Food Review: Hanami High Tea @ Nobu Kuala Lumpur – Too Pretty To Be Eaten!

Nowhere else in the world is a season so strongly associated to a particular bloom, than Japan and its beautiful cherry blossoms. And while the Japanese are undoubtedly excited about going to the park after work/on the weekend to enjoy the scenery, the rest of the world who a) haven’t been able to book their trips and b) can’t afford to travel will have to be content with looking at photos on Insta-feeds. sighs wistfully.

There is hope, however. If you’re in KL (where we also have four ‘seasons’: hot, monsoon, mosquito and durian. lol) and want to experience a slice of Japanese spring, Nobu Kuala Lumpur is having their Hanami high tea sets until end of April, featuring dishes inspired by Japan’s famous cherry blossoms.

The Hanami High Tea sets come in three bento boxes, namely sushi, kitchen and sweet. The sushi box features a selection of cold appetisers, the kitchen has heartier, more substantial bites, while the sweet is perfect for those with a sweet tooth.

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For the uninitiated, Nobu is the brainchild of Chef Matsuhisa Nobu, a Japanese celebrity chef known for his Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. The Kuala Lumpur outlet, located on Level 56 of Petronas Tower 3, is a classy space that offers an excellent view of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, as well as the city skyline. The classy ambience and top notch service immediately puts diners at ease – ideal for a night out with the S/O or intimate dinners with loved ones.

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Start with the Hanami Sushi Bento, which comes with a platter of cold dishes, such as creamy Pumpkin Custard and Salmon Asian Pear. Served in a delicate bowl, the pumpkin custard was creamy and rich, topped with salmon roe for a burst of brininess, while the Salmon Asian Pear’s tanginess cut through the fatty salmon well. Served on the side was Datemaki or Japanese omelette – so fluffy it was almost like eating a sponge cake.

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Also part of the set was Whitefish Sashimi Salad with Cilantro Dressing, Pine Nuts and Parmesan. A perfect blend of East meets West, the meaty whitefish has a fatty yet firm texture which works wonderfully with the earthy pine nuts and refreshing, herby cilantro.

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A simple Potato Salad is elevated with caviar, next to Kinpira Gobo (braised burdock root and carrot). Not a fan of burdock root in general, but those who like its sweet flavour and crunchy texture will enjoy this simple dish.

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For something more substantial, opt for the Hanami Kitchen Bento, which comes with a variety of warm dishes. This is good enough for a complete meal imo as portions are generous, especially the shrimps.

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Grilled Shrimps with Garlic Aioli. The garlic aioli was creamy but not cloying, almost like a mild mentaiko sauce. Shrimps were giant! The meat was sweet and fresh as well, and I liked how they fried the heads so that you can enjoy them whole.

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Probably the most perfectly grilled shrimps I’ve ever seen! A bit of the shell left on and slightly charred for a smoky aftertaste.

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Meanwhile, the Soft Shell Crab Harumaki (spring roll) was fried to perfection. The unagi sauce acted as the perfect complement to the light and delicate crab meat.

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Rounding up the Hanami Kitchen Set was King Crab Miso with Ponzu sauce, and Sakura Chicken Dumpling With Black Soy Bean Miso. The latter had some curious reactions, as it’s not everyday you see a pink dumpling!

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High Tea will not be complete without dessert, and the Hanami Sweet Set comes with four pieces: Sakura Strawberry Ice Cream, Chocolate Chestnut Tart, Fruity Crunchy Bar & Choco Pearls, and White Goma Sponge. Favourite was definitely the Sakura Strawberry Ice Cream, which came with a delicate cookie bowl, as well as the Fruity Crunchy Bar which was a nice balance of sweet and salty with its salted egg yolk coating.

The Hanami High Tea Sets are available on weekends from 30 March until 28 April 2019, priced at RM150++ each.

For reservations, call 03-2164 5084.

NOBU Kuala Lumpur

Level 56, Menara 3 Petronas, Persiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fluffy Sheep & Beautiful Mountain Views – Cing Jing Farm, Taichung Taiwan

There are two must visit places while at the Nantou district in Taichung, Taiwan. One is Sun Moon Lake (check out my previous blog post!) , and the other is Cingjing, or Qing Jing Farm – a sprawling farm and tourist attraction high up in the mountains. The weather is chilly due to its high altitude, and a visit here in the different seasons yields a unique experience each time, as the landscape and surrounding greenery changes in spring, summer, autumn and winter.

20170214_155032-tileThe entrance is rather gimmicky – I’d do away with the castle and focus more on the whole rustic farm experience. 🙂

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We got here late and the farm was closing in an hour (!) so we made a beeline for the sheep pasture to catch them grazing before they were herded back to their pens. The landscape was breathtaking, with beautiful mountains shrouded slightly in mist, gentle rolling slopes and orange/red tinted trees all around (our visit was at the end of winter, so vegetation was still sparse and yellowish).

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There was a show area with ponies and horses.

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Early cherry blossoms, just beginning to flower. In Spring, the farm plays host to dozens of these beautiful blooms.

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Finally got to the grazing area! There were a dozen or more sheep, their fluffy beige coats giving them a puffy, fat appearance. Guests can feed them with pellets from a vending machine.

20170214_162121-tile 20170214_162659-tileA couple was there doing a wedding photoshoot. While the view was picturesque, I can’t imagine trudging through the mud and grass for those shots. When the bride was told to sit down and fan her skirt out behind her, I could see her wincing when a curious sheep sat right on her train, while others tried to nibble the hem of her gown! 😛

At 5pm, the shepherds came to get the sheep back to their pens. They whistled from the fence, and the sheep immediately fell into a ‘line’, trotting to the gate. Fascinating. 
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More pink cherry blossoms…

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And white ones!

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Tried out ‘Sheep’s milk ice-cream’. It was more ice than cream, less sweet and more milky.

 

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While you might not be able to see the sunset properly, the view in the evening is lovely. it gets cold so remember to bring a windproof jacket.

Getting There 

From Taichung City, take a 2-hour Nantou bus from Taichung Gancheng Bus Station, or board the bus from Taichung High Speed Rail Station. Bus schedule here:

ntbus.com.tw/cjfm.html