Friday, August 17, 2018

An Afternoon With Mr Pio Boffa of PIO CESARE Wineries, Italy, Paired With Lunch At Topshelf TTDI

When I received the invitation for the above, I was thrilled, because I was actually considering going for the event at Graze, KL Hilton or at Stoked, as I recall with fondness (and slight trepidation) my earlier experience with Pio Cesare Wines back in 2014.  However the two places were fully booked, so I couldn't have gone even if I wanted to.

Memories come flooding back of that Masterclass, with 15 different types of wines to sample....You see, because wines are a luxury item in this country, when one attends a "tasting", one is loathe to swirl, sip and "sayang" as they say.  (such a waste).

Anyway, Italian wines paired with the food by the talented Christopher Yee of Topshelf and Sucre Studio, I knew I was in for a treat.

The Pio Cesare, founded in 1881 by Cesare, (Pio being the family name), was among the first winemakers in Italy, because he believed in the potential and quality of the Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera Grapes of Piemonte.  5 generations later, the Pio Cesare, based in Alba, has been producing traditional Piemontese Wines.

You can check out the the website for more info at

We were honored to have the man himself, Mr Pio Boffa, great grandson of the founder, to tell us more about his family wines.

La mer
We start the meal with the Saveur La Mer, torched fine oysters, grilled scampi and snapper ceviche paired with the Gave DOCG 2016.  The freshness of fruit and the crisp fragrance is a great complement to the marine offering.

Next, the lovely Barolo DOCG 2013 with the Roast Lamb Loin.

Grape Varietal 100% Nebbiolo, mild tannins, very easy to drink, and paired well with both the lamb and the duck.

Also pairing with the lamb was the Ornato Barolo DOCG 2012, also 100% Nebbiolo, but exceedingly rich, and full bodied, more like a celebration wine, that one doesn't just swig like a sailor downing his beer.

Special mention for Chef Christopher's Tempura Kimchi & Brie which was AAABSOLUTELY deeeeeeevine.

The Pan Roasted Duck Breast, like a beautiful bridesmaid, almost stole the main show for this offence to the wines.

Paired with the Ornato from earliers, as well as Barbaresco DOCG 2012, and "Il Bricco" Barbaresco DOCG 2012, I was really having quite a food moment. Grapes from the hills of San Stefanetto, this classic Barbaresco with its mild tannins make it a gentle but elegant wine.  The Il Bricco, the more expensive cousin to the plain Barbaresco, also comes across as a special occasion wine.

And finally, the Chocolate Creemus, With Salted Meringue & Poached Berries, absolutely delicious way to end the meal.  And I'm not usually one to wax lyrical about desserts, but this one was worth waxing about.

For more info on these wines, contact

Michelle Hor

Wines Division Director

No. 1 & 3, Jalan PJU 3/49 Sunway Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya
Selangor, Malaysia
Tel : +603 78832828
Fax: +603 78832928

And for that amazing cuisine,
61 Lorong Rahim Kajai 13,

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Malaysia Boleh Food Court At Robinsons Evolution, or Is It at the Four Seasons?

It's ironic to say the least, a food court in the heart of KL, serving the best of Malaysia Hawker style food in comfortable surrounds, called MALAYSIA BOLEH, is actually run by a Singapore company.

Located at the Four Seasons place, which is at the basement of Robinsons, this food court must be a boon to the office crowds in the vicinity, which sorely lacks an affordable  non halal food court, which probably explains the throngs queuing up the minute the clock strikes 12 noon.

Opened by the Fei Siong Group, (from Singapore), the launch event was one with the usual Chinese pomp and fanfare, from ribbon cutting to the quintessential Lion Dance for good fortune.  The occasion was graced by the Deputy High Commissioner of Singapore, Mr Mark Neo.

A bevvy of VIPs, including  Mr Philip Pang, CEO of  Fei Siong Group,  some actor celebrities, and the Deputy High Comm, officiated the ceremony with the ribbon cutting.

