Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Naked Lunch Box, Healthy Food Delivery, Kuala Lumpur

Naked Lunch Box, Healthy Food Delivery, Kuala Lumpur
The Naked Lunchbox - some sweet messages to brighten your day

The Naked Lunchbox
“Serving Real Food Since 2014”

The contemporary Western diet has had a lot of bad press for a number of years now for its ill-health inducing trends. Lifestyle diseases are apparently the biggest killers in the developed world. Sadly this trend of poor food choices and consequential troubled health has found its way to Malaysian doors, with The Star recently reporting the country as the fattest in South-East Asia. Yikes! But don’t worry, The Yum List has been searching for solutions, and it seems there are quite a number of local start-ups ready to help the nation, (well, Kuala Lumpur for now) to tackle the problem. 

The Naked Lunchbox is one such little helper. Currently delivery nutritious meals during lunch hours Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, a variety of vegan, paleo and raw recipes are showcased. Browsing the month’s menu, we appreciate the extra step in communicating the calorie count for each dish, the fairly detailed listing of ingredients, and the option to pick and mix side dishes too.  Here’s what we’ve tried:

Carrot Noodles (RM8.90, 376 Cal) with Coral Lettuce & Apple Salad (RM3, 90 Cal), and Herb Roasted Sweet Potato (RM4, 94 Cal)

Strings of raw carrot are piled high, spaghetti style, in this lunchbox. Coated in a   Thai coconut peanut dressing, they’re fresh and generate a great feeling munching through them. The side of slim apple slices and garden leaves is brightened with a honey lime dressing, and cubes of sweet potato are marginally cooked leaving them with a faint crunch.

Naked Lunch Box, Healthy Food Delivery, Kuala Lumpur
Carrot Noodles

Almond Crusted Chicken Breast (RM11.90, 514 Cal) with Quinoa & Roasted Pumpkin (RM7, 350 Cal), and Corn, Tomato and Basil (RM5, 165 Cal)

The large portions of lean tender chicken definitely won the approval of hubby in this composition. Besides the well-trimmed poultry, I loved the nutty crusting. The corn had been roasted in this side, and the tomato and basil proved tropical inspired accompaniments. The grain did particularly well with the chicken, but it’s the avocado dressing that really topped off the flavours.

Naked Lunch Box, Healthy Food Delivery, Kuala Lumpur
Almond Crusted Chicken Breast

Spicy Meatballs (RM12, 466 Cal) with Herb Roasted Potato (RM5, 97 Cal), and Roasted Broccoli (RM4, 114 Cal)

The meatballs in this lunch box are extremely lean, but flavour does not go amiss with the reduced fat. Instead taste is replaced with a mighty bite of spice, making the roasted potatoes a lovely balancer to the kick. I love the vibrant trees of broccoli on the side, that are given that little something extra with a piquant sunflower seed topping.

Naked Lunch Box, Healthy Food Delivery, Kuala Lumpur
Spicy Meatballs

Kickstart Salad (RM12, 340 Cal)

An orange sash of mandarin segments and sweet potato chunks sweep across the surface of a cushion of fresh baby spinach and garden leaves in this salad. Cherry tomatoes and maple-candied walnuts add both texture and bite to the dish, while a faintly sweet yoghurt dressing adds some mild tang.

Naked Lunch Box, Healthy Food Delivery, Kuala Lumpur
Kickstart Salad 
Orders are made via email and should be in the Friday before for the following week. Payment is made via online bank transfer. Currently delivery is available to areas around PJ and KL. Send the team an email to see if your area is covered. There may be minimum orders for specific areas. Delivery is between 11am and 12:30pm and only to offices, organizations, schools or centres. At this moment home orders are not available.

Reasons to order: an easy way to ensure at least one of your meals in a day is a healthy one; informative menu listing calories; possibility to pick and mix your own lunch plate.

The Naked Lunch Box

healthy food delivery
The Naked Lunchbox Menu for February

Interview with Chef Miguel Huelamo Estrada, Svago, KLCC

Chef Miguel Huelamo Estrada

Interview with Chef Miguel Huelamo Estrada, Svago, KLCC

What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I am a chef. I create recipes, train cooks and cook happy food for all who visit me at home or at our restaurants.

