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Thursday, 29 December 2016

Skillet At 163 @ Fraser Place, KL

So, how was your Christmas holidays....and all the feasting? ;)  Well, I'm equally guilty...I had my fair share too, I must say.  Hmmm, let's see...I smelled pine trees and felt the Christmas-y spirit in a wonderful meal, met some gingerbread men and had some pretty-looking desserts, went for a High Tea Buffet, had a Korean BBQ meal, another Japanese meal....yada yada yada...but those will be stories for other days! ^_*

For now, I'll just be concentrating on the fabulous meal I had with friends that brought the Christmassy feel and spirit!  The place for such a meal was none other than Skillet At 163 @ Fraser Place, KL.

Having read about the place from theyumlist, and the awesome reviews given by tripadvisor, I already had this place bookmarked to try.  Although they have a Festive 2016 5-Course Degustation Menu (for Christmas & New Year), the price tag of RM300 per person or RM550 for two (without wine pairing) was too much for my friends and I to handle.  So, we went for lunch instead where we could order a la carte dishes and the prices are also a little easier on the wallet (please note that they have a totally different menu for dinner).

Walking in, the decor already warms you up to the Christmas spirit with a beautifully-decorated glowing tree, shiny baubles and lights, Santa figurines and Christmas wreaths adorning the stairs.

To get us off to a rousing start, let me begin with the drinks this time coz some of these mocktails deserve a "leading role" instead of being (usually) typecast as "extras" at the end of the post...haha! ;)  The first was this Virgin Mango Margarita @ RM16 that arrived in a pretty 'margarita-type' glass, rimmed with salt, filled with frozen mango and citrusy hints of lime for an an utterly refreshing start to your meal...so good! ^_^

The Cucumber Cooler @ RM16 didn't play second fiddle to the Virgin Mango Margarita either.  The taste of the cucumber came out strongly in the drink textured with crunchy bits of finely diced cucumber and quite a bit of mint to provide that refreshing lift.  P/S: For those who have followed my blog from the beginning, you'd know that mint isn't one of my most favourite things but I've come to embrace it of late because of the freshness it brings to the mocktails I've enjoyed.  I can accept the minty taste it imparts in the drinks but I still won't eat the herb...haha! :D

And then there was this Blue Passion @ RM16 that arrived looking splendid, garnished with a sprig of mint and a wedge of lime, with lots of passion fruit pulp swimming in the glass.  Hmmm, come to think of it...I don't remember being offered a sip of this! >.<  But anything with these little pops of sensation in your mouth has my vote.

Rounding up our drinks was this Fresh Juice of Orange @ RM16 (but I'd pick any mocktail over this for the same price) and a Hot Cappuccino @ RM12.  It must have been a trainee barista at work that day coz I don't think I've seen a heart-shaped coffee art quite like this one before! O_o

We started our meal with the Crispy Whitebait & Avocado Salad @ RM28.  The fried whitebait looked very much like fried squid tentacles (at first glance) but were absolutely light and crisp on a bed of fresh salad leaves with creamy avocado slices, sticks of crunchy cucumber, finely shredded carrot and purple cabbage.

A drizzle of lime juice and a citrusy yuzu vinaigrette (served on the side) made the salad incredibly refreshing.  So simple, yet so good :)  If this was a hint of what is to come, we were excited already.

Next, we had the Chicken Schnitzel @ RM29...and we had two orders of this (one for the kids to share).  The breading was kept crisp and the chicken moist...and the serving was a generous portion too.

Served with baked potato wedges, a tasty tomato sauce underneath (which we asked to be made non-spicy for the kids) and topped with a garden salad of arugula, carrot and cabbage, the fried breaded chicken is always a crowd pleaser with children...and some adults too...hey! ;)

The Skillet Beef Burger @ RM38 with inhouse-made Aussie beef patty topped with beef bacon, cheddar cheese, balsamic onions and garlic aioli, sandwiched in between a soft bun, was served with a side of fries and garden salad.

The thick slab of beef patty, cooked to medium on request, had a great sear on the outside yet tender and juicy on the inside.  What's not to like? :)

As if we didn't have enough burgers, we had the kids in mind when we ordered the Mini Burgers @ RM24 with beef patties on soft bun rolls.  I didn't taste this one but the housemade burger buns sure look tempting.

Back to the adults, our next dish was the Fisherman's Pie @ RM35 which (according to the menu) is a southern Thai-inspired fish pie with turmeric, kaffir lime, betel leaf, salmon, calamari, prawn and mashed potatoes topped with some fresh arugula and cherry tomatoes.

It looked as though there was a layer of cheese on top (but the menu didn't list cheese in its description) and I didn't taste cheese in the portion I got, just a very smooth potato mash enveloping some seafood.

The next dish turned out to be my favourite of the day, the beautifully-plated Pan-Seared Norwegian Salmon @ RM58 was served with saffron risotto and glazed vegetables with a chilli and kaffir lime emulsion.  The moist and succulent salmon fillet had a totally crispy skin and I loved the crunchy bite provided by the glazed vegetables of carrot, brussels sprouts, edamame and pickled onions...and, finally, the sauce harmoniously tied everything together.

As this was my first time having risotto, I wouldn't be able to tell you if was a good risotto since I've nothing to compare it to.  All I can say is that the texture was sticky, rich and creamy...those are the prerequisites for a good risotto, no? ;)  The bright acidity of the little side of fresh red onion and chilli pickle was very refreshing on the palate to cut through the creaminess of the risotto.

We finished with an order of Skillet Aglio Olio @ RM28 for a Malaysian-style aglio olio with dried shrimps, curry leaves and bird's eye chillies (you can add on seafood for an extra RM10) but we kept it simple as this was the 8th dish we ordered for our table of 5 adults.

You can smell the fragrance of the dish the moment it lands on the table with every strand of spaghetti coated with the aromatic onions, garlic and curry leaves...and just a hint of heat from the cili padi.

Finally, we ended our meal with Skillet At 163's the much talked about signature dessert that you just can't leave without tryring...the Texture of Chocolate....and it wasn't just any Texture of Chocolate, it was the special Christmas Edition Texture of Chocolate! ^o^  P/S: Sorry for devoting so many photos to this but I'm just getting my money's worth for the most expensive dessert I've ever had....wahahahaha! :D

This Christmas Edition Texture of Chocolate @ RM80 (!) aims to appeal to all your five senses of smell, sight, touch, sound and taste to fully appreciate this unique dessert.  It definitely gave off the christmassy vibe when it was presented on a tray rimmed with pine leaves underneath a bell-shaped cloche.

When the golden Christmas bell was lifted, it unveiled this pretty little sphere of frozen chocolate (I was taken aback by just how small it was actually ^_*) surrounded by a wreath of pine (complete with pine cones).

Shaun, the Outlet Manager (I recognised him from the many photos of him I've seen on blogs), was tasked with giving us a good "spectacle"...kekeke! ;)  He first starts with a few squirts of that "Windsor Forest" fresh pine fragrance all around us...and presto!  The smell of Christmas was in the air! ;D  Now did that smell come from the fresh pine around the plate or was it from that spray of essential oil?...kekeke! :D

The sight of liquid nitrogen never fails to elicit oohs and aahs from diners ^.^

Next, liquid nitrogen is poured into the chocolate sphere containing peppermint white chocolate.....and you'll hear the popping sound of the mint 'popcorn' being cooked.


You're then invited to crack the chocolate and mint sphere with the small mallet provided to reveal the full contents in the sphere.

Finally, a dark chocolate sauce is poured over the entire dish to bring everything together.....and also bring the finale to a spectacular end.

And the dish is now ready to tickle our palates...and tickled it did...the taste was simply amazing....coz we eat with our eyes too ^o^  If you're someone who likes to partake in a dessert that doesn't come off as sweet...this is it!  The texture and flavours worked brilliantly together with a slight tartness offered by the raspberry coulis, texture of chocolate soil underneath, and that bit of crunch provided by the 'popcorn' chocolate and cracked pieces of chocolate sphere.

This Texture of Chocolate is a dish that plays heavily on theatrics and it's every bit of a 'show-off' but it'll certainly appeal to those who love to be entertained by both the visual and taste of something spectacular.

In the end, it's worth the price just for the entertainment value and visual stunning display but, for those who feel the price is a bit steep, you can still get to experience this with their usual Texture of Chocolate on the menu (at a more affordable price tag of RM45), just not the Christmas Edition.  And for those who want to know the difference (for the pricier one)...well, this one awakens your 5 senses (instead of 4, the missing one being the smell of pine), it's single origin chocolate and the striking presentation of it with fresh pine and Christmas bell.  P/S: It's still not too late to experience this as I believe the Christmas menu is available until the first week of January 2017.

My Personal Opinion

If you're looking for some fine dining but with a more casual setting and at prices that will not cause your jaws to drop (especially the Day Menu), then this may be just the place for you.

Ambience was great, food was top-notch, service was faultless by Shaun and the wait staff...except for the demeanour of one condescending female wait staff (which I will not dwell upon) that put a little damper on what was otherwise a flawless service and experience....coz that's how I want to remember it...as a truly lovely experience! ^_*

Definitely a worthy venue to keep in mind (for dinner) when you have a special occasion to celebrate.  A great place to hang out with friends over lunch (for a more wallet-friendly meal) and a few mocktails (or cocktails)...and you might just want to stay for dessert...especially the not-to-be-missed visually stunning Texture of Chocolate :)

Skillet At 163
163 Fraser Place
No 10 Jalan Tun Perak
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2181 2426

Happy New Year to all my readers.....
...and here's hoping that 2017 will be a better year for all :)

Time for a short break...and I'll see you all next year!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Goodies from my Neighbour

I have heard (and read stories) of people having horrendous next door neighbours and I'm glad I'm not one of them.   Luckily, I have a nice neighbour (well, at least on one side...kekeke!), a couple with grown-up children living abroad (in US and Australia).

And whenever their son and daughter return (with their young kids) to visit their parents, they'd always bring home goodies for their parents....and me.  I've always told them that they're too kind and that it wasn't necessary to go through all the trouble but they still do it every time they come home.  I suppose it's the spirit of giving and receiving because I would share with them some of my homemade and home-cooked stuff too.

But I think they've given me more stuff than I've ever given them....let me show you just some of them...mostly chocolates (and nuts)...from US and Australia (and some from their travels)! ^o^


Maltesers


Crisp malt centres covered with smooth milk chocolate.


Hershey's


Premium collection of truffles, nut clusters, caramels and other fine confections in assorted milk and dark chocolate.


It was a pot of gold alright!  My favourites were the dark chocolate ones.  Actually, we prefer the truffles or any that's just pure chocolate without any nuts in them.


Lindt (described as a layer of mint coulis on top of a vanilla truffle bed with crisp cocoa nibs, encased in dark chocolate).  This one I didn't taste...coz it said mint! >.<


And then there were all sorts of healthy nuts......


........and some other stuff....plus plenty more given to me over the years (that I didn't take pics of).


But the best were these Godiva Assorted Classic Truffles.


Comprising of four pieces each of individually wrapped Belgian masterpiece in dark (purple wrap), milk (pink wrap) and white (white wrap) chocolate truffles, they were rich, tantalising and a real sweet delight.


My favourite was again the dark chocolate followed by milk chocolate! ^o^
The white chocolate was a little sweet for me.


I can still remember how divine the Godiva mousse truffles (they gave) were from 2 years back...


.....and the heavenly Godiva milk chocolate was so good :)

So, thank you, my dear neighbours but there's only so much chocolate one can eat (my husband would be the one eating most of them), so all the goodies are usually shared with family and friends (especially the healthy nuts as my family is not into such nuts).

Now, who wouldn't want neighbours like that, right? *wink wink*

Friday, 23 December 2016

Nanoblock #3 to #6 - It's Santa!

It's the most wonderful time of the year....but, somehow, this year I'm not quite feeling the Christmas-y spirit nor seem to be in a Christmassy mood :(

Blame it on everything being so expensive...blame it on the economy.....blame it on....

Or maybe it's just because my friends and I decided not to do our gift exchange this year since everyone is so busy with their own lives and couldn't find the time to do so.  But there's nothing quite like Christmas shopping to get you into the mood of Christmas, I must say! ;)  But that doesn't mean I wasn't going do any shopping at all...hey!


Ah well, on the brighter side of things, not having to get presents for my friends meant I had more budget for myself...*evil wink*! :D  And, no, I didn't get myself some Lego blocks, I got myself some Santa Claus Nanoblocks (after all, it's Christmas)....and then some...to add to my growing collection! ^o^


Nanoblock #3 - Santa & his Reindeers (RM36.90)


Since none of them has a red nose, I'm assuming that these two are not Rudolf.....kekeke!  So, have you been naughty...or nice this year?  Should Santa bring you a present? ;D


Nanoblock #4 - Surfing Santa (RM36.90)


What can I say....this is one cool Santa!  And a slim-looking one at that.....with all that surfing.  I actually got this for a friend last year and found it too cool to resist and just had to add it to my own collection.


Nanoblock #5 - Fat Santa (RM39.90)


Uh-oh....looks like this one didn't get the memo to go easy on the carbs and exercise more (kekeke!) but then he looks like the real 'round' Santa that we've come to know and love! ^.^


Nanoblock #6 - Santa in the Bathroom (RM36.90)


Well, even Santa needs to take a dump in between presents delivery duties, you know! :O



And that's my Santa collection for this year...perhaps I will add on more next year ^_*


To all my readers.....
.....and all the feasting! ^_*



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