Thursday, May 29, 2014

Launch of Kirin Ichiban

Kirin Ichiban, actually I am not sure what ichiban means, but I'm guessing it means number 1.  Although google translate didn't pick that up.  So when one is invited for an event involving an Ichiban, should be quite worthwhile going.

Old friend who now is in PR, invited me for the launch of Kirin Ichiban, in Zebra Square.  The venue is fascinating, I didn't realise such a large premises for private functions existed in KL.  The grounds are huge, and there is sufficient parking on a normal day, but of course, on the day of the launch, traffic was snarling all the way to the Kg Pandan roundabout.

I make my way through the decorated gardens, showcasing all things Japanese, afterall, Kirin is Japanese, in case you were wondering.

I was to find out later on, what the hype was about, Kirin Ichiban is a 100% malt, first press beer.  First press always seems to be good, in whatever context, olive oil, palm oil, and beer too, evidently.

The event seemed very glitterati filled, although I don't recognise any of them.

The stage was set, and a cornucopia of events kicked off the launch, such as a dance performance inspired by the quick, swift  movements of Japan’s Shinobi

Fortunately, I bumped into some familiar faces in the sea of crowds, like Malaysia's Hottest Blogger Tim Chew, and Kenneth Tan, Managing Editor of the Peak.. and had the good fortune of meeting the CEO of Guinness Anchor Berhad, Mr Hans Essaadi.

Traditional Japanese Taiko Drums complemented the Yosakoi Dance at the Kirin Ichiban Experience.

Hans Essaadi sharing his moment with His Excellency Makio Miyagawa.

So what is so special about the beer? Kirin Ichiban, a super-premium beer developed by Kirin Brewery, uses 100% Malt and an innovative“First Press” brewing method to achieve its unique taste profile. The First Press method means only the finest ingredients – including the purest malt, and extracts from the first strain only are used in the brewing process. What results is a premium beer that is crisp, rich in flavour yet leaves little after taste due to its purity.

Bruce Dallas, GAB's Marketing Director, promotes the beer as a premium beer, for an increasingly discerning market and also a beer that pairs well with any cuisine.

About 8 bottles of Kirin Ichiban later, I left the launch feeling rather Ichiban myself.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Another Penang White Curry Mee Joins the Fray - Kim's Curry Mee

Got an email from a lady asking me if I'd like to review her new Penang White Curry Noodle.  It's all the craze, this white curry noodle thing.  I've never even had it in Penang.  What is it anyway?  Anyway, it wasn't until a few weeks back that I finally succumbed and tried the rival brand (the one that rhymes with Cali)... it was okay, as far as instant noodles go...

So, this new brand, came by pos laju, all the way from Penang....

..Marketed under the brand name Kim's Curry..

For the purpose of this experiment, I didn't want to embellish it too much, so just whatever came in the packet, and an egg.  The soup was curry-ish enough, and there are only 2 sachets of opposed to 3 in the rival brand. 

Noodle texture, pretty standard.  Broth, ...Son said it was better than rival brand.  I thought it was okay, it wasn't mind boggling, but it IS an instant noodle, and for what it is, it's really not bad.  With some embellishments like taufu pok, meat, shrimp, taugeh, it would probably be better. 

I did finish the noodle...but as with all instant noodle stock, I can never get myself to finish the entire thing.

Thanks for the free sample!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ashley's, by Living Foods

Every since I went to Living Foods in Menara Tan & Tan, and had their superb healthy yee sang, circa CNY 2014, I've been looking forward to the opening of their Bangsar Baru establishment, because I love healthy food... Okay, I lie, I generally do not, but I did so much enjoy the healthy food offered by Living Foods, hence my enthusiasm when Makan Fairy Godmother asked me to join her at Ashley's, By Living Food.

I love the cheery woody bright healthy looking interior, gives one the illusion that one is healthier just by stepping into the establishment.

Nuts do grow on trees.... evidently.

Their power smoothies, named Stress Combat, (the green one) and Cardiac Arrest, which I had the last time in Living Foods.  The side salads are an accompaniment to the mains, and obviously follow that 5 different color vegetable rule, judging by its kaleidescopic colors.