I have always been attracted to the kitchen as in my family all happens in the kitchen and around food. Since little I was helping my Grandma in the kitchen to prepare my favourite dishes or outside with my father, uncle and grandpa grilling lamb, chorizo etc on the barbecue. When I grew up I studied biology in the university but after trying out a busy day in a professional kitchen I was hooked and started working full-time in Madrid. After two years I went to the most prestigious kitchen school in Spain and got to work in 3 Michelin star restaurants as part of my apprentice work.

Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
Once when I was working in London we left a basket with fresh Italian black truffles in the kitchen and a new kitchen porter from Nigeria thought they were some sort of dessert, took a huge bite of one (costing us around 100£) and complained that our cookies were not good...

What's the best/ worst part of your job?
The best is to handle quality products from all over the world and create good food that people enjoy. The worst are the schedules... You always work when everyone else its having fun!

What's your personal favourite dish at Svago?
I would say the lamb chops. They're marinated with a mix of north African and Chinese spices, chargrilled and served with Greek yogurt, fresh mint, garlic and prunes stewed in lamb jus.

What's one of the craziest things you've seen behind the scenes?
Maybe when I was working in Arzak, a 3 Michelin star restaurant were we had 36 chefs for less than 100 guests!

The perfect day off would be...
... a long bicycle ride along a beautiful road with hills and beach. Followed by an amazing bowl of noodles and an afternoon with my wife on the beach :-)

A day in the life of a chef is...
Busy! Hectic, balancing chaos while looking calm.

What do you do for fun?
I like to race in road cycling and triathlon events.

What's your favourite food and wine pairing?
Honestly, I love very chilled slightly sweet riesling wines with tandoori and Indian curries and naan...
It's the best wine and food combo I have ever tried!

What's your view on the KL food scene?
I think there is still an immense amount of potential here that is untapped. There’s still plenty of room to advance as Malaysia is so rich in flavour and culture. I’m happy that I’m here now to experience it as well as make my contributions to help the KL food scene reach greater heights.

What's in store for you in the upcoming months?
Out2dine has several concepts developing for 2015 and I am working on something that I love
deeply. We will keep The Yum List posted ;-)

Friday, 30 January 2015

Valentine's Day Menu, Svago, KLCC

Valentine's Day Menu, Svago, KLCC
Svago, KLCC

Valentine’s Menu, Svago KLCC

Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by The Yum List aka Monica Tindall

With light, clean 1930’s design lines, and a beautiful harlequin tiled floor, Svago has a delightfully elegant ambience. We’ve always considered this to be a wonderful restaurant for enjoying a special meal. If you want to make your loved one feel really high class this Valentines Day 14th, then this airy establishment with its crisp linens and sparkling glasses would make an excellent choice.

Valentine's Day Menu, Svago, KLCC
Bar, Svago, KLCC
We are relaxing to the gentle strains of live piano music, enjoying the vista over KLCC park, refreshing ourselves with a glass of Aqua Panna, while we wait for our first tasting. Svago’s Executive Chef Miguel Huelamo Estrada has created some dishes with tantalizing sounding combinations. The Valentine’s menu is a set menu, and although there is no vegetarian dish featured here, vegetarians can be catered to by request to dishes of the same value, if booked in advance. For walk-in vegetarians on the 14th the a la carte menu would be offered.

The Valentine’s menu includes your choice of a bottle of white or red wine. Of course it is our duty to report on both, we decide to accompany our starter with the white. Viña Cono Sur is a crisp and intense sauvignon blanc with refreshing citrus aromas. Its slightly dry finish is balanced by notes of white peaches, lychee and green apple.

Valentine's Day Menu, Svago, KLCC
Viña Cono Sur Sauvignon Blanc
Lyrebird Red Cliff Shiraz Cabernet is full of rich red plummy notes with just a hint of freshly ground black pepper. It sits nicely with the beef dishes. Both are good clean table wines, nothing too challenging to the palate but still plenty of flavour. Definitively good offerings for house wines.

Valentine's Day Menu, Svago, KLCC
Lyrebird Shiraz

Svago Valentine’s Menu

Amuse Bouche 

Pomegranate Shot with Honey Yogurt Pretzel 
Caramelized Orange with Foie Gras and Almond Crumble 

Valentine's Day Menu, Svago, KLCC
Amuse Bouche
We were taken by the balance in this pretty presentation. And what a generous looking portion for an appetite whetter! I decide to dive for savoury first, and nibble on the slender crisp bread. Enjoying the light lusciousness of foie gras interspersed with a fresh zing of lightly caramelised orange; the taste together is fresh and mouthwatering. The pomegranate shot is prettily presented with contrasting layers and a light foamy top. Monica is loving the fruity creaminess of the little slurping portion, with just a hint of tartness in the taste waking the palate.


