January 29, 2016

Affordable Japanese Cuisine @ Sushi Mentai

Value-For-Money Sushi, Sashimi and more…

Not everything expensive is good, sometimes somethings affordable can really be pretty good too! It’s certainly not new but Sushi Mentai has been serving very affordable Japanese dishes for a few years already. It may have originated from Johor but today, there are 25 Sushi Mentai outlets all over Malaysia and also one in Singapore. With 3 outlets in Penang, 5 outlets in Kuala Lumpur, 9 outlets in Petaling Jaya, 1 in Negeri Sembilan and 7 outlets in Johor, it’s fair to conclude that Sushi Mentai has grown to be a favorite hotspot for avid Japanese foodies everywhere.

One evening, I visited its latest PJ outlet in Kota Damansara with my family. Open since December 2015, this outlet is already packed to the max upon my arrival. Since my little one always loves the concept of conveyor belt sushi bar, he was excited about visiting Sushi Mentai.

The Sushi Mentai at Kota Damansara looks fancier in décor than the other outlets, simply because the group has started to incorporate a décor theme for all their new outlets. Well designed to maximize seating, one can also catch kitchen actions at the front of the room upon entering. Choose seating from the various booths and seats and the conveyor belt of plates after plates of sushi will run by all the seating to tempt the diners.

What really attracted me and I am sure many other diners are their sushi menu which has only two prices of RM1.80 and RM2.80. That is really affordable pricing. With plenty of choices to choose from, there are also lots of special sushi-of-the-day that is not listed in the menu as well. Needless to say, we started picking our favorites happily.

Sushi Mentai is named after its signature Mentaiko sauce. So there are quite a few choices of Mentaiko sauce sushi available.

Leading the list is Salmon Mentai (RM2.80). Immediately, this one exceeded my expectation since I was prepared for skimpy sushi. However, Sushi Mentai’s sushi are all nicely loaded with decent amount of ingredients with sushi rice. The salmon is delicious! Loaded with the cod roe and mayo sauce before being lightly torched, I was beginning to know that this was going to be a good meal…

Inari & Salmon Mentai (RM2.80) showcase my favorite sweet bean curd skin with salmon, sushi rice and mentaiko sauce. A special-of-the-day, this one piece sushi is yum.

My other half loves eel and so we also had the Unagi Sushi (RM2.80).

Prawn Tempura & Inari Sushi (RM2.80) was also a special-of-the-day together with Prawn Tempura & Crab Maki (RM2.80). I really enjoyed both a lot and still had a hard time believing how something so good is so affordable in price. These are available on the conveyor belt. Must order if you see this on the special-of-the-day list…

We wanted to try their a la carte dishes too and so we controlled ourselves from taking more from the belt despite it all looking pretty tempting. The Chawan Mushi (RM3.80) is decent and comfort food at its best.

Asari Miso Shiru (RM4.80) had good flavours from the miso and I can even taste a sweet and briny note of clam essence too.

My little one’s favorite dish was the Dashimaki Tamago (RM3.80). Although it’s not exactly the same as the other tamago I have had, this version was ok and portion was definitely generous for its price.

Chuka Kurage (RM4.80)

I must highlight the fact that I am pretty pleased with the Salmon Toro (RM11.80). Generous cuts of salmon belly was delicious and creamy. Since it’s a fattier cut from the belly, the salmon literally melts-in-the-mouth with sublime flavour.

The Hokkigai Sashimi (RM8.80) of surf clam was also really value-for-money as this clam is quite expensive in many restaurants.

We moved on to rolls and took on the Salmon Mentai Dragon Maki (RM12.80). I can’t get enough of the salmon with mentaiko sauce and this one had the additional plus points of crispy tempura prawns. At this point, I think I was a fan of this affordable Japanese restaurant.

For those who are carb conscious, there’s also a no-rice sushi roll of Inari Wrap (RM7.80). Sweet crab meat with bean curd skin and shredded vegetables are wrapped in rice sheet before being finished with a dollop of mayo sauce. This turn out to be another winner in my books. I am so going to order this again since its carb free…

More happiness took form in Ebi Mentaiyaki (RM9.80). This time, its prawns topped with mentaiko sauce and broiled. Sweet, savory and definitely creamy!

Served grilled, one also gets 3 pieces of Shishamo (RM4.80) per order.

A generous portion of the Saba Shioyaki (RM11.80) was nicely grilled. I like mine with a light squeeze of lemon to balance up the rich oily flavours of the mackerel. This one is beautiful with crisp skin and moist flesh.

Kaki Fried (RM9.80) has always been my favorite when dining Japanese. Glad to say this one did not disappoint but in fact tasted really good. Plump and juicy oysters were nicely crumbed and fried to a golden nugget. Crispy on the outside, utterly juicy with briny flavours, the oysters are very delicious! On my next order, I am so not sharing this plate…

We order the Kitsune Udon (RM10.80) for the little one who simply loves slurping his noodles with the dashi and bonito broth.

