Thursday, July 28, 2016

Just Nyonya @ Bandar Menjalara, Kepong


Nyonya Soul Food

Nynoya cuisine has always been a part of my favorite list of cuisine that I can never get enough of. As my family hails from the northern Baba and Nyonya heritage, it makes sense why I adore the cuisine so much simply because I grew up eating it and loving it. Living in Kepong, there is hardly any Nyonya restaurants available here so I was pretty thrilled to see Just Nyonya Restaurant in Bandar Menjalara one day when we drove past the area.


Just when I thought I would go to Just Nyonya to try, a good foodie friend of mine invited me to go with her to Just Nyonya one weekend. Just Nyonya has been churning out dishes of Northern and Southern Nyonya cuisine for a year already in that location. Just Nyonya is owned and run by chef K.S. Tan whose 30 years of culinary career in the Peranakan restaurants has him learning the tricks and trades of the labor intensive cuisine.



The restaurant is relatively simple in décor. Light pale walls are decorated with few Nyonya memorabilia throughout the restaurant. Well ventilated and cool, dining at the restaurant was really comfortable and at ease.



The menu at Just Nyonya is filled with lots of classic Nyonya dishes that hails from Northern and Southern Nyonya cuisine so there’s plenty of dishes to please many. I was pleased to see some of my favorite dishes there, especially a very hard to find classic of Perut Ikan.


While waiting for our food to arrive, we sip on our hot and cold house brewed Serai Tea (RM 4.00)


When the Perut Ikan (RM 16.90) came, I knew it was going to be a good one at sight. Looking rustic, the hodgepodge of pickled fish stomach may not sound appetizing but the flavours of the dish is divine. Cooked for hours and has lots of vegetables, spices, herbs and the salted brined fish stomach, the version here is piquant and moreish. It has just the right hit of tangy notes and the various textures of the vegetables with pineapple and soft fish stomach. I kept savoring spoonfuls of the Perut Ikan happily because this version was so delicious. A must order if you enjoy Perut Ikan!


A bowl of bright orange curry of Sweet Potato Leaf Masak Lemak Keledek (RM 13.90 small) was next. This dish was also a crowd pleaser simply because we enjoy how creamy the curry was and it also had just the right balance of spices in this light curry filled with soft braised sweet potato leaf. The distinctive pungent dried shrimp gave the light gravy a wonderful boost of umami flavour. We literally ended up enjoying the last drop of curry in this bowl.


Since my mom makes a solid Kapitan curry, I had high hopes for the Chicken Kapitan (RM 16.90 small) here. And Just Nyonya’s version didn’t disappoint. Thick, robust and a nice hint of creaminess with a soft tang, the curry makes you want to pile on more steamed rice. We loved how generous Chef Tan is with the gravy as the pieces of chicken is literally smothered in much happiness. It is not too spicy so it is a great rich curry that many will enjoy even if you are not a spicy fan.


Chicken Pongteh (RM 16.90 small), a dish that hails from the Peranakan in the South, is another dish that literally beckons for rice. Unctuous savory and sweet notes are the flagship of the thick bean paste gravy. Tender chicken pieces and melt-in-the-mouth potatoes cooked in the thick bean paste sauce is literally comfort food for many while they were growing up in the Nyonya clan. Just Nyonya’s version has a very good balance of savory and sweetness that the adults enjoy just as much as the young ones.


Tempra Egg (RM 11.90 small) is Chef Tan’s tweak on the classic Tempra Chicken. Instead of chicken, we had fried egg drenched in the Tempra sauce that has loads of onions and minced chicken. It has a light savory flavour with hints of tang. Not spicy at all, the dish was a hit with the kids.


Chuan Chuan Fish (RM 34.90 small) is a Nyonya staple and most households, though shares similar recipe, have their own version that is slightly different. Here, it is crispy fried fish drenched in a savory bean paste gravy topped with onions, tomatoes and spring onions. Simple comforting flavours that is a sure daily favorite…


Just Nyonya’s Nyonya Asam Prawns (RM 38.90 small) is what every asam prawns should be. The unctuous tang of the asam sticky glaze on the prawns will have one sucking the shells to every last bit of its sauce. Yes, it’s that awesome. Prawns were firm and sweet too but the asam glaze is what makes this dish utterly addictive and so delicious! Another must order …


More dishes to savor and another Nyonya favorite of mine is Otak Otak (RM 13.90 per piece). While most recipes varies, the one here is pretty yummy. Laden with spices, the fish custard has a good hint of creamy and robust note. While most Otak Otak are steamed, this one is also grilled lightly for a smoky note.


