Friday, 22 December 2017

8 Places for Possible Date Nights

With year end festivities coming round real soon, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate.  Not that I'm one who likes to go out during these 'special' days where places become super crowded and food and service might get affected but I'm sure young dating couples think otherwise.

So, here are just a few places you can consider for that special evening with your 'special one'...and, by that, I don't mean Jose Mourinho (though some probably wouldn't mind that either)...hehe! :D

With a menu that reads pork, beef, lamb, duck, chicken, fish, prawns and scallops...there's a protein for every taste bud.  Go with Grilled Iberico Pork for some distinctively pleasurable oink-oink or a perfectly Seared Duck Breast for some fowl satisfaction.

And what is date night without dessert or, more specifically, chocolate.  When your date says...All I want for Christmas is you....she might mean Chocolate & Coffee...hihihi! ;P  If the night is still young, head over to the adjacent Private Room to sip on some lovely wine or the Pawn Room for some well crafted cocktails to wind down your evening.

Botanica & Co @ Bangsar South

The abundant lush greenery gives you that special 'feel good' factor for a calm evening with your loved one.  Perhaps, you might want to share a thin crust pizza, The Fishermen, loaded with succulent seafood, with your other half or go for a classier upmarket version of their humble curry, Sam's Crab & Crayfish Laksa.

Have a dessert (like their popular Churros Donut Stack)...while you're at it.  Finish the night with Botanica's crafted gin cocktails or Christmas Hot Chocolate...coz (according to Botanica) it's the time of the year to
gin-gle all the way! ^_^

Birch @ Damansara City Mall

When night time comes round, the ambience of this place is transformed into a romantic evening built for two.  Share a smoky Josper-oven grilled whole Spatchcock or go with a creative twist to the traditional paella, the Vermicelli Paella, with that special someone.

And don't forget to bring your awesome evening to a pleasurable end with a slice of heaven....the Burnt Cheesecake! ^_~

Bonfire @ The Starling

If your date happens to have a big healthy appetite, get a Big Bonfire Platter for sharing.  And if that's not enough, pair it with some side dishes as well...and a glass of red (or two) to complete the evening.

A good spot for a date night under the glow of Christmas-y warmth and spirit.  The new dinner menu allows you to choose from an affordable 3-course menu to a more premium degustation menu or simply order a la carte.  Or perhaps you might want to opt for a more casual 2 or 3-course lunch menu at down-to-earth prices.

Their visually stunning signature Texture of Chocolate remains a well sought after dessert on the menu till today.

Acme Bar & Coffee @ Pavilion Elite

A lovely meal beckons in a setting filled with romantic vibes.  From refreshing starters like Tuna Poke Octopus Carpaccio to mains of Sea-to-Land Sharing Platterthin crisp pizzas of Aloha Pizzadillas & Spring Noodle Bowl, there's something for everyone.

Finish with their divinely delicious Sizzling Coconut Nangka Brownie with ice cream and gula melaka sauce.

Marco Creative Cuisine @ 1 Utama

Want a fine dining experience but don't want it to cost an arm and a leg?  Well, then this might just be the place for you...and there's no compromise on quality, presentation and service too.  Though the menu has since been updated with a slight price increase, it's probably still among the most affordable 7-course menu you'll ever find anywhere.

Ra.Ft Cafe @ Lorong Binjai

If you're looking for a quiet spot for a dinner-for-two with prices that won't burn a hole in your pocket but yet focuses on quality produce, this place fits the bill to the tee.  You can't go wrong with anything on the menu as everything is done well...from cooking execution to irreproachable taste to excellent service. ^o^

End on a sweet note with their extremely enticing Tiramisu (Italian recipe)...something I can assure you won't want to miss.

We all know that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach!  And the way to a woman's heart?  Well, it's through her stomach too! ;)  With soaring prices of some festive year end meals, these options (at least) offer the chance of a good time without having to break the bank! ^o^

Christmas time is here....(almost) everyone's favourite time of the year! ^_~  Enjoy your night out with your other half, family or friends.....Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all my readers!

