Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Graze Weekend Brunch - Great Value Brunch!!!!

When Walauwei asked if I was free to join him to try out the new Saturday brunch menu at Graze, Hilton Kuala Lumpur, I was a bit hesitant, because I had been unable to attend previous invites by the gregarious Zhamir Faris of Hilton KL, and I felt a bit "malu" (shy) to suddenly appear.  Fortunately, I put aside my shyness, and decided, why not, it IS Graze, and it IS the Hilton Kuala Lumpur, and one needs to eat on Saturday right?

I love the atmosphere at Graze.  (It used to be Senses in the days of yore, under the helm of old friend, Michael Elfwing).  The natural sunlight from the glass windows, that airy cheery feeling makes one want to celebrate life, and good food.  Even more so after one or two of their delectable cocktails.



A tray of pastries are proffered, and I have to say, that croissant was calling my name.

A limited but adequate choice of Brunch cocktails, and reasonably priced too, for hotel standards.  Actually, for any standard.  Looking  at the average prices of cocktails at the many speakeasies that have mushroomed recently, one is inclined to gawk.


Our heated pastries, and just look at that lovely flaky buttery croissant.  With my Long Black (RM12), I would have been quite happy with just this sublime combination.

Their famed onsen egg, previously known as 63 Degree egg... At RM30, it might seem a bit exorbitant for eggs, even if they were golden, but beneath that eggstraordinary layer are bits of goodies like king prawns, mushroom, etc.  It's a meal by itself.  And those eggs, ...let me clarify, I am a hard core lover of soft boiled eggs.  I hate hard boiled eggs.  This kind of egg to me is the perfect perfect way of eating eggs.  Unfortunately, we do not all have sous vide machines at home, but if I did, I'll be sous vide-ing my eggs daily at a comfortable 63 degrees.


To accompany my runny eggs, a delightfully crimson cocktail, aptly named Cheer-rie, made of Pedro Ximenez, Gin and Maraschino syrup. Pedro is a sherry, for the uninformed.  Usually I'd have found this too sweet, but since it was an accompaniment at breakfast and I had just finished a long black, it was rather palatable.

Not quite kaya on toast...

Pan Fried Snapper and Salmon Cakes, which gout ridden Walauwei had to order as he cannot partake red meats at the moment, poor chap, but it turned out to be a boon rather than bane, as apparently the salmon cake was superb.  Since he didn't share, I wouldn't know. RM40

There are numerous side dishes which you can order as well, like potato rosti, spinach, mushrooms, spicy sausages


Zhamir had the Chicken Schnitzel, which is his favourite, apparently.  RM40

Being the incurable carnivore that I am, I ordered the grilled Black Angus Fillet Mignon, (100gm), with sunny side up fried egg.  (RM68).  To be honest, the meat was overdone.  I had expected a bit of blood with my medium order, but it was more like a medium well.  I think the general principle of ordering steak in KL is to order a notch down, if you want a medium, as for medium rare, ...and if you want rare, tell them just to bring the cow....

But the absence of blood was quickly rectified with the wonderful ....

Bloody Mary....lovely tangy tomato juice, enough vodka for that kick, and that heat from presumably Tabasco.  It's a perfect brunch drink.

And finally the desserts....

Arent they just the most pretty stack of pancakes ever.  (RM25).  The pear and cherry compote was actually very very good.  The pears still had that crunch, and the tang of the berries complemented the vanilla ice cream.

Valrhona Chocolate Souffle. (RM30) A must for chocolate and souffle lovers.  I'm ambivalent about souffles, mainly because I like solid desserts.  So the airiness and lightness of it whilst IS the strength and selling point of a souffle, doesn't exactly tickle my fancy.

Now THIS beauteous French toast is another story.  Visually stunning, texturally interesting, and decadent.  My kind of dessert.


Completed with the swirling of the vanilla sauce around it. Actually it was creme anglaise, same thing said in a more elegant way.  RM25

For a hotel, and even comparing with some cafes that serve brunch, I have to say that Graze is very reasonably and competitively priced, AND, it's FREE PARKING for the weekend brunch.  That alone is a massive saving, almost the price of a coffee.

The Weekend Brunch, as is suggested by the name, is available on WEEKENDS only.

Call to book, it gets packed on Sundays especially.

Hilton Kuala Lumpur : 03-2264 2264

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Johnnie Walkers Blenders' Batch, Limited Edition

THE EVENT...


AT THE.... 

