Friday, March 23, 2018

Fu Luck Bar, TREC

One of the most intriguing invites I've gotten in recent times was the one to the Fu Luck Bar, which of course made me look twice.  It said, "An Artistically Curated Space where Nostalgia and Pop Culture Collide", and it was located in the trendy happening TREC, so I was totally fascinated.

I've only been to TREC a couple of times, and am amazed at the number of outlets there and the sheer variety.  So what is this FU LUCK BAR about?  For starters, in Mandarin, the name means Prosperity and Happiness (Really?) but say it quickly, in Cantonese and its sounds like "Pants Down".

The snazzy interior is designed by urban art artists Graeme Jay Hammond and Idris Johor who are behind the artworks of the iconic Haji Lane in Sinagpre. 

The media was given a lovely preview of the place, with free flow cocktails and beer

They have quite an interesting selection of cocktails, from left top, clockwise  Double Happiness, Hocus Pocus Abacus (which is the one we tried), White Rabbit Hole, Green Army Poseur,  My Fair Lady, Ice Kacang Cocktail, Clover Club and Old Master's Brew. 

I love the nostalgic drawing of those biscuits with the dollop of colored sugar on top....although I cant say I care much for the actual biscuit itself.

In keeping with the theme... in the corner sat a man...

who turned out to be the lead F&B Curator, Raymond Lim of Restaurant Lifestyle Asia .. explaining the concept of the tapas kind of dim sum, etc etc..

The artist fellow, Graeme Hammond

It's actually a great idea to have dim sum while drinking....bite size morsels that make a perfect bar snack.

The red glow from the Bar area complements the theme....

We had a great time, and after the media event stayed on to party with friends.

Will be revisiting to try the food and cocktails.

Tel: 03-21106938

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

6 Specialty Chefs at The Lemon Garden, Shangri-la Kuala Lumpur

The Lemon Garden buffet has always been in my mind one of the best buffets in town, and I find that with age, one becomes more discerning, and zeroes in on more select items.  In that respect, the spread here has certainly quite a lot of items worth zeroing in.  The venue itself has been a venue for many a memorable event, from Chinese New Year dinners with family, to birthdays.

To showcase which dishes you SHOULD concentrate on this is wide variety of dishes, their six distinguished speciality chefs have come up with their signature creation, and to the IT savvy eaters, the experience is taken up a notch, whereby tent cards containing the name of the dishes and special QR codes will direct the aforementioned IT Savvy eaters to web pages with exclusive information such as chef's profile and, most interestingly, THE RECIPE!!

We started with the Dessert (who says one cannot start with desserts, which ironically I recently discovered is STRESSED spelt backwards), with Chef Goh Ti Cheong and his durian CROQUEMBOUCHE.  It comes from the French phrase croque en bouche meaning "something that crunches in the mouth".  In layman terms, it's a crispy cream puff filled with durian cream.  The crunch comes form the peanuts coating the choux pastry.

The Western Kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Olivier Pistre, and features my personal favourite, Cheese Raclette, served with small potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions, though I was quite happy to have it on its own, Tortellini and Calzone.

Calzone filled with beef sausage, mozarella, ricotta and pecorino cheese. 

Raclette which I just couldn't get enough of.

Next was the outstanding Murgh Kasumethri, by Indian Station Chef Devender Singh.

The Murgh Kasurmethi, inspired by his mother's cooking, is made with fenugreek leaves, and secret spices... (so I'm not sure if the recipe provided will yield the same result), and was really delicious, for want of a better word.  Anyway, since I posted this on instagram and FB, one of my friends promised to cook it for me.

From the Malay Kitchen, Chef Mustafa Kamal's Rendang Tok Perak.  There's rendang and there's RENDANG.  One of my favourite versions of rendang is the rendang tok, originating from Perak, which is usually darker, and has a distinct flavour about it.

Just look at that cacophony of flavours.  It's on of those recipes whereby you look at the list of ingredients and think, ooooooooooh kay, let's just go out and eat....a rough count revealed over 20 items.

Chef Au Yong Guan may look like he has the easiest job, afterall, how hard can it be to make soup right?  Wrong. There is a high possibility with the lack of this skill, your soup can end up vapid as dishwater.  The double boiled soup section of the buffet is also one of my favourites, although one wonders if it is wise to fill one's stomach with such volume.

Japanese Executive Chef Nao Tak with his Seafood Big Roll or Good Luck Roll in Japan.  This highly qualified Chef has more than 20 years experience in Japanese Cuisine with the 180 Year old historical "Nadaman" Restaurant group.

Apart from the highlighted dishes, I always have a bowl of curry mee, and since no curry mee is complete without see hum (cockles), and since there is no see hum in Lemon Garden, I have no choice but to use its distant cousin as a substitute, the plump oysters from the seafood buffet.

The seafood buffet section at Lemon Garden never fails to impress.

