Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kuala Lumpur 2011 - Lunch at Favola

Favola is the new fine dining Italian restaurant at Le Meridien KL. It occupies the space that used to be Al Nafourah - the middle eastern restaurant where I had several really nice meals. The space has been completely transformed - now it looks like a Venetian palace with beautiful frescos on the wall and white-washed timber ceiling.

The menu is very extensive and would take quite some time to go digest. Since I did not have much time, I decided to go for the set lunch which costs RM 80++ for 3 courses. There are several choices for appetizer, 2 choices for main course and 3 choices for dessert.

Before the meal, a nice selection of bread with 3 accompaniments were served. There were 2 types of bread sticks, a ciabata and a pumpkin bread. The dips were guacamole, smoked tomato and balsamic vinegar with olive oil. The breads and dips were really good and I was in danger of filling up just on these alone.

For the appetizer I opted for the selection from the crudo bar. I think I made the right choice. There were generous servings of 4 items. Pumpkin Crostini, Crab and Apple Salad, Lamb Sausage and Mushroom Salad and Beef Carpacio. All were excellent, except the crab meat wasn't as fresh and sweet as it could be - a common problem in hotel restaurants.

Crab and Apple Salad.

Beef Carpaccio.

Lamb Sausage and Mushroom Salad.

Pumpkin Crostini.

There was even a 5th complimentary appetizer - grilled tomato with cheese which was really delicious.

The main course unfortunately wasn’t as exciting as the appetizer. The name of the dish was really enticing - Roasted South African Hake Fish with Cannelonni Beans and Porcini Mushroom Ragout. The fish was salty and lacked flavour. The white beans and wild mushroom saute was however really good. Loved the mushroom flavours.

For dessert again you have a couple of choices from the menu, or you can select from the crudo bar. I decided to try several items from the bar - an orange meringue, dark cherry and chocolate cake, dark cherry trifle and profiteroles. The orange merange was really nice - strong fresh taste of orange, married with the sweetness of the meringue - a great dessert. The chocolate cake was very rich and moist.

The impressive crudo bar with selections of salads and desserts.

The Favola Set Lunch is great value. You really get your money's worth, and all to a very high standard. Favola is definitely a welcome addition to the KL Italian food scene.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kuala Lumpur 2011 - Breakfast at Bukit Bintang

There are a few coffee shops in Bukit Bintang which I have found to be very convenient if you are looking for a simple and cheap meal. They are located right beside Hotel Capital, opposite Low Yat Plaza. They seem to be open at all kinds of hours - early morning until late at night. All offer quite similar fare - precooked selection of dishes for a fast take-out, and the usual rice, noodles and porridge. I can recommend the Char Siew and Roast Meats - all are quite good. If I can't have a gourmet meal, give me a Char Siew Noodle anytime and I’ll be happy !

The Char Siew Noodle is the KL style with soy sauce. Not the best - but not bad.

Also comes with some dumplings in soup.

I like to order these deepfried pork which are probably very suspicious cuts of left over meat, but they are quite addictive as a crunchy snack.

Lots of cooked food (mostly deepfried) to whet your appetite.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kuala Lumpur 2011 - Royal Selangor Concept Store

Have you ever been lost trying to find something nice and appropriate to give a friend or associate from overseas ? It is usually not an easy thing to do, and can sometimes drive you nuts. Well thanks to one Malaysian company this decision has become easier for me on many occasions.

Royal Selangor Pewter is truly one of the few homegrown Malaysian companies that have gained an International reputation for the design and quality of their products. They have just opened a huge concept store at the main entrance of The Pavilion. Its a 2-storey outlet - on the ground floor is the Selangor Pewter showroom, and on the 1st floor is the Selberen Jewelry and Cormyns silverware showroom which are both part of the Selangor Pewter empire.

The Malaysian Designer Collection - a collection of 8 pendants by 8 famous Malaysian designers and personalities. This is limited to 1,000 sets, and half of the proceeds go to Badan Warisan - the Malaysian Heritage Society. I really liked the designs and bought a set for the mrs.

They have a wide range of designs to suit almost any taste.

While at the shop I had the pleasant surprise of bumping into Datin Paduka Chen Mun Kuen - the grand daughter of the founder, one of the directors of the company who still help to run the business. She has perfect salesmanship and managed to convince me to buy another expensive item from the shop, but she also gave me a copy of the Selangor Pewter book which she personally signed. I will treasure it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kuala Lumpur 2011 - Dinner at EEST

I’ve been to EEST at Westin Hotel several times before, mostly for the dim sum which has always been delightful inspite of the lack of pork since this is a Halal restaurant. This was my first time there for dinner. They have changed their concept somewhat. The focus now is more on Chinese food, whereas previously the theme was Pan-Asian. The menu - though extensive, was a bit difficult to negotiate. Besides the Chinese section, the rest which included Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese seemed to be just an afterthought. The emphasis seems to be on premium ingredients such as Wagyu beef and lobster, rather then on showcasing the cuisine styles. Unless you are prepared to splurge, this place is probably not the best choice for dinner.

Since I was looking for an enjoyable diner but didn’t necessarily wanted to break the bank, I ordered a Spicy Sichuan Style Chicken Appetizer and a Sichuan Style Beef Noodle with Beef Rump and Chili Oil, which were the cheaper items on the menu which looked enticing.

I was really glad I chose the chicken - it was great. Essentially white poached chicken with a dressing of soy sauce, oil, vinegar, spring onion and green chili, the taste was very clean and fresh, with enough saltiness to excite the palate.

The Beef Noodle, however, was disappointing. It looked impressive enough, with big chunks of beef rump on the side and a rich looking broth. Unfortunately the broth was just salty and lacked depth and flavour, and the beef also tasted like it has seen better days. The dumplings though, were good.

For dessert I ordered a Black Sesame Ice Cream in Apricot Soup. It was good - sesame was surprisingly a very nice flavour for the ice cream, and its strong smokey flavour was balanced by the apricot soup which was light and tangy.

I have to say dinner at EEST was a bit disappointing, however I really enjoyed the ambiance. This is still easily one of the most beautiful restaurants in KL.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kuala Lumpur 2011 - DC Comics Concept Store

Nowadays it seems everything can be turned into fashion merchandise. The latest concept to hit KL is the DC Comics Concept Store at Pavilion KL. This shop doesn’t actually sell comic books - but rather fashion and other memorabilia based on comic book characters. Naturally, Batman and Superman take their pride of place at the store. They even have a life size Batman and Batmobile right at the entrance.

The impressive Batman and Batmobile.

Lots of fashion for wannabe Superboys and Supergirls.

Not a single comic book in sight.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kuala Lumpur 2011 - Bukit Bintang Street Performers

The Bukit Bintang area always seem to have a few surprises up its sleeves. This time I was pleasantly amused by this street entertainer who had decked himself out completely in green - including his face and hat. Normally he would just stand still like a statue - nothing seems to distract him, until somebody comes in for a photo op then he suddenly springs to life and delight the audience with his many stylish poses. All he asks for is a few dollars in exchange.

The next day walking through the same area I was surprised by another entertainer - this time completely in blue. This was obviously a different person as he was much taller. The other fellow was quite short. I wonder if they are partners or competitors.