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Friday, 30 January 2015

Pigs & Wolf @ Pavilion

I've eaten at (and reviewed) the Three Little Pigs & The Big Bad Wolf in Tropicana City Mall before and remembered the meal to be pleasurable. 
 
So, when they opened their third and latest outlet (nearer to home) and offered a discount (through a group buying site), I knew these were reasons enough for a revisit.
 
Pigs & Wolf @ Pavilion (yes, they've shortened their name) is located on the 7th Floor now known as the Dining Loft (which formerly housed the beauty floor).  Just like their other outlets, they have a pigs menu (for breakfast and lunch) and a wolf menu (for dinner) although you'd still be able to find some similar dishes on both menus.

First up, my order of a starter for sharing, the Golden Onion Rings @ RM10 which consisted of onion rings deep fried until crispy and served with a herbed mayo.
 
The was passable as the onion ring batter was quite light and crisp though the onion rings were slightly on the greasy side.
 
For my main, I went with the Snug Piggy @ RM39 which (incidentally) was not a 'wolf approved' but a 'safer' dish.  I actually wanted to try their recommended pork steak of Green with Envy, which is a pesto marinated pork steak with lemon sauce, but saw a blog comment that the sauce had a surprising amount of sugar, so I backed off as I dislike a sweet sauce...immensely! :(
 
The pork steak was fairly tender and served with fresh shiitake and shimeji mushrooms in a brown sauce.  Pork chops that I've eaten tend to be on the drier side and not as juicy (as chicken chops), so the brown sauce was a welcome relief to keep it moist.  No complaints on this porkilicious dish! :D
 
It came with a side of fries and fresh salad.  The fries were fresh and hot but the dressing for the salad, unfortunately, tasted rather unpleasant, so I left the salad unconsumed.  I was told the dressing was balsamic but (for some reason) this one tasted odd to me (it's like the taste of food that had gone bad which was what I had encountered, on numerous occasions, with sweet sour pork when vinegar is involved).  But, I've had balsamic vinegar elsewhere and I really liked it...I think it comes down to the difference in quality.

I've also been wanting to try their signature pork ribs (The One That Didn't Get Away @ RM78) that I've heard a lot about but have yet to find someone to share it with, so this one seems to keep getting away from me...kekeke! :(
 
Our other main was another 'wolf approved' dish (I had before) of Pork Lover Aglio E Olio @ RM29 and my 'pork lover' was indeed contented with the generous amount of roast pork, honey ham and smoked bacon and topped with a giant meatball.
 
The spaghetti was al dente and tossed in garlic, chilli flakes and olive oil.  The chilli flakes provided quite some heat to the dish. 
 
I decided to have a 'perk me up' juice and went with The Wake Up @ RM12 which is a combo of celery, apple, orange and lemon.  It was nice and refreshing with apple being the dominant flavour. 

The other drink was an Iced Lemon Tea @ RM8 (note that they serve you with a whole bottle of water, so if you want to skip ordering drinks, you can).

My Personal Opinion

The food was still decent the second time round.  Prices here are generally mid-range although their pork steaks, pork ribs and pork knuckle (RM98) are on the pricier side (but the latter two dishes can be shared).

So, if you're in pursuit of some porcine pleasures, you can pay a visit to this porky place!  Perhaps, the next time I should come here for their pigs menu.
 
Pigs & Wolf
Lot 7.01.07 Level 7 Pavilion KL
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2110 4438

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Favourite 'Sweet Indulgence' of 2014

Little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice....no, not the Powerpuff Girls....but I've come to my last and final post on my favourite eats of 2014 and what better way than to end with desserts, of course....and so, here's my favourite 'sweet indulgence' of 2014

I don't eat a lot of sweets personally as I'm more into savoury eats, so this list may not truly reflect what's really good out there but they're my favourites from the few that I've eaten in 2014.

