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Friday, 23 June 2017

Acme Bar & Coffee @ Pavilion Elite

When the first outlet opened in The Troika (Persiaran KLCC), I had wanted to try but never gotten round to doing it until the latest Acme Bar & Coffee @ Pavilion Elite opened a few months ago.

So I chose this venue for my next meet-up with some friends.  I've never been to the one in Persiaran KLCC, so I don't know how the interior compares but it seems like they stuck to the same colour scheme of dark tones of black, brown and grey (from the photos I saw online).  I absolutely adored the alluring setting, warmth and romantic ambience of this one with beautiful fresh flowers and candles on the tables.

Loved the touch of greenery too at the entrance and the calming water fountain in the passageway leading into the cafe.  A popular spot to pose for photos amongst the green foliage, I'm sure.

For starters, we went with the Tuna Poke @ RM29 featuring layers of corn salsa, fresh avocado cubes and raw tuna cubes in a wafu vinaigrette.  It was finished with some crunchy tapioca and taro chips and super crisp deep-fried herbs for a bit of texture.

Eaten with a fresh squeeze of lime, I loved the appetiser for its refreshing and light nuances.  A great starter, no doubt, which succeeded in getting our appetites going for the dishes to follow.

For mains, we had our all-time favourite pizza of Aloha Pizzadillas @ RM33 filled with chunks of smoked turkey breast, pineapple, onion and green peppers with mozzarella cheese and a herb cream sauce.

The thin and crisp pizza aimed to please the young ones at the table...and it succeeded in that respect! ^_~

I appreciated that it came topped with lots of arugula for that little bit of added freshness.

Good enough for sharing between two persons (or three not-too-hungry people), the Sea-to-Land Sharing Platter @ RM99 was ideal for our small group.  The sharing platter serves as a great introduction to some of their main dishes by offering diners a chance to taste a bit of everything! ^.^

This sea-to-land platter starts with three types of protein consisting of lamb cutlets, blackened salmon and grilled lime chicken.  The blackened salmon, adequately seasoned with spices, was tender and moist.  For a non-lover of lamb, I found these lamb cutlets to be tender and tasty with none of that gamey flavour that I dislike.  Even the simple chicken breast was well executed with a superb lime seasoning and that nice grilled flavour with a tinge of tartness...loved it! :)

A fresh tomato salad, delicious corn salsa, crunchy asian slaw (of white and purple cabbage) and crispy garlic tortillas round up the other components of the platter.  The very refreshing and appetising corn salsa with juicy corn kernels, tiny cubes of tomato and green bell peppers, bits of olive and pomegranate seeds was the standout for me.

We also ordered a side dish of freshly fried Shoestring Fries @ RM15 which turned out pretty addictive with its finger-licking spiced seasoning that even the children couldn't resist.

To end on a sweet note, we had their most sought after dessert, the sizzling brownie, but this time a Sizzling Coconut Nangka Brownie @ RM19 served with a gula melaka sauce.

The coconut brownie with a nangka (jackfruit) ice cream arrived atop a hot plate.  The pouring of the gula melaka sauce will provide further sweetness to the downright oh-so-divine coconut brownie.  Although I didn't want to pour in all the gula melaka (for lesser sweetness) but, in the end, I had to as the sauce would sizzle and evaporate very quickly on the hot plate, so eating it immediately is of the essence.

I loved the contrast of the cold ice cream against the sizzling hot coconut brownie.  The gula melaka sauce was needed to lubricate the brownie which will develop a crusty bottom because of the hot plate.....so good! ^o^  If I were to just have the coconut brownie on its own, with its robust coconut flavour, I'd be greatly satisfied just the same.

For more desserts, you can head to the counter for a choice of their displayed cakes, other sweet offerings or petit-fours.

The drinks are quite expensive here (with most of them costing between RM15 - RM19), so we ordered only two to share (or you could just stick to water that's offered to mitigate your dinner bill!).  We only tried one coffee and that was their Iced Latte @ RM17.

The other was the Cranberry Lychee @ RM15 which was a sweet concoction of cranberry, pineapple juice, lychee and rose syrup.  Definitely for those who love their drinks sweet.  Looking at how expensive the drinks were, it didn't quite satisfy in the end.

My Personal Opinion

Although prices are on the higher end, especially the drinks, the place offers a good creative mix of local, western, Japanese, Thai and Mediterranean flavours.

More importantly, I did enjoy the food I had here which I found to be distinctively pleasurable and well executed.  The Sea-to-Land Platter is a great sharing platter that is sure to please with the grilled lime chicken and blackened salmon being my favourites.  Also, not-to-be-missed is the utterly divine Sizzling Coconut Nangka Brownie.

The romantic vibe of the place makes it a perfect setting to take your better half on date nights or for special occasions...or simply to have a good meal in a gorgeous environment.  Would I be back?  Certainly, without a shadow of a doubt! ^_~

Acme Bar & Coffee
Lot 3.100.00 Level 3
Pavilion Elite Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2110 3373

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

My 2017 Ramadan Loot @ Pandan Indah

This year I started hitting my Ramadan trail a bit later than usual (a week and a half later to be exact) and that's because I was unfortunate enough to fall sick at the start of Ramadan...haiz! :'(  

Again, the first thing we went looking for this year was the utterly delicious and crispy Cucur Udang @ RM5 and I was glad to find the price unchanged for 3 years...yay!  What can I say, I've been hooked to these fried prawn fritters, served with kuah kacang (peanut sauce) or chilli sauce, from the very first time I tasted them.

We could have eaten this every day...but we shouldn't, of course, but we ate it enough times...hehe! :D  The stall owner now recognises us as I told him that his is the best cucur udang I've had.  Although it's called cucur udang, it was more like cucur bawang since there were hardly any prawns but at that price, there's no cause for complaint.

Nasi Lemak is my next favourite thing since I can't find them in the mornings for breakfast during the fasting month.  Unfortunately, this year we found only two stalls selling them at the bazaar.  I tried one stall....and that was it, I didn't need to try any other.  The stall is new and this was their first time here (when I asked). They come from a restaurant in Taman Dagang.

I was hooked on their Nasi Lemak Biasa (Plain Nasi Lemak) @ RM1 a packet from the get-go.  Although the packet of nasi lemak was very small (and you could finish it in a few spoonfuls), it did have a sizeable wedge of hard-boiled egg, a delicious sambal and some crispy, good tasting ikan bilis (fried anchovies).  In this day and age of ever increasing food prices, it's truly amazing to still find something for RM1! ^_^

I liked the nasi lemak so much, it was one of my most visited stalls this Ramadan.  I absolutely loved the Nasi Lemak Kerang @ RM5 (the cockles itself cost RM4).  This is not done sambal-style but more like rendang-style with the perfumy smell and taste of kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.

On another occasion, I had the Nasi Lemak with Ayam Goreng Berempah @ RM4.50 (the spiced fried chicken cost RM3.50 a piece).  This was a good tasting ayam goreng berempah.

Last year, we could hardly find any satay stalls...I think there were only two but this year there were at least 5 - 6 stalls.  We didn't know which ones will be good, so we just went for one that appealed to us visually.  The satay (chicken or beef) we bought was sold at RM0.70 a stick but it was just so-so.

We also found the same stall selling our much loved Fried Chicken Wantan @ RM2 for 5 pcs and Fried Popiah also @ RM2 for 5 pcs (I didn't think it was possible to find a kuih for under RM0.50 nowadays!).

I'm not sure why the fried popiah is cheaper this year (I remember buying it for RM0.70 per pc last year).  But then I only bought two last year, maybe this was a 'group' offer.  We also noticed that the kuih truck we patronised last year was a no-show this year.

The famous Tepung Pelita @ RM3 for 6 pcs from the same stall this year was a bit too sweet for me though the santan was thick and fragrant.  I think this will be the last year I'm buying this kuih as it has been getting sweeter by the year.

I saw a new stall selling Pulut Panggang @ RM0.50/pc but this ready-made "pulut" (glutinous rice), that has already been "panggang" (barbequed) over an open flame, was twiced cooked, fried again in a little oil on an iron plate.  This one tasted very nice as it had more of that charred flavour.

Mee Goreng @ RM3.50.....

...and Nasi Goreng Pattaya @ RM4.50 from the same stall last year though this was more of a nasi goreng kampung wrapped in omelette instead.  Just passable as tummy fillers.

This year, I tried some soup noodles.  The Bihun Sup @ RM4 hardly had any ingredients.....

...and the Mee Rebus also @ RM4 was very watery and tasted like a curry.  These were a total waste of money...and stomach space.

Then there was this truck doing a roaring business of Nasi Ayam Goreng Kunyit @ RM5.  There was a perpetual queue for this rice served with turmeric (kunyit) fried chicken and vegetables.  But the queue moves pretty fast as they've a well organised service line...one scoops the rice, another scoops the protein, one pour the black sauce and sambal and the final person collects the money.

Besides chicken, you can also opt for squid, Nasi Sotong Goreng Kunyit @ RM7.  The rice comes with vegetables of long beans, carrots and onions cooked by dropping them into the same hot oil used for frying the proteins.

There's also a prawn option, the Nasi Udang Goreng Kunyit @ RM7.50 and a beef option (which was chewy). The 3 options of chicken, squid and prawns were good but if I had to pick, it'd be the udang for it's crispiness and value-for-money with 5 pcs of good-sized prawns.  Only complaint is the rice could be of better quality.  The rice is finished with a drizzle of black sauce and a fresh sambal.

