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Bubbalicious @ Prego, The Westin Kuala Lumpur

I have fond memories of The Westin as we’ve performed there a few times, but this was the first time I ever dined properly at one of their award winning restaurants, Prego. Prego serves authentic Italian food, and recently acquired a new Chef. Chef Vincenzo Sirna literally just arrived on our soil couple of weeks ago and so far, we like what he has to offer.

It’s not often I get to indulge in a Sunday Bubbly Brunch as I usually prefer to lie in bed until late after few nights of gigs. But with this spread I would have been kicking myself if I had missed this. Bubbalicious has always been widely popular and this year it’s back better and bubblier! First and foremost, let’s start with some free-flow Moet & Chandon:

Sunday is instantly better!

The buffet is divided into few sections: antipastos & salads, Seafood counter, Cheese counter, main courses located outside, and of course dessert counter. The Chefs will also deliver freshly baked wood fired pizzas, handmade Italian Pastas and Risottos to the table through out the brunch. You are going to be bombarded with lots of food pictures, so I shall keep my words short and sweet. First the antipastos and salads (at least the memorable ones because there are way too many of them):

Caprese Buffalo Mozzarella, Vine Ripened Tomato and Basil Essence

You see even as a buffet spread, good quality ingredients are used. I love the extra creamy buffalo mozzarella with the sweet tangy tomato.

Black Angus Beef Carpaccio

As I love my raw beef, this gets a big thumbs up.

Fritatta with Leek and Zucchini

Great for the non-meat eaters.

Octopus, Baby Calameri with Elba Potatoes and Italian Parsley

Like a upgraded version of potato salad with an ocean’s touch. I had some extra servings.

Garbanzo Bean, Chicken Salad with Pepper Mint

The Chicken pieces were surprisingly tender and I love the simplicity of this.

Baked Aubergine Ripieni

My favourite vegetable gets the royal treatment with some herbs, breadcrumbs and cheese. So good!

Roasted Beets with Hazel Nuts

And Frank went nuts with these beets (get it?).

Seared Albacore Tuna with Macedonian Vegetable Relish

Almost too pretty to eat, but I ate one anyway.

Duck Liver Parfait

I almost squealed in delight seeing this. Give me liver!

And if you like cured meat, there are plenty choices.

Beef Bresaola and Beef Salami

Pepperoni and Turkey Salami

Served with somem shaved galia and cantaloupe melon if you like the sweet and savoury pairing.

Eat the rainbow!

My happiness on a plate.

The highlight for me would be the Smoked Whole Salmon.

Hey Fishy Fishy!

Intimidating looking it might be, but be rewarded with ultra tender flesh and its irresistible natural sweetness. I had A LOT of extras, couldn’t help it.

My second favourite would of course be the fresh seafood on offer.

Can never get enough of Oysters.

Moar Seafood.

And Frank dived straight into the Cheese counter.

Oh my!!!

I mean, look at that Fontina!

It oozes sexiness!

Of course even as a mild lactose intolerant person I had to try a bit and this has such robust flavours, hits you straight in the face. Great stuff.

Caesar Salad station.

Lots of people were queueing up for this and the chef busied himself wrapping the eggs in cling form and poaching them.

My second plate.

Let me tell you I didn’t only have 4 oysters. No wonder I had a food coma after.

If you spot some Risotto coming your way, do not miss out.

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Hands down one of the best risottos I’ve had in KL (Favola is similar in standards), so creamy, rich and unapologetically cloying (this time in a good way), made better with truffle oil. I had seconds. Sorry not sorry. Umei very kindly pointed out that this HAS carbs, but such good carbs are forgiven in my diet.

Lamb Pizza

There are a few types of Pizzas available including a couple of meatless varieties, but we requested for a meaty one, so this gorgeous thing arrived on our table tantalizing all our taste buds. It is delicious indeed with perfect crispy crust. Hmm gluten you say? Cheat day lah! My eczema can come back for one day for all I care.

