Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Senya Dining @ Isetan KLCC

Right after the high-tea set at Cafe Vienna, we were still feeling hungry - at least our stomachs are telling us it has not reach the 70% mark.  So, I suggested that we head down to Senya Dining @ KLCC Isetan Food Market in search of some good Japanese food.

Not wanting something too heavy, we ordered the Chicken Katsu Udon to share.  Service was pretty quick and very soon, our bowl of hot-piping udon arrived.

The bowl of udon was visually tempting, served with a big piece of chicken katsu, slices of kamaboko (fish cake), lots of wakame and crispy,deep-fried egg pieces.  The portion is pretty decent for the price.

The chicken katsu was deep-fried perfectly well while still locking in the juiciness.  I must applaud it for being generous with the portion as the chicken katsu was quite thick, i.e. a lot of meat.  Plus, the chicken katsu was not very oily, leaving the soup very clear.

The soy-based soup is very light but flavourful, giving enough taste to the bland udon.  It was very good that we (well, actually I) finished every drop of the tasty soup - and no, it was not due to MSG.

I usually don't like udon because of the soft texture and bland flavour as opposed to the more fragrant ramen.  But here, the udon is springy and tasted good especially with the soup.

I must say that this is one of the best udon I have tried.

Highly recommended for a quick, wholesome and satisfying meal.  However, the dining place is pretty small and is more appropriate for lone rangers or couples to dine-in.  Otherwise, if you prefer to bring the dining experience out at the KLCC park, they have pre-packed bentos (which they will happily reheat in the microwave for you) and sushi sets which you can easily take-away.

Senya Dining
Isetan Foodmarket
Suria KLCC
(Just beside the escalators)

High Tea Set @ Cafe Vienna, KLCC

When I saw this high tea set at Cafe Vienna @ KLCC being sold at a discount coupon website, I was very tempted to purchase it since the picture made it looked extremely appetizing   So, right after work, we went to redeem it as part of our pre-dinner snacks.

Unfortunately, our expectations was hit almost to the lowest when we finally saw the set being served to us.  

First, it was the size.  As opposed to what is being served in the next table (which was on a 3-tiered), we quickly concluded that the portion has definitely been down-sized for the discount deal.  Well, I should have read the terms closely next time as it did state "Served as illustrated" Ish!

That aside, the food was, on average, just alright as some manage to impress us while some are just ordinary sweet treats.

The one thing that impressed us the most were the tiny open-faced sandwiches.  They were three types:  smoked salmon with capers, ham & cheese and mayonnaise egg served on toasted slices of baguettes.  They were quite delicious and fragrant, with just the right balance of moisture and flavour.  For me, I loved the mayonnaise egg toast as they did a good job in combinung the ingredients.  Unfortunately, they were just too tiny.  One bite and it's gone.  Wished there were more of them.

Next up, are the scones served with strawberries jam.  The scones were pretty disappointing and probably the worst I have ever tasted.  They are too dry and floury, and without the jam, it was almost too difficult to swallow them as they are quite tasteless.  Thankfully, the waiter was very nice to let us get extra jam.

The mini fruit-tarts were nothing fantastic.  With two thin slices of strawberry, it barely pass off as fruit tarts.  The tart shell was also quite dry and lacking flavour, but the custard cream manage to save it.

Lastly are the cakes.  The chocolate cake, which was not very pretty and looked as though it was prepared by some amateur baker, was quite dry and didn't have much chocolate taste.  The orange-flavoured cream cake was not too bad as it was spongy and moist, with a very strong orange flavour.  Somehow, for the first two cakes, the level of sweetness was just a bit lacking.  Nevertheless, the Opera cake was the best - moist and has a nice coffee flavour, with just the right level of sweetness.

The set also comes with refillable tea and coffee.

Overall, this high tea set definitely failed to impress us - they were some good points but just too many misses.  If we had actually paid the original price for this, then I think it is not worth it.  There are better places for a nice high tea experience.

Cafe Vienna
Lot 305, 3rd Floor,
Suria KLCC
50088 Kuala Lumpur
Tel:  03-21618268

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Taiwan BBQ Steamboat @ Yuan Yuan Restaurant, SS2 Mall

Today I brought my parents to SS2 Mall for an early dinner, which unfortunately is quite bare and does not have many choices for food.