Get it? Well, it's Johnnie Walkers Limited Edition Blender's Batch, held at THE VAULT, in Sri Hartamas.

So, what's it all about?

We all (or at least me and my peers did ) grew up weaned on Johnnie Walker scotch, so it's always had a special place in my heart, and presumably liver.  But of course, over the years, a slew of other brands have appeared, from all around the world.  So, it's not surprising that Johnnie Walker®, the world’s number one-selling Scotch, houses a team of expert blenders that create the perfect blends, while having hundreds of ongoing new experiments with flavours being carried out by them.  Afterall, one has to stay ahead and keep up with the times, much as we have fond memories of the Black Labels, all the way to the Blue.. and beyond.

So, the event was to mark the release of a range of new blends, this being the  Johnnie Walker® Blenders’ Batch.  It's a brand new, limited edition series of experimental whiskies that challenge convention while revealing the skills and continuous pursuit of flavours that drives the small team of expert blenders led by Master Blender, Dr. Jim Beveridge, a man whose personal journey making whisky began over 40 years ago. 

Inspired by the time he spent blending bourbon and rye in Kentucky in the 90s, the first Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch series are the result of experiments into the influence of bourbon and rye whisky flavours on Scotch. - (quoted from Press Release)






The night started with a sense of anticipation, with cocktails made by the talented mixologist team at the Vault.





The first cocktail was the Evenfall (I kept thinking of Adele's Skyfall song). which I liked. It comprised the Bourbon Cask & Rye Finish, Vermouth Rosso, A VERY REFRESHING dash of YUZU juice (that was the clincher I think), Maraschino liquer, cinnamon syrup, and lemon rind.


Next was the more Feminine Butterfly, not least because of the Orchid garnish....Being more feminine, it was also a tad too sweet for me.


It's a real pleasure to see these guys at work, so passionate.


Aloshana delivering the keynote address, ... I'm sure I can't have been that drunk, but I don't remember anyone else giving a speech.

Another excerpt from the Press Release:
“The Johnnie Walker blending team believes that experiment is the key to innovation. We have been experimenting with flavours to ensure that the blends are of the best it can be for the past 200 years through various techniques, expertise and advances in science. Globally, interest in whisky is higher than it has ever been and this feels like the right time to open the doors to our experiments. With that in mind, the Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch series is the result of our innovation and we believe that by making it available here in Malaysia, our consumers will continue to love the brand, its story and these whiskies even more,” shared Rajesh Joshi, Marketing Director of Mo√ęt Hennessy Diageo Malaysia.

The first whisky from the Blenders’ Batch series that is being released is the Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Bourbon Cask & Rye Finish. Bottled in individually numbered bottles, this limited edition liquid is part of the progression in making whiskies that a new generation of whisky drinkers are seeking. The outcome of the experiments focused on what happens when the intensely sweet flavours of bourbon and rye whiskies are brought together with the depth and subtlety of carefully crafted Scotch whisky.

Basically the Bourbon Cask does impart that bourbon flavour, (duhh), and I noticed this was particularly favoured by those who were inclined to bourbon.

On the floor above, guests had the chance to mix their own drinks and cocktails under the guidance of renowned mixologists, Ben Ng from Mish Mash Penang and Jeff from James Won...




After that, there was actually a LOK LOK Food truck (outside, obviously) for guests to fill their tummy.

My own conclusion is that the Blender's Batch is definitely a unique blend, I love that complex bourbon and rye finish, and despite the award winning mixologists concocting their magic, I still preferred to drink it neat, with a little bit of ice.

Of course, being a LIMITED EDITION (that is always the prelude to "not cheap for sure"), it is a bit on the pricey side.  But hey, young people of today have that hashtag right, #yolo.  It really is quite a lovely tipple, and if I had deep pockets, I would not hesitate in getting  few.

Meanwhile, the  Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Bourbon Cask and Rye Finish cocktails, and presumably the whisky on its own, is available at select outlets nationwide including Mish Mash, The Vault, Forking Cork, Urban & Co, Culture Club, Mulligan's Signature, Pawn Room, The Attic, Berlin, Chaze, Suzie Wong, Locker & Loft and O'Sesame for a limited time only.

