this kind of thing, and have an "if show, must touch" policy.  Snigger.

I always feel some things are kinda wasted in steam boats, and fresh oysters would be one such item, BUT of course, there is NOTHING to stop you from slurping up these babies before they hit they find themselves in hot soup.

There was some debate as to whether or not sausages were suitable steam boat food in the meat platter, or did some wayward sausage lose its way enroute to a barbeque.  Actually I thought it was fine.  We should think beyond the boat, and explore new horizons while sailing the steam boat.

This Salmon ...(not Rushdie), was a decorative item on the table.... interesting centrepieces they use these days.

The seafood platter, consisting of fish, prawns, scallops, flower crab, crabsticks (eugh), oysters... the fish was particularly fresh.

The choices of soups for the night were... (from left top, clockwise), Lui Yee Hong Chinese Wine with Cordyceps Herbal Soup, Spicy Slipper Lobster soup, Jade Porridge and a Chicken Ginseng Soup.
The reigning Queen of the Bloggers ....

Familiar faces of long time bloggers, CityGal (the other half of KgBoy)... And Ivyaiwei... with Youhe looking on.

Roe Roe Roe Your Boat ....

This lovely prawn with the head of roe intact... the soup in which it was boiled became super rich.  (Mine was spa-ing in the spicy slipper lobster soup)...

The jade porridge is a spinach and porridge combo, very wholesome and yet, light, despite the fact that it's porridge. My favourite was the cordycep one, because of the herbal flavour, which was a close tie with the ginseng chicken.

I didn't know this nugget of trivia about the wine in cordycep broth... I just assumed it was a natural oriental viagra...
"‘Lui Yee Hung’ Chinese Wine, Made of glutinous rice and wheat, evolved from the Shaoxing tradition of burying it underground upon the birth of a daughter, and serving it at the wedding of the daughter."
Must be a gift to the husband la.

The spicy slipper lobster broth was lovely too, and goes especially well with the other seafoods.

Chef Vincent Loo Weng Soon started his culinary journey at a tender age of 18 and since then, his passion for cooking began to grow, especially in regards to Chinese cuisine. Since Oct 2013, he has helmed Celestial Court as the Chinese Restaurant Chef, and his role includes menu engineering and development, budget and forecasting, food costing, staffing and implementation of various food promotions

He has experience with many Chinese restaurants and his long devotion and dedication to the cuisine provided him with the opportunity to be a part of the banquet kitchen team. “As of my dream or future goal, I hope to be able to lead in operations as an Executive Chef or Director for Food & Beverage,” so says the chef as he spoke of his dream.

Desserts from the Ala Carte menu of Celestial Court are always a treat. I love LOVE LOVE this osmanthus jelly dessert...

I had to borrow Ivy's ball to take a picture.

This Oriental Steamboat promotion is available for dinner from 1 August to 30 December 2014. Set menus are available (for a minimum of two persons each) with a choice of vegetarian Mushroom Set priced at RM49.90++ per set, Poultry Set priced at RM55.50++ per set and Seafood Set priced at RM68.80++ per set.

A la carte orders will also be available and will be priced from RM19++ onwards per portion. We recommend that you try our King Crab and Tasmanian Ocean Petuna Fish (oops it wasn't a Salmon that was on display, it was this Petuna Fish) specialties at RM30++ per 100 gram and RM25++ per 100 gram respectively.

For more details or to make a reservation, please call 03-27179900, e-mail at or visit www.sheratonimperialkualalumpur/celestialcourt

Monday, August 25, 2014

Makan Kitchen SHIOK Merdeka Promotion Items, Hilton Doubletree

Fortunately, for the tardy like me, ever since we started celebrating Malaysia Day on 16th Sept, (and I think this was quite a recent phenomenon), Merdeka celebrations can be prolonged...I was delighted to be reinvited back to Makan Kitchen, at Hilton Doubletree, to sample their Shiok Merdeka High Tea Promotion Items.

Memories of that sublime Cheese Naan occupied my mind as I mentally remembered the sheer creaminess of that naan, the last time I was here, and the double boiled soups, and the Pansoh, that Sarawakian specialty.  Alas, this was a High Tea Spread, and didn't have some of the aforementioned items.

I was honored to have Amanda and Chef Prem bring me and my lunch "attachment" on yet another private tour of the stuff available. 

Starting in reverse, the ubiquitous Chocolate Fountain, which changes the type of chocolate on a regular basis, and today's was .. white chocolate, my leastest favourite chocolate in the whole wide world.  So no choco fountain for me today. 

