Food Review: Lesa, Melbourne

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. If I had to choose a place to live (other than KL), Melbourne would definitely be on top of the list. Why? Aside from a thriving arts and culture scene, they’ve also got awesome coffee. And of course, food. Australians in general are big on food and wine, but Melbourne is on another level. Not only is the scene one of the world’s most sophisticated, you literally cannot find food that sucks here, lol. Or at least not any that I’ve tried.

Enter Lesa, upstairs from another popular resto, Embla, along Russel Street. Ascend a dark and narrow staircase to find a cosy spot that is contemporary and slightly reserved; not too casual but not intimidating either. Rough, brick walls are complemented by sleek wooden furniture, the large glass windows allowing for plenty of sunlight to filter in during the day. It’s the perfect place for intimate dinner dates or a long lunch with business associates and/or friends – preferably with a glass of wine from their extensive list.


Our four-course menu kicked off with Fermented potato flatbread, shiitake and macadamia. Fluffy with a crisp crust, the bread was elevated to new heights with the macadamia cream and the rich earthiness of the shiitake oil.


Next was Spanner Crab, Floratina Tomatoes, Pine Nut & Laurel, a delightful combination of flavours pairing the natural sweetness of the carb with the tartness of the tomatoes, the slight bitter sharpness of the laurel and pine nut. Being a big fan of seafood, this was right up my alley!


My favourite of the lot was the third course: Lamb rump, chocolate capsicum, garlic and almond. Chocolate capsicum sounds like a crazy combination, but it worked surprisingly well – it was almost like eating a mild and chewy sweet. The lamb was the star of the show – perfectly pink and succulent, with just the right balance of lean and fat.



Sides of roast potato and reine de glace iceberg, rocket and hazelnut. Now people who know me know I’m not a big fan of vegetables, but these were so fresh and nicely dressed that it had me going for seconds.




Last but not least was the innovative Roast potato parfait, chocolate, sourdough, lemongrass. This is one of those non-sweet desserts that do just as well as an ending to the meal; loved the creamy texture of the parfait and the fragrant notes of lemongrass.

Originality is definitely Lesa’s strong suit; the dishes are creative and put together in ways that many other restaurants will not even dare to go near with a ten-foot pole. Presentation can appear sparse, but what really matters here is flavour.


level 1/122 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Phone: +61 3 9935 9838

Business hours: Wed & Sat (dinner service only – 5.30PM – 11PM), Thurs & Fri (lunch and dinner, 12 – 3PM, 5.30 – 11PM). Closed from Sun – Tues.


Food Review: “Vibe Dining” and Contemporary Chinese at FUHU @ Resorts World Genting

Partygoers in Malaysia (and Singapore) will be familiar with Zouk – one of the biggest names in the Asian clubbing scene. In recent years, the brand has been moving towards more lifestyle-oriented offerings – which is why at Zouk Genting, they have a number of other outlets (besides the main club), such as the games lounge Redtail by Zouk, hiphop club Empire, and Redtail Karaoke.

1. FUHU Restaurant & Bar entrance

The latest to join the Zouk Genting family is FUHU. Meaning “Lucky Tiger” in Mandarin, the new ‘vibe dining’ experience entails contemporary Chinese cuisine created by Hong Kong “Demon Chef” Alvin Leung, whose unique yet nostalgic creations fuses East and West; reimagining Asian flavours with a modern spin on classic fare. Its also the perfect place for pre-drinks and after-party drinks with friends, all in a fun and lively atmosphere.


2. FUHU Restaurant & Bar walkway

Entering through the apothecary-themed entrance, diners venture in through an Instagrammable passageway, complete with mirrors on one side of the wall that reflect lights on the other. The effect is rather ethereal, as you make your way into a mysterious ‘garden’ of sensory delights.


3. FUHU Restaurant & Bar Interior

Emerging, be awed by the cool and trendy chinoiserie interiors, which play on elements found in traditional Chinese apothecaries juxtaposed against a garden of wonder brought to life by artful lighting and pop art graffiti. The restaurant covers 750 square metres of space, and seats up to 150 diners.