Living Mushroom Foie Gras, a vegetarian version where no geese were hurt in the process of preparation. An amazing velvety rich texture, with a hint of truffle oil for added decadence, melt in the mouth just like foie gras.  A very unique offering indeed.  RM38.

A ying and yang of organic dim sum, ...actually there are more varieties, but we sampled two, where the green is actually the one with meat, and the red is the vegetarian version.  The set, which comprise 5 items, is priced at RM75.

Portobello Mushroom, Polenta buckwheat stack.  I loved the portobello mushroom, and the rhubarb puree, with pumpkin, and mushroom ragout, but I can't say I'm crazy over the buckwheat bit, which to me felt too healthy.  RM42

I guess this proved my long suspicion that deep down inside, despite an external desire to become vegetarian, I am a carnivore, because this quail currant stew in red wine and tarragon was definitely my favourite dish of the day.  Succulent quail met, lovingly stewed in a wholesome stock, carrots that had soaked in the goodness of the juices emanating from the stew, at RM38, I'd choose this over the RM42 Portobello any day.

Pearl Snapper Asparagus Foo Choke Wrap, and Spinach Mai Kai...(As opposed to Lor Mai Kai).  Part of the dim sum organic set too.  Let it never be said that healthy food can't be creatively prepared.  I enjoyed the spinach mai kai, which had bits of quinoa, mushroom, salted egg yolk (yay, my favourite ingredient), dabai (a native sarawakian plant), giving the entire dumpling a very unique texture with cornucopia of flavours.

Apple Doodle With Chocolate sauce, which was crunchy apple err..."noodles", raspberries, macadamia nut cream, macadamia nuts, and blackberries.  Take away the chocolate sauce, and it would almost be a salad.  I enjoyed this dessert, and wondered to myself as to how laborious it must be to shred apples into long strands like that.  (though obviously there are machines to do these things).

The other dish that I was so longing to try when at Living Foods previously, was their salted caramel cake, or more appropriately "Cake".  Devoid of gluten, it comprises dehydrated apples, on a bed of crushed nuts, more dehydrated apple, drizzled with salty caramel.  Desserts range from RM10-RM15.

Ashley’s : 11 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: 017-325 3663,

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rise of the Guardians... of Glenlivet, Or Specifically, Glenlivet Alpha

I received a rather strange invitation awhile back, which I am rather glad didn't accidentally slip into my spam folder.  Albeit very short notice, what attracted me were the words, Guardians of Glenlivet.  It is no secret that I love Glenlivet, (along with a few other glens), so I was intrigued by the invitation, and could not resist attending this mysterious function, that sounded like an underground cult, or the knights templar guarding the holy grail.

This was not the first of such events, and I was privileged to be "initiated" into this coterie of single malt aficianados, though I myself, whilst enjoying the taste, can hardly claim to be one myself.  The invitation enigmatically stated,  “An Evening In The Dark With The Glenlivet”, at the newly opened Barn Thai (yes, people who used to party in the 90s, Barn Thai is back!).  At first I thought it was one of those dining in the dark experiences.

Guests who attended were blindfolded, engaging all their senses as they were poured surpriseStar of the night,  The Glenlivet Alpha. Housed in a striking black bottle, only 3,350 bottles of The Glenlivet Alpha has been crafted in secret by Master Distiller Alan Winchester at The Glenlivet Distillery in the heart of Speyside and is released with no cask information, tasting notes or age statement. And of which, only 40 bottles are allocated to the Malaysian Market.

 Our host for the night, Lionel Lau, (who I found out was the man behind my invitation) enlightened us on some Glenlivet information, and told us that we would be blindfolded, and handed a glass of this mysterious whisky, and we are to use all our other senses to pick up whatever flavours and subtleties we could.

The good thing about using a point and shoot, you can literally point and shoot, even blindfolded, as you can see from my fairly decent blindfolded selfie.
It was all quite fun.  We were to hold out our right hand, so that the servers could slide the glass into our hands, and we were to sniff, and twirl, and smell, and sip, .... and give our thoughts.  My first thought was, WOW, it's strong! I like.

The food was obviously secondary, and most attention was focused on the star of the night, and the other supporting cast, which were also great.

