Monday, 30 June 2014

Hit & Mrs., Bangsar, Set Lunch, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
Semi al Fresco Dining, Hit & Mrs. Bangsar

Hit & Mrs., Set Lunch, Bangsar


Words by Manveen Maan
Photos by The Yum List

The name itself evokes intrigue, so it’s no surprise that Hit & Mrs has garnered somewhat of a following, eager to sample the ingenious dishes its chefs come up with. We made our way down on a lazy Saturday afternoon, to what is probably the quietest spot in bustling Bangsar, and soaked up an atmosphere that spelt serenity. With indoor/outdoor seating, soft lighting and the lull of a nearby water feature, it was hard not to be seduced by the warm interiors and peacefully chic surroundings. 

Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
That’s the point of difference with Hit & Mrs – it’s more than just outstanding food.. or rather, outstanding “experimental cuisine”. A meal here involves a healthy dose of inventive flavours, in a setting that can only be described as heavenly. 

Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
Hit & Mrs. Dining Area and Kitchen
Although famed for its brunch menu, Hit & Mrs has recently altered its mealtimes, making lunch the drawing card of this establishment. And with competitive prices (RM45 for a 2-course menu, RM55 for a 3-course menu), you’d be hard pressed to find a better deal in this neck of the woods. The 3-course menu comes with a cup of coffee or an iced lemon tea, which we happily sipped on while waiting for the food to arrive. 

Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
Iced Lemon Tea
Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
Long Black
We started off with the braised duck leg, and it set the bar high from the moment we had the first mouthful. Served with onion confit and potato espuma, this brilliantly braised dish was tender, juicy and oh-so-delicious. Another option in the starter category is the beetroot confit salad, a delightful mix of orange, picked onion, pink radish, and wild rocket, with a dash of balsamic dressing. I always love cool salads in the Malaysian heat, so this dish won extra points with me. 

Hit and Mrs. Bangsar
Braised Duck Leg
Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
Beetroot Confit Salad
First on the mains list was the pan-seared barramundi, a choice that I highly recommend. The fish itself was sheer perfection, with all three of us gobbling it down in record time. Served with fava beans, petit pois (otherwise known as peas to us plebs) and bacon ragout, it also comes with lotus root chips, adding a distinctly Asian flavour to an otherwise European dish. 

Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
Pan Seared Barramundi
If chicken is more up your alley, the roasted farm chicken breast is your best bet. A perfectly roasted, relatively-generous portioned piece, it came served with creamy polenta and fried garlic pieces that again, attested to the chefs’ desire to fuse two worlds of cooking together. The combination is a winning one. 

Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
Roasted Farm Chicken Breast
Dessert is always a highlight for me and the options here are a hit (no pun intended). I preferred the raspberry granite (with vanilla chantilly and almond crumble) for its milky, sweet overtones and crunchy almond crumble bits. I did however, find the green tea mousse surprisingly palatable. Served with adzuki bean and black sesame ice cream, it wasn’t overtly bitter like some other green tea desserts are. 
Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
Raspberry Granita
Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
Green Tea Mousse
The lunch menu changes ever so often but rest assured, you’re in good hands regardless of what day you pop into the restaurant. And if you fancy a tipple after that meal, hop upstairs to their funky retro bar – complete with paraphernalia from the 60s and 70s, large rattan chairs and a bartender who takes her drink seriously. Don’t say you weren’t warned. 

Hit & Mrs., Bangsar
Lounge and Bar Upstairs
Reasons to visit: stylish ambience; Roasted Farm Chicken Breast; Barramundi; Braised Duck Leg; Beetroot Confit Salad; unique cocktails.

Hit & Mrs
No 15 & 15A
Taman Weng Lock
Lorong Kurau, Bangsar
59000 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: +603 2282 3571
Web: http://thebiggroup.co/


Operation Hours:
Lunch: 12:00pm - 3:00pm (Tuesday - Saturday)
Dinner: 7:00pm - 11:00pm (Tuesday - Saturday)


Sunday, 29 June 2014

Thai Cooking Class with Chef Ooy, SILK Restaurant, Andara Resort and Villas, Phuket, Thailand


Andara Resort and Villas Phuket
Chef Ooy

Thai Cooking Class with Chef Ooy
Andara Resort and Villas Phuket


The Andara Resort and Villas Phuket offers a wide range of activities to guests whether of a relaxing nature or more adventurous. We are persuaded to sample a cookery class with the lovely Chef Ooy. We find a colourful table set up for us, literally groaning with ingredients, and we are inducted in the trickeries of wrapping prawns in thread noodles. After this it is happy pounding of the spice for the Panang curry paste involving turmeric and coriander root, two kinds of chili, a whole host of garlic, shallot, lemongrass and more. We learn how to cut Japanese tofu, dip it in flour, egg and breadcrumb lightly before making the sauce. Coconut milk is simmered with the paste while teeny amounts of salt, oyster sauce and palm sugar are added to taste. While cooling the sauce turns a vibrant golden yellow from the turmeric. Our prawns and tofu are deep fried in a sizzling wok before being ready to serve with a fresh papaya salad. We earned our lunch for sure!