Top Hat Restaurant @ Jalan Stonor


This Warm Chocolate Pudding had a deep chocolaty flavour and a gooey centre and the homemade orange ice cream brought a tangy freshness to the dessert.
 
Fahrenheit 600 @ Publika


This Chocolate Mousse Cake was decadent and sinful but oh-so-good :)
 
Chinoz on the Park @ Suria KLCC

The Rainbow Cake was the probably the 'craze cake' for 2014.  I love a beautifully-coloured cake (just like everyone else) and this one tasted as good as it looked...great with a cup of hot coffee.
 
Bonjour Garden @ Intermark Mall

This Chocolate Galaxy with its velvety, glistening chocolate encasing a moist cake inside, was lip smacking good!  Although I don't particular go crazy over chocolate, I do acknowledge that chocolate plays a major part in many (if not most) of the good desserts out there.
 
Alexis Bistro @ Great Eastern Mall

The Tiramisu with Strawberry Sauce is a firm favourite that everybody raves about here.  I liked it because of the strawberry sauce which managed to cut through the richness of the cake, and although it didn't have that intense coffee flavour, it was still a very good cake.

Frisky Goat @ TTDI


This immensely refreshing strawberry-raspberry infused Red Opera, with a crunchy-sweetish nut topping, has to be my all-time favourite piece of cake =)  I just love cakes with a pretty, fruity taste...sweet!
 
Map's (Revisit) @ Bandar Sunway

Coming really close to my all-time favourite cake is a somewhat surprising find that made the list (seeing how I don't like cheese)...but this was a  slice of heaven!  It's the Gula Melaka Cotton Cheesecake with a cheese layer that's ever so soft and light that even 'cheese haters' would like :D  Also absolutely loved their Real Vanilla Bean Ice Cream made with...what else.....real vanilla beans, of course!
 
Madame Waffle @ Mid Valley

These Belgian liege waffles (like the Coffee Tiramisu) would surely satisfy one's sweet tooth.  The vanilla infused waffle with pearl sugar and the pure honey glazed waffle were the ones I liked best.
 
 
And finally, rounding up my list is the Boston Shortcake that was visually vibrant and full of zesty flavours.  The ever crispy and freshly fried Spanish Churros (with dark Belgian chocolate) were just as d-lightful ;)
 
These are my favourite 'sweet indulgence' of 2014 from the short list of sweets that I've managed to sample as I don't partake in sweet stuff that often.....but when I do, it's those with tangy, zesty flavours that get the better of me each time.

*Everybody join in and sing along*.....sweet dreams are made of these...who am I to disagree!!!
 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Jollibean @ Berjaya Times Square

We all know that soya beans (or soybeans) are good for our health as it's a good source of protein and soluble fiber, low in saturated fat, contain no cholesterol and supply loads of vitamins and minerals. 
 
But, that's not why I like them...I just like to drink "tau cheong sui" (soya bean milk) and eat "tau fu fah" (soya bean curd)!  And, soy pudding is just a cold version of tau fu fah (which is gaining popularity coz it's perfect and more enjoyable for our hot climate).
 
I was first introduced to this soybean by my neighbour (who kindly gifted me a box) some time ago.  A visit to their website (later) revealed that Jollibean is a Singapore product (which started in 1993) and they use the best quality Canadian 'Hellum' soya beans (incidentally, soya bean curd is one of Singapore's favourite desserts).  I only know of 2 outlets here, one in Berjaya Times Square and the other in Sunway Pyramid.
 
And so, when my friends and I had to attend a wedding at Berjaya Times Square recently, I thought about paying this outlet a visit, Jollibean @ Berjaya Times Square, to have a little snack before the wedding dinner (we all know wedding dinners are notorious for starting late).

I enjoyed the soy pudding so much the last time that I just had to order the Classic Soy Pudding @ RM3.90 again, of course.  It was cold, not overly sweet and very smooth....with a jelly-like texture :-)  My friend liked it so much that she packed some to take home.