Outside, there is a grill section with a whole lamb, sausages, rib eye steaks, tiger prawns; and main courses like Duck Confit (which is unusual for a buffet), Grilled vegetables, Salmon etc. I was so full I didn’t even manage any of them except for a small bite of duck confit. And that was pretty decent too.

Last but not least, if you still have any space in your stomach, either reserve it for the alcohol or enjoy some desserts prepared by Pastry Chef Michelle Low. She might as well be Italian because her tiramisu and cannoli is out of this world.

Umei’s: Tarts, Cannoli, Tiramisu (lovingly served in a chocolate cup)

Mine: Pistachio Creme Brulee, Tiramisu and Cannoli.

If you love Italian food, I’ll say you’ll be very happy with the selections. Otherwise, there’s always free flow Moët and Chandon, that in itself is worth the price tag. Oh speaking of price tag, the Food & Champagne package goes for RM338.00++/person, and includes free flow of Moët and Chandon champagne, red wine, white wine, draught beer, soft drinks, chilled juices. If you prefer to just go for some wine or beer, it’s priced at RM276++/person. Food alone, it’s RM148++/Person.

Prego @ The Westin
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang
+60327738338
http://www.thewestinkualalumpur.com/dining

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Paint Your Love This Christmas with Poesy Liang

December is finally upon us this year. And while we look through our planners to consider which party to attend, it’s also the time where we start thinking of what Christmas present to buy for our loved ones. Well instead of buying things from the department stores, why not try creating one of your own?

My dear friend, Poesy Liang who is an incredible woman in many ways (you can read about her life story here, and here) has finally opened up her Pop-up Gallery, featuring all the artwork she has created over the years. I cannot begin to describe how proud I am of her. Her gallery will be featuring different private events with interesting themes (last being Cat lovers exhibition) until December 2015. Here are some pics:

Congrats again, babe!

The artist herself.

Rooftop cats series.

Cupcake cats!

For someone who has gone through so many traumatic life events (wow the psychiatrist in me just made a come back), she sure has a lot of strength and this is something that always inspires me, and no doubt many others too. Of many aspects of her life, I most want to focus on the giving part. You see, she is the founder of Helping Angels, a global volunteer group (now with over 2000 member worldwide) and she also spearheaded a community program Chowkids Angels, nurturing young artists amongst refugee kids in KL. This Christmas she has introduced yet another fantastic program: a one off mentorship program to paint with her.

Poesy has always said that we can find healing through all art forms, which resonates with me as I do too find healing through music. When she invited me to try a session with her, I wonder how I never asked for it before (maybe afraid she would be too expensive, haha). I have actually watched her work numerous times while I sat and just chatted with her, but never gotten involved myself.

I thought about what I was going to paint. I wanted something that represents my life at the moment. And Poesy suggested a musical instrument. Piano is too obvious a choice (and a little boring to draw) so I went for a guitar. So after a short discussion, we came up with a sketch. Some of the lines were drawn with a made-shift ruler, and the short ones were drawn free-handed. My OCD clearly came through here.

#MacamYes

Red and purple are my two favourite colours, at first I wanted to go with red background and purple guitar but for some reason we switched the colours and now my guitar reminds me of few people… (looking at you Kelvyn).

Background done….

Once the background acrylic ink dried, I moved on to the rest of the colours.

Was in my stage outfit because we had a recording to do after… accidentally fit the painting of mine. And a wild Harry posing behind me.

The finer details were actually done with silver and black sharpie. And there we have it! I finished this piece in about 2 hours (I’m a fast worker) but the session can go for 3 hours.

My first real art piece!

At first I did want to draw the strings, but then thought why not leave it as it is so I can have the perfect name for this: No Strings Attached!

Harry is a real distraction here.

I thoroughly enjoyed my session despite not picking up a paint brush for at least more than 15 years. The creative energy from Poesy really does help me channel mine too. Like she predicted, it wasn’t just an art lesson, it was therapy and more. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity!