The Setting

A lovely semi al fresco setting cooled by sea breezes and surrounded by greenery is the setting for the cooking class. Participants are provided with water and a pandan welcome drink as well as paper and pencil to record any notes.

Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Setting for the Cooking Class

Goon Sarong - Prawns Wrapped in Noodles and Deep Fried

Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Ingredients for Marinating the Prawns
Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Preparing the Noodles


Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Wrapping the Noodles Around the Prawns is Tricky Business
Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
The Finished Prawn Dish - Goong Sarong 

Panang Tao Hoo Taud - Deep Fried Tofu with a Coconut Curry Sauce

Preparation of the chili paste.

Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Ingredients for the Chili Paste
Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Chopping Ingredients for the Chili Paste
Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Grinding the Ingredients for the Chili Paste

Making of the coconut curry sauce.

Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Ingredients for the Tofu Sauce
Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Simmering the Sauce for the Tofu

Readying the tofu.

Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Dipping the Tofu in Flour, Egg and Breadcrumbs
Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Deep Frying the Tofu
Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Adding Sauce to the Tofu
Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
The Finished Dish

Time to Eat

We topped up our lunch with two of Chef Ooy's suggestions. 

Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Chef Ooy's Favourite Dish of Sea Bass with Herbs
Andara Resort and Villas Phuket, Thai Cooking Class
Papaya Salad with Soft Shelled Crab
Cooking classes are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday for two to six persons. Advance reservations are required.

Andara Resort and Villas
15 Moo 6, Kamala Beach
Kathu,
Phuket 83150
Thailand
+66 0 76 338 777

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Interview with Chef Sazli Nazim, Gastro Sentral, Le Meridien, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Gastro Sentral, Le Meridien KL
Chef Sazli Nazim

Gastro Sentral recently hosted The Yum List to sample some of the latest creations from Chef Sazli Nazim. Here we find out a little about the new chef.


What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
My role in the property is to ensure Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur is constantly evolving in its food and beverage concept, making sure we strive to be innovative and profitable. I run the daily operations of Gastro Sentral from menu planning and development to cost monitoring and attaining feedback from guests to enhance their dining experience.

I got involved in the culinary industry by chance when I did not manage to pull through the SPM exam as expected and there was a diploma course for chef Training in Mara Institute of Technology. With no prior knowledge of the culinary scene, I hung on to my father’s motto in life “Whatever you do, do it whole heartedly. The end result will be rewarding and the passion will build up."

Tell us a little something that goes on behind the scenes.
We do a lot of research and development on our own. It is also important to find out what our guests are excited about, especially with new dining trends surfacing. At the end of the day, it is not what we want to cook but what our guests wants to eat.

What's the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part will be the challenges in this industry. The biggest challenge will be finding the concept that will cater to the intellectual and demanding diners that we have today in Malaysia. People now are more open to experiencing new flavours and they know what they want. Another challenge is finding a sustainable source to reduce the cost of production. I try to provide my guests with the highest quality of produce without incurring additional cost to the diners.
The worst part is the sacrifice that comes with the job. Most notably is the time spent without my family and children.

What's your personal favorite meal?
Having a meal with people you are comfortable with, matters most. But if I were to choose a specific place, it has to be Nasi Lemak at Kampung Baru.

Tell us a story about one of the dishes you prepare...
In the past we came up with food challenges, where one person has to consume an entire plate of one of our creations. Most recently we had the Fiery Challenge, where the dish up for challenge was extremely spicy. The guests' expressions after eating the food were priceless! This was the only challenge where we have had three winners.

What's one of the wildest things you've seen behind the scenes?
The wildest thing that I have seen would be the scene at the Culinary Competition Hall. It is something that you have to experience yourself. It's full of all the energy, determination, spirit and strong will from all the competitors.

The perfect day off would be...
... to do nothing…absolutely nothing.

The life in the day of a chef is...
... most rewarding when your guests enjoy the food you cook.

What do you do for fun?
Play pranks on my colleagues.

What's something you'd like guests to know about the cuisine prepared at Gastro Sentral?
At Gastro Sentral our cooking and dishes are not pretentious. We strive to prepare simple food with great taste and produce. It’s comfort food with a twist. Most often, the dishes that diners can relate to are the best dishes to serve.

How do you select your ingredients and why?
I try to find the most sustainable source of ingredients without compromising on the quality in order to reduce the cost of production. I try to provide my guests with the highest quality of produce without overcharging them.

What's your view on the KL restaurant scene?
The Malaysian restaurant scene, particularly in KL, has grown more towards the higher end nowadays. The diners have become more experienced and are more demanding as they have been exposed to various options. It can sometimes be challenging to cater to their expectations.

