Monday, March 23, 2015

Charcoal @ The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur

A Sumptuous Thematic Feast & IKarrtini Malaysian Batik Fashion Show

The first time I was at Charcoal at The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur, I was pretty impressed with their unique concept of marrying Western BBQ with Malaysian cuisines. The restaurant serves up modern contemporary dishes set against a backdrop of elegant and contemporary ambience flagged by an enticing open kitchen featuring the open charcoal grill. Charcoal’s menu is an exciting kaleidoscope of flavours and takes foodies on an excursion of the splendors of new age cuisine.

Charcoal has just kicked off their Thematic Feast promotion recently with themed nightly buffets at ‘one unique price’. The promotion runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday on weekly basis and takes foodies on a delicious themed of Nyonya Peranakan for Thursdays, Seafood for Fridays and BBQ for Saturdays. It’s a treat of tempting signature dishes from Charcoal’s menu of international and local cuisines from Chef Robert Johnston and his culinary team.

Let’s feast on the highlights of the Thematic Buffet of the evening! Since we were there on Friday, it was a Seafood night filled with glorious spread of crabs, prawns, slipper lobster tails, mussels, fish, squid and more, all prepared in various styles.

Seafood on Ice is always a crowd pleaser!

Make sure to check out the BBQ station with Seafood on the Grill… choose your choice of fish, squid, crab, prawns, beef and chicken or simply have it all.

Charcoal has their own signature sauces to go with all the grilled meat and seafood. All their sauces are made in-house such as Sambal Mangga, Sambal Hijau, Chili Garlic, Nyonya Kerabu Sauce and more. My favorite of the lot has to be the Sambal Mangga.

There was a whole filet of Baked Salmon that was delicious at the Carvery station. It was beautifully tender and creamy…

Hot buffet highlights include Crab Curry, Tenggiri Masak Rampai, Steamed Fish, Green Lip Mussels , Goan Fish Curry, Itik Masak Lemak Cili, Szechuan Roasted Chicken and more.

The Salad Bar offers more scrumptious treats like Smoked Duck & Avocado Salad, Roasted Vegetable Salad, Crispy Beef Salad and more. The Smoked Duck & Avocado Salad is simply marvelous!

Saturday BBQ themed offers Beef Sirloin Steak, Roast Beef Ribeye, Tandoori Chicken, Lamb Leg Steaks, Chicken Satay, Koftas, Duck Breast, Assorted Seafood and other grilled items.

One of Charcoal’s prized treasures is Chef Auntie Belle. So if you love Peranakan dishes, then go for the Thursday theme of Nyonya Peranakan where Chef Auntie Belle will be whipping up her signatures of Duck Soup with Salted Vegetables, Curry Laksa, Pineapple Prawn Curry, Ayam Pongteh, Chicken Devil Curry, Ketam Goreng Halia, Chap Chai, Butter Prawns with Oats and more.

Ending the evening with a sweet note is the perfect way to make your day even sweeter. Indulge in Ais Kacang, assorted Cakes, Puddings, Fruits, Bread & Butter Pudding and more for a feast to remember.

During the Thematic Feast, diners were also treated to an exclusive fashion by iKarrtini, our Malaysia’s own Batek Queen. We checked out her gorgeous pieces of fashion for men and women featuring batek prints.

Which one is your favorite piece?

Charcoal Thematic Feast is priced at RM99++ per person (dinner).

For more details of the Thematic Feast, go to – promotions or contact 03 7843 1234 ext 6122 or email at

The Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur,
Saujana Resort,
Jalan Lapangan Terbang SAAS,
40150 Shah Alam, Selangor.
Tel: 603-7843 1234 ext 6122

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Norwegian Seafood Promotion @ Serena Brasserie, Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur

Treat Your Palate To A Sea of Freshness Flown In From Norway

Seafood aficionados would not want to miss the four-day Norwegian Seafood Promotion at Serena Brasserie, Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur! Held from 24 to 27 March, 2015 at the hotel’s signature all-day dining, the seafood buffet promotion will feature first-class Norwegian seafood flown in from Norway. This collaboration with GST Group is set to entice many gourmands with its impressive spread of scrumptious sea treasures.

Norwegian guest chef Markus Peter Dybwad (left) and Executive Chef Sam Kung

Leading the Norwegian Seafood spread is Norwegian Chef Markus Peter Dybwad, a humble and young chef that has a wealth of experience from Scandanavia as well as Europe including previous stints at three Michelin star restaurant, The Fat Duck alongside celebrity Chef Heston Blumenthal. Working together with Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur Executive Chef Sam Kung, the duo is set to impress diners with their own repertoires of international and local dishes in the seafood buffet.

The moment one enters the restaurant, a long bar is set to entice your appetites with a magnificent spread of Norwegian seafood treasures. Diners can expect nothing but the best of seafood such as Salmon, Norwegian Coldwater Prawns, Snow Crab, Crab, Spanner Crab, Prawn, Mussel, Crayfish, Yabbies, Crawfish, Oysters and more. Enjoy the freshest Salmon and Tuna Sashimi with other Japanese sushi together at the same bar as well.

A must-try is the deliciously sweet and firm Norwegian Coldwater Prawns! The medium size shrimp is bursting with tiny roes beneath its shell. There is an unusual oceanic sweetness about the prawns that many are hooked on it after the first taste.  The oysters were also fresh and very good.

Besides the seafood bar, guests will be able to see Chef Markus preparing a variety of his Scandinavian mouth-watering dishes such as Skagen Salad (creamed seafood salad), Smoked Salmon with Scrambled Eggs, selections of Herrings, smoked mackerel, smoked salmon, cured salmon trout ‘Gravalaks’ style. Chef Markus proceeded to demonstrate a dish of his in a live cooking show together with Chef Sam and everyone was treated to an array of Scandinavian specialties in the form of canapés.

Besides the chilled seafood, there is also a Grill Station where a luscious array of assorted seafood and meat are grilled to order!

The hot buffet station will also feature Baked Salmon Fillet, Halibut in Cream Sauce, Atlantic Cod with Soy Butter and Red Fish with Ratatouille from Chef Markus’s list of signatures.

Besides the main seafood highlights, there is also a list of local favorites from Malay to Indian dishes. If you spied small packets of Nasi Lemak, grab one! The coconut rice is fluffy and so flavourful with a dollop of sambal and a wedge of egg. Enjoy this with the Beef Rendang or the Lamb Curry which are superbly tasty!

There is a Noodle Station where diners can enjoy Mee Mamak or Char Kway Teow and Noodle of the Day as well.

Besides the above mentioned list, there are the usual Salad Bar, Soup and Bread with Cheese Bar and Dessert Bar.
Enjoy Chocolate Fountain, cakes and pastries, local kuihs, fruits, in-house made ice cream and also Kapiti Ice Cream from New Zealand.

So make your way to enjoy this special 4-day Norwegian Seafood promotion for a taste of premium freshness and quality seafood from 24 to 27 March, 2015 in the heart of our city!

The Norwegian Seafood promotion at Serena Brasserie is priced at RM120++ per adult, or toaste to the coast at RM180++ per adult inclusive of a bottle of red or white wine and RM60++ per child.

For reservations, please call Serena Brasserie at 03 2782 6228 or email the team at

After dinner, one might even want to head up to the hotel’s Bentley Pub to catch SHELAH ‘Time of The Month’ Live shows. The Queen of Malaysian entertainment will have you enjoying a fun-fill evening of laughter and merriment. The live shows will be held on 21 March and 25 April 2015 at 9.30pm. Ticket priced RM70++ per person inclusive of one drink, bar snack and 30% dining discount for Serena Brasserie ‘Seafood Galore’ buffet dinner on the same day.

InterContinental Kuala Lumpur
165 Jalan Ampang.
50450, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603 2782 6188

Friday, March 20, 2015

Boathouse Restaurant & Bar @ TTDI

Porky Sensations & St. Patrick’s Day Specials

One big ‘haram’ post coming right up! And it starts at Boathouse Restaurant and Bar at Taman Tun Dr Ismail. There is always a reason why certain restaurants have been operating for more than a decade. It simply because food is great, price is value-for-money and service is decent. That just about sums up Boathouse and with the addition of the fact that the food is superb and is a swine-laden haven for many porky fans just like me!

Helmed under Chef Yenni Law, a very passionate and humble chef, whose love for good food and cooking led her to open Boathouse 11 years ago. Many foodies, especially those around the neighborhood have been patronizing the restaurant for its luscious and tempting list of porky menu, both international and local. Chef Yenni has also recently launched her own cookbook, Meatology in partnership with MPH. In her book, she stated that it was her mother who ignited her passion and also trained her for her passion in the F&B world.

Boathouse is a regular haunt for every one of all ages. It is open throughout the day so one can walk in anytime for a bite or simply to hang out by the bar. There is a tv as well for those who enjoys some sport actions. A whole long chalkboard on the wall displays more enticing porky dishes. Boathouse’s ambience may not shout fine food but gourmands can dine on foie gras, lobsters, escargots, oysters and more fine ingredients here at the restaurant. The interior is lite with soft warm lights for comfort. The restaurant is split into two sections, with one more casual than the other. The bar is actually a long aquarium tank with live fishes as the counter and is set with bricks on its base. The other section offers more restaurant dining with white furniture, bright orange walls with tiled panels and worn wood flooring. There is a wine section that separates both areas. The whole restaurant is filled with various memorabilia and has an easy-going vibe.

First up, Boathouse is offering three St. Patrick’s Day specials that are available through March this month. Themed Guinness, all three dishes are cleverly cooked with the black gold stout and pair with pork, lamb and fish. Besides enjoying the Irish stout on its own, Guinness also works well when it is use as an ingredient for flavouring because it produces a rich and light sweetness note that goes really well with meat, seafood and dessert as well.

The first of three dishes is Guinness Porker (RM59), paying tribute to the hog where bacon steak and cured bacon loin ruled on the plate. The luscious pieces of bacon sat on a bed of stewed legumes, topped with Guinness pepper mushrooms and served with some mashed potato. Cured meat tends to lean towards a heavier salty end but I didn’t mind this one. The medley of beans and lentils managed to offset the saltiness of the bacon well while the flavourful mushrooms added more levels of flavours to the dish.

Guinness Shepherd (RM68) is the next trilogy of the St. Patrick’s Day special and is quite a force of flavours to be reckoned with. Lamb loin blackened and grilled, is smothered in apple BBQ and Guinness sauce. It is served with a light salad of greens and potatoes. The loin has a good ratio of lean and fat so the lamb is tender and flavourful. The apple BBQ & Guinness sauce is not overly heavy and has a nice balance of tangy and sweet notes with deep smoky hints. Lamb and Guinness has always been a great combo and it certainly worked really well again here.

I would never ever thought to pair the black stout with fish but Chef Yenni surprised me with her Guinness Catch (RM78). The Atlantic cod is fresh and sweet as can be. Its flesh is smooth and lightly firm. The cod sat on a bed of caramelized onions and is served with rice studded with cured duck meat, fresh sliced tomatoes, broccoli and a side of Guinness Balsamic Honey sauce in a shot glass. The onions were also infused with the black stout for richer notes. When they all savored together, the flavours worked like a perfect symphony. Indeed a lovely match!

Besides the St. Patrick’s Day specials, we also sampled some signatures from their regular menu. Boathouse’s menu is pretty extensive and offers foodies a little of everything from the finest to street favorites. It has Western and local dishes, modern and classic dishes. Basically, foodies can enjoy Baked Whole Lobster and Duck Egg Char Kway Teow together in Boathouse.

Going luxe, we had their appetizer of Lumpfish Caviar Oysters (RM23 – 3pcs/RM43 – 6pcs). The freshest bivalve molluscs are enhanced further with tiny black lumpfish caviar, orange ebiko, julienned scallion, chopped capers and lemon wedges. The briny oysters went surprisingly well with all the salty condiments. The caviar and capers were salty but it didn’t overwhelm the whole taste. The sharp fresh lemon juice did wonders for the whole dish and brought it alive and refreshing. I could taste salty, sweet and sour all at once as I took as I enjoyed the oyster.

Next dish of Foie Gras French Air-Flown (RM67) was literally orgasmic in flavours and aroma. I have such fondness for foie gras and really enjoy the sinful goose liver. We had 100gm of sliced foie gras pan-seared and deglazed with Pinot Grigio till it had a gorgeous caramelized aroma. Served with side of dressed rocket leaves, raspberry relish, crouton and a few more condiments, it was such a pretty plate of ingredients. The aroma was heavenly and the taste of the foie gras was divine. Its moreish and creamy savory notes of the goose liver are countered by tangy sweet raspberry while the crouton provided some textures. The light bitter note of rocket leaves completed all the basic taste senses. If you love foie gras just like me, you have to order this dish…

Another popular dish of Boathouse is the Caramel of Bacon & Roast Pork with Garlic Clove (RM28). It is without a doubt that this dish is the perfect appetizer or snack to go with some beer. As if Roast Pork is not addictive enough, here it is sautéed with bacon, whole garlic cloves and chilies, then caramelized and flambé with brandy. Crispy roast pork and bacon has a luscious caramelized sweetness while the garlic added hits of garlicky flavours. The dish is not spicy unless you bite into one of the chilies. At that point, I had almost wished for a tall glass of beer to go with this dish.

More sinful and comfort dishes took place in the form of Fettuccine Carbonara Real Bacon & Caviar (RM39). The wide strands of fettuccine are generously covered in a white wine cream sauce and an egg yolk and topped with generous crispy bacon bits and a dollop of caviar. Talked about going all the way, the carbonara is very rich and creamy. Enjoy this hot for its maximum flavours.

Steak Au Poivre a la Gueridon (RM76) showed off 320gm prime steak tenderloin seasoned with black pepper and charbroiled to your likings. Served with mashed potato and some greens, the steak is pretty impressive in size. Just like how the French serve up their steak, this was flambé right at our table side. We watch as the wait staff lite up the stove and proceed to melt a generous knob of butter. Once the butter is melted, the steak is placed in the melted butter to coat and then brandy is added and lite up for some flaming actions. Once the alchohol burns off, the steak is then served on the plate.

As we cut into the steak, we can see a beautiful pink flush which indicated that the steak was cooked to medium doneness. It was very moist too.  The steak yield to my knife cut easily which is another indication of how tender the meat was. The VSOP brandy sauce served on the side is creamy, peppery and robust, taking on more flavours for the beef. The dish is bold and big on flavours.

Just when I thought it can’t get any better, the Slow-Baked Holland Pork Belly Rib (RM78) showed up and we were all quite taken at first sight of this mammoth rib. It’s full-fledge swine glory. The cut is pork belly roasted on its ribs. Slow roasted with granny smith apple till the meat is tender, it is then charbroiled to give the pork skin its crispy crackling that many fans like me would go nuts over it. It is then covered with home-made Apple Barbeque sauce.

I wished that I had taken photos of the pork belly rib when we cut into it. The pork was moist and the skin was super crunchy. There is a light sweetness and savory in the dish. The apple barbeque sauce was not overly heavy and not sweet like most BBQ sauces are. It has a soothing mellow richness with just the right balance of savory, sweet and umami flavours. If there is one only must-order dish at Boathouse, then I highly recommend this dish which is perfect for 2 to 3 person sharing!

Chef Yenni believes in making almost everything from scratch and preparing it as a la minute as she can, even for desserts. Usually bread & butter pudding is made in advance but Chef Yenni only prepares hers upon each order. Her Jamaican Bread & Banana Butter Pudding (RM26), read off the menu, is layers of bread with butter layered with banana and raisins steeped in rum, soaked in fresh egg custard and baked to perfection with a layer of caramelized crust – topped off with vanilla ice cream. Its certainly a mouthful and the mouthful of the dessert is pretty darn good. I think it’s the rum that made this dessert so addictive.

If the first dessert doesn’t impress you, then the Bombe Alaska (RM35) will. This is such a classic dish and it took me down to memory lane again when I recalled growing up savoring this dessert at certain Western restaurants. Chef Yenni has put on her own twist to this classic dessert.  The dessert called for cake and ice cream to be covered up in a dome of meringue which will insulate the dessert while it is finished off with some flaming action with brandy. The version here as an added crunchy texture crust and is fully loaded with brandy. It’s a great way to end a meal here at Boathouse for sure…

Boathouse has more to offer that what I had just tasted. I haven’t even touched much of its regular menu and there are plenty more enticing dishes that I would to return for. Prices are above average but rest assured its value-for-money as these are premium ingredients and portions are quite generous. There’s a reason why Boathouse has been operating for a while and the reason is quite obvious. Its hearty and delicious food that’s enticing many diners back here. Cnef Yenni certainly takes her passion to another level of deliciousness in her dishes. So if you haven’t had a trip here yet, you might want too soon.  By the way, Boathouse serves Roast Pork aka Siew Yoke every Friday after 5pm… need I say more?

16, Lorong Rahim Kajai 14,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel:  03-7727-4426

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