Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sushi Splurge

The Table

It's not often that I get to celebrate KH's birthday on the exact date. So when the opportunity presented itself, we arranged something special. Right after work on a rainy Friday evening, we made our way to The Table, Isetan the Japan Store. The Table is Isetan's latest offering of an eclectic collection of Japanese restaurants on the fourth floor. The whole floor had very subdued lighting with a ceiling that was an organised mass of noren.

Ready to Eat

Junmai Sake

Out of the 5 restaurants there, KH chose Sushi Azabu, a traditional restaurant that specialises in Edo-mae style sushi. Edo-mae is basically old style Tokyo. Another interesting fact is that Sushi Azabu's mother restaurant is in New York, and was accorded a Michelin star! At 6:30 PM, we were the first customers. Both chefs welcomed us, Chef Toshihide Terado and Chef Saito Makoto Sam. We took the best seats in the house, right at the sushi counter where one can watch the master at work. KH chose the Omakase while I went for the much cheaper Koi. We toasted the occasion with junmai sake, making sure to look into each other's eyes as we drank (some superstition about bad sex LOL). Chef Toshihide Terado, who is the head chef, attended to our order. Once he got our order, he chose what he needed from a wooden sushi neta case. The chef fulfilled our orders one after the other. One for KH, then one for me.

Applying Nikiri

Chef Saito Makoto Sam

Appetizer

KH's Omakase included cooked items, while my Koi was a pure nigiri sushi course. As a starter, KH got whitebait with spicy roe. And he was served a chilled fruit drink. A small plate of sashimi followed containing his favourite chutoro. Unfortunately, he said it wasn't fatty enough. During the whole time, we watched the chef work magic with his super sharp knives. Sushi Azabu's chawanmushi was extremely delicate and smooth. Next for KH was grilled Spanish mackerel. The taste was quite distinct, not something I had encountered before. A simmered fish collar came next, continued by firefly squid with sweet miso. From there on, it was all nigiri sushi.

Firefly Squid

Simmered Tai

From where we sat, we could see the expert hands squeeze the vinegared sushi rice and then smoothly apply the fresh seafood on it. By default, the nigiri sushi already contains wasabi and right before serving, the chef applies a thin layer of nikiri (sweet soy sauce with mirin) using a brush (boar bristles?). The chef would put the sushi on a long plate between us and the bar. Along the course of dinner, he would wipe the plate if its dirty and refill the gari. Chef Toshihide Terado would announce each piece in a low voice, letting us what type of seafood he used.



I had several interesting pieces, for example hotate with freshly-grated yuzu zest. An interesting additional depth to the flavour. Another was mackerel with a thin layer of kelp on top. Not something I had ever tried. At one point, KH got a gunkan sushi topped with sea urchin roe, something which he does not like. The chef noticed his dismay and replaced it with a negi toro maki. While ordering, KH had told the other chef about his preference, but that somehow was not communicated to our chef. I actually profited from the mistake because I got to eat an extra piece of sushi. Hehe. When Chef Toshihide exclaimed, "Last piece." to me, KH got his dessert of yuzu sorbet.

Pressing the Rice

Kelp on Fish

It was definitely a dinner to remember, not only for its excellent taste and service, but also the price tag. Haha. We did not immediately go home after dinner, but spent some time at Isetan the Japan Store to see if there was any new attractions. Once our curiosity was sated, KH drove me home. In case you're wondering, there was no birthday sex. A birthday kiss would have to do for the time being. He was not disappointed because we had also planned that out as well!

Yuzu on Hotate

Tuna

Monday, May 22, 2017

Suddenly Suria

Curry Laksa

When choosing a location for Sunday post-church shopping, I rarely ever consider Suria KLCC. So when I brought mum there, it was a fresh experience for her. It had been years since she set eyes on the Petronas Twin Towers. Lunch was at Miss Kwan's where we had curry noodles and nasi lemak. Mum had a productive time at Isetan buying some clothes and facial care products. It's interesting that camera film companies are dabbling in skin care now. With the advent of digital photography, consumers no longer have need for camera film and only a minority develop photos anymore. Understandably, that was a painful crunch for companies like Kodak and Fujifilm. However, some of them have bounced back and retrofitted their extensive research in photography to skin care. Interesting ain't it? Fujifilm's foray into facial care products is spearheaded by its brand Astalift, which mum bought.

20170305_150512

Some months back, a conveyor belt sushi restaurant called Sakura Sushi opened in Bandar Kinrara 5. Truly quite a surprise to have a neighbourhood sushi restaurant along with the more mainstream Old Town and Pappa Rich. The response was quite encouraging, so mum and I gave it a try. When we arrived, the place was nearly full. Little wonder they had chairs outside for the waiting list. Prices are cheap there with plates set at MYR1.70 and MYR2.70. Perhaps that's why it resonates so well with their clientele, which are mostly families living nearby. And I was surprised to see some Malay customer there although they do not possess the all-powerful Halal certification from the greatest Halal authority in the universe, JAKIM. In my opinion, the food quality was decent for the price. On top of that, I would rather eat there than go to Sushi King.

