Starbucks Malaysia Launches New Winter Menu – And It’s All About That Tea

It may be summer all year-round in Malaysia, but that doesn’t mean we can’t sip on some cool beverages and imagine we’re somewhere nice and frosty (while we melt in the blazing heat)!

Enter Starbucks’ latest winter offerings – The Pure Matcha series – which is inspired by Japanese tea culture. Made from premium micro-ground matcha sourced from first-harvest green tea leaves grown in Japan, there is an emphasis on preparation of ingredients and balance of flavours, to produce a cup of pure green tea goodness. Expect a subtly sweet aftertaste, fresh green notes and a silky finish – perfect for tea lovers!

Winter Beverages 1

Marrying three distinctive flavours from Japanese cuisine is the Black Sesame Pure Matcha Latte with Taro Foam. Fun, indulgent and colourful, the beverage blends Starbucks pure matcha with a velvety black sesame sauce, topped with a frothy layer of aromatic purple taro foam – for a nutty, earthy and rich flavour explosion.

The Caramel Pure Matcha Chocolate Chip Frappuccino will appeal to fans of kakigori, as it was inspired by the Japanese shaved ice dessert. Pairing matcha with chocolate and caramel, no-sugar green tea powder is blended with milk, bits of chocolatey java chips, before being topped with whipped cream and a decadent drizzle of caramel sauce.

Winter Beverages 2

Another one to try is the Okinawa Brown Sugar Latte, a comforting and indulgent seasonal favourite. A signature of the Okinawa region in Japan, Okinawa brown sugar has a deep and complex flavour that lends a hint of mellow sweetness to Starbucks’ signature espresso. The drink is then topped with an airy milk foam and swirl of brown sugar drizzle.

Coffee lovers are not left out, as the brand’s latest Winter Coffee Beans, produced in the volcanic Atitlan region in Latin America are used for the the Starbucks Guatemala Atitlan – carrying a bright citrus acidity, elegant aromas of orange blossom, and deep notes of sweet caramel and milk chocolate.

Starbucks® Zodiac Rat Mug

To usher in spring and the Lunar New Year, there will be Starbucks exclusive Year of the Rat merchandise, with cute, rat-inspired mugs, tumblers, water bottles, cold cups and an adorable Rat Bearista Bear. Food offerings also abound, with items such as the spicy and creamy Baked Tuna Pasta, Apple Multiseed Bread, Orange Muffin with Cranberry and Cream Cheese, Classic Walnut Cookies and Golden Treasure Cupcake.

Starbucks® Zodiac Rat Bank

Starbucks® Bearista Bear Rat

All of the above offerings are available at all Starbucks Malaysia stores from 7 January 2020 for a limited time only.

 

*Photos courtesy of Starbucks Malaysia and GO Communications

 

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Experience An Italian Affair This Spring @ Bar Cicheti, Singapore

Say goodbye to winter and hello to a spirited spring, as Bar Cicheti, Singapore’s first homegrown pasta and wine bar, brings to diners the sweet, hearty harvests of Italy. The new menu is a tribute to springtime in Italy, from driving through the hills of Tuscany to the seaside sunsets in Sicily. Handmade pastas are perfect to showcase the season’s best produce, paired with a beautifully eclectic wine list to satisfy all palates. Chef Lim Yew Aun’s rich, comforting dishes give way to fresher, brighter tastes that celebrate the bounty of spring, while sommelier Ronald Kamiyama’s new floral-forward wine selections are delicious on their own, each with a story to tell.

 

 

 

 

SPAGHETTI - housemade jalapeño pesto, grated ricotta salata, chopped pistachio, toasted pine nuts

For a limited time only, tuck into Chef Aun’s four Spring-inspired specials, dressed in vibrant colours and flavours of the season. Twirl up forkfuls of Spaghetti (S$28) done one of two ways – the first coated in a creamy, housemade jalapeño pesto that’s tossed with chopped pistachios, toasted pine nuts and a generous grating of ricotta salata.

 

 

 

 

 

2015 CVNE, Monopole Clásico. Rioja, ES (Viura blended with sherry) - 2

 

 

SPAGHETTI ALLE VONGOLE - burnt leeks, peperoncino, parsley, garlic chips

Pairing perfectly is the 2015 CVNE, Monopole Clásico—fresh, fine and bone dry—a peculiarity of a Spanish Rioja which sees manzanilla sherry introduced to the barrel aging process, resulting in a nutty characteristic that lends itself beautifully to the roasted flavours of the pesto. The other is a classic Spaghetti alle Vongole (S$32), where the sweet leek of Spring gets a fresh coat of char, adding an irresistible aroma to the clams’ briny tang.

 

 

 

CORZETTI - porcini and button mushrooms, marsala wine

Hand-stamped medallions of Corzetti (S$28)—a Ligurian specialty dating back to the middle ages—need nothing more than earthy slices of porcini and button mushrooms sautéed in a flavourful Marsala sauce. The dish is best enjoyed in between sips of the 2006 Tenute Sella, Lessona, a lost expression of Nebbiolo from Alto Piedmont that’s making its way back into vogue. Vibrant aromas of leafy underbrush, moist soil, berries and herbs, along with a shared provenance, bring out the earthy undertones of the moreish mushroom ragu.

 

BUCATINI - hokkaido scallops, saffron, spring peas, citron zest

For a taste of the lush Lazian countryside, the final seasonal special is Bucatini (S$30), where thick, hollowed strings of pasta are tossed with spring peas, citron zest and a seared Hokkaido scallop, in a hearty saffron broth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANOLINI - taleggio, ricotta, parmigiana, caramelised onion, hazelnut, butter sauce

Adding to the new permanent menu is an update of Bar Cicheti’s tight, confident rotation of pastas – offering more vegetarian options, new pasta shapes and in-season ingredients. All available in either starter and entrée size – pretty purses of Anolini (S$18/28) stuffed with taleggio, ricotta and parmigiana are finished in a decadent brown butter sauce, topped with caramelised onions and a sprinkling of hazelnuts. The ever-trendy Cacio e Pepe gets more bite than before with slippery strands of hand-rolled Pici Cacio e Pepe (S$18/28) – spiced with Sarawak black pepper, fresh marjoram and a squeeze of lemon to cut through the rich parmigiana.

Linguine (S$22/35) is an uncomplicated toss-up of handpicked blue swimmer crab and treviso radicchio—an Italian chicory that together with the crab, release sweet flavours of land and sea— brightened with orange zest. On the other end of the spectrum, thick, stubby tubes of Paccheri (S$20/34) are paired with slow-braised polpo and given the Puttanesca treatment – fresh tomatoes simmered long and slow, folded with fiery flavours of chilli, anchovies and capers, and to finish, a sprinkling of toasted bread crumbs. Here, the 2016 Château de Trinquevedel Rosé is ideal for the bright, tomato flavours in the feisty sauce. This is a fourth-generation gem from the Tavel appellation of Southern Rhone, France–where only rosé wines are allowed–made with mostly Grenache and other native varietals such as Clairette, Mourvedre, and Cinsault.

Tagliolini Nero (S$22/35) is chef Aun’s way of reimagining Bar Cicheti’s reigning darling, Fusilli Nero (S$19/32). While the original is a feisty umami bomb of squid ink fusilli, crab lump, Japanese uni and basil and anchovy crumbs; the latest contender is an ode to the sea at its seasonal best. By folding freshly harvested squid ink deep into the dough with military precision, each strand is unabashedly black and briny and lends itself to an ocean-fresh medley of Hokkaido scallops, local squid, and Japanese uni – all coated in a bisque reduction that tastes like the sea.

All these dishes are available in two sizes, for a little bit of everything, along with a selection of new and signature antipasti and desserts that have been updated for Spring. Wines at Bar Cicheti are available by glass, quartino and bottle. 

For a taste of everything, opt for the menu’s new “Feed Me” options (S$68 or S$88), which includes 1 antipasti, 4 pastas and a dessert to share. Add a S$58 supplement for wine pairing. 

*Photos courtesy of Mango PR. 

BAR CICHETI 

10 Jiak Chuan Road, 089264 Singapore

Phone: +65 6789 9801

Opening hours: Lunch Tues – Sat 12PM – 2.30PM, Dinner Mon – Sat 6PM – 1030PM. Close Sundays

Website 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning

I am messy af, so my room tends to get very cluttered after a few weeks. Usually I only clear out the tables and shelves (since they get piled high up with books), but today I went the whole hog and cleaned out my drawer as well.

And discovered loads of things I forgot I was still keeping….

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Colourful cartoon badges. These were all the rage in college. The characters are from a local doll maker called dooodolls.

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Tokio Hotel’s Humanoid CD – signed and autographed by the guys themselves, no less! In my early college days, I was crazy about TH, and when they came for their concert/meet-and-greet, I dragged my ex to queue up at the mall as early as 9am. The concert was at 7pm.

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Got rid of my old mooncake box to free up some space. It’s still in good condition even though I’ve used it for 10 years as storage for my accessories. High school was a time I fawned over Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou, as you can see from the numerous stickers around the box lol.

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Old accessories. I barely wear these anymore, so I threw some away.

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Newer stuff which I still put on now and then.

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A customised mermaid bookmark, one half of Kat’s earrings that I borrowed for a party and forgot to return, and a pouch (I forgot who gave it to me lol).

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Customised money pouch.

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Gifts from friends who went overseas. Candles from Maldives, and a keychain/bookmark from Sabah.

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Idk which snarky friend gave me this but it gave me a good laugh.

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Capsule toys, blood donation book and a doll from a Hong Kong 7-11 which Tom gave me and which I completely forgot about. I’d like to dump it and be done with anything to do with him, but the doll is really cute so.

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And of course, this hilarious student ID. This was taken in 2004, which makes it 12 years ago.

I was looking at it and laughing at how much of a skinny bad bitch I looked like in the pic. I didn’t fit into school and was constantly bullied, so I hung out with delinquints. High school was an interesting time – not always pleasant, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Clean, orderly shelf! Give it like a week or two to become messed up again.