Thanks for supporting (and continuously visiting) my blog this past's greatly appreciated.  Cookie says thanks too for reading his antics/posts and making him an internet sensation.  Oh well, let's not tell him that he's actually not as famous as he thinks! @_@

Time to take a well deserved break to recover from my writing fatigue (if there's even such a thing...I'm not even a full-fledged writer!).  Maybe I've just gotten lazy of writing over the years.  So, c'mon back y'all next year...and I'll see you then (hopefully feeling refreshed...and raring to go).....xoxo!!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Have yourself a hap-hap-hap-py holidays!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Salad Earth @ AEON MaxValu Prime, Sunway Velocity

Tucked inside Aeon's premium supermarket is a salad bar, Salad Earth @ AEON MaxValu Prime Supermarket, Sunway Velocity, that offers a small selection of hot dishes (mainly pasta) and cold salads at RM3.39 per 100g.

On one side (at the front), though I see ten covered-trays of supposedly hot food on offer, I've only seen half of them filled at any one time when I was there (perhaps I was late and they've been sold out already).

Some pasta options of San Remo Spaghetti Tom Yum....

......and San Remo Spaghetti Spicy Aglio Olio with Mushroom.

Some cooked protein options of HP Gumbo Fish Fillet (I have to say this one is quite delicious looking)...

.....and McCormick Miso Infused Chicken that you can add on to your pasta choices.

I tried the Spicy Aglio Olio with Mushrooms.  The flavours were satisfying but filling a roughly 6 x 6 inch box half way up will easily reach 300g already.  That means a small portion of pasta (suitable for a small-eater) would easily cost you RM10, so you probably need to fill the box almost all the way up for a more substantial meal...but that would make it no cheaper than what you'd get at restaurants! >_<

The salad options on the other side of the salad bar (at the back) are more consistently replenished with all six trays filled with some form of cooked/made salads.

McCormick Paprika Potato & Egg Salad

Mix Fruits Salad

The other half of the salad bar is filled with trays of four types of fresh salad leaves, julienned carrots and cherry tomatoes...and a salad dressing of Thousand Island.

Since everything is priced at RM3.39 per 100g, you can mix and match with a combination of a few different types of salad in one box.  I did just that...I filled my box with a combo of 3 salads...Mix Fruits Salad, McCormick Paprika Potato & Egg Salad and Stir-Fried Hokto Mushrooms with Wakame together with a helping of lettuce leaves and cherry tomatoes plus an additional dollop of Thousand Island dressing.

Take note that although RM3.39 per 100g may sound cheap but it's relatively easy to hit past 300g if you're not too 'careful'...hehe! ;)  I find that the packaging is so convenient for us to stick it into the fridge and unseal when we're ready to eat.

The McCormick Paprika Potato & Egg Salad, in a Thousand Island-type dressing, with large chunks of potatoes (cooked just right) and hard-boiled eggs, sprinkled with paprika, was really enjoyable.

My other absolute favourite here is the Mix Fruits Salad, in a mayo-type sauce, made up of fresh, juicy fruits of red and green apples, watermelon cubes and orange segments with dried black and golden raisins.

The crunchy apples, juicy watermelon, tangy oranges coupled with the texture of the dried raisins, makes this an extremely pleasurable salad.

Each time I come here, I don't seem to give other salads a chance (San Remo Orange & Ginger Vegeroni, Olive Herb Chicken Salad and Marmite Shredded Chicken Salad) as I'm always after these two salads.  Be smart and fill your box with more fresh salad leaves if you want your box to be lighter...kekeke! ;D

The process is simple...once you've filled your box with the goodies you want, someone will assist you to get the box sealed, weighed and attach a price to it before you proceed to the counter for payment.

Looking at it more closely, the pasta and/or proteins may not turn out all that cheap as a sizeable portion can easily cost you between RM15 - RM20 for a filling meal which isn't far off from the RM18 - RM25 price tag for a freshly cooked, warm plate of pasta at cafes.  The salads are probably more worthy for between RM10 - RM15 for reasonable portions.  But it's certainly a clean, convenient and great way for a take-away meal to the office or back home.

