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World of Phalaenopsis, Ulu Yam – Malaysia’s Largest Moth Orchid Farm with Its Own Hipster Cafe

What’s the best remedy for stress? Experts suggest that spending time in nature – a term coined ‘ecotherapy’ – can help to boost mental health and improve your wellbeing. It can be anything, from hiking and camping, to a picnic by the waterfall, or even a visit to a plant nursery.

If it’s the latter, then I suggest a day trip to Ulu Yam, where you’ll find World of Phalaenopsis, a plant nursery that specialises in phalaenopsis (or moth orchids, because phalaenopsis is a mouthful. lol). Tucked within a quiet kampung, about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur, the nursery is home to thousands of orchids as well as a myriad of other plants — and it even has its own hipster-esque cafe called Florescence.

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There’s no admission fee, so feel free to waltz in, admire the blooms and get a plant or two (or a dozen – one can never have too many plants!) to bring home. Photos are allowed in the outdoor areas, but not in the dedicated air-conditioned sections, where they carry some of the more exotic plants.

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Moth orchids are a genus of orchids, of which there are over 70 species. They are native to places such as India, Taiwan, China, New Guinea and Australia, as well as Southeast Asia. With their bright colours (usually in hues of pink, white and purple) and large, shapely petals, these orchids are a popular choice for many gardens in Malaysia (which is why you’ll see them often at plant nurseries.

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But first things first – food. I had skipped lunch and was feeling famished (we got there around 3.15PM), so we made a beeline for the in-house cafe, Florescence. The interior was spacious and bright, thanks to glass windows which allowed for plenty of natural light to filter in. The windows also afforded diners with a nice view of the duck pond next to the cafe.

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The menu is rather limited, but what they offer, they do well. My Nasi Lemak with Rendang Chicken (RM13.90) came in a sizable portion, and although the chicken was a tad salty, it was tender and seasoned well. The rice was fluffy and the sambal added a nice kick, without being overpowering.

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Pop’s ordered the Assam Laksa. The cafe also has items like Mee Goreng Siam, pasta, and a variety of coffees and cakes. Moo got a Banana Cake with Ice Cream, which was excellent as the cake was not too sweet and still warm when served, which contrasted nicely with the chocolate ice cream. My iced chocolate drink was a disappointment, though, as it was powdery. Maybe you’re better off ordering one of their teas or coffees.

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The ducks in the pond outside looked clean, healthy and well fed. You can buy feed for them at the counter.

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After we were fed and watered, it was back to exploring the nursery. The moth orchids look lovely when they’re all lined up in a row together – you can walk in between the aisles and literally be surrounded by flowers.

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Most of the orchids are white, pink and purple, but there are yellow ones too.

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The orchids are for sale, and you can get a plant for between RM25 and RM40.

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A section dedicated to other varieties of plants.

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We spent about an hour soaking in the greenery. Didn’t buy anything though, because the fam and I don’t have green fingers, and any plant that makes its way to our ‘garden’ will just be in for a world of sadness.

World of Phalaenopsis is open daily from 9AM to 5PM. It’s best to drive there (Waze or Google Maps: World of Phalaenopsis), as there is limited public transport in the area. Ample parking can be found outside the farm.

WORLD OF PHALAENOPSIS

1017, Jalan Batang Kali – Hulu Yam Bharu, Kampung Sungai Kamin, 44300 Batang Kali, Selangor

Phone: 03-6075 1133

Website

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Chinese New Year Promotion @ Chin Swee Vegetarian Cuisine Restaurant, Genting Highlands

Celebrations almost never stop in multicultural Malaysia, where you have some sort of festival every other month. Now that the (Western) New Year has passed, it’s time to gear up for the next – Chinese New Year, which falls on January 25.

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Celebrate the reunion dinner differently this year with a vegan or vegetarian meal at the Chin Swee Vegetarian Cuisine Restaurant in Genting Highlands. Located within the Chin Swee Temple, mid-hill to Resorts World Genting, the restaurant offers scrumptious Chinese dishes, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lush virgin tropical rainforest.

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For CNY, the restaurant has rolled out their Prosperous Golden Rat Year set menus, catered for two or more people. The couple set consists of herbal steamed soup, Chinese yam, brinjal and organic ladies’ fingers in ‘san bei’ sauce, prawn with crispy oatmeal, special pumpkin rice and luxurious Tieguanyin Chinese tea.

