Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sasagawa Japanese Cuisine @ Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel


An Enchanting Kaiseki Experience!



The moment I stepped out of Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel elevator and saw Sasagawa Japanese Cuisine restaurant entrance, I knew it was going to be an unforgettable dining experience. The gorgeous entrance with its artistic wood framework and lustre glass panel proudly etched with the restaurant’s name is mesmerizing.


Sasagawa has just taken over from Makishima at the hotel and officially operated as of June recently. Barely a few months old, the restaurant has already been the talk of the town. Named after and helmed by Chef Hitoshi Sasagawa who trained under Iron Chef Challenger Chef Tadamichi Ota, is set to showcase his skills in creating traditional and authentic Japanese dishes to our Malaysian diners. Leader of the Ota Faction of traditional Japanese chefs, Chef Ota defeated French Iron Chef Sakai in the Iron Chef challenge, reaffirming the skills and knowledge of authentic Japanese cuisine.



Sasagawa is the perfect venue for the 38 year old Chef Sasagawa to showcase his culinary repertoire. Japanese cuisine is all about featuring the freshest and finest ingredients that Mother Nature has to offer and so Sasagawa stays true to the same concept in serving premium imported ingredients flown in directly from Japan four times a week for the restaurant’s menu. Gourmands have the option of a full regular a la carte menu or simply be surprised by their Kaiseki dinner courses or Bento lunch courses.



The majestic and Zen ambience is designed by local designer from Kyoto to replicate the tradition and atmosphere of Japan’s culture. Using lots of wood backed by modern touches of contemporary furniture and influences, the restaurant has lots of sectioned private dining rooms as well as its regular dining room.  The awesome architectural structure of the wood element creates a halo pathway leading to the private dining rooms. There is also a Zen fountain at the entrance. The restaurant also has bar that played dual roles as a sushi bar as well as a perfect bar to hang out to the long list of Japanese sake and whisky together with other beverages.


Our evening was graced with a serene Zen ambiance, excellent discreet service and an unforgettable Kaiseki experience. Kaiseki, a multi-course haute dining experience, pays homage to the skills and techniques of Japanese cuisine together with the ingredients. Gourmands are taken on a journey of selected premium ingredients prepared with minimal cooking touches to enhance the true flavours of fresh quality ingredients.

There are basically 3 choices of Kaiseki of Yuki (RM460 – 9 courses), Hana (RM350 – 8 courses) and Tsuki (RM280 – 7 courses) at Sasagawa. There are no minimum number of diners so one can even order Kaiseki while your other dining companions enjoy a la carte. Chef Sasagawa recommends diners to make reservation at least 1 week in advance in order for him to offer the finest ingredients from Japan in the Kaiseki experience.



Our Hana Kaiseki experience showcase 8-course meal of Appetizer, Sashimi, Simmered Dish, Main Dish, Steamed Dish, Deep Fried Dish, Shokuji and Dessert.

APPETIZER


Our Appetizer or Hassun course has 3 small bites of Egg Tofu, Cutlass Fish and Boiled Greens with Fried Tofu served on long wooden plate as per its tradition. These are meant to tease and open up our palates with a delicate ode to the Japanese cuisine.


Egg Tofu Topping with Salmon Egg, Golden Powder, Radish & Wasabi was my favorite of the three. Exquisite in sight, a cube of smooth, creamy and luscious egg bean curd was cleverly paired with a host of salty roes, crisp fresh radish and a tiny dab of fresh Japanese horseradish. Evoking all taste senses, this egg bean curd was further enhanced at sight as well with edible gold.


Cutlass Fish Nanbanduke, Kikka Flower & Loofah Marinated with Vinegar had a fresh and vibrant flavour. Sweet Cutlass Fish was delicately battered, fried and served in a pickled form. Edible Kikka flower may not add flavour but was crowned on the fish to reiterate the importance of presentation of the cuisine.


The third appetizer of Boiled Greens in Bonito-Flavoured Soy Sauce, Fried Tofu & Mizuna Baby Fish reminded diners that the cuisine originate from humble homes in the country. Its simplicity of greens, inari and tiny Mizuna baby fish represents the land and sea produce of Japan.


SASHIMI


The second course of Otsukuri was another tribute to Japan’s cuisine and its surrounding ocean that produces some of the best seafood in the world. Every Sashimi served in the Kaiseki course varies as it depends on the freshest available catch imported from Japan four days a week.


For our Sashimi course, we had the honors of savoring Otoro (Fatty Tuna), Maguro (Tuna), Ishidai (Parrot Fish), Salmon and Tenshi Ebi (Angel Shrimp). Each sashimi is truly a haven of oceanic sweetness. Worthy in every sense are the Otoro of luscious creamy fatty tuna and the sweet firm Ishidai sashimi enhanced by fresh wasabi and premium soy sauce…


This platter of Sashimi prepared by Chef Sasagawa serves 3 pax.


SIMMERED DISH


The next course features comfort pleasures of Nimono or simmering ingredients in sauce or broth to gently cook and enhance its flavours. Chef Sasagawa is set to please all diners so if you should have a certain diet or ingredient that you do take, do let him know in advance and his dishes will be set to cater to your requests.

That evening, our simmered dish was a Kuroge Wagyu Yamato-Ni. Kuroge Wagyu is from one of the most sought after breeds of wagyu – the Japanese Black cow. Small cubes of Kuroge Wagyu is paired together with Japanese Turnip Boiled in Syrup, Pumpkin, Baby Eggplant Oranda-Ni, Lady Finger, White Onion and Bud of Japanese Tree Pepper. The beef is beautifully tender and so deliciously flavourful from its simmering in a sauce of sweet red pepper, soy sauce, Sake and soup stock. Every element played its role, whether in taste of texture, and the sauce completed the symphony of flavours in this dish.


One of our dining partner does not take beef and so he was served Abalone or Awabi Yamato-Ni. Similar to the wagyu, the premium mollusk was given the same treatment of simmering and pairing of ingredients.


POT STEW


Our fourth course of Suimono was another treat of the sea. Torched Octopus, Seabass and King Crab with KUJO Green Onion, Mizuna, Maitake Mushrooms & Lime is served on the side together with a pretty silver pot of Japanese Style Onion Soup Stock sitting on a small burner.



As soon as we lifted the cover of the pot, the aroma of the broth is simply sublime. A nudge of sweetness and smoky aroma starts tantalizing us as we quickly placed all the ingredients into the broth to gently stew it.



What a treat! A myriad of ocean’s treasures and the sweetest green onions with peppery Mizuna greens and highly-prized Maitake mushrooms has soaked up the beautiful smoky and sweet broth so well. This dish truly evoked all the senses of sight, taste, smell and sound in great depth.


STEAMED DISH


Special Chawanmushi with Goma Tofu topped with thin sliced winter melon, wolfberry and sesame cream is our Mushimono course of the meal. The delicate course of egg custard married with a piece of sesame tofu is beautiful. Simple and so comforting…



DEEP FRIED DISH



Our sixth course was Agemono and Chef Sasagawa chose to showcase a popular dish of Prawn Tempura with Andes Salt. Normally, tempura is served with a tempura dipping sauce but Chef Sasagawa wanted to let the sweetness of the Angel prawn shine through its light crisp batter, so Andes salt was paired this round. There were also baby eggplant, lotus root and Shishito chili pepper. 


Crisp, juicy and yummy!


SHOKUJI


Our last savory course was a Shokuji set of rice, miso soup and tsukemono pickles, a must in most Kaiseki meals.


Inside this Kama is a Kamameshi or Rice Cooked Small Kettle.


The pot unveiled rice crowned with a piece of salmon, small chunks of abalone, burdock, inari, salmon roes and shiso leaf. Believe by the Japanese to be the best method to cook rice, the short grain rice is cooked till tender but has a lovely bite. Mix all together and enjoy a bowl of fluffy rice with lots of protein and treats. A solid and filling end of rice, soup and pickled seaweed with Arima-ni.




DESSERT


Dessert was Yukimi Daifuku, vanilla ice cream encased with a mocha skin.



Chef Sasagawa held up to his promise of showcasing Japanese cuisine in the most authentic presentation and flavour at Sasagawa. The Kaiseki experience is a treat and worthy of its price with the quality of the ingredients, coupled with Chef Sasagawa’s skill and the restaurant’s ambience. There are value Bento lunch sets too so head on over to Sasagawa for an authentic and multi-sensory Japanese dining in the heart of our city.



SASAGAWA JAPANESE CUISINE
Level 2, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel
Jalan Sultan Ismail
50250 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2602 3288


Business Hours:
Lunch          12.00noon to 2.30pm
Dinner         6.00pm to 10.00pm

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Lavish Mid-Autumn Festival with Veuve Clicquot


Go lavish all the way this beautiful Mid-Autumn festival with a gift of opulence and sumptuousness of champagne and mooncakes!


Making a grand comeback this year, Veuve Clicquot in collaboration with Grand Imperial Group of Restaurants presents a harmonious union celebration with Veuve Clicquot Champagne and Grand Imperial’s delectable mooncakes.



Chong Wai Keng, Brand Ambassador for Moet Hennessy Brands reaffirms that the premium gift set reflects Madame Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin’s innovative spirit of its exquisite champagne with our celestial tradition.


With a history of 240 years in champagne making, Veuve Clicquot champagne is the world’s second most popular champagne and is considered by consumers to be the most exclusive and the most prestigious. With a motto of “Only One Quality, The Finest”, Veuve Clicquot champagne is indeed an extraordinary bubbly that is highly prized all over the world.


Chong Wai Keng, Brand Ambassador for Moet Hennessy Brands, Executive Dim Sum Chef Fanny Foo and Dan from the Grand Imperial Group



Who would have thought that Maison’s finest champagne – the Brut Yellow Label makes such a gorgeous pairing with our traditional mooncakes? The epitome of the house of Veuve Clicquot, the Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label is well-known for its fresh citrusy notes and subtle aromas of brioche and vanilla. Its bubbly factor together with its elegant bouquet compliments the mooncakes beautifully and heighten the delicate flavours of the mooncakes.


Available from 15th August to 27th September 2015, this limited edition Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and Mooncake Gift Set, priced at RM288 nett, features a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label (75 cl) with four delectable mooncakes including Assorted Fruits and Nuts with Chicken Bits, White Lotus Single Yolk, Almond with Sesame White Lotus Paste, and Pandan Lotus Paste Single Yolk.


This opulence gold box set of Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label and Grand Imperial Mooncakes makes it the perfect giveaway this Mid-Autumn festival to family, friends and business associates. Limited to only 1000 orders, this exclusive gift set is available at all Grand Imperial Group of Restaurants at RM288 nett. 

For purchases, kindly contact the following six outlets listed below:

Grand Imperial Restaurant, Pinnacle Sunway (03-5888 7222/ 03-5888 7221)
Grand Imperial Restaurant, Bangsar Shopping Centre (03-2283 1118),
Grand Imperial Restaurant, Hartamas Shopping Centre (03-6201 3777),
Grand Imperial Restaurant, One Utama Shopping Centre (03-7729 7223),
Grand Imperial Restaurant, USJ19 City Mall (03-8024 8777)
Grand Imperial Restaurant, Casa Klang (03-3345 2118)


For further information, kindly visit www.veuve-clicquot.com, www.mhdm.com.my and www.grandimperial.com.my

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tai Thong Mid Autumn Indulgence of Mooncakes and Fruity Feast


Feasting on Fruity Mooncakes and Dishes!


The Tai Thong Group has always been one of leading pioneers in mooncakes and this year, Tai Thong is making another grand showcase of their traditional mooncakes and their modern mooncakes at the Tai Thong Mid-Autumn Indulgence Press Conference. Besides mooncakes, Tai Thong is also presenting their Mid-Autumn Indulgence with a series of fruity inspired dishes in themed with their new mooncake flavours.


It’s certainly a gorgeous Autumn Indulgence of refreshing fruity mooncakes this year!


The festive season are brought to life that evening with Chinese classical musicians, DIY Mooncake corner, Chinese jester on stilts and a bold drum performance. After some speeches, Mooncake Master Chef Yiu Wing Keung proudly presents his latest four new Mooncake flavours of the year.



A quick Masterclass in Mooncake making, Chef Yiu introduces his influences of fruits and nuts behind this year’s theme. While mooncakes tend to be really rich and heavy in flavours, he has incorporated fruits as his main theme of new flavours to add a fresh fruity note and nuttiness in mooncakes. The new flavours are also in perfect for those who prefer healthier options for the festive treats.


Tai Thong’s new fruity crafted creations has two Baked Blueberry Lotus with Dried Fruits & Assorted Seeds and Orange Lotus with Palm Sugar & Assorted Seed together with two Snow Skin Mango Kiwi with Assorted Dried Fruits and Snow Skin Pineapple Lotus with Jackfruit Mochi.


Baked Blueberry Lotus with Dried Fruits & Assorted Seeds has sweet elements of blueberries and dried fruit bits marrying with nutty sweet notes of luscious lotus paste coupled with a delectable thin caramelized flavour of the baked skin.


Elements of citrusy orange works wonders with lotus paste in Baked Orange Lotus with Palm Sugar & Assorted Seed. The fresh juicy notes of orange takes precedence in the flavours of this mooncake, making it lightly tangy and sweet while the subtle richness of the palm sugar gave the mooncake a luscious caramelized aroma.


When mangoes and kiwis combine, one can be assured of a harmonious balance of fresh juicy sweetness and tangy notes. Both fruits are always a much beloved favorite so creating the Snow Skin Mango Kiwi with Assorted Dried Fruits was already a brilliant pairing of delectable flavours from the get go!


The most unusual pairing of pineapple and jackfruit turned out to be another crowd pleaser. Who would have thought that pineapple would go so well with jackfruit? Each bite of the Snow Skin Pineapple Lotus with Jackfruit Mochi was a burst of juicy vibrant fresh pineapple flavours with the jackfruit aroma and taste leaving a delicious end note.


Tai Thong is also famous for their durian mooncakes and even has their own durian farm to ensure that their quality of durians take precedence in all their durian mooncakes. Best seller from time to time are the Imperial Musang King Royale, where the king of fruits held court in the lush distinctive flavours of the highly-prized Musang King!




There are also plenty of other Tai Thong Mooncakes making a comeback this year. Check out their Baked Skin series and Snow Skin series at all their participating outlets and leading supermarkets.
  



Tai Thong Mooncakes are HALAL certified by the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (JAKIM), are HACCP compliant and free from artificial colourings and flavourings.


In celebration of the Mid-Autumn festival, Tai Thong Group culinary team has also whipped up a fruit and nut inspired Special Mid-Autumn Menu available from 8 August to 27 September, 2015.


Enjoy lots of seafood paired with fresh fruits and nuts this season with family, friends or business associates at all Tai Thong restuarants for a memorable and delicious gathering of good food with great company!


Soups are indeed a must in Chinese meals and what better way to warm up the tummy then with a piping bowl of Double Boiled Chicken Soup with Papaya and White Fungus. Enjoy a heart-warming bowl of chicken broth filled with goodies of dried scallop, chicken, papaya and white fungus. It’s the perfect health remedy for both heart and soul…


Echoing the luscious flavours of their new fruity mooncake, the culinary team whips up a delectable Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Mango & Kiwi Sauce. Lightly battered and crispy golden soft shell crab pieces are a delicious platform when paired with sweet creamy fruit sauces made with ripe luscious mangoes and tangy kiwis. There were also crispy rolls of mango and kiwi plus fresh slices of kiwis to jazz up the soft shell crabs!



A dish that was so pretty to look at with vibrant colors had everyone salivating at the Pan Seared Scallops with Blueberries & Apricots. Sweet nuggets of fresh scallops lightly cooked and dressed with a delightful blueberry and apricot sauce on lettuce leaves makes a light starter at any meal sweet.



Crustaceans rocks with fruits! Stuffed Prawn with Palm Sugar & Fresh Orange and Fried Prawn with Pineapple & Jackfruit Sauce had everyone enjoying these crustaceans with gusto. Expect sweetness with lots of fruity elements in the dishes. Savoring dishes like these won’t leave one with heaviness as the fruity notes are rather refreshing and delicate.



If you need your carb for the meal, the do try the Spicy Pineapple Fried Rice with Vegetarian Floss. A unique twist to our much-beloved fried rice, this one has lots of savory and spicy notes with cubes of fresh sweet pineapples and savory floss.


End your meal with more sweetness as Tai Thong Dim Sum Chef offers his take on two fruity desserts of Peony Puff Pastry with Pineapple & Jackfruit and Blueberry & Cranberry Sponge Cake. Taking classics and turning them into modern fruity creative desserts, Tai Thong has truly gone all out to make this Mid-Autumn Festive a sweet and fruit one!


More details of Tai Thong Moon Cakes and Special Mid-Autumn Menu are available at their website www.taithong.com.my and Facebook:  www.facebook.com/TaiThong


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