Friday, June 1, 2018

Alibaba & Nyonya @ TTDI

Tasty Peranakan Cuisine

Peranakan cuisine has such complex and rich flavour that many finds it hard to cook these days. The nyonyas and babas of yesteryears spent so much time and effort in the kitchen just to prepare a meal for the family. These days, finding a good Peranakan restaurant to enjoy this cuisine is also quite a task.

One of the latest new eatery in TTDI, Alibaba & Nyonya hopes to satisfy the palates of Peranakan fans with their signatures of the cuisine. Locating this eatery is rather easy as it is located next to Secret Recipe.

The restaurant has a bright and casual vibe that makes dining comfortable. From the eye-catching hawker stall-on-wheels at the entrance to the street art mural that is bound to be a hotspot for some social media ops, the restaurant is also designed with pretty and colorful tiles and old fashion furniture.

The menu is well filled with lots of Peranakan classics and familiar favorites. There’s plenty of appetizers, main courses of seafood and meat as well as vegetables and dessert to cater to diners of all ages.

Apple Juice with Chia Seed (RM9.91), Calamansi Asam Boi (RM8.02), Cincau Lychee Juice (RM8.02), Fresh Lime Juice (RM8.96), Cincau Watermelon Juice (RM8.02) & Fresh Coconut Lychee (RM8.96)

We couldn’t resist ordering an order of Acar Rampai (RM6.51) to whet our appetite. The dish requires a lot of preparation and the version here is decent and yummy. Lots of crunchy vegetables with spicy and nutty sauce certain makes good starter…

Mains started to arrive and the first one was this delicious Kerabu Udang (RM27.26). Large plump prawns dressed in piquant spicy and tangy dressing along with crisp red onion makes a delicious kerabu salad.

The Chicken Pongteh (Small – RM20.66, Medium – RM39.43) here is a solid dish with a good balance of salty and sweet with a lingering note of moreishness. The chicken and potatoes are tender and has been well-braised to absorb all the flavours of bean sauce. It’s a dish that goes perfect with fluffy rice.

At sight, the Ayam Dara Goreng (Small – RM18.77, Medium- RM33.87) looked golden and delicious. The deep-fried kampung chicken is a tad dry but the flavours are good. A heavier salty note, the chicken goes well with Nasi Ulam and sambal belachan. We feedback on this dish so hopefully the chef can consider making this fried chicken a bit juicier.

Ask for the Sambal Belachan for extra yummy flavours…

For something a bit more unusual than our all-time-favorite Asam Pedas, we savored the King’s Curry Fish Head (RM70.75). The garoupa fish is fresh with a firm and sweet flesh. Paired with the thick and creamy curry well-spiced up, the fish and vegetable is deliciously delectable. The curry was so yummy that I even find myself spooning the gravy and drenching my rice with it.

The Sambal Petai Sotong (Small – RM25.38, Medium – RM36.70) had good flavours too but I personally felt that there was something missing from the overall flavours. The sambal was a tad too watery and the flavours were good but not a dish that is memorable for me. Still, the dish was generous with tender squid pieces and petai.

The Mutton Curry (Small – RM27.26, Medium- RM51.70) is superb! Faultless an utterly delicious, it was a plate of gorgeous spicy flavours that is well balanced and sublime. The mutton is also fork-tender and very aromatic from all the slow cooked spices and curry leaves. A must-order if you love thick and rich meaty curry…

I have tasted quite a few Telur Belanda (RM10.19) and most of them seemed to be on the sweeter side. The version here is one of the best I have had. Fried egg drenched in tamarind sauce, the version here has a lovely vibrant tang and is not overly sweet. Cooked well, the egg had that slightly crisp edges while the yolk is still soft.

We also tried their Sambal Fried Pucuk Paku (RM13.68) which is also delicious and faultless.

While all the dishes go well with steamed rice, the Nasi Ulam (RM6.13) is still worthy of an order. The rice is full of fresh herb flavours as well as spices. It really doesn’t need any dishes except for the sambal belachan because the rice is already so tasty.

Alibaba & Nyonya also offers some tea time specials. One can opt for various choices from Nyonya Kuih to Crispy Popiah, Mee Siam and Mee Goreng that comes with a hot beverage.

