Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mooncakes Episode 2 - Dynasty at Rennaisance Hotel, PLUS All You Can Eat Dim Sum

The seasons really do fly, and in this country, there is always any excuse for some new culinary season to begin, starting with yu sang for Chinese New Year, (which would come shortly after Christmas, before the food has even settled), then there's the Easter feasts, (I am not sure if such excesses are endorsed by the church), Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, which moves a month earlier every year, so that will soon head the year's feasts, somewhere in between there's the dumpling festival, and now barely had the Hungry Ghosts made their way to our realm, already the mooncakes are upon us.

It is no secret, that favourite mooncakes are the traditional ones, with preferably more than two salted egg yolks, with perhaps a hint of lotus, but those are quite rare.

It's been awhile since I've been to the Renaissance KL, and it totally slipped my mind that Dynasty Restaurant there is non-pork free....Lest I confuse anyone, that means, it has pork, and evidently, quite a lot of it.  Since the mooncake preview was to be at Dynasty, plus the added bonus of an "all you can eat dim sum", I made sure I was good and hungry.



A delightful array of snow skin and normal baked skin mooncakes awaited us, posing like divas for the paparazzi.
And yippedee dooo dah, YOLK in tow...


I'm not really a fan of this pastry type skin...though that lotus and egg yolk of course I have no complaints whatsoever.

All in all, they have a selection of 14 types of bakes and snowskin mooncakes, with classics such as the low sugar (another development in recent years that I agree with) white lotus paste with single salted yolk (ARRRRRRRRRGH, WHY SINGLE), and pandan lotus paste with single yolk.  Actually, these classics are my favourite.

The traditional variety are,
assorted nuts and seeds, (Low Sugar) RM30,
pandan with single yolk, RM28,
white lotus with single yolk RM27,
bamboo charcoal green tea with black sesame, RM27,
Shanghai lotus paste with single yolk, RM27,
White Lotus paste RM26,
Red Bean paste RM26.

For the snow skin variety, there's a whole dizzying array of combinations, including coffee paste with marshmallow and nuts, corn paste with raisin, osmanthus paste with dates, yam paste with single egg yolk, white and black chocolate paste with mixed nuts, black sesame paste with green tea...The snowskin variety (mini) are all priced at RM17.50 per piece.


The all you can eat dim sum is available Mondays to Saturdays, 12-2.30pm, and on Sundays and public holidays, 9.30am -2.30pm, and is priced at RM88nett and half price for children from 6-12 years old.

Looking at this glorious egg tart was enough to make my mouth water, and I had to fight all urge to gobble one down while people were still shooting it.

Traditional favourites like siu mai..


Prawn Dumplings with Salad Cream...(lovely crunchy prawns)...

Chives dumpling..

These steamed shanghai dumplings simmered in superior stock are noteworthy, and if I was having the all you can eat, I will certainly eat all I can eat of this.

The salted egg custard charcoal buns are all the rage now, and these were very good as well.  The bun is soft and light, and the filling decadent and creamy.


Their signature chive biscuit...

This rather decadent congee with baby abalone...Love the texture of the congee, perfect and creamy.  Its called Seafood dumpling simmered in consomm√© under Chef's Signature Creation.

I'm not sure if I am a fan of this cheong fun wrapped around a yoo tiao, although separately I like both items.  It's a case for me of the sum being lesser than the parts....but fret not, there are over 30 varieties of dim sum to choose from and even the finickiest of palates should be able to find satisfaction somewhere.

Dim Sum Chef Chong Foo Tuck posing with his mooncake babies.

Me & the debonair Chef Kok Chee Kin, Executive Sous Chef.

For Reservations, please call
Tel: 03-2716 9388

Renaissance Kuala Lumpur, Corner of Jln Sultan Ismail and Jln Ampang
Tel : 03-2162 2233

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Latino Fiesta At Renaissance Kuala Lumpur 12-28 August 2016

This is a hurried post, because sadly, I forgot that there was a time period of this...between 12-28 August, Spanish Guatamelan Chef Pablo Crespo will be whipping up a selection of Latin American inspired cuisine at the buffet at TEMPTations, Renaissance Hotel KL.



Amongst the highlights at the Buffet were the  Brazilian Grilled fish with orange sauce, Baleadas
catrachas from Honduras, Chilean Empanadas, Argentinian Churrasco with chimichurri sauce, Colombian Posta cartagenera, Salvadorean Pupusas and Mexican Brownies with chilli.

And what Latino spread could be complete without the quintessential CHURROS...which were actually very good, especially when freshly fried.  I prefer them naked, without sugar coating or chocolate actually.


At the Latino Fiesta at TEMPTationS, diners will also be able to enjoy the buffet, dinner with Latino wines and cocktails every evening while the temperature, gets higher on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with live music. Or, drop by the, Lobby Lounge for some Chilean Pisco sour, Brazilian Caipirinha and Mexican Michelada.

Apart from the Latino selection, the buffet offers a staggering variety of food, from the stellar roast from the carvery, to traditional Malaysian favourites like satay, and of course, the usual seafood platters with raw oysters, boiled prawns, mussels, etc.


The dinner buffet is priced at RM145 nett and half price for kids between 6-12.

The event also launched the Club Marriot card for members....with all the glitterati in town....


My tumpang glamour moment.

