Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Living Food Bistro Cafe, Menara Tan & Tan

Unbeknownst to many, right behind Menara Tan & Tan is one of KL's first, if not the first, condominium called Desa Kudalari.  Why Kudalari?  The young people of today might not know this, but the park, KLCC and its surrounds used to be the  grounds of the Selangor Turf Club, hence, Kuda Lari.  I think a lot of current day bloggers were not even born, when the Turf Club was torn down to make way for the KLCC project.  On the site of present day Menara Tan & Tan, I believe used to be a little Japanese restaurant, housed in a bungalow, called Edogin.  Gawd I am showing my age when I can regurgitate all these trivia of ancient KL.

I digress, as always, but what is life if not some digression.  I have never really been to Menara Tan & Tan, as there is no reason per se, so little did I realise there's actually quite a number of eateries here on the ground level.  And it is to one such eatery that I was invited to by Makan Fairy Godmother, on a leisurely Saturday morning, (which really wasn't so leisurely, as I had a frenetically busy morning and was rushing my behind off... "DOVER, MOVE YER BLOOOMING A***" comes to mind, since we are afterall in the area of what was the Ascot of KL).

Now if blogging were like essay writing, and if I was a student, I'd immediately get a fail, for in an essay apparently, if within the first paragraph, your readers do not know what the gist of the rest of the story is about, it's pronounced an abject failure.  How dull official writing is.  I could waffle on endlessly, waffles that would put A&W to shame, but I shall stop here.

Living Foods - ah, the very name sounded healthy, so much so I was tempted to have some Hokkien Mee for breakfast with extra lard, JUST in case....afterall, it is generally a cruel fact that healthy stuff is not delicious, and delicious stuff is not healthy.... BUT HOW APT, just look at their tagline!!! Took the words right out of my mouth, and head. Don't let the two chicks in the pic distract you from the tagline.  It was as if it was to pre empt any stereotyping of food.

 To read about the history and philosophy about Living Foods, check out Healthy's Post HERE.  But in a nutshell, (nuts are also healthy), its about eating healthily, with minimal cooking rather than  killing off all the nutrients with high heats, and basically to rethink the way we eat.  I'm sure it's all very scientific, and until man discovered fire, sometime back when I was err... two, maybe, mankind did presumably eat everything raw or sashimi-ed.

Makan Fairy Godmother suggested I try one of their smoothies, so in keeping with the frenetic pace of the Saturday, I went for the cardiac arrest, which presumably is for prevention rather than to get one.  L-Arginine, Passion Fruit, Lemon & Pineapple

Ying Yang Roll With Jeju Sauce.   Kale, Carrots, Cucumber, Walnut Pate, Black Sesame in rice paper roll, with an interesting Korean inspired Jeju sauce, made from some Korean thingie, sesame oil, and chillies.

 It really is as delicious as it is pretty, with all those colours.  I don't know where I read that you should aim to eat five different coloured vegetables and fruit daily, so there you go, one Ying Yang Roll and you've covered all your bases.

And the award for the most pretty looking Yu Sang for 2014 goes to....tah dah.... almost like an artist's canvas.  It looked too perfect to actually "lou hei", but in the interest of prosperity, we put our chopsticks together for the toss.  The fish is a Wild Robinson Sea Bream Ceviche, served with kelp noodles, carrots, pomelo, cucumber,  and a lovely mandarin sauce.  (as in Mandarin orange, not the language)

 We toss our salad together gether.

Chermoula Pearl Snapper (all these fish varieties I have hitherto unheard, sigh, how suaku), with Omega 3, a cucumber linguine, and a lovely pimento pepper marinade.  Seriously, it was VERY VERY GOOD.  I could quite easily become pescatarian after partaking in such lovely marine offerings. RM45.

Golden Million Steak - Chilled Organic Grass Fed Steak (yeah, I've been reading about Grass Fed Vs Corn Fed, apparently the latter is unnatural so not good), with tangerine soy sauce and lotus root salad.  RM45.  Yippee dee doo dah, so one CAN have steak and still be in that healthy category.  It was delicious too.  No kidding.