Salad Earth
AEON MaxValu Prime Supermarket
B-01 Sunway Velocity
Lingkaran SV
55100 Kuala Lumpur

Monday, 18 December 2017

Seng Kee Chicken Rice @ Damansara Uptown

I came to Seng Kee Chicken Rice @ Damansara Uptown after a comment was left on my post of 10 Places for Wonderfully Delicious Wantan Mee asking me if I would try the other famous outlets for wantan mee...Seng Kee being one of them.

According to blogger TM, the original shop is in Taman Desa and the one here is their second outlet (opened in February this year) two doors down from Annie 1.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived to see that their signboard had the words 'chicken rice' on it.  Hmm, that made me confused as to what their speciality really is (since I came here thinking they're famous for wantan mee).  From the signboard alone, a calculated guess would be chicken rice, of course! ;)  For now, let's not delve into this reservation of mine too much.  This concern will be addressed and dealt with at the end of this post.

At the time of writing this post, I suddenly remembered that this is a food place in Damansara Utama and straightaway wondered if our 'Uptown Girl Food Specialist' (*wink wink*) has been here, so I googled it...and, lo and behold, she has (and, due to my poor memory, I've obviously forgotten all about it)...and, yikes, her review wasn't favourable! >_<

Well, let's see, shall we?  Browsing through the menu, I noticed that, besides roast chicken, they have poached kampung chicken but that can only be ordered in whole, half or quarters (they don't do a one pax serving with rice).  I already knew (from the obvious signboard) that chicken rice is their main focus, so I asked if their kampung chicken is their speciality.  A short, stout gentleman (the owner maybe?) replied in the affirmative, so I made an order for Poached Kampung Chicken (Lower Quarter) @ RM23 which comprised the drumstick and thigh portion (the upper quarter of chicken breast and wing is RM18).  Rather expensive kampung chicken to some (I'm sure), it better be good, I thought.

Luckily, the kampung chicken was really good...the meat was absolutely tender, smooth and flavourful too (nothing like the overly firm meat of some kampung chicken I've had before).  I usually don't like poached chicken skin but this one had no visible fats underneath and was smooth to the bite, so I was able to eat it too. ^o^  Only thing I didn't like was that they didn't bother to debone the drumstick.  It's fine for the other parts of the chicken (if they're not deboned) but not for the drumstick.  For some reason, the drumstick bone is very brittle and tend to shatter to smaller bits when chopped (it's like that when my chicken seller from the wet market chops the chicken for me too).

For this chicken rice shop, the condiments on the table included not just the usual fresh chilli sauce but also the less frequently provided freshly minced ginger (this was so good) and a bottle of thick dark soy sauce (which some like to squeeze over their rice, not me though).  The minced ginger was so fresh and finely minced, it was strikingly delicious.

You have to order the rice separately.  The Signature Oil Rice costs RM2 a bowl and my first impression when it arrived was I could see that the grains were nicely separated and not broken or mushed like many of the chicken rice I've come across.  I can't quite remember if it had the aroma of a good chicken flavour in it coz I was excited about the minced ginger (which you don't find at many chicken rice stalls) and could have been overly generous with it in my rice! ;P  Not only that but the aromatic combo of soy sauce+sesame oil, lying underneath the chicken which was a bit on the saltish side, was also deliciously drizzled all over my rice.

Though I applaud the nicely separated grains and non-oily rice, I found the texture a tad too firm for my liking (but I do know that this texture appeals to spouse, for instance, who likes his rice with a bit of bite).  I don't like mushy rice but I don't like hard textured rice either.

Since I was recommended to try the wantan mee + my family don't really fancy poached chicken all that much, the BBQ Pork (Char Siew) Wantan Noodle @ RM8 was their automatic choice.

The first thing I noticed about the char siew when it arrived was that the texture looked a bit like pulled pork.  Although the char siew was all lean, it was still irreproachably tender but it was the taste of it that took me by surprise.  It's different from the sticky-sweet char siew we're used to, this one had a very smoky flavour...and by smoky, I mean really smoky like the char siew had gone through a process of (western-style) smoking.  It was nice....different but nice.  I liked it :)  But for those looking for a melt-in-your-mouth fatty char siew with a sweet sticky glaze, this will not meet your expectations.

