Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Morning After @ M Roof Ipoh

Our room at M Roof Hotel & Residences came with complimentary breakfast, either at OldTown Grand on the left or The Morning After on the right (if you're walking into the lobby of the hotel).

We decided to hit The Morning After @ M Roof, Ipoh first.  When we walked in, I could immediately see that the place was rather deserted with only one table occupied (and we weren't that early, I think it was around 8.30am) though a few more tables filled up soon after.

I also noticed quite a few people walking in and checking out the menu...before leaving to walk to the other end (or the other alternative), OldTown Grand.  Hmmm.....never mind, I thought, we'd try this one first.

Looking at the menu, I can understand why...there were very limited options for the breakfast sets....only three! O_o  And you know Malaysians, they love variety....and they love quantity...and that's why most would prefer the buffet-style breakfast offered by the other cafe.

Actually, there were only two choices since Muesli with Milk & Fresh Fruits wouldn't be a very popular choice for breakfast for many (it certainly wasn't mine). ^_*  So, I opted for Egg Benedict with Turkey Ham served with hollandaise sauce on top of an English muffin (more like half a muffin) with baby spinach and cherry tomatoes.

I think the menu said Egg Benedict coz there was only one egg.  There was no faulting the cooking of the eggs benedict...erm, I mean egg benedict (like singular) that was cooked right.  Couldn't fault the taste either as the hollandaise sauce was nicely done and the ingredients used were fresh.  But the portion was just too small.  Ideal if you're on a diet or looking to have something light...I wasn't.

The other choice was the Scrambled Egg with Turkey Ham resting on half an English muffin topped with arugula.  I'm not even sure if you can cook scrambled eggs with just one egg coz that was what it felt like as the portion was (again) so tiny.

Both breakfast sets come with a choice of Americano, Latte or English Breakfast Tea.  We chose an Iced Latte....

.....and a Hot Latte.  I don't particularly fancy 'western-style' black coffee aka Americano.  When it comes to black coffee, there's nothing quite like our "kopi-o-kaw" (thick local coffee)....kekeke! ;D

In my haste to add on something more substantial to our complimentary breakfast, I didn't notice the title section of the food I was ordering and just zoomed into the details.  I ordered The Morning After Special @ RM33 as it had all the essential breakfast items I sought.

So, you could imagine my surprise when this arrived.  What!  A pizza?  For breakfast?  O_o  Then's when I looked at the menu again and realised I ordered something under the pizza section.  Oops!

Now who would have thought that the words I saw....chicken sausages, crispy beef bacon, scrambled eggs, diced potatoes, caramelised onions and cherry tomatoes...wouldn't be the description of a breakfast platter but a pizza instead! :P

Anyway, the pizza was pretty big (a 9-inch one I think, cut into 8 slices) with a nice, crisp thin crust.  Taste wise, it was can it not be with such generously-laden ingredients.  I have no idea what cheese they used but it looked a little weird, like noodles, not the usual gooey-stringy mozzarella cheese, maybe it wasn't melted enough.  In the end, we couldn't finish the pizza and had to ask for a take-away.

There's also The Beer Factory Express next to The Morning After, the former for some late night beer drinking (I suppose) and the latter for the morning after (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) to get rid of the hangover? ^_~

My Personal Opinion

Though the food was alright, the portions were just too little.  And the reason for that I suspect is because M Roof doesn't have their own F&B outlets and so have no control over what they serve.  I say this because we weren't allowed to charge our extra order to our room (like we did in MH Hotel) but was asked to settle the bill directly with the cafe.

The breakfast voucher actually cost RM17 (if we were to buy extras from the hotel).  So, I can understand the reason for the small portions (if no subsidy is provided by the hotel to the cafe).  Ultimately, the F&B outlet needs to be profitable...and RM17 for a western breakfast with coffee...well, you do the math!  If the hotel does pay some kind of a subsidy, perhaps they need to increase the subsidy so that we can get better food or bigger portions! ;P

I believe if I ordered a la carte and pay 'proper' prices, the food should please.  After all, their menu which includes brunch dishes, handcrafted pizzas, delectable pastas, signature sammies, savoury selections, gourmet burgers, snacks and soups looks promising enough.

The Morning After
A-G-3 Pusat Perniagaan Taman Ipoh
Jalan Dato' Lau Pak Khuan
31400 Ipoh
Tel: 012-565 2021

Monday, 26 February 2018

#ewew cooks Braised Mixed Mushrooms with Abalone & Dried Oysters

Since my dish of Braised Mushrooms with Abalone & Fatt Choy was quite well-received (judging that it was finished very quickly) when I brought it back to Ipoh for Chinese New Year (CNY) last year, I decided to make a slightly bigger batch this year.

I still had two more cans of abalone to finish, so I might as well.  Only this time I added even more types of mushrooms into the mix in my Braised Mixed Mushrooms with Abalone & Dried Oysters (my contribution towards the Reunion Dinner).


50 Chinese dried (tea or small) mushrooms
10 dried oysters
2 cans of abalone (the Moon can yielded six small abalones while the Soon Thye Hang one had twelve)
1 can (big) button mushrooms
1 can straw mushrooms (already halved)
1 combo pack (100g each) of fresh shimeji, maitake & bunapi mushrooms
2 packets (100g each) of enoki mushrooms

For the braising liquid:
7 pairs of chicken feet
15 shallots
750ml liquid from the soaked mushrooms + 2 cans of abalone steeping liquid
3 tbsp cooking oil 
4 tbsp oyster sauce 
1 1/2 tbsp light soya sauce 
1/2 tsp dark soya sauce 


Soak the Chinese dried mushrooms until soften and remove the caps.
Roughly chop or slice the shallots.
Cut away the bottom of the fresh mushrooms stalks (about an inch or so) to separate the mushrooms from one another.
Halve the large button mushrooms and abalone (since they were small ones this time).


First things first....get the braising liquid ready.  Saute the shallots (until soften but not browned) and chicken feet in oil.  Add in the mushroom caps together with the liquid from the soaked mushrooms as well as all the liquid from the canned abalone as I learned from ieatishootipost recently not to throw away the liquid since the water in a can of abalone has lots of umami flavours (+ my mother-in-law also said the same thing). ^_~

Add in all the seasoning and simmer the stock for at least half an hour.  The deliciousness of the stock is critical to the success of this braised mushroom dish.

The rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms and dried oysters go into the braising liquid first for it to soak in the flavours of the broth and for the dried oysters to soften.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  This year, I substituted the fatt choy with dried oysters as the fatt choy disintegrated when it was heated up (in Ipoh)...and made the sauce very black, so presentation-wise, it wasn't great.  Coz, more often than not, we end up buying fake fatt choy from the markets which disintegrates easily! >:(

As I mentioned earlier, this time I decided to throw in a few more types of fresh mushrooms, namely shimeji, maitake, bunapi and enoki mushrooms (inspired from a stir-fry mushroom dish I once saw Kylie Kwong made).

So, the fresh mushrooms, except enoki (since they cook pretty fast), go in next to allow them to soften.  At this point, you can add in some Shaoxing wine and sesame oil (optional).  Let them braise for a further 3 - 5 minutes.

Then, the rest of the canned mushrooms (button and straw mushrooms) are added in.  These just need to be warmed through since they're canned goods.

Finally, the enoki mushrooms and abalone go into the pot.  The enoki mushrooms soften very fast, so this just needs a minute or two.

This Braised Mixed Mushrooms with Abalone & Dried Oysters was my small contribution for the Reunion Dinner table...a must-have auspicious dish for the lunar new year. ^o^

If you need to cook a dish either to bring to your hometown or when you visit your in-laws, this is the perfect dish to prepare as it keeps and travels very well.  The longer the mushrooms steep in the stock, the better it'll taste and all that needs to be done is to reheat it when you get there.

I have to say that the smaller abalone pieces from the two cans this year were slightly chewier than the ones from last year.  The better ones are still those cans that yield one whole (big) abalone which you can cut into thin slices.

You can add fish maw into the mix for a more decadent dish and serve it alongside some vegetables like broccoli or bok choy.  It's an auspicious dish to cook for CNY as it symbolises all things good (abalone for good fortune, mushrooms for longevity and oysters for good luck).  There are still a few days more to go before Chap Goh Mei, so it's not too late to cook this dish if you want. ^.^

Friday, 23 February 2018

Ming Palace (2018 CNY Set Menu) @ Corus Hotel

It's the 8th day of the Lunar New Year!  So, have you been indulging (maybe even over-indulging) in glorious food over this festive period?  I'm sure you have.  I know, I's difficult to resist all those tempting CNY set menus being offered by various hotels and restaurants.

More so when many would want to "loh sang" to ensure that they usher in prosperity in the coming year.  This year, we had one of these set menus at Ming Palace @ Corus Hotel again (just like the year can read it here).

The CNY set menus start from RM1,238 nett (still one of the more affordably-priced menus by a hotel restaurant) and we opted for the Good Fortune Menu @ RM1,438 nett (for a table of 10 pax, we added one more pax) with a complimentary bottle of red wine or chilled orange juice.

As with any CNY menu, it always starts with the iconic must-have dish of "yee sang" and we had the Prosperous Jade Shellfish with Pine Seeds.

And any good yee sang, of course, needs plenty of crispy crackers! ;)

After some oil and plum sauce were added into the mix, it was time for the customary tossing of yee sang to wishes of prosperity, good luck and health for the year ahead.

For me, I like to think that the tossing is just a way to ensure that everything is well mixed together to get that perfect bite...hihihi! :D

The shellfish tasted exactly like abalone with a not-too-sweet sauce (we poured in only half, I think it needed more as it was a rather huge plate of yee sang) for a refreshing start to the meal.

A soup dish would usually follow after the yee sang platter (or a traditional Four Seasons Platter in the case of a Chinese wedding meal) and I'm happy to see that there are now more restaurants putting out non-sharkfin based soups.  The Braised Seafood Chowder with Three Treasures filled with dried scallops, crab meat and sea cucumber incidentally turned out to be the same soup which we upgraded to last year.  It tasted similar to any shark's fin soup, just minus the shark's fin. ^_*

The Thai-Style Crispy Roast Chicken that came next was one of my favourite dishes of the night.  The crispy skin and tender meat coupled with a slightly sweetish-tangy-spicy sauce was a great combination to savour. ^.^

Steamed fish is a dish I always look forward to in any CNY set meal and the Steamed Green Sea Grouper Fish with Supreme Soya Sauce delivered in every aspect.  I just can't quite replicate steamed fish at home to taste like the good ones I eat in restaurants which I think is down to 3 factors...the freshness of the fish (we just can't get fish that fresh from our markets), the deliciousness of the supreme soya sauce mix (the brands of soya sauce we use at home just aren't superior enough) and the perfect timing of the steaming process.

Of course, prawns are a must-have in any lunar new year table.  And, for a change, we had Poached Prawns with Chinese Herbs with a pleasurable and aromatic herbal-tasting broth.  For this dish to work, the prawns had to be super fresh with sweet tasting flesh (as they can't hide under the guise of a robust tasting sauce)...and they certainly were fresh and succulent (you can see just how fresh they were from their well-attached heads and plump bodies).

Next was a decadent dish with auspicious ingredients, Braised Broccoli with Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Dried Oysters & Fatt Choy in a dark, superior stock with "tau kan" (fresh bean curd blocks).  The gelatinous texture of the sea cucumber was super soft (I don't really fancy sea cucumber though, just a personal preference) but the abalone could be a tad more tender.

For the carbs portion of this set dinner, the Fried Rice with Almonds & Raisins was surprisingly tasty, one of the better fried rice I've had.  The rice grains were well fried with a lovely crisp texture and an added crunch from the toasted almond slices and some sweetness from the dark raisins made it even tastier.  I'd usually be quite full by this time but couldn't resist a second helping of this very appetising fried rice.

To finish our meal with a sweet ending, the dessert was Sweetened White Fungus and Red Dates with Rice Dumpling, served hot.  I personally would have preferred something cold for dessert but the rice ball with a black sesame filling was very nice though.

This was paired with Duet Sweet Dainties of Fried Ninko & Glutinous Ball with Lotus Paste.  The fried ninko was still as good as I remembered it to be...and still the best ninko I've had! ^o^  That's because the batter encasing the yam and ninko is one of the crispiest, fluffiest and lightest batter I've come across (similar to those great yam puffs I've had).  The coconut flakes encrusted glutinous ball (shaped more like a tiny pear) with a not-too-sweet lotus paste inside was delightful as well.

My Personal Opinion

With an affordably-priced CNY set menu from as low as RM1,238, this place offers value-for-money sets for a hotel-based restaurant in the city to host one of your CNY dinners.

The stand-out dishes for me were the zesty yet fragrant roast chicken, scrumptious fried rice and absolutely crispy ninko with fluffy yam.

Still one of our go-to places for CNY feasts for its value and service that don't disappoint! ^_~

Ming Palace
Corus Hotel (1st Floor)
Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2161 8888

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

M Roof Hotel & Residences @ Ipoh

After staying at MH Hotel for the past two years (here and here) and Regalodge Hotel (here and here) the two years before that, it was time to move on to yet another hotel this year.  It wasn't because we weren't happy with our stay in MH Hotel but, after 3 consecutive days of breakfast at the same place two years in a row, I thought I needed a change.

We actually noticed this hotel, M Roof Hotel & Residences @ Ipoh, when we were here during the last Chinese New Year but it looked unfinished (then) although I was told by the front desk (this year) that it was opened in January 2017 already.

It's a 3-star hotel with 9 floors and 150 rooms (though I noted that the lift goes all the way to the 12th floor). Perhaps the higher floors are for the 2 to 3-bedroom apartments since they offer that as well.

The guest rating for this hotel is even better than MH Hotel, so I had no qualms about booking our stay here. Our Deluxe Room (with free breakfast) costs RM413.80++ for 2 nights (around RM240 nett a night).

Straight away, as you approach the hotel, the exterior itself gives you that 'grandeur feeling' with its brightly lit roof at the entrance.

Stepping in, the lobby looked really classy with its marble flooring, bright lights, tasteful decor, plush sofas and splashes of greenery.

Spacious Waiting Area in Hotel Lobby

Comfy Seating Area in Hotel Lobby

On one side, you'll find one of two cafes, OldTown Grand.....

...and The Morning After on the other for your breakfast picks (posts on those later).

As for the room size, it seemed a wee bit more spacious than the one we stayed in last year.  Since the hotel has only been in operation for a little over a year, I obviously appreciated the newness and pristine condition of everything.  I also preferred that the room had laminated flooring (instead of carpet) with only a rug but I did get a bit of that musty smell when I first entered the room which soon dissipated very quickly (it was the same musty smell that greeted me when I first entered the lobby).

I liked that the room came with a long couch which was ideal for TV watching.  No complaints on the cleanliness of room + the room was brightly lid.  One drawback, no mirror (or full length mirror) in the room (other than in the bathroom).

The bathroom, a lot more spacious than the one in MH, was spotless too.  The separate shower compartment had great water pressure.  What I particularly liked about this bathroom was the availability of a separate hand shower (besides the overhead rain shower).  Well, I don't have to tell you what's that good for...wakakakaka! :D

Ironing facilities, hair dryer, toiletries (they even replaced the toothbrush + toothpaste once used) and even bathrobes were provided.  For once, I appreciated that the clothes hangers were detachable (unlike some hotels who make them non-detachable for fear that the guests might leave with them)! :P

There's also coffee (OldTown brand, of course) and tea making amenities with sufficient complimentary bottled water (replenished daily).

My Personal Opinion

When we stayed at Regalodge, we enjoyed our stay.  Then we went to MH Hotel and we were happier with our stay.  Now, we like M Roof even more! ;)

More so when the location is so convenient for us....just a mere 2 - 3 minutes away from my husband's family home in Ipoh.  It'll probably be our choice for next year's stay too.

For the price paid (which is still slightly cheaper than MH Hotel), it's definitely a choice I'd recommend the next time you visit Ipoh...with two venues for breakfast and walking distance to plenty of hawker stalls (the hotel is just opposite the Medan Selera Stadium).  The stadium is currently undergoing rebuilding works which should be completed by the first quarter of the year.

M Roof Hotel & Residences
Jalan Dato Lau Pak Kuan
Taman Bandaraya
31400 Ipoh
Tel: 05-547 1777

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