Living Vege Layer Loaf, spinach, mushroom and avocado paste lovingly layered served with flax crackers and rosemary bread (which I personally didn't care much for).  Loved the loaf though, but then again, with avocado, half the battle is won.  It's like the wagyu equivalent for vegetables.

Posh Lamb Burger with A Red Yeast Rice Bun ..I'm not sure I could pick up any distinct taste from the red yeast rice, but it was a lovely bun regardless.  And the lamb patty was cooked just right, and I am not even a lamb fan.  As red yeast rice is supposed to combat cholesterol, I guess this dish is kind of "self medicating" so to speak.

Now WHO would have thought that desserts would feature so prominently in the menu of a cafe that promotes healthy eating and living?  And even more surprising, who thought that desserts could be healthy AND delicious?  I seriously LOVED this apple crumble.  The apple still had some body to it, not all mushed up and disintergrated, and the crumble felt like a healthy breakfast of muesli.

Their very popular blackforest brownie, a no bake brownie with a luscious crimson berry  coulis, the combination of which is quite heavenly.  I want to come back and try the other desserts, especially the salty caramel gateau.

The good news is, they'll be opening soon near me, in Bangsar Baru.  Salty Caramel Gateau, here I come.

Living Food Bistro-Café,
G-04 ground floor,
Menara Tan & Tan,
207 Jalan Tun Razak,
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2181-2778, 016-888-9123

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Best Meal In the Year of the Snake - KAMIMURA, SHIKI RESORT, NISEKO

Since I missed the deadline for 2013, and it's already way into January, I thought the heading Best Meal of 2013 would be as stale as those done to death jokes revolving around water convulvulus and morning glory.  So being as brilliant as I am, I thought I better catch the next deadline, and seeing as to how the serpentine year comes to an end, I might as well use THAT instead.

Usually I don't bother writing about places I've eaten overseas, because it can come across as err.... bragging, but this time I thought I should make an exception, coz yes, I want to show off.  And really, it was such a fabulous meal, I also want to put it down for posterity, lest we forget.

And because I think my limited culinary vocabulary simply cannot do justice, I shall keep the text to a bare minimum.

Nemuro Salmon Caviar - The sensation of that briny embryo popping in the mouth immediately washes away the guilt that one might be feeling in preventing the birth of more baby salmon.

Simply AMAZING Nemuro Hairy Crab with Cucumber Sorbet.  Just thinking about it makes me swoon.

If this dish were a woman, I'd ask her to marry me.

Did I mention Hokkaido Butter is to die for?  Or worth clogging the arteries for.

Rausu Hokke - Atka Mackerel...

Sempoushi Oyster, with Chorizo Sausage.

Takikawa Duck Breast

Some special chicken dish for the non Beefeaters.  Going to Japan and not eating beef is like going to a pub for coffee.  (with all due respect to the non beef eating people who abstain for religious reasons)

Shiaroui Wagyu Sirloin... I have not lived.

Yoichi Apple, with crumble and vanilla ice cream.  How can something so simple be so divine.

Kamimura and Me.

Thank you to my beloved sister and brother in law for this very generous meal.


Monday, January 20, 2014

New Formosa, Not So New, But Always Fresh and Good.

Much as I love New Formosa, being invited there around Chinese New Year always seems bittersweet, because it reminds me of the speedy passage of time, and in retrospect, how little one has accomplished in that one year.  Forgive me if I whine, this is my first post of 2014, (as in, the first post of the first dinner invitation of 2014).  I read the previous post and sigh in nostalgia.

But okay, enough of the is ALWAYS a pleasure, on the other hand, to receive invitations from Makan Fairy Godmother, and always a pleasure to meet Jeannie Lee, the owner of New Formosa who never seems to age.  This time round, we were privileged to try their new menu, and yeah, looking back at my previous post, none of the familiar dishes were served this round.