Amanda exclaimed with delight that there was Nam Yue Chicken Wings in the Chinese Section, which was a sign that I must try this.  Crispy Wings with that mysterious ingredient, Fermented Bean Curd, which must have taken inordinate amount of courage for the first Chinaman to try.  Delicious, only missing a beer. 

One of the highlights, was the Pie Tee, or top hats, ...those of us who like this dish, and go to Nyonya /Peranakan places know how expensive these little nuggets of goodness are, so at the risk of sounding cheap, this is your chance to get your buffet's worth.  Just eat like 20 of these, and you'd have profited!

These are no ordinary pie tees, they're filled with crab meat as well, and taste absolutely fabulous... evidently, they were too heavy and toppled over, so chef had to make another plate for "photography" purposes. 

Those in the know would know that the pie tee shells are a b**** to make.  And getting increasingly expensive to buy as well.  So definitely, for my next visit, I am so zeroing in on these babies.

With the advent of digital photography, food dishes are now hounded by the paparazzi, and have to look good all the time.  I pity these food equivalents of Princess Diana.... always under the spotlight.

The Shawarma Kebab seemed particularly popular at lunch time.

My second visit in a few months, and I've missed again the chance to try the noodle station.

The broths for the noodles for the day were chinese soup, assam laksa, and beef soup.

Sung to the tune of "Do you know the muffin man,..." ..Do you know the Satay Man, the Satay Man, the Satay Man.... Those omelette looking things in the front are actually clam chien... instead of or chien (oyster omelette).  Okay, some things were not meat to be changed.

The amazing honey cuttlefish Popiah, ... huge tentacles that warm the cockles of my heart.  Well, talk about a well stuffed popiah, there you have it.  A gazillion textures to tantallize the palate, from the rubberiness of the cuttle fish, to the crunch of the deep fried shallots, to the wholesome vegetableness of the traditional turnip filling found in popiah. 

Care for my tentacles, the Yau Yeng fler says...
Best bud DerYk with a Y was kind enough to tag along when I didnt have a friend in the world ... sniff... 

A more manageable mouthful... sans the overflowing tentacles.

Jalur Gemilang Ice Kacang... inspired by the colours of  our beloved national flag, white coconut jelly, red glutinous rice, yellow mango, blue pulut tai tai, doused with some hibiscus syrup. 

Warning, it's a very heavy dessert, and if you made the mistake of having it in the earlier part of the meal, ...well, you might jolly well have to forego your other favourites.  The fascinating combination is available till the end of September.

Now, I am so NOT a kulfi fan, I usually find it cloyingly sweet, with alarm bells going off with one teaspoon, but this kulfi, specialty of Chef Prem, was surprisingly, not overly sweet.  It was a macadamia, mango,honey, with a hint of cardamom, raisins, honey and honeycomb. Perhaps the tartness of the mango cuts across the sweetness.

Despite having a waistline that would make Jabba the Hutt look anorexic,  I could NOT resist the cheese naan, which I've been craving since the last visit. 

I wish MY kitchen had these spices all laid out so beautifully.

Love the grindstone... so traditional.

Very attractive, I thought, this Chilli Tree...another good thing about visiting Makan Kitchen in the day is, the bright natural sunlight really shows things in a different light.

Being chink and all, I couldn't go to a buffet that had roast duck, and not at least have a token piece.

The Cheese Naan..  so good, that despite my ridiculously full state, I managed two pieces. 

Prawn 65... a special creation by chef Prem for his daughter's 2nd birthday.   Inspired by the dish, Chicken 65, ...apparently the number came about... with three different explanations. One is 65 is the number of days it takes for a chicken to err...either reach the size, or gestate.. argh, I can't remember.  But the most accurate story is that that dish was no 65 on the menu of a famous restaurant, so people will just point to Chicken, 65.

Durian Custard Cake...

Chef Prem, Amanda and me... and just when you thought the carnage was over...

Chef whips out his Snake Gourd...of course, discussions raged as to whether it was a loofah, or petola, but apparently this Snake Gourd, if left to its own devices, will grow in a curly fashion.  So they are stretched at birth to be long and straight.

Oh my Gourd!!! It's ....err... long!

Chef deep fried some for us to try... it's reminiscent of the deep fried bitter gourd, minus the bitter, that you get at Banana Leaf Rice places.  Great beer snack.

Anyway, this gargantuan merdeka spread is available till end of September for high tea (actually lunch la), priced at RM78++ per head.  Definitely go for the items recommended!!!

Special thanks to Amanda and Chef Prem for your hospitality, and taking care of me and my guest, and to Stephanie for the initial invite!!! We missed you!

Double Tree By Hilton at
The Intermark
348 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur