Monday, 30 June 2014

New Shanghai Legend @ The Intermark

New Shanghai Legend @ The Intermark, opened since May 2013, serves a wide array of sumptuous Chinese cuisine in a classy environment.

When you step into the restaurant, you're greeted with an appealing interior of dark timber wood paneling, flooring and tables.  The plush red velvety chairs and sofas (menu as well) oozes a distinctive feel of stylish elegance and sophistication.  The decor of old oriental art posters gives it the old Shanghai feel...lovely!

Their extensive menu ranges from canapés (or starters) to double-boiled soups to dried seafood treasures (like Buddha Jumps Over The Wall and shark's fin soup) to steamboat to fried rice/noodles to desserts and even premium Chinese tea selection.  There's also a long list of chef recommended dishes that you can rely on if you don't know what to order.
As soon as we were seated, they served us an Appetiser (of thin strips of unripened mango marinated with bits of sour plum) @ RM8 to stimulate our tastebuds.  It was refreshing and (surprisingly) not overly sour.  We're off to a good start!

We started off (from the canapés menu) with the Dragon Fruit Seafood Salad Boat @ RM12.  In this 'boat', you'd find a piece of baby octopus, scallop, prawn and crab stick with cubes of dragon fruit at the bottom.  It was (probably) dressed in Japanese mayo with bits of ebiko on top.  It was ok...simple but not spectacular!

Our next starter was the Whitebait Fish With Salted Egg @ RM15.  It was coated in batter and salted egg yolk with some slithers of kaffir lime leaves and bird's eye chilli thrown in for added flavour.  It was deep fried till super crunchy and was a delight to eat, though a tad on the salty side.  It would have been better eaten with rice (to lessen the saltiness).
I ordered a chef recommended dish of Deep Fried Shrimp Ball & Shimeji Mushrooms @ RM45 which came with just 4 measly fried shrimp balls sitting on top a piece of Japanese cucumber with a fair amount of battered shimeji mushrooms.  This was another ok dish.
Another chef's recommendation was the Deep Fried Star Garoupa with Pomelo & Lemon Sauce @ RM88 with a beautiful presentation (but not as pretty as the picture in the menu though).  The monstrosity of the thing standing at the back is the carcass of the garoupa which has been deep fried.  Although there were some remnants of fish flesh on it, it was overly fried to the extent of being dry, so if you have thoughts of devouring the fish carcass (coz that's what the Chinese like to do), you can forget it because it was inedible.

This is the flesh of the garoupa which were sliced, battered lightly and deep fried.  The fish slices had a slight crisp but were still delicate.  They were served with pomelo sacs, sliced shallots and fried cuttlefish bits in a slightly sourish lemon was full of zesty flavours.   I enjoyed this dish the most as it had the freshness (of the pomelo), crispiness (of the cuttlefish) and tartness (of the lemon) to whet your appetite.
Our next dish was the Fried Rice with Crab Meat @ RM28.  This simple fried rice, with bits of egg and crab meat, was rather tasty except they had to spoil it with the addition of "daun sup" (some kind of parsley which has a strong resemblance to Chinese parsley...don't know what it's called in English, perhaps celery leaves?)  As much as I love the taste of Chinese parsley, the taste of "daun sup" is more intense (even I dislike it)....who puts "daun sup" in fried rice anyway?  [#Tip: Children would definitely not like this, so it's best to order some other type of fried rice.]

Our final order was the Double-Boiled Shark's Fin Soup with Bamboo Fungus @ RM68 (for one pax) from the dried seafood treasures section of the menu.  This was ordered so that I could finish off the value in my vouchers but I would soon regret my choice.  It was a big letdown in terms of taste and price!  [#Note: As the pricing here is pretty upmarket, I was able to sample the menu by relying on discount vouchers offered by a group buying site.]

The soup base was highly flavoured with was a bit like drinking "chee tow tong" (peppered pig's stomach soup) though not as peppery hot.  I did find one piece of bamboo fungus (or bamboo pith) and some (small) pieces of shark's fin.  Don't know what the finely shredded stuff was because it tasted dry and bland (my guess it's crab though it didn't taste like fresh crabmeat at was more like the poor quality shredded crabmeat we buy off the shelf).  It tasted like what's left of the meat after every drop of its liquid or flavour had been squeezed out of it.
Surprisingly, the drinks were reasonably cheap in comparison.  You can get an Orange Juice @ RM6 or an Iced Lemon Tea for the same price.