As for the noodles themselves, they were alright...very springy but the sauce wasn't my favourite.  Tasting more sweet than savoury, it was also on the oily side.  The sauce was strongly flavoured with some kind of oil but I can't say if it was sesame, pork lard or onion oil...or a combination of all three.  Another bummer was the few pork lard crisps on the noodles were hard and also tasted past its prime as the oil smelled rancid.

The wontons were nice and meaty...and I found the soup quite ok too :)

We also ordered a portion of Roast Pork (Siew Yoke) @ RM8 (for one pax) to try.  Visually, when it arrived, I was sold already as they were those 'short type' cut that I like.  The skin was admirably crispy and the meat tender though a bit on the lean side.  I thought it was a respectable siew yoke, maybe not among the best but certainly more than decent (it also looked very different from the one in phonghong's blog...improved recipe?).  If you prefer a leaner siew yoke, then this may well suit you.

My spouse, on the other hand, has very high standards for siew yoke (coz it's his favourite roasted meat) and he didn't like this one as much.  The reason was that he found the meat bland, not salty enough.  I definitely didn't think it was bland, only not as savoury as he would have liked (since he likes his food salty).

Service was a little slow taking into consideration we were the only table that needed to be served (as the other table had already finished eating).

#Side Story on case of 'mistaken identity'

Now to address my earlier confusion as to the place being well-known for wantan mee, I'm convinced that this was not the wantan mee I was supposed to try...haha! ;D   I have my reservations based on what I observed/found out:

1)  The wantan mee in Taman Desa is spelt Sing Kee...not Seng Kee.
2)  The menu offered at both places is very different.
3)  I noticed most diners here ordered rice...not wantan mee.
4)  And when I re-read the post by phonghongbakes, I saw TM's comment about liking chai boey (spicy sour mustard greens made with leftovers) and crispy wu kok...aiks, they don't have that here.

In the end, I was pleasantly redirected to a place that's famous for chicken rice since 1991 instead.  Oh well, this case of 'mistaken identity' led me to a decent poached kampung chicken, so all is not lost! ;)  Perhaps one day I'll make it to Sing Kee.

My Personal Opinion

In the menu at Seng Kee, there was a write-up (in Chinese) which I presumed must be about the place and I noticed two words...Skudai, Johor.  I later googled and came upon a review that mentioned that they're famous for chicken rice (and have been in business for more than 20 years in Johor).  And Seng Kee's Facebok did mention that this is their new branch...which could mean that this is a new branch in KL besides the one in Skudai.

Come here for the chicken rice, specifically the poached kampung chicken rice!  A side order of siew yoke (that's leaner and not salty) and a different style of char siew (that's smoky and lean, not sticky-sweet and fatty) should sufficiently please some as well.

Personally, I probably won't be revisiting (like dining in, tapau maybe) since the best thing here is their poached kampung chicken...and my family isn't into poached chicken....but that shouldn't stop you if you love poached chicken! ^_~

Restoran Seng Kee Chicken Rice
No 14 Jalan SS21/58
Damansara Utama
47400 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7731 8596

Friday, 15 December 2017

Paul Bakery @ Pavilion

This famous and renowned French bakery, that originated from Paris since 1889, Paul Bakery @ Pavilion, has opened its doors to Malaysians since the middle of the year.

With mixed reviews on the food (mostly unflattering) and pastries, I wasn't overly eager to visit.  I thought I'd give it a go one morning when I was at the mall to get something.

First thing I noticed was that their take-away counter at the front of the restaurant was no more.  It has been relocated to the front of Paul's terrace seating.  So, Paul Bakery is now separated into three sections, the restaurant itself, the terrace seating (where most choose to sit) and a stand-alone counter specifically for take-away.

Since Paul Bakery is all about the bread and pastries, I decided to choose a simple and light breakfast of Petit dejeuner Parisien @ RM15.80 which consists of a Croissant or Pain au chocolat or Breakfast bread of your choice. 

This was how the croissant looked when it landed on my table! O_o  They're obviously not very concerned with how their food is presented.