Starter Kit

For each mentorship session, you also get a starter kit consisting of 1 Canvas board (the one you’ll use to draw on), 24 good quality acrylic colours complete with a colour wheel for reference, 15 brushes and a palette. You get to take home your work of course. This only costs RM500 by the way, which I think is really good deal. To book an appointment, just whatsapp her on +60168886310. Her art gallery is located at Micasa Shoppes 368A Jalan Tun Razak.

Feel free to take a look and like her pages:

https://www.facebook.com/poesyliang
https://www.facebook.com/poesyart
http://www.instagram.com/poesyliang

You can also read about Jasmine’s experience here.

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Monte’s by LYN, Bangsar Shopping Center

Even though Bangsar Shopping Center is relatively close to me, I don’t often choose to dine there. But this is probably going to change soon after my visit to Monte’s, a restaurant that’s been serving quality Western cuisine for over a decade now. It’s been under my radar until I was invited to a special birthday dinner; needless to say, I was quite impressed with what they had to offer.

The restaurant itself is spacious with a relaxed homely vibe, with touches of greenery and rustic brick walls, almost reminds me of a winery too. There are separate dining areas to suit different needs, and also a more private area which we were allocated.

Oh by the way, that birthday person is Tim Chew, founder of Malaysia’s Hottest Bloggers community, also someone who’s been consistently supportive especially when it comes to my blogging journey. Thank you for being an awesome boss! (There I said something nice about you, I don’t ask for much, RM100 ok?) We were hosted by Lyn, who has recently taken over the management of the restaurant and is such a bubbly personality too.

Hi Tim!

I arrived at the restaurant nice and early because being the rockstar I am, I had to rush to play a gig after. But it didn’t stop me from indulging in some sparkling and of course their delectable food. Though I did miss out on some of the courses, I shall let the pictures speak for themselves then.

Escargots 1/2 dozen RM19

After surveying the menu, the starter I most wanted to try was of course these amazing looking Escargots. Baked & basted in Chablis ‘n’ Garlic sauce, they are as decadent as they sound. I love the rich, creamy sauce; punchy with the garlic, perfect to mop up with some toasted bread. Priced at only RM19, this is probably the best value for money too.

Juicy Seared Sea Scallops 1/2 dozen RM39

The Seared Scallops is another great choice too. Here the scallops are cooked to perfection, and served with a delightful sweet potato mash, drizzled with tarragon butter and balsamic reduction. Fabulous dish and I could easily polish the whole plate if I want to.

Nachos RM19

Can’t go wrong with nachos, especially when they are generous with cheese. Here we had a mixture of chicken and vegetarian toppings and both were great in terms of flavour combination.

Taking a moment to pose for a picture.

Yeah… it was Lyn’s idea to get bunny ears for the girls. I like her already.

Cod RM56

I ordered a Grilled Cod Fillet for my main and it comes with sauteed potatoes, salad and lemon soy sauce. I like how they have good dishes to cater for people on different diet needs. Despite the simplicity of the dish it’s rather satisfying, as the cod is nice and tender, seasoned well, made even more delicious with a squeeze of lemon. They also have another Cod with which is paired with Ratatouille and I think I will try that one next.

Here are the dishes that I didn’t get to try:

Seafood Salad (A mix of mini octopus, prawns, smoked salmon & caviar on a bed of fresh garden greens) RM29

Smoked Duck Salad (Tossed salad with sundried tomato and basil) RM28

Fresh Oxtail Soup (Thick, savory, hot & spicy to whet your appetite) RM18

Ribeye (Prepared in Monte’s way to retain its taste, simply grilled and served with seasonal vegetables) RM63

Braised Lamb Shank (Served with mashed potato & stewed mushrooms) RM35

Monte’s is also great for Private dining, with option to customize your menu to suit your budget. I know I will be returning to try the dishes I missed out last time (especially that Oxtail soup). Thank you for your hospitality, Lyn!

