Friday, 31 July 2015

Peruvian Promotion, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

peruvian promotion la bodega
Machu Picchu, Peru. Photo credit: Magnus von Koeller


A Peruvian Adventure, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur

Words by Bob Busk
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)

The country of Peru offers a rich buffet of exquisite scenery and diverse landscapes.  It is home to one of the world’s greatest biodiversity due to its climate and geography.  From the picturesque beaches on the west to the steamy tropical jungles in the east, separated by the towering Andes Mountains, Peru is home to 28 of the world’s existing 32 climates.  The variation in climate, geography and altitude allow for distinct growing regions providing a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits.  Add to that harvest from the land and sea, throw in immigrant cooking influences from Europe, Asia, West Africa and the indigenous populations and you have the makings for heavenly gastronomy.

To showcase Peruvian cuisine, La Bodega, together with the Embassy of Peru, will be hosting “A Peruvian Adventure” at all the La Bodega restaurants in Kuala Lumpur and Malacca throughout the month of August.  A fine selection of Peruvian tapas created by Chef Basilio and refreshing Pisco cocktails concocted by mixologist Denise Olsen will be available all month.

Pulpo al Olivo – The flavors of the thinly sliced octopus imported directly from Spain are highlighted by the rich flavors of Peruvian chimichurri, black olives, finely sliced red onions and peppers and just the right amount of sea salt. Dollops of olive emulsion sauce are placed in each corner for your dipping pleasure.

Peruvian Promotion, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur
Pulpo al Olivo
Ceviche – A feast for your eyes as well as your taste buds, this ceviche is fresh and flavorful. Copious amounts of tender sole are complimented with diced avocado and tomatoes and Leche de Tigre.  Cassava chips (tapioca chips) adorn the dish and add crunchy texture to this citrus flavored delicacy.

Peruvian Promotion, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur
Ceviche
Papas a la Huancaína – You may add a pound or two to your waist as you bite into these sumptuous potato slices topped with cream cheese and aji amarillo. Crab meat is sprinkled along the top. With such rich and delicious flavors, who cares about gaining weight!!

Peruvian Promotion, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur
Papas a la Huancaína
Beef TiraditoTiradito is derived from the word “tirar,” which means “to throw.” Tiradito is the Peruvian cousin to sashimi and ceviche. Razor thin Carpaccio slices are marinated in soya sauce, aji rocoto and lime juice.  This dish is meant to be “thrown” into your mouth and savored!!!!!

Peruvian Promotion, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur
Beef Tiradito
Mixologist Denise Olson cut her teeth in the food and beverage industry in New York City and now brings her many talents to La Bodega Telawi 2.  Throughout the month, Denise will be mixing up traditional Peruvian cocktails as well as a few inventions guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Pisco Sour – This traditional Peruvian cocktail contains Peruvian Pisco as the base liquor, freshly squeezed lemon juice, bitters, sugar syrup and frothy egg whites.  This is a refreshing drink that is both sweet and sour at the same time. Try pairing this with the Pulpo al Olivo.

Peruvian Promotion, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur
Pisco Sour
Pisco Passion – Similar to the Pisco Sour but the addition of passion fruit puree adds just enough fruity flavor to make this drink stand on its own. It’s smooth and flavorful.

Peruvian Promotion, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur
Pisco Passion
Pisco Tang – Exhilarating and fresh sans the foam, a perfect partner to all the tapas.  This drink feels like a beautiful summer day.

Peruvian Promotion, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur
Pisco Tang
Pisco Strawberry – Reminiscent of a smooth strawberry milkshake, it compliments the Beef Tiradito: sweet and fruity with a little punch from the Pisco.

Peruvian Promotion, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur
Pisco Fresa
Pisco Yerba Buena – Yerba Buena, or “spearmint,” is a Pisco drink without the fizz.  It is a true pleasure to look at this “work of art.”  Slices of oranges and limes show through the glass and a fine lemon twist adorns the top. The sprig of yerba buena adds a touch of mint to the flavor of this drink.  Perfect with the ceviche.

Peruvian Promotion, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur
Pisco Yerba Buena
Peruvian Promotion, La Bodega, Kuala Lumpur
Pisco Chiclano - our favourite with a little gingery tang
You many not be able to fly to Peru for a holiday, but you can certainly enjoy the food and beverages of this diverse country. Take advantage of the one month “Peruvian Adventure” at La Bodega.

Participating outlets:
La Bodega, Bangsar Telawi 2
La Bodega, Bangsar Shopping Center
La Bodega, Pavilion KL
La Bodega, Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang
La Bodega,The Shore Shopping Gallery, Malacca

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Best of Spain, Where to Eat in Barcelona and Andalusia

Where to Eat in Spain - The Yum List Travels

Here I've compiled our recent Spanish tips into one post. Click on the links below for specific suggestions on where and what to eat in Barcelona, Seville, Fuentes de Andalucia, Granada, Cordoba, Malaga and Marbella.

Where to Eat In Barcelona


Where to Eat In Barcelona

Where to Eat In Seville


Where to Eat In Seville

Where to Eat in Fuentes de Andalucia


Where to Eat in Fuentes de Andalucia

Where to Eat In Cordoba


Where to Eat In Cordoba


Where to Eat In Granada


Where to Eat In Granada

Where to Eat In Malaga and Marbella


Where to Eat In Malaga and Marbella

Not planning on visiting Spain in the near future? Don't worry, we have some very talented chefs right here in Kuala Lumpur cooking up some authentic dishes from both Barcelona and the south. For a Barcelona experience visit Chef David in Mercat, Bangsar, and for a little taste of the south, see what Chef Basilio, executive chef of Gastrodome, has cooking up in Pressroom and La Bodega.


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Where to Eat in Barcelona - Tapas, Paella and More!

where to eat in Barcelona
The Yum List's Pick of Best Spots to Eat in Barcelona

With a little help from some Spanish chef friends, The Yum List tracked down some of the best restaurants and tapas bars in Barcelona. Our list is by no means comprehensive (there is a tapas bar or more on just about every street corner in the city), but it is a refined list with the input of local chefs, and the taste bud approval of four official tasters. So here we've narrowed it down to some 'don't miss' deliciousness in our summary of:

Where to Eat in Barcelona

Most visitors stay around the city centre, so here's a couple of our favourite finds in the area. 

First off... coffee! Sad to say, we are coffee snobs, and we had a bit of trouble finding a brew that was up to standard. Seems the third wave coffee culture has not yet reached the city. Thank goodness hubby stumbled across Kimbo Coffee. This little gap in the wall on Gran Via has a complete caffeine menu of espresso based drinks. Need a little spark to get the motor running in the morning? Why not try a shot of java with a splash of rum? Ándale!

Kimbo

Promise, I'll get to the Spanish cuisine soon. Before that though, I have to have a sing a little praise for La Taberna de L'Eixample, which is just a few metres from Kimbo Coffee and a great place to fuel up in preparation for a day of sight seeing. Serving up Venezuelan cuisine, such as arepas, tequeños and tostones, we had to have brekkie here and can highly recommend the Cachapa con Queso - a Venezuelan corn pancake with soft white cheese - que rico!

La Taberna de L'Eixample - Cachapa con Queso - Yum!

Brekkie taken care of, just a block up from these two spots, you can find the very chic Norte Bar and Restaurant. A modern clean, white setting offers a cheery place to relish some well-crafted tapas with a distinctive contemporary feel. Check out the 'fish of the day' - it's one of their top sellers.

Norte

Michelin starred chef, Carles Abellan, is behind Tapas 24 and the tapas bar proves to be just what you'd expect of such a rating. It's buzzing with people just about any time of day, gifting a rather exciting atmosphere. There's a long list of must tries at this restaurant, but to keep it simple, we recommend the Bikini - a mouthwatering toasted sandwich of buffalo mozzarella, truffle and serrano ham - divine!

Tapas 24 - The Bikini (and cava ;-)

While prices seem cheap in tapas bars, all those little plates (and drinks) soon add up and at some point in time you're going to want a full meal. Restaurant Al Punt has surprisingly excellent value set meals (on the evenings and weekends - not just lunch on weekdays). I must admit I was not expecting such quality and portions for 13 euros, but the deal turned out to be of extremely high merit and included a starter, main, dessert, bread and drink all included in the price. 

best value restaurant Barcelona
Restaurant Al Punt
Moving further into the heart of the tourist centre you must visit Mercado de la Boqueria. Brimming with fresh produce, countless stalls of cured meats and cheeses and a few tapas bars with stools kept constantly warmed by a never ending stream of bottoms, the spirit is lively and great place to sample some of Barcelona's finest. Our chefs' picks for this area are Pinotxo, El Quim de la Boqueria, and Kiosko Universal.

where to eat in barcelona
Mercado de la Boqueria
A classic in the old part of the city, Bar del Pla is just one of those places you have to visit to say that you have truly explored the tapas bars of the city. Here we enjoyed the croquettes, and craft beer.

best tapas bars barcelona
Bar del Pla

When you've had your fill of tapas again and are looking for more of a table dining experience and full course meal, head to the port to La Mar Salada for elegant dining and delectable paella. There are a number of paella's here worth trying including the arroz negro (black rice) and the fideuà (made with noodles instead of rice). We go for the classic though and you should remember to scrape the bottom and edges of the pan for the best bits of the paella - the caramelised rice - orgasmic. It's worth ordering a few tapas to share as starters also as they are exquisitely plated and meticulously prepared. 

La Mar Salada  - Paella Tradicional - Must order!

Get out of the city centre a little bit, off the main tourist drags and you are blessed with great deal of excellent food at reasonable prices. La Barceloneta is one such locale, wedged between the popular old town and the shiny new areas around the port and beach, where unpolished gems can still be found.  El Vasa de Oro was described to us as having the best draft beer in all of Barcelona (they brew in-house themselves) and also the best Ensalada Rusa (Russian salad). This turned out to be a fabulous tip and we couldn't fault their other small plates either such as the smooth tasty slices of morcilla.

El Vasa de Oro
A block way from El Vaso de Oro, is another classic that comes highly recommended by locals, Jai-Ca. They boast an extensive menu of goodies and the chefs working in an open kitchen are more than happy for you to take a peak at what they're up to. The signature dish here though is the Anchovies with Fried Bone. Take them with an icy cold beer or house wine, and you see why the simple things in life are often the best. Yum!

best tapas bars barcelona
Jai-Ca
But our favourite, we save for last. There's something alluring about a place that has no sign, no advertisement, no website, no other way of finding it other than being personally guided by someone in the know - and that's what we needed to find La Cova Fumada. Marked only by the number 56 and a hint of vivacious stirring from within we entered a world four generations old: wine from a wooden box, food from a fiery kitchen and service from friendly characters that clearly love their business. Again you could spend a few hours sampling, conversing and soaking up the atmosphere but are top picks are the Bombas a la Cova (croquettes with minced meat inside), and coffee with a kick - ask for the Cariñoso for something smooth (espresso with citrus liqueur 43), or something to get your heart pumping, El Pirata (same base as the Cariñoso with a piece of lemon and spoon of rum).

And with that, I leave you with a few photos from La Cova Fumada.

La Cova Fumada - look for the big wooden doors and the number 56 (PS it closes at 4pm)
La Cova Fumada - Bomba La Cova
best tapas bar barcelona
La Cova Fumada - Cariñoso and El Pirata (rum, 43, espresso)
best tapas bars barcelona
Service with a Smile and a Story
best tapas bars Barcelona
La Cuenta - the bill - old school

Don't see travels to Spain in your near future? Don't worry, we are lucky to have some Barcelona chefs right here in Kuala Lumpur recreating a scrumptious tapas bar experience. Check out chef David Caral (who by the way was our wonderful insider guide to the gastronomy of Barcelona) and his crew at Mercat Barcelona Gastrobar in Bangsar for a delectable Barcelona experience.

best tapas kuala lumpur
Mercat Barcelona Gastrobar - Bangsar

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Where to Eat in Seville, Andalusia, Spain

sevilla
Plaza de España Seville

Favourite Foodie Finds in Seville, Spain


The beautiful town of Seville is the perfect starting point for an exploration of Andalusia, Spain. Remarkable architecture, numerous parks, delicious dining options and wonderfully friendly people all make it a charming tourist destination. Along with tourists however, come tourist traps. With a little help of our local amigos, The Yum List shares with you a few places that you might not step into on your own, but which we think are well worth a visit. 

Bar Julio 


This quaint tapas bar is squeezed in between a plethora of fancy (and just as fancily priced) restaurants catering to tourists near the cathedral. This bar however is more of a local's hangout: you'll find an older crowd here during the late afternoon, and the young ones at the bar until early hours of the morning. The draw card: local (not tourist) prices, home cooked cuisine, and friendly down-to-earth owners. Must tries are the salmorejo (similar to gazpacho but slightly thicker and generally served with serrano ham or diced hard-boiled eggs on top), paella, and carne con tomate (a rich tomato based beef stew). 

seville
Bar Julio
seville
Salmorejo and House Wine - Bar Julio
seville
La Cuenta (The Bill) done old school - Bar Julio


Oldest Tapas Bar in Europe, El Rinconcillo


Okay, so this one is on the travel websites, but for good reason! It's reportedly the oldest tapas bar in all of Europe. A 15 minute stroll out of the town centre through some narrow cobble-stoned streets led us to one of the most enriching experiences we had in Seville. Met with a room packed full of locals curious as to why I was snapping so many photos, we learned with much shared enthusiasm why this bar has stood the test of a very long time. Must order the Espinacas con Garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas).

oldest tapas bar spain
El Rinconcillo 
el rinconcillo
Writing the account on the bar

Eslava Tapas


This out of the way bar was recommended to us by some foodie friends who lived and worked in Seville for six months. Despite hubby's quibbles about the walk (it was hot, our last day, and I was on a mission so the pace was not at his usually leisurely amble), putting up with his gripes on the way was well worth it as this jewel in the backstreets was one delicious find (and hubby soon changed his humour when presented with a cold beer and luscious small plates of Spanish goodness). Tapas are priced a good deal less than that of the historical centre, and the quality is supreme. Go early to get a seat, as by 9pm the locals have taken over and you will be elbowing for a stool at the bar. 

best tapas bars seville
Eslava Tapas

Mercado Lonja de Barranco


Situated on the main street just up from Plaza de Toros and near the bridge that crosses to the restaurant strip of Barrio Triana, Mercado Lonja de Barranco is a light, bright and cheery change to the dimly lit wooden tapas bars around the city. This gourmet food court is oft frequented by stylishly dressed locals looking for a social bite after work. With over 20 food and beverage stands to choose from, it's a fantastic place to explore the city's cuisine. It's also one of the few places in the city where you can sample Cruzcampo Radler, a refreshing lemony twist on the nations' beer, on tap.

best tapas bars seville
Mercado Lonja de Barranco

Libelula Shop Cafe


For those looking for a healthy change from tapas and the excessive calories that come with them, the cafe in this fashionable clothes store sells a variety of salads, sandwiches and gluten-free desserts. We tried the Mediterranean Pasta Salad and the Quinoa Salad and found them both to be fresh, tasty and reasonably priced. The staff here too are very amiable and clearly passionate about what they do.

Seville
Libelula Cafe

1 Panoramic Bar "La Terraza de EME"


Eme Catedral Hotel houses one of the most chic places to enjoy a beverage in the area. Perched on the fourth floor of the boutique hotel it offers stunning views of the top of the cathedral. In the afternoons, if you can bare the summer heat, you'll find you have the bar to yourself. In the cooler part of the evening though make sure to have a reservation to partake in the spectacular of the cathedral lit up at night. Be warned though, drinks are triple the price of what you'll pay at nearby outlets on the ground level - consider the extra a small viewing fee for a little taste of exclusivity.

seville, spain
1 Panoramic Bar "La Terraza de EME" - night view
spain travel
The Cathedral from Ground Level


Mercado de la Encarnación 


Encased in glass walls, this light bright market showcases beautiful produce in a friendly atmosphere. At times I'm a little camera shy when it comes to taking photos in such places as I've been met with more looks of annoyance than I care to count. Here though, the vendors were all curious, talkative and very hospitable. We stocked up on: gorgeous summer fruits including the sweetest cherries I've ever tasted, nectarines and peaches; delicious cheeses such as my favourite Manchego; some cured meats sliced fresh off the leg; and a little cream-filled snack from the bakery for hubby. 

seville
Mercado de la Encarnación
Mercado de la Encarnación  
Beneath the Espacio Metropol Parasol (the galactic looking installation piece in Las Setas)
Open Monday - Sunday, 8am - 3pm

sevilla
The River in Seville (lots of restaurants on the banks here too - but we'll save those for another article)

Buen provecho and happy travels, eating and drinking in this beautiful city in the south!



Monday, 27 July 2015

Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus

Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus
Window Seat Views - Nobu Kuala Lumpur

Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Affordable Set Lunches and Stunning Views


My first meal at Nobu Kuala Lumpur disoriented me somewhat. Being one of the most talked about restaurants in the world, located in a prime position in KL and with rumours of extravagant pricing, I felt excitement but also a mild apprehension before the visit. Would I find it too pretentious to thoroughly enjoy an evening here?

Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus
Lunch Time Views
Huge smiles from the doormen (multiple led my way through the lift maze to reach the 56th floor), equally broad beams from Nobu’s receptionist, and then a cheer of welcome, “Irasshaimase!” soon had me feeling that the night was going to be infused much more with a sense of fun, than stiffness. We found no white table clothes, or haughty waiters: on the contrary, amiable staff, disposable chopsticks and even some booth seating. Add to that, cocktail in hand, and the dinner continued splendidly. Read Kirsten’s thoughts on the Celebration Omakase menu we sampled via this link.

Needless to say, we were impressed by impeccable cuisine, good-natured hospitality and some pretty amazing views. While the pricing of dinner might not be in everyone’s budget, the recently launched set lunch menus make a visit to Nobu Kuala Lumpur much more accessible. It’s for these good value meal deals that I return today with hubby.

Set Lunches

Nobu Kuala Lumpur’s lunch menu is rather extensive. For those pressed for time, or just not wanting to make another a decision in their already busy day, the newly introduced lunch sets make choosing easy. Accompanied by a tempura assortment, salad (in chef Matsuhisa’s distinctive dressing with predominant flavours of pepper, onion and soy), a large bowl of rice, pickles and a scrumptious miso soup, diners only need select their main. Fish, chicken and beef are all possibilities.

Hubby predictably goes with the Beef Tenderloin (RM125). Cooked medium rare, it’s pink nearly all the way through to the lightly browned edges. Tender, soft and melt-in-the-mouth good, it’s clearly expertly prepared and hubby gives it a huge “yums up.” It’s not until we mouth the stack of green pea sprouts underneath though that we truly appreciate the Peruvian twist: anticucho sauce. An elegant chili sauce is precise in its punch and a squeeze of fresh lime enhances the flavour. It’s like dating a bad boy: common sense says to stop, but you just can’t help going back for more.

Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus
Beef Tenderloin
Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus
Beef Tenderloin
Norwegian Salmon Crispy Leaves (RM65) catches my attention. Turns out it’s prettily presented too. Soft coral coloured flesh is encased in a crispy skin. The greens have been fried gifting a delicate crunch and also a contrasting bitterness to the buttery salmon. Vibrant orange pearls of roe explode softly, tickling the mouth with their juice.

Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus
Norwegian Salmon and Crispy Leaves
There are two other options as well, and we are lucky to also sample these.

Crispy Skin Chicken (RM55) is a large portion languishing seductively along the rectangular plate. A sticky teriyaki sauces bases the free-range chicken, and it’s cleverly arranged so that you can dip as much or as little as you like. Chicken and beef sauces can be interchanged, so if you have a fondness for spice you might like to try the chicken with the Peruvian anticucho dressing.

Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus
Crispy Skin Chicken
The Sushi and Sashimi (RM75) platter is superbly fresh, just as expected. A lavish selection of carefully sliced fish glistens solo or atop faintly sticky rice. From the top right and moving anti-clockwise we find shrimp, tamago, salmon belly, yellow tail, tuna, fluke, horse mackerel.

Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus
Sushi and Sashimi
Green tea and handmade Nobu biscuits complete the meal. The small rounds of shortbread-textured green tea cookies are rolled in sugar and their crowns specked with black sesame. They’re a perfect bite of sweetness: just enough to end the meal on a dulcet note while still feeling energized to return to work in the afternoon.

Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus
Nobu Biscuits and Green Tea
Lunch sets are price from RM55++ to RM125++.

Desserts

Although the set lunches are more than enough to assuage lunch cravings, we can’t resist trying a couple of desserts while here too: all in the name of serving our readers better, of course.

Bento Box (RM35++) is the signature dessert across all Nobu restaurants. Chocolate fondant and green tea ice cream come in their own corners in the traditional serving dish. I have to admit, writing about menus most nights, I have become a little jaded when it comes to those crowd-pleasing dishes, such as the infamous lava cake, that make an all too common appearance (in my opinion) on menus. Frankly, I fight an eye roll when it’s suggested at the ‘must try’ dessert. Nobu gives me a curt lesson however in not making assumptions when I try the decadent-velvety-smooth-rich-liquid chocolate that flows, at just the right temperature, from its frame. Warm mildly bitter chocolate eaten with a dob of the chilled creamy ice cream presents a magnificent model of this popular sweet.

Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus
Nobu Bento Box
Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus
Mmmm... Chocolate
Hubby drools while reading “Suntory Whisky Cappuccino (RM30++),” featuring two of his favourite ingredients, cream and whisky, so there’s no escaping this order. Coffee crème brulee, cocoa crumble, milk ice cream and whisky foam are arranged in exquisite harmony in a petite white mug. Froth bubbles over the top tempting fingers to scrape up the overflow before a more well-mannered spoon enters the scene. “Worth the pennies,” declares hubby with that childish beam he gets when eating cream.

Nobu Kuala Lumpur, Set Lunch Menus
Suntory Whisky Cappuccino - First Bite
Folks, Nobu Kuala Lumpur has some excellent value midday menus worthy of exploration. Open Monday to Friday, 12 noon to 2pm for lunch, get yourself a reservation to sample some fine fare at one of KL’s most talked about locations.

Reasons to visit: a reasonably priced way to try a meal at one of KL’s most renowned restaurants; Beef Tenderloin in Anticucho Sauce; lovers of the lava cake should be sure to try the Bento Box dessert; brilliant city views; friendly service.

Nobu Kuala Lumpur
Level 56, Menara 3 Petronas
KLCC
Malaysia
+6 03 2164 5084

Lunch is available Monday to Friday 12 noon – 2pm.