Let me readjust that for you.  Right off the bat, I noticed that the folds of the croissant didn't quite look like the usual ones I've had before.  The roll was soft and it felt (and tasted) like it was yesterday's croissant! O_o It wasn't crisp.  It wasn't flaky.  It wasn't buttery.  It just wasn't...anything.  I obviously had higher expectations of a croissant from a French bakery! :(  The croissant from Croisserie Artisan Bakery and Ra.Ft Cafe beats this one hands down.

It comes with a Grand Cafe (coffee) which you can have either black or with hot milk.

I also got myself another pastry, the Gourmandise @ RM8.80, described as a rich pastry with creme patisserie (pastry cream) and chocolate chip drops.

This was just like the earlier croissant except for the tiny amounts of creme patisserie and chocolate inside it.  Again, it didn't impress.

When I came, my intention was to try the lovely eye-catching tarts I saw online but I was told that they were only available from 11.30 am (by the first lady server who took my breakfast order).  As I was seated inside the restaurant, which was the furthest from the take-away counter, I asked the second lady (who served me the Gourmandise) and she said the take-away counter was opened already.  I walked there after finishing my breakfast but saw only breads, croissants and a few tarts!  I asked the third lady (at the take-away counter) when the tarts will be ready and she said 12 noon.  Same question...three different answers! @_@

So, I went to shop the things I wanted to get before returning to the take-away counter around 11.40 am and saw that the tarts were finally out.  

I got myself one mille-feuille, one eclair and one tartelette for take-away...and they were all nicely packed in a separate box each.

Well, they're 'fine' patisserie after all....and they come with a 'fine' price, so they should come in fine packaging too, don't you think? ;)

There were a few types of mille-feuille available that day.....fraise (strawberry), chocolat, vanille (vanilla) & pandan.

I got the Pandan Mille-Feuille @ RM13, a new flavour according to the girl manning the counter.  I thoroughly enjoyed the two layers of immensely crispy puff pastry sandwiching the pandan-flavoured custard cream in between.  

In fact, the puff pastry stayed crispy even after 4 hours (when I ate the balance half).  The pandan pastry cream on the other hand....oh-em-gee...was insanely sweet! >.<

Also available were a few types of eclair with flavours of vanille, hazelnut, raspberries, chocolate & cafe (coffee).

I chose the Eclair Cafe @ RM13.  The choux pastry filled with coffee-flavoured cream was light and crisp.

You know what, if not for the double overdose of sweetness of coffee-flavoured pastry cream as well as coffee-flavoured icing on top, this could have been a very good eclair.  Haiz, if only they had dialled down the sweetness! >_<

I saw five tartelettes at the take-away counter...multi-fruits, chocolate, citron (lemon) meringue....

......fraise & citron.

I initially wanted the multi-fruits tartlet with sweet pastry, custard cream and mixed fruits of kiwifruit, mango, dragon fruit and strawberry but was frightened off by the shiny sugary glaze on top of the fruits...and the price (RM17)!  The price for the fraise tart was even more frightening (RM18).  I don't think I can bring myself to pay more than RM15 for just a's just too expensive.

So, I settled for the Tartelette Citron @ RM15.  The lemon cream had refreshing zesty flavours, of course. This was alright but I'd rather eat those from Croisserie Artisan Bakery and La Casa anytime.

Although this was the least sweet pastry of the three I got, somehow I still felt that I could taste some sweetness in between the tanginess (if that makes any sense).  Maybe my taste buds were already compromised from an overload of sweetness.

I wonder if the French would take their pastries so sweet or these were tweaked to cater to the majority of Malaysian palates who like things sweet (they seriously need to relook the sweetness issue).

My Personal Opinion

Bring your sweet tooth (and, by that, I really mean your sweet tooth) if you want to enjoy these baked goods.  Make sure you order yourself a black coffee...and make sure it's bitter (without adding sugar) to cut through all that sweetness, otherwise it'll send you straight to diabetic heaven! ;P

In the end, it proved too cloyingly sweet for me to have any remote chance of enjoying these sweet goodies. I'm afraid once was quite enough! >_<  I'd rather go for the famous Japanese pastry, Chateraise Patisserie, instead.

Paul Bakery
Lot 2.09.02/S2.09.02 Level 2
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2145 6000

Christmas Is In The Air at Pavilion!

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