I didn't know how hot the fresh sambal would be so I asked for it to be packed separately only to realise later that I had to pay RM1 for it.  That was a blessing in disguise as the sambal was really, really fiery! O_o Although it set my mouth on fire, the rice wouldn't be the same nor taste as good without the sambal...so, bring on the heat! ;)  Although RM1 is a negligible sum to pay, I felt I was shortchanged.  I don't think it was right to charge me for the tiny container of sambal (which was good for 3 portions) since no sambal was poured into the 3 packets of rice I bought.  I just wanted it separated so that I can control how much spiciness I could tolerate.  If I already had sambal in the rice and asked for more sambal, at least then they have the right to ask me to pay for the extra sambal.  I suppose I could have reasoned with them regarding the charge but I didn't want to hold up the line nor cause a scene over a mere RM1!

I didn't realise until later (when I took note of the truck) that I was eating the popular Mat Rock Ayam Goreng Kunyit that operates a few food trucks in and around the city.  That means I can still eat this (after Ramadan) since they operate a restaurant near us.  But remember, if you don't want to pay extra for the sambal, make sure you don't ask for it to be packed separately.

This was just a small selection of my Ramadan 'loot' this year (you may wish to check out my loot in 2016 and 2015 in the links provided).  With just a few days before Ramadan comes to a close, many stalls have already called it a day (those that made enough money, I presume) and the bazaar is slowly winding down.  Looks like I'll see you next year then! ^o^

Monday, 19 June 2017

#ewew cooks Spam & Potato Hash with a Chinese Twist

In the western world, this dish would be called Spam & Potato Hash, a breakfast casserole cooked in a cast iron skillet.  Add an egg or two and you have a lovely breakfast dish to start off your morning.

But I don't have a cast iron skillet...and a good Spam & Potato Hash needs the high heat of a cast iron skillet to get them cubes of deliciousness well caramelised and crusty.  So, I took inspiration from this dish and put my spin on this popular breakfast staple and made Spam & Potato Hash with a Chinese Twist. ^.^

For this simple and easy-to-cook dish, all the ingredients you'll need are two potatoes, two eggs, half a can of luncheon meat (or spam) and a bunch of green beans.

You start by dicing the half can of spam into small cubes and pan-fry them in a non-stick pan until they're slightly browned on most sides.  You may lightly oil the pan although there's no necessity as the spam will ooze out oil when you fry them.

Next, you do the same with the diced potatoes by frying them in shallow oil until soft and browned.

Then, just heat some oil and crack two eggs directly into the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and stir them briskly around the pan, making sure that they're well browned with crispy edges.

Finally, saute the green beans that have been cut into 1-inch lengths in some oil.  Do not add any water as you don't want them to steam.  You want them to blister and develop a nice char (which will take a while).  Add some chopped garlic when the beans are almost done.

Once the french beans have softened, throw back in the earlier pre-cooked spam, potatoes and egg...and mix everything together.  Drizzle in enough oyster sauce until you're satisfied with the savouriness of the dish.

And here's my take on Spam & Potato Hash with a Chinese Twist that goes very well with steamed rice.

I don't think I've come across anyone cooking this dish (this way before), so maybe I can claim I created it....*wink wink*...which didn't take much doing actually! :P

I just threw in four of our favourite foodstuff into a pan and let it work its magic.  In fact, no magic needed when you have spam, eggs, potatoes....staples in any pantry.  You just need french beans...and voila....you have yourself a truly yummy one-dish meal that's complete with meat, eggs, carbs and veggie all-in-one.  Now this is a dish that will please the younglings, I bet! ^o^

And in case you have leftovers (which will be a rarity) but in the remote chance that you do, just toss them in with your leftover rice....and you got yourself a lovely fried rice.  I suppose you can substitute spam with ham in this dish but anything ham can do, spam can do better! ^_~

Friday, 16 June 2017

Yamaguchi Fish Market @ Kampung Pandan

My last visit to Yamaguchi Fish Market @ Kampung Pandan was more than a year ago...and I did say then that I may return to try live uni in a shell one day.  And that was exactly what I came for (last weekend) when I saw it offered at a price that was at least affordable to me.

We got there fairly early (around 6.30pm) but all the tables were already reserved with only the counter seats available.  I don't recommend the counter seats though as I was privy to the sometimes frantic food preparation in action.

It wasn't a case of looking at a calm sushi chef showcasing his mastery of sushi preparation but a case of seeing how long it took a chef to shuck an oyster or the collected dirty plates piling in the sink...haha! :D  For a Japanese restaurant, the place is rather dimly lit, which isn't great for photo taking, so please excuse the rather subdued photos.