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Larger set meals begin with vegetarian yee sang and include the special pumpkin rice. The set for three to four persons (RM368 nett) features vegetarian sharks’ fin soup, stewed tofu, claypot lotus root with dried tofu, mixed vegetable curry, and homemade dessert, while the RM568 nett menu for five to six diners will have stir-fried black fungus with Chinese yam, stir-fried lily bulbs, broccoli and lotus root, sea cucumber and scallops with ‘san bei’ sauce, and fried knuckle with house sauce.

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The seven to nine-person menu, priced at RM738 nett, will serve up claypot chicken with herbs, steamed organic ladies’ fingers with pumpkin, sea cucumber and scallops, deep-fried wawa yu with XO sauce, mixed vegetable curry and Wuyi narcissus tea.

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The most exquisite of the set meals is the RM798 nett menu for ten to 12, featuring yam basket with kung poh hericium, stir-fried lily bulbs, broccoli and lotus roots, Chinese yam, brinjal, and organic ladies fingers with ‘san bei’ sauce, ‘cod fish’ with creamy sauce, ‘fried knuckle’ with house sauce, ‘claypot chicken’ with herbs, green tea pudding and Wuyi narcissus tea.

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Other items to look out for are the little dim sum and dessert sets, clay pot and hotplate selections, herbal soups, rice and noodles.

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Exuding Chinese tradition and elegance, the restaurant is situated on level 12 – the same floor as the Goh Tong Hall residence or the main lobby of the temple. Diners can opt for a tour around the temple followed by a meal, or vice versa.

Make it a weekend getaway with the extended family with a trip up to Resorts World Genting, as the temple is easily accessible by cable car and hourly shuttle bus. Alternatively, accommodation is available on the Chin Swee Temple grounds.

Full menu here: 

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Reservations: website or call +603-61011613.

Opening hours: 8.30AM – 8.30PM

*Photos courtesy of Resorts World Genting

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.

THE DECOR / INTERIOR

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.

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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.

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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.

THE FOOD

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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.

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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!

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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.

THE DRINKS 

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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.

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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.

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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!

FUHU GENTING

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

Business hours: 6PM – 1AM (daily)

fuhudining.com

Taste Your Way Through Asia @ Resorts World Genting

Home to over 1.6 billion people, East Asia is a vast region with a very long history and rich culture. One of the most region’s most distinctive features is its cuisine – with recipes that date back centuries, made from a treasure trove of ingredients. Resorts World Genting pays tribute to this grand culinary history by featuring highlights of the region through three unique restaurants.

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Representing the Hallyu Korean Wave is YG Republique in SkyAvenue. Just as K-Pop has taken over the music world, Korean cuisine has spread around the globe, bringing kimchi and bulgogi into the common food lexicon. Housing premium Korean BBQ restaurant Samgeori Butchers, the sweet and smokey smell of grilled meats wafts around a space designed to look like a traditional and nostalgic Korean butchery.

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The food, however, is anything but dated –  featuring premium cuts of pork cured in Cypress Pine and high-quality aged beef that hits the table grill with a satisfying sizzle. Traditional condiments – including the ubiquitous pickled kimchi, oiji (cucumber) and danmuji (radish) – accompany the hearty proteins, providing a spicy and sweet-salty kick to the tender, umami flavour of the meat.

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South of the Korean Peninsula is the archipelago of Japan, an economic and cultural powerhouse, home to some of the world’s best-loved cuisines – from delicate sushi to fusion recipes like karaage. One of the most popular dishes is ramen – a basic but versatile noodle-and-broth dish. Taiko Ramen in First World Plaza is where guests can sample the distinctive flavours of ramen from Japan’s different regions. Savour the milky pork bone Kyushu broth, the thin yet flavourful Tokyo-style broth,  the spicy and creamy Hokkaido broth, or the newer no-broth mazeman style. Don’t be afraid to slurp; in Japan, this is expected and is a sign of the quality of the noodles and broth.

