September 30, 2013

Elegantology Gallery & Restaurant, Publika: A Martell Cognac Pairing Dinner at Elegantology!

My First Martell Cognac Pairing!

Exclusive and luxurious runs through the mind when it comes to both Martell and Elegantology Gallery & Restaurant! One fine evening, a few of us had the luxury of savoring an exclusive and opulent Martell Cognac pairing at Elegantology. That’s not all, the dinner was also part of Reality Bites, a soon-to-be-air program. Stay tune for the show!

Elegantology comprises of a couture gallery featuring exclusive men’s fashion and lifestyle collections created by reputable local designers and a haven for gourmands helmed by celebrity chefs Johnny Fua and Sherson Lian. A fashionable alliance of fashion and food, Elegantology is a collaboration between noted Malaysian fashion designer Beatrice Looi and the oldest cognac house Martell in effort of developing a creative space for rising talents stemmed from a mutual goal of supporting the local creative platforms of fashion and gastronomy.

The moment one walks in, the ambience at Elegantology oozes with elegance and class. Designed with various sections themed with rich décor, the mix of décor is a masterpiece of opulence. Colours are boldly match with deep rich hues of dark mahogany, navy blue, cream colors and luscious gold with hits of red. Gorgeous crystal chandeliers strung above together with gold frames. Plush sofas mixes with leather ones. Spread across the whole space are pieces of elegantly tailored menswear injected with modern touches. A long bar sits on one end nearly opposing an open kitchen where chefs are seen discreetly cooking up a gastronomic menu for guests.

As this was a Martell Cognac pairing, our evening kicked off with dainty and delicious canapés prepared by both chefs Johnny and Sherson paired with Martell VSOP and Martell Cocktails. On a personal note, I really enjoyed the Martell Cocktails as both were smooth and fresh.

Dinner was hosted by Christophe Pienkowski, Brand Development Manager for Martell. With a chef background, Christophe was a charmer with plenty of knowledge of Martell Cognac. We were thoroughly briefed with the history of Martell and the various cognacs we had paired with various courses that evening.

Amuse Bouche of White Gazpacho with Grapes and Almonds served with Salmon Tartare

A bite that whets the appetites, we enjoyed this with a first taste of savory salmon tartare before downing the shot of silky nutty white gazpacho to freshen up our palate.

Hokkaido Scallop, Cauliflower Puree, Fish Skin Cracker & Fined Mixed Mesclun

A large Hokkaido scallop, nicely seared on both sides, is paired up with ultra-smooth and creamy cauliflower puree. An abundance of sweetness of the sea with savory sweetness of the cauliflower elegantly punched up with salty globules of salmon roe filled my palate. Fish skin cracker and mixed mesclun provided some textures to the 1st teaser.

Martell Cordon Bleu

Both were paired with Martell Cordon Bleu, a legendary cognac that has a rich golden copper hue. As both courses featured the ocean’s flavors, it goes really well with this complex and yet mellow cognac. I had my cognac on the rocks which exuded a vibrant palate with the seafood. A nice long finish with various notes is savored in the Cordon Bleu.

Foie Gras Veloute with Smoked Garlic Toast & Citrus Tomato Salsa

Velvety and luscious bisque executed with such finesse sums up the Foie Gras Veloute. A spoonful of this decadent goose liver swirled with cream sent neurons of flavors to my mind. Accompanying the bisque are crispy thin smoked garlic toast and a little tomato salsa to balance out the richness of the nutty and creamy liver sauce.

Martell Chanteloup Perspective

I can’t help but to notice the beautiful bottle of the Martell Chanteloup Perspective etched with silver design and the prestige Martell logo. With a slightly darker hue than the first cognac, this extra quality cognac proves to have a smoother palate filled with fresh and dried fruits with long finish. It does paired will with the luscious goose liver veloute since both are extremely rich and powerful in flavors.

Sorbet of Passion Fruit Granita

Our palate cleanser was tangy and fresh with bits of passion fruit pulp and seeds for crunch.

US Black Cod with Butternut Pumpkin Gnocchi, Chili Oil & Classic Cream Carbonara

Though I did not choose this main course, I couldn’t keep my eyes of it. It certainly looks good enough with a thick piece of cod seared and topped with golden pillows of pumpkin gnocchi, salmon roes and a pool of creamy carbonara sauce.

Master Kobe MB10+ with Natural Beef Jus, Fried Glutinous Rice with Muscovy Duck & Arugula Leaves

The pièce de résistance of the dinner… the holy grail of beef with a marble score of MB10+ is served with creamy beef jus and morel mushrooms. Sitting on the side in a tuna-look-alike can is fried sticky glutinous rice amped up with bits of duck, mushroom and fried shallots. An odd pairing of East meets West but I do admit to like both individually. Leaves of arugula lend a bitter edge to the dish.

