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Review: I Tried Burger King Malaysia’s new Japanese Curry Burger

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It’s been awhile since I last had anything from Burger King, but they recently launched new menu items – ie the Japanese Curry Whopper and the Japanese Curry Chick’N Crisp – which looked pretty promising. Since there’s a Burger King at the place where I shop for groceries, I got the chicken version to go (ala carte: RM12). You can also get the sets, which come with the standard fries and a drink.

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First impressions: Sizeable. With fast food joints, sometimes you get really sad-looking, deflated burgers that looked as if an elephant had sat on them lol. This burger came with not one but two crispy chicken patties and a slice of cheese in between, and these were topped with a generous amount of vegetables and onions, sandwiched between two fluffy sesame buns.

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They were also very generous with the Japanese curry sauce, mixed with mayo. The sauce is the winner here; mildly sweet with a hint of spice, and it binds all of the elements in the burger really well – you get a flavourful mix of sweet and savoury, paired with the crispness of the patty, the juicy moistness of the chicken meat, the soft and pillowy buns, plus the crunch from the onions and veggies. A solid burger: I’d give it an 8.5/10.

Aside from the chicken, there’s also BK’s signature Beef Whopper, but with Japanese curry sauce. The sets go for RM15.90 (chicken) and RM16.90 (beef), and are available for a limited time only.

Meal For One: Humongous Fried Cheese Burger @ Caffeinees Puchong

“Never trust a place that serves a lot of dishes.” 

I can’t remember where I heard this pearl of wisdom before, but I agree that it has merit. Some restaurants specialise in one or two dishes, so you can trust that they’ve honed it to perfection. With a resto that serves multiple items, however, it’s harder to gauge if the food is ‘good’ per se. For instance, a chef might be good at making Western food, but they might not necessarily know how to make good Chinese food – unless you have a big kitchen with different chefs with different specialties.

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Caffeinees is one of those places with an extensive menu. Known for its fusion cuisine served in a high-end setting, the brand has two very popular outlets in Kampung Pandan Cheras and Sunway, and they’ve recently opened up a third on in Puchong Utama’s Industrial Park area. Aside from European-inspired dishes like pizzas and pastas, you will also find tower burgers, rice, noodles, sushi, coffee, wines… you name it, they probably have it!

I came here for lunch break during one of my WFH days. Parking is a bitch so either come here early, or you’ll have to park across the road.

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The interior features dim lighting, dark furniture, a chandelier and a bar – which would have looked classy if not for the packed seating arrangements. I can imagine the resto being quite noisy and crowded during peak hours. That being said, they cater for private events like product launches, birthday parties, weddings and more.

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I like the bar area. Classy!

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Prices are above average, so be prepared to fork out a little extra. They offer a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including milkshakes, fresh fruit juices, coffee and wines. I got a glass of chocolate milk shake (RM16), which was decent – smooth, creamy and not too sweet. I wish the serving was a bit bigger though.

Okay, so the reason why I came to Caffeinees was because I saw this post on FB right before lunchtime, lol. (Who says advertising isn’t effective?)  So despite the variety of items they had on offer, I went straight for the I Feel Skinny Today – stretchy fried mozzarella cheese  topped with deep fried chicken thigh, covered with Carribean sauce, nacho cheese sauce and a huge amount of caramelised onions. You can opt for a 60g block of fried cheese (RM28), or a 120g (RM30).

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In terms of size, the burger certainly did not disappoint. It was nicely wrapped for convenience, but eating it was still a messy affair as the filling/sauces kept spilling everywhere.

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As for taste, it was decent. Buns were soft, chicken was moist and cooked thoroughly –  but I felt the sauces were too overpowering, which masked the flavour of the mozzarella cheese.  Wouldn’t say it’s bad, but wouldn’t say it’s the best either. Definitely not something you eat every day – maybe a once-in-a-blue-moon treat if you feel like gorging on something really unhealthy and calorie-laden lol.

