Friday, March 30, 2007

Gonbei, Starhill

Don't you use love this time of the year? It's the season of promotions, increments and most importantly bonuses! Ok maybe most of you got yours at the end of the year or even at frequent intervals thoughout a year but for most of my generous foodie companions, now is prime time. They get, we celebrate, I jump for joy (don't think my current bulk allows any significant height though). 3 out of 5 voted Japanese and wanted to revisit Ninja Jones. However changed venue when 1 who had good dining experience here before suggested this posh restaurant instead. Posh? That was our impression due to its location and premium prices. W-a-s is the key word here. I'll story later.Let's just whizz through a few of what we had that night. Please don't be too upset if I fumble on the names of the dishes. Orders were made without much reference to the menu and at warp speed as friends knew what they wanted. As for me, a young grasshopper in such cuisine only get to answer 'err yea, I eat', 'oh, sound icky', 'err ok I try-lor'. You will notice my pictures have kind of a brownish tinge on them. Poor lighting. As far as possible I will try not to use the camera's flash in dimly lit restaurants. It would attract too much attention and may be a nuisance to other patrons.

Carrot+Orange juice. No ice, no sugar. Mine. Other drinks ordered that night included Ocha/Green tea, another glass of Fruit Juice but I cannot recall what and a glass of their House Red.
Fish cakes
Japanese corn. Only 1 portion left so it went exclusively to our friend who claimed he craved it to death. Nah!
Wagyu Tenderloin
Salmon Sashimi
Teppanyaki Hotate (Scallops?) and prawns. These were my portion on my plate. That's a miniature size tomato with green seeds. Adorable, right?Saba Fish. Fishy smell a bit too overpowering for me.Garlic Fried Rice. My small bowl. Everyone agrees it is good especially the fried garlic! I do not know for sure what the accompanied sauce plate held. One side was some kind of a salad cream while the other although look like chopped chillies, it was not hot at all.
Teriyaki Cod Fish. Picture is not minimised. That was the size we got. = (
Soft Shell Crab
Ice Cream Tempura (Fried ice cream). The outer skin was too thick. We did expect it to be crunchy but it's more like 'lau-fong' texture.
Pumpkin Ice Cream with red beans. Dollop of ice cream was yellow in colour but turned out green in my picture. 'o.0'

Banana & Mango Fritter. I enjoyed this most. Have fallen hard for this combination ever since I was introduced to it barely a year ago.

Story time. We were greeted with the usual boisterous greeting one gets at Jap retaurants but odd part was the 'eyes' that followed us to our table where a friend was already seated and had started off with a few dishes. He was real early and gluttony got the better of him. Hey, that reminded me, we should not had splitted the bill equally! Aiyaya. Oh back to the eyes. Most of them belonged to the 5 idle staff behind the sushi/sashimi counters. Stares which either say we don't look like usuals at such classy joints or maybe they don't see that many patrons given any time of the day. Oblivious to my discomfort, the rest plonked themselves right in view of the counter. -_-"

Dishes came dishes go at quite a slow pace though we were the only 1 of the 3 tables occupied. We were busy chatting away at controlled volume due to the serene atmosphere. Our effort was most unnecessary. You know why? The chef was using our orders of Ice Cream Tempura and Banana Mango Fritters as teaching aids! The staff behind the counters were making a rukus with comments and questions while watching the ingredients being wraped, torched and plated. @_@" That pasar malam scene (as one of my friends called it) did not end there. It continued until we left. After our desserts were served which did take quite some time, the chef seemed to be dishing out lessons on the basics of sashimi, sushi or whatever cold dishes preparation. Either that or he was just showing off to a most appreciative crowd, the staff. Friend who had been there before said that nothing of such happened during his last visit early this year. Well, maybe it was a really very slow day. V e r y s l o w .

Hoo-ha, no charge.
Glimpse of class in session, no charge.
Other than the above (those items not pictured were items finished by the early bird):-

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Prime Restaurant

Celebrated my 1st anniversary with my girlfriend at Prime Restaurant in Le Meridien KL. Been hearing quite a lot about this place and was keen to give it a try and what more on this special occassion. Here are some pictures taken with my Samsung D600. Wanted to bring my digital cam but "pai seh" lar... go fine dining also bring cam shoot here shoot there. So, sit back and enjoy my tummyummy experience in Prime.

