Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pop Up London Restaurant At Stoked...John Doe's the Name (HURRY, ONLY TILL 1st NOVEMBER)

I'm rushing this so that in case you read this in time, you will have a chance to pop over to sample the British goodness.  Here until the 1st of November, the owners and chefs of John Doe, Mark Blatchford, Paul Fox, in conjunction with Stoked KL, are having Pop Up (Word Du Jour these days, "Pop Up"), meaning, you get a glimpse of the London restaurant.  (which apparently is the latest happening place there).

Actually the dinners are already fully booked, but with a lil bit of luck, someone will drop out, and you can get a spot. but lunch is still available for Saturday 31st and Sunday 1st November.

Righteeho, what did we have?

Well, I saw the belly of the Bertha (a wood and coal fired oven brought all the way from Blighty) stoking up some octopi, (what IS the plural of octopus?) ..

with its tantalizing tentacles... I forgot, I meant to see if the suction cups works on the tongue...

But first, Ash Roasted Leeks, with lentils and tarragon dressing, paired with a lovely Chardonnay, the Heritiers Lafon Milly Lamartine 2013, (Macon, Burgundy), and that was when I realised I've been drinking the wrong chardonnays all my life, hence my distaste for it.  This was in a league above.

Now, the leeks done this way were rather unique, and the caramelization brought out leeky flavours I never knew existed.

There aforementioned Octopus, ...Cornish Octopus to be precise, presumably hailing from Cornwall, (I didn't know any marine life existed in that English Channel), served with Chickpeas, Paprika and Aioli.  The texture of the octopus was rather tender, not like the usual rubbery bouncy Straits of Malacca variety.  Perhaps the cold waters of the Cornish seas are responsible.  Paired with the Domaine Trimback Reserve Pinot Gris2012 (Alsace, France)...unfortunately, to be honest, the wine came rather late, so there was no pairing per se, but both were good to stand alone.

Again, I regret I forgot to try to let these suction cups stick to my tongue.  Oh, the aioli was larveli by the way.

Although from this angle, it might look like a duck's some other part, it's actually three hearts (I guess that means three ducks gave their lives for this dish),...Looking back, I think I am a duck's heart's virgin.  I don't recall ever eating it.  It's an acquired taste, I'd say...I thought it was pleasant enough, with interesting texture, not unlike that of a pig's intestine, and since I love offal, I can't find fault in the texture.  It was, contrary to the menu, served with some kind of balsamic reduction I think.

Less fortunate mortals would have had to choose between the Duck's Heart or Chicken Sate (spelt SATAY locally), and I have to say, that chicken skin is amazing.  The chicken sate, well, it WAS satays-fying enough, but I wouldn't drive all the way to Kajang for that.  However, the pleasant surprise was in that salad pile...a unique tropical burst of flavours, onions, coriander, carrot, ...

These were paired with Domaine Vieus Telegraphe Telegramme Chateauneuf Du Pape  2012 (Rhone, France), a lovely red, semi full bodied so as not to kill us all with the power-ness of the meats, ...interesting name, telegraphs and telegrams, very pre war...

Moving along, MY favourite dish of the day, Coal Baked Crab Claws With Keralan curry sauce, cucumber and tomato salad, and the most AMAZING coconut chutney.  Although my personal preference would have been Mud Crabs instead of that flower crab, I have to say the dish was superb.  Bits of basmati rice, with the curry, and crab.... and that fabulous coconut chutney.....Kudos to Mark and Paul,... Call me predictable, but apparently this dish was unanimously the favourite.

Venison Haunch with Bone Marrow and water cress... TOMARROW, TOMARROW, I love ya, TOMARROW, you're always a day...away...(from Annie the Musical)...

That marrow was seriously too rich for me...and I always thought I was a Victor when it came to marrow, (Combat fans might understand), ..but even a morsel of that and I could feel the wealth increasing.  The venison, ... hmmm, I'm not sure I liked it.  I found it a bit tough, although the flavour was there, and the sauce did it justice.  But since dinner slots are full anyway, no one else is gonna get to try this, so tough luck... in more ways than one.

 Berkshire Pork Chop with Salsa Verde, and what looked suspiciously like puy lentils....A good fat to lean ratio, with the lean being really REALLY lean, ...kinda like Jack Sprat and the wife...

Both the mains (you can choose either deer or pig) and crab are clawed with Tenutta II Poggione Brunello Di Montalcino 2010, (Tuscany)...which was a sublime wine, from Sangiovese grape, intense velvety tannins... perfect for game and pig...

Valrhona Chocolate Terrine with Roasted Pistachios, OMIGOODNESS, I'm actually not a hardcore dessert fan, (unbelievable as that may sound), but this, paired with their freshly brewed coffee, well, ....what can I say.....

Petit fours, ...those truffles have a little hint of stemmed ginger innit, which I love.

And as an encore, a special edition home brewed beer ice cream,...we were asked to guess, and my first guess was toddy..which really isn't that far off, moonshine is moonshine...LOVELY, BUT, unfortunately, I think this IS NOT part of the set...we just got lucky.

Paul & Mark...posing for the press...

Crab got my tongue????

