Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur
Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC)

ABC – Acme Bar & Coffee

Words by Craig J Selby
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)

I was told I was in for a treat, and a slightly different treat at that. So as I walked through the door of Acme, it fast became evident that my leisurely Sunday brunch was going to be different. No, more than different, special!

Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur
Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC)

Located on the ground floor of the impressive Troika building, just on the outskirts of the KLCC park, Acme is a casual dining restaurant with character. Décor has both an industrial and post-modern feel about it, with high concrete ceilings, extensive use of steel and glass, but some quirky additions such as old lamps, 1920’s style tiling, solid wooden tables, and of course, an awesome al fresco dining area.

Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur
New Outdoor Patio
My friends joined me shortly after and we sat down to consider the menu. Recently launched, their new summer menu had some items on it that I’ve never tried before – this was going to be a gastronomic explosion for me, in a very good way. Sitting outside, we were shaded by mature trees, with just a hint of a gentle wind. The seats were comfortable, and the passing traffic was just a mild hum in the background over catch-up conversation. We settled on our wine –Anakena Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. Nice and light in colour, with a fruity nose, it was a splendid drink to start the day with.

Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur
Anakena Sauvignon Blanc
As usual with this small group of friends, we tend to order a selection for sharing. We know what each other likes and dislikes, and we try to challenge ourselves to explore new items, and things that are a little unusual, as well as a few old favourites.

For entrée we had a crab salad, potato nuggets, and a hot dog. The Summer Crab Salad encased fresh chilled crab meat, served with corn over crunchy cos lettuce. Added lemon chunks were supplied to gently squeeze and add flavour to taste, making this a perfect summery salad. Presented with bright, bold colours, this dish tasted as good as it looked, and certainly didn’t disappoint. Accompanied by garlic bread cooked the old fashioned way – so that there was a crunch sound as you bit into the crispy dough – we were off to a great start.

Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur
Summer Crab Salad

The potato nuggets, Patate Fritte, were a delightful bowl of mini mashed potato balls, deep fried and served with a chilli mayo. What set this dish apart was the addition of deep fried basil leaves, adding not only a great aroma to the dish, but a really intriguing texture to it as well. They say the simple things are best, and I am a giant potato fan – this is a dish I wanted seconds of.

Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur
Patate Fritte
To complete our shared entrée, the Grilled Jumbo Hot Dog arrived. Smothered in caramalised onions, reminiscent of a liquorish taste, this was a generous hot dog full of flavour. Yes, familiar comfort food, but with a hint of sophistication. The home-made bread added to the enjoyment. Needless to say, the dog didn’t last long on the plate, and we were pretty soon contemplating our main order.

Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur
Grilled Jumbo Hot Dog
A few sips of wine in between before the mains arrives. A delightful angel hair pasta dish arrived, with pan seared scallops and embedded into the pasta, beansprouts. This is the first time I’ve had beansprouts with pasta, and I was mesmerised by not only the flavour, but the textures that it offers when eating. The sprouts were nice and fresh, and really extended the flavour of the pasta, without overpowering it. A great fresh aroma to the dish, it certainly was unlike any I have tried before.

Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur
Angel Hair Pasta with Scallops
We also decided to opt for something that none of us had tried before – ostrich. Yes, that’s right, ostrich. Grilled to perfection, the fillet looks somewhat like veal, was served medium rare, and was tender to the bite. In reality, it shared a lot of taste notes with beef, but it was clear that there was something special about this. Definitely a must try,


Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur
Ostrich
Dessert was a taste exploration too – we started with the tarragon ice-cream. When cooking, which I’ve been known to occasionally do, I love to use tarragon. Its unique flavour, coupled with its ability to compliment many dishes, is a draw card, so the opportunity to explore one of my favourite herbs in an ice-cream was just too much to miss. A creamy consistency, this divine concoction slipped down beautifully. Yes, there was more than a hint of tarragon, but it certainly added depth to the ice-cream, rather than overshadow it as I had expected.

acme bar and coffee, abc, troika
Tarragon Ice Cream
A second ice-cream was their black forest ice-cream (with oreo). Best described as a children’s playground, simply because it bought back nostalgic memories of a younger me, when chocolate ice-cream would be smothered in broken cookies and topped with rich syrup. This dessert certainly was bold in flavour, rich chocolate, super crunchy cookie crumbs – a perfect combination.

Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur
Black Forest Ice Cream
To top off brunch, we tried the Ugly chocolate cheesecake. Ok, we tried it purely because we wondered how a cheesecake could be “ugly”. It was presented well, looked normal – we were later told it is called “ugly” because sometimes it doesn’t come out of the oven at the same height. I can only say, these guys here are tough on their food! With three layers of chocolate, each layer nice and firm, the ugly chocolate cheesecake was certainly a winner. The old adage is right – don’t judge a book by its cover (or name) – this is another must have.

Acme bar and Coffee, troika, ABC
Ugly Chocolate Cheesecake
Finishing off brunch, and continuing our conversation, we were surrounded by the wafts of coffee and tea. I had the cherry marzipan tea – again, something new for me. Subtle flavours, complimenting the desserts, and leaving a nice aftertaste.


Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC), Troika, Kuala Lumpur
Coffees
Definitely worthy of The Yum List, Acme is a great place to sit back, unwind, and enjoy time with friends over great food, wine and conversation.

Reason to visit: new al fresco dining area, good coffee, hip setting, black forest ice cream, patate frittes, ostrich, angel hair pasta, 


Acme Bar and Coffee (ABC)
Unit 1 The Troika
19 Persiaran KLCC
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
+6 03 2162 2288
mailbox@acmebarcoffee.com



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Cooking Class, Lone Pine Hotel, Batu Ferinnghi, Penang, Malaysia

cooking class, penang, lone pine hotel
Class with a View

Cooking Class, Lone Pine Hotel, Penang


For a nature lover, the lush green lawn and mysterious casuarina trees is an idyllic backdrop for the cooking class at Lone Pine Hotel. Tables are set up on a shaded verandah and guests enjoy the morning breeze and verdant view as they prepare to learn some of Chef Lim’s culinary secrets.

Cooking Class, Lone Pine Hotel, Batu Ferinnghi, Penang
Chef Guidance
Chef Lim, Executive Chef of Lone Pine Hotel, has set aside Wednesday mornings to share some of his knowledge of local cooking methods and ingredients with interested guests. With near 30 years in professional kitchens, a Malaysian national and, a sincere passion for food, there might be no better instructor. For RM80++ participants receive a small group cooking class followed by a sit down lunch to enjoy the fruits of their labour and a glass of red or white wine.

Cooking Class, Lone Pine Hotel, Batu Ferinnghi, Penang
Wine with Lunch
When I say labour though, I don’t really mean too much work – you are on holiday after all!

This is my dream way of cooking. Everything is washed, peeled, chopped and laid out in individual bowls already measured and ready to go. Chef explains a little about each dish with smiles and humour and then slowly demonstrates how it’s done. Tips for chopping, cleaning and short cuts are all thrown in for free.

Cooking Class, Lone Pine Hotel, Batu Ferinnghi, Penang
All Prepared
Students then take their turn, patiently guided by the chef. Refreshments are delivered (because of all of the hard work J ) and, when the cooking is done, someone magically cleans up. Love it.

Cooking Class, Lone Pine Hotel, Batu Ferinnghi, Penang
Refreshments
Did I mention that in the process a photographer grabs a snap of you in action? At the end of the class you’re presented with a photo certificate (proof that you actually got your hands dirty – a little anyway), a souvenir apron and recipes. You sit down to appreciate the wonderful dishes you just prepared with the sounds of the waves caressing the shore as ambient music and, attentive staff attending to drinks and anything else you might desire.

Cooking Class, Lone Pine Hotel, Batu Ferinnghi, Penang
Photographer Capturing the Moment
Our class saw us making two local dishes, Kerabu Squid and Chicken Curry Kapitan. The seafood salad is a light dish made as spicy or not as you like. Fresh pieces of boiled squid are chopped and mixed with slices of red onion, coriander, chili and ginger flower. A dressing of sambal belacan, lime juice, coconut milk, sugar and salt is mixed to personal taste preference and folded through the salad. You can see hubby’s, chef’s and my attempts at this dish below.

Cooking Class, Lone Pine Hotel, Batu Ferinnghi, Penang
Our Three Squid Salads
The curry chicken dish was particularly interesting to make as we got to mix the curry paste from scratch. Lots of cooking oil is used to cook turmeric, galangal, shallots, lemon grass, chili and candlenuts in a saucepan for the base. After quite some time simmering, water, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, pandan leaf and coconut milk are added to taste. Finally the chicken pieces are included and cooked until just tender.