Celebrated graffiti artist, Kenji Chai brings to life the tale of Lady Meng and the Tiger in a floor-to-ceiling mural, while elements of traditional Chinese culture such as rosewood chairs and Ming-dynasty blue and white porcelain motifs transport guests into the story. The centerpiece is the bar area, which features a life-sized sakura ‘tree’ glowing in the dark.


Portrait - Chef Alvin Leung 2

If you’ve always wanted to try food by a Michelin-starred chef, here’s your chance. The menu at FUHU was created in collaboration with Chef Alvin Leung. One of the biggest names in the Asian culinary arts scene, Leung is an unconventional figure known for his ‘X-Treme Chinese Cuisine’ and molecular gastronomy, and has three Michelin stars for his restaurant, Bo Innovation, in Hong Kong. The menu at Fuhu, however, will be a departure from his usual style of cooking, and instead pays homage to the unique Chinese dishes from where Leung was born and raised, namely London and Toronto. As such, diners can enjoy smaller plates for sharing, or full-blown Chinese meals complete with rice and dishes.

4. Sticky Lamb Shank

Signature items include the FUHU Roasted Duck, Aromatic Crispy Duck, Boston Lobster Noodles, Szechuan-style Hot & Sour Lobster Soup, The General’s Fried Chicken & Waffle, and Quark Quark Rice Soup. For our media tasting session, a notable highlight was the Sticky Lamb Shank, which was fall-off-the-bone tender with a sweet glaze and accompanied by a creamy, curry sauce.

5. Aromatic Crispy Duck

Aromatic Crispy Duck. The way you eat this is by shredding the meat and placing it into the soft mantou with some of the sweet sauce and vegetables, making for comforting bite-sized morsels.

6. Boston Lobster Noodle

A must-have is the Boston Lobster Noodle, bursting with seafoody goodness and generous chunks of fresh, sweet lobster meat. Noodles were silky, each strand coated in the savoury broth.

11. The Generals Fried Chicken

Another crowd favourite was the General’s Fried Chicken – essentially boneless fried chicken karaage coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. These were insanely addictive, with the crispy skin and tender, juicy meat.


Duck is a major ingredient at Fuhu. The duck essence porridge distills the meat’s goodness into a clear, lip smacking congee that warms the belly. Great for hangovers!


For dessert, the humongous Double Sundae combo, featuring a tall piece of French toast topped with various goodies such as durian ice cream, marshmallows and an ice cream cone.



Alcohol lovers will not be disappointed as FUHU serves some amazingly creative cocktails by resident mixologist Saam Pranill. Taking into account Fuhu’s Chinese origins, Saam also incorporates local ingredients and flavours, and drinks are served in unique vessels picked out from his travels, be it antique teapots or mini wooden buckets.


A signature drink here is Drunken Tiger, a mix of gin, campari and martini rosso, and get this – Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa (yes, as in the herbal drink used to treat coughs) garnished with orange zest.



Other must tries include the Tiffined Gin Tonic, featuring artisanal tonic from Greece paired with grapefruit soda and Beefeater, as well as The Reunion, which is served in a  Chinese tea set and consists of bourbon, honey, calamansi lime juice, cinnamon, orange slices, hot water and red dates.

All in all, I loved my experience at Fuhu – the food, the drinks and of course, the cool vibe. Definitely a unique experience you won’t get elsewhere, and that you’d want to visit with friends both before and after the party!


Zouk Genting, Level G, Resorts World Genting, 69000 Genting Highlands, Pahang, Malaysia

Business hours: 6PM – 1AM (daily)

Review: Unlimited BBQ @ Rocku Yakiniku, 1 Utama Shopping Centre Petaling Jaya

What’s better than barbecue?


There’s nothing like the sizzle of fresh meat as it hits the grill, and the glisten of oil and juices over beautifully marbled slices of pork belly. You get all that, and more, at Rocku Yakiniku, a popular Japanese-style barbecue (yakiniku)joint located within 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Bandar Utama Petaling Jaya. 

Video here. Scroll to the bottom to read more details!

