Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wine Pairing Dinner at Overseas Restaurant....A Blissful Marriage of Orient and Occident

Overseas Restaurant, be it the original one in Jln Imbi, or the one in Armada, (actually, is that the name of the building or just the hotel?) has always been one of our favourite family restaurants for Chinese food. Consistent, and delicious, although we don't go as often as I would like.

When I got an invite to attend a wine pairing dinner there, I was more than delighted, because I knew for sure the food was going to be good, so at least 50% of the battle was won.  Not only that, it's the first in a SERIES (how exciting is that, move over, Game of Thrones) of wine pairings from around the world, and this particular event was "Viaje De Gusto", wines from Spain, and likewise, food as well.

Over and above the media invite, the proprietor also asked me to extend an invite to my  friends, so what a fun night it was.

To start and paired with a lovely Cava (where apparently that night the restaurant had finished the that particular Cava stock in the whole country), cold cuts of Salami and Jamon, cheeses, olives, and I was just one step away from breaking into a Flamenco dance of joy.

...which incidentally, there was...

A pan of freshly seared Iberico  scented the entire area with that heavenly porcine aroma, and the meat was just melt in the mouth, washed down with the Cava.

The black truffle combo

The delicious fish maw and crab meat soup, I suppose was deemed to be in a level of its own, not to be paired or contaminated by any wines, so there was no wine pairing for this.  But actually it is a good match with the Cava.

The carnage...

Iberico  loin combo.... gorgeous iberico char siu, such decadence, paired with Montalvo Vilmot, a full bodied wine for full flavoured food.

Smoked Sliced Duck With Chinese Lamen, paired with the Prima.

As part of the evenings festivities, wine sommelier Jonathan walked us through the various wines we were drinking, explaining why each wine goes with what.

Hostess /emcee extraordinaire entertaining the crowd, with a game where participants could win some coveted bottles of wine, which entailed smelling and identifying certain every day items....which was harder than it sounds.  For example, the first item was "PINEAPPLE" and a good battalion of people had inhaled the mystery scent before a winner finally emerged.  Subsequently was vanilla, which even then, took a while, but Chris of Brought Up to Share won it.   Proud of you boy, if you read this, you know la hor, when to open that bottle you won and who to share it with.

Come and smell...


A lovely evening...can't wait for the next wine pairing....I think I heard Italy!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The New Pork Free Dynasty Restaurant, Renaissance Kuala Lumpur

As is the trend of many hotels in town these days, most Chinese restaurants that were previously not halal have decided to be more inclusive, and have converted to pork free status.  It's an interesting process, by the looks of some of the photos, whereby the religious authorities come and perform "samak", or a ritual cleansing, which in this case, took nearly a week.  So now, Dynasty Restaurant at the Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur is pork free.

However, one missing element or ingredient in a cuisine doesn't limit a chef's creativity, as we noted with Executive Sous Chef Kok Chee Kin's new pork free menu.  We were given a preview of the dim sums that are available, and also some of the ala carte menu items.

Crispy Prawn Toast with Sesame.  Crunchy toast wrapped around a crunchy prawn....

Prawn Wantan with Chilli Vinaigrette...  Love the generous use of prawns in the dim sum dishes.

Green dragon chive dumplings, ...I've always been a fan of chive dumplings.  So far so good, I didn't miss the absence of pork at all.

To me, this dish was the piece de resistance.  Golden Yam Puff.  Perfect yam to meat ratio, and the yam was creamy and soft, whilst the exterior was fluffy and crispy. This alone makes it worth a visit to Dynasty for dim sum.

The fabulousness of the yam puff itself totally eclipses the fact that this dish traditionally made with pork is now made with chicken.  Tastes just as good.

Minced Chicken Dumplings topped with dried scallops, aka siu mai.  No complaints here, the texture was great, crunchy and the flavours were good too.  A generous topping of roe as well gives it that extra kick.

Pan Seared Shanghai dumplings, chinese gyozas so to speak.  Plump and well filled, and well seared.  I liked the skin, which was the right thickness.  One doesn't want to get full on just dumpling skin, afterall.

Deep fried oyster appetiser.  Well, a pint of ice cold beer would go well with these babies.

Chicken Char Siu isn't as unbelievable a concept as it was say 10 years ago, when I first chanced upon it at the Chicken Rice Shop.  It's fairly common these days, so the non pork eaters can now enjoy the full flavours of char siu without the pork.  In fact, I like this so much, I am going to attempt making it as well.

Another outstanding dish, Baked Cod Portuguese style...I don't know how Portuguese made its way to a Chinese restaurant, but who cares, this dish is splendid.  Petai, long beans, brinjal, four angle beans...sound familiar?  It's the 4 heavenly kings dish, with the added cod and Portuguese sauce.

Aromatic Duck Breast with Tea Leaf.  This particular duck must have been working out in the gym a lot, cos I found it rather tough.

Oriental grilled lamb with Mongolian sauce, sauteed greens and diced mango.   A must for lamb lovers.  Moist lamb meat, with a lovely char, accompanied by a rather palatable sauce.

Szechuan style bean curd with assorted vegetables in claypot.  You cannot go wrong with a dish like this, all the familiar comfort food.  I could eat this with a bowl of rice and be happy.  Or even without the rice, since rice is EVIL.  (so say the modern day nutritionists).

And finally, sweetened mango puree with sago and pomelo.  A wonderfully tangy refreshing way to end the banquet.

Upcoming highlights include the Beggar's Chicken, now rebranded as the Emperor's Chicken, available from 6th April to 11th May.  It is afterall the year of the rooster.  Prices start from RM38 nett for half a chook to RM68 nett for the entire fowl.  Which is very reasonable,   Of course, since this dish requires an inordinate amount of preparation, 24 hours notice is required.

For reservations and restaurant enquiries, call 03-2716 9388.

Renaissance Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Corner of Jln Sultan Ismail and Jln Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2162 2233

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Graze Weekend Brunch - Great Value Brunch!!!!

When Walauwei asked if I was free to join him to try out the new Saturday brunch menu at Graze, Hilton Kuala Lumpur, I was a bit hesitant, because I had been unable to attend previous invites by the gregarious Zhamir Faris of Hilton KL, and I felt a bit "malu" (shy) to suddenly appear.  Fortunately, I put aside my shyness, and decided, why not, it IS Graze, and it IS the Hilton Kuala Lumpur, and one needs to eat on Saturday right?

I love the atmosphere at Graze.  (It used to be Senses in the days of yore, under the helm of old friend, Michael Elfwing).  The natural sunlight from the glass windows, that airy cheery feeling makes one want to celebrate life, and good food.  Even more so after one or two of their delectable cocktails.

A tray of pastries are proffered, and I have to say, that croissant was calling my name.

A limited but adequate choice of Brunch cocktails, and reasonably priced too, for hotel standards.  Actually, for any standard.  Looking  at the average prices of cocktails at the many speakeasies that have mushroomed recently, one is inclined to gawk.

Our heated pastries, and just look at that lovely flaky buttery croissant.  With my Long Black (RM12), I would have been quite happy with just this sublime combination.

Their famed onsen egg, previously known as 63 Degree egg... At RM30, it might seem a bit exorbitant for eggs, even if they were golden, but beneath that eggstraordinary layer are bits of goodies like king prawns, mushroom, etc.  It's a meal by itself.  And those eggs, ...let me clarify, I am a hard core lover of soft boiled eggs.  I hate hard boiled eggs.  This kind of egg to me is the perfect perfect way of eating eggs.  Unfortunately, we do not all have sous vide machines at home, but if I did, I'll be sous vide-ing my eggs daily at a comfortable 63 degrees.

To accompany my runny eggs, a delightfully crimson cocktail, aptly named Cheer-rie, made of Pedro Ximenez, Gin and Maraschino syrup. Pedro is a sherry, for the uninformed.  Usually I'd have found this too sweet, but since it was an accompaniment at breakfast and I had just finished a long black, it was rather palatable.

Not quite kaya on toast...

Pan Fried Snapper and Salmon Cakes, which gout ridden Walauwei had to order as he cannot partake red meats at the moment, poor chap, but it turned out to be a boon rather than bane, as apparently the salmon cake was superb.  Since he didn't share, I wouldn't know. RM40

There are numerous side dishes which you can order as well, like potato rosti, spinach, mushrooms, spicy sausages

Zhamir had the Chicken Schnitzel, which is his favourite, apparently.  RM40

Being the incurable carnivore that I am, I ordered the grilled Black Angus Fillet Mignon, (100gm), with sunny side up fried egg.  (RM68).  To be honest, the meat was overdone.  I had expected a bit of blood with my medium order, but it was more like a medium well.  I think the general principle of ordering steak in KL is to order a notch down, if you want a medium, as for medium rare, ...and if you want rare, tell them just to bring the cow....

But the absence of blood was quickly rectified with the wonderful ....

Bloody Mary....lovely tangy tomato juice, enough vodka for that kick, and that heat from presumably Tabasco.  It's a perfect brunch drink.

And finally the desserts....

Arent they just the most pretty stack of pancakes ever.  (RM25).  The pear and cherry compote was actually very very good.  The pears still had that crunch, and the tang of the berries complemented the vanilla ice cream.

Valrhona Chocolate Souffle. (RM30) A must for chocolate and souffle lovers.  I'm ambivalent about souffles, mainly because I like solid desserts.  So the airiness and lightness of it whilst IS the strength and selling point of a souffle, doesn't exactly tickle my fancy.

Now THIS beauteous French toast is another story.  Visually stunning, texturally interesting, and decadent.  My kind of dessert.

Completed with the swirling of the vanilla sauce around it. Actually it was creme anglaise, same thing said in a more elegant way.  RM25

For a hotel, and even comparing with some cafes that serve brunch, I have to say that Graze is very reasonably and competitively priced, AND, it's FREE PARKING for the weekend brunch.  That alone is a massive saving, almost the price of a coffee.

The Weekend Brunch, as is suggested by the name, is available on WEEKENDS only.

Call to book, it gets packed on Sundays especially.

Hilton Kuala Lumpur : 03-2264 2264