On an overall note, I was pretty satisfied with everything at Sushi Mentai. The experience turned out beyond my expectation. Pricing is affordable and the quality and quantity is honestly very decent for what you pay. No wonder Sushi Mentai is pulling in such a crowd. There are plenty more dishes in the menu that I have yet to try. That said, I will definitely by back as there is also a Sushi Mentai near my house in Kepong!

No-16-1, Jalan PJU 5/7,
Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya

Business Hours:
Monday to Sunday 12noon to 9.30pm

January 28, 2016

A Golden Prosperous Chinese New Year with Garrett Popcorn

Garrett Popcorn Shops® Brings Sweetness to You with CNY Festive Tins

Festive season is all about sharing precious moments together, creating new memories and of course indulge in all sort of goodies! This Chinese New Year (CNY), it’s the year of the Red Fire Monkey and Garrett Popcorn is celebrating this season with specially designed festive 2016 Year of the Monkey Tins decorated with auspicious red stripes and whimsical monkey motifs.

Garrett Popcorn, a Chicago tradition since 1949 from USA, has always been a gourmet popcorn favorite of mine and my family. The reasons are purely simple. Every batch of Garrett Popcorn is handmade daily, using traditional methods, in copper kettles. Ingredients are of the finest quality and there are no preservatives. Once you have had a taste of Garrett Popcorn, you’ll know that there’s no other gourmet popcorn like this one. The crunch factor coupled with the various flavours are one-of-a-kind.

Sharing and gifting this season is simply a must for my family. During CNY, we love to have an excuse to nibble on our favorite cookies and snacks. In fact, I always have an assortment of CNY goodies on my table way even before we ring in the festive season. This brings back such fond memories of my childhood as I would always wait for each CNY to be able to indulge in all sorts of goodies. Glad to say, I do not have to wait a whole new year now to enjoy these but CNY is still a perfectly good excuse enjoy and share some sweetness with family and friends.

Ever since I had my first taste of Garrett Popcorn, I have been an ardent fan of this gourmet snack. They say once you have had the best, there’s no turning back. A recipe handed down over three generations, it’s obvious that Garrett Popcorn must be doing something deliciously right.

Garrett Popcorn’s signature has always been the Chicago Mix – a luscious sweet and salty mixture of CaramelCrisp and CheeseCorn. There is something just so tempting with combining layers of crunchy caramelized glazed popcorn with fluffy cheesy popcorn. It’s the mix of sweet and savory that brings dessert to another level of tempting flavours. Besides the Chicago Mix, there’s also Buttery or Nut CaramelCrisp.

Joining in the festive cheers, my family and I simply cannot resist including Garrett Popcorn on our table this season. As soon as my little one spies the signature logo and Tin of Garrett Popcorn on our dining table, he would literally be asking for a taste. I don’t blame him… can you?

There’s something truly happy about digging into a Garrett Tin of golden popcorn nuggets that always looked utterly tempting and sublime….

Take Garrett Popcorn for a road trip for extra happiness!

Garrett Popcorn makes the perfect indulgence and so we often are tempted to take the Tin everywhere with us. We took ours to the park where we had our little own popcorn picnic. It was our little perfect moment of walking a little and enjoying a little snack as we watch the sun goes down in the evening.

Sometimes in the evening while catching up on a little movie action, off goes the lid of Garrett Popcorn and someone’s little hand would be grabbing a handful of popcorn with much cheekiness. The deep luscious buttery and caramel note combined with cheesy corn can certainly put a big smile on anyone’s face… certainly mine and my family…

I daresay, Garrett Popcorn is great anytime of the day. Grab a Tin of Garrett Popcorn wherever you go or share this deliciousness with your family and friends this CNY and put a big smile of sweetness on their faces with this gourmet popcorn!

Shown here are two 1Gallon Tins of Chicago Mix

In celebrating this festive CNY of 2016, Garrett Popcorn is offering the Chinese New Year Tins in bundles filled with a choice of Signature Flavors of Chicago Mix, CaramelCrisp, CheeseCorn or Buttery.  Upgrades to Nut CaramelCrisps are available for an additional cost.

Garrett Popcorn Festive Chinese New Year Bundles
Two 1Quart Tins at RM68
Four 1Quart Tins at RM128
Two 1Gallon Tins at RM148

A little Sweetness goes a long way with Garrett this CNY!

To locate a Garrett Popcorn store, visit the store locator here.

For more details about Garrett Popcorn, visit their Website: www.garrettpopcorn.my or Facebook: www.facebook.com/GarrettPopcornMY/

January 27, 2016

CNY 2016 @ Xin Cuisine, Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur

A Prosperous Loh Sang

It is always a pleasure to dine at Xin Cuisine at Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur. A Chinese restaurant that has been serving authentic and scrumptious Chinese cuisine has always been a favorite of many. This New Lunar Year, Xin Cuisine is offering lots of festive CNY specialties and an exciting acrobatic lion dance!