The first dish that came was the famous taiwanese 3 cup chicken.  As it turns out, apparently that dish was sent to us by mistake.  A serendipitous one for us, as this claypot dish was delicious.  Chock full of flavours, I wondered what the "three cups" of special ingredients were.  Thanks to the fount of wisdom, CC Foodtravel, my fellow eating companion, it comprises sesame oil, chinese rice wine and soya sauce.  Cheh, so simple.

Half a suckling roast pig, which is the first dish in the special menu at RM298++ for 5 people.  To have a roast suckling pig like this already makes the menu a no brainer, that it is truly value for money.  The skin is roasted to a crispy cracking, and the piglet, well, must have been a rather meaty infant.  Lovely melt in the mouth meat.

Taiwan Hakka Style Bamboo Prawns, fresh sea prawns cooked in a lovely herbal broth, with goji berries.

Jeannie was worried that we didn't have enough pig, and gave us two halves, which in this case, looked more than a whole.  Seeing as to how I was the only male at the table, and the other chicks eat like birds, (and I don't mean ostriches or vultures), needless to say, the other half was totally unnecessary. (as in, the other half of the pig, not "MY" the other half).

A close up of my lovely succulent prawn. I love the gingery tingling on the palate from the soup.

Braised Half Chicken or Duck with Vegetables and Mushroom. I could just eat this dish and douse my rice with gravy, and be very contented.  I always love the way New Formosa does their chicken dishes.  From stuffed roast chickens with yummy rice, to this tender braised bird, with meat falling off the bone.
Man tou - which reminds me of a joke I heard years ago. (Credit to Mario Mahmood)
 Mantou, charsiu bao and Lin Yong Bao went for a sad movie.  Charsiu Bao & Lin Yong Bao come out in tears, but Mantou was unaffected. Why?
Answer: Cos Mantou no filling.
Anyway the role of the Mantou here is to soak up that lovely gravy from the braised chicken.

How can one lay eyes on such a colorful dish and not be happy?  Alas, this is not on the special menu, but is available for ala carte order.  Fried leeks with Liver Sausage.  Well, leeks are a rather acquired taste, you either leek it or you don't.  I happen to love leeks, and liver sausage.

Local Sea Bass Steamed Hong Kong Teo Chew Style - Love the "soup" which really is good enough to drink on it's own.  The seabass was fresh, if a bit bony, so best to avoid any chatter while working your way through this dish, but probably overall wise advice when eating fish in general.  Tomatoes, salted mustard leaf, chilli and mushroom produce such a colourful flavour to the palate.  The only flavour missing was bitterness.

Stuffed lotus root with fish paste and leavy vegetables, in this case, some kind of potato leaf, I think, which has that slimy exterior that can just glide down your throat.

Extra not on the menu, pickled bitter gourd, lotus root and wood fungus. I love bitter gourd, for its bitterness, but surprisingly this form of pickling almosts obliterates all the bitterness and makes it almost sweet.

Though CCTravel was GUTTED  as was Rebecca Saw that they had run out of Or Nee, their signature yammy yummy dessert, I was secretly quite relieved, cos I was stuffed to my nose and beyond and ONE tablespoon of Or Nee would have sent me into the abyss of food comatose.   Instead, this WONDERFUL refreshing aloe vera jelly was JUST what I needed, as was this lovely herbal black jelly (Guai Lin Gou)...

Whilst generally not a creme caramel fan, I enjoyed this one, because the caramel seemed to have been singed to have this "coffee" aroma, although there was no such addition.

And finally, the dessert from the set, Low Sugar (music to my ears) AiYu Jelly, a final palate cleanser that psychologically leaves you thinking it cleansed your entire system too.  Very refreshing, I could eat this daily.

New Formosa’s  7 course set menu is priced at RM295 net for 5 pax,  RM548 net for 8 pax, and RM588 net for 10 pax.
This set menus are available only till January 29, 2014.

New Formosa Restaurant,
No. 46, Jalan SS2/24,
47300 Petaling Jaya.
Tel: +603-3291 2031, +6019-3353 274