Last of the savory lot, we also had their Inchi Kabin (RM 16.90 small). Piping hot, these pieces of chicken are well marinated with lots of aromatics and fried to crispy and deep amber hue deliciousness. Juicy and tender, we polished off this plate happily between the adults and kids.


Our Nyonya meal ended with some refreshing sweetness of Cendol (RM 5.00), ABC (RM 6.50) and Sago with Gula Melaka (RM 4.00). The desserts are very generously filled with ingredients and makes a good ending to a lovely meal at Just Nyonya. Enjoy slivers of cendol with creamy and nutty red bean topped with thick coconut and rich gula Melaka in Cendol or tiny pearls of Sago drenched in creamy coconut milk and gula Melaka are desserts that I can never get enough off. I also enjoy the hodgepodge of ingredients in the ABC with fine saved iced and doused with gula Melaka and syrup.




With decent pricing and good portions, Just Nyonya proves to be a solid place for Nyonya food. Flavours are solid for most dishes with top favorites of mine that includes Perut Ikan, Chicken Kapitan, Sweet Potato Leaf Masak Lemak Keledek, Asam Prawns and more. There are also set lunch with very decent pricing and I spied Nyonya Laksa on the menu too. I will definitely be back to try other dishes on their menu!



JUST NYONYA RESTAURANT
25, Lorong 5/62a,
52200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60 3-6279 9996 /+6019-260 3996


Business Hours:
Lunch          12.00pm – 3.00pm
Dinner         6.00pm – 10.00

(Close on Tuesday)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Youmiqi Cuisine @ Old Klang Road


Fine and Sumptuous Shunde Cuisine



I never knew much about Shunde cuisine that is till I kept seeing some restaurants flagging bragging rights in serving exquisite Shunde cuisine. Shunde or Shun Tak (in Cantonese) is a district in Guangdong province, hence it can also be classified as a precursor to the world famous Cantonese cuisine that many favors. It does have its own unique identify through its diverse and intricate cooking techniques that produces some of the richest and flavoursome fine dishes said to befit for royalty.


There are not many Shunde restaurants in the city but one that has been standing out over the last few years is Youmiqi Cuisine. Located in Old Klang Road along the main road, the restaurant is discreetly housed in its own building. We headed there one evening to experience what Shunde cuisine is all about with some foodies.


The restaurant has a decent number of seating but if you’re determined to dine there, do call for reservations to avoid disappointment. There is the main general dining area sectioned into various rooms while few private rooms are also available on the level above of the restaurant. Though I am sure the restaurant was once in full glory in its design, it seemed that the ambiance feels lack luster except for the tables which are still nicely set in beautiful shades of blue, green and peach. Maybe it’s just because of the various items unconsciously placed all over the restaurant like rice, plastic chairs and etc. Nevertheless, we are here for the food and if the food satisfies, I would certainly return gladly.


If one has no clue what Shunde cuisine is, Youmiqi’s menu has plenty of pictures of the dishes that makes ordering so much easier. Choices are plenty and making them does not seemed any easier simply because the pictures looked very enticing with lots of seafood stealing the limelight here.


Shunde cuisine focuses on the freshest ingredients they can find and this includes seafood kept in tanks to ensure that it is as fresh as it gets. Youmiqi also has lots of seafood kept in tanks in their restaurant. There is even the highly prized sturgeon!


Every table gets a small plate of Chicken Feet and Pickled Cucumber when dining at Youmiqi cuisine. The chicken feet has a generous flavour of tong kwai infused into the pale claw of the phoenix while the garlicky and moreish chilled cucumber has lots of juicy and crunch factor.


The cuisine’s freshest ingredient concept can be reflected in Master Chef Flaming Wine Prawns (RM120). Live prawns soaked with generous splashing of Chinese wine before being lighted up in flames had us tucking into the sweetest prawns ever.




When the flames died down, the prawns looked gorgeously bright red and ready for us with its delicious aroma of distinctive Chinese wine. Firm to a bite, the prawns are super juicy and sweet, emphasizing that freshness is and will always be the key ingredients to a superb dish.


Shunde Braised Live Seafood in Wok (seasonal price depending on choice of ingredients) is one of the jewels of the cuisine. Using large copper wok, the cuisine showcase live cooking actions on diners’ table where lots of seafood and meat are usually cooked in special broths or steamed. These copper woks are said to have exceptional insulating properties that can cook ingredients in an even temperature. It also allow diners to savor the cuisine piping hot in a slowly manner.

