Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Las Carretas @ Damansara, Jalan Semantan

I admit after the run, when i looked at the pictures below, my mind went absolutely blank.

Even as i type, there are still big clouds circling around the diameter of my head.

Oh well here goes.


Las Carretas is a small chain (4 outlets) serving Mexican. I never did had the opportunity to appreciate and eat proper Mexican, so when this venue was decided for our department dinner, hey why not?

The outlet on Jalan Semantan was chosen and even before the dinner, the experience was hilarious. They called me up asking for the number of pax coming and caught off guard because i wasn't the organiser, i said i called back and asked for his name.

He replied "Cristiano".

I almost bursted out laughing before muttering that i will call back.

Calling back, i asked for Cristiano.

The fellow replied, coming right up, calling him from Manchester (i think he was clearly abit outdated as he was spotted in Vegas and Beverly Hills partying at that time).

All the time addressing me as Senor.

Ok, lets move right on.

Entertainment wise, the group of friendly waiters and captain tries to make it a very memorable experience by singing in their own language (either mexican or something other than english) with their guitars after the meal. However, how about the food?

The guacomole with nachos seemed abit small in portion but how can you blame them when avocados sell for exorbitant prices like RM5 a piece in Isetan?

More nachos, this with loads of cheese, chicken pieces and etc etc. Anything with cheese gets a thumb's up.

Have a glass of margarita to cool you down. Didn't had any, since the guys went for Happy Hour beer.

The beef fajitas probably came in the most number of plates. Value for money? A huge portion of sliced beef on sizzling, a variety of condiments and 3 slices of tortilla wrap for RM30.90. Tastewise, it is on par with what you can get in Chillis.

Want something safe? A steak can do too.

I think i might avoid the baked fish. Priced more than my fajitas but only a small piece for show.

For Desserts:

A coconut creme brulee that will probably been better off minus the coconut

An awesome home made chocolate brownie that i will definitely order again.

Address and contact details:

Lot B-0-7 Semantan Avenue
10 Jalan Semantan
Damansara Heights
50490 Kuala Lumpur
Tel +60 (0)3 2093-0380
Fax +60 (03) 2093-0390

Verdict: 3 stars out of 5 stars. A casual place that you can dig into something Mexican with some singing for entertainment. Great if you are out as a group but if you are out for a date, i am not so sure how much peace you will be getting. Food is alright but nothing too shining.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pain Pain Pain but oh so worth it

Woke up at 5am on Saturday to get a "feel".

Tossed and turned till 5am on Sunday for the actual "feel".

Runny nose while waiting for the 6am LRT to Masjid Jamek which came subsquently late at 6.10am.

Wandered to my one eyed hero/messiah who offered to protect my oh so valuable bag instead of queueing up among the hundreds of people.

Went up to the front of the queue bit by bit, looking for my friends who turned out was right at the end.

Bumped into them in the last 500m when my legs were heavier than the pork knuckles i had over the years.

Sprinted the last 20 metres.

Finished in 1 hour 20-21 minutes or so.

Now writing this as i cant feel my bottom half (legs only mind you).

Food blogging later.

I understand from someone that i have a UK reader who frequently visits this blog in the medical field. A nice Hi to you!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pimping Friday - Kamsiah's cup cakes

Secretaries are definitely one of the most multi-talented people in the world. Not only can they handle the bosses and a 101 tasks at the same time, they can go home and bake too.

These cupcakes were hers truly, a gift for our dear boss who decided that it is now time to retire and laugh at us young farts working.

Interested in halal cup cakes?

Can order from Kamsiah. All enquiries can be directed to me via email.

[Minimum 36 pieces - RM 42
Pickup point - 1 Sentral]

Have a good weekend readers, and hope my foot recovers from the gruelling run that I have to wake up for at 5 am! (That was the time i slept just last week).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

City Hall Maxim's Palace @ City Hall, Central Hong Kong

One can survive for probably years if you strictly listen to recommendations on what to eat in Hong Kong.

Needless to say City Hall Maxim's Palace was only one of the many on the long list.

The instructions were clear, be there early or forget it.

So we did just that, waking up and getting ready by 10am (the usual time for dim sum). There were no signs of heavy human traffic which was a blessing in disguise after days of hectic life. The only people to be found were all the maids spending their day out. One can only be surprised how many maids they are in Hong Kong, they are littered everywhere!

Maids aside, back to dim sum.

Indeed our definition of early was not early enough for the local standards. Twenty odd numbers to wait before our turn to enter. Oh dear me, is this like the favourite past time for Hongkies? To queue and queue?

After what seemed like ages, the magical number was called out and we rushed in to be greeted with trolleys, just like the good old days.

Efficient i must say, as they travel at a neck breaking speed, serving table after table. Thankfully, we weren't seated to starve.

Their version of Braised Eggplan doesn't look appetising, all dark, murky and looking like mash. Put a piece in your mouth and you shall be converted. Oh so flavourful.

Their Goon Tong Gau ("shark fin dumpling soup") was also flawless, full of ingredients and a well boiled soup.

Their polo char siew bun was freshly baked with a crust on top and a melt in your mouth filling.

Wu Kok ("yam puff") was not overly soggy with oil like some that i have seen.

Probably my only taste of egg tart in the whole trip (surprise, surprise). There is just so much to eat in Hong Kong which is awfully terrible because imagining coming back and saying er i didn't get to eat ______ (any of the hundreds of hong kong delights around).

Prawn cheong fun that was well the standard affair.

Squid tentacles which is rarer to get in Malaysia. Pity it was not fried with salt and pepper.

A vegetable dumpling which is my girlfriend's favourite since dont know when.

Ending with siu mai, we didn't even have har gau! Or either that the picture went missing somewhere.

The second ending with a tau foo fah. Smooth and Silky.

Short and sweet.

Address and contact details:

2/F Lower Block, City Hall,
5-7 Edinburgh Place
Central, Hong Kong

Telephone: +852 2521 1303

Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. The usual Hong Kong dim sum with the additional entertainment of seeing the trolleys back in action. Did i mention the view of the harbour? Although with the long queue and the expensive prices (came up to around HKD 180) per person, i don't think i will be back unless someone queues for me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Meatworks @ Solaris

Meatworks, a restaurant opened by the National Feedlot Corporation, an envisioned centre for production of beef opened under the Ninth Malaysia Plan can only mean one thing.

1. They take cows seriously and beef is probably as fresh as it can get (not having to travel by air or sea).

Not only that since they have links to the Government of Malaysia (indirect ownership), my halal readers would appreciate the fact that they serve certified Halal Beef and not a drip of alcohol (not that i could find on the menu).

As the menu suggests "This is Beeftopia".

Entering into Meatworks is like stepping into Moo Moo land. Have your choice of cut and preference of "doneness" and off a chunk of meat will go onto the grill. The sizzling sounds that travels from the open kitchen to the dining area is music to the ears.

The decor is classic, love the open kitchen, the brick walls and how it all feels very comfortable.

The retail section on 1st Floor sells various cuts of beef and other miscellaneous products. I eyed upon an area that looks like a perfect spot for a private function, with a small open kitchen. Live performance perhaps like a teppanyaki experience?

Sharing the Mushroom Cappucino (RM15) which came minus the foam and in any case I never believed soup should come in fancy measures. Tasted with a variety of mushrooms bits and controlled use of cream, the downside was the croutons they sprinkled on the top. Either they had forgotten to toast it or it turned soggy by the time we digged into it. Maybe to serve croutons on the side?

A Waldorf Salad (RM24) that i couldn't seem to find the celery although Mom said it was thinly sliced and probably came in a thin portion too. Green and Red apples, walnuts, raisins tossed in a blue cheesed based dressing. Dressing was quite mild and probably appropriate since i am the only one who appreciates the more pungent cheese.

Chicken Tortilla Wrap (RM20-22?) resembled the Mexican food i had a couple days ago and i only nipped on the wedges. Family said it tasted good and wasn't too heavy of a meal.

The Meatworks Rib eye (RM58) . This is the part where it gets confusing, the grilled ribeye with mash that comes in a 350gm portion sells for RM46. If you order this dish which is listed separately from the steaks, it comes in a 200gm portion with what appears to be some extra mixed vegetables. Is RM12 minus 100gm of meat = some mixed vegetables? Needless to say, i questioned what in the world was my sister thinking of when she ordered it.

The "men" of the house obviously needed their meat and so it was.

Sirloin in a glory 300gm portion for only RM43. Cooked according to how you want it (no nonsense of medium becoming medium well and vice versa) and with a bed of mash (heavy hint of milk). Flavourful sauce and a pity of the lack of sauce which looked more like for decor purposes.

The Signature Bone in Fillet, 350gms plus the bone (RM59). With a nice balance of fats and meats, this was fantastic with the sauce. Sadly mine would have done even better if they used seasoning more liberally. Read somewhere that salt and pepper are essential for grilling steaks and mine seemed to lack abit.

With such huge portions and proteins involved, their limited desserts didnt lift an eyelid and we skipped and paid the bill.

Address and contact details:

Jalan Solaris 5, Solaris Mont Kiara

Look for Mohd Faizal Zainal Abidin (Restaurant Manager) - 0122056856

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. 4 stars if i was a halal customer. I suppose what was really missing was a nice glass of wine to enjoy with the huge chunk of meat. Other than sprinkling abit more salt and pepper on my future steaks and maybe extending their dessert menu, i don't see why this is not a default place to go for steaks. Best part is, you support Malaysia cows too!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Pub @ Shangri La Hotel

After back to back lavish meals, it was time to take a break. After rummaging through the booklet of vouchers that Shangri la gave me, along with my membership card, i saw a voucher "Free Dinner for two".

Well sounds like an economical dinner plan, doesn't?

Stepping into the Pub, was like stepping into a pub that was rather un Shangri la if you can call it. With the swanky Zipangu and La Fite, you wouldn't think that their pub looks like a drinking hole stuck in the 90s but yes, sadly but true, the place does look like it has been untouched since the 90s, and stuck in some obscure corner too.

Nevertheless, beggars can't complain as we had the whole place to ourselves again. Spotting a pattern over the week, we had gone to Hakka Republic for a late Friday dinner (alone by the time we finished), Max! for lunch (alone all by ourselves) and now (alone all by ourselves too!)

Started off efficiently with some bread rolls and good ol' butter.

Together with some mushroom soup that was rather creamy. Couldn't make up my mind to whether it was canned or not, on one hand the texture looked like it was out of the can but there was alot of mushroom pieces. Either way, dip bread and in, and no one was complaining.

Then we were given a choice between grilled chicken, salmon and beef with vegetables. We both went for the rib eye.

Mine was Medium and came out rather well done. Other than that, it was still edible and was not overcooked rendering it tough. Something that i could make at home if i put some effort in but again like i said, its free, why complain? Just enjoy.

Wash it down with Guinness (on happy hour rates, for everyone) RM34.50 for 2 pints (buy 1 free 1). As cheap as Decanters which was selling for RM17 per pint.

Ending with a rather poor dessert which was just bland and horrible. The strawberries was all my girlfriend plucked from the dessert.

So for those who have the voucher and yet to use, a good idea as to what you will get. A decent meal in a rather old spot in the hotel for free, no service charge and tax except for the RM 9 parking fee (weekend charge).

Venue: Shangri La Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars. Unless its free and you are desperate to watch soccer in a more quieter environment along with cheap beer, go to the other restaurants in the hotel.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Max! Kitchen and Wines @ iHaus, Bukit Bintang

I still remember the first time i stepped into Max! Kitchen and Wines. The rustic old bungalows of Tengkat Tong Shin and being greeted by a humble little restaurant with an open kitchen.

The Wagyu Beef Cheeks was the first dish i tasted and ever since, the taste, texture and flavours would linger at the back of the mind. I suppose the only thing that really stops me from making this a weekly affair is the prices and the well boutique sized menu.

I suppose this is more like your occassional fling.

So when the news spread like wildfire that Max! had moved his restaurant to a more spacious place with no worries for parking, it was a default place to visit. More so when i heard they were extending their lunch menu on Saturday (which turned out to be not true, when i asked).

When i looked at the menu, i realised why i wouldn't really visit this every week. Starters start from RM20+ right up to RM90+ for their foie gras. Mains start from RM40 to RM90+ for their veal. A 3 course meal with a drink would easily work out to RM100+ per pax which suddenly makes their 5 course degustation meal with a glass of prosecco look like a steal for RM120+.

Then again, we had to remind ourselves that this is lunch, do we really want to stuff our stomach all full?

Served with the familiar bread, olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar.

Now if you haven't read from elsewhere, Max! has moved in or collaborated with iHaus a high end furniture boutique. So essentially it is a furnite showroom doubled up as a restaurant. While waiting for your meal, if you fancy a chair you feel or a painting you see on the wall, everything has a price tag. Although i must say some comfortable sofas were well in the region of 5 figures.
A mushroom salad with a poached egg with a reduced balsamic vinegar dressing (RM28). The well timed poached egg helped to moisten the salad with its runny yolk while providing some protein. Almost substantial for a light eater i suppose. Not me though.

I was running through the 9-10 mains Max had. Somehow the fish didn't appeal to me, i could still remember the rather small servings my mom and sister had when we first visited. Call me unpolished but i like a hearty meal without having to ask for extra bread to fill myself up. So it was, without breaking the bank for the veal and no lamb cutlets in sight, i called out for my first love, the beef cheeks. Now is it me, or did they use to serve more than 3 slices? However the taste was still spot on, well cooked and flavoured. In fact tasted almost oriental despite cooked in wine, a hint of our usual braised mushrooms with chicken feet, maybe due to the thickening of the sauce (probably from the beef). (RM68)

Rounding up with desserts, an almond chocolate brownie with blood orange. The brownie was rather soft and warm (i prefer it with a bite like soft cookies). The blood orange was evident and perhaps overpowered the chocolate. My qualm would be that the cream be replaced with some ice-cream instead. (RM25).

Finish with a cup of Illy Coffee minus the sugar for a complete satisfied meal.

Being the only customers on a Saturday afternoon, service was prompt and lovely. Perhaps i was looking for something more lunch like (i.e. lunch sets, a lighter menu), i didn't absolutely dig this place like before. Perhaps suitable for a nice long dinner which i probably will return for especially for the degustation menu.

Address and contact details:

Lot 32, Jalan Jati,
Off Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-21429720

Opens daily from 11am to 11pm

Turn into Jalan Inai (the road opposite Ritz Carlton) and it is right at the end of the street. If you look carefully, there are signboards along the way to the restaurant.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 stars (subject to revising after visiting for dinner). I am pretty sure it deserves 4 stars if it had been dinner, simply because i would rarely spend so much money on lunch but would gladly obliged had it been dinner. Food is good although limited but (i understand changes quite often) and the ambience is good (quiet and exclusive).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Slice of Heaven by Just Heavenly

Bluntly and cornily phrased, if you want to to taste heaven yet still want to literally remain on Earth, you can have only so "many" choices.

One of them i suppose is to get a sugar rush by visiting A Slice of Heaven.

Just Heavenly latest attempt to offer their heavenly desserts to the public. This time around, their latest outlet or cake boutique is opened in Jaya One, more accessible with longer opening hours and days opposed to their Damansara and Bangsar shops.

Other than what they have already have been offering all this while, i spotted a new few items since i last visited them.

Two Tarts; A lemon based and a walnut based, looks so good! Definitely going to drop by again to actually purchase some.

The apparently current craze, cookies with sugar coating. Comes in various shapes and sizes, patterns and colours! A hit for the young ones.

I just couldnt help but take a picture of their lights that they use. Beautiful lighting that does its job to keep the shop bright.

Address and contact details:

A Slice of Heaven, by Just Heavenly.
Still serving you pleasure.

At Jaya One
Blk E, B2
No. 72A Jalan Universiti
46200, Petaling Jaya

Their desserts looks as promising and good as always. I hear that you will be able to access their full cake menu here too!