This is actually my second time here (the first was with my junior writer and we were too busy eating to take pictures, lol). Since it was S’s birthday, I decided to treat him to a meal. We thought the resto would be super busy since it was a Saturday, but it was surprisingly empty. Not that we’re complaining!  The interior is upbeat, casual and cosy, with cool Japanese-themed murals decorating the brick walls. There is a stage at the centre where they have music performances in the evenings.

Service was prompt and friendly. You can choose from the Platters (beef, pork and seafood – good for if you want to try a bit of everything) or opt for individual orders. The red meats such as lamb and beef are flown in from Australia and New Zealand.


The buffet corner has a limited selection of items, which is fair since most people come here for the grilled items anyway. There’s the sauce station where you can mix and match your own dips, such as yuzu chilli, sushi shoyu, chilli sauce, and more. I recommend the spicy miso – savoury with a spicy kick; great with various grilled meats.


For carb lovers, there’s fried rice, sushi rolls, udon and stir fried noodles, alongside chawan mushi, tofu and fried snacks like chicken wings and hash browns.


While the charcoal grill was being heated, we got a couple of snacks to nibble on. Udon had a nice sweetish flavour and good texture, hash browns were greasy but tasty, but AVOID the chicken wings – they were obviously fried way earlier and the batter was rock hard.


Meats are grilled over a charcoal fire, which I think is better at producing that charred, smoky taste compared to gas fires.

For starters, S and I went for a seafood platter and pork platter. The seafood platter came with squid, mussels, saba (mackerel), butterfish, shrimps and scallops, while the pork platter had 3 pieces of pork shoulder, pork belly and bacon slathered in a marinade. There was also a piece of lard for us to grease the grill.


Portions were generous and hearty, especially the shrimps and the butterfish slices.


Grilling in progress


One thing about BBQ is that you really have to work for your food 😀

Everything was fresh and tasty. S liked the bacon slices which had a sweet, smoky flavour. Even better if you get a piece of pork belly, slather some spicy miso onto it, put the meat onto a piece of lettuce and eat that whole, as the veggie helps to cut through the fattiness and grease. Shrimps were sizable, which was impressive seeing how difficult it is to get large-sized shrimps at many establishments these days.


The scallops were served in aluminium foil bowls and heated up til they bubbled merrily. There was also a dash of egg yolk(presumably quail) in the broth.

Personally, being a seafood lover, I really enjoyed the squid and butterfish, which like its namesake, has a buttery texture and just melts on the tongue. Kinda like fatty tuna.


Round 2 of our orders saw more bacon, more pork belly, and lamb shoulder. This was the only ‘meh’ item we had because the meat was really lean and ended up being dry.

Drinks are ordered separately, but an economical choice would be the green tea which is served in a jug for RM3 and can be shared among a group.

Our lunch for two came up to RM120, which was pretty reasonable for a barbecue buffet. If you come on weekday afternoons, it’s RM39.90++ per pax.

Rocku Yakiniku has another outlet in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur.


F.355, F.356 & F.357, First Floor, Rainforest, No. 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 11PM (Daily)

Go ‘Island Hopping’ At Native Kitchen @ Village Hotel, Sentosa Singapore

Go on a gastronomical “island hopping” adventure with Native Kitchen, the latest islander-inspired restaurant to open at Village Hotel at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore. Serving up wholesome and authentic cuisine from the tropics, the casual setting is ideal for sharing meals and conversation, over dishes that use fresh ingredients and culinary techniques to bring out their natural flavours.

Grilled Seafood Platter

Under Executive Chef Patrice Godino’s direction, expect iconic dishes from Southeast Asia as well as the Polynesian islands, on top of well-loved local favourites and international food. Chef Patrice’s philosophy is simple: a good meal should be easy to appreciate, and the flavours of fresh produce must stand out without being masked by heavy sauces or extensive plating.

Island Ceviche

Fruits, meats and seafood prepared with a tropical twist are part and parcel of island dining, and feature prominently in Native Kitchen. Some of the restaurant’s signature dishes include appetisers such as the Watermelon & Feta Salad ($14), served with cherry tomatoes and cucumber in a lime dressing and tossed with chia seeds, and the delicious Island Ceviche ($18) (above) with Barramundi, cucumbers and carrots marinated in lime juice, coconut milk and ginger.