After going round in circles, I suggested to try out Yuan Yuan Restaurant since the menu showed quite a decent choice of Chinese food.  Turns out, it was quite a good decision as we left feeling super satisfied.

The highlight was their Taiwan BBQ Steamboat, which has a very close resemblance to the Bar-B-Q Plaza concept, i.e. a combination of grilling and steamboat.  In fact, I prefer Yuan Yuan's version instead as it is more delicious and flavourful.

I ordered the Set A (RM 19.90) that has a choice of beef, chicken or pork served with udon, carrot, vegetables, pumpkin, chicken ball, brocolli and other varieties of seafood products such as seafood tofu, crabstick, seafood balls - all prepared into bite-sized portions.

What makes this BBQ steamboat so memorable is the soup base, which is all-vegetarian, mainly from cabbage.  We all love the soup as it was very sweet and flavourful, with a faint peppery taste.  Confirm no MSG.  The soup is served in a jug, so that you can refill into the pot as you wish (although I am not sure if you can ask for more or not).

Instead of giving pork lard, they served butter for the grilling.  The sauce is a sweet, oyster sauce with a strong sesame oil and if you prefer it spicy, a grounded chilli paste.

Overall, this Taiwan BBQ steamboat is very light and refreshing.  Even my quite-fussy parents were quite impressed with the quality of the BBQ.  The portion size, in my opinion, is quite decent and not too much for one person.

The other dish that we have ordered is the Kampung Chicken Rice (RM 11.90), which is mainly for my parents.

I find the chicken meat quite succulent and served in a nice sweet soy sauce.  The rice, unfortunately, is a bit too soggy for my liking and I must comment how small the rice serving is - not even filled to the brim.  The soup, according to my parents, it was quite good but definitely not as good as the one from the BBQ steamboat.

We will definitely come back again for the BBQ steamboat, maybe with KS next time.

Yuan Yuan Restaurant (园园風味館)
Lot G49-50, SS2 Mall
40, Jalan SS2/72
46000 Petaling Jaya

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Yong Tau Foo @ Madras Lane, Petaling Street

Every year, right after our annual family affair at the Guan Ti Temple along Jalan Tun HS Lee, we will always head to the Penjaja Gallery Tun HS Lee for our yong tau foo lunch.  It became a habit we practice religiously and I believed it will carry on until when one day, the owners of the yong tau foo stall decide to put an end to their family business.

One of the main crowd-puller at this hawker place, this legendary yong tau foo stall has been in business for 3 generations and is very popular among locals.  For tourists, this will be a good chance to sample local street food in a nostalgic environment - a setting that never seemed to have changed since decades.

It's not hard to miss this stall.  Along a narrow alley, you will find a long queue where people are frantically snapping up all the freshly-prepared yong tau foo pieces into their plates as though they were the last few pieces for the day. Even I had a hard time squeezing in to snap some nice decent photos.

Because they prepare these yong tau foo on-the-spot behind the stall, they are replenished almost immediately.  So, as long as you don't come after lunch hours, you'll be guaranteed with your choice of yong tau foo.

The key to their popularity is the fish paste which they have used as the stuffing.  Prepared daily, the ikan parang or wolf herring is sliced and whipped using the power of hands only, giving a nice, smooth and elastic texture.  The nicely seasoned fish paste is very juicy.

No yong tau foo will be complete without the soup.  Make sure you ask for the soup because it is very flavourful and sweet with the all the goodness from the ikan parang.

While the yong tau foo may not look very beautiful but it is very good and definitely worth the trouble.  For RM 1 per piece, it is quite a deal since the size is quite big and has a lot of fish paste.

The best way to come here, without having to past through the wet market, is through the Pak Pheng building along the Petaling Street or the lane in between the Sri Mahamariamman Temple and Public Bank.  I usually go for the latter as there's a parking lot (ex-Madras Cinema) there, which unfortunately is a pricey one.