Nyonya Kuih 2pcs with Teh Tarik/Hot Coffee (Tea Time Treats Set 1 – RM5.50)

Mee Siam with Teh Tarik/Hot Coffee (Tea Time Treats Set 3 - RM9.50)

Crispy Popiah with Teh Tarik/Hot Coffee (Tea Time Treats Set 4 – RM5.50)

Our lovely Peranakan meal ended with sweet and icy desserts of Cendol Gula Melaka (RM6.13), Sago Gula Melaka (RM5.19) and Signature ABC (RM7.08).

Desserts were palatable and my favorite was the ABC which was full of lovely bits and fine ice shavings.

54, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-7732 3170


Operating Hours: 11.00 to 10.00pm, Daily

Friday, May 25, 2018

Taiwan Travels – Le Palais @ Palais de Chine Hotel

Fine Cantonese Cuisine

Taiwan has recently been graced by the world-renowned food bible, The Michelin Guide. Out of the 126 restaurants in the Michelin Guide, only one made it to the highest star accolade. A 3-star rating was awarded to Le Palais at Palais de Chine Hotel in Taipei and we were honored to be able to make a visit to Le Palais recently on our Taiwan trip.

The moment one steps into Palais de Chine Hotel, it’s a revelation of Chinese and Western cultures cleverly married into harmony of elegance. The tradition of yesteryears has been given new life and updated to today’s modern style. At the foyer, one will meet Lady, the horse sculpture that signifies the earliest mode of transportation for travelers.

Located on 17 floors, Le Palais epitomizesd the same chic and elegance the hotel reflects. Gorgeous ambiance of mysterious opulence, the dining room is designed to impress. A main dining area of glorious brass and gold, dark steel, mirror ceiling, elegant furniture, Chinese oriental ceramic pieces, Chinese paintings and beautiful table setting will set an air of fine dining to follow.

Le Palais also has lots of private rooms flourished with much grace as its main dining area. Lavish light pieces, huge round tables in dark ambiance, the restaurant clearly is out to impress its diners.

Helming the kitchen are culinary duo of Executive Chef Matt Chen (陳泰榮) and Head Chef Ken Chan (陳偉強). Cantonese cuisine is their forte and Le Palais menu is filled with signature Cantonese cuisine that includes dim sum to Hong Kong roast and other classic dishes.

Our epicurean journey began with dainty morsels of plump dumplings. Dim sums are always irresistible, especially when they are made to perfection. Whether they be steamed dumplings or fried dim sum, it takes a skillful dim sum chef to churn out consistent baskets of dim sum with quality and fresh ingredients.

Tuck into pretty pleated Palais de Chine Steamed King Prawn Dumplings and one will be awarded with juicy sweet prawns encased in thin crystal skin. Crustacean sweetness, the dumplings are a joy to eat!

The Chicken and Lard Dumplings topped with Abalones are equally as delicious as the earlier dumplings. Delicious flavours and bouncy filling finished with lavish baby abalones, these siew mai had all the check marks of the perfect classic dim sum.

Hong Kong style Barbecue Pork uses a lean cut of meat. Le Palais version was scrumptious! Tender and succulent, the pork has a solid balance of savory and sweet notes. We certainly could not fault this lovely piece of roast…

Another roast appeared in Crispy Roast Baby Duck and boy did this one rocks! Duck, specifically selected from Vietnam, has been truly honored with meticulous preparation that resulted in a luscious aroma wafting through the air as soon as it was presented. Lacquered to rich hues of red amber, the duck is cut in front of us and served with a side of salt pepper mixture and lime wedges.

The duck is amazing in flavours. The crispy skin, the moist and tender duck flesh and the salty sublime notes was perfection on a plate. The chefs added that they selected this 28-day old duck because of its perfectness for roasting and we fully understand this once we savored the duck.

If indulgence is the motive for this dining experience, then one simply must order the Braised Middle East Abalone & Goose Web in Oyster Sauce. Premium ingredients like abalone and goose web requires a skilled chef to cook them well. This land and sea duo was excellent. The abalone was toothsome to bite and delicious with a delicate brown sauce. The goose web, highly prized for its soft and gelatinous goodness, was also cooked very well and beautifully glazed in the same sauce. Plump mushroom was well-braised and crisp tender asparagus shoot completed this dish.