The four wines...

For lunch, there is a crisp, rare white Godello wine from the steep terraces of Ribera Sacra, near the Galician coast of Spain as well a lithe, scented and elegant red Burgundy from the respected Domaine Hubert Lignier.

Stoked Restaurant
120-122 Jalan Kasah
Medan Damansara
Tel:03- 20948262

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Stoked With Bertha

Ever since I was Stoked at the Cape Mentelle event, HERE, some months ago, I have been yearning to return, for vision of the duck pate and foie gras encroute haunted me, triggering the saliva glands in anticipation like Pavlov's dog....So when Yin How, proprietor and long time restaurateur  in the KL F&B scene invited us to sample the menu of Stoked, I was ...well, stoked with anticipation.

Located on the same row as his other outlet, Vintry, Stoked aims to be the neighbourhood good value for money good quality fine dining place, without the airs of a fine dining place.  The centrepiece is the Bertha, a wood and coal flamed oven which Yin How described before as a heavy woman with a big heart.  Carted all the way back from the UK, the Bertha is central to a lot of the dishes, directly or indirectly.

To begin, an amuse bouche of chicken...which honestly, wasn't particularly remarkable, and tasted well, like chicken.   But well, there's no point peaking at the amuse bouche stage.

The next dish was immediately a star, a gorgeous medley of baby octopus, chilled tomato puree avocado and caviar, and tasted as stunning as it looked.  Paired with the floral St Clair Family Estate Malborough Sauvignon Blance, it was a perfect way to eat octopus,  the marine flavours, with the tomato puree (almost like a gazpacho),   RM38

Pretty in Pink, I have to reluctantly admit.

What a glorious sight.  Pan seared foie gras with winter melon,... Goodness, I feel like heading there right now and having a slice of this.

Melt in the mouth, seared to perfection.  The slight tang of the jus with the wintermelon, soaked in by that creamy organ, washed down with the St Clair SB, esctasy to say the least.  And I am not just saying it.  RM56.  Too often we've seen foie gras cooked to death and beyond, which is such a pity.

Another stunning simple, yet totally elegant and beautiful dish, that tasted so good.  Beetroot must have only taken off in recent years, when I was growing up, I didn't even think it was available locally, and we only ever ate the canned ones, which are sourish,  Fresh beetroot, so simply grilled, with ricotta, blood orange (hmm, since this is seasonal, I wonder if the dish is too).  Anyway, a most refreshing take on an otherwise pedestrian tuber that is used as an analogy for too much drinking.  MY, YOU'RE AS RED AS A BEETROOT!  I love the earthy flavours of beetroot, and done this way, it really accentuates the taste.  RM28

Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Capsicum Relish - Simple and tasty.  RM25

To accompany our mains, the manager, Daniel, brought out the first of the reds, a lovely Cote Du Rhone, E Guigal, I think it was a 2011.  A medium bodied red, very easy to drink, and rounded tannins make it glide down.

The first of the mains was this grilled FLOUNDER from our very own shores, of  Hutan Melintang.  Yin How believes in using fresh local produce where available, and where quality is of a certain standard.  The flesh of this flounder is firm, and flavourful, and not at all "fishy".  Although not officially on the menu yet, the pricing would be around RM70.

Be still my floundering heart...

The unexpected star of the night, this wonderfowl dish, a guinea fowl,also reared in some farm in Semenyih,.  Okay, at first look, we thought, oh, a small chicken,...but WOW, this was some hot chick!!!! Seriously good, moist tender flesh,

A yam seng with the lovely Fontodi Chianti Classico 2011 was in order....

Strong tannined full bodied wine that paired perfectly with the strong meats that followed...

Sides of Roasted Japanese Potato,

This masterpiece of meat is a Spanish Chulleton, weighing about 1.2kg.... impressive by any standard.  Juxtaposed against the other smaller cousin...

USDA Prime Rib Eye which was around 600g, looked like a hobbit cow in relation to the Spanish bull.  However, as far as taste went, it was unanimously agreed that the USDA rib eye won hands down.  The Spanish cut was a BIT well done in certain areas, but even so, the overall rib eye was tenderer and well, melted in the mouth.

Bits of the Spanish Chulleton ...hmmm, maybe the problem was that the lean bits were just too lean... hahaha, and me being a fat fan... was partial to the rib eye.

Ah, memories of that glorious meat melting in my mouth...

Cabbage With Parmigiano Reggiano, which not everyone liked, but I did, as the sharpess helped cut through the richness of the meat.

The desserts, oh my, salty caramel sticky date pudding, Seriously, for me to rave about dessert, ...

I loved this filo banana tart, with banana sauce and vanilla ice cream, ...fluffy filo wrapped around riped sweet bananas...RM

Okay, didn't care much for this, Sea Coconut Tortellini in Yuzu Sorbet...though the concept was certainly novel.  Desserts are all priced at RM25.

And petite fours to end the night...SUBLIME.

So many more items to check out at Stoked, note that we had no porcine dishes, so am definitely targetting to return for that.

Stoked Restaurant
120-122 Jalan Kasah
Medan Damansara
Tel:03- 20948262