Just a word of caution, note that the sitting territory is a big, sensitive issue here at the Madras Lane market.  Sitting at the wrong tables may attract nasty experiences from the stall owners (I am not sure to what extent, though).

To be sure, just ask the stall owners where you can sit.  If you intend to order dishes from other stalls to go with the yong tau foo, then make sure you order from the stall that is in good terms with the yong tau foo stall.

Madras Lane Yong Tau Foo
Penjaja Gallery Tun HS Lee
Off Petaling Street
Kuala Lumpur
Close on Monday

GPS:  3.143596,101.697258

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Happy Chinese New Year 2013


Gong Xi Fa Cai!!  Today marks the start of the new lunar year - the Year of the Water Snake.  

And not to forget, all the yee sang, CNY goodies and the never-ending 8-course meals.

Happy Chinese New Year :)

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Vegetarian Lunch @ Café De Sky Garden, Old Klang Road

Last weekend, we met up with some of KS friend for a pre-CNY gathering at Cafe De Sky Garden @ Old Klang Road, a fusion vegetarian restaurant that our friend recommended.  At first, we were pretty sceptical about this place, but a few blogs seem to give pretty good reviews about the food.  Turns out, the experience is quite pleasant and definitely not a let-down.

The menu is quite extensive with many choices, accompanied by very beautiful and colourful pictures.  As we were the last to arrive and didn't have the luxury to go in detail each item on the menu, we left the ordering to our friends instead (who were also pretty indecisive as everything on the menu looked tasty).

First up for ala-carte is the HM Seaweed Saw Mushrooms (RM 15).  This deep-fried snack is actually a chunk of straw mushrooms with a piece of mock meat wrapped in nori (seaweed) sheets.  I quite like this dish mainly because of the crispy and flavourful nori sheets.  Despite it being deep-fried, it is still very moisture inside.

Next is the Potato Basket with Gong Bo sauce (RM 20).  A very close resemblance of the yam basket dish, for this dish, the basket is made of potato instead and served with mock cuttlefish and cashew nuts on top of fried vermicelli noodles.  While it is sweeter than yam, I find the basket a bit too dry and didn't have the creamy texture.  Plus, it was not fluffy enough.  However, the gravy is very delicious (although a bit too little) – thick and flavourful.  Slightly spicy, but overall good. 

We also ordered the Pumpkin Curry Vegetable (RM 18), which is very creamy and thick.  I must admit that the pumpkin taste was barely noticeable and lack some fragrance.  However, this dish is definitely a healthier version of the coconut-based curry.  This sweet and slightly spicy curry has a lot of mixed vegetables such as brinjals, broccoli, cauliflower and baby sweet corns.

After the three dishes were served, we realized it was not enough to go around for 6 person as the portion size is pretty small.  Since we had been eyeing this particular dish on another table, which looked pretty interesting, we decided to order it.  Turns out, the dish is the Signature Dish – Seaweed Popiah (RM 24.80).  

Instead of using popiah skin, it was wrapped with nori sheets (again) and dipped into batter before being deep-fried.  Then, the seaweed popiahs are beautifully laid on top of mixed salad and drizzled with a homemade mango salad sauce, topped with sweetened raisins.  The nori sheets and the fruity mango sauce gave the popiah a nice refreshing experience  which I find it as a good appetizer   And despite it being deep-fried, the sengkuang (jicama) shreds inside are still juicy and well-seasoned.

The only problem is at the end of the meal, it somewhat felt a bit too oily.  I guess it was because we ordered too many fried food to start off with – poor coordination among ourselves.

But otherwise, the food is tasty and the price is pretty decent.  For desserts, they have a wide selection of beautiful healthy cakes on display.  Not to forget, they have afternoon tea too, with a selection of mini cakes!  A very good reason to return again.

Do note that Cafe De Sky Garden looks a bit quiet from the outside as its neighbouring shop-lots seemed to be unoccupied or not open.  So, you may have to be careful especially at night.

For more information of Cafe De Sky Garden, visit their website.

Cafe De Sky Garden
No 6-14, Jalan PJS 1/31
PJS 1, Taman Petaling Utama
46150 Petaling Jaya
Tel:  03-77810876

GPS:  3.080282,101.651768