Of course, an obligatory group pic! Dress from Zalora, by the way.

Photo credit to Andy Kho and Tim Chew.

Monte’s Restaurants and Wine Bar
Lot F 112, Level 1, Bangsar Shopping Center
Jalan Maarof, 59000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (603) 2094 1112/3
Fax: (603) 2094 1113
Opening Hours:
Monday – Sunday, 11.30 am till 11 pm
https://www.facebook.com/montesbylyn/
http://www.montesrestaurant.com.my/

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F&N Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk & Banoffee Pie

Did you know that nowadays most of the “condensed milk” you see on the market aren’t actually made with real milk? And the “real” ones generally can be quite expensive as they were all imported. Well here’s a piece of good news for you: F&N recently reintroduced the Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk and is currently the only local company that offers Malaysians the creamy goodness of full-cream sweetened condensed milk at an affordable price.

I remember when I was growing up, condensed milk played a big part of my life. There was always an opened can (poured into small container) in our fridge and it was used for many things. One of my favourite snacks was a Cream cracker drizzled with a hearty amount of condensed milk. Back then it was a fun challenge to finish the cream cracker without the condensed milk dripping from the holes. As soon as I moved to Australia, condensed milk disappeared from my life. I guess it’s very much a Malaysian thing as you’ll see condensed milk used everywhere in local kopitiams and mamaks, and most household too.

So what’s so special about F&N Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk? First of all, it contains the wholesome goodness of milk, which makes it richer, fuller and creamier. Secondly, it’s also nutritious, with high amount of calcium, and the added benefits of vitamin A, B1 and D3; and as you know, milk is a good source of protein too. Tasty and beneficial, what’s not to love? Of course, enjoy it in moderation as it does contain quite a bit of sugar. But occasional indulgence is essential, let me tell you that.

I was sent a batch of F&N Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk to review and while I normally wouldn’t be consuming so much sweet stuff, I was curious about the taste (I guess you can say that condensed milk is my weakness). Upon receiving the package, I immediately open one and tried a spoonful (don’t judge k?).

Mmmm!!

It is indeed rich and creamy and tastes really sinful. The next few days I proceed to add this into my coffee. Such bliss. I also used it in a couple of recipes which I will show you in a minute. By the way, I really dig the new packaging which has a pull ring for easy opening (I remember the day when I used to dig 2 holes on the can and let the condensed milk slowly drip out into another container), and a plastic lid so I can store the can itself easily.

So I finally attempted to make my own Dulce De Leche! Dulce De Leche is basically caramelised milk and is prepared by slowly heating condensed milk to change its flavour and colour. Traditionally, it takes hours to achieve this, often requiring boiling for up to 4 hours. But I had the perfect tool to save me some time, in a form of Philips Pressure Cooker!

That’s right, with a pressure cooker, making Dulce De Leche takes only about an hour (that is if you don’t count the essential cooling down time, of course), and it’s definitely foolproof too! Let’s take a second to admire this heavenly creation of mine, shall we?

Oh My!!!

To make perfect Dulce De Leche, first place the can of Condensed Milk side way in the Pressure Cooker Pot, and fill with water to cover at least an inch above the can. Then, set your timer to 40 minutes and start the cooker. Once the time is up, release pressure, remove the can cautiously. This is super important: let it cool COMPLETELY before you attempt to open the can. If you don’t, the content will explode, and you’ll end up with severe burns. But when it’s cool it’s absolutely safe to open. Then control yourself not to finish this by the spoonfuls (will probably get into diabetic coma if you do).

So what did I make for with the Dulce De Leche? Banoffee Pie of course! This has been on my to-make list for years and I didn’t go through because I didn’t want to waste 4 hours of gas just cooking a can of condensed milk. The Pressure cooker is really a life-saver sometimes. Oh, I digress, this post is about F&N Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk. Haha. Here’s the Banoffee Pie.