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This is not a review per se since they have so many items, it’d be impossible to try everything (hence, this meal-for-one post). So I’ve decided to rate it based on the following:

Price point: Above average (RM20++ for most dishes, but they also have items like lobsters and king crabs which are obviously much pricier)

Ambience: Comfy, but if you like peace and quiet, this is not a place to hangout especially during peak hours, due to the acoustics.  If you come in the mid-afternoon on weekdays, I think it would be much quieter. They have power points so you can plug in your devices/ laptops.

Service: Average.

Food: Can’t say much coz I only tried that one burger and a milkshake. Both were decent. They have a huge variety of items – breakfast/brunch sets, pastas, pizzas, Asian cuisine, lobsters, king crabs, even hi-tea sets.

Convenience: Location is not central; you will need to drive to get here or take a GRAB. Parking is very inconvenient – you either have to be extremely lucky to find a spot within the area, or park across the road.

CAFFEINEES (non-halal) 

Industrial Park, 23, Jalan PPU 2A, I-32, Taman Puchong Utama, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 1AM (daily)

caffeineespalace.com

 

Food Review: SPG by Bijan

Discerning KL-ites will have dined at (or at least, heard of) Bijan, the grand dame of refined Malay cuisine in Kuala Lumpur. Tucked in the quiet, affluent neighbourhood of Bukit Ceylon, the cosy establishment is surrounded by lush greenery, with lots of wood and traditional elements like batik in a contemporary setting.

Now, the team has come up with an original venture: SPG by Bijan. A playful take on the colloquial term ‘Sarong Party Girl’ (Asian girl who prefers dating white men), the tapas bar and grill is housed in a bungalow, and is accessible from Bijan through an adjoining doorway.

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Where Bijan is elegant and refined, SPG is fun, chic and stylish. Floral motifs abound, as is the lush greenery of its sister eatery, alongside hand-printed tiles, batik motifs and mural walls that lend it a nostalgic feel.

 

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The menu is Malay / Asian with a twist, and the Asian-inspired cocktails offer something for both adventurous palates and lovers of classics. If you’re feeling brave, try their signature Stinkini (martini + dry vermouth + savoury notes of pickled petai) – we could literally smell it as soon as it came to the table. Other signatures include the cheekily named Yellow Fever (gin, turmeric, honey and tonic water), and Cocojito (lime, white rum, coconut water, mint leaves). There’s something for the teetotalers too, like Bluepea Tonic (honey, lemon, bluepea flower).

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It’s all about sharing with SPG’s range of ‘Malaysian tapas’. To start things off, a basket of fries celup – crispy thin cut fries served with anchovy mayo and salted egg yolk dip. They were extremely addictive, especially with the creamy, salty anchovy mayo.

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Keropok-kerepek: assortment of crackers with sambal dip

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One of the restaurant’s signature tapas is the Ah-Ran-Sini (after the Italian arancini). These deep fried golden balls of rice are stuffed with the flavours of nasi lemak, with a hearty sambal and anchovy centre.

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The Pais Barramundi grilled parcel of barramundi with banana leather, turmeric, spices and coconut – was a clever and modern interpretation of traditional flavours. I especially liked the banana leather, which had a beautiful texture, packed with the natural sweetness of banana. It went well with the light saltiness of the grilled barramundi.

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Presentation for the Ayam Limau Purut & Roti Jala Tiffin was exquisite, brought to the table in adorable tiffin carriers. The chicken curry was perfectly spiced – not too spicy but with just enough kick, and the fluffy roti jala (literally net bread – hence the shape) was great for soaking up the delicious curry.

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Jackfruit Rendang Bao is a perfect substitute for meat. The stringy texture of jackfruit is very similar to meat, and when cooked rendang-style, tastes almost like beef – all wrapped in pillowy-soft mantou buns.

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Lidah & Sambal – braised, tender ox tongue; pan-seared and served with sambal hitam. It was my first time having ox tongue. The texture was somewhat grainy and dense, but not unpleasant, and there was no offal-like taste.

