Saturday, 29 October 2011

Restoran Muar, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Muar is a town about half way between Kuala Lumpur and Johor known for its delicious local variations of Chinese and Malay dishes. Restoran Muar, just off Changkat Bukit Bintang, offers a chance to try some specialities from this region right here KL. I've been dragged to Restoran Muar three times in the last few months by local friends. It's a popular spot on weekends so you might have to wait for a table - not for long though - it's not the type of place for hanging around, just eating and moving on. Honestly I'm quite biased towards healthier dishes so this place didn't have a great chance to begin with the majority of the popular options being fried - crispy fried eggs, fried butter kai lan, chicken fried in a sweet sweet sauce. They were all good, very tasty, not just something I'd regularly order. Restoran Muar is also known for it's assam fish cooked in a spicy sour tamarind sauce with plenty of juice made for slurping up after all the fish is gone. Their cendol is celebrated by my local pals and we haven't been able to leave ever without everyone (except me) ordering one or two rounds - shaved ice, coconut milk, red beans and noodly worm-like green jelly on top. It's really too much for my taste buds to contemplate - the idea of beans mixed with jelly and ice for dessert. I feel obliged to write about this place though as it is obviously pretty good stuff according to KL urbanites and I shouldn't let my bias for leaner cuisine put anyone else off giving this spot a go. The setting is simple and homey, portions are small (but prices are not too bad considering the location) and the food is fresh and flavoursome.  
Restoran Muar
No. 6G Tengkat Tong Shin, 
Off Jalan Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur,
+603 2144 2072

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Lai Po Heen, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

In the dining scene it's always a good sign when you see a full house and locals lining up to get into a restaurant. This is such the case for Lai Po Heen at the Mandarin Oriental. Hungry families are happy to line up for some of the best dim sum and Cantonese dishes in town. The ambience is lively with upbeat background music, buzzing chatter from diners and sprightly entertainment provided by chefs tossing, turning, flipping and smiling for customers from the glass-walled kitchen. For someone who is new to the wonders of dim sum and having a limited experience with Cantonese cuisine the staff are extremely helpful. Each take their time in answering questions, making suggestions and describing ingredients. I graciously took recommendations and found success in every plate presented. My mouth merrily capitulated to an exhilarating roller coaster ride of texture adventures. Crunchy, chewy, creamy, smooth, course, flaky, velvety, moist, succulent - a contrast was found in every dish. Take the popular dim sum item, Crispy Prawn and Squid Dumplings Coated with Almond Flakes, for example. Brittle  almond flakes encrust a dense and succulent prawn, topped with a moist sweet chili sauce giving a depth of structure that allows a good few chews before completely disappearing in the mouth. The Crispy Yam Dumplings Filled with Minced Chicken and Shrimps are another texture sensation -  a delicate lace like fried encasement surrounds a thicker glutinous inner lining filled with a juicy wet  protein centre. My whole mouth was confused (in a very pleasant way) by a deliberate composition of unexpected textures of a number of selections from the dim sum menu. Other highlights are found in Lai Po Heen's Signature Dishes. Two of memorable note are, the Beef TENDERLoin with Black Pepper, and the Tiger Prawns in a Lemongrass Nonya Style Sauce - lightly fried local prawns in a tangy aromaticly addictive lemon grass sauce - with head Chef Ricky heralding from a long line of culinarians from Malacca this is one outstanding dish not to be missed. While the menu might not be in everyone's ideal price range, Elite card holders receive 50% off when dining in two making a delicious lunch more than reasonably affordable .  

Lai Po Heen
First Floor
Mandarin Oriental
Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2179 8881

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Little Thai, Ampang, Malaysia

Little Thai has become quite the hangout for expatriates in the Ampang area. Visit any evening between 7 and 9pm and you're likely to come across someone you know. Popular picks are the classic Thai favourites of green chicken curry and mango or papaya salad. The dry green curry fried rice comes well recommended too. Meals are tasty and cheap but service is slow. The lovely chef does it all by herself and makes everything from scratch. You're assured of freshness and on the spot cooking but you might want to choose the time you intend to dine or settle in happily for the evening. You can bring your own wine with no corkage fee, so settling in for the evening could be just the thing to do.