Martell XO

The color is really deep and dark copper and has a spicy aroma with rich fruit flavors. It has a silken finish and lingers beautifully on the palate. A great pairing with beef as the XO is rounded and powerful with an elegant note. I also like the glutinous rice which has a light sweetness that seems to be a great match with this Grand Champagne eaux-de-vie cognac.

Baked Cheesecake with Fireworks Crumble, Kumquat Confit in Tarragon Infused Syrup

A deconstruct inspired baked cheesecake, our desserts had our taste bud popping like fireworks in our mouth. Immediately, I recognized pop rock candy in the firework crumbles as I use to enjoy these candies during my childhood days. Silence at the dining table meant this dessert was a crowd pleaser and I can see everyone’s plate polished clean of the cheesecake with an interesting kumquat confit.

We enjoyed our dessert with the elegant and very structured palate of Martell Chanteloup Perspective.

My first cognac pairing dinner and it was quite an experience to be able to have a deeper insight on the renown and oldest cognac house in France. Dinner was equally beautiful and both Chef Johnny and Chef Sherson managed to create a bold and creative menu to be paired up with the exclusive Martell cognacs. Thanks to Martell and Elegantology for the lovely dinner and I am looking forward to more creations from both chefs since the menu at Elegantology changes every two weeks and also Reality Bites from AFC!

For more information on Martell, please visit their website:

35, Level G2, Publika,
Solaris Dutamas,
1, Jalan Dutamas 1
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603 6206 5577 (Restaurant) / 603 6206 5599 (Gallery)

Business Hours: Mon – Sun 10:00am to 12 midnight

September 27, 2013

McDonald’s GCB is Back with a Sweet Note!

Bring Out The ‘G’ in You with McDonald’s GCB!

What does ‘G’ mean to you? For some, it could be Gregarious, Gluttony, Groovy, Gorgeous or even ‘Gempak’ but for fans of McDonald’s, it means that the GCB is back! This time, the favorite grilled chicken thigh is proud to make a comeback after its debut three years ago. GCB fans can finally savor the tender chicken grilled to perfection, paired with groovy char-grilled sauce on a bed of gorgeous iceberg lettuce nestled between two golden toasted warm sesame buns.

The GCB returns this year from September 26th onwards at all McDonald’s restaurant for a limited time only. 12 selected McDonald’s restaurants all over Malaysian will be selling only GCB from 19th to 25th September. For those who missed the 12 selected restaurants, GCB is launched nationwide on 26th Sept, so get your taste of GCB in all McDonald’s restaurants.

This round, GCB is even better! Bringing in 2 sidekicks of golden crusty Onion Rings and G McFizz, both are simply the perfect sidekicks of GCB. The McDonald’s GCB is available as an ala carte menu item and also as part of the G meal which comes with the Onion Rings and G McFizz.

I’m lovin it… my GCB that is…The smoky chicken thigh with char-grilled sauce goes really well with the crispy perfectly crumbed sweet onion rings.

Wash all these down with a fizzy soda flavored with 2 special flavors… can you try and guess what are these 2 special flavors?

It is always great to have a sweet ending. McDonald’s is also proud to introduce its Sweet Deals Dessert Card. Simply purchase from any McDonald counter the Sweet Deals Dessert Card for RM10 and you get 25% off for any of McDonald’s four desserts. And upon purchase of the card, get 3 coupons for a free Sundae worth RM9! T&C applies.

Dessert time! See who’s a happy camper here? Our favorite Chocolate Sundae is our sweet ending together with hot crispy Apple Pie

If you simply must have your caffeine, get your fix at McCafe like me…

Wait, there’s more! A photo contest on McDonald’s Malaysia official Facebook page will also commence on 26th September, where participants can win 1 months’ worth of McDonald’s meals, which means that winners’ meals for the next 30 days at McDonald’s will be complimentary! For details of the GCB McDonald’s Malaysia Facebook contest, log on to

September 26, 2013

BAAN 26, Changkat Bukit Bintang: An Exceptionally Classic Thai-rific Meal!

My Spicy Thai Affair!

Located in the bustling tourist area in the city, many would have naturally assumed that Baan 26 would target its audience to tourist. That said, I was surprised to see more locals than tourist there. I met up for dinner with some friends there one evening and was introduced to one of the owners of Baan 26 who happens to know my friends. Baan 26 has been operating for seven years already and when it started out, Changkat Bukit Bintang was barely a hot spot. In fact Baan 26 was one of the few restaurants to start in that area before it became well known.

Curious with its name, I found out from the owner that after he made a trip to Thailand, fell in love with the cuisine and the rest was history. He wanted the restaurant to represent a home where one can come in to enjoy an authentic home cooked Thai meal, hence he named it Baan which means home in Thai. 26 happen to be the number of the building and he was 26 years old when he opened the restaurant. Baan 26 serves up authentic Thai cuisine helmed by a Thai chef and his team. Till today, specific ingredients are still source from Thailand for distinctive authentic Thai notes.

