Friday, 29 July 2016

Croisserie Artisan Bakery @ Plaza Damansara

When I first read the review by The Yum List (some time late last year), I bookmarked this place (opened a little over a year ago) but I can't believe it took me so long to make my first visit now.

We made sure we left some room space in our stomachs for Croisserie Artisan Bakery @ Plaza Damansara after our lunch at The Good Batch.  You can choose to dine at their small alfresco space up front or in their cosy, little air-conditioned area upstairs.

Arriving with my friends well after 3.30 pm, I noticed that some of the shelves were starting to get bare, so there weren't as many choices as we would have liked but still plenty enough to be contented with.

So, we made our orders, paid at the counter and made our way upstairs (and as their poster says) sit down and let them spoil us with only the freshest from their bakery!

A must-have item here is Croisserie's signature croissant....the French Croissant @ RM4/pc made with French butter and Japanese flour.

A little place card proudly describes their croissant as a 16-layer French butter dough with a unique flaky texture and fluffy butter-rich interior, handcrafted over four days and made with the finest ingredients...and it certainly was all that...and more!

I would have loved to show you a cross-section of the layers (hehe!) but I was too engrossed with eating...which incidentally leaves quite a mess as the layers are super flaky and crisp...but whose complaining.  It has to go down as one of the best (if not the best) croissants I've eaten so far.  It was so good that it elicited my friends to pack more for home! ;)

They offer few types of danish here like peach, apple, blueberry and caramel mixed nuts.  We went with the Blueberry Danish @ RM5.50 with an almond cake crumb base and a layer of smooth creme patisserie, topped with the freshest blueberries and a sprinkling of snow powder (or snow sugar).

They weren't stingy with the creme patisserie nor the blueberries (nine in one danish!)...and thank god for the freshness of the blueberries were so needed to balance the thick and rich creme patisserie.  It was a good danish as the pastry was again flaky and crisp.

The next one I chose was because of its peculiar sounding (and difficult to pronounce) name, the Kouign-amann @ RM3.  Even they got the spelling of the name wrong (twice!) their place card (Kouign Amaan) and again in the receipt (Koignamaan)....hehe (I can't spell it either but I googled)! ;D

It's made from a dough containing layers of butter and sugar that tastes very much like a croissant, just not as flaky and light, and with a well caramelised sugary top.  This one wasn't as memorable.

This final one, the Canele de Bordeaux @ RM5, received so many positive reviews (some even saying that they were as good as the ones you'd find in France), so I ordered it out of curiosity.  I've no idea what it is as I've never eaten one before.  It's described as a unique French pastry with a tender custard centre covered with a thick caramelised crust.

I popped a piece into my mouth...and let's just say it didn't blow my mind (or any of my friends' minds).  I don't know what to think of it actually, maybe coz I've not had it before so there was nothing to compare it to or maybe (because of its dainty size) the piece I got was so tiny, I couldn't get much of any taste (haha!), so I'll refrain from making any judgement on this one.

We were lucky to find one last piece of the Opera Cake @ RM13.50, an almond sponge cake made with intricate layers of biscuit joconde, espresso, dark chocolate mousse, coffee butter cream and finished with a chocolate glaze and edible gold leaf for a bit of decadence.

The Opera was a stunning cake, made with luscious ingredients, and worth every cent.  It was certainly a little piece of heaven...and one of the best cakes I've had this year.  This is not a cake for sharing, you'd want it all to yourself.  It was so good.....woot woot! ^_*

My friend wanted to try the Earl Grey Chocolate Passion Cake @ RM16, so we got ourselves one.  The description mentioned chocolate Wiener Masse, milk, chocolate passion fruit ganache, crunchy wafer and Twinings earl grey mousse as the ingredients.

Although the earl grey cake turned out to be one of my friend's favourite, the rest of us preferred the opera cake.  For me, I wasn't liking the crunchy texture of the cake (caused by the wafer) all that much and (if I remembered correctly) the cake felt chilled (like in a slightly frozen state or maybe slightly hard textured).

Finally, I wanted to try the highly recommended lemon tart (by theyumlist) but was disappointed not to find any until my friend saw (hidden behind the place card) one last one...yay!  The Tarte au Citron @ RM12 is made with pate sucree (a French term for a sweet short crust pastry used to make tarts) and lemon curd.

This lemon tart was drop-dead gorgeous...the pastry was done right, the lemon curd ooze was intense in flavour and absolutely tangy....and that piece of charred lemon just made it more perfect.  Truly exceptional!

Not only were the selection of pastries dwindling (business must be good + the day was winding down), when it came to the drinks, they even ran out of ice, so it had to be hot drinks all round.  They use coffee beans from O'Coffee Club...and the coffees were certainly decent.

Homemade Hot Chocolate @ RM12
Cafe Latte @ RM10
Cappuccino @ 10
Cafe Mocha @ RM12

My Personal Opinion

If you're looking for some fine French pastries and European styled breads, made with top quality ingredients, look no further.....but be prepared to pay! ^_*

Don't leave without trying the flaky and buttery croissant, the luscious opera cake and the oozy lemon curd top favourites.

If I live or work in the area (they have another smaller outlet in Atria Shopping Gallery), I certainly won't be able to stop at one visit....but alas, I'm so far away.  According to their Facebook, we can get a limited range of their products at O'coffee Clubs in KLCC (Kinokuniya), Mont Kiara and The Gardens (Robinsons).  To get my fix, I may just have to visit the nearest one to me in KLCC to see what they offer! ;)

Croisserie Artisan Bakery
14 Jalan Medan Setia 2
Plaza Damansara
Bukit Damansara
50490 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2011 3727

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Secret Garden #1 - Enter My Secret Garden

I consider myself a beginner to colouring although I dabbled in art in school (mostly painting)...but never colouring.

Now that I've bought Johanna Basford's Secret Garden: Artist's Edition and Faber Castell's Polychromos colour pencils to bring her art to life, I couldn't wait to embark on my very first colouring adventure.

Someone mentioned that I was such a tease in my previous blog post when I didn't show a piece of my coloured work at the end of my post, so here comes the first one.....
And where better to start than the very first page of her pull out and frame colouring book (which I think is very apt) as it happens to be none other than a picture of a that I'd like to think leads to my secret garden....or my interpretation of it (through my colours).

Blank Canvas

I'll be sharing some tips (though I'm no expert) on the way I colour with you.
I'll share more tips as I move along and attempt more pieces.

Work in Progress #1

Tip #1 - Start with a light colour as your base and don't use too much force colouring the base.  Colour over it 2 - 3 times (or even more) until you achieve the desired shade you want.  Alternatively, you can also choose to use different shades of the same colour when you colour over them...this gives it a bit of texture (like what I did for the door where I used 4 shades of brown to achieve the desired effect).

Work in Progress #2

Work in Progress #3

Work in Progress #4

Work in Progress #5

Work in Progress #6

Tip #2 - Shading is very important as it gives 'life' to what you're colouring (like what I did to the leaves).  You can achieve that by shading with just one colour (the easiest way) applying different pressure or darkening certain parts.  Or you can do it by using different colours of the same base colour (like different shades of green, for example) or almost similar colours that work together (like yellow, orange and red).

Enter My Secret Garden - finito! ;)

Tip #3 - Since this piece of artwork is symmetrical in nature, try to use the same colours for the corresponding similar parts so that your finished masterpiece looks balanced and shows consistency.

I've spent many hours colouring (usually between 1 - 2 hours each day, over a few days) and I've enjoyed every moment of it....just don't overdo it like I did one day by colouring more than 3 hours  >.<  Instead of it being soothing and calming...I got a headache! :D

Did I bring justice to Johanna Basford's blank canvas?
I hope I did (in my first piece) ^_^
And I can't wait to get started on my next piece.....I can see why it's addictive! ;)

Monday, 25 July 2016

#ewew makes 2-Ingredient Banana Pancakes

I saw a video online making this simple 2-Ingredient Banana Pancakes with just one banana and two eggs.....and that's it!  I love to eat pancakes and I thought this one looked easy enough to attempt.

This simple recipe is milk or flour needed which is great since I rarely have milk in my refrigerator.  So, this recipe is suitable for those who are on a gluten-free and/or dairy-free diet.

So, let's get cracking at this seemingly easy to make recipe.  But you do need one thing...and that's a non-stick pan...if you don't have one, don't attempt to make this! >.<

Like the recipe said, all you need is two eggs and one banana....but make sure it's a large banana (apparently this banana wasn't large enough) :P

After that, all you need to do is mash up the bananas, beat the eggs and mix both together thoroughly.

My banana must have been a medium-sized one as I found the resulting batter to be a bit more on the liquid side, so I added an extra half a banana (you can even put two medium bananas in if you like which will thicken the pancakes and make them easier to flip).

I used a Chinese tablespoon (as a measuring device) to scoop the batter and pour into a non-stick pan that was already greased with butter.  One Chinese tablespoon produces one small pancake that's approximately 3 inches in diameter.  This was the first batch of the not-so-nice looking pancakes.

It gets better as you go along.  Probably the most difficult part of this recipe would be the flipping of the pancakes coz they're made up of just eggs and bananas.  The pancake will be quite liquid in nature (think of frying omelettes), so it'll have a runny consistency and difficult to flip.  That's why it's imperative that you fry them on low heat to give it sufficient time to set and firm up before flipping...and to keep them small so that they'll be easier to flip.

As soon as each one is done, stack them up to keep them warm for as long as possible (or keep them in a warm oven) while you finish frying the rest of the pancakes.

And there you have it.....a simple to make (but not-so-quick to fry) 2-Ingredient Banana Pancakes! ;-)

You can eat this with a knob of butter smeared on the pancakes....

.....or drizzled with honey (as in the case here) or maple syrup...