Grilled Beef Salad with Ginger Lime Dressing, Baby Tomatoes & Lotus Chips 
Roasted Salmon over Butter Onion Rice with Light Basil Pesto Sauce

Valentine's Day Menu, Svago, KLCC
Roasted Salmon over Butter Onion Rice with Light Basil Pesto Sauce
Valentine's Day Menu, Svago, KLCC
Grilled Beef Salad with Ginger Lime Dressing, Baby Tomatoes & Lotus Chips 
The starters are served as a sharing platter, a very romantic and sexy option. The portions are generous so you’ll easily get more than a taste of both! The salmon is grilled to give an outer crunchy texture, which opposes the light piquant basil sauce. The fat rice, arboreal style, is sprinkled with the slenderest radish slices adding a light boost to the slightly sweet dish. For me this hits the perfect notes of rustic elegance, true flavours, not overpowering, comforting tones but stylish presentation and finish. 

I find it difficult sometimes to be deeply impressed by restaurant food, and beef is not my personal favourite, but the next arrival has everything we are looking for in a quality dish. It is presented with a tumble of panache, each element is clearly identifiable and fresh, the beef, so tender and perfectly pink. The ginger lime dressing gets a wow from me and an ‘impressionante!’ from Caning who adds to his comment, ‘plenty of flavour, the spice is there but not too hot.’ Lotus chips add a pleasant crunch but overall it’s the dressing that keeps me going back for another taste.


For the main you have a choice of…

Beef Tenderloin served with Truffle Port Wine sauce & Mashed Potatoes 
Prawn Tempura over Carbonara Udon noodles with Spicy Flying Fish Roe

… but nobody is saying you can’t still share from each other’s dish, and the portions certainly allow for it.

Perched atop oodles of fat creamy noodles I find the Prawn Tempura to be quite a sexy presentation. Monica oohs over the fat noodles, murmuring ‘what a combo, udon with carbonara!’ We are intrigued by the three colours of fish roe, including both tobiko and masuko. The dish is only lightly cheesy and we love the salty taste of the roe throughout. The tempura batter is light and crunchy while the prawn has a lovely dense flavour.

Valentine's Day Menu, Svago, KLCC
Prawn Tempura over Carbonara Udon noodles with Spicy Flying Fish Roe
The beef is presented in a more traditional style with potato that I feel is more puree in texture than mash. We love the slightly sweet caramelisation with a hint of soy that coats the juicy meat. Cutting in, it is pink and tender, a good deep tasting jus, where the flavours come through but don’t overpower the meat.

Valentine's Day Menu, Svago, KLCC
Beef Tenderloin served with Truffle Port Wine sauce & Mashed Potatoes 

White Chocolate Mousse served with Strawberry Heart, Pistachio Dust and Raspberry Sorbet

Valentine's Day Menu, Svago, KLCC
White Chocolate Mousse served with Strawberry Heart, Pistachio Dust and Raspberry Sorbet
When we dig in the spoon, the strawberry heart is revealed in the centre of the white chocolate mousse, which is firm but light. This is a delicate sweet end to the meal.  


Viña Cono Sur Sauvignon Blanc (750ml) or Lyrebird Red Cliff Shiraz Cabernet (750ml)

The Valentines Day Menu is priced at RM 428++ per couple including your choice of red or white wine.

Reasons to visit: a well-composed and very tasty menu served elegantly but with good portion size; delightful ambience and en pointe service; jazz band each evening from 7:30pm.

Lot 136 First Floor
(entrance from Limoncello on the corner lot facing the water fountains)
Suria KLCC
Kuala Lumpur, 50088
+603 2163 0188 

Opening Hours:
Monday – Saturday: noon – midnight
Closed Sundays

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Colonial Cafe - our favourite table in one of two atriums filled with natural light

Colonial Café, The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Colonial Café is an old friend of ours. Consistently providing delicious meals, an elegant setting and superb service, we’ve been repeat visitors since it opened two years back.

Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Colonial Cafe Bar and Entertainment Area
A weekend stay in the stylish Majestic Wing sees us returning for lunch two days in a row and a chance to revisit some old favourites. Here’s an account of day one:

Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Cold Starters

The Café’s Famous Traditional Caesar Salad (RM35) keeps history alive with baby romaine hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted garlic chips and Parmesan shavings. Malaysian restaurants in general are generous with their salad dressings, and Colonial Café follows suit. So, if you prefer to be in control of portioning, remember to ask for the dressing on the side. Besides a base of super fresh ingredients, I think what really makes this salad are the dried cherry tomatoes and garlic, each delivering their own edge.

Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Caesar Salad

Hubby launches straight into an old-beloved, the Ox-Tail Soup. A hearty broth floats succulent oxtail chunks and root vegetables. Aromatic local spices season the thick liquid adding to its rich more-ish character. I’m guessing hubby’s succession of exaggerated adjectives, “fantastic, delicious, amazing, superb,” is a clear sign of approval.

Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Ox-Tail Soup

While the Crusty Portobello Mushroom (RM55) is one of the few dishes listed as vegetarian, we’re told others can be adapted or requests made for meat-free choices. The mushroom does take my fancy though. A meaty fungi base is stuffed with spinach and cooked with a cheese crumble covering. White bean ragout flavours angel hair pasta, which acts as a cushion for the jewel. Those sun-dried tomatoes from my starter reappear in the pasta donating again a tasty lift. Bitter rocket balances the colour palette and cuts through some of the oil coating on the pasta.

Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Crusty Portobello Mushroom 
Surf and Turf (RM170) sees a manly portion of rib eye steak and grilled king prawn take up most of the plate. Hiding underneath is a raft of mashed potato, asparagus, carrots and cherry tomatoes. A pot of rosemary gravy is a perfect companion to the steak and a lemon butter sauce goes just as well with the huge crustacean. By the look at both of our plates at this point, you’d think we hadn’t eaten in days, as they’ve all been scraped clean.

Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Surf and Turf

We mistakenly order sides, wrongly thinking that the main is unaccompanied, and do have some trouble getting through them. Asparagus (RM20) and Creamed Potato (RM20) could fill me on their own. It must be asparagus season as these spears are beautifully succulent and, even though we’re stuffed, quickly disappear from the bowl. Potato, fluffy and cloud-like, too tastes just as delicious as it looks.

Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Creamed Potato

Our orders for sweets are rather predictable: Hubby requests the deep-fried banana and, I the sticky date pudding. Pisang Goreng a la Mode (RM45) arrives hot from the pot, and the creamy vanilla ice-cream will soon melt, if not for hubby’s rapid enthusiastic spooning. Sticky Date and Toffee Pudding (RM45), when done right, has to be one of my most endeared sweets. This specimen is moist and spongy with the distinctive sweet dried fruit flavouring the dome. The toffee sauce is delectable and I would take a jar of it home if it were for sale.

Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Pisang Goreng
Colonial Cafe, The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Sticky Date and Toffee Pudding
We’ll be back tomorrow, so stay tuned for further classics.

Reasons to visit: colonial ambience, graceful service, Ox-Tail Soup, Surf and Turf, Asparagus.

Colonial Cafe
The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur
5 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin
50000 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2785 8000

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur

Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Donna Spa is known for their natural spa products such as this selection of body scrubs

Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur

We never expected to find such a peaceful, Balinese inspired spa in the heart of bustling Kuala Lumpur. Somehow, however, the designers of Donna Spa have managed to bring a little piece of Bali right here to us at the top of KL’s most stylish shopping mall, Starhill Gallery.

A natural-hued colour palette, rattan furniture, Balinese umbrellas, and the sound of running water, usher in the tranquil ambience of the Island of the Gods. Boosted with therapists from Indonesia, and an impressive range of plant-based scrubs, masks and oils, the composition is immediately calming. 

Three couple’s rooms, three single’s rooms and three ladies’-only rooms provide serene places for treatments. In addition use of the facilities of hot and cold pools, and a steam room are highly encouraged before a spa session, fully prepping bodies and minds to make the most of their time at Donna Spa.

Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Single Treatment Room
Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Single Treatment Room
Hubby and I have signed up for the Harmony Extreme package (RM1380 currently on special for RM1180), which promises three hours of bliss. From start to finish we’re assured to be taken care of with a welcome drink, choice of rose body mask or salt scrub, luxury flower petal milk bath, natural volcanic stone treatment, full body massage, and time to relax further at the end with a warm beverage.

