I like rice. Rice is great if you are hungry and want 2000 of something!
quoted by Mitch Hedberg
Rice is the staple of many cultures in the world. This tiny cereal grain is consumed widely throughout the day and in many forms. In fact according to Wikipedia, rice is the second highest production worldwide after corn in a data analysis in 2010. Rice cultivation, though not difficult, still requires precise environment with plenty of rainfalls. There are many types of rice and they can be categorized into long grain, medium grain and short grain.
I love rice. Like many others, I really enjoy the various varieties and also in many forms. To name a few, my favorite has to be the all-time-favorite national dish of Nasi Lemak. Fluffy grains of rice is tainted with creamy coconut milk and savored with a pungent sweet and spicy sambal. In my Chinese household, I also enjoy steamed rice with dishes. Sometimes I tend to go overboard with my helping of rice just because I love it so much. Then there is the time when I needed some comfort and I will go the porridge route. So when I got to know of a special menu concocted with Jasmine Pusa Gold 1121 Basmathi Extra Long Grain Rice, I immediately accepted this with much excitement.
Jasmine Food Corporation, through Padiberas National Berhad (BERNAS), has been marketing and importing rice for more than 50 years. Jasmine has a wide range of rice available in the market. Though there are many varieties, Jasmine is proud to introduce its Pusa Gold 1121 Basmathi Extra Long Grain Rice. This grain is the top of the grade for Basmathi and is highly prized for its length and quality that yields aromatic, soft and fluffy rice.
Taking the Italian route, Fuzio Bar & Ristorante was handed the task to create dishes using the highly prized Jasmine Pusa Gold 1121 Basmathi Extra Long Grain Rice. Located at Jalan Berangan in the bustling city among the busiest street in KL, Fuzio is a stop-one restaurant cum bar serving Italian cuisine. The restaurant and bar is housed in a three-story building where dining takes place on the ground and first level while the rooftop has a gorgeous open rooftop bar perfect for a cool hangout.
What make Fuzio really cool besides the dim lighted cozy ambience are the artistic posters and artwork placed all over the restaurant plus graffiti art at the rooftop bar. Table settings are set in pristine white. A long bar is available at one end while there is a huge wall housing racks of wines at the back of the restaurant. Coffee lovers would be please as there is also a serious coffee machine at the restaurant.
The evening took off with House White wine to be paired with the appetizer course. We also had some freshly baked Focaccia and Grissini baked in house served with the Italian way of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
First up were golden balls of Arancini. Now Arancini is usually made with risotto which uses short grain rice. Fuzio has cleverly used the Jasmine Pusa Gold 1121 Basmathi Extra Long Grain Rice and stuffed these with mozzarella cheese. The golden Arancini is served on tomato sauce with roasted cherry tomato.
I love Arancini. In fact, I have made them myself simply because I love these little rice balls. Using the extra-long grain Basmathi rice, the Arancini is pretty scrumptious. Well crumbed and deep fried to golden brown, the Arancini is delicious. Though not as moist as the regular one, the Basmathi rice has a lovely light and fluffy texture in the Arancini. There is also some mozzarella cheese providing some oozy cheesiness. I enjoyed this very much with the tomato sauce.
Our mains arrived and we shared the tasting among the few of us. Starting off the list is Spring Chicken Stuffed with Basmathi Rice Pilaf. The whole spring chicken is dressed in a dark caramelized sauce with extra sauce beneath. Served with simple grilled bell peppers and roasted whole garlic bulbs, the chicken is cut open to reveal a very moist rice pilaf made with Jasmine Basmathi.
The chicken is well cooked and stayed tender and moist. What I enjoyed was the flavor of the marinade and sauce. There is a rich deep sweetness with a lovely umami note that made the young chook a hit. Though the stuffed rice pilaf wasn’t much to go around, I did manage a bite and it was lovely. Fluffy and fully flavored from the chicken essence and it also has a beautiful almost creamy and earthy flavor note.
If you are at Fuzio, order this dish. Though it may not come with stuffed rice since this is a special menu, the chicken is very yummy and juicy and is it also served with porcini risotto.