Cooking Class, Lone Pine Hotel, Batu Ferinnghi, Penang
Chicken Curry Kapitan
It’s fascinating to see how differently each of our dishes turned out. Even though we had the same premeasured ingredients and instructions, each of our plates possessed their own unique flavour and appearance.

Cooking Class, Lone Pine Hotel, Batu Ferinnghi, Penang
One Dish, Different Turn Outs
While hubby left the class excited to take the recipes and give them a shot at home, I departed feeling ever so happy that I got to cook without washing, chopping or cleaning. After seeing the work that goes into a seemingly simple curry paste too, I am more than contented to continue paying the experts to satisfy my local food cravings.

Reason to cook:  Learn what goes into these mysterious local dishes from an expert for a very reasonable price. No dish washing necessary.

Cooking Class
Lone Pine Hotel
97 Batu Ferringhi
11100 Penang
Malaysia
+61 04 886 8686
lonepinehotel.com



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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Pisco Bar

Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Pisco Bar
Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Grupo Yllera Coelus Crianza 100% Tempranillo


Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines


Pisco Bar in Changkat Bukit Bintang is relatively new on the scene in this area. It has fast become a popular place though to relax with friends over a few drinks after work and too into the wee hours of the morning. Firstly known for lip-smacking Pisco Sours and delicious Peruvian/ Japanese inspired bites, this restaurant bar is broadening its horizons with an expanded menu.

Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Wall Mural

For a peak at what they began with and, a good description of the setting and service, check out our first review of Pisco Bar here. This post will highlight some of the exciting new tapas just launched and, others that are set to be on the menu early August.

Spain is a clear influence with the new items and pork lovers will relish in the rolls of flesh flown directly in from the motherland by Juan and the guys at Spanish Deal. Expect to see platters of morcon, salsichon, chorizo and lomo causing puddles of drool from those in the know.

Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Cold Cuts Platter of Spanish Hams (will be introduced in August)
Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Iberico Ham - will be introduced in August
Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Ham and Melon - will be introduced in August
Morcilla is another delight soon to be coming. Fat meaty slices of this juicy blood sausage will come on a platter topped with a quail’s egg and fresh herbs. For the uninitiated, sausage made from mostly blood and pork fat might not sound too appetizing, but I beg you to delay judgment until you’ve at least taken your first bite. Then we’ll talk.  

Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Morcilla - will be introduced in August
Another dish on its way is the Pulpo Gallego. Galician style octopus is shaved wafer thin and served on a bed of sliced boiled potatoes. Olive oil, paprika and sea salt are all that’s needed to season this tender sea creature. Add a toothpick to spike some and a glass of white wine and you have all you need to enjoy this tapa.

Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Pulpo Gallego
Already on the menu are the Pimientos del Padron.  These Spanish slightly sweet peppers are grilled and sprinkled with course sea salt. Although mostly mild in spice, every so often a particularly hot and spicy one is found in the mix giving rise to the popular Galician saying, “Os pementos de Padrón, unos pican e outros non” (Padrón peppers, some are hot and some are not).

Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Pimientos del Padron RM20++
Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Spanish Ratatouille and Egg on Baguette - coming in August
While we were quite content by the time we had tried these lovely tapas, our tummies were truly satiated with the sampling of two types of Piquillo Stuffed Peppers. Chargrilled sweet red Spanish peppers are either stuffed with minced beef cooked in tomato sauce or prawns and béchamel. Both plates disappeared fast but we particularly enjoyed the minced meat version, comparing it to a super rich Italian bolognaise, homely and deeply satisfying.

Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Prawns RM20++
Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Minced Beef RM18++
A visit to the Pisco Bar wouldn’t be right without a little imbibement. Soon to be featured are a couple of Spanish wines, so we agreed on trying a bottle of Grupo Yllera Coelus Crianza 100% Tempranillo to go with our tapas. A deep cherry red in colour with ripe berries on the nose, this wine is smooth and full with a lasting finish.

Pisco Bar, Spanish Tapas and Wines, Kuala Lumpur
Tempranillo RM160++
Reason to visit: one of the best Pisco Sours in the city, appetizing tapas, don’t miss the Morcilla, Piquillo Stuffed Peppers and platters of cold cuts

Pisco Bar
29 Jalan Mesui
Off Jalan Nagasari
50200 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
+6 03 2142 2900
info@piscobarkl.com
Snap shots of menus can be found below the map. 