The ambience is a mix of eclectic décor items from Thai wood carvings to Thai handmade lamps and unique art pieces. Grey walls are jazzed up with bold bright red on the bar and certain wall panels. Walk in deeper and there is another section painted bold red with long banquette seats. Walk up to another level where diners can enjoy more privacy or simply hang out on its open balcony upstairs. Furniture consists of mixes of high tables with bar stools and steel rustic looking tables with chairs.

The menu at Baan 26 has pretty much what Malaysians loves, the essential Thai dishes like Tom Yam, Thai Fish Cake, Spring Rolls, Curries, Pandan Chicken, single dishes and desserts. Once the menu was ordered, our drinks came shortly. I had my favorite Thai Iced Milk Tea while others had Iced Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea and a big bucket of potent alcoholic drink which I forgot the name.

Mieng Kam

Our appetizer came and it was so prettily served on traditional Thai porcelain plate with a side bowl of daun kaduk leaves. I love Mieng Kam because it has such great flavors of sweet and sour with loads of textures. Our Mieng Kam has crispy fried dried shrimp, roasted peanuts, toasted coconut shreds, ginger and shallot cubes, tiny pieces of lime and cut bird eye chili.

Simply put a little of everything into the daun kadok leave folded into a cone and drizzle with some sauce. One whole bite explodes in my mouth as it tingles with sweet, savory, spicy and hints of bitterness all rolled with various textures. Super addictive and we fought for this to the last bit!

Spicy Tom Yam Seafood

Simply kick-ass good! A sip of this Tom Yam soup will take your taste bud on a rollercoaster ride. We had a seafood version filled with juicy sweet prawns, squid and fish. The Tom Yam here has two versions of clear or creamy. We were recommended the creamy and were really satisfied with it. Intense heat, sourness, creaminess and perfumed with lemongrass and kaffir leaves, we really enjoyed this to the very last drop… shiok!

Lime Chili Steamed Fish

I must have this dish as I feel it’s a great testament to an awesome Thai meal. Our sea bass is cooked beautifully in a fish-shaped cauldron bubbling with hot broth. Laced with loads of minced coriander steams, chopped garlic and chili padi, the broth is powerful in flavors of savory, sour, spicy and a little sweet. I can just keep drinking the broth happily. The sea bass is a perfect fish for this style and really compliments the broth well with its firm flesh and sweet flavors.

Stir Fried Squid with Thai Herbs

We were not warned but this innocent looking dish is spicy on a high level. Squid pieces are stir-fried with chili paste, chili, basil and kaffir leaves. The squid is tender and tasty, perfect with a bowl of white rice. It’s good but if you are not into heat, make sure to tell the wait staff to go easy on the chili.

Thai Green Curry

A classic curry that shouts Thai, the green curry chicken is very creamy and velvety with a medium note of spices and heat. I like how the fresh basil jazzed up the flavors. Crunchy baby eggplants, tender boneless chicken and soft eggplant pieces are all nicely flavored in the curry. More rice please…

Stir Fried Glass Noodles with Tiger Prawns in Claypot

We were stuffed but dug into this dish with gusto upon inhaling its lovely charred aroma. Lovely soft chew glass noodles has soaked up flavors beautifully with bits of vegetables and herbs and topped off with juicy fresh prawns. Savory and lightly sweet, this was the only dish that was not spicy that night. It is another popular dish at Baan 26 and we saw most tables enjoying this dish too. Hearty and comforting, another great dish done well at this restaurant…

Basil Leave Fried Rice with Shrimp

Spicy as well, the fried rice is pretty good too. It has a nice wok heat and spice heat and the rice grains are fluffy and well separated. If you are looking for a single dish, this one might prove to be a worthy meal on its own.

Mango Sticky Rice

Ah dessert time! I always feel desserts are simply a must to end a spicy Thai meal. It makes a nice sweet ending after a spicy affair. Another classic well done, the glutinous rice is soft and sticky, laced with sweetness and served with ripe sweet sliced mango and coconut syrup on the side.

Water Chestnut in Coconut Milk

We all like this too, creamy and sweet, its well chilled with tapioca coated water chestnut and sliced jackfruit. Small rocks of ice are purposely put into this dessert with specific size to retain the cool and chilled note of the coconut and it won’t melt as fast to dilute the sweet coconut soup.

We really loved all of the dishes we had at Baan 26 that night. Though it may seemed that it has more of a bar ambience but the food is great. Dishes are bold in flavors and spicy. A meal at Baan 26 might liven up your evening for you and if it takes your fancy, hang around for some giggle juices to chill out. Prices vary with some really value for money and some on a pricier end but I feel it’s decent since we are talking about city area and quality is good. I can certainly see why Baan 26 is a favorite with many locals, great food and drinks and comfortable bar ambience. There are plenty more dishes that I would return for like Thai Curry & Egg Squid, Red Duck Curry, Sizzling Garlic Tenderloin, Crispy Chicken with Tamarind Sauce and more.

No. 26, Changkat Bukit Bintang
50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 603 2142 8878