Little Thai
Stalls on corner of Jalan Ampang and Ulu Klang (diagonally opposite Ampang Point and on the other side of Jalan Ampang to Suzi's Corner)
Park at Brussels Beer Cafe and walk up the steps to the stalls. It's the first stall on your left as you enter.
68000 Ampang

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Weissbrau German Bistro & Bar Turns 2!, Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I've been pretty lucky to be an invited guest a number of times at Weissbrau and have always been very happy with the beer and pork offerings. This time was no different as Weissbrau celebrated their second anniversary at Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur, with a rockin' band Mad Sally, tasty food and the biggest beers I've ever seen! For more news of what Weissbrau has to offer see here and here and here. :-)

Wiessbrau German Bistro & Bar
Lot 3.05.02 & C3.16.00, Level 3
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
+60 3 2142 0288

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Breakfast at Mosaic, Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Mosaic, all day dining restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, works with just the same philosophy for breakfast as it does for dinner - focus on quality rather than quantity. While offering both local and international breakfast delights such as Chinese, Indian, Western, European and Japanese cuisine the selections are perhaps not as wide as you might find in some 5 star hotels around the city.  The difference though is smaller offerings mean more focus is put into the standard of each dish. What will keep me coming back for breaky are: the egg station - eggs done to your liking - I could even get my vege egg white omelette made with just a spray of oil and pan fried mushrooms on the side; crusty wholemeal bread; crunchy chef's granola; an assortment of fresh, dried and compoted fruits; bottomless cups of coffee and a rockin' bakery section - ask the cook in the centre of the goodies to whip you up some hot French toast and top it with the mixed berry compote - yum! My dining buddy, who balances out my healthy taste buds, devoured chicken sausages filled with cheese, tender flavourful steaks off the grill, scrambled eggs, some local meat dishes (in particular the well seasoned, juicy chicken from the Indian bar), and steamy dim sum. The modest medley of dim sum is worth a mention as it was enough to whet my appetite to make a reservation for the dim sum restaurant located upstairs for next weekend. If you enjoy people watching and the green KLCC park view it's wise to reserve a window table in advance as this place quickly fills up on the weekend (so much so on my visit that the lobby area was opened up to cater for the large number of patrons).

Ground Floor
Mandarin Oriental
Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2179 8881

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Good Music and Drinks at Nerofico, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Despite the above photos, the focus of this post is surprisingly not on food. Dropping into Nerofico late last Friday evening I discovered something just as exciting - great music and drinks in a smoke-free environment. That's correct, there really are entertainment venues living in the 21st century right here in KL. For those of you still dying to puff away, there's a lovely outdoor area where you can smoke until your lungs turn black. Those inside however, can have an awesome evening of fine tunes and delicious drinks in relatively clean air. Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the smooth vocals of James Flynn accompanied by a local crew playing a soul fulfilling mix of classic jazz tunes. Musicians change every weekend mixing it up with Latin jazz, swing, soul jazz and a whole host of other sub-genres and fusions. Knowing that your ears will be satisfied, now what about your taste buds? As with the other Nero Group restaurants a decent wine menu featuring Italian specialities is on offer.  My pick  though is the zingy limoncello. Tangy sweet sips of this lemon liqueur are the perfect accompaniment to a toe tapping evening of rhythmic nourishment. In my mind, the only thing better than this is the knowledge that the friendly manager, Michele, will soon be producing his own recipe of limoncello for the bar. He has promised to keep The Yum List posted when the first batch surfaces and I will surely do the hard work of sampling it, so that you will know if it's worth a visit.

Live music Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm
Ground Floor
Wisma Perintis
47 Jalan Dungun
Damansara Heights
50490 Kuala Lumpur
+603 2089 5312

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Peruvian Fusion at La Mar, Lima, Peru

For fantastic Peruvian food with flair, go to La Mar. We shared several tasting plates consisting of Peruvian staples; ceviche and causa or mashed potatoes. Ceviche (raw fish) reminds me of yum (thai salad) in that its fresh and cooked in lime juices. Lovely and refreshing. Causa, made here in small servings as each was made from different kinds of potatoes mixed with various Peruvian chillis. Served cold like a rounded potato salad. If you didn't know, Potatoes originate from Peru! Amazing. I love the giant corn you find here. Complimentary were the fried yuca, banana or plantain and potato chips; and fried, salted corn kernels served with Aji (yellow mustard colour) and Rocotto(red) chilli's and Huacatay - (green) which is a Andean herb mixed with Aji chilli. It's flavour is reminiscent to coriander/cilantro. We also had fried calamari, grilled octopus and nikei tuna. 

La Mar
Av La Mar No 770, Miraflores, Lima, Peru
Tel: 511 421 3365 

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