Hot ginger tea served on a coconut shell plate, covered with a leaf and adorned with an orchid, begins our experience in the reception lounge of Donna Spa. The tea is perfectly balanced displaying a nice bite of ginger smoothed over with a faint taste of pandan. Not only is it tasty (perhaps one of the nicest spa teas we’ve had), but it’s also said to detox the body, reduce bloating and ease menstrual pain.

Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Donna Spa Reception
Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Ginger Tea
While sipping on our tea, the line-up we’ve booked in for is explained by our knowledgeable receptionist. We appreciate this touch – of getting a complete overview at the start. It allows us to ask questions and to maximize the session. During our consultation we’re offered a choice of oils and scrubs.

Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Donna Spa Scrubs - You can take some home with you
Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Choice of Massage Oils
Donna Spa’s products are rather special. All are customized specifically for the spa and are based on organic rice and 100% natural ingredients such as fruits, herbs and nuts. The scrub tray is presented with 18 different types to choose from! The various ingredients in each variety are explained and the health properties highlighted.

The all round best sellers are the Avocado and the traditional Lulur. We’re enticed however by the wonderful aromas of the Cappuccino, Passionfruit and Vanilla. In the end, we decide on mixes that are suitable for sensitive skin: Apple and Aloe Vera. A similar process transpires for the oil selection.

Based on sweet almond oil, there are six alternatives for use during the massage: Detox, Sensuous, Relax, Lavender, Rose and Romance. Apparently the favourite amongst the ladies is the Rose for its floral scent and lymphatic drainage properties, which help reduce water retention. We’re both of similar minds today, after a full three weeks of festive holidays, so the Detox is our pick. Made from eucalyptus, sweet almond, coconut and citrus oils, it claims to be good for muscle ache, and wind and sports a refreshing awakening scent.

Escorted to the facilities and treatment rooms, we’re surprised by the size of the place. A wooden walkway, bordered with pebbles and gently lit with lanterns, curves between doors leading to single and double rooms.

Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Hallway to Rooms
All possess their own private Jacuzzi. Warm soft tones paint the room, and Balinese fabric and fresh flowers adorn the space. Dim lighting serves to reduce stimuli and we find ourselves unwinding as we get changed. Disposable underwear, hair caps, and a lockable closet are provided. Beds are extra long issuing more than enough space for our lengthy frames. Temperature is comfortable and music barely audible – just right we think. 

Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Couple's Treatment Room
Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Balinese Decor
We’re scrubbed from shoulder to toe and delighted to find the product dries quickly, meaning we’re not left with that uncomfortably sticky feeling which usually has us avoiding scrubs and masks in spas. It’s followed by a traditional Balinese bath, one often used before weddings or special prayers. The tub of warm water is floating with seven different types of flowers, oils and lime slices. Besides smelling sensational it’s very pleasing to the eye as well. While we soak, we nibble on juicy slices of watermelon and sip on fresh orange juice.

Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Flower Bath
Skin exfoliated and softened, we continue with our favourite part of the session, the Volcanic Stone and Massage. Beginning in a prone position our backs and legs are lightly pounded with pouches of heated volcanic pebbles. This therapy is ideal for those with stiff muscles that might be a result of intense exercise or those who sit for long periods at a desk or on a plane. Placed on the pressure points, our bodies feel fully primed, ready to accept the benefits of the 90-minute massage. Once desired pressure is determined we drift into a magical world of utter self-indulgence, allowing our therapists to knead, stroke and ease away our tensions. Ninety minutes seems perfect timing and we stir again into consciousness as our therapists advise of the final transition.

Left to rise slowly in the dimness of our room, we redress and make our way to the gazebo relaxation area, where we’re served ginger tea or juice, and cake. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate can also be arranged and hubby decides on a Milo to go with his four slices of butter cake.

Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
Relaxation Gazebo
Donna Spa, Starhill Gallery, Kuala Lumpur
After Treatment Snack
The package takes up the best part of three hours, however if you allow yourself some extra time you can arrive early for some hot and cold therapies to prep your body and mind to receive the maximum benefits from your chosen treatments. Donna Spa has a comprehensive list of massages, scrubs, masks, baths and facials. Check out their website for current offers.

Reasons to visit: Harmony Extreme package; peaceful haven of relaxation in the city centre; Balinese style spa and treatments; natural products used in all therapies.

Donna Spa
S20 & S27 Pamper Level
Starhill Gallery
181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur, 55100
+6 02 2141 8999

Open Monday – Sunday: 10am – 10pm