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Chinese cuisine has a history that dates back millennia, covering refined dishes previously served only to royalty, to street fare meant for families and villages to enjoy. While it is difficult to cover the full scope of Chinese cooking, Steam Era in First World Plaza provides a great representation, with its interpretation of the classic Chinese hot pot – utilising the power of steaming to retain an ingredient’s natural essence. Featuring only the freshest seafood, a meal at Steam Era is a joyous celebration of food. Beyond the hot pot, Steam Era’s menu also covers  dishes from all four corners of the country including Sichuan Spicy Chicken, Teochew Claypot Porridge, Hong Kong Style Beef Brisket Pot, and Lanzhou Beef Noodles.

For more information visit rwgenting.com or call +603-2718 1118.

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*Photos courtesy of Resorts World Genting. 

Hotel Review: Crockfords @ Resorts World Genting, Malaysia

Opened in 2014, Crockfords Hotel is Resorts World Genting’s poshest accommodation, catering mainly to the casino’s high rollers. I was fortunate enough to be extended an invitation to stay back in August, for work – and since they allowed a guest, I brought the Moomikins along.

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Crockfords is tucked away in a quiet corner, away from the hustle and bustle of the main shopping area. It’s quite a distance to walk, but fret not, as they provide buggy service right up to the hotel’s doorstep.

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Oozing class and elegant charm, the lobby has a cool, black and gold colour scheme, with marble floors polished to a perfect shine. Upon walking in, guests will be greeted by four large flower displays encased in glass – a specially commissioned installation by British artist Rebecca Louise Law. Dubbed “The Four Seasons”, each piece consists of thousands of dried flowers, representing Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

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Part of the winter exhibit.

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More flowers.

Crockfords features 111 Superior Rooms and 8 Junior Suites, each fitted with luxurious Greek Calacatta marble restroom fixtures made exclusively for Crockfords and in-room private steam bath. The one-touch technology also allows guests to control the blinds, room temperature and lighting all from one device.

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Our room was a Superior Twin, and it did not disappoint. It boasted a pastel + grey colour scheme, with soft carpets and marble tabletops, a ‘living’ area complete with couch and coffee table, as well as a large TV and work desk. The beds, separated by a partition, were extremely comfortable, with soft and fluffy duvets, facing a view of the surrounding hills via the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

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You can tell everything is designed with the guest’s convenience in mind, including ports close to the bed for charging electronic devices, as well as the central control unit between the beds.

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It was still early evening, so we ventured out for a spot of shopping at Sky Avenue to enjoy the cool mountain air, and to see the Symphony in the Skies light show.

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Returned to a pleasant surprise from the hotel – they had delivered champagne on ice and macaroons as part of the turndown service! It felt pampering to be shown such hospitality and care; really makes you feel like a welcome guest. 🙂

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There were also plenty of lotions,creams and bespoke toiletries to take home as gifts.

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Nothing like a restful night’s sleep and waking up to this view!

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Our stay included breakfast at the Executive Lounge, which boasts beautiful sky-high views of the mountains. Guests can choose from the buffet selection of cold cuts, bread and Western fare, in addition to their main breakfast dish.

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Moo had truffle scrambled eggs and bacon. The eggs were egg-celent, and the aromatic, earthy flavours of truffle were prominent in each bite.

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I had the lobster nasi lemak. It was a solid dish, and the star was, of course, the succulent lobster meat cooked in spicy sambal. It retained its fresh sweetness despite the level of heat.

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Best thing – not having to crack open the shell. :’D

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Was taken on a tour of the rest of the rooms. There are only eight Junior Suites within the hotel, so it’s pretty exclusive. Choose from three themes – Gym, Tatami and Mahjong.

The Gym Suite features a high-end Italian gym system so you can work out in comfort within the room, while the Tatami Suite integrates a Zen tea ceremony space. The Mahjong Suite (above) includes a built-in mahjong table that shuffles the tiles on its own at the press of a button!

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The suites come with a living and dining area, a master bedroom and smaller, adjacent room for the maid/security, complete with sliding door for privacy.

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Cosy but luxurious – I’d love to have an apartment like this. 🙂

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Also within the suites is a large and comfortable massage chair to soothe your backaches after a long game of mahjong.

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For the ultimate in luxury, there are three luxury Executive Suites – the Mayfair, Hampstead and Belgravia – each spanning 2,900 sq ft and named after swanky neighbourhoods in London. The suite comes with the whole package – spacious living area with a view of the mountains, large bedrooms, a huge dining room, a small private gym and a spa room.

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The Spa room – you can call the reception for a masseuse.

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Gym area with aerobic exercise balls, towels and treadmill.

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The master bedroom toilet is larger than the master bedroom in my house lol.

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A girl can dream that one day she will be able to afford this. :’D

You also get 24 hour butler service.

Although I wasn’t in the suites, my stay in Crockfords was no less pleasant. Perhaps the most memorable thing is the top notch service and attention to a guest’s needs.  Definitely a place I’d consider splurging on if I wanted to pamper myself or the significant other on an expensive staycation.

Rooms start from RM1,700 per night.

For reservations, call +603 2718 1118.

 

 

 

Burger & Lobster Malaysia, Genting Sky Avenue

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Famed UK-surf & turf chain Burger & Lobster has finally made its way to Malaysia, and the hype is MASSIVE. Known for serving – what else – burgers and lobsters, the brand is popular among the Asian crowd, and many Malaysians travelling to London make B&L a must-visit place.

Now, we won’t have to travel all the way to UK to tuck into these crustaceans, coz they’ve opened their first outlet in Asia at Sky Avenue, Genting Highlands! 

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The interior is modern but cosy, with warm yellow lights, plush red cushions and clean wooden tables and countertops. Booths are available for privacy.

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So what do they serve?

Well, burgers… and lobsters. Yah. The lobsters are air flown live from Nova Scotia in Canada and kept in special storage tanks until it’s time for them to go on the chopping board, so everything is very fresh. The burgers, on the other hand, use prime Australian beef. The menu is pretty much the same everywhere around the world, except that the Genting outlet has Chilli Lobster, a delightful sweet and savoury dish with lots of gravy, similar to the Singapore Chilli Crab.

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Other options include the Original and the Big Boy. All come served with a side of chips and salad, and prices are RM100++ onwards. The whole concept is about making something that is considered ‘fine dining’ affordable to the masses.

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The lobster was sweet and juicy, and cut into manageable pieces so it was easy to eat. Loved the buttery lemon garlic sauce which brought out the sweetness of the seafood! 🙂

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Also enjoyed the Lobster Roll, with generous chunks of lobster sandwiched between a warm, toasty bun.

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The signature B&L, which is a surf-and-turf combination of beef patty and lobster. Not a big fan of beef burgers done in this style, so it wasn’t my favourite dish of the night.

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The Mayfair – beef patty, bacon.

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The drink (non-alcoholic) had a really cute presentation. I liked the creative spin on iced lemon tea using the packaging which most kopitiams use and creating it into a hipster Instagram-worthy drink.

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Tucking in !

BURGER AND LOBSTER 

Level 1, SkyAvenue, Resorts World Genting, 69000 Genting Highlands Resort, Pahang, Malaysia

Open daily: 11AM-10PM

**Photos not watermarked are courtesy of Resorts World Genting.

Motorino Napoli-style Italian Pizza @ Genting Sky Avenue

Over 50 years ago, when Genting Highland‘s founder Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong decided to build a resort-cum-casino on top of the mountain, most thought he was mad. There was literally nothing there except jungle and greenery, and it took four years for them to build a proper access road up to where the ‘resort’ would be located. Their first hotel opened in 1971, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Young or old, many of us have fond memories of Genting Highlands. It remains the only place in the country with a legal casino, and for kids back in the 90s and early 2000s, there was nothing like a trip to its theme park – since there weren’t many in Malaysia to begin with, what more one in the mountains. Although the old place has been closed for renovation, a new generation of visitors will get to experience the Fox 20th Century Theme Park once it opens at the end of this year.

In 2013,  Genting set out on a 10-year transformation programme costing over RM10bil in a bid to give the resort a makeover and a fresh appeal. Three years on, the first results have been revealed, including a new cable car system, luxury shopping malls and more food and beverage outlets. I was privileged to go try out the new offerings they had in store! 🙂

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The new Genting Awana Skyway, which visitors can board from where the upcoming Genting Highlands Premium Outlet will be. This was a much needed upgrade from the old cable cars, which had been in use since the 1990s. The gondolas were spacious and can easily accommodate up to 10 people. Regular rides are RM8, but we got to ride on the ‘special’ ones…

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Glass floor! At RM50 per pax, it was pricey but an interesting experience nonetheless. There are even USB ports for you to charge your devices during the 10-15 min ride.

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The line was very stable with minimal swaying, and quiet to boot. You can even hear the sound of birds chirping and monkeys howling from the surrounding jungles!

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Construction is still underway for the theme park.

We got off at the Sky Avenue station. Sky Avenue, a lifestyle mall, is the latest addition to Genting’s repertoire and features a mix of luxury/premium outlets + hipster-ish F&B restaurants. The first one on our list was a place called Motorino.

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Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Motorino was founded by an Italian chef who wanted to create the perfect Napoli-style pizza, which has a chewy texture. It already has branches in Manila and Hong Kong, but this is its first outlet in Malaysia.

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Stepping into the resto’s interior, one feels transported to old Brooklyn, with its diner-style deco, black and white chequered tiles, accents of green and white, wooden chairs and warm yellow lights. Pizzas are cooked in not one but two pizza ovens imported from Naples. The wood fired oven’s structure is dome-shaped and has been for centuries, and gives the pizzas a smokey flavour impossible to replicate with conventional electric ovens.

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Served fresh and piping hot !

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They say that the mark of a good food establishment is in the most basic/simple of dishes. In Motorino’s case, the proof is in the pudding… or its meatballs. Drenched in a tangy-sweet tomato sauce, the meatballs were juicy and succulent, minced to fine perfection.

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Antipasti of Roasted Chicken Wings (RM20) was tender and flavourful, drenched in a light sauce of lemon, chilli flakes, onion and mint.

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On to the mains! Because Motorino hails from New York (where everyone is always on the move), the proper way to eat it is to fold the pizza in half and eat it from the narrow end.

(Above) Margherita Pizza (RM53) came with a tomato sauce base and was topped with stringy, melty mozarella, basil, pecorino and olive oil. Despite the liberal amount of cheese, it was creamy without being cloying, and complemented the tangy tomato base well.

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Arugula and Bresaola pizza (RM64). Bresaolo is an air-dried salted beef that has been cured for two to three months. The distinctive fresh taste of arugula blended well with the thin and salty Parmesan cheese slices, as well as the lean, sweet and musky cured meat.

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Caesar Salad (RM17) : Baby Romaine, red onion, Parmigiano, anchovies and Caesar dressing with Croutons.

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Del Popolo Pizza (RM54) – Tomato Sauce base with Mozzarella, parsley, onions, olives and cured anchovies. Anchovies on pizza remind me of that Futurama episode with Fly xD

 

Prices are reasonable for such an establishment, and the pizza is definitely tastier than your regular chain-joints. The cosy dining environment is great for families and those looking for an authentic experience.

 

*Photos not watermarked are courtesy of Resorts World Genting 

MOTORINO 

Level 1, SkyAvenue, Resorts World Genting, 69000
Genting Highlands Resort, Pahang, Malaysia

Open daily: 11AM-10PM

LTITUDE @ Resorts World Genting for MIGF 2016

The Malaysian International Gastronomy Festival (MIGF) is an annual affair showcasing the best of the local food scene, especially of the fine dining variety. Chefs from top Malaysian restos put on their thinking caps to bring some truly delectable dishes to diners throughout the month of October.

2016 marks the festival’s 15th year with the theme High Octane Chefs. 25 participating restaurants are serving special ‘festival’ menus until Oct 31. (I know there are only a few more days left, but I got caught up with stuff and forgot to post it .__.).

I did a writeup for work though (which was why they invited me!). You can read the article here

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The good people from Resorts World Genting had me and some other media friends over for a full day of non-stop eating (we were so stuffed by nightfall we had to roll to the van) at two of their restaurants, namely LTITUDE Bar, Restaurant and Lounge at the Genting Club, as well as the award-winning The Olive Restaurant next door.

At LTITUDE, we got to enjoy a 10-course meal as part of MIGF’s Festival Menu. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the young and talented Chef Mandy Ding. She’s only in her 20s and already commands a resto of her own at one of the most prestigious hotels in Malaysia – now that’s achievement! Having worked in top notch kitchens in Singapore and Hong Kong, Mandy knows her stuff and describes the cuisine at LTITUDE as a blend of her classical French training with modern techniques and ingredients to suit local tastebuds. One can tell Mandy is passionate about food just from the way she explains stuff to us. There are no airs from her either – when she’s telling us how she marinates her truffles in a jar, it’s like we’re just chilling around with a friend over the dinner table.

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Canapes: Flat bread, Sturia caviar and lemon mascarpone topped with cherry ragout 

Wafer-thin and crackly, the flat bread’s texture comes closer to crackers than bread – sort of like the skin of a very crispy popiah. On it’s own it doesn’t have much taste, but we were supposed to eat it with the salty caviar, a dollop of sour and creamy mascarpone, and balance it out with the sweet cherry ragout – so you have all the flavours packed into one small bite.

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Amuse Bouche:Garden of Greens vs Wild Mushroom Tea, with petit pois, baby leeks, truffle brioche and hollandaise.

One of the few ugly pictures taken with my phone, coz they didn’t provide me with any. I like the deconstructed way the dish was presented, and true to the name, it was like walking through a nice garden, filled with different colours and textures. I particularly like the wild mushroom tea, which was warm and comforting, especially in Genting’s cold weather. The black bits are actually mushrooms from the tea that have been deep fried into a crisp, making them a great snack.

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Starter: Hokkaido scallops, Romanesco cabbage and mint snow 

I love scallops, but can’t always have my fill because they’re so pricey. Good thing the ones here are big, fat and juicy. The cabbage and mint snow was fresh and minty, which brought out the sweetness of the shellfish even more. A very refreshing opening for the heavier main dishes soon to come.

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Soup: Purple Artichoke Soup with Black Truffle and Albali White Wine 

This smooth and creamy soup was so addictive, most of us asked for seconds, even knowing we still had a long way to go for the meal!

Simmered for four hours, the soup slips down your throat and warms the belly. The earthy flavours of truffle and the strong aroma of wine come through exceptionally well, which Chef Mandy attributes to her ‘jar’ – a tank of port wine which she has been keeping truffles in for over a month. Crunchy artichoke bits give the soup texture, so we didn’t feel overwhelmed by the creaminess.

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Another ugly photo (Time to buy iPhone?) of the truffles in port wine, used to make the soup.

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Appetizer: Organic egg at 62 degrees, Sweet Iberico Ham on butternut squash foam 

So after all that, we’re only at the appetizer!? Now I understand why fine dining always comes in miniscule portions. .___.

The egg was lovely – soft, oozy center and bouncy egg white, sitting on a bed of light and airy butternut squash foam. Connoisseurs will know the prized Iberico ham, which is cured and produced in Spain and Portugal. It’s very sweet and rich, since the free-range pigs roam oak forests and their diet impacts the flavour of the meat.

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Main 1: wild caught French sea-bass, Swiss chard and vanilla foam

Finally ! We have made it to the mains 🙂 Seafood lovers will like the sea-bass, which is firm and fresh, seared at the top but soft and juicy at the bottom. The vanilla foam gives it just a hint of sweetness. Admittedly, this wasn’t my favourite coz I’m not a big fan of fish.

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Couer de Boeuf: sorbet of heirloom tomato and plum granite

Served on a big block of ice, the palate cleanser was great for getting our taste buds back on track again. Light, refreshing, with a slightly sour tang similar to assam (tamarind).

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Main 2: Slow cooked Iberico spare ribs, with side of Bluefoot mushroom and Charlotte potatoes 

If you’re looking for flaky, melt-off-the-bone meat, then look no further than this dish. First marinated in salt, pepper and barbecue sauce, the ribs are slow cooked for four hours til tender and soft, then grilled to get a nice, seared crisp on the fat. Cut off a chunk and feel it just melt onto your tongue. Oof.

The side of Bluefoot mushroom is packed with earthy flavour, while the Charlotte potatoes are creamy without being overly rich.

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Dessert 1: Textures of Blood Orange Terrine, Sorbet and a Soft Panna Cotta 

Ending on a sweet (okay not exactly) note is sorbet of blood orange, which has a slightly sour touch which balances out the sweet panna cotta.

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Dessert 2: Guanaja souffle and Valrhona Chocolate 

Last but not least, this chocolate souffle with just the right amount of bitterness, offset by sweet sugar crumbs on the side and which carried the texture of velvety bread pudding.

LTITUDE’s festival menu is priced at RM288 nett per pax and RM448 nett (with wine pairing).