On a day when the Glenlivet Alpha is not available (read, every day la), these babies would do quite nicely.

By this time, we were privvy to the information that there were only 40 bottles of these, available only for Guardians (you had to sign up and sign in blood to become a guardian), priced at RM868.  Of course, the kiasu in me leapt at the opportunity of owning something that only 39 others in Malaysia might own.

Taste wise, it has all the usual spice, fruits associated with a good single malt, but it also packs a punch with its high alcohol content.  Well, priced at RM868, I guess it makes sense to reach a high as soon as possible.
Aneeways, look what arrived yesterday, finally....

Beautifully veiled, like a bride (okay, maybe not in black dress..  a merry widow perhaps).... waiting to unveil...

Tah da.  Don't be calling ME anytime soon to share this... I am saving it for a VERY special occasion.

I won't bother telling you where to buy it, coz ....smug look, YOU CAN'T!! (well, not from the primary market in Malaysia at any rate).

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Home Classic Pork Dishes at Xin, Concorde Hotel

As far as chinese restaurants in hotels go, Xin, in the Concorde,  has always struck me as one of those that is really good value for money.  Their dim sum is always good, and of course, it contains the "forbidden" non-kosher meat, pork, that integral part of chinese cuisine, I often feel, though more and more innovative chefs have managed to somewhat find close acceptable substitutes.  Of course, as I've mentioned in earlier posts, Concorde used to be the old Merlin, and those days there was only "one" chinese restaurant for dim sum in the whole of KL, and I reminisce fondly the chinese pavilions and turtle/terrapin ponds that formed part of the landscape, so that would be another reason why Concorde has a special place in my cholesterol laden heart.

The latest event we were invited for was to showcase their classic pork dishes, an invitation title so refreshingly simple, so direct yet so appealing.

Beancurd Stick Chicken Soup, a fabulous chicken broth (who says you need sharksfins to make a good broth...give me this soup for the soul any day), packed with the goodness of chinese herbs like angelica, ginseng, wolfberries, red dates.  I love my soups, and I love my soups even more when they're prepared this way.

Deep fried bean curd with mince meat.  Such a simple, yet delicious dish that screams out to be eaten with rice.  My children will without a doubt love this, and actually, just ordering this, with rice, would be a wholesome meal by itself.  Oh, and maybe one vegetable dish.

Slow cooked pork tendon with garlic. The chinese apparently seem to believe that if you ate a particular part from the animal, it would strengthen the corresponding part in your body.  So tendon would strengthen your own tendon... whether old wives' tale or not, regardless of its scientific accuracy, its darn delicious, and trust the chinks to use every part of the animal to make it delectable.  Melt in the mouth tendon, that tastes and feels like glorious fat, but in actual fact, is not! Best of both worlds.

The two pictures of this hokkien mee is to focus on that most wonderful creation called chee yau char.  Croutons of fat pork, deep fried, crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside, complementing that plate of glorious yellow noodles fried in high wok heat with that almost oil slick like dark soya sauce.  One of the reason I'd like to go to heaven is so that I can eat hokkien mee continuously without having to worry about weight.

Wok fried pork belly with DriedChilli.  Such comfort food this is.  Again, a bowl of steaming fluffy white rice and this tender pork belly, with the few token lettuce leaves, is a complete meal by itself.

The piece de resistance of the porcine repertoire, the BBQ suckling pig.  Crispy skin, layers of tender fat and meat, ...accompanied by fluffy mantao that somehow seems to mitigate the evilness of the fattiness of the suckling pig because it feels like a clean, untainted sponge to soak up all that badness.

Fried seasonal vegetable with Crabmeat and egg. Generous amounts of freshly peeled crabmeat, chunks of salted egg.

Chilled Aloe Vera Dessert. Actually, I often wonder at the courage of the early man, how they were adventurous enough to discover what was edible and what isn't.  How the heck mankind managed to extract that wonderful jelly like aloe vera from a plant, is quite impressive.  Afterall, we wouldn't randomly pick up a plant, especially a pokey one like aloe vera, and think to ourselves, hmm, this looks edible.

Telephone : Xin Cuisine 03-2144-8750 or email
Xin Cuisine
The Concorde Kuala Lumpur
2 Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur