Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Beato Steakhouse @ Solaris Dutamas & Bangsar


For The Love of Dry Aged Steak!


I love it when people get serious with food and goes all out to make sure that the food they serve is fondly remembered after its dining experience! Its restaurants like The Beato Steakhouse that takes the F&B business and our dining experiences to a new level. Beato, the Italian word for happy, is what owners Mr. Danny Choi and Mr. JK hope to have diners experience when they dine at The Beato Steakhouse. Both hailing from Korea, the owners first discovered their passion for a good piece of steak while studying in Boston, US in their early college years. They decided to open up The Beato Steakhouse in Malaysia as they loved the demographics here in the city.


The Beato Steakhouse has two locations in the prime area of Solaris Dutamas and Bangsar. I visited the outlet in Solaris Dutamas one evening with a few foodies in tow. The ambience is inviting the moment one steps in. The restaurant has a soft warm glow throughout the ambience. Decorated in an urban industrial décor with raw bricks, cement, wood works and black steel, it’s modern and comfortable at sight. There are regular dining seats or booths for more privacy. There are lots of things to see at the restaurant. At the back of the restaurant, one can barely catch a glimpse of a glass covered kitchen as it stood behind a large panel of shelving storage together with a chiller that keeps the pieces of aged steak cuts plus a wine chiller.


Owner Mr. Danny was present to show us his pride and joy, a custom chiller made with built-in-control humidifier that is the perfect room to age all his beef. All beef cuts are aged at least 25 days and above before they are trim, cut and vacuum packed for orders. Aged beef are highly prized for their full flavours and tender meat. The aging process forms a dry crust outside the cut of the meat and the juices are sealed inside to intensify the flavours and also tenderize the meat. Once the aged beef is ready, it is trimmed off from the crust. Aged beef is pricier than regular meat because the aging process also shrinks the meat quite a bit and the outside crust has to be discarded. Each day, diners can select from the various choices of cuts and weight for their meal as it is all written down on a chalkboard for viewing.


Every steak dinner at The Beato starts with complimentary Warm Bread with Butter & Olive Tapenade from the restaurant. The crusty rolls are delicious with a crusty outside, soft and fluffy inside. When served with the salted butter and olive tapenade, I could literally just keep enjoying these buns!


It’s the largest Bruschetta (RM15) I have seen and it is simply divine!! A large thick cut of bread is nicely toasted, spread with thick layer of cream cheese and honey and topped with juicy cherry tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It was without a doubt that this is the BEST bruschetta I have ever savored. The juicy sweet and sour tomatoes with its rich tangy balsamic vinegar dressing balanced superbly well with the rich sweet cream cheese while the bread soaked up all the goodness. I promised myself that I will be ordering one for my own self the next round and I am not sharing…


If you are not a beef eater, fear not as The Beato has other dishes like their Half a Roast Chicken (RM39). The chicken is nicely seasoned with hints of garlicky marinade and roasted beautifully. It remained tender and juicy. It is served with some grilled vegetable on the side.


Lamb Rack (RM59) is another dish also worth ordering at The Beato. One gets a good size of French trimmed lamb rack crusted with a golden nut and mustard breadcrumb crust. It is then nicely roast till medium pink. Served with classic mint sauce and some grilled vegetables, the lamb is scrumptious and well flavoured. JK, which is the chef for the restaurant, has really mastered the art of grill and roast to perfection as all the meat and seafood we had was cooked so well.


Besides meat, there is also a few seafood dishes like this special of the day Baked Salmon with Smoked Salmon Salad.


The thick slice of salmon is nicely broiled with a charred outside but has soft and pink flesh inside. It is served on a bed of greens with sliced onion, grilled zucchini, confit garlic, caper and drizzled with balsamic vinegar dressing. It’s got all the right balance of nutrients and protein needed for a good single meal and won’t leave you heavy after enjoying this dish.


Moving on to the star of The Beato are the aged steaks! Ribeye Grain Fed (RM39 per 100g) was the first to arrive. The 228g of Ribeye is chargrilled to medium rare and is served with slow roasted garlic and a slice of lemon. It is how it should be, letting diners enjoy the purest way to savor a piece of quality aged beef.


As we cut into the ribeye, one can see how nicely crust the beef has and yet the inside remained divinely luscious and moist. Bathed in its own jus, the ribeye was also beautifully tender. A light sprinkling of salt flakes boosted further the beef flavours while the soft garlic oozed with sweetness when savored with the meat. Go ahead, squeeze the lemon over the ribeye and you’ll find the flavours even more vibrant…


Our Porterhouse (RM38 per 100g) was a whopping one weighing over 800g. It was thickly cut which is how it is served in the States too. It is served again with the confit garlic, lemon slice and with the addition of mustard, grain mustard and horseradish on the side. This mega meat cut has always been a favorite of mine with a side of Striploin and Tenderloin. The bone-on steak can only mean better and extra flavours.


Once again, the meat is succulent and bursting with a rich beefy note. While the tenderloin is tender, the striploin has richer flavours with a good bite on the texture. I find myself enjoying the porterhouse with the grated horseradish as it enhanced the flavours of the aged steak to another dimension of flavours. After savoring aged beef, I know it’s going to be difficult to go back to regular steaks.


Just like the serious steakhouses in the States, side dishes are ordered separately. The Beato has a nice list of grilled vegetables and side dishes. We had the Grilled Zucchini (RM9) and Grilled Asparagus (RM14) from the Grilled section and these were lightly seasoned and not over grilled. I like how these are very delicate in flavours so it lets the aged steak shine better in their own jus.

Mashed Potato (RM14) and Sauté Mushroom (RM15) are also side orders and these were pretty good. The Mashed Potato is whipped till the starch is released so it makes the mashed extra creamy and gooey while the Sauteed Mushrooms is nicely seasoned and earthy in flavours.


Make sure to order their Sweet Potato Fries (RM14). These are simply a gorgeous treat. Sweet with a nice crunch, the sweet potato fries was literally the best side dish with all the mains. I got quite addicted to this side dish happily!


I was quite happy that The Beato also has a nice list of dessert for a sweet ending. We had the Lemon Curd with Dried Mixed Fruit (RM19) which was a pretty platter of dehydrated fruit served with a luscious tangy lemon curd and some cream. Each fruit has its own intense flavours making the dessert different in every bite.


Chocolate Lava (RM11) and Chocolate Mousse (RM18) are targeted to all chocolate lovers and maybe even some not really chocolate lovers. One is hot and oozing with sinful lava of dark rich chocolate served with whipped cream while the other is a fluffy creamy airy cloud of chocolate served with fresh tangy berries. Don’t bother deciding which one is better, just order both if you are the chocolate monster just like me…


The Beato Steakhouse strives to serve quality aged steaks! Everything they do, one can see it’s for the passion of letting their diners experience what a great steak is all about. At Beato, one can choose your steak by cuts and weights so it’s another nice touch for diners. These are really premium quality steaks so one does need to pay more but it is well-worth it once you tasted the steaks!


THE BEATO STEAKHOUSE
D2-g3-9 Solaris Dutamas
Jalan Dutamas 1
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603 6206 2405

24-1, Jalan Telawi 3,
Bangsar Baru,
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603 2202 2405


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Topshelf @ TTDI


The French & Italian Connection

There is always something refine and elegant about French cuisine. At one point in medieval time, did you know that French cuisine was heavily influenced by Italian cuisine? You might want to check that out in Wikipedia here about the French & Italian connection in the cuisine. That of course explains as well why French enjoys pasta as well as all the stews which Italian cuisine is also famous for.


Taking on the French & Italian connection is Topshelf, a restaurant located in a discreet row of shops in TTDi. Topshelf offer foodies and epicures a taste of classic French and a blend of Italian cuisine set in an elegant and minimalist ambience. The interior is sleek with an urban industrial theme. At the end of the space, one can see a glass encased kitchen where several chefs and their kitchen team is busily whipping up dishes in an orderly and calm manner. It can be quite romantic at Topshelf as the ambience are lit by soft glows of yellow bulb lights and yet casual enough for parties.


Topshelf’s menu is tight and lean, offering a solid list of French and Italian favorites. There are specials of the day and the restaurant also has a nice list of wines to go with the menu. There is also a chef’s table menu with wine pairing for the adventurous gastronomes. Owner and Chef Christopher may look deceivingly young but he dishes spoke of experience and talent as well as precision for flavours.


The French and Italian loves their bread and Topshelf’s bread was such comforting pleasure of crusty bread with a light chewy and soft flesh served with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Served warm, we happily polished off the bread in anticipation of our dinner of the new menu at Topshelf.


From the Entrée section, dinner started with Prawn Bisque (RM16), a bowl full of crustacean essence richly divine and made for lusciousness on the palate. The prawn bisque is nicely rich and yet doesn’t overwhelm the taste bud. I tasted the presence of brandy in the bisque which really pumped up the flavours of the dish while a dollop of sour cream added creaminess to the bisque.


Our Apricot & Nut Salad (RM25) is sufficiently pleasant. Crisp greens are certainly well-studded with cucumbers, roasted cherry tomatoes, dried apricots, almond flakes, grated parmesan cheese and dressed with nutty tangy and sweet vinaigrette. It certainly made me eat my greens happily…


The next dish of Orange Quail (RM27) had some of us praising how dainty and pretty the quail looks sitting on a bed of fried leeks. It is served with a side of bacon hash and a poached egg. The dish is an elegant combination of ingredients that embraced comfort pleasures. The quail was gorgeously roasted till just right and was beautifully succulent. When savored with the delicate oniony leeks and the molten egg yolk, the quail was superbly luscious in flavours. The bacon hash is pretty good and goes well with everything else. It reminded me of breakfast for some reason but with an added bonus of the quail.


I believed we were all fighting for the Hand Dived Scallop (RM30) the moment this arrived. One large nicely seared scallop reigning glory on its own shell and is served with braised leeks and miso eggplant in white wine. The soft nuances of the velvety leeks matched well with the sweet scallop, beckoning most of us for more of it. A nutty and savory tender eggplant beneath the scallop and leeks was a good touch of flavours to balance up everything nicely. I couldn’t help but to wish for more than one scallop on this dish!


For mains, we had the French classic Duck Cassoulet (RM38). Making Duck Cassoulet is a time-consuming process and I am glad to leave this to the experts. Duck leg is slowly confit and crisp up just before serving. The rich tomato stew of white cannellini beans, bacon, sausage and potatoes is delicious and paired well with the tender rich dark meat of the duck. The dish is earthy at sight and has an air of sophisticated flavours that I really enjoyed. A must-order here at Topshelf!


Our next dish of Iberico Loin (RM56) was decent. It’s a good piece of pork loin nicely cooked and served with potato puree and sautéed mushrooms and vegetables. Nothing to fault but just on a personal note, I seemed to favor the Duck Cassoulet over this dish for some reason as the duck had more richness of flavours.


Baked Snapper (RM40) featured a whole red snapper roasted and served with Provencal vegetables cooked in white wine bouillon. The fish is moist and sweet. I really enjoy the delicate flavours of the fish together with the soft vegetables in a tasty light broth. Once again, the French showed us that their cuisine can be elegant and yet earthy and humble in flavours.


Another dish that is classic French is Pot Au Feu (RM43). This dish of slow cooked beef in light vegetable broth also showed off the humble side of French cuisine. It may sound and look deceptively simple but the dish is a bowl of beefy and earthy flavours. The tender chunks of beef are well-braised till fork tender. French cut potatoes and carrots together with baby shallots have also soaked up the flavours of the broth and are enjoyable with the beef. It’s another comfort dish that one can enjoy daily.


Roasted Rack of Lamb (RM55) proved to be a hit at our table. The chargrilled lamb rack with broccoli salad, potato puree and jus is perfect for meat lovers. The four French cut lamb racks has a good ratio of fats which has also been nicely rendered and charred, emitting a lovely aroma and flavour to the lamb. It was juicy and tender as well. I like the chargrilled broccoli salad as it added a nice smoky aroma to the crunchy vegetable and is pretty unique as well on flavour.


We ended our mains with Pesto Capellini (RM30), a dish that showcased simplicity at its best! Topshelf housemade pesto, truffle oil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese flavoured the thin and tender cappelini pasta well. Flavours are robust and fairly intense as it should be when it comes to a good pesto. I get a good hit of garlic, cheese and herbs together with a nutty note and was very pleased with this pasta dish.


Desserts are simply a must in any French restaurants. The French are famous for their sweets and chocolates so it is without a doubt that we had their Chocolate Fondant (RM21) and Chocolate & Coffee Cremeux (RM19). The Chocolate Fondant is made from Varlhona 70% cacao and is sinfully dark and luscious. The velvety molten chocolate center is absolutely divine and when paired with vanilla ice cream, I was literally on cloud nice!


The Chocolate & Coffee Cremeux (RM19) was made with 70% noir dark chocolate as well and was another sinful dessert that played on the taste sense. The dark bittersweet chocolate and coffee cream had a touch of maldon sea salt to heighten its flavours so one to experience the sensual taste of sweet and savory in one taste. A drizzled of olive oil made it silkier while the berry compote lifted the heavy flavours with its light tang.


Topshelf’s new menu is a French gem! The list of classic French dishes are simply a must order such as the Duck Cassoulet, Pot Au Feu, Orange Quail and Baked Snapper. Besides the above, there are other dishes that I would love to return for such as the Moules Mariniere, Chicken Liver Pate, Chicken Confit and Carbonara. Make sure to save room for desserts as Topshelf also has Apple Tart Tatin, a favorite classic French dessert of mine!



TOPSHELF
61, Lorong Rahim Kajai 13,
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail,
60000, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-7727 7277


Monday, April 13, 2015

Hawk and Fish @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail



Hawker Fare Meets British Pub Grub


Wow, it’s a first for me to devour our Malaysian favorite hawker fare on the same table as British pub grub. Hawk & Fish, which stands for hawker and fish (fish & chips that is…), is located at TTDI right beneath The Pound Pub and is set on bringing both gastronomical worlds of street food and pub food together under one roof. Sharing the same management as The Pound, which has been operating for 2 years already, Hawk & Fish is barely few months old but has garnered quite a reputation of its unique name and concept. I like the concept. In some ways, our street food is right up the alley along pub food where a mug of beer and some hawker fare may be the perfect partnership to unwind at the end of a long work day. Its comfort food for both in many ways where hawker is our Malaysian comfort fare as British pub grub is to the British.


Walking into Hawk & Fish, the ambience projected minimalist raw appeal. Lots of grey, slate and black are seen all over. A mural of Uncle Chee, the chef that whips up the hawker fare, is boldly displayed at one corner. The jovial chef prepares economical rice and dishes (local chap fun) for lunch and other hawker dishes for the regular a la carte menu served throughout the day. Diners can expect over 20 dishes for the chap fun and other street favorites like Bakuteh, Herbal Wine, Char Kway Teow and more in the menu. The pub grub side of the menu features fish & chips, burgers, pasta, snacks and more. Basically, diners can also order the menu from The Pound Pub as well if you are dining at Hawk & Fish.


Dinner commence with a cute named snack called Dogs in a Blanket & Quilt (RM25). Its Hawk & Fish’s own take at the western snack of Pigs in a Blanket which is sausages wrapped and baked in puff pastry. Dogs in a Blanket & Quilt is essentially one super large sausage wrapped in chive omelette and bacon, then fried till crispy and golden and served with yellow mustard. I swear my heart skipped a few heartbeats when I saw this awesome looking snack.

The savory and smoky sausage really paired up well with the oniony chive omelette and salty moreish notes of the crispy bacon. It is juicy and has an overall good bite. When dipped into the mustard, more flavours of the tangy hit of nostril-tingling sensation of piquant mustard worked extra wondrous on the taste bud. Damn shiok bar snack… I could easily wolf this down by myself and maybe order a few extra ones…


We were immediately attracted to The Pound Pork Balls (RM18) when we saw it in the menu. Meatball is such a universal favorite food all over the world. This one is oozing with cheese when we cut it open. I enjoyed the flavours of the juicy meatball as it is tasty. This one is also served with yellow mustard.


Spicy Wings (RM20) are not really spicy in heat but has lots of spices in its marinade. The wings are a good choice to order anytime. Crispy skin, juicy inside and delicious, sinking your teeth into a few of these wings are simply a no-brainer when you visit The Pound or Hawk & Fish!


I always enjoy a good recipe for fish & chips. Hawk & Fish Red Snapper Fish & Chips (RM30) had all the good intentions of a delicious fish & chips with its golden crispy beer batter, thick cut fries, tartar sauce and mushy peas but the snapper didn’t taste right. It was a little chewy for some reason. We did feedback and were assured that they will look into this. If the snapper was good, this would have been an awesome fish & chips as everything else was good down right to the batter.


The Pound Pork Burger (RM30) is quite a hefty dish. Half pound pork patty nicely seasoned and grilled is topped with melted cheese, ham, fried egg sesame seed bun and the usual suspects certainly make a full meal on its own. The pork patty is pretty decent with a nice moist note while I certainly attacked the thick cut fries happily as well as the burger.


After all the pub food, we were ready for the hawk part of the restaurant. Leading the pack was a delish Char Kway Teow (RM15). This version is different from my usual preference but nevertheless really scrumptious. It has a good wok hei and the kway teow is nicely moist and bursting with a lovely soy sauce flavour. The kway teow was adorned with seafood and sidekicks of chicken wings and fried egg. We asked for the normal heat version but were told that we could always amp up the heat level with the sides of cili padi sauce and a kickass dry chili sambal. That kickass chili is super-hot and rocks in flavours!


Homespun Fried Rice (RM20) has three variations from Pound Special to Thai style and Chinese style. We opted for the Pound Special and were delighted with it happily. The fried rice had nice fluffy grains with a good breathe of wok. I can taste lovely spices and heat as well as bits of bacon bits. I added the kickass dry chili sambal again to take this fried rice to another level of taste. Together with the chicken wings and fried egg, the fried rice makes a great single dish meal anytime of the day.


One of the house signatures of Hawk & Fish is Uncle Chee’s Ancestral Orinigal Bakuteh (RM15). Though it may not win any big ravings in my books, it is still sufficiently comforting. The hot herbal soup has a good calming effect while the cuts of pork belly are well braised in the soup. It has a nice balance of lean and fat, tender and yet has a good bite. The accompaniment of tau foo pok, enoki mushrooms, greens and coriander added more flavours and textures. It is still kudos to Uncle Chee for his effort in this favorite street food of mine…


I am also a huge fan of Dry Style Bakuteh (RM15). I am always on a look out for this version as I really enjoy the deep dark richness of the lightly sweet and caramelized notes of dark soy sauce with herbal soup and tainted with dry chilies and bits of ladies fingers. I felt that this one was missing an ingredient of dried squid to add more pungent flavours. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed this happily with my rice. I am glad Uncle Chee used a fatty cut of the pork belly because it really makes this dish taste even better.


Though the BKT & dry BKT was decent, the Herbal Wine Chicken (RM15) was super yum! Don’t be fool by this ordinary looking pot of chicken. It is gorgeously intense in flavours as the herbal wine is powerful in flavours. The rich herbal wine broth is what makes me lust after it as I keep spooning the broth for pure satiation. The chicken was decent together with the red dates and coriander but it was the broth that took center stage in this dish. A must order if you love bold punchy broth laced with strong Chinese wine like this one!


Apple Pie was nothing to shout about but it did make a nice ending with the crispy pastry and sweet apple pie filling.


Hawk & Fish has certainly more hits than misses. The concept of hawker and pub grub is pretty unique and they seem to nail it all pretty well. Price is decent as well. Head on over for their spread of Chap Farn during lunchtime to sample Uncle Chee’s dishes or during the evening for a spread of hawker favorites and pub grub. Highlights for me are the snacks of The Pound Pork Ball, Dogs in a Blanket & Quilt, Spicy Wings, Homespun Fried Rice and Herbal Wine Chicken.



HAWK & FISH
No. 50, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60 11-3738 8993


Business Hours:
Lunch –11am to 2.30pm
Dinner – 6pm to 11pm

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