Available from January 8 to February 22, 2016, the culinary team at Xin Cuisine is offering 6 auspicious variations of the must-have Yee Sang as well as classic festive a la carte dishes, festive set menus and more.

Feast on the auspicious Smoked Salmon Yee Sang, a platter featuring slivers of smoked salmon nestled among the classic ingredients of this festive salad. It’s a great option for those who do not enjoy raw fish. The smoked salmon added a touch of lusciousness with smoky salty flavours to the Yee Sang.

Honored to be part of the auspicious ritual of tossing for prosperity, our evening was filled with beautiful wishes to usher in the Year of the Fire Monkey!

Besides the Smoked Salmon Yee Sang, there are also Prosperity Sliced Abalone Yee Sang, Prosperity Norwegian Salmon Yee Sang, Prosperity Bud Mushroom & Scallop Yee Sang, Prosperity Shredded Duck Meat & Jack Fruit Thai Style Yee Sang and Prosperity Snow Pear Vegetarian Yee Sang. Price starts from RM79.00 to RM265.00 nett.

They say good things come in three! The Abundant Three Hot Combination is a platter of 3 appetizers from chef’s list of signatures. Depending on the availability, this platter is perfect for those who loves choices when dining.

For our platter, there was a delectable crispy yam with prawn, kataifi wrapped scallop and stir fried lotus root with asparagus, macadamia nuts, assorted vegetables and mushrooms. I enjoyed the combination of the various seafood with vegetables.

The next course was soup-er yum! Prosperity Thick Soup with Dried Seafood is a thick bisque filled with lots of seafood bits. From jelly fish to fish maw, dried scallop, mushrooms and more, there is a solid mix of textures in the flavourful and rich soup.

The next dish is a crowd pleaser, especially for porcine fans like me. The Crispy Suckling Pig Hong Kong Style has all the markings of a gorgeous roasted suckling pig. Every bite of the suckling pig skin has cracking acoustic sounds that is music to my ears!

Cod has always been one of my favorite fish. We savored Steamed Cod with Garlic Oil in the next course. This dish is superb. The cod was fresh, sweet and silky smooth. A light soy sauce with garlic bits and scallion was all it needed. Simply delicious in every bite…

Prawns represent laughter in Chinese language so the crustacean is a popular choice to enjoy during this festive season. Our prawn dish of the night was this succulent Baked Fresh Water Prawns with King Superior Soya Sauce. Utterly delectable at sight and in flavours, the prawns has a sinful umami savory note that really had us enjoying the sauce on the shells. The prawn head is also filled with more sinful creamy roes. Divine and finger-licking good!

Here’s something a little different with Braised Chicken with Three Varieties of Chinese Sausages. The tender chicken is well-braised till it absorbs the sweet and savory notes of the sausages. The sausages also expelled a delicious aroma and oil that gave the dish a smooth and shiny sheen. I would love a bowl of steamed rice with this dish.

The next course is a Xin Cuisine signature. The culinary team here makes of the best versions of Waxed Meat Rice in Claypot. The rice cooked in the clay pot has my favorite combo of fluffy rice with bits of crispy rice layer. Mix with the oils of the waxed meat and the chef’s special soy sauce, the rice is a popular choice at Xin during every CNY.

Our banquet festive set menu ended with fresh and fruity Mango Puree with Pomelo & Sago and a trio of Chinese New Year Sweet Treats. While the sweet dessert of Mango Puree was refreshing and fruity, it was certainly the trio of Nian Gao prepared three ways that took center stage.

The trio of Nian Gao are Sweet Potato Nian Gao with Macadamia Nut, Waxed Meat Nian Gao with Chicken Floss and Peanut Nian Gao with Pistachio. The duo of sweet Nian Gao makes a familiar and sweet ending while the savory Nian Gao was indeed a lovely savory and sweet surprise. These are such a treat and truly unique this festive season.

This Chinese New Year, Xin Cuisine is offering two festive set menus priced at RM1618 nett and RM1968 nett per table of 10 persons. Both set menus and a la carte dishes as well as Yee Sang are available from January 8 to February 22, 2016.

Xin will be closed for on the first day of New Year and reopen for business on January 9, 2016. Dim sum breakfast starts from 9.00 am.  This year of the fire Monkey, Concorde will be showcasing an exciting show on Feb 9 (second day of CNY) starting 11 am. Catch Kun Seng Keng lions appearing together with Monkey King and there are more stunts from The Amazing China Acrobats and photo-session with the famous duo – ‘JK & Shaki’ monkeys as well. Don’t miss this!

For further enquiries, please call 2144 2200 extn 2338 or 2144 8750. Guests can also enquire on private reunion dinners at Xin Cuisine and Ballroom.

Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur
2 Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: +603 2144 8750 or +603 2144 2200 ext 2338
Fax: +603 2144 1628