Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bari Uma Ramen, Jaya Shopping Centre: Luscious Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen with Thick Cut Flamed Chashu


A Ramen Feast with Sublime Grilled Pork!

It has always been my beacon of comfort, the Japanese ramen that is… A bowl of piping hot thick broth bursting with meaty essence, bouncy al dente ramen noodles, porcine slices of deliciousness, a soft molten Ajitama and maybe some spring onions. It’s thoroughly satiating and many have devoted to a lifetime of perfecting their own bowl of ramen.  I am told that in Japan, no bowl of Ramen taste alike. Every ramen vendor has their specialty recipe that is closely guarded and whipped up to a tee each day to produce luscious bowls of ramen.






Being the ardent fan or ramen, I am always scouting around for ramen joints. This round, I headed over to Bari-Uma Ramen at Jaya Shopping Centre in Section 14 Petaling Jaya. Now I have also heard about Bari-Uma Ramen way back when it opened early this year but never had a chance to visit since I hardly wonder to that area.

Bari-Uma Ramen is famous for their signature Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen jazzed up with thick cuts of grilled pork chashu. If I am not mistaken, Bari-Uma is the first to serve flamed chashu with ramen here in Malaysia. So I was pretty excited about savoring this porcine sidekick to the ramen!


Located at the newly renovated Jaya Shopping Centre, Bari-Uma Ramen is set on level 3 together with other restaurants. The restaurant’s interior is a modern take on Japanese classic where lots of wood is used to create the ambience in the whole restaurant. Pale cream walls provide the backdrop for bold Japanese art works while red covered chairs added bright spots of colors. At one side is a huge bar counter with a view of the open kitchen for some kitchen actions.


At Bari-Uma, it’s about passion. Ramen is serious business and the people at Bari-Uma sure take each bowl of ramen to heart. The menu is tight and decent, focusing on their famous signature Tonkotsu Shoyu broth served with various toppings and two other broths of Shoyu and spicy Kara-Uma. There are additional condiments that one can order to add-on. I am a firm believer that one do not need quantity if something is good, just make sure to do something good well with quality and it is good enough for most foodies.







Besides ramen, Bari-Uma also serves Gyoza, Salad, Yakitori and Ishiyaki Chaofan. Our meal started off with Gyoza that comes in three flavours and is made with a filling of chicken. These pan fried chicken dumplings are perfected in every serving as they have a special Gyoza machine that makes these delectable dumplings consistently each time. Choose from Original, Negi-Mayo Gyoza or Teri-Yaki Gyoza. One can order these dumplings in a serving of 5 pieces or 10 pieces.


Our original Gyoza (RM11 for 5 pcs / RM20 for 10 pcs) is indeed pretty perfect. They are nicely pan seared to a nice crisp on one side and beautifully steamed on the other side. The fillings have a moist consistency and it well seasoned. Dip this Gyoza into a little soy sauce with some dashes of chili for extra flavours.






Ishiyaki Chaofan Chashu (RM14.90) also arrived before the ramen. Served in hot stone bowl, the aroma was heavenly. The light sizzling sound is utterly delightful as I can imagine the rice gently crisping up on the heated hot stone bowl. Served with loads of spring onions, the bowl is a beautiful sight of colors.


As we gently mix up all the rice and its condiments while removing those crisp bits, the aroma smells even better. The rice is moist and fluffy, well studded with bits of vegetables and chashu. The spring onions really added lots of tasty notes. I love the rice. Pure comfort food and definitely easy to enjoy!






As mentioned, Bari-Uma also serves up various varieties of grilled pork and chicken skewers. We had the Yakitori-Combo (RM13.90) that has all five types of meat skewers on one serving. One gets Sasami (Chicken Breast), Tori-Niku (Chicken Thigh), Negima (Chicken Thigh and Leeks), Butabara (Pork Belly) and Butanegima (Pork Thigh and Leeks). One can also order these separately and it comes in a pair in each order.

All the meat is grilled and glazed with Tare sauce, a yummy smoky and sweet sauce. The skewers of meat are juicy and tender. I was particularly fond of the Butabara and Butanegima. It was good so we had another round of these skewers.








The main reason we were here for arrived. First up was Noritama-Uma (RM29.00). One of the most popular combinations at the restaurant, a bowl comes with ramen noodles in the famous pork Tonkotsu Shoyu broth with thick-cut flamed Chashu, Ajitama, Menma and Seaweed.


The broth is cloudy and darker than other Tonkotsu I have tried. This is because Shoyu is added to the broth I suspect. According to the owner (we had the pleasure meeting him at this dinner), the Tonkotsu Shoyu broth is brought in directly from Bari-Uma headquarter in Japan. The recipe is closely guarded and to ensure authentic quality, the base of the broth is imported in from Japan and cooked up here on daily basis. So each bowl of ramen here at Bari-Uma Malaysia is as authentic as it is in Japan!

The flavours do emit the characteristic of a gorgeous Tonkotsu broth but with a richer depth with the addition of the soy sauce. It’s pretty much creamy and well pumped up with the essence of meaty goodness. The broth is also nicely balanced and is not heavy on the salt so one can enjoy it better. There is a light sticky essence of the broth which can only mean that the essence of the meat and bones has really emulsified into the broth. The standard bamboo shoots, spring onion and seaweed also contributed another level of flavours to the ramen. The molten Ajitama was cooked to my liking with just perfect molten egg yolk center.


Despite all the passing marks of the broth and condiments, I must say that the star was truly the thick-cut flamed grilled chashu! Now at Bari-Uma, even the pork is imported from Germany. After going through different pork local and international, it was settled that the quality of the pork from Germany is best suited to make the signature Bari-Uma Thick-Cut Flamed Chashu. The pork is braised for few hours till soften before it is braised again in their special marinade till the flavours are well infused into the pork. The pork is then left to cool in the marinade till an order is placed. Then it is sliced thickly and chargrilled to intensify the flavours of the pork belly, turning it into a damn good piece of Chashu!

If you love Chasu, order a side of this gorgeous Aburi-Chashu (RM18.80) which comes with four generous slices per order. There is also Aburi-Salmon (RM17.80) too for salmon lovers.


They make their own ramen noodles too. The ramen here is medium thick and has a lovely firm to the tooth texture which I really like a lot. Bari-Uma also practices Kae-dama which is where one can order these extra noodles for RM4 to add-on to your bowl of ramen. The ramen noodles comes in three textures of firm, original and soft so make sure to let the wait staff know what is your preference.






Now if you are a purist, then order the Bari-Uma (RM26.00) that has the same Tonkotsu Shoyu broth, ramen, Menma and spring onions. It is a favorite among the Japanese as they love simplicity in their bowl of ramen.






I love some heat and so I chose the Kara-Uma (RM26.00), a spicy version of the signature broth. Though it looks pretty spicy, I assured you that the heat level is very decent and fairly mild for me. It does give the ramen a great umami note with the chili heat. The Kara-Uma comes with a slice of Chashu, bamboo shoots and spring onions. Needless to say, I added an order of the Aburi-Chashu to this bowl and slurp happily.








My partner also went straight for a meatier touch and took on the Chashu-Uma (RM32.00). This bowl has the signature broth, four pieces of Chashu, bamboo shoots and spring onions. He was pretty happy with the bowl and polished it off with ease.







Dessert is basic with two choices of Macha and Kurogoma Ice Cream (RM7.90 each). I really didn’t mind as ice cream is perfect for ending a ramen experience. The cold and creamy factor is good for removing the heavier notes of the ramen. Both ice creams have a good wow factor. I really enjoyed the beautiful smooth intense Matcha green tea while the Kurogoma is simply awesome as it is silky smooth, nutty and aromatic with bits of whole black and white sesame seeds in it.






In total, Bari-Uma has eight varieties of ramen in their menu. Of course, one is welcome to make it his or her own and add on more toppings. The choices here are not as large as the other ramen houses but it’s sufficient to satisfy most ramen lovers.  With house made ramen noodles, Tonkotsu Shoyu broth from Japan, Chashu pork from Germany and beautiful molten Ajitama, it just can’t get any more serious than this. The dedication of Bari-Uma’s ramen is truly shown in the flavours and the quality of the ramen with its ingredients.


Looks like I have found another strong ramen contender in KL and I am pretty sure I will be heading back here for the Thick-Cut Flamed Chashu!



BARI-UMA RAMEN
Jaya Shopping Centre
L3-11, Level 3,
Jalan Semangat,
46100 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor

Website: www.bariuma.my

Store Hours:
Monday-Sunday 10am-10pm

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Journey Through Time VIII Gala Night@ Shook, Starhill Gallery


A Twisted Malaysian Fair






It’s an eight day extravaganza of A Journey Through Time VIII, Asia’s premier watch and jewelry showcase, at the prestigious Starhill Gallery in Kuala Lumpur this November. Making its eighth edition, A Journey Through Time has established a worldwide name for hosting the biggest and most renowned names in the global watch and jewelry industries annually at the event. Held from 21 to 28 November 2014, the event is destined to be a powerful prelude to Baselworld with rare private collections, first-in market editions and exquisite pieces from over 125 luxury brands, 20 of which are debuting in Malaysia.


The impressive event will span two floors and 30,000 sq. ft of public exhibition space to showcase the luxury watches and jewelries from many notable brands, exclusive and education watch and jewelry talks by specialized experts, guided our led by watch experts from Starhill Gallery’s very own Watch Concierge, chic fashion parade, delectable cuisine as well as entertainment by international artists at the nightly gala dinner. The event journey will conclude with a grand gala dinner with the highlight of recognizing and awarding the most impressive and exquisite pieces.







This year, The Journey Through Time will host the gala dinners for eight days consecutively themed Twisted Malaysian Fair at Shook!, Feast Village in Starhill Gallery.
Executive Chef Mathew Ona and his kitchen team are set to tantalize many gourmands with his Twisted Malaysian Fair menu of gastronomical delights of the Malaysian cuisine. Chef Mathew hailed from Minneapolis, Minnesota and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. His experience includes a stint in The French Laundry in Napa Valley by renowned Chef Thomas Keller, the award winning Peju Province Winery in Napa V alley, at the exotic Romora Bay Resort & Marina in Harbour Island in the Bahamas, Napa Wine Bar & Kitchen and Kathleen’s 5 Rooftop Restaurant and Bar in Shanghai.

With an impressive repertoire of experiences, he is now leading Shook! with many new initiatives which includes a new menu for the interactive sensory restaurant with an open-kitchen concept.






Shook! features four distinct gastronomical cuisines from four epicurean chefs all set in one elegant destination. Shook! menu includes a scrumptious list of Chinese, Japanese, Western Grill and Italian. The dining area is framed by the four open-kitchen stations and is also design with several themes to set the ambience for the four cuisines. Private room dining is also available. What is impressive is the open space with the high view of the exquisite Starhill Gallery that spans up several floors to project a wondrous and gorgeous view of the shopping complex.








Gourmands are treated to a sneak peak at what’s in store for the coming Twisted Malaysian Fair menu for the gala dinners. Taking the on Malaysia’s classic dishes, Chef Mathew injects his own twist in all the dishes to bring the country’s cuisine to a modern edge.


Our evening kicked off with assorted canapes where Prawn & Avocado Tart, Salmon with Salmon Roe and Mushroom Vol Vents rules. The canapés are a great appetizer, especially for cocktail hours prior to the gala dinners.








A signature of Chef Mathew, the starter course of the evening was a delectable Yellow Tuna Carpaccio ‘Nicoise Style’. Blue fin tuna is seared on the outside and left raw on the inside. The tuna is accompanied by garden greens, sun dried tomatoes, Kalamata olive, blanched green beans, organic boiled egg, fresh herbs and dressed with a tangy Lemon Dressing. The tuna goes well with the dressing and the salad combination, each one providing its own flavours and textures.








The next course features Spicy Lemongrass Broth, a soup that evokes all the savory, sweet, sour and spicy senses. It is lightly creamy with a great balance of sourness and spiciness that makes one want to continuing enjoying this bowl of bold flavours. The broth has shrimps and season mushrooms for extra flavours and textures. The presence of lemongrass is very distinctive and beautifully enhanced in the broth. It’s a very delicious broth!







Our main course is gorgeously presented. ‘Rusuk Rendang Puncak Mahligai’ is translated as Slow Braised and Grilled Beef Short Ribs ‘Rendang Style’. The beef is cooked with lots of local spices for long hours to yield an unctuous and tender beef. The gravy is thick and has turmeric, shallot, ginger, coconut and many more ingredients in making a creamy Rendang curry. The beef is just so awesome in texture and flavours. The side of pickled pearl onions, creamy Rendang gravy and chili is a well-combined dish. Each one renders a different flavour from sour to creamy to spicy.

This course won many approvals from everyone that evening.








Dessert is such a pretty plate of colors with various shapes and sizes. Named Malaysia Flavour 2014, it consisted of everything Malaysian with a list of Lemongrass Jelly, Coconut Mousse, Pandan Sponge, Mangosteen Sorbet, Peanut Gianduja Crème and Gula Melaka Sago Pearls. It’s a very clever take in using classic Malaysian ingredients in a modern Western dessert.

Despite the many ingredients and elements in the dessert, they all seem to come together like a symphony of a harmonized orchestra of flavours. I was particularly fond of the white sphere shell encasing the Coconut Mousse and the fruity Mangosteen Sorbet. A bold and brilliant creation!









For more information on The Journey Through Time VIII, visit the website at www.ajourneythroughtime.com.my



SHOOK!
Feast Village at Starhill Gallery
181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2782 3875


Business Hours:
Open Daily 6.00am - 11.00pm


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mei Six Hin Restaurant, Prima Sri Gombak: Seven Star Grouper Feast


One Fish, Four Ways!


Our foodie gang has been going to Mei Six Hin Restaurant for the longest time we could remember. Chef Steven has been dishes out his creative concoctions to many and his latest one is a huge feast of the highly prized Seven Star Grouper. If you are an ardent fish lover, this feast is one killer fish feast for full indulgence.


The deal is simple, simple make a reservation to buy a whole Seven Star Grouper and Chef Steven will prepare four dishes from this huge fish. One needs to make a reservation 2 days in advance for Chef Steven to prepare the feast. A large group of diners is better suited for the feast as the minimum size for the Seven Star Grouper is at least 6kg in order to prepare the four dishes. Priced at RM120 per kg, price depends on the weight of the fish. If your fish is 6kg, it would be RM720 (inclusive of cooking). A fish that huge can easily be shared out between 8 to 10 pax.


Though we were already informed of this feast, it was still a mind-boggling sight when our 6kg Seven Star Grouper landed on our table. Not only were the kids fascinated with the fish, some of us adults literally had our jaw drop at that glorious fish that is almost the same length as the lazy Susan of the table. There was just no plate big enough to even hold this fish. The Seven Star Grouper is such a beauty. As soon as we finished our photos, the fish was quickly whipped back into the kitchen.






After seeing that whopping fish, we definitely knew the feast was going to be awesome. Chef Steven will prepare four courses with the whole fish starting with a Chinese must-have, soup.


A huge soup tureen appeared in front of us. Even before we lifted the cover, we could smell the glorious aroma escaping from the tureen.


Going towards the health properties, Chef Steven has prepared a Double Boiled Seven Star Grouper Fish Head Herbal Soup from the fish head, bones and tail. Packed to the brim with loads of Chinese medicinal herbs and large chunks of fried fish head, the soup is bursting with strong essence of earthy notes with sweetness. 

It’s pretty much really hard to describe but the sensation of flavours is thoroughly warming and soulful. I could literally taste lots of different elements and flavours of the herbs. The slow hours of extracting the essence of the ingredients into the soup turn out very well. The fish pieces were succulent as well and despite it being a fish head, there was plenty of meat to go around. The fish was fried first to retain its firmest and had a beautiful sweetness.


We all had two bowls and were pretty satisfied on this first course.








The second course was Seven Star Grouper Fish Roll with Sweet Pea. Thick fillets of the fish are stuffed crunchy blanched sweet pea and is steamed and drowned in a pool of brown gravy. The flavours are much lighter on this dish so one can taste the original sweetness of the fish fillet. This one is decent and perfect for those who enjoy light and healthy dishes as it is steamed. I do like the fish fillet as it has a soft and firm meaty texture which goes well with the crunchy peas.








I really love the next two courses. The third one was Pan Fried Seven Star Grouper with Honey Lemon Sauce. Wonderfully aromatic, the dish was already tempting me way before I could even taste it. Large cutlets of the fish are pan fried till crispy and golden and is finished off with lashing of honey lemon sauce.

I enjoyed both the moist fish and the honey lemon sauce a lot. It is such a perfect combination of sweet, savory and light tangy flavours. The fish is moist and tender with a crisp edge. I ate loads of this dish happily. It also has a subtle hint of smokiness which added depth to the fish.








Our last course of the fish was Golden Seven Star Grouper Fillet with Mint Sauce. Appearance wise, it looked funky with its combination of yellow and green. This one featured a take of Western flavours with its combination of mayonnaise and mint sauce. Fish fillet is dusted in turmeric batter and deep fried till golden yellow and crispy. It is moist and juicy and smothered in a creamy minty salad sauce that has a refreshing note. Spinach leaves are also battered and deep fried for added texture.


Behind the golden fish fillets is a chilled salad that goes so well with the fish. The salad had fruits and vegetables to provide the crunch and fresh factor plus very interesting added cubes of cincau. We loved the salad together with the fish. It made the dish light, refreshing and easy to enjoy. Kudos to Chef Steven for his creativity!







Besides the Seven Star Grouper feast, we had Chef Steven’s signature Shanghai Style Chili Chicken and Braised Yee Meen. Don’t miss the Shanghai Style Chili Chicken as it is very addictive with a robust flavour or fish cause and lots of chili for some heat. The Braised Yee Meen is pretty yum as it was well braised to a soft and eggy goodness.



Don’t forget to call in advance of 2 days for the Seven Star Grouper Feast!




MEI SIX HIN RESTAURANT
NO.G-62, Jalan Prima SG 3/1,
Prima Sri Gombak,
68100 Selangor.
Tel No:012-359 3109 (Steven) / 017-279 9927 (Winnie)


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