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Starfish Bloo, W Retreat and Spa, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia

Starfish Bloo, W Retreat and Spa, Seminyak, Bali,

Starfish Bloo, W Retreat and Spa Bali

Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)

It sounds corny I know, but Bloo is blue, turquoise blue, marine blue, sky blue. Inside delights as an undersea theme, with live fish tanks, outside relaxes by the sea.  A pan Asian restaurant specializing in fish dishes, Miele Guide Nominated Starfish Bloo is perfect for a light lunch in the ocean breeze or a romantic dinner in the cool of the night. 

Starfish Bloo, W Retreat and Spa, Seminyak, Bali,
Starfish Bloo Interior
The Chef’s menu, three courses including free flow wine or Heineken looks a great choice at IDR 300 ++. Mauritian born, Australian bred Chef de Cuisine Kevin Chung is not available, so we bend to the recommendations of Director of Cuisine Richard Miller, who fed us so well at Fire. 

Puffy crackers crisp in the salty air, light and puffy or thin and crunchy are dipped in a spicy tomato relish, coriander seeps through the chili and we’re ready for more. 

Starfish Bloo, W Retreat and Spa, Seminyak, Bali,
Crackers
From the ‘Raw, Rare and Naked’ section comes Tuna and Scallop Crudo, described as Sashimi with a Mediterranean flair. Tuna with flavours of orange and lime, scallop with green caviar, pickled cucumber and sesame. Entwined with herbed garlic virgin olive oil and compressed sweet watermelon. Like last night (dinner at Fire), we are hit again with divine contrasts, but this time with just a hint of the ocean behind, light and delicate.

Starfish Bloo, W Retreat and Spa, Seminyak, Bali,
Tuna and Scallop Crudo (IDR 120k ++)
Prosciutto and prawn roll - what a great idea! Now this is what I call fusion cuisine. Thank you! Two of my favourite tastes combined. Salty ham wraps around crunchy tempura and buttery avocado with a divine wasabi mayonnaise and a touch, just a touch of black caviar. More please! 

Starfish Bloo, W Retreat and Spa, Seminyak, Bali,
Prosciutto and Prawn Roll (IDR110k ++)
Two great, yet simple dishes! Tapas and sushi meet head on with a touch of genius.

We move into the hot main dishes. Steamed Barramundi smells delectable floating in a sea of light soup, aromas of ginger wafting up from the broth. The fish of course is perfectly cooked, dense and white but flaking on the fork. The spice is beautifully balanced to give body and interest without detracting from the main event. A tangle of baby bok choy and Asian mushrooms complete the dish. 

Starfish Bloo, W Retreat and Spa, Seminyak, Bali,
Steamed Barramundi (IDR 140 ++)
From the intriguingly titled ‘Hot Rocks’ list comes White Miso Marinated Tofu. And it’s another performance dish! We sear the tofu ourselves on the ‘hot rock’ cooker provided. We love the sizzle sizzle and tiny bit of steam. We wait impatiently as tofu browns and a toasty smell fills our nostrils. We dip our fresh hot pieces in a green chili ponzu sauce and sigh with happiness. The tofu is light and floaty, and like so much at the W, the Hot Rocks are just a barrel of fun!

W, Bali, best restaurant in Bali
White Miso Marinated Tofu (IDR 110k ++)
We don’t have time for dessert, but we’re totally satisfied with our light lunch, our last repast before our return. We’re airport bound, but we’ll return to winkle out more bodacious Bali bounty for eager Yumlisters.

Reason to visit:  Fresh creative food, wonderful seafront location, Hot Rocks!

Starfish Bloo 
W Retreat and Spa Bali
Jl. Petitenget, Seminyak, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Tel +62 361 4738 106


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Monday, 29 July 2013

Ramadhan Buffets in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2013

This year The Yum List visited far fewer Ramadhan buffets than in previous years when we visited up to 13 (!) different spreads. As the fasting period nears an end we'd like to hear about your finds of the best places to break fast around the city. Here are links to the ones we visited this year: 

Eccucino, Prince Hotel






Latest Recipe, Le Meridien


Ramadhan Buffet, Latest Recipe, Le Meridien, Kuala Lumpur, top hari raya buffet
Malay Specialties from Across the Country - a feast for Ramadhan






Essence - Sheraton Imperial


Essence, Sheraton Imperial

Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club


Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club

Where is your favourite place to break fast?