Kaiten Sushi

Salmon Sashimi

Nigiri Sushi

Saturday, May 20, 2017

V-isit

KL South View

Some three years ago, BIL's sister purchased a condominium at V Residence, off Old Klang Road as an investment. Recently, she took vacant possession of the unit and we were invited to go take a look at it. V Residence is actually located right behind Pearl Suria Shopping Gallery. The access roads are a little icky due to its close proximity with the old residential area at United Garden. However, things were quite good within the compound. Although not completed, the lobby looks pretty classy with a modern design and water features. The workmanship was also beyond my expectation. The unit was partially furnished with a completely working kitchen, done up bathrooms, and cabinets in all the rooms. Air conditioners were also provided for the whole place. Not much of a view from the balcony because it was blocked by Pearl Suria Residence. Oh well. Also checked out the facilities-- an infinity pool that ran along one corner of the building and a sky garden.

Pool

Sky Terrace

Mum and I went for lunch after that at the nearby Pearl Shopping Gallery where a Go Noodle House is situated. Been wanting to check out the hype. Lucky for us, we did not need to wait for a table. I ordered the bursting meatballs in clear soup, while mum went for the squid balls in spicy soup. I wasn't impressed with the taste and there wasn't anything great about the bursting meatballs. Perhaps I was expecting the stuff from "The God of Cookery". I feel that one bowl is too big a portion. Two bowls for three persons is just right.



Twin Noodles

Pork Balls

Since we were trying new things out, we also had soft serve ice cream at Cremeo. Had a twist of two flavours-- chayen and French sea salt vanilla. Truth be told, I couldn't tell one from the other. My taste buds just shouted, "Sweet, sweet, sweet!". Also spied a Korean shop that served deep-fried Oreos there... perhaps next time. Hahaha.

Lavender & Sea Salt Vanilla

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Life Sdn. Bhd.

Pasta

I first met Ry in 2007 when he was with YKLS. Quite an impressive fellow-- high flying corporate figure and dragon-boater, who cooks and works in the arts. Since that one show, I had not met him or watched him perform till a decade later! On a whim, KH and I went to catch his Friday show of "Life Sdn. Bhd." at KLPAC. While on the road, we bought the tickets off TicketPro. Dinner was settled at Scrummy, a cafe that didn't seem very popular. Our waiter was quite green with an inability to describe most of the items on the menu. And I would even venture to say that he does not even know how to take an order properly. That kinda explains the food blogger event going on at the other end of the premises to try hype things up a bit. The spicy seafood pasta that I ordered wasn't half bad, and KH's chicken chop was decent too. When I told Nicky05 that I was dining there, he hissed his disapproval! According to him, the place never had a following and he suspects that its backed by Malaysia's favourite political party. Based on his observations, it only sees a decent crowd during the fasting month, when busloads of people are treated to buka puasa dinners. Hmmm.

Coffee

The Friday night show was not a very popular slot. Pentas 2 was only half full. KH and I sat right behind Faridah Merican, the executive producer. Arranged on the stage were ten stools for ten people who would share a snippet of their life. It was a very diverse mix of people on stage. We heard stories about personal struggles, mental health, relationship challenges, family matters, death, ageing, natural disasters, religion, and race. But all in all, it was about humanity. Among all that was shared, I was most attracted to Joe Hasham's tale his Lebanese father who emigrated to Australia for a better life. After the show, we took a selfie with Ry and his hubby Joel, and called it a night. Later when I got home, I finally connected with Joel on Facebook. Took us ten years to do that. Hahahaha. Better late than never.

Life Sdn. Bhd.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Meeting at Marta's

Food Collage I

SK's birthday was in the fourth week of February, but scheduling clashes pushed her availability to the last week of month. Since that was the case, her birthday celebration was combined with KH whose birthday was in the second week of March. No point mobilizing the BFF twice in such a short period. KH chose Marta's Kitchen, a popular place for paella and tapas in Desa Sri Hartamas. The restaurant is actually located inside The Signature Desa Sri Hartamas, a hotel cum serviced apartment. At first, we wanted to park at the basement car park, but we quickly backed out after seeing the charges-- MYR10 for the first hour and MYR5 for subsequent hours. Daylight robbery. The place was already packed with customers at 7:00 PM. Seems to be a favourite with expatriate families in the neighbourhood. No wonder they kept asking me to take the table at the verandah for 'my comfort' as the interior was quite packed. Not much space to maneuver.