For more information, please follow:-

Official website : www.johnniewalker.com
Facebook page :https://www.facebook.com/JohnnieWalkerMalaysia/
Official Hashtags : #JohnnieWalker #JohnnieWalkerMY #JWBlendersBatch
#LimitedEdition


For media enquiries, kindly contact:
ROOTS PR Sdn Bhd
Olivia Chan / Aloshana Pandair
+603 7494 0292
olivia.chan@rootsasia.com /aloshana@rootsasia.com

For purchase queries, kindly contact:
diageoinfo@mhdm.com.my


Thursday, March 09, 2017

Dim Sum Brunch at Celestial Court, Pork Free and Guaranteed Full!! (As In Tummy Full)

Celestial Court's (Sheraton Imperial) Dim Sum has always been in my top 3 favourite pork free dim sums.  But actually, for dim sum, I think pork free is not really an issue, I honestly can't tell much difference, except for pork ribs steamed in bean sauce, which of course, is non existent in a pork free menu.  I digress.

The Dim Sum Brunch, priced at RM138 nett, is available on weekends, and really has enough variety to confuse even the most focused of eaters.  There are three starter items that diners are entitled to only ONE serving of, but the rest of the stuff in the menu, knock yourself out man.

The first of the limited items is this Double Boiled Chicken Soup With Mini Whole Abalone and Mushroom




One aspect of Chinese cuisine, perhaps more Cantonese than anything else, that I really love, and need daily, is soup.  Doesn't matter if it's single, double or triple boiled, I just love that clear broth that precedes a meal.  Chinese soups are rarely the creamy heart clogging stuff like their western counterparts, and have always some kind of therapeutic or nutritious value to it.  In this case, the chicken for ...well, the soul, and ginseng for virility I guess.  And abalone I'm guessing for the sweetness and taste.



Seafood grouper dumpling with century egg, asparagus served with XO Sauce and Pumpkin Puree.  You'll be pleased to know that this dish is in the UNLIMITED section of the menu, meaning you can order more than one.

Signature mini abalone Siu Mai...well, if the abalone is the soup was mini, this is miniscule.  Note the size in relation to the finger nail.  Miniscule abalone aside, the siu mai is one of those items that is traditionally pork, but is replaced by chicken, without any loss of taste.  At least to me.






Shanghainese Dumpling (Xiu Long Bao) served in Tom Yam Broth. I honestly am a bit ambivalent about this dish, because sometimes I feel if it works, why change it.  I prefer ordinary xiu long bao to be honest, as the tom yam tends to overpower everything else.  And afterall, the joy of an XLB is having that clear superior broth flood your palate as it pops in your mouth.


Celestial Court Squid Ink Har Gao.




This lovely platter of Chilli Crab with Fried and Steamed Mantao, is the other dish that is limited to one portion per person.  This here is for 5 people.  The chilli sauce is absolutely yummy with the mantao.  The crabs, well, to be honest, blue swimmer crabs are not my favourite, give me mud crab anyday, but respecting religious sensitivities, Blue Swimmer Crabs are not amphibious and therefore are acceptable to all.

But seriously, that sauce and mantao, big thumbs up.

Their signature prawn and banana roll with wasabi mayonnaise has been a long time favourite of mine, and it takes a brave chef to think of such a combination.  It works wonderfully though, the heat of the wasabi, the subtle sweetness of the banana and the crunch of the prawn.


Bean curd rolls with Shrimp and Cheddar cheese.  Well, the cheddar was a subtle amount, which was good, as it didnt distract from the intended flavours.  I always love bean curd rolls, steamed, fried, whatever.


Yam Puff with duck liver and preserved olive filling.   Loved the yam, so creamy and rich, while crispy on the outside,  Very good woo kok.

Actually, in addition to just DIM SUM, there is a whole host of other stuff on the menu, and the roasts section, which surprisingly is not unlimited, boasts this roast duck which is very very good.  In fact, if you ask me, it's better than the limited offering of Peking Duck rolls.



Did I mention Peking Duck Rolls?  Yup, here they are, and these are the last of the three items where diners are allowed to order only one portion.  Which is more than enough.  Go for the roast duck, that is the bomb.


One of the bloggers/writers at the table mentioned that she is always on the quest for a good salted egg custard bun, and well, tah dah, whaddaya know...




I like to think of this as the chinese molten lava cake, as well, for starters, it's yellow, and secondly, that flowy lava-ry goodness does resemble lava more than chocolate does right?  I love this bao, if I wasn't so full I'd have attacked more.

Just having these few items was enough to send me into a food coma for the afternoon, so I dread to think what will happen if I came for the Weekend Brunch, paid RM138 and was working to get my money's worth.

The rest of the menu is really like an ala carte menu, with chicken, beef, seafood, rice and noodle dishes, so it really IS very very good value.


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