Meat Crab

Tiger Grouper

Clams

Youmiqi’s Shunde Braised Live Seafood in Wok allows one to select their favorite seafood. A pot of this can be relatively affordable as well as going all the way to premium lavishness. Our copper work consisted of Meat Crab, Lou Fu Pan or Tiger Grouper, Clams, Seafood Ball, Yam and Bean curd sticks.

Seafood Ball

Yam & Bean Curd Sticks with Ginger

After firing up the stove beneath the wok, more broth is added table side to cover up the glorious spread of seafood. And then it’s just a matter of time before the whole wok comes to a boil and we get to dig into this one pot of wonders.



The broth is very unique and complex in flavours. While it is robust and tasty, I can’t quite figure out what ingredients make this broth so ravishingly flavourful. There is seafood essence in the broth for sure. The longer the wok slowly braised on the low fire, the broth thickened lightly and the flavour is further intensified to delectable umami notes. The seafood is very fresh and sweet. I was particularly fond of the bouncy seafood balls and the clams while the tiger grouper is excellent.


There are plenty of options available for this braised live seafood in wok so choose your favorite from prawns to lobsters and plenty of fishes as well as other seafood.


Now I have had a standing chicken elsewhere before but this one tasted slightly different. Youmiqi’s Roasted Standing Ovation Chicken (RM88) had a beautiful lacquered skin of amber hue. Diners can opt to be more savage by simply tearing off the meat or have the restaurant cut up the chook for you.


The meat is nicely moist and tasty. A side bowl of chicken jus is also served to allow diners to dip the chicken into the jus for more juiciness and flavour. Though the skin is not super crispy, the overall flavours are deliciously decent.


For our carb, we savored a popular signature of Youmiqi. While there are few variations, we opted for their Claypot Rice with Village Chicken (RM40). Literally covered with lots of spring onions, the aroma was certainly heavenly when the pot was placed on our table. I can even hear the light sizzling sound of rice scorching in the clay pot. A quick mix and we tucked into glorious fluffy rice grains imbued by umami soy sauce, tender pieces of chicken and aromatic oniony note. The little bits of crispy rice scorched on the pot is simply divine! Must order…


For snacking, we also had the Fried Spiced Frog with Salt & Pepper (RM48). Little nuggets of smooth and unctuous tender frog well-seasoned with salt and spice with a liberal does of pepper. Hand me a beer please..


A new special dish of Pan Fried Meat Patties with Wong Tai Choy (RM38) is super scrumptious. The QQ texture of the meat patty, studded with bits of a vegetable named Wong Tai Choy, has a unique moreish note that I went back for a second piece. These are dishes that I can certainly enjoy daily…


We also tried the Golden Sands Yong Tau Foo (RM23), pieces of bean curd puff stuffed with yong tau foo filling, fried till crispy and smothered in a sandy salted egg sauce. There is a sense of sublime satisfaction when enjoying this dish, simply because I happen to love salted egg for its unctuous deliciousness in any dishes.



Oatmeal Custard Bun (RM29) was our sweet ending of the evening. The golden buns looked utterly delightful and inviting. Gorgeously light, fluffy and golden, the bun has a luscious creamy caramel filling made from oat and maltose. I like how pillowy soft the bun is and the rich deep sweetness of it. Not the lightest ending to a meal but so heavenly on the palate.


Youmiqi Cuisine has such unique dishes from the Shunde district that is worth of a visit. There are plenty of dishes that guarantees to please many and though the prices are on the heavier end, the quality of the seafood is excellent for the value. It is often packed so a reservation is highly recommended and do come with a big group to try their copper wok seafood for more choices.


Youmiqi Cuisine
57 Jalan Klang Lama
Jalan Klang Lama
58100 Kuala Lumpur
+603 7980 0855


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sky High Tea @ Nobu Kuala Lumpur


Taking High Tea to new heights, the innovative and elite Nobu Kuala Lumpur introduces their brand new Nobu High Tea starting this coming Saturday in style!




The world’s famed Japanese fine dining, with unique new style Japanese cuisine by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, is offering gourmands a high tea dining experience set with a majestic view of the city on Level 56 at Menara 3 Petronas. Starting from 23 July, 2016 onwards, the Nobu KL Sky High Tea is available every weekend from 2.30pm to 5.00pm at the Nobu Club Lounge.





The one-of-a-kind experience of savoring Nobu’s unique high tea coupled with one of the most sought after views of the city skyline is perfect for a celebratory moment or simple a pleasurable experience with loved ones and friends. The Nobu KL Sky High Tea features a unique selection of Nobu-style canapes and pastries, both savoury and sweet, prepared by Executive Chef Philip Leong and the team.



Members of the media and me snagged an invite to catch a sneak preview of the Nobu KL High Tea recently and was certainly impressed by what the Japanese fine dining has to offer this coming weekend.

While one can opt for the Sweet Tray of High Tea at RM45++ per person, I’d say go straight for their Savory & Sweet Delight High Tea set priced at RM93++ per person (with complimentary green tea) to savor signatures of Nobu on a lighter scale.


Starting off with the Savory platter, the pretty and mini canapes were already a sight of sumptuousness!



We were told to start off with the Salmon Tartare. A Nobu signature, salmon is minced with onion and garlic and served with an umami wasabi soy sauce and finished with finely minced scallion and lavish caviar. Beautifully creamy, savory and a hint of tingling sensation, the Salman Tartare is definitely a crowd pleaser.


Utterly simple and minimalist with an explosion of flavours in the mouth best described the Sushi Rice with Salmon Egg. The Ikura is gorgeously briny and salty against the sushi rice.


Japanese with a Peruvian twist is Nobu’s signature new style and this is seen in the White Fish Tiradito. A light hint of Yuzu lemon juice with soy sauce, rocoto (Peruvian chili) and coriander sealed the deal. The ingredients in the dish really elevated the firm fish to new heights in flavours.


Shrimp Slider looked ordinary but tasted extraordinary. Little disc of pan fried tofu sandwiched a juicy and bouncy shrimp patty with bits of crisp and veggies. Not the easiest bite but so delicious in flavours!


Sitting a little obscure on the platter, the Seafood Gyoza with Jalapeno Dressing is nicely executed. The seafood filling was sublime and the dressing gave the dumpling a nice creamy note with a subtle hint of wasabi.


The finishing on the platter was light, crispy and enjoyable. We polished the mount of Seaweed and Rice Cracker nicely with our drinks.



Moving on the Sweet platter, every element of the dessert stayed true to its Japanese classic ingredients of green tea, yuzu, red bean, sesame seed and even Suntory whisky.


A tiny cup with white foam gave nothing out except when one spooned into it and experience intense coffee and creamy notes. A Suntory whisky foam topped a coffee cream brulee studded with light bits of coffee crumble summed up the Suntory Cappuccino. This is superb! Wish it was a bigger cup…


Two little Japanese mochi sprinkled with fine peanut powder represented the Mochi with Red Bean and Black Sesame. The mocha is super soft and creamy, a mouthful of amusing enjoyment.



There is also Green Tea Biscuit with Yuzu White Chocolate Ganache Filling, looking very dainty and crisp. A tad on the sweeter note from the filling but it’s very minor as the green tea note is very lovely and well balanced.


It was unanimous at our table that the favorite dessert on that platter was the Banana Harumaki. A concoction of sweet ripe banana with shiso leave and Dulce de Leche is wrapped in spring roll and fried to crisp. Served with passion fruit puree on the side, the harumaki has luscious, sweet and aromatic notes. The passion fruit puree gave the dessert a tangy boost.


Who could resist miniature cream puff? Profiterole with raspberry jam filling was easy to enjoy and an unexpected dessert on this Japanese sweet platter.


The duo of High Tea was an alluring experience on sight and taste. Unique and exciting, one may never know what may go on these savory and sweet platter from Chef Philip and team. For RM93++ per person, this is definitely a drool-worthy experience of enjoying High Tea in new heights.


While waiting for the high tea, we also caught Nobu’s barista making their new menu of Matcha themed drinks as well as specialty coffee and tea. One simply must try their Matcha Café Latte, a gorgeous concoction of the fine art of making green tea paired with espresso. The sublime concoctions of matcha and coffee goes so well together surprisingly.


Unique beverages of the new drink menu that we tried includes Avocado Smoothie, Caramel Coffee Float and Strawberry Matcha.






For reservations, please call 03 2164 5084.


NOBU KUALA LUMPUR
Menara 3 Petronas
Level 56 KLCC 50088 Kuala Lumpur
Phone: +60 3 2164 5084
Fax: + 60 2164 5085
Reservation: nobuklreservations@noburestaurants.com


Business Hours:
Mondays to Fridays         Lunch - 12noon to 2pm daily
Mondays to Sundays       Dinner - 6pm to 10.30pm daily
Saturdays & Sundays      High Tea - 2.30pm to 5pm


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