A little digression:

This is soy pudding...not soy bean curd (tau fu fah) which has a softer custard-like texture with a more watery consistency.  Initially, I didn't know the difference, so I googled "soya bean pudding" and came across this blog...ieat.ishoot.ipost by a Singaporean celebrity blogger, Dr Leslie Tay.  His post on the soya bean pudding and tau fu fah recipes clearly explained the difference.  In a nutshell, soya bean pudding is basically soy milk that has been gelled (by adding gelatine powder or instant jelly) and tau fu fah is made by adding a coagulant (gypsum powder).  Looking at these 2 recipes, you'd realise that it's actually quite easy to make a soya bean pudding (but not a soya bean curd).  Not only that, but I also discovered a new, awesome, award winning food blog!!!  Although he writes mostly about Singapore food (especially hawker food), it's a very good blog as his posts are very detailed...like his "almost everything you need to know" recipe posts!

When I first got to his blog, he looked very familiar but I couldn't quite put my finger to it.  It wasn't until after I visited his Facebook and saw an entry on aburi salmon that it clicked...he was the one featured on Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate - Singapore" where he showcased his favourite Aburi Sushi from Tatsuya.  Before this, the only other celebrity foodie (from across the Causeway) I know is Seetoh (I'm sorry I didn't know about this most talked-about food blogger, ok...hey, I didn't know about Boey either, at first).  Dr Leslie Tay has also written 2 best selling books, "The End of Char Kway Teow" in 2009 and "Only The Best" (a Guide to Singapore's Shiokest Hawker Food) in 2012.  Although we may not always see 'eye to eye' with our closest neighbour on the origins of 'some' dishes, this blog is still a very good read should you want to visit.
 
Ok, coming back to Jollibean, the Classic Soymilk @ RM3.50 that we had was just ok.  I've drank quite a few soya bean drinks from road side stalls (in my time) that tasted much better.  They have a no. of different versions in Jollibean like grass jelly, ginger, matcha, almond, chocolate and some done with fruits (banana, honeydew, papaya and watermelon)...some are probably ok but some sound too funky (if you ask me) especially those with fruits and chocolate.

We also had a "Mee Jiang Kueh" with Red Bean Paste @ RM1.80 (or otherwise known as Chinese pancake or "Ban Chang Kuih" or "Tai Kow Meen" locally).  This was no where near as good as those sold by street vendors, so I definitely wouldn't have this again.
 
The Stay Crisp Pancake with Peanut RM1.80 fared a bit better in the sense that the thin pancake managed to stay true to its name.

My Personal Opinion

Their tagline says it all....we've bean spreading joy!  But this Singapore chain seems to have only 2 outlets here (as opposed to over 30 outlets in Singapore)...I guess they've not bean spreading (so much) joy here (as they're not as popular).

Apart from the different types of soymilk, they also have 3 variations of soy bean curd (classic, ginger and gula Melaka) which I didn't try.
 
But the soy pudding only comes in one version and that is classic...and this is the one you should get.....it's 'jolligood'!
 
Jollibean
Lot LG-18A-2
Central Lower Ground
Berjaya Times Square
1 Jalan Imbi
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Friday, 23 January 2015

Kiku Zakura @ Great Eastern Mall

As I needed to visit Great Eastern Mall to replenish the stock of 'salmon sashimi' for my four-legged friend and since I've eaten at quite a few places here already on previous visits, Kiku Zakura @ Great Eastern Mall was my choice this time.

This restaurant has been around since 1996 (according to their Facebook Page) with another outlet at Tropicana City Mall and an upcoming one in Mid Valley (scheduled to open in April 2015).  [#Note: If you google this restaurant, you'd realise that they used to have branches in Berjaya Times Square, Avenue K, IOI Mall and Mid Valley (they seem to be opening and closing...why?...I've no idea).]

The d├ęcor and the kimono-clad waitresses (and Japanese songs playing in the background) did give this eatery a more Japanese-feel.  Service was a little bit 'extra' too when they pamper you with hot towels before and after your meal....how's that for service!

After we've made our orders, we were served a complimentary appetiser...I wouldn't call it an appetiser.....more like a 'teaser' coz it's so tiny!!  Anyway, let's not sound ungrateful...it's vinagered octopus with cucumber...quite well done and addictive :)

Actually, I don't know much about this place other than the fact that I've seen the release (on their Facebook in Sept 2014) of their Japanese Bakudan Burger with a choice of gyu (beef), tori (chicken), kani (soft shell crab) or yasai (vegetarian).

So, our first order of the day was....you guessed it...the Kani Bakudan Burger @ RM33 which is a soft shell crab burger with a choice of charcoal bun.

The soft shell crab's size was slightly bigger than the bun...yay!  What's not to like...it was fresh, crispy and oh-so-good!

The soft shell crab burger was served with an Onsen Tamago.  [#Note: An Onsen Tamago is a Japanese low temperature egg (tamago) traditionally slow cooked in its shell in the water (70C) of hot springs (onsen) in Japan...of course, it's now cooked in a temperature controlled water bath.  I guess it's similar to the western's version of a 63-degree or 75-degree egg.]

The soft pillowy texture of the charcoal bun was perfect for soaking up the creamy, oozy egg yolk that was running off.  Imagine sinking your teeth into something that breaks and oozes down your mouth...it's bonkers!  It was a mess alright....but it's better to have enjoyed and made a mess than never to have enjoyed at all :D

There was also a side of fries (which was forgettable) and some crunchy vegetables of shredded cabbage, sliced Japanese cucumbers, lettuce leaves, some fish roe and Japanese mayo in the burger.

Our next order was the Unaju @ RM33.  At first, I didn't know what Unaju was (although I suspected it was unagi) until I was told it's unagi with rice...oh, I thought that was called Unadon.  [#Tip: So, on my return, I googled it and this is what I got.  Unadon is an abbreviation for unagi + donburi or "eel bowl" and unaju is the same dish served in a lacquered box.  Ah, so...unadon is an eel bowl and unaju is an eel box...kekeke!!  If your unaju happens to be pricier than your unadon, it's because of the appearance of luxury of the box, that's all.]

It was served with a tiny plate of pickled cabbage, radish and some kind of cherry (I think, I can't quite remember).

Both the unagi and the sauce (for the rice) met with approval.


We also ordered an Ebi Mitsuba Tempura @ RM18 which is a prawn and vegetable tempura which was totally disappointing!  You'd have to go on a 'treasure hunt' to find the prawns :(

It comes with the usual dipping sauce for the tempura.

You can also see that the tempura batter was thick, thus not giving it the light and super crispy texture that I'm used to eating.  If I had to put it down to the worse tempura I've eaten thus far, this has got to be it! T_T

Our drinks for the evening:

Fresh Orange Juice @ RM9
Hot Green tea @ RM2...loved the Geisha print on the tea cups ;)

My Personal Opinion

A must-try is probably their Japanese Bakudan Burgers.  I'd say the food is fair (as long as you don't order any tempura) and reasonably priced too.  I did like the soft shell crab burger and unagi. 

I think they're are quite well known for their fresh sashimi but I wouldn't know as I didn't have any.

Kiku-Zakura Japanese Restaurant
Lot 13 Level 3 Great Eastern Mall
No 303 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4253 2560

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Favourite 'Cheap Eats' of 2014

In my 3rd post of favourite eats is my favourite 'cheap eats' of 2014, the definition of which refers to hawkers or coffee shop food that is cheap and very affordable to the masses and usually eaten in a (sometimes) not-so-conducive coffee shop environment or with a "tapau" (take away) option only.

This was the most difficult list to narrow down as I had so many good eats and had loads to choose from.

It's the combination of the 3 types of sambal that truly transforms this nasi lemak from good to great and the best thing is....you're assured of a 'first-come-first-serve' orderly basis (no queue jumpers here).

The 'half lean, half fat' char siew is well caramelised with charred edges, giving it a slightly sweet and smoky flavour.  It's perfect fat-to-lean ratio and tender meat just melts in your mouth!

Rojak & Cendol Stall @ Pandan Indah

The ultra crispy fritters, eaten with their kick-ass sweet-spicy peanut (aka rojak) sauce, and an accompaniment of an icy cold shaved ice cendol is a match made in 'food' heaven :)

Chan Meng Kee (Wantan Mee) @ SS2 PJ

The dry wantan mee with char siew is what you would be after as the yumminess of the sauce is flavoured with pork lard.  The other standout here is the crispy roast chicken leg which is bathed in oil just before serving.

Restoran TO (Char Kway Teow) @ Pandan Perdana


This consistently good plate of char kway teow remains my favourite till today coz it's full of "wok hei" and it's fried with pork lard (if I were you, I'd ask for more pork lard bits)!

Yap Hup Kee (Chee Cheong Fun) @ Pudu

The chee cheong fun is what I'm after when I come here, both the curry and sweet sauce versions.  The yong tau foo, especially the fish+pork cakes, are really good as well.

Mei Sin (Curry Laksa) @ Imbi


Practically all the food at this coffee shop is good but my perennial favourite has to be the curry laksa...a bowl of full-on thick and savoury curry with just the right amount of spice and santan.  It's still my all-time preferred curry laksa :-)
Famous for its banana leaf rice but what I adore is their fluffy and airy roti canai (served with 3 curries), crispy vadai and 'full of spices' and aromatic fried chicken.

Wai Fung (Pork Noodles) @ Pandan Perdana

This is my regular haunt for "chee yuk fun" (pork noodles) coz I always get my 'special order' (without having to remind the stall owner) and that's with extra "chee yau char" (crispy pork lard bits) :D

Char Siew Yoong @ Jalan Pudu Ulu

Some (especially those who enjoy a leaner cut) would love this tender, succulent char siew.  But, surprisingly, it wasn't the char siew that I had a fatal attraction to but it was the braised chicken feet and double-boiled soups that sucked me in!

Loong Seng (Dim Sum) @ SS2 PJ

This coffee shop-styled dim sum place serves good and very affordable dim sum.  The not-to-be-missed item here is the fried "har guin" (prawn roll) with plump prawns and uber-crispy thin skin.  Especially so when it comes out hot from the wok, I would immediately snap up 3-4 plates of it (if you come here just for this, it'd be worth it).

O & S Restaurant (Part 1) @ Paramount Garden
Almost everything is good here but the one stall that got me hook, line and sinker is the yong tau foo stall.  Their fried fu chuk rolls and sui kow are simply out-of-this-world good ;)  Other favourites include Penang chee cheong fun, wantan mee, Penang curry mee and assam laksa.

Millenium Eighty-Six @ Paramount Garden

The steamed "sek pan yue tao" (garoupa fish head) is extremely fresh and the ginger infused rice wine broth is good to the last drop.  The Fried Fish Head Noodles in a clear and delicate broth were equally outstanding.

Yau Char Kwai Stall @ SS2 PJ

These fried babies...I'm referring to my all time favourite "yau char kwai" (Chinese crullers).  Great dunked in a cup of hot "kopi-o kaw" (thick black coffee)...an old-school combo that has stood the test of time!

Pau Kee (Ipoh Sar Hor Fun) @ Imbi

This Ipoh sar hor fun is slurpilicious and the broth, subtle and delicious.  Also good is the smooth poached chicken with crunchy bean sprouts.

And that's my favourite 'cheap eats' of 2014....actually, there are lots more but I just had to hold back, otherwise the list would be incredibly long!

These were just some of my favourites, which I managed to blog about, and (I know) it's just the tip of the iceberg...and there's plenty more good stuff out there to eat (and blog) in 2015 (for sure)!!

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