What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months?
There will be a new challenge at Gastro Sentral and it involves spicy minced beef, fries and nachos…look out for it!

You can take a look at some of the signature dishes served at Gastro Sentral via this link.


Friday, 27 June 2014

JW Marriott "Preserving Heritage" Ramadhan Buffet, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Photo Courtesy JW Marriott, Ramadhan Buffet 2014
Photo Courtesy JW Marriott

JW Marriott "Preserving Heritage" Ramadhan Buffet

Words and photos by Kristin Cosgrove

The holy month of Ramadhan is quickly approaching, a special time for Muslims to reflect, renew and reunite.  Sunrise to sunset marks a period of fasting, cleansing the mind and body, atoning for sins and bringing one closer to Allah.

Photo Courtesy JW Marriott, Ramadhan Buffet 2014
Photo Courtesy JW Marriott
Even for non-Muslims in Malaysia, Ramadhan is an exciting time.  Festivities and cultural activities are on offer at malls, and hotels and restaurants offer promotions and extravagant evening buffets.  These aren't only for our Muslim brothers and sisters to "berbuka puasa" (break fast). They are also unmatched opportunities for foodies of every faith to feast on the Malaysian delicacies of the season.  

The posh JW Marriott recently hosted a sneak preview of its “preserving heritage” Ramadhan Buffet, running 28 June through 27 July, and I can assure you there is a reason is has the reputation of being one of the best Ramadhan spreads in town. This expansive buffet boasts the promise of 130 dishes to sample – the best dishes traditionally served during Ramadhan throughout the various states of Malaysia.

The Poolside area on the 6th floor and the Starhill Conference Centre on the 4th floor will be transformed into a setting reminiscent of a “kampong” (traditional village) with spectacular displays, beautiful batik table coverings and thatched- roofed food stations. The dinner is tremendous value at only RM75++ for the Conference Centre and RM85++ to sit in the Poolside area.

Food Station, JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014
Food stations reminiscent of Kampong style
Our tasting took place Poolside during a balmy afternoon and represented about half of the foods that will be on offer during the actual promotion, but that was certainly much more than enough! I had planned to only take a small helping of select foods, hoping to maximize the number of dishes I could try. This proved futile – I was stuffed before I was even half done! And I’ll admit, I took seconds of a few of my early favorites, which was my undoing. 

JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014
Buffet Spread
Among those favorites were the Ayam Masak Merah (chicken in red sauce) which was simply divine. Tender chicken in spicy sauce had my taste buds dancing. The Rendang Daging is always a seasonal favorite; its complex mix of spices and coconut milk slow cooked with the meat is one of the delights of living in South East Asia. The Daging Salai Masak Lemak Cili Padi (smoked sliced beef in spicy coconut sauce) was a dish new to my palate, one which I hope to revisit very soon.  

JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014
Ayam Masak Merah
JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014

JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014
Beef Rendang
JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014

JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014

The fresh salad station was a delight to behold, a festival of colors bursting off the table. Acar Jelatah (pineapple and cucumber salad), Gado Gado, (mixed veggies with peanut sauce) and a host of others all served as exciting explorations in textures and flavors. 

JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014


JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014
Gado Gado
The Sambal Sambal Melayu (Malaysian salsa) station will delight those with tastes that lean toward such dishes – there will be no fewer than six included in the buffet!

JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014

JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014

JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014

The grill outside was alive with the glorious smell of roasting meat and fish. Satay was an obvious tasty choice here, and the grilled tilapia was outstanding. The standout, though, was the Kambing Panggang (rosted lamb) with black pepper sauce. Yum!

JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014
Fish waiting for the BBQ
JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014
Grilled Talapia
JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014


Desserts range from some Western options like bread pudding, many lighter fruit options, as well as many, many Malaysian treats. Be sure to save room for the Pengat Pisang (sweet banana porridge) as well as the traditional Kuih Ketayap, one of my favourites.

JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014


JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014
Fresh Fruit Display
JW Marriott Ramadhan Buffet, 2014
Bread Pudding
Some of the stations that are not pictured here which will be on offer include a Chicken Rice, Fried Snacks, Indian Rice, Tandoori and Noodles stations, just to name a few. With the high quality and vast amount of food presented for the tasting, one can only imagine what a decadent and extravagant affair the actual promotion will be! I'm already planning my return during Ramadhan. You would be wise to add it to your holiday calendar as well.

Reason to visit: Great value for money, a chance to sample 130 Malaysian dishes, a posh kampong ambiance with JW cachet. 

The Ramadhan Buffet at JW Marriott will be held 28 June through 27 July and is priced at RM75++ per person at the conference centre and RM85++ per person at the poolside area. For reservations, call +6 03 2719 8666 or email: festivebuffetpromotion@ytlhotels.com.my

JW Marriott
183 Jalan Bukit Bintang 
Kuala Lumpur 55100
Malaysia
+6 03 2719 8666
festivebuffetpromotion@ytlhotels.com.my



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