Oh you, get in my mouth!

Move over, Lemon Tarts. This is officially the best dessert I’ve ever made! I’ve opted for shortcrust pastry case because well, that’s my expertise right there. Fill it with the Duche De Leche, Sliced Bananas marinated with lemon juice, and then a dollop of whipped cream. So simple, so delicious no I mean RIDICULOUSLY delicious, it makes my skirt fly up. Here’s the recipe:

Shortcrust Pastry (makes 3 mini pies)
1 cup Plain Flour (I used double 00 flour because that was what I have)
1/3 cup Almond Meal
100g Grass-fed Butter
1 teaspoon Salt
2-3 teaspoon Iced Water

To make pastry, mix flour and salt together then rub in the cubed butter until mixture resemble breadcrumbs. Add ice water (add 1/2 first, and pour in more as needed) to draw the moisture and mix until the dough just comes together. Form pastry into a disc, enclose in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface until 5mm thick and use to line 6 x 12cm tart pans. Trim edge carefuly, then line with baking paper and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove beans and paper, and bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool.

Other ingredients:
A Can of Dulce De Leche
2-3 Bananas
Lemon Juice
250ml Whipping Cream

I guess it goes without saying you need to whip the cream until stiff peak, then set aside.

Once the tarts are nice and cool, spoon over the dulce de leche and spread it flat. Slice bananas and coat them with a bit of lemon juice (this provides a little acidity to balance the taste and also keeps the banana fresh for longer), then lay them however you like on top of the dulce de leche. To serve, spoon generous amount of whipped cream on top.

Make this today to impress your friends! I brought this to my gig for my musicians and made them very, very happy.

F&N Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk is now available at selected outlets (Ben’s Independent Grocer, Jaya Grocer, Hero Market, AEON, Jason’s Foodhall, Mercato, Village Grocer, Isetan, Cold Storage and Presto Grocer) throughout Peninsular and East Malaysia for RM5.00 per 392g can.

For more details, tasty recipe ideas and list of participating outlets, please visit www.fndairies.com

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El Sid’s, Medan Damansara

When it comes to pubs in Kuala Lumpur, most people would be familiar with this particular group of British pubs called Sid’s. Yes, I’m highly biased of course because my other half’s involvement but I guess that’s beside the point. Well, El Sid’s is another outlet under the same group and it’s a total different concept. This time, we are going South America (The name is probably a dead giveaway). Think ceviche, tacos, margaritas and tequila. Let’s have a fiesta!

A party we did have, as I held one of my birthday parties (I had 6 rounds this year) last month at El Sid’s with some of my blogger friends. If you would agree that Sid’s Pub is very much a boys night out venue, then El Sid’s would be the female version. The concept was actually conceived by Lian, the wife of Geoff Siddle; and the menu here is designed by Chef Jorge Bernal, who has previously worked in The Majestic Hotel, and Loco at Changkat Bukit Bintang. While it’s not very extensive, it has all the essentials to make a satisfying meal. Though first, let’s have some cocktails!

Cheers!

The bar staff are pretty creative and will surprise you with their creations if you let them. Failing that, there are 10 types of Tequila for you to choose including a super delicious Coffee Patron.

So good! Do not miss out if you like Tequila, or even if you don’t like.

We ordered a few dishes to share and here are the starters:

Ceviche de Langostinos RM16

The shrimps are marinated and served with mango, avocados and a simple tomato salsa. While it’s fresh and zesty, the shrimps have been cooked with heat so it has a slightly different texture to traditional ceviche. No matter though, as it’s still delicious and will appeal to those who are iffy about citrus cured food.

Breaded Jalapenos RM16

I love Jalapeno poppers and here they are made vegetarian, just simply stuffed with Mozzarella cheese, breaded and deep fried.

Sexy!

As you bite into it, the cheese oozes out. The textural contrast of crunchy batter, tender pepper and soft cheese is such a fