Thursday, March 23, 2017

Johnnie Walkers Blenders' Batch, Limited Edition

THE EVENT...


AT THE.... 

Get it? Well, it's Johnnie Walkers Limited Edition Blender's Batch, held at THE VAULT, in Sri Hartamas.

So, what's it all about?

We all (or at least me and my peers did ) grew up weaned on Johnnie Walker scotch, so it's always had a special place in my heart, and presumably liver.  But of course, over the years, a slew of other brands have appeared, from all around the world.  So, it's not surprising that Johnnie Walker®, the world’s number one-selling Scotch, houses a team of expert blenders that create the perfect blends, while having hundreds of ongoing new experiments with flavours being carried out by them.  Afterall, one has to stay ahead and keep up with the times, much as we have fond memories of the Black Labels, all the way to the Blue.. and beyond.

So, the event was to mark the release of a range of new blends, this being the  Johnnie Walker® Blenders’ Batch.  It's a brand new, limited edition series of experimental whiskies that challenge convention while revealing the skills and continuous pursuit of flavours that drives the small team of expert blenders led by Master Blender, Dr. Jim Beveridge, a man whose personal journey making whisky began over 40 years ago. 

Inspired by the time he spent blending bourbon and rye in Kentucky in the 90s, the first Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch series are the result of experiments into the influence of bourbon and rye whisky flavours on Scotch. - (quoted from Press Release)






The night started with a sense of anticipation, with cocktails made by the talented mixologist team at the Vault.





The first cocktail was the Evenfall (I kept thinking of Adele's Skyfall song). which I liked. It comprised the Bourbon Cask & Rye Finish, Vermouth Rosso, A VERY REFRESHING dash of YUZU juice (that was the clincher I think), Maraschino liquer, cinnamon syrup, and lemon rind.


Next was the more Feminine Butterfly, not least because of the Orchid garnish....Being more feminine, it was also a tad too sweet for me.


It's a real pleasure to see these guys at work, so passionate.


Aloshana delivering the keynote address, ... I'm sure I can't have been that drunk, but I don't remember anyone else giving a speech.

Another excerpt from the Press Release:
“The Johnnie Walker blending team believes that experiment is the key to innovation. We have been experimenting with flavours to ensure that the blends are of the best it can be for the past 200 years through various techniques, expertise and advances in science. Globally, interest in whisky is higher than it has ever been and this feels like the right time to open the doors to our experiments. With that in mind, the Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch series is the result of our innovation and we believe that by making it available here in Malaysia, our consumers will continue to love the brand, its story and these whiskies even more,” shared Rajesh Joshi, Marketing Director of Mo√ęt Hennessy Diageo Malaysia.

The first whisky from the Blenders’ Batch series that is being released is the Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Bourbon Cask & Rye Finish. Bottled in individually numbered bottles, this limited edition liquid is part of the progression in making whiskies that a new generation of whisky drinkers are seeking. The outcome of the experiments focused on what happens when the intensely sweet flavours of bourbon and rye whiskies are brought together with the depth and subtlety of carefully crafted Scotch whisky.

Basically the Bourbon Cask does impart that bourbon flavour, (duhh), and I noticed this was particularly favoured by those who were inclined to bourbon.

On the floor above, guests had the chance to mix their own drinks and cocktails under the guidance of renowned mixologists, Ben Ng from Mish Mash Penang and Jeff from James Won...




After that, there was actually a LOK LOK Food truck (outside, obviously) for guests to fill their tummy.

My own conclusion is that the Blender's Batch is definitely a unique blend, I love that complex bourbon and rye finish, and despite the award winning mixologists concocting their magic, I still preferred to drink it neat, with a little bit of ice.

Of course, being a LIMITED EDITION (that is always the prelude to "not cheap for sure"), it is a bit on the pricey side.  But hey, young people of today have that hashtag right, #yolo.  It really is quite a lovely tipple, and if I had deep pockets, I would not hesitate in getting  few.

Meanwhile, the  Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch Bourbon Cask and Rye Finish cocktails, and presumably the whisky on its own, is available at select outlets nationwide including Mish Mash, The Vault, Forking Cork, Urban & Co, Culture Club, Mulligan's Signature, Pawn Room, The Attic, Berlin, Chaze, Suzie Wong, Locker & Loft and O'Sesame for a limited time only.

For more information, please follow:-

Official website : www.johnniewalker.com
Facebook page :https://www.facebook.com/JohnnieWalkerMalaysia/
Official Hashtags : #JohnnieWalker #JohnnieWalkerMY #JWBlendersBatch
#LimitedEdition


For media enquiries, kindly contact:
ROOTS PR Sdn Bhd
Olivia Chan / Aloshana Pandair
+603 7494 0292
olivia.chan@rootsasia.com /aloshana@rootsasia.com

For purchase queries, kindly contact:
diageoinfo@mhdm.com.my


Thursday, March 09, 2017

Dim Sum Brunch at Celestial Court, Pork Free and Guaranteed Full!! (As In Tummy Full)

Celestial Court's (Sheraton Imperial) Dim Sum has always been in my top 3 favourite pork free dim sums.  But actually, for dim sum, I think pork free is not really an issue, I honestly can't tell much difference, except for pork ribs steamed in bean sauce, which of course, is non existent in a pork free menu.  I digress.

The Dim Sum Brunch, priced at RM138 nett, is available on weekends, and really has enough variety to confuse even the most focused of eaters.  There are three starter items that diners are entitled to only ONE serving of, but the rest of the stuff in the menu, knock yourself out man.

The first of the limited items is this Double Boiled Chicken Soup With Mini Whole Abalone and Mushroom




One aspect of Chinese cuisine, perhaps more Cantonese than anything else, that I really love, and need daily, is soup.  Doesn't matter if it's single, double or triple boiled, I just love that clear broth that precedes a meal.  Chinese soups are rarely the creamy heart clogging stuff like their western counterparts, and have always some kind of therapeutic or nutritious value to it.  In this case, the chicken for ...well, the soul, and ginseng for virility I guess.  And abalone I'm guessing for the sweetness and taste.



Seafood grouper dumpling with century egg, asparagus served with XO Sauce and Pumpkin Puree.  You'll be pleased to know that this dish is in the UNLIMITED section of the menu, meaning you can order more than one.

Signature mini abalone Siu Mai...well, if the abalone is the soup was mini, this is miniscule.  Note the size in relation to the finger nail.  Miniscule abalone aside, the siu mai is one of those items that is traditionally pork, but is replaced by chicken, without any loss of taste.  At least to me.






Shanghainese Dumpling (Xiu Long Bao) served in Tom Yam Broth. I honestly am a bit ambivalent about this dish, because sometimes I feel if it works, why change it.  I prefer ordinary xiu long bao to be honest, as the tom yam tends to overpower everything else.  And afterall, the joy of an XLB is having that clear superior broth flood your palate as it pops in your mouth.


Celestial Court Squid Ink Har Gao.




This lovely platter of Chilli Crab with Fried and Steamed Mantao, is the other dish that is limited to one portion per person.  This here is for 5 people.  The chilli sauce is absolutely yummy with the mantao.  The crabs, well, to be honest, blue swimmer crabs are not my favourite, give me mud crab anyday, but respecting religious sensitivities, Blue Swimmer Crabs are not amphibious and therefore are acceptable to all.

But seriously, that sauce and mantao, big thumbs up.

Their signature prawn and banana roll with wasabi mayonnaise has been a long time favourite of mine, and it takes a brave chef to think of such a combination.  It works wonderfully though, the heat of the wasabi, the subtle sweetness of the banana and the crunch of the prawn.


Bean curd rolls with Shrimp and Cheddar cheese.  Well, the cheddar was a subtle amount, which was good, as it didnt distract from the intended flavours.  I always love bean curd rolls, steamed, fried, whatever.


Yam Puff with duck liver and preserved olive filling.   Loved the yam, so creamy and rich, while crispy on the outside,  Very good woo kok.

Actually, in addition to just DIM SUM, there is a whole host of other stuff on the menu, and the roasts section, which surprisingly is not unlimited, boasts this roast duck which is very very good.  In fact, if you ask me, it's better than the limited offering of Peking Duck rolls.



Did I mention Peking Duck Rolls?  Yup, here they are, and these are the last of the three items where diners are allowed to order only one portion.  Which is more than enough.  Go for the roast duck, that is the bomb.


One of the bloggers/writers at the table mentioned that she is always on the quest for a good salted egg custard bun, and well, tah dah, whaddaya know...




I like to think of this as the chinese molten lava cake, as well, for starters, it's yellow, and secondly, that flowy lava-ry goodness does resemble lava more than chocolate does right?  I love this bao, if I wasn't so full I'd have attacked more.

Just having these few items was enough to send me into a food coma for the afternoon, so I dread to think what will happen if I came for the Weekend Brunch, paid RM138 and was working to get my money's worth.

The rest of the menu is really like an ala carte menu, with chicken, beef, seafood, rice and noodle dishes, so it really IS very very good value.


For more details or to make a reservation, please call 03-27179900, e-mail at restaurants.imperial@sheraton.com or visit www.sheratonimperialkualalumpur/celestialcourt


Monday, March 06, 2017

The Iconic Lemon Garden at Shangri-La Has Refurbished, Renovated, Reinnovated, Reinvigorated and Reopened!!!!

Every buffet lover would probably have at some point gone to the iconic Lemon Garden in Shangri-la KL, renowned for their lavish spread.  For our family, we spent many a Chinese New Year there, usually on the first day, and the place was always packed to the rafters.  For almost half a year though, it's been closed, and on weekends, the buffet was held at the Lobby Lounge, where we had a Christmas buffet circa December 2016, which was actually quite pleasant, because the Lobby Lounge has live singers and bands, so it does create a rather different feel.  But due to space constraints, the menu was also vastly limited, and there were no hot stations.

So, on the 27th Feb 2017, Lemon Garden was like a new bride, unveiled for the waiting public.  Actually the media were given a preview before the official opening, and what a fun night it was, of good company and great food.

I have always maintained I am not a buffet fan, and still maintain that I am not.  To me a buffet is like buying a CD Album, whereby in all probability you'll like maybe 20% of the contents, if you're lucky.  And to be honest, even in Lemon Garden, I can't say I like everything, which is just as well, because even eating the stuff I liked was already enough to send me into a food coma.

Anyway, the Facelift, designed by BOND DESIGN STUDIO from Japan, describes the interior as elegantly decked with modern and contemporary designs, that exude a warm and sophisticated ambience.  The flooring is made of gleaming off white and patterned tiles, and walls lined with framed glass and golden brown panels, while the ceiling features pendant lights and yellow light orbs.





As we were there for the media launch, we were privvy to the Seafood buffet, which usually available on weekends, (and more expensive that the weeknight one), which had King Crabs, mud crabs, oysters, yabbies, prawns, mussels, sashimi, etc...  Quite the gathering of Poseidon's kingdom.





My other favourite station was the Chinese Station, in particular the roasts (which looks like a chicken rice stall set up, but alas, there was no chicken rice), which has a lovely double boiled ginseng black chicken soup.







At the other end of the Chinese section, the noodle stall, which is my favourite as well, because of their fantastic curry noodles.  I usually embellish it with the other luxurious stuff, like this...


In the absence of Cockels for curry mee, I guess one cannot complain with these plump oysters....

Somewhere midway, they had the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially declare the reopening of Lemon Garden.









The Western Kitchen has a lovely Roast Beef, Glazed lamb ribs, cheeses, salads, pizzas and pastas....






2




Then of course there's the Asian theatre, which has tandoori, satay, murtabak, chicken tikka, naan bread, roti canai, etc...






Some of the stuff off my plate, the King Crab Claw, the mud crabs, the lovely roast duck below...


Photo courtesy of Broughtuptoshare....muaks...



The Makan Fairy Godmother, Shang's Marcomm guy, Reza, and me....
And finally, who can resist that wonderful dessert spread, chocolate fountain, a wide array of cakes, including their signature Durian Cake, Jackfruit puffs, Ice Kacang, Waffles, crepes, and my personal favourite, their home made ice creams.

Lemon Garden opens daily from 6am - 11.30pm, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Special buffets include the International Lunch Buffet from Monday to Saturdays, International Sunday Brunch, International Dinner Buffet from Sundays to Thursdays, and Seafood Dinner Buffets on Fridays and Saturdays.  AND a SUNDAY CHAMPAGNE BRUNCH, which I can't wait to try.

International Lunch Buffet
Monday – Friday (12noon – 2.30pm)
RM 128 nett (adult), RM 64 nett (child)

Saturday (12noon – 3pm)
RM 148 nett (adult), RM 74 nett (child)

International Sunday Brunch
Sunday (12noon – 3pm)
RM 168 nett (adult), RM 84 nett (child)

International Dinner Buffet
Sunday – Thursday (6.30pm – 10.30pm)
RM 158 nett (adult), RM 79 nett (child)

Seafood Dinner Buffet
Friday – Saturday (6.30pm – 10.30pm)
RM 208 nett (adult), RM104 nett (child)

Sunday Champagne Brunch (inclusive of 1 bottle of Veuve Cliquot per person)
Sunday (12noon – 3pm)
RM 488 nett (adult)

For reservations, call 03-20743900
Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Main line : 03-2032 2388