Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gobo Upstairs New Year Eve Menu

New Year's Eve...I'm not sure how the young people of today usher in the new year, I myself have had myriad ways and different theme parties, on one occasion, even spent it in a church watchnight service, (much to the gasps of shock from my party going friends).  Restaurants flog their NY eve menus, those with a view can flog it for more, those without, maybe a bit less.

Of course, Gobo Upstairs has the benefit of a closeup KLCC view, and for a more aerial view, the Skybar upstairs, so really, this seems an ideal venue to spend NY Eve.  Of course, it won't be cheap, but then again, it is a top notch hotel, and top notch venue, so as the Chinks would say, one ounce of money for one ounce of goods. (yutt fun cheen yutt fun for).  So privileged to have been invited for a preview of the NY Eve menu, I reckon for the RM398 per person, the food you're getting is really good value.

Is it December already?  Groan

If I was a cheapskate restaurant owner, and inviting a bunch of bloggers for a review, I'd fill them with bread and butter, BUT, in THIS case, there was sooooo much food and such generous portions, I don't know why the lovely Theresa even bothered with bread....Lovely as it was, I was not about to fill my precious stomach space with breads.

AND, the most pleasant of surprises, a belated birthday "cake" in the form of baked brie, with caramelised nuts, AND a bottle of my favourite bubbly.  AWWWWWW, and omigoodness, that baked brie was soooooooooooooooooooo goooood...  Unfortunately, it's not part of the NY Eve menu, so just read and weep.

The Amuse bouche in the menu is smoked salmon and caviar bruschetta, but since this was a birthday treat, we had some addtional items, like seared scallops.

This is the actual amuse bouche on the day, ie, only the bruschetta

Just look at that sheer decadence.  Heck, just looking at this, I actually just placed an order for a 5" square cast iron skillet.  (Really, from Lazada)

What can I say, ..Marinated Lobster with berries, apple and fennel salad.  The lobster was divine, succulent and what luxury to have lobster without having to work through the layers of calcium that encase that precious meat.  Okay, to be honest, that apple fennel salad was a bit heavy, so we have given our feedback to lighten it a bit.  Tastewise the salad was fine.

The most lovely Chicken Consomme with Chicken Dumplings and Scallion Oil...  First thought in my mind was wantan soup.  Over the years I have come to appreciate a clear broth, and appreciate how much more talent is required in making a clear simple broth taste sublime.  And this broth was indeed that.  Good to the last drop... Coincidentally, you can see the last drops...

Looking at this makes me swoon everytime...  a perfectly seared foie gras, with poached pear in red wine, arugula and mustard.  I've come to realise it's not easy to perfectly sear a slab of foie gras, that melt in the mouth goodness, ...I still get chills down my spine thinking about it.  I shamelessly admit I LOVE foie gras.  Fortunately, it's an acquired taste and at the end of the day, most non liver eaters don't like this dish, good for me.

Foie gras

The house red,...however the price of the set does not include wine.

Grilled 150 days Grain Fed Tenderloin, with truffle pomme puree, asparagus, brocolli, onion relish and madeira... There are only so many ways I know how to describe beef, especially a well cooked one.  Flavours of the meat in tact, tender but still gamey, (as opposed to those super fat cuts that you can cut with a butter knife), the way a tenderloin is meant to be.  

For the pescatarian inclined, the pan seared cod with summer roasted vegetables and prawn mousse is indeed a delightful option.  They really ought to serve this dish with a spoon as well, because it would seem inelegant in a place such as this to slurp up that lovely fish broth like you would porridge in an orphanage.

For dessert, a ricotta cheesecake with berries compote.  Absolutely delicious, but believe it or not, my complaint would be its TOO MUCH.  Huge serving, and even after opting to SHARE our desserts, it was still too much.

And for dessert after the dessert, the leftover cheese...rebaked and still as good.

New Year’s Eve Dinner
Sunday, 31 December 2017

6.00pm to 8.00pm (1st Session)
RM346 nett per person for 5-couse menu
Complimentary 1 glass of champagne at SkyBar from 8pm to 9pm.

8.30pm onwards (2nd session)
RM458 nett per person for 5 couse menu
RM549 nett per person for 5 course menu inclusive of free flow wine

New Year’s Eve Exclusive Dinner
@ Gobo Upstairs Lounge Area with KLCC View
Sunday 31 December 2017
RM2,950 nett per couple for 5-couse menu + wine + 1 bottle champagne for two

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cooking Norwegian Fjord Trout

When the Makan Fairy Godmother invited me for a How to Cook Trout Workshop, I was rather interested.  Back in the days when we were but culinary illiterates, (not that we have PhDs now, but at least we know the difference between butter and margarine), the only trout I ever heard of was Rainbow Trout, a dish served in whatever few western restaurants there were in KL.  Of course, development has spawned a whole new world for us, be it seafood or landfood, and in the last two decades or so, our kuraus (threadfin), pomfret  and tenggiris (mackerel)  (which incidentally I love) seem to have taken a back seat to the foreign fish, like salmon, cod, and more recently, TROUT...and we're not talking the rainbow variety. 