....or top them up with some freshly sliced or caramelised bananas (or any fruit)...whatever pleases you! But I couldn't wait to dig in, so no time to add bananas! :P

cross-section of the pancakes

This recipe is enough to make 12 small '3-inch' pancakes which is just nice as a light breakfast for one.....with a cup of coffee! ^_*

As for the taste, don't expect the pancakes to be fluffy (since no flour or milk was involved).  Taste wise, I'd say it's more like french toast but still respectable seeing how simple the recipe was to make.  You can definitely taste the banana in the pancakes...and if you like bananas, then this is the pancake for you :)

The test run of this 2-Ingredient Banana Pancakes was a success.  I wouldn't mind having it again, so I'll be making them again...but a much bigger batch next time! :D  

Friday, 22 July 2016

The Good Batch @ Damansara Uptown

It was the Raya holidays when I met up with some friends for lunch.  I chose a place that has been around for almost 3 years already (after being reminded of it through a recent visit/post by ccfoodtravel)...that's still serving up good food, good coffee and good times (or so I heard).

The place is none other than The Good Batch @ Damansara Uptown.  Even a cousin (on my husband's side) has been asking if I've tried the food here....well, it's never too late to try!

Arriving at peak lunch time, there was already a queue (I guess a queue is a good sign for an eatery that has been around for almost 3 years).  We put our names down and waited for a table (which took about 15 - 20 minutes coz we needed a big table).  Not to worry as benches are provided for you to wait (photo was taken when I left, which was past 3 pm, and that's why you don't see anyone waiting).

They serve all day mains (mostly breakfast/brunch staples) plus a few extra options for dinner (after 6pm). Since it was morning, there's bound to be egg-based dishes, the first of which was the Portobella Road @ RM25 featuring two poached eggs sitting on top of a duo of juicy portobello mushrooms with two crispy hash browns underneath.

The poached eggs were slightly over but the egg yolk still managed to ooze out at the prick of the fork.  The dish was finished off with their housemade pesto hollandaise sauce which I felt was a tad heavy and thick.  I would have preferred a bit more pesto and lemon juice in the mix to thin out the sauce a bit.

Someone 'told' me that the Hangover Mess @ RM25 is a must-order even if I wasn't having a, I ordered it.  It's something like a dish of corned beef hash.  The corned beef was served with some pan-fried potatoes and diced capsicums topped with two sunny side-up eggs and a drizzle of sauce which I can't remember (spiced mayo?).

Although the eggs were slightly overdone (again), I loved the taste and texture of the corned beef and I'm always a sucker for some 'crisp on the edges' potatoes.

We also had the Chicken & Pancakes @ RM29 that showcased 4 pieces of fried chicken fillets on two buttermilk pancakes and again topped with a sunny side-up egg.  I was glad that the dish came with only a drizzle of maple syrup and the rest served separately for you to tinker with the sweetness to your liking.  It wasn't the best tasting maple syrup, so we didn't need to add more.

The chicken tenders were fairly moist with a good crunch (something children will adore).  For some reason (most probably because of the crowd), all the sunny side-up eggs that day were bordering on overcooked...but, at least, I'm happy that they were from happy hens (judging from their deep orange yolks).

We also ordered The Angmoh @ RM29, their version of an English big breakfast, judging from the name (Manglish or Singlish for white people).  It came with all the prerequisites of scrambled eggs, turkey ham, chicken sausage, sauteed mushrooms, pan-fried potatoes, baked beans, grilled tomato and (a barely) toasted garlic bread.  Other than the nicely cooked scrambled eggs, the rest of the plate tasted pretty generic, so it was a good decision that we ordered this for the kids to share (who are easier to please than the adults as they mopped up every last bit of it).

Our final dish for sharing was the Salted Egg Wings @ RM19 which was made up of 3 whole chicken wings (wingettes + drumettes).  Basted with salted egg yolk, curry leaves, bird's eye chillies, butter and probably evaporated milk, we could definitely taste the salted egg yolk in the sauce.

I love chewing on the crisp curry leaves for the fragrance while the bird's eye chillies contributed a bit of heat to the wings.  Finally, some crunchy bits of salted egg yolk rounded off the dish to bring it to a more than satisfactory conclusion.

The Good Batch serves good coffees and their blend ("Fei Hong") is specially roasted by the good folks at Papa Palheta.

Iced Cappuccino @ RM13

One of my friends had the Ramadan Special, the Double Iced Coffee with Ice Cream @ RM15 that tasted creamy and chocolaty when I had a sip.

Iced Caramel Latte @ RM13

Another had a Banana Latte @ RM12 served with some crisp plantain chips (let's just say the flavour of banana in a coffee needs some getting used to)! >.<

They also offer chilled juices like this Mango Juice @ RM8 and freshly squeezed juices, served chilled, with no added sugar.

My Personal Opinion

Overlooking some minor hiccups and the fact that their eggs weren't egg-cellent that day, I'm willing to cut them some slack since it was the very busy Raya period.

Overall, the breakfast and brunch options that I had were decent enough though some prices could be better (like the Chicken & Pancakes).  My favourites were the Hangover Mess, Salted Egg Wings...and portobello mushrooms and hash browns (just not the sauce).

So I heard right.  The Good Batch still continues to serve good food, good coffees and good times! ;)

The Good Batch (Cafe & Bar)
No 53 Jalan SS21/1A
Damansara Utama
47400 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7733 2303

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