The first thing that I ordered was the Live Uni @ RM88 served in its shell, of course.  It came sitting in a big bowl of ice with some green vegetation (which I reckon isn't for eating) just to make the uni look more worthy of its price? ;P

The five slices of uni in the shell may look big (coz I zoomed in) but don't be fooled by the photo as they were actually very tiny pieces.  Just look at the teaspoon at the top of the picture and you can gauge how small it was.  I once watched David Rocco's Dolce Vita where he travels off the coast of Naples to the island of Procida and dives for sea urchins.  Although they were smallish, the sea urchin roe had an amazingly vibrant orange colour, an indication as to just how fresh it was.  And all he needed was just a little of the fresh and rich roe to make a simple but delicious pasta dish.

To say I was disappointed with the taste would be putting it mildly....it didn't taste like the sea...in fact, it didn't taste good at all!  The uni sushi I had on my previous visit here tasted way way better.  I guess when something is offered at a cheap price, it can't be any good.  I should have known that there's no such thing as a cheap uni when one normally costs double the price! O_o  A cheap uni = a teeny-tiny uni = a not tasty uni!! Haiz, when something is too good to be true, it usually is! T_T

Disappointment aside, we also came because of the unagi promotion we saw posted by Gourmet Hunter KL. There are four dishes to choose from for this promotion...Unagi Train Sushi, Unagi Train Cheesy Sushi (RM36), Unagi Claypot Udon (RM46) and Steamed Unagi Rice with Egg.

And we knew exactly which two we wanted.  I wouldn't want a cheesy unagi nor have my unagi 'swimming' in a hot broth.  So, we started with the Unagi Train Sushi @ RM36, served on top a shorter 'train' of sushi rice.

We were very happy to see that it was a pretty long 'train'.  How long, you ask?  Well, I placed a Japanese wooden chopstick there for comparison purposes....and I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that the unagi was longer than the chopstick (probably about 9 inches)! ^_^

We were also extremely pleased with the taste of the unagi....sweet, caramelised, soft, tasty, perfect! ^.^

Our final unagi choice was the Steamed Unagi Rice with Egg @ RM46 that came served in a wooden box over a flame to keep the rice steaming hot while you eat.

Again, the portion of unagi was very substantial for the price paid.  Just look at it....and this was just half of the whole unagi! O_o

This is a fantastic deal indeed....for such quality and delicious tasting unagi.  We have no complaints whatsoever :)

Besides the lovely unagi, the steaming hot rice was also accompanied by a delightfully fluffy and appetising egg.  This was a dang good dish overall, one you won't regret ordering. ^o^

For more carbs, simply add on the Garlic Fried Rice @ RM10 which was scrumptious enough to please.

The Trio of Salmon @ RM45 featured a plate of freshness with salmon and salmon belly sashimi together with a small dish of salmon roe (ikura).

The three thick slices of salmon sashimi and two pieces of salmon belly met the freshness and taste test with flying colours.

The serving of ikura didn't fare as well though this time.  Although still bursting with juices, it wasn't quite bursting with saltiness like the last time we had it here.  We've had ikura lots of time elsewhere since but none could match the freshness and saltiness of the awesome one we had here...the first time.

Since the fresh juices here cost less than the green tea (RM12), we opted for the Orange Juice and Ice Honey Lemon, both at RM11.

If you have the cash to splash, you can splurge on some of these expensive premium seafood I saw in their tanks.  How about some Alaskan Snow Crabs for RM398 (for one?), Canadian Lobster for RM138/550g, French Crabs or American Oysters for RM78 (6 pcs)? O_o

My Personal Opinion

It would seem that the quality and freshness of some of their products (like uni and ikura) weren't as good as they once were or at least not as good as what I had before.  To think that I paid RM100 (after taxes) for a spoonful of crappy tasting uni was heartbreaking.

Luckily, the quality and taste of the unagi was very satisfying indeed...and so was the price as a generous portion like this can easily cost RM60 (or more) at other places.  The only blip was the less than stellar live uni (I must remember to never go for uni that seems insanely cheap!).

If unagi is a favourite of yours (as they were ours), don't miss this opportunity to sink your teeth into some good and very reasonably priced unagi.  You still have time to savour this as the promotion is available until the end of June.

Although this is a Japanese restaurant abundant with lots of very premium (and expensive) seafood, you can have a meal here (this time) that won't hurt your pocket too much if you stick to the unagi promotion and resist the temptation of the other menu offerings.  If you come away with eating just the unagi and nothing else, you'll still come away feeling very contented.

Yamaguchi Fish Market
No 16 Jalan Kampung Pandan
55000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-9284 6686

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