The “Cooking Norwegian Fjord Trout” Workshop at KDU University College in Shah Alam on 30 November, began with video presentation of where Norwegian Fjord Trout is farmed, by Jon Erik Stenslid, Director, Southeast Asia, Norwegian Seafood Council.

He introduced himself saying that with his name we probably expected a blond blue eyed chappie, but his exotic parentage of Norwegian Japanese Mix actually maked him the perfect person for the job....fresh sustainable fatty fish, which can be eaten sashimi style.  The best of both worlds really.

So when is a trout a trout and when is a salmon a salmon, and is there such a thing as salmon trout? (I've actually seen that label in supermarkets here)

Anyway, our education for the day was in the form of a  journey through the cold, clear waters of Norway, with fjords stretching deep into its coastline. Seawater meets fresh meltwater from glaciers and snow, presenting the perfect living conditions in the ocean for fjord trout. Whilst totally inhospitable to man, the conditions as per their tagline, NORWAY HAS THE BEST LIVING CONDITIONS, for fjord trout.

Her Excellency Gunn Jorid Roset, the Norwegian Ambassador to Malaysia, was present at the event organised by the Norwegian Seafood Council. She later donned an apron and joined the media in the hands-on cooking workshop led by Chef Jimmy Chok. The chef has worked with Norwegian seafood for the past 10 years.

Meanwhile Chef Chok brings out the bounty of the day, and for sake of comparison, shows us the two fish....asking for a show of hands who thought which was salmon and which was trout.  Actually to cut a long story short, to me, the salmon has more black dots on its face and cheek, whilst the trout has a clearer cheek.  So to me it really boils down to ....


The official explanation however is...

......the fjord trout head is rounder and that of the salmon is sharper, and the difference in colour between the two, the fjord trout being of a deep red-orange while that of the salmon a pink colour. (but you can only tell that after cutting it open)...
The fjord trout grows to a weight of 2-5 kilos, which is generally a bit smaller than salmon. The skin of the fjord trout is similar to salmon, with a lustrous and silvery colour.

To cook a trout, not unlike salmon, fry on low heat (that was a surprise) skin side down first.  Let it sizzle, the oils will ooze out, and apparently it's this oil that gives that fishy smell...

The layer of white as it cooks...

Then flip it to side B, and let it sizzle away...

Don't forget to sear the sides too....

He (Chef Jimmy Chok) did say that the fish can be cooked in so many styles, including Asian styles of curries, assam, sweet sour, steamed....but today's workshop was simple pan seared with a mango pomelo salsa.

Ingredients for the salsa....

The perfectly seared piece of expert, apparently would be able to tell the doneness by delicately prodding the sides with a finger...

Chef's plated dish...

Chef Jimmy Chok, Her Excellency Gunn Jorid Roset, Jon Erik Stenslid, Director, Southeast Asia, Norwegian Seafood Council.

Time to eat.... look at that glorious colour...

And then it was time to work.... at a hands on cook your own lunch in the test kitchens of KDU University College...

My cooking partner, together with Makan Fairy Godmother...

Even the VIPs had to work....

My finished work, which I thought was rather delicious, and the fish perfectly done #noshame #thickskinned ...I really do prefer my salmon or trout undercooked more than over...Probably the equivalent of a medium rare for steak...

Us three

How often does one get to pose next to an Ambassador.... Her excellency was most hospitable and gracious.

Some info from the press release which I shall just regurgitate like a puffin in the arctic....

Norway is the second largest seafood exporter in the world, and the world’s largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon and Fjord Trout. Harvesting from the seas has always been an important part of Norwegian culture and history. In fact, fishing was a vital premise for the first Norwegians being able to settle and live along the cold, windy coastline of this northern country.
For centuries seafood has been both a basic source of food and an important trade for Norway. This has given Norwegians unsurpassed knowledge and experience in every aspect of handling these precious treasures from the sea.

About Norwegian Seafood Council
The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) is owned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. The Norwegian seafood industry finances its activities through fees levied on all exports of Norwegian seafood. NSC is the approval authority for Norwegian seafood exporters. Headquartered in Tromsø, NSC has presence in major markets around the world aiming to increase the value of Norwegian seafood resources. NSC oversees the administration and use of the trademark “Seafood from Norway”, a joint value for the Norwegian seafood industry. Together with the industry, NSC aims to increase the demand for and consumption of seafood from Norway. For more information, please visit

“Seafood from Norway” Trademark

Seafood will always be an essential part of our diet. However, consumers today are increasingly focused on the origin of food, how it is produced and how it meets concerns regarding sustainability. Norway was built on its seafood industry, and managing its ocean resources in a sustainable manner.
The new trademark “Seafood from Norway” is addressing these matters, founded on a genuine concern for environment. This trademark is a symbol of origin and quality for all Norwegian seafood, farmed or wild caught in Norway’s cold, clear waters. Because there is no doubt about it: Origin matters.