My Personal Opinion

Overall, I would say that there were some 'hits' and some 'misses' as well.  The prices are not exactly 'wallet-friendly' as a meal here can easily cost you RM100 - RM150 per person.  At these prices (somewhat similar to hotel-type Chinese restaurants), I would expect premium ingredients but, sadly, it came up short.

Would I return?  Hmm, I'm not so sure (the jury is still out on this one).  I'm not saying it's bad, I'm just saying the quality did not match the price.  If I do return, it would be for the not-so-premium items (as the menu did contain a considerable amount of fairly priced dishes between RM20 - RM30 that turned out quite ok).

A promising start that came to a disappointing end!  If you want to give this place a try, I would suggest you stick with the non-premium dishes which I feel are better value-for-money and better tasting as well.

Likes:  The Whitebait with Salted Egg and Deep Fried Star Garoupa with Pomelo & Lemon Sauce.

Didn't like at all:  Definitely the Double-Boiled Shark's Fin Soup with Bamboo Fungus!  At RM68 a bowl, it didn't wow me...I expected a lot more.  Hey, I would take a (lesser quality but tastes better) RM15 bowl of Shark's Fin & Crabmeat Soup (from one of my 'go to' steakhouses) anytime over this one.  Luckily, I only paid half price for this (because of the discount vouchers), otherwise I would be really pissed (even at half price, I'm still pissed)!!

New Shanghai Legend
Lot G-12 Intermark Mall
The Intermark
348 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2181 2731

Friday, 27 June 2014

Jogoya @ Starhill Gallery

Touted as the largest buffet in Malaysia, Jogoya's flagship Japanese buffet restaurant, Jogoya @ Starhill Gallery, opened its doors in January 2006 and remains (till today) a favourite of many who are looking for a "wide-variety-good-value" buffet.  With a large space of nearly 30,000 sq ft, manouevring around the restaurant can be a bit challenging and time consuming.

The prices for their buffets are between RM82 - RM92++ (during weekdays) and RM88 - RM98++ (during weekends/public holidays).  Prices for children are based on their height measurements.  However, they do have year-round promotions for members and non-members (bringing prices to around RM55 - RM75), so do watch out for it!  The only drawback on promotional prices is that you're limited to 2 hours dining time as opposed to 4 - 5 hours if you pay full prices.

In Jogoya, there are different sections or food preparation counters dishing up all types of food for your eating pleasure like Japanese, Teppanyaki, Deep Fried, Barbeque, Chinese, Dim Sum, Steamboat/Claypot, Western/Pasta, Baked Goods, Pastries & Cakes, Drinks Bar and Ice Creams (including everyone's favourite premium brand Haagen-Dazs).

Once seated, you'll be given some metallic clips (you can ask for more at anytime) with your table no. on it (for ordering dishes that are not pre-prepared food on the buffet line).  You only need to drop these clips into the bowls found in front of the dish samples you wish to try.  They will prepare and bring the dishes to you.

First things first, I like to get my fresh Thai coconut drink from the cooler which is free-flow (they used to be free flow and then limited to one per pax and now it's free flow again).

Fresh Thai Coconut Drink....refreshing

Anyway, there are lots more other drink choices like Chinese tea, fruit juices, colourful cocktails, soft drinks, smoothies, coffee etc.

Pink Guava Juice/Soursop Juice/Grape Juice

With drinks in hand, let's attack the food...and there's a lot to attack!  Warning: Pics Overload!!  Due to the sheer variety, there are more pics of the food (from the counters) than the food I can actually eat.

I always start off with a hot steaming soup and there are a few types you can choose from the Chinese section.

I chose the Abalone Slices Chicken Soup which was piping hot.  There's a pc of chicken meat, red dates, "kei chi" (dried wolfberries) and abalone slices (not good quality ones, of course, but more like vegetarian chewy ones).  It was ok.

Next to the steaming soups, you'd find the Dim Sum selection.

Look at all those fried little morsels of delight!

We picked the Fried Prawn Roll which came with sizeable prawns and deep fried till crispy.  It was good.

Here are some starters to get me going.

Sauna Egg (it's simply a soft-boiled egg with a few tiny shreds of seaweed in Japanese soy...who doesn't like a gooey, runny egg, yes?
Shark's Fin Crunchy Salad Thingy (dressing a tad salty)
Ebi with Apple Sauce (which had chopped prawns and mango cubes)

The sashimi (and other raw food) counter (with some not looking very fresh).

My plate of Sashimi (Savori, Ika & Tako Sashimi), cooked prawns, Salmon Tataki & Spicy Snails.  The sashimi items were not as fresh as I would have liked and buffets are never the best places to have sashimi (as freshness and integrity of the raw food can be compromised if left out for too long).

My favourite was the Salmon Tataki which was lightly seared while the salmon flesh remained raw.

Went for a second helping of the Salmon Tataki and Spicy Snails and one Raw Oyster (which was not very fresh).

Grilled Shishamo

Grilled Saba Fish

Our plate of Grilled Shishamo, Saba Fish, Squid & Eel, my 'must-have' Quail Eggs and Takoyaki Balls (had way better ones than these) and something on a stick.  I liked the grilled shishamo the best.

The freshly fried Crispy Chicken Skin, Tempura Prawns & Fish, Crispy Seafood Tofu & Fried Chicken Dumpling at the Deep Fried Section.

My plate of Panko Shishamo, Fried Chicken Skin, Crispy Seafood Tofu & Tempura Fish...all were good.

Selection of various types of sushi.....

....from the Sushi Bar

This is the Steamboat Section that we did not try.

Two 'cook to order' was the Fried Eel Omelette which tasted a bit like unagi on a piece of omelette.  It was quite good though the sauce was a bit salty.

The other was the Grilled Alaskan Cod Fish (which certainly didn't taste like the cod fish I'm used to eating). It was a very small fish (and probably cheap) coz I saw them cooking some and it's cut into the head, body and tail.  I was unlucky enough to get the head.....T_T!

And if you happen to be a Jogoya VIP member, you have certain membership privileges and one of them is that you can enjoy certain VIP premium dishes that the non-members don't get to try.

These were some of the VIP premium dishes that I had the privilege of trying (in an earlier visit with my friends) - Grilled Whole Squid, Alaskan King Crab Legs, King Crabs, Tom Yam Prawns & Deep Fried Mantis Prawns.

Finally, we arrived at the desserts (are you ready?)......cakes, cookies, pastries, mochi, jellies, muffins, cream puffs, puddings and many more!

Cookies & Muffins

Various types of (Fruit) Puddings & Jellies

More Jellies & Tiramisu


.....and more cakes!

My desserts of Strawberry Jelly (with cubes of nata de coco), Mango Pudding & Tiramisu.

This is the Coconut Milk Pudding....such a cute wobbly ball of yumminess!

Other desserts you can choose from....the DIY Ice Kacang counter, Chocolate Fountain and a selection of Fresh Fruits.

No dessert bar is complete without ice cream and here you have Haagen-Dazs & New Zealand natural ice cream.

Of course, you can't leave without having some Haagen-Dazs ice cream and my choice was the Mango Raspberry flavour ( was a fresh tub).

To round off my meal or any other meal, for that matter, you need a cup of coffee and this is my cup of Cappuccino (not great though).

My Personal Opinion

I would say that Jogoya's buffet is indeed "wide-variety-good-value" if you're looking for variety and value-for-money but taste wise, just don't get your hopes up too high.  Having said that, it's still one of the better Japanese buffets around (still better than Shogun & Saisaki).  If it's your first visit, you'll probably go 'wow' but this 'wow' factor diminishes as you make more visits (much like the saying...familiarity breeds contempt).

Although I found the quality and freshness of their raw food and some seafood rather suspect, it's acceptable for the promotional prices we pay.  But, if I had to pay full prices, I'll have to think twice (coz then I'll expect fresher produce)!  In all my previous outings to Jogoya, I didn't take any sashimi or fresh oysters but decided to this time.  It was a mistake as I came off with a stomach upset.

Would I recommend this place?  Yes, I would, especially to big eaters who appreciate and value variety over taste but (with a word of caution)....just stay away from the raw stuff if you've a sensitive stomach (like me).  [#Note: Another Japanese buffet you should stay away from is Daidomon...downright horrible!]

Will I be back?  I'll have to think about it, especially after the last 'upset' visit.  And because they offer so much variety, there are no standout dishes that really make you want to come back's like they are a "Jack of all trades but the master of none"!  Anyway, buffets are not so much 'my thing' anymore purely for the reasons that we tend to eat less (or can't consume as much) as we grow older (and if I do go, it's more for the camaraderie and chit-chatting than anything else).  It's not easy (these days) to find a buffet that offers variety, quality, fresh food and, at the same time, tastes good.  I  much prefer quality over quantity these days.

Jogoya (Japanese Buffet Restaurant)
T3 Relish Floor Starhill Gallery
181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2142 1268

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