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We were feeling pretty stuffed at this point, but there were still several dishes to go. The grilled calamari, served with sambal belacan, was simple but tasty, with a slight char. There was also flame-grilled duck and chicken skewers. 

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Pan-seared black pomfret with coconut and galangal sauce. I like how the fish was completely deboned for easy eating, so every bite was just fresh, juicy fish. The coconut and galangal sauce was like the Thai tom ka gai dish; creamy but not cloying.

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Grilled Lamb Loin

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And for dessert, Bananas Over Bananas – Homemade banana ice cream with smokey caramelised banana and dehydrated banana cone.

We were spoiled by the crew at SPG, so by the time we rolled (yes, rolled) out of the restaurant everyone was well and truly full and satisfied. The food, ambience and service were excellent, and the innovative approach to Malay cuisine is great.

SPG by BIJAN

3A, Jalan Ceylon, Bukit Ceylon, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 12pm – 12am (daily)

Reservations: 03-2022 3575

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Review: Lunch at Serai, Jaya Shopping Centre

When it comes to traditional Malay and Western fusion food served in a casual setting, Serai is a popular choice among urbanites in the Klang Valley. Their Jaya Shopping Centre outlet is crowded with office workers, business groups and Datin-types over lunch. We joined the throng for a farewell meal with a colleague.

Love the interior! High ceilings give a sense of space; space-efficient drawers keep cutlery away from sight, while white and dark frames contrast nicely with the warm wood furniture. Lots of natural sunlight filtering in from the glass windows.

The menu features local favourites such as Nasi Kerabu (their specialty) and rice/noodles alongside pasta, chops and steaks. Portions are also quite hefty.

Had a cool and refreshing Sirap Bandung to quench my thirst. Comprising a thick layer of sweet rose syrup and condensed milk, the drink has an attractive two-layered hue which quickly turns pink when you stir it.

Most of the colleagues ordered pasta. I opted for a ‘Portobello Mushroom Steak” – basically steak for vegetarians, since the mushroom has a texture close to meat (course, nothing rivals real meat!). Battered and deep fried, it came served on a bed of soft mashed potato and a smattering of gravy. The mushrooms were sizeable and crunchy, but I felt it needed just a bit more seasoning. Not greasy though so kudos to the chefs.

One thing I noticed about the food at Serai – everything is prepared fresh to order, so even though there is a wait, the food arrives piping hot and tasty. No microwaving here lol. #GordonRamsayWouldApprove

SERAI (JAYA SHOPPING CENTRE) 

G18, Jaya Shopping Centre, Jalan Semangat, Seksyen 14, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Business hours: 11AM – 10PM

Phone: +603 79323070

Review: Contemporary Dining at Lume, Melbourne

Go hard, or go home. That seemed to be the philosophy at contemporary dining restaurant Lume when they opened in Melbourne two years ago, proclaiming their dreams to make it to the World’s Best 50 – wildly ambitious for a setup run by first time chef-owners. Obviously Rome wasn’t built in a day: it’s 2017 and we have yet to see Lume on the list, but that doesn’t mean the restaurant isn’t worth visiting. Dishes are creative and employ complex cooking methods, with items such as emu ham and eel butter. Be prepared though. A degustation at Lume can run into the hours, the dishes served far between, so I’d suggest not going on an empty stomach (!)

Housed along Coventry Street in a former burlesque club, the restaurant has been renovated with a light brown and pink scheme, coupled with cosy furnishings and elegant silverware: intimate but classy at the same time. Dining areas are divided into the front, where guests can watch the chefs in action at the open kitchen, and the comfy atrium at the back with its potted plants and glass skylight. We opted to sit at the front.

Chefs plating bite-sized platters with delicate accuracy.

There are currently two degustation menus at Lume, although this is subject to change: An Incitation ($140), a seven course menu served Tuesday to Friday evenings and for Saturday lunch, as well as The Road ($210), which has 14 items and is served from Tuesday to Saturday evenings.

To kick off our (very long) meal, an entree of Sea Corn Taco. Beautiful presentation aside, the delicate taco was crisp and very thin, with a custard deceptively made into a corn shape but was actually crab, topped with bronze-coloured fried corn silk.

One of their signature appetisers, the aptly named Pearl on the Ocean Floor was a wonderful visual feast, like a manicured garden at the bottom of the seabed. Combining earth and sea, the ‘pearl’ was a ball of cocoa butter on sesame-flavoured sand, flanked by a plump raw oyster and frothy white mussel foam forming a ‘wave’ on the side. It was interesting blend, but not my cup of tea as I felt the flavours didn’t gel well together.

Next came carrot honey and calamari in bergamot marmalade, easily one of my favourites of the night. After the complex appetizers, this was surprisingly simple but full of flavour. I liked the freshness and texture of the squid in the creamy marmalade sauce, which complemented the sweet lightness of the glazed carrot.

 

The Jerusalem artichoke crumpet and eel honey was a pleasing break before our mains. The name made me think it was going to be savoury, but the dish turned out to be a fluffy cake with a slightly salty spread and thick, viscous honey. Great combination of flavours.

The Pork Belly cooked in onion oil, golden beetroot and smoked miso was the only disappointing dish of the night. The belly was fatty on its own, but when drenched in onion oil, made for mouthfuls of grease with every bite.

Barbecued abalone with emu ham and kombu was another winner. The abalone was fresh and meaty, cooked in a savoury dashi sauce, with thin slices of cured emu ham and mushrooms.

Marron head with Japanese Ginger and Wild Scampi Roe was served in a vivid explosion of colours – bright orange, slightly charred shell, white and meaty flesh topped with sapphire-blue roe. Tastewise, the meat was sweet and refreshing, with a smokey aftertaste from the grilling coupled with salty roe that popped and exploded in my mouth.

Last but not least, we ended the meal with Berry Pavlova, fig leaf and quandong, which had a nice balance of sour and sweet. The pavlova was the highlight of the dish, with a soft, airy texture that melted on the tongue like spun sugar, while the sweet ice cream was creamy and rich without being cloying, thanks to the sourness of the berries.

It was close to 11.30pm when we finally finished our meal – a total of 3 hours. If you’re good with the wait, Lume is an experience you should try while touring the fine dining circuit in Melbourne for its innovative creations, quality food and attention to service.

LUME

226 Coventry St, South Melbourne VIC 3205, Australia

Operating hours: Saturdays (11.30AM-2PM, 5.30PM-11.30PM), Tuesdays – Fridays (5.30PM-11.30PM). Closed Sun-Mon.

Reservations: restaurantlume.com / tocktix.com

 

Food Review: TRACE Restaurant and Bar @ Element KL, Jalan Binjai

There’s such a glut of hotels in KL that it’s hard to differentiate one from the other – if you’ve been to one high end hotel, you’ve been to them all.

The latest addition, Element KL, is a bit different though. For one, their newly opened restaurant, TRACE, is located on the 40th floor of the Ilham Towers, and the restaurant’s glass windows offer a beautiful view of the surrounding city skyline – including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. For another, their food is actually really good. While the resto carries standard Western, fusion and local fare, they’ve made it unique by incorporating local produce as much as possible. The result? Fresh, well balanced meals that are wholesome and delicious. The prices are also very competitive (averaging about RM30-50 for lunch – which is affordable considering the setting).

The spacious interior, with lots of glass windows for guests to enjoy the surrounding views. There’s a bar area in the front, an open kitchen to watch the chef’s in action, and a buffet line.

Stunning views.

Spacious and comfy, casual-business : great for lunch meetings or just for a catch-up.

One side of the resto faces the Petronas Twin Towers. There were some complaints about the upcoming Four Seasons Place building they are erecting next to it – apparently some people were concerned that it would ‘block’ the view of the towers. 

We were there to try out their new ala-carte menu, and will you believe that we had dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner in ONE seating? Even with the reduced portions and sharing, it was hard to finish. Started off with some warm bread with olive oil and tangy tomato chutney dip; perfect for whetting the appetite.

Since my own photos were too fugly, I’m sharing the beautiful shots by the hotel’s team here.

BREAKFAST  : The most important meal of the day. You know you’re off to a good start when the very first dish they serve is amazing, right off the bat. Beans and Toast is a classic bfast dish, but the version here adds a local twist that works out perfectly for Asian palates. Inspired by a popular Johorean dish called Kacang Pool (spiced fava/broad beans cooked with minced beef, onions and kasturi lime – often used as a dip), the B&T here is warm, hearty and well flavoured, topped with a beautifully poached egg on top. The dip has a texture and flavour that is similar to an American sloppy joe, and goes really well with the toasted bread. I can literally eat this all day but I had to pace myself for the next dishes…

Of course no Malaysian breakfast would be complete without the customary nasi lemak, our national dish. The dish here, called Nasi Lemak Kelapa Dara, uses extra virgin coconut oil in the steamed rice, rather than regular coconut oil, so it’s less fatty but still retains that awesome creaminess. It was served with all the classic sides, including crispy anchovies, onions, peanuts and an egg omelette. The sambal tiger prawns were juicy and sizable, while the chicken roulade rendang combined a French technique with traditional ingredients.

Time to have a sweet one before moving on to our ‘lunch’ meals! The Homemade Granola of fruit compote, yoghurt, chia seed with hazelnut and berries granola was creamy without being cloying, and not too sweet so it doesn’t leave you feeling completely stuffed. They also add a smattering of chocolate chips into the bowl. We had a small portion, but if you’re getting the original size it’s good for a breakfast on its own.

LUNCH: The Live Well Salad was surprisingly light and refreshing, with a good mix of fruitiness from the orange segment, tomato, berries and peach, as well as a hint of savoury from the pickled beet and edamame beans. The candied walnut and croutons added a crunchy texture, while mango emulsion bound the whole dish together beautifully.

Hand picked Wild Mushroom soup came with hefty chunks of balsamic-glazed Portobello and crushed walnut, served with a side of grilled cheese petit croque monsieur. This wasn’t my favourite as I found the texture odd and the Portobello was too sweet.

DINNER – Next was Sous vide Baby Chicken. Sous vide is a common technique used in restaurants because the meat is vacuum-packed before being cooked in a water bath or steam, so the results are always consistent and the flavours are all sealed in. The inside of the baby chicken galantine boasted cheesy garlic boursin and basil pesto, and for sides, turkey ham hasselback potato gratin, asparagus spear and chassuer sauce. Healthy and delicious.

Loved the presentation of the Smoked Loch Fyne Salmon. Prawns with sour cream and chives sat on a bed of buckwheat blinis, beautiful garnished with fennel, red radish slaw and balsamic pearl, surrounded by dots of mango hazelnut dressing. In the glass jar, which looked like an edible terrarium, was the salmon – and when we opened it the smoke wafted out in drifts.

Another great one – the Alaskan Black Cod (look at that beautiful sear!), crusted with sundried tomatoes and olives, carrot puree, capreses salad, cilantro green-chilli sauce and basil oil. The fish was tender, flaky and juicy, and the fresh seafoody flavour was brought out even more by the accompanying condiments and sauces.

Last but definitely not least, Nasi Kukus Ayam Rempah – steamed fragrant white rice served with spiced rubbed honey-glazed fried chicken, stir fried asparagus belacan, curry gravy, pickled vegetables acar and spicy egg omelette. My favourite was the chicken, which was crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. The curry gravy was also insanely addictive and great with rice.

We were stuffed to the brim by the end of our courses, but like they say, there’s always room for dessert! The Exotic Fruit Lava Carrot Cake, a freshly baked homemade exotic lava carrot cake beautifully decorated with fresh berries, was warm and oozy, with just the right balance of sweet and sour. For those who prefer a lighter dessert, I suggest to go with this because the other is super decadent…

Behold, the Earl Grey Chocolate Sphere – an earl grey cremeux served with warm lemon cream. The appearance itself was already quite dramatic (I’m reminded of dishes contestants had to prepare on MasterChef), but wait til the waiter comes over and pours the warm lemon cream over it: we watched as the thick liquid bathed the sphere in a wonderful golden glow, eventually melting the top to create a crater. Spooning into it, I was rewarded with a fluffy chocolate mousse on the inside and a crisp and delicate outer chocolate shell.

Element KL’s resident chef and his team!

Aside from the ala carte menu, they also do buffet breakfasts/lunch and dinners.

*Photos not watermarked are courtesy of Element KL

TRACE RESTAURANT AND BAR
40th floor @Element by Westin, Ilham Tower, 8 Jalan Binjai, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2771-3345

elementkualalumpur.com

Way Modern Chinois, Clearwater Damansara Heights

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Where does this open to?

No, it’s not a regular lift door. This is actually the entrance to Way Modern Chinois, a restaurant offering Chinese banquet food with a twist, served in a cosy, modern setting. A push of the button and guests are taken to a cool, classy-looking interior, with long mirrors, sleek wooden tables and dark furniture.

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Came here for a Chinese New Year buffet luncheon organised by Corum. To get into the CNY mood, the resto had been decorated with pretty red and white lanterns, while the tables were scattered with Mandarin oranges, fortune cookies and fresh flowers.

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Long wooden chopsticks, to be used for yeesang tossing later.  20170106_131223-tileNo CNY meal would be complete without the customary ‘lou sang’ or yeesang tossing. A Teochew-style raw fish salad, the dish is unique to ethnic Chinese communities in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Ingredients usually include raw fish, fried crackers, crunchy snacks, pomelo, sesame, jellyfish, onions, condiments and sauces.

As the pronunciation for ‘fish’ sounds similar to ‘abundance’, yeesang is considered a symbol of abundance and prosperity, and therefore eaten during the New Year. Diners ‘toss’ the yeesang while speaking well wishes aloud – the higher the toss, the better. It can get quite messy!

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The yeesang had a nice combination of sweet, sour and salty flavours, and various textures, from soft and fresh salmon slices to crunchy condiments. Fish and plum sauce tied everything well together. 🙂

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Appetiser was Trio Dimsum Combinations. The first two, XO Prawn Dumpling and Treasure Pouch, were beautifully served on a flat plate with a smattering of creamy sauce. The orange skinned prawn dumpling was topped with what seemed like smoked bacon rinds, enveloping fresh and bouncy shrimp on the inside.

Instead of dumpling skin, the Treasure Pouch used a whole cabbage leaf, wrapped around diced meat and veggies. Not my favourite though, coz I don’t like cabbage. xD

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The Rose Wontons were so beautifully presented that everyone went ‘Oooh’ when it came to our table. Made to look like flowers, each crispy golden wonton was skewered on a stick with a leaf, its ‘petals’ painstakingly painted over in bright red chilli sauce.

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Elixir of Youth soup, a nourishing concoction of shark spine bones, double boiled in chicken essence and bokchoy, which was milky sweet. It’s supposed to be good for the skin since the bones contain lots of collagen.

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The mains: Red Duck with Jelly Fish. Loved the contrast of the cold, slightly chewy jelly fish versus the warm and salty duck meat, topped with thin and crispy skin with a beautiful layer of fat in between. One of the best dishes of the afternoon imo. 20170106_143038-tile

Deep Fried Cod Catch with Honey Mirin. Like the delicate little fried lotus roots and crunchy asparagus. The fish was soft and supple, but the sauce was too sweet and sticky, which overwhelmed the natural flavour of the seafood.

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Stir-Fried Prawn with Premium Soy Sauce. Coated in fragrant soy sauce, the prawns had a crisp batter on the outside, whilst retaining its moisture and juiciness on the inside.

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Crunchy fried chicken thigh (no hassle of bones!) – crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside.

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WAY MODERN CHINOIS 

G-1, Work @ Clearwater, Changkat Semantan, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

+60 3-2095 1118

Opening hours: 12PM – 3PM, 6PM – 10.30PM (closed on Mondays)

way.com.my

Thai Food with A Twist @ Kompassion II TTDI

With Thai food, it’s all about the ‘package’. From its complex blend of flavours and textures to its colourful presentation, everything is done to be visually appealing, while pandering to our sense of smell and tastebuds. (Probably one of the reasons why Thai cuisine is consistently ranked as one of the most popular in the world!)

Most of us would be familiar with traditional favourites like the pad thai, tom yum goong or fish cakes. With Thai fusion, which blends Thai ingredients/spices and flavours with those from other cultures – the result is something phenomenal: as I discovered at KomPassion Restaurant in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL.

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KomPassion II is the second outlet helmed by Chef Nikom Uatthong, the first being KomPassion at Damansara Kim, which already has a stellar reputation for its awesome food. V.II has a similar cozy ambiance, with warm yellow lighting and tall windows for lots of natural sunshine. The menu is written on a chalkboard, while the wall is plastered over with calendar dates.

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Walls are intentionally left exposed with a ‘peeled’ look. All part of the aesthetics. Tables are polished wood paired with colourful steel chairs.

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We start off with Pucuk Paku Salad with Young Coconut. Western salads may use lettuce or romaine, but the version here is a marriage of Thai ingredients and the classic Malay ulam – a mix of crunchy ferns, shredded crab meat sticks and young coconut, topped with a dollop of fish roe and a side of coconut shavings. You get a bit of everything: salty and mushy from the roe, sweet from the coconut flesh, crunchy from the almonds – truly a beautiful marriage of textures and flavours.

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Another light appetizer before we move on to the mains: Beef Salad. Hiding beneath all that green are beautifully seared pieces of tender beef, mixed with creamy avocado, carrots, onions, tomato cubes and chilli. One bite and it’s a party in the mouth. 🙂

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The house special is Hang Lay Chicken Curry, a specialty from Northern Thailand that has been tweaked to suit local tastes. Inspired by Indian curries and spices, the version here is not too hot but still gives a nice kick. It is also sweet rather than savoury, with strong hints of masala powder, cumin and coriander. The original version doesn’t have coconut cream, but since Malaysians love strong flavours, the one here uses it for a smoother, creamier taste. Easy to polish off bowls of rice with these.

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For those who want to try a bit of everything, there is the Nasi Campur Special, which comes in a generous serving of two different curries (green Thai curry + the earlier Hang Lay chicken Curry), white rice/brown rice topped with fried egg, fried chicken and fish, and a side of tangy mango salad. To cap it off, a bowl of spicy tom yam soup. What can I say? Hearty comfort food at its best that will have you polishing the plate and licking it clean.

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Used to tom yum soup being orange or red, so when the Fish Special Tom Yum was served, we were a bit surprised to find that the broth was clear. Filled to the brim with plump mushrooms, fish fillets, lemongrass and tomato, it was hot without being overpowering. Despite the sweat rolling down our foreheads, we kept dipping our spoons in for more.

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To tone down on all that spiciness, dessert was in order. Go for the creamy and rich Coconut Gelato with Red Ruby and Jack Fruit. The ice cream is milky with vanilla overtones, and its soft melting texture is great with the chewy red ruby and crunchy jackfruit. 20151201_143628-tile

The cheesecake, served in a huge block, was robust and creamy, balanced out by sweet/sour chunks of mango.

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KOMPASSION II 

No.15, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 7, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-77317016

Opening hours: Tues – Sun (11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm)

Closed on Mondays

Pork-free