Thursday, April 25, 2019

Dim Sum Hi Tea and Feasting at Yu by Ruyi, Oriental Group

YU BY RUYI (Pork Free)

It's always a treat to be asked to attend food reviews by Makan Fairy Godmother, Marian Eu Hooi Khaw, and it's even more a treat when it's at a familiar(ish) establishment, where you know for a fact that they are consistent and of high quality.

The Oriental group of restaurants is no stranger to my family and me, as Ming Room is the go to place for my family, and Oriental Treasures in Bangsar South the go to for my inlaws, so well, I daresay the both combined families have indeed contributed to the large coffers of the group, albeit in a small way.

This particular invite was to sample the Dim Sum Hi Tea set, but before that, let me clarify the next picture is NOT part of that Hi Tea Set.  I have placed it as the first picture, defying chronological order, because of the sheer beauty of the dish.  Crab with glorious roe, aptly named Steamin Crabilicious.

Priced at RM108 per portion, this plate of decadence is a must have.  Marine drippings over a layer of chicken pate with salted fish, (replacing the usual pork) glutinous rice, this alone would have filled us up.

By the way, Yu is the modern cuisine sister of the mainstream Oriental restaurants, places like Ming and Han Room etc are supposedly more traditional, whereas Yu and Ruyi are contemporary.  Yu (derived from some Mandarin word referring to an Imperial Palace Kitchen, don't ask the banana what) is also PORK FREE.  Over the years the gasps of horror at the idea of pork free dim sum or any Chinese food diminishes as Chefs find new ways to innovate so much so the placid pig is hardly missed.

Such pretty condiments, it almost wants to make you do shots. Chilli oil, ginger, Chilli Sauce, Yellow Pepper and a Mongolian Dip.

The Hi Tea Set which costs RM98 for two, is available from 2-4 pm daily except weekends.  All items are also available from the ala carte dim sum menu.  The set features two baskets of the steamed stuff, comprising Siu Mai with abalone, charcoal custard flowy bun, har gao, some fish thing that is shaped like a goldfish somewhere in the Darwinian process of evolution, ...this basket alone would be a substantial meal in itself since each diner gets one.

The fried and dessert dim sums are served in a two tier cake stand, like a western high tea, and has a rather interesting array of stuff.   On the top layer, A golden foie gras puff, (next to Odette), Playboy Love Carrot, Egg Tart, Horny Wagyu Puff, Deep Fried Spring Roll, Crispy Swan (who I named Odette).  I particularly liked the Playboy Love Carrot, which is actually a sweet.  It has the skin similar to that of a ham soi kok, and a lovely peanutty filling.  The foie gras puff was also something different.

On the lower tray, the star must be Henry the Hedgehog, a white lotus salted egg bun.  The birds nest lemon grass infusion is a perfect way to end the meal.  Which for us wasn't quite the end.


I can't say I am a fan of fried radish cake, but this Imperial Version of the lobak gou is in a different league.  Using duck eggs and konpoi,

I first heard the term Chick Kut Teh from Mungo Jerry, a lifetime ago.  It seems the name has stuck,
and doesn't take a genius to figure that it is the kosher version of the Bak Kut Teh.  That familiar herbal broth, abalone, petite jasmine rice and mushroom.  It's fairly authentic flavour, and a good introduction to those who do not take pork, be it for religious or secular reasons.

I have to unashamedly say this was my FAVOURITE dish of the day....
The Prince and the Pauper it's called.  Actually, if the Chef used papaya, they could name it the Prince and the Pawpaw...
Pan Seared Foie Gras on Caramelised Watermelon, (presumably the watermelon is the "pauper") priced at RM48 per portion BUT you have to order at least 2 portions.  A pretty generous slice I have to say.

All Chinese meals must have the token greens.  This is the Empress Tien Qi, (Teen Chut in Canto), a rather slimy vegetable that is touted to have many health giving benefits.  Fish maw and barley embellish the dish.

Easily my 2nd Favourite of the day, this unique Crackling Wagyu Crispy Hor Fun is a pillow of goodness.  Braised tender chunks of beef, on a bed of cripsy noodles which is apparently hor fun, but looked more like mee hoon to me, though it did taste like hor fun, and then a lovely sauce is poured over the assembly to finish it.
RM68 per portion (I think the plate above is one portion, with four pillows)

And in case you missed it the first time around, the Steamin Crabilicious....  Damn I'm hungry just looking at this again.

Yu by Ruyi is located where the old Han Room used to be in the Gardens, is right next to the main entrance to the mall.

Address: G-243 Riverview Entrance The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City, 59200 Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 11AM -4PM, 5.30PM-10PM
Phone: 03-2202 2602

Friday, April 12, 2019

Marigin, the Latest Gin Bar In the Stables of the Marini Group

There was a time when Gin was but the common man's drink, but in colonial Malaya, a gin and tonic, probably Gordon's or Beefeater was sipped by the British on a hot summer's day.  Wait, it's summer all year round here in balmy Malaya.