Desserts are a plenty ....the middle cake is another of their signature creations, durian cake. 

Prices for the buffet are:

LUNCH (per head)

RM135 nett (Mon - Fri)
RM155 nett (Sat & Public Holiday)
RM175 nett (Sunday)

DINNER (per head)
RM165 nett (Sunday - Thurs)
RM218 nett (Fri & Sat)

For reservations, call
Lemon Garden, Shangri-la Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-20723900

Visit also for the recipes and videos of the signature dishes.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Saro Lounge, Pavilion Elite

It's been awhile since I've roamed the streets of the city, and a pleasant MRT ride from Damansara Heights to Bukit Bintang obviated the stress of traffic, so I could stop to smell the roses and see the sights.  So many buildings seem to have popped up in the Bukit Bintang area, including Pavilion Elite which seems to have sprung forth like a mushroom after the rain.

An invite to the launch of SARO LOUNGE (Italian for "I WILL") was the reason for this jaunt into the city.  Us unhappening people stick to neighbourhood pubs and sip the cup from the dull humdrum lives, so what a treat it was to be where the pulse is.  Who would imagine that smack in the middle of Pavilion, this swanky lounge exists.  Plush leather sofas, a very elegant setting, and a well stocked bar with very adept mixologists at the helm, it looked like a promising night.  The word sophisticated does come to mind, and one of the highLIGHTS, literally, is the High Lights which is a state of the art feature, integrated into the ceiling, with the ability to change to suit any mood.  There is also a private room which will be open from 27th March.

I'm not sure which particular demographic Saro is targetting, but it seems like a great place to chill after work, especially if you work in the area.  The furnishing and ambiance seem to appeal to the more mature crowd, (like me), but then again, these days age is but a number.

Our vision for Saro Lounge is to offer Malaysians a hideout within the city that isn’t just about the food and drinks, but the entire experience. An exquisite cocktail paired with flavourful dishes, complemented by eclectic tunes and a comfortable setting for you and your friends – it’s about offering a combination that elevates all five senses,” commented Kesavan Purusotman, one of the partners behind Saro Lounge.

After the speeches came the highlight (apart from the High Ceiling Lights) of the evening, the cocktails.  Prior to that we had been plied with we were all screaming out for a real drink.

It was quite a treat to watch the mixologist whip up their signature cocktails, namely the Signature Monkey 47 Sloe Gin, The Saro Sour, the Rum Negroni, The Frank Zacapa

With a collection fit for any discerning drinker, the bar offers a delectable range of cocktails made of the freshest ingredients and inspired by Asian flavours. Saro’s signature cocktails bring their own unique twist on the classics, with drinks such as the Saro Sour and the Rum Negroni. A refreshing favourite is the Signature Monkey 47, which combines fresh and floral flavours into a simple yet flavourful cocktail.

Cocktails from left, Cypress Hill, Frank Zacapa, Rum Negroni, Saro Sour and Monkey 47 Gin Tonic, all conceptualized by Mixologist Jonathan Zarsadias.

There's something very soothing about watching mixologists at work, almost like a chemistry experiment.

They use very good tonics (Fever tree I think they used this time) for their gin and tonic...definitely not your Schweppes or F&N...

The cypress hill contains tequila, so that's a no no for me...

The Saro Sour is so complicated, it takes forever to make,  The condiments are torched with a blow torch, the glass is then smoked with the smoke from that procedure, and then only the cocktail is made.

Having said that, at the end of the day, this remained my favourite, uncomplicated but yet subtle, and very elegant.

Head Chef Nopporn Nutto and Chef Faizal have created a variety of small plates and main course dishes. We had  Saro’s Signature Shells, 6 bite-sized pieces of Crispy Fillo pastry topped with different toppings consisting of Beef, Chicken, Tomato, Mushroom, Avocado and Smoked Salmon.  Actually they were surprisingly good, especially the avocado one.

For the mains there's a choice of pasta sautéed in Saro’s homemade Fusion Pesto sauce served with either Chicken or Soft Shell Crab, The Grilled Australian Beef on Skewers marinated with Garlic, Pepper and Capsicum, served with a bowl of Garlic Fried Rice.  That green sauce next to the skewers was amazing!!!

Prices, considering the quality and location of the place, is pretty okay if you ask me.

Apart from offering an impeccable combination of delicious food, decadent cocktails and eclectic music on a daily basis, Saro Lounge is an ideal venue for hosting private parties and events. Equipped with a quality sound system and LCD screens upon request, the lounge is able to accommodate events for about 130 – 150 pax.

Saro Lounge is open on Sunday – Monday from 4:00pm to 1:00am, and Tuesday – Saturday from 4:00pm to 3:00am. For more information on Saro Lounge, visit or follow the Saro Lounge Facebook page (Saro Lounge). For reservations, call +603 2110 4080.