Malaysia Boleh food court has over 19 varieties of hawker type food... including Penang Prawn Noodles, Chicken Rice, Claypot Chicken Rice, Char Kueh Teow, Cendol.  Okay, to be fair, at the launch event, I only got to try the Curry Mee, and the Cendol, as the place was frenetic.  But by most accounts and feedback, the reviews have been positive, so I guess I really need to make another trip there.

The Deputy High Commissioner Mr Mark Neo giving his welcome address...

A rather cute door gift, with blast from the past items, like haw flakes, coconut candy...

My curry mee, which sadly, did not have cockles..... 

Q&A with the media...

The Cendol was pretty good.... despite the mass production...

Definitely worth another visit. 

Oh side note, parking in that building is helluva expensive, so if you are cheapskate like me, you're better off parking in Avenue K and walking across, or even KLCC. 

Chilean Topwinemakers Dinner Pairing

When I first got the invitation to the Top Winemakers Chile wine pairing dinner, my first thought was, wow, that's a daring name, I mean, to name yourself as TOP WINEMAKERS CHILE...but of course, I did not know the story behind this, which I was to find out later.

The Wine Pairing Dinner was held in the cosy Chef Diary, which has always had consistent food when they were in Plaza Damansara but I have not visited since they moved to Sri Hartamas.  But of course, this isn't about the food per se, but mainly about the wines.

Pictured above, is Rafael Pietro, Top Winemakers President and Founder.  Here is a guy whose charisma and vision has united 100 top winemakers of Chile, to create an unprecendented collection of fine wines, unique in the world, integrating different styles and approaches of the various wine makers.  A unique gift set that was even presented to President Obama during his visit to Chile.

During the introduction, we were told that Pietro achieved almost an impossible task, of uniting the best Chilean enologists who got together for the first time in the wine industry (of Chile) in the production of a Box of Premium Wine.

For the dinner, two brands of wine were showcased,  The Multi and Top Winemaker.  The first course, Hickory Smoked Duck Breast with Cherry Tomato Jam, paired with the Multi Chile Wines Best Zone 2015 Cab Sauv...A perfect starter wine, medium bodied, with notes of berries and spice, which went very well with the duck which I have to say was very good.  Best Zone because the grapes are from the four best zones, which are Maipo Valley, Cochapoal Valley, Colchagua Valley and Maule Valley.

This Bottle will be retailing at RM289 when available, should be anytime soon.

The next dish, Grilled Padron Peppers With Chicken Liver Mousse and Manchego, paired with Multi Chile Wines Best Selection 2015 Blend.  Best selection takes the very best harvest of different varietes for the particular year, from different valleys.

This particular bottle, retailing at RM339, comprises 85% Cab Sauv, 7% Merlot, 6% Syrah and 2% Carignan.  It is a dark rich ruby colour, with stronger notes of dark fruits and a longer lingering finish.

Next, paired with Vodka Beetroot & Juniper Berries Cured Tuna With Pink Peppercorn and Wasabi, is teh Multi Chile Wines Best Vintage 2015 Blend, retailing at RM519.  It definitely feels like a celebration wine, comprising a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec 10% , Syrah 5% , Carmenere 5%.  Obviously by now we could see the trend, of taking the best of each category, so in this case, it was grapes from the best vintage years.

A very full bodied wine, that I felt should have paired with a meat more than the Cured Tuna.

I was saying that Mr Pietro sounds like he can be the future President of Chile, if he managed to unite Winemakers, which apparently is almost impossible, it would be like uniting 10 or 20 artists...

The Red Wine Semi Confit of Duck paired beautifully with the next premium wine, the Top Winemakers 50 Barricas de Chile Carmenere 2015. The Carmenere is mainly planted in Chile, although it originated in Bordeaux, it is hardly found in France.