In fact, gin had a whole monologue dedicated to it in the quintessential movie about the English, MY FAIR LADY.  Eliza Doolittle has this to say:

"My aunt died of influenza - so they said, but it's my belief they done the old woman in...Yes, Lord love you. Why should she die of influenza when she come through diptheria right enough the year before? Fairly blue with it, she was. They all thought she was dead, but my father, he kept ladling gin down her throat...Then she come to so sudden she bit the bowl off the spoon...Now what call would a woman with that strength in her have to die of influenza? And what become of her new straw hat that should have come to me? Somebody pinched it, and what I say is, them as pinched it done her in...Them she lived with would have killed her for a hat pin, let alone a hat...Gin was mother's milk to her. Besides, he'd poured so much down his own throat, he knew the good of it...Drank! My word! Something chronic!"

But of course, Gin has since come a long way, and my goodness me, looking at the price of some of the gins, it's almost done ME in.  Thankfully with the sprouting of gin bars all over town, (well, okay, perhaps SPROUTING is an exaggeration, I only know of three in KL), one can sample gins hitherto unknown and unreachable.

So where is this latest gin oasis?

Located at the once touted most luxurious bungalows in the sky, 99 units with 100 swimming pools, ONE KL, Marigin is the latest in the stable of the Marini's Group, which also owns Marini 57, Marble 8 and M Marini Grand Cafe and Terrazza,

Gin is usually a staple in any bar but at MariGin, it is the star. It is a versatile and refreshing spirit that can be drunk straight up, in a simple mix, or added to other flavours in a cocktail,” said Cavaliere Modesto Marini, owner and founder of The Marini’s Group, at the bar’s opening party this evening.

Its diversity and number of varieties ensures that it appeals to the different palates as well as provides new experiences, and that is what MariGin aims to provide – a gin drink for every occasion,” he added.

This of course has been made possible with the worldwide Gin Boom, even Australia is producing its own gin.

Currently there are 57 varieties of gin to choose from, and an IMPRESSIVE range of tonics, again, hitherto unknown, but who drinks Schweppes with a designer gin these days, right? No offence to Schweppes which has been like mother's milk to us older ones.

Mixologist, known as "Boy", concocted several rounds of locally inspired gin cocktails in a collection with interesting names such as MARI GIN LAH, for us to sample, and  included the familiar curry flavours of lemon grass, kafir lime leaf, calamansi and sour plum,  chrysanthemum aka kok fah,

Okay, I thought the "SIRAP" one really did not do justice to the drink, as the fake rose syruppy thing reminded me of the drink at buffets.

Some look familiar, some not so...

The next round of more exotic cocktails, including the GONGXIFACAI, the JUNGLE GIN, the GIN CARTEL...

Drinks here are fairly reasonably priced, from RM27++ onward, probably for a basic G&T. 

A sample of their menu...

MariGin Gin Bar is located at One KL, Jalan Pinang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur. It is open from 5.00pm to 1.00am from Monday to Saturday, where happy hours run from 5.00pm to 9.00pm. To make a reservation, please call +603 2386 6030 or email

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Tomatin, A Pretty Good Dram Indeed (No Myths, No Legends, No Fluff. Just Tomatin)

I always love the idea of afternoon drinks, cos it makes me feel like I'm on holiday.  So needless to say I seized the opportunity to attend the Tomatin tasting at 61 Monarchy, one of THE speakeasies I've been wanting to try.

Privileged we were to  have with us the Global Brand Ambassador, Scott Adamson, from Scotland, to introduce this fine drop to us.

Tomatin is actually a very old brand, founded in the late 1800s, and is situated at an altitude of 315 meteres above sea level, fed by the waters of the Alt-na-Frith burn.  Interestingly, the name Tomatin means "the hill of the Juniper bush" in Gaelic (talk about lost in translation),.  The Alt-na-Frith (Free Burn) runs through the Monadhliath Mountains (somehow images of Lord of the Rings and middle earth spring to mind), to help create a rich and mellow Highland Malt.

We start with the Legacy, a NAS I think, which was Highballed, as a welcome drink, but we also got to taste it on its own.  43% ABV, a bourbon and virign oak.  This for the layman would be a fabulous easy drinking whisky.  85% full maturation 1st fill ex bourbon and 15% full maturation Virgin Oak.

It has a lovely fragrance about it, almost makes one happy sniffing it.  And on the palate, slightly sweetish, easy to drink.

The 12 year old is a winner of several awards, and is matured in traditional Scotch Whisky, ex Bourbon and ex Spanish Sherry casks.  On the nose, the aroma is fruity, and a bit nutty.
34% Ex Bourbon, 34% Ex Sherry and 32% refill casks.  43% ABV

On a separate note, it's interesting to hear that 80% of the staff of the distillery live ON SITE.  It has evolved into a community by itself, with people committed to the whisky, which provides more than a job, but a way of life.  I find this nugget of information particularly heartwarming, and something unique.

The 14 year old, which is my personal favourite, spends its life in Tawny Port casks which have held port for around 50 years.  The result, the aromas of berries, toffee, and on the palate light fruits.  46% ABV.

I need to get myself a set of these whisky glasses.

The piece de resistance for the day, the 18 Year old.  Matured in traditional oak casks, and first fill Oloroso Sherry butts, this makes for a world class and elegant whisky.  There is a distinct sherry refrain that resonates through out, and some would say this is the highlight.  It is also non chill filtered, so it might cloud up a bit with ice. 

A myriad of aromas and titillation of the palate occurs. 

That amber hue of happiness.

Alas, one can only dream about how the 30 and 40 year old must taste like. 

Dirstibuted by Drinks Connexion, Tomatin is now available here, and also at 61 Monarchy .