Started off with some really delicious bread, served hot with 3 types of butter... plain unsalted, mint and spicy mustard. Until today, the tastes still lingers in me. The one thing about the 3 butters was how well the aroma and taste blended so well with the bread, which were lightly spiced already, thus making it really enjoyable. Tummy rating: 9/10

Now, if the starter was already mind blowing for me, i cannot wait for the mains we've ordered - an 8 oz Aussie Fillet Mignon and an 16 oz Aussie T-Bone. As for sides, we had jumbo asparagus and portobello mushrooms which were also, cause for concern after my first bite. They were GOOD. I'm never a fan of jumbo asparagus but what we had were flawless. Tummy rating: 8.6/10

This is the medium done 8oz fillet mignon, in which i had a small bite. Nicely done, nigh perfect texture and true to what others have said, it's the way they do it that leaves it such an impression.
Tummy rating: 9.1/10

Next came my T-Bone, quite possible one of the best T-Bones i've had in my life. The flavour, aroma, texture and almost every criterion you'd care to mention in steaks is represented in full force here. Clearly, the force was with me. Tummy rating: 8.9/10

For a night like this, you cannot not have red wine, and because we are both responsible drinkers and responsible drivers, we also had a litre of Evian mineral water. The wine list was pretty extensive, and the selection, top notch. We had a glass of 2003 Beringer Pinot Noir from Napa Valley and a 2005 J. Lohr 7 oakes Cabernet Savignon, a very characteristic and aromatic wine, best for BBQ and grills. Tummy rating: 7.89/10

So, great evening, good food and lovely companion. Prices are slightly steeper but it's worth it.
  1. Wine: 70
  2. Evian: 28
  3. Mignon: 70
  4. T-Bone: 110
  5. Jumbo Asparagus: 20
  6. Mushrooms: 20

Till we meet again.....

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Song River Cafe, Gurney Drive Penang

This is a way way way belated post. So way belated I cannot recall the name of the dishes nor the price of each. Nevertheless, the good feel after a delicious meal at reasonable price lingers to this day.

Date: Many many suns & moons ago (about 1/2 year ago)
Place: Pearl of the Orient or has it been dethroned? (Penang)
Time: Late brunch
Pax: 4 big 1 medium (4 adults 1 teen)

We had those dishes which came highly recommended by an old family friend who's a relentless food hunter in Penang. Please note that the pictures are ranked according to my personal favourites:-

Vermicelli with Steamed PomfretBraised Prawn Noodles. Green bean Noodles in Fishball SoupSpecial stir-fry taufu ("soya bean cakes") Long beans in Sambal ("chili mixture")'Heng-gein-teh'. Almond Tea. Tastewise? Quote 'It tastes like milk with cough mixture'. Got that from a comment here -Precious Pea It's actually quite a common drink at most Penang coffee shops. Actually am not a fan either. To me, similar to cockcoach smell. =P

Location: It's one of the old coffeeshops along Gurney Drive facing the straits. Just do a slow drive and you cannot possibly miss it. The crowd is unmistakeably thick at this place as well as the coffeeshop next to it.

Note: Much much cheaper to park on the designated roadside parking space which charges by half hourly if I remember correctly, than to park at open spaces and pay at flat rates unless plan to spend a very long time there. Instead of parking meters, there are charismatic wrinkled parking fee attendants who go around on bicycles to collect from car to car. A blast from the yesteryears.*sigh*

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Kluang Station, Tesco Ampang

Discovering and reading food posts in blogs help me tremendously in keeping the conversation at tables going. Especially during the awkward intermission between making the orders and arrivals of food. Not to say I make it a habit to dine with strangers or blind dates but let's admit it, there are times where there is lack of a good conversational piece even when with your best pal. Hey, instead of fidgeting with each others' handphone, I find it healthier to practically show-off my span of newly acquired general knowledge. Ahem. There may not be 'oohs' and 'aahhs' (at least not loud enough to attract curious stares of other patrons) but the ability to impart some 'new' information gives me a healthy dose of self-esteem. For example, if not for Food4Thot and Screenshots's previous posts, I would not have cared much for this franchise (or is it a branch?). Yes, it's true. Phitoy and I had no inkling at all about the famed railway station coffeeshop. Do visit those links for a nostalgic trip filled with beautiful photographs. However, it was Babe In The City's post that kept my expectations in check.