In fact, the whole idea behind this bottle was as a tribute to the Carmenere, which supposedly had become "extinct" and rediscovered in Chile on 24 November (my birthday) 1994.

An amalgamation of the 50 best wineries of Chile, imagine that.  A wine of intense expression, fresh fruit and spice, and the epitome of historical Chilean Carmenere.  Barricas is barrels, in case you were wondering.

This fine bottle will be retailing at RM719.

And finally, the piece de resistance, the Top Winemakers 100 Barricas de Chile Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011, paired with a strange "dessert" of Iberian Lamb Cutlets with Almond Mint Pesto.

To summarise, this bottle of 100 Barrels Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is putting Chile in a bottle... It represents 1% from each of the top 100 wineries. What an amazing feat, and what an amazing idea.

Booze House Enterprise
1-11, Kompleks 101 Prima
Jalan Kenari 2, Bandar Puchong Jaya
47100 Puchong, Selangor
Tel: 03-8070 6787

D Wine Shop
45-1, Jalan PJU 5/9
Dataran Sunway,
47810 Kota Damansara
Tel: 03-6143 3855
Mobile : 011-2716 5687

The wines will only be available in Malaysia in 3 to 4 months time.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Go With THE GOOD GUYS for this World Cup 2018 Finals, Plaza Arkadia

Frankly, and I know I can be lynched, flayed and scalped for saying this at this time, I couldn't be less interested in football or soccer, so when I was invited to the Carlsberg and TGG launch of the restaurant and bar in Plaza Arkadia, as a venue to watch the finals, I was seriously in two minds whether or not to go.  But then, the lure of a Carlsberg party tipped the scales, as they always know how to throw a good one.  TGG in case you are wondering, stands for THE GOOD GUYS (perasan much?)

Well, as fate would have it, I can safely say I know at least ONE Good Guy in the group of THE GOOD GUYS, an old friend who is also one of the co-owners...the other 4 I cannot vouch for their goodness or otherwise, but heck, sometimes just knowing one is good enough.

The good guy, Brian Wong and I.

Located in the trying to be swanky Plaza Arkadia, THE GOOD GUYS is actually located away from the madding crowd, and aims to be a family but yet happening kind of place.  The extensive porky menu looks interesting, and if I am not wrong, this is their second outlet, the first being in Damansara Uptown.  To add to the "family friendly" theme, it is the only outlet in Plaza Arkadia that serves Sommersby Cider on tap.  Although I know it's not alcohol free, somehow in my mind cider ranks as "soft drink".

Big Screen Area, perfect to watch the Finals of the World Cup. 

The place has a comfortable area which has a large screen, almost like a large living room, but I imagine or dread to imagine how packed it will be on the night of the finals.  However, I think the entire street and plaza will be filled with the World Cup Finals related events.

The owners were presented a special bottle of beer by Carlsberg MD, Mr Lars Lehmann, a bottle that contains yeast from 1883.  I really would be quite curious to know what that bottle tastes like.

 Managing Director Lars Lehmann with that precious bottle brewed with 1883 yeast...

Leeching on to Mr Lehmann to "tumpang glamour".

As with many establishment run by Malaysians of Chinese descent, of course the ubiquitous Lion Dance and ceremonial roast pig are essential as emblems of good fortune and prosperity as well as a visit by the god of  Prosperity himself.  This launch was no different, and even had the cacophonous explosion of fire crackers to ward away any spirits that were not Carlsberg related.

The ceremonial pig...

A visit by the god of Prosperity...

The Lions are checking out the roast pig...

Cheers to the Lions.....With Probably the Best Beer....

And the ceremony ends with a bang...

Of course nothing like freshly carved roast piggy with Probably the Best Beer In the World.

So, head on to THE GOOD GUYS (TGG) at Plaza Arkadia for the World Cup Finals. 

I look forward to checking out their food menu soon, which looks exceedingly promising.