The Stir-fried Shredded Tofu, Chicken and Ham is a dish that really showcase knife skill to new heights. Tofu cut finely and cooked gently with finely cut chicken and ham in a delicate broth. It’s a classic Cantonese dish that has rather simple and comfort flavours. This one would go well with steamed rice.

Our final dish of Stir-Fried Tiger Grouper Filet with Asparagus fared decent. It was a dish cooked well. The fillet fish was cooked just right and so was the asparagus. It was a faultless pleasure.

Le Palais showed a combination of exquisite fine Cantonese cuisine with quality ingredients set in an amazing ambiance. We heard that their reservations are full for the next few weeks so make sure to call in for reservation way ahead on your trip for a taste of this 3-star Michelin restaurant in Taipei.

Please contact Le Palais at +8862-2181-9985/86 Fax +8862-2181-9971

17F, Palais de Chine Hotel
No. 3, Section 1, Chengde Road,
Datong District,
Taipei City,
Taiwan 103
Tel: +886 2 2181 9999

Business Hours:
Monday to Sunday
Lunch          11:30am to 2:30pm
Dinner         5:30om to 9:30pm

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Donkey & Crow Irish Pub @ Bangsar Shopping Centre

Classic Favorites Pub Grub

Scotch Eggs, Dublin Coddle, Grilled Pork Ribs, Crispy Pork Belly and Irish Stew… pub grub fans would agree on how tempting those dishes sounded. The folks at Donkey & Crow Irish Pub knows how to let their diners enjoy classic comfort food with a good beer or stout!

Located at Bangsar Shopping Centre, this is the second outlet for Donkey & Crow. With their first outlet’s success at TREC KL, diners can now also enjoy the same pub experience at the BSC outlet. It’s all about having a good time at Donkey & Crow. Besides being a family-friendly restaurant serving classic Irish and British favorites, one can enjoy their long list of jolly pints of beer while catching up with some live sport actions.

The pub offers alfresco seating as well as indoor seating. Expect lots of woodwork, a long bar, a mosaic mural, brickworks and Irish green fairy lights plus lots of friendly smiles from the service team at Donkey & Crow.

Pool table for some fun!

It’s almost obligatory to order some giggle juice if you’re not into beer. Ours are Beejito (RM38), Mad Dog (RM38) and Apple Tini’s (RM38). Mad Dog and Beejito was so fabulous, we had a second round of these…

With our cocktails, we had to order a classic British pub favorite, Scotch Egg (RM23). Minced meat stuffed with egg and fried to a golden ball, ours was a generous one too. Packed with seasoned sausage meat, the scotch egg is quite a filler on its own.

The pale but flavour-packed Blue Cheese Mushroom (RM23) is delicious. The unctuous flavour of the blue cheese is an explosion of flavours, so much so, one cannot stop dipping the toast into that luscious thick sauce studded with chunky mushrooms.

An Irish classic, the Dublin Coddle (RM33) epitomized homecooked comfort food. Said to be straight from the heart of Dublin city, the Irish stew is a hodgepodge of bacon, sausages and root vegetables that is a sure crowd pleaser. Beautiful stew that has a robust hearty note of its ingredients, this is a dish that one can enjoy often. A must-order, especially if one is craving for simple comfort pleasures…

The Snacks Platter (RM68) offers a little of everything to go with drinks. A sharing platter obviously, there’s golden Onion Rings, Pigs in the Blanket, Smoked Duck Breast, Nacho Bacon and Chips with side salad and sauces. Snacks like these are sure crowd pleasers, especially that yummy bacon wrapped sausage and delectable smoked duck breast slices.

A platter that is perfect for snacking with beer or cocktails!

Another signature dish at Donkey & Crow is the Grilled Pork Ribs with Whiskey Sauce (RM49). Half rack of pork ribs marinated with spices ad slow baked till tender. Not falling-off-the-bone kind of rib but this one has a solid meaty bite of the meat. Pour on the whiskey sauce for added flavours though we personally thought the whiskey sauce could do with more oomph of the whiskey… nevertheless, the pork ribs are well-seasoned and meaty.

The pub only offers Brownies with Ice Cream as their dessert. Its passable but I prefer my brownies to be the fudgy kind. Generous in portion, this dessert is definitely a sharing one…

Lot G130, Ground Floor,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,
285, Jalan Ma'arof,
59000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2011 1868

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