2 of us were there to shop for groceries on behalf of a welfare home. This is Phitoy's new year resolution ie. to pledge a certain amount for charity every quarter of the year. Since I like to shop, we asked the welfare home for their list of neccesities and buy accordingly. Good for the soul. :) Furthermore, I believe the amount of money spent is elligible for income tax deduction. Do correct me if I'm wrong. Yes Phitoy, this is mentioned here for a purpose - TO REMIND YOU!

Back to my food post. It was dinner time, there were a long list of bulky things to buy and lug across town. So, a tummy filling quickie dinner was in order.

Tables were empty. Not a good sign but we chanced a guess that it may be still early, for the crowd there were mostly Malays who may dine only after their Isyak prayers (8pm).

Placing of menus was quick but then we had to do some hand waving exercise to catch the attention of the staff to take our orders. Arrival of dishes was quite fast except that utensils were not placed beforehand. Due to hunger and time constraint, I grab those placed on the nearest table.

We had:-

Hainanese Chicken Chop. Meat tender but the batter flavour overpowered the gravy's.
Mee Siam. A tad too dry. I suspect pre-cooked and zapped when ordered. I ate only half. Phitoy mixed the rest with the chicken chop gravy and finished on my behalf. Not a pretty sight. =P

Toast Bun. Luv the soft buns. I wouldn't call the butter chunky. More like a swipe? Then again, maybe Phitoy took the best slices. The kaya was definitely too sweet for me.We had similar drinks - Cham. I liked, We liked.Our bill which took some time to arrive:-Location:- Tesco Ampang

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ninja Jones Japanese Restaurant, Northpoint

Fat Boy Bakes' posts on Isthmus made me dreamt of it day and night. Since so many dishes came highly recommended, I cannot possibly go alone or in a pair, right? Finally got myself included into a small group of regular foodies who wanted to try it out. With much anticipation, we braved the Midvalley traffic and found it .. closed. It was a Sunday.

But fear not! The 'saviour' lies opposite - the mysterious Ninja Jones to the rescue! To enter the ninja den, we were initiated at its locked door in search of a secret button. However lucky us, the manager who happened to be standing outside exempted us from the test and allowed us an easy passage in. Whoosh-whoosh-whoosh there were ninjas bussing around! Dim lighting and they were dressed in black, I nearly bumped into one head-on.

5 of us were seated in a cave-like room upstairs.Noted the female waitresses were dressed quite boringly compared to the male 'ninjas'. Guys in the group did expect to find suggestive geisha customes clad ones. Too bad boys.

Suggestions made, orders taken and dishes served rather quickly:-

California RollWagyu Ishiyaki Steak. Tender beef seared on hot stone - very good. My favourite of the night.Salmon Sashimi. A never missed order anytime anywhere for 2 of my dining companions.Seafood Papaya Moto-yaki. An interesting version of cheese baked seafood platter served in a papaya bowl. However don't think it's cheese as I did not taste the flavour.Fish cakes. Like a friend commented, the texture is really like marshmallows.

Black Cod Saikyou-yaki. Yummy.Avocado and Soft Shell Crabs. The crab was not evenly distributed among the pieces. Lucky me got the best pieces. Hehehe.Wagyu Saikoro Steak. Tender beef cubes on hot plate. Not bad but the consensus was the hot stone version was way better.Pistachio ice-cream with red beans & Macha with red beans. I forgot to order black sesame which I had not tried before. *Note to self:- next time don't order dessert without going through the menu thoroughly!*Prawn Tempura. An over-exposed picture.Pumpkin TempuraBBQ mushrooms? I totally forgot what's this but the texture did feel like fat mushroom. =PKing Prawn RollCurry Chicken. No hint of spiciness at all but good nonetheless. Would be good to go with rice.Being a newbie fan of Japanese food (hey, I'm still learning to appreciate Salmon Sashimi, 'k.), I dare not venture to comment on the taste or price on my own. A quick check around the table found that my companions have thoroughly enjoyed the meal and environment and plan to return very soon. Hope they'll include me again. And again. And again.

Pockets lighter by:
The address & contact details:-Do note that parking at Northpoint is no hassle as it is still quite empty but it is at an hourly rate. Then again, Midvalley will be charging quite similar rates beginning April too. Bye bye flat rates, hello shorter hours spent there.

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