Call 03-2716 9388 for reservations

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Wines Are Coming To Town

A few months ago, friend of mine who resides in Melbourne, Victoria, but clearly misses his roots here so much that he has to find any reason to constantly return to the "tanahair", decided to bring in some wines from that famous wine country of his.  So as a preview, we were treated to 3 different brands, 6 FT 6, from Austins & Co, King Valley, AUSTINS, (obviously the same company), and BUNN from Albany, Western Australia.


He set up the wine tasting like you'd get in the Australian wineries, complete with spit bucket etc, but he forgets how much we pay for alcohol here, so hardly anyone spits out their wine, and if there's a tasting, well, it's best to Uber to the venue.

WHITES



In the 6 FT 6 (I enquired about the name, which luckily wasn't 6 FT UNDER - apparently it's the height of the tank) range, we had:

6FT6 Sauvignon Blanc 2015, citrusy, sweet musk, easy to drink, crisp, but honestly, I personally prefer the New Zealand ones by far.

6FT6 Pinot Gris 2015, fragrant ripe pear, citrus blossom, finishes clean, crisp and moreish.  Would have been good with some spicy food.  Very drinkable, but needs to be served very cold in our climate.


In the Austin Range, we had:

Austins Riesling 2015, aptly described as a Zippy Dry White. from the region of Moorabool Valley, Austrlia.  Incidentally, the Austin range is the more premium range, if compared with 6 FT 6, which are from the same company.

Austins Chardonnay 2014, hand harvested and matured in French Oak, with aromas of sweet peach and nectarine.  Not a chardonnay fan, so I'll pass.

Moving on to the Reds






6FT6 Shiraz 2014, Exotic spice and white pepper mix with bramble berries, dark plum and hint of liquorice.  Easy to drink table wine.

6FT6 Pinot Noir 2014, which struck me as rather heavy for a Pinot Noir... earthy, exotic perfumed with dark cherry, with a dry tannin grip.  Best served chilled, and would probably go well with cold cuts...of the porcine variety.


Austin

Austins Pinot Noir 2013, from the Geelong region, earthy exotic sexy, dark cherry, raspberry, fine dry tannins.  Matured in French Oak.

Austins Shiraz 2013, a very drinkable red, from Moorabool Valley, earthy aromas of clove and whitei pepper spice, dark plum, raspberry and cranberry.


 

Bunn 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, from Albany, WA, deep red crimson, with bouquet of fresh ripe red berries.  Preservative free with no additives.

Bunn 2012 Shiraz, deep red blood cherry, with bouquet of ripe bramble fruits, hints of raspberry, matured in French and Maerican oak for 14 months before bottling.



Bunn 2008 Shiraz, which I think was meant to be the crowning glory for the evening.  Gorgeous dark crimson, with exotic bouquet of red currant, pomegranate, black pepper, star anise, nutmeg, and full bodied silky texture.  Probably the most luxurious of the range.

Watch this space for when they finally make an appearance, with a proper wine pairing dinner.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mooncake Season is Upon Us - Episode 1 - Mooncakes By Komugi

I am guessing by the name and beautiful packaging that Komugi is a Japanese Brand.  Dear Ann texted me one day and asked if I would like to check out some mooncakes, (she was very mysterious about it, and did not reveal which moon cakes they were), and I was excited to see that it wasn't from the usual suspects.

So, the Japanese have their own version of the mooncake festival as well, called Otsukimi, celebrated the same time as the Chinese Mid Autumn festival, ie, 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, but is called the moonwatching festival, and according to folklore, a Rabbit who lives on the moon sent by Japanese Gods for being kind, dances around the moon making mochi.  Well, I'm not sure I want to be banished to live in the moon for being kind, but aneeeway,... that explains the interesting inscription inside the box, which reads

Rabbit oh rabbit, what do you see that makes you hop?
I'm looking at the full moon, it makes me hop.





The mooncakes in various stages of undress....From upper left corner, clockwise, ...Traditional White Lotus, Matcha with Apricot, Blackforest and Azuki Bean Milk

An extra bonus came in the form of this Baumkuchen cake....

..which I quickly consumed with a cup of coffee...that soft sponge, not too sweet with subtle layers,  sandwiched with jam, I think, which actually was originally a German cake, but seems to be equally popular if not more so, in Japan...yes, that's available at Komugi too...

I will not hide the fact that I was CRUSHED, SHATTERED, that none of the aforementioned flavours had salted egg yolk, and whilst my heart lifted for a brief moment when I saw that promising glint of gold in the Matcha one, I realised that fate had played a cruel trick on the eyes, and that it was actually apricot.

Azuki Milk, the sweetness of rich red bean paste, made from selected red beans with the added crunch from melon seeds.  The kids, my co-tasters, voted this the 2nd favourite.


Green Tea Apricot - Despite the devastation of initially believing the apricot was a yolk, matcha with lotus paste actually is a lovely combination.

The German Blackforest, inspired by the cake of the same name, I presume, complete with the mandatory cherry synonymous with its cousin cake, ... For chocolate lovers, a must. Like eating a rich chocolate truffle.  Can't say I cared much for the skin though,....

And finally, the unanimous winner in our household, the LOW SUGAR WHITE LOTUS... which is the most traditionally Chinese of the lot...again, to me, a yolk or two would not have gone amiss.

These Komugi mooncakes are selling for RM88 for a box of 4.   To order...




Just in case you're like me, and can't ead small print...