Food Collage II

At first, I made reservations for 12 pax. In the end, it was only 8 of us due to last minute cancellations. Didn't matter as they didn't any smaller tables anyway. Among the esteemed guests were JL, Khatijah, BeautifulMale, JJ and Janvier. JL was most satisfied with the choice of venue as it was walking distance from his condominium. He was no stranger to Marta's Kitchen and gave us some solid recommendations on what to order. From the tapas menu, we ordered the Patatas Bravas, grilled mushrooms with iberico, lamb skewers, chili and garlic prawns, Bechamel and ham croquettes, and San Jacobo. Heavier stuff was seafood paella, and Iberico pork ribs.  The potatoes with spicy tomato sauce was yummy, bringing back memories of Barcelona. But the price tag of MYR18 pulled us back down to reality. LOL. So loved was the sauce that Khatijah nearly bit the hand of the waiter that wanted to clear the table. The alarmed waiter scuttled off to fetch a basket of bread for him to mop it all up. Khatijah's cackling filled the whole restaurant.

The lamb skewers were perfect, with a lovely springy texture, and no gamy taste. The gambas or prawns were fresh, sitting in a puddle of oil that's infused with the sweetness of seafood. The croquettes were basically fried half-solidified white sauce embedded with a piece of ham. San Jacobo was a Spanish dish of pork sirloin sandwiching a mixture of melted cheese and ham. Marta's Kitchen obviously took their paella very seriously. One can see huge pans of paella over an open fire in their open kitchen. I wasn't very awed by it, but I must admit that our paella had an amazing aroma of seafood in the rice. The star of dinner was the grilled Iberico pork ribs. It was handsomely grilled with an interesting aroma, and a lovely glaze. Ended the dinner with churros dipped in Valrhona chocolate. Yummy!

Churros

SK brought three bottles of wine to the party but we didn't drink them due to the MYR50 corkage. Instead, we walked back to JL's apartment for round two. We finished the wine and dug out more from JL's personal collection. Seeing so many guests, his mum took the chance to clear her stock of CNY snacks and mandarin oranges. And his dog was kinda ecstatic seeing all the guests. Went into a tail-chasing frenzy that lasted quite a while. Wow. It was great meet-up for the BFF.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Clown Face Soba

Dry Soba

One week after having the roast pork at Wayne's Cafe, I was back there with mum and Little Monster. Little Monster wasn't very impressed with it. We had capacity for more food, so we hopped over to Menya Hanabi just a few doors away. Gave it a try since it was newly-opened. Unfortunately, the menu was very limited. One item, and one item only-- dry soba. But that's their signature item and they are good at it. The bowl of dry soba was topped with nori, negi, charsiu, minced meat (that they call the Nagoya mince), raw egg, and ajitama (a freebie for liking their FB page). The staff took pains to explain how best to enjoy the meal. First, I mixed it all up and took a bite in the original form. Secondly, I tried with chili powder. Thirdly, I doused the soba with vinegar that had been infused with chili and kelp. At the end, there was still ample gravy and minced meat at the bottom of the bowl. I handed the bowl over to the staff behind the counter and they put in a dollop of steamed rice, perfect to soak everything up! Go give the place a try, even Little Monster liked it. In addition to soba, do they have tori karaage and some other side dishes. Itadakimas!

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Dating at Duddha

Fusion Food

Duddha is an interesting restaurant in KLCC, located at the stretch facing the park. The place looks like a pop culture palace with an equally surprising menu. Not really knowing what to have, we ordered a couple of drinks and some random choices from the menu, and told the waiter that we'll top up "later". And so we had some quiet conversation. During that time, KH brought out a gift-- a replacement camera! My trusty Canon Powershot G11 had finally passed away during CNY after 7 years of service. In those years, it went for a major surgery to replace the swivel LCD. With the failure of the lens motor, I see no point to fix it anymore. Better to let it go. KH did some research, and got me a Lumix DMC-FZ300 as a replacement. So thoughtful isn't he? Compared to its predecessor, the Lumix is bulkier but outperforms it in terms of the speed and optical zoom (can finally take spy shots from far off!). Will take some getting used to.

Lumix DMC-FZ300

Shades

While waiting for the food, we also went around taking photos, employing the help of the waiter. He took horrible photos. Ish. Even after all that, our food had not arrived, so we questioned the waiter. Turned out that he did not put in the orders for the food. He thought our "later" meant that we would order later. Hahahahahah. I nearly wanted to roll on the floor. Gosh, major communication breakdown.

Starry Eyes

We had Hamachi tartare with avocado, coconut, brown coconut, pickled ginger flower, and sea grapes. A crispy concoction topped with alien-looking Okinawa seaweed. On top of that, we tried the green curry saltwater Barramundi with coconut, bone marrow rice, and pomelo salad. That was like foamy fish with a side of nasi dagang! Fantastic fusion for adventurous diners. Just that portions are a little small and the price a little high.

Bling

After dinner, we had a little walk in the park, watching the colourful fountains together with the tourists. Would have been great if we could leisurely stroll with our hands clasped together, not needing to weave our way through hordes of people. Well, once can always wish.

Fountain II

Fountain I