Somewhere in between, we had a House Red wine to go with our heavier mains. Lovely and full bodied with a beautiful finish…
Lamb Shank served with Porcini Rice Pilaf won many hearts that night, including mine. A gargantuan lamb shank trimmed and braised in a deep rich tomato base sauce has meat that fall-off-the-bone tender. The sauce goes really well, embodying the meat flavor beautifully.
The Porcini Rice Pilaf made with Jasmine Pusa Gold 1121 Basmathi Extra Long Grain Rice is really scrumptious! I loved how moist the earthy the rice is and the flavors of deepen rich porcini mushrooms worked the rice like a charm. Bits of asparagus lent a lovely texture and flavor as well. I must say, the long grains of the rice can really soak up and take on flavors very well and yet it remains fluffy.
Honestly, I would enjoy this rice alone on its own…. Yum!!
Who doesn’t love a lovely cut of quality beef! Well unless you don’t eat beef of course… here sliced Angus Beef Tenderloin is served with Scented Rice and Mushroom Cartoccio. The beef is divine. Tender juicy pink beef topped with herb pesto is so delicious. The mushroom cartoccio is actually mushrooms cooked in a paper bag. Once the bag is open, an air of delicious mushroom aroma and flavors tantalized our senses. The rice is cleverly scented with lemongrass and has bits of veggies to brighten it up. Enjoy the rice with the mushroom sauce and beef and you’ll get a hearty comfort note.
We also had a Spicy Oxtail served with the same scented rice. Cooked in a light tomato base stew, the Spicy Oxtail was decent. To me, it needed more spices to pump up the flavors another notch. Maybe I am just being biased as I am used to richer robust strong oxtail stews. This one echoes more of the home-style Italian one. It does go very well with the rice and is comforting.
The Cod Fish with Porcini Rice Pilaf is literally to-die-for! Glorious big chunky slice of sweet cod seared and baked to perfection sat on a bed of the delicious Porcini Rice Pilaf. The one I had raved earlier with the Lamb Shank. Some grilled peppers and onions together with a savory sweet sticky sauce, the combination of fluffy earthy rice with the fish is a symphony of flavors and textures. I think fish and rice is always a great pairing.
Fuzio also has this on their menu but without the rice. Maybe they should update the dish to be served with rice from now on… I would order this again for sure.
The last two mains we had are seafood cooked in two styles and served with fluffy steamed Jasmine Pusa Gold 1121 Basmathi Extra Long Grain Rice.
The first was Marinara in Tomato Base while the second was Marinara in White Wine Sauce. Both has lovely prawns, mussels, squid, clams and scallops. It was a battle between us as half of us loved the tomato base while the other half loved the white wine.
The tomato sauce was really well balanced and very smooth in flavors. It’s not heavy and goes well with the lovely separated grains of the Basmathi rice. The white wine sauce was more delicate and sweeter. It has a lovely note of herbs. My foodie friends drank the whole bowl happily.
Just when we thought we are done, we had an awesome dessert that was also made with rice! Simply named Mango Crisp, the kitchen team cleverly took a thick half of fresh ripe mango and paired it with a layer of Basmathi Rice and nuts before breading it and deep fried it. It is served with Vanilla Ice Cream and a Berry Coulis.
I can taste the sweetened flavored rice and the sweet mango. What a magnificent idea and combination. The tangy berry coulis balanced the sweetness while the creamy ice cream sent a thrill of iciness to the mango. I love the texture. The mango is soft but you still get a crunch from the rice, nuts and breadcrumbs. The dish reminds me of the classic Mango Sticky Rice but with a twist. Sensational ending to the evening…
I couldn’t stop raving about this dessert to the owner. I hope they put this dessert on their menu!
Rice is so versatile; there is so much we can do with it. There are so many varieties today in the market. The team at Fuzio Bar & Ristorante did a lovely job in whipping up the many dishes made or paired with the Jasmine Pusa Gold 1121 Basmathi Extra Long Grain Rice.
Do head over to Jasmine website at www.jasmine.com.my for more information about Jasmine Pusa Gold 1121 Basmathi Extra Long Grain Rice and other rice varieties with lots of recipes.
FUZIO BAR & RESTAURANT
29 Jalan Berangan, Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur.
Phone: 603-2110 0303
29 Jalan Berangan, Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur.
Phone: 603-2110 0303
*More photos available at my Facebook: Chasing Food Dreams