Big Kahuna Burger

Misoyaki Butterfish

For mains, choose between comfort food items such as a Big Kahuna Burger ($28) filled with chopped steak, grilled pineapple and thick bacon, or a Mojo Pork Cubano Sandwich ($18). Other delectable options are Misoyaki Butterfish ($40) and Bebek Goreng ($25), a Balinese-styled deep fried duck served with jasmine rice.

Chicken Rice

Dig into familiar classics such as the Native Kitchen Nasi Lemak ($20) with home-made sambal, and a Hainan Island Chicken Rice ($24). Other exotic island cuisine to tuck into include the Aloha Fish Tacos ($22) from Hawaii to the Maldivian-styled Sticky Island Wings ($16).

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Dessert lovers can round up the meal with the Pineapple Upside Down Cake ($22) and the Hula Pie ($20). A wide selection of Cocktails, Mocktails, Spirits, Beers, Wines and other refreshing beverages are also available.

Island fare aside, Native Kitchen serves a Breakfast Buffet for families, travellers and staycationers staying at Village Hotel at Sentosa. Guests can look forward to a wide variety of Asian and Western delights, fruits, cereals, juices and hot morning brews to kickstart their day.

For reservations, email or call +65 6722 0818.

*Photos courtesy of Native Kitchen


10 Artillery Avenue, #02-02, Sentosa Island, Village Hotel at Sentosa, Singapore 099951

Opening hours: Breakfast Buffet (6.30am to 10.30am), A La Carte Menu: 12pm – 10pm (last order at 9.30pm)


Review: Cheap Japanese Eats @ Sukiya Tokyo Bowls and Noodles, IOI Mall Puchong

While not authentic by any stretch, there are many cheap and tasty ‘Japanese’ inspired outlets all over the Klang Valley, if you need a quick fix. One of these is Sukiya Tokyo Bowls and Noodles, which has recently opened up a branch in IOI Mall Puchong.


Tucked along food street, the small albeit cosy establishment boasts hues of red, white and Japanese-inspired decor.



They’re currently having a promotion with rice dishes below RM10. Can’t say the quality is top notch but it offers plenty of bang for your buck. (Above) Pop’s chicken teriyaki katsu.


I ordered their signature beef bowl aka Spicy Ontama Gyudon, which came with a generous serving of thinly sliced beef over rice. For its price, the beef quality was good, although I don’t know where ‘spicy’ came in because it had zero spiciness. Nice ratio of onions. The onsen egg was served separately. Added on a ‘set’ with a side of chicken gyoza, miso soup and tea, for mum, coz she eats like a bird.

All in all, cheap, fast Japanese bowls for when you feel like eating some Japanese but don’t want to fork money out for expensive sushi.


F508 First Floor,IOI Mall Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47170 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 10PM

Price range: RM6 – RM20



Swallow @ The Saw Emporium – The Hottest Pop-Up Dining Joint in Penang Now Extended Til July 2018!

What can you do with an old, disused saw mill?

You turn it into the hottest, most happening food spot in town.

At least, that’s what the folks at The Steamship Merchants have done with Swallow @ The Saw Emporium, located at Gat Lebuh Macallum in Georgetown, Penang.


Open since November 2017, Swallow is a multi-concept culinary and lifestyle pop-up event, housed on the first level of a 1950-built art-deco industrial heritage building.

Swallow, The Saw Emporium @ Macallum Road, Penang, Malaysia - 2017 - Kian Contract Malaysia (134)

Make your way from the carpark to the Courtyard and through the original sawmill, lined with timber, tools and saw blades along a walkway. A repurposed 5-metre-long timbre table in the al fresco Courtyard seats 24 on stools from Kian Furniture.

Ultra. Instagrammable.  

Though, it’s really the food and lifestyle offerings that draws the crowd – and they’ve got brand spanking new concepts, new hours, updated food menus and upcoming kitchen takeovers. Originally scheduled to end in early 2018, response has been so encouraging that they’ve extended it until July 2018! 

PhoViet Flatlay 1

New to Swallow is Pho Viet, a Vietnamese café-restaurant committed to serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine with healthy, fresh ingredients. Feast on authentic dishes, from banh mi sandwiches and barbecued meats to fresh and fried spring rolls and steamed banana cakes.

Embers Braised Pork Belly Rice

Mainstay dining partners return with updated menus and well-loved favourites. Leading the charge is Embers BBQ Grill, a fully-flamed and fired-up Asian interpretation of the classic All-American steakhouse. Expect slow roasts and smokey meats marinated in herbs and condiments typically found in Asian kitchens, cooked over a glowing charcoal fire. The  menu also showcases savoury snacks for sharing such as Luncheon Meat Fries and Happy Like Duck Nachos, as well as more substantial items like the Taiwanese Pork Rice.

Whatsæb Flatlay


For tantalising Thai dishes, head to WhatSaeb แซบ Boat Noodles. The word saeb is an Isan/North-eastern Thai word for delicious, and Whatsaeb certainly delivers with panache with its authentic Thai boat noodles, served in dainty bowls that easily stack up – because one is never enough. As part of their updated menu, the pop-up now offers Pad Thai Nong Khai and Larb Moo Tod (fried pork and herb meatballs) as well.

Teppei Syokudo Eat

Not to be missed is Teppei Syokudo, the flagship of the award winning Teppei Japanese Restaurant from Singapore. Famous for its great value omakase set dinners in Singapore, Malaysian guests will be able to tuck into its expanded rice bowl offerings, with hot-sellers like Unagi Tamago Don, Katsu Curry Don and Mentaiko Rice.

Swallow Bottled Cocktails

Food is not the only thing that Swallow brings to the table, as they carry their own brand of bottled cocktails, now available via the DaVinci Gourmet Cocktail Bar. Meanwhile, beer lovers will not want to miss out on TAPS Beer Bar, a pure craft beer bar with outlets in Kuala Lumpur, as they continue to expand their craft beer and cider bottles with weekly specials in limited quantities.

Taps 9

Qwenchers Logo Embedded

Those who prefer something non-alcoholic (like yours truly) can quench their thirst at the Qwenchers Juice Bar, where one will find everything from coffee to tea and cocktails, prepared using only the best and freshest natural ingredients coupled with unique homemade recipes. Alternatively, hop on over to Norm, where its baristas-cum-bartenders present to diners skyscraping waffles, signature tiramisu and specialty coffees from 9AM, whilst infusing limited-edition cocktails via Noct from dusk until midnight.

Weekend takeovers and quarter long pop-ups with partners such as SOi 55 modern Thai, Yin’s Sourdough Pizza, Three Food Truck & Wham ensure that every visit will be a different experience to Swallow. Friday evenings from 9PM – midnight are a great time to chill, as the venue showcases local artistes, musicians and songbirds.

Swallow, The Saw Emporium @ Macallum Road, Penang, Malaysia - 2017 - Kian Contract Malaysia (62)

From April 2018, Swallow opens from Wednesdays to Sundays and Public Holidays from 11 am to 12 midnight or until the last guest leaves. The Saw Emporium is available for private event bookings and corporate event reservations with customized menus including non-Swallow days on Mondays and Tuesdays, subject to availability via

Swallow @ The Saw Emporium
1 Gat Lebuh Macallum, George Town 10300, Penang


*Photos courtesy of

Review: Kong Sai Zai, Bandar Putri Puchong – Poached Chicken and Curry Ribs

Ask any Puchong-ite about where to get poached chicken and chances are, you’ll be directed to Kong Sai Zai in Bandar Putri, Puchong. In the restaurant’s early days, they occupied just one corner shoplot, but have since extended to two, with an upstairs dining area to boot. The quality of the dishes has not changed much: a good thing, since many establishments lose their QC once they’ve become popular – but the price has gone up significantly as well.

There are two chicken options available – regular (RM25 – half) or free-range/village (RM30- half). Village chicken has less meat and is pricier, because unlike their farm-bred counterparts, the chickens are allowed to ‘roam’ free and are raised using traditional farming methods. Some people therefore see them as a healthier alternative to commercialised chicken factories, where the chickens are often cooped up with no room to run around, and injected with all sorts of antibiotics to stimulate growth.

We went for half village chicken coz the guy said they ran out of the regular ones. The portion was still hefty! The meat was soft and tender, but what really elevated the dish was the sauce, which seemed to be a blend of soy sauce and (presumably) sesame oil. It is sweet rather than salty, and the meat soaks it up well, so that the natural flavours of the chicken are highlighted rather than being overpowered. It’s not the best poached chicken I’ve had, but it’s still quite a good one nonetheless.


Stir-fried veggies were pretty good – fresh and crunchy.


BONUS: I recommend ordering this! Curry pork ribs (RM13 – single portion). It doesn’t look very appetising since it’s served in an aluminium tin foil. It’s messy and the curry looks (and probably is!) very oily. But the flavours are good, and the ribs are melt-in-your-mouth tender. Wish they had chopped this up more evenly though coz there were some really humongous pieces vs tiny ones.


44G, Jalan Puteri 5/2, Bandar Puteri Puchong.

Business hours: Lunch (11.30AM – 2.30PM), Dinner (5.30PM – 10PM), closed Mondays

Phone: 019-208 8249

American-Style Wings at Wingstop,The Curve, Mutiara Damansara

Everyone who knows me knows that I have an insatiable appetite for fried chicken. MORESO fried chicken wings. So I was super psyched when I heard an American franchise, Wingstop, was finally making its way to Malaysian shores! They’ve been quite aggressive on their social media platforms, posting these amazing, juicy-looking pictures of ayam goreng hmm. I was so excited I decided to drive through bad after-work traffic to The Curve, Mutiara Damansara.

It was a weekday night and the place was empty during dinner service. Waiters were warm and friendly; one of them taught me how to use the self-service iPad. I keyed in my order of six wings done in two flavours (they have ten to choose from), served with a side of onion rings (or fries) , ranch dip and a soft drink. The cashier gave me a round disc which I had to place on my table and would light up once my order was ready. 

And waited…

And waited some more. Considering the place was really empty, they took really long to get my order done. I had loads of time to take in the decor – warm, with lots of wooden accents and deep wall coats of green and gray. Didn’t want to get annoyed, because I did come all the way here for the food and they did pride themselves in making things ‘fresh to order’ – so I was hoping it would be worth it. After 20 minutes, the waiter who originally greeted me came over to my table and told the kitchen to hurry up lol.

Close to the 30 minute mark, the order finally arrived and it was visually pleasing ! My stomach gave a hearty rumble at the beautiful sight of wings coated in Buffalo sauce, and sprinkled over with Garlic Parmesan. I tucked into the latter first. It was fragrant with garlic and cheese, but I was disappointed once I took a bite. Fragrance seemed to be all it had, as the chicken was tasteless and oily.


I was holding in imaginary tears at this point. My long wait and drive through traffic! Maybe the Buffalo wings would fare better.

WRONG again! It had an overwhelmingly sour taste (yes, I know vinegar is the base but this was too sour), and the flavour was unpleasant. I’ve had American-style wings in Los Angeles (Buffalo Wild Wings – link here), and they definitely didn’t taste like this. :/ At that point I was just really disappointed but I tried my best to finish it anyway because hey, it wasn’t cheap and I don’t like wasting food. Even so, I couldn’t finish all six because it was so greasy, the oil stuck down my throat. This coming from a girl who can polish off like 10 Korean-fried chicken wings in one go.

To their credit, the onion rings and ranch dip was good, but… aren’t you specialising in chicken wings? :/

Maybe I got there on a bad day and the quality of the food + service time was bad. I really wanted it to be good, and left sorely disappointed. All in all, I’d give them a 9/10 for service, but just a 2/10 for food. Sorry, guys. Better luck next time. I don’t think I would drive all the way to the Curve to have you again – I’ll stick to my 4Fingers. 

WINGSTOP @ The Curve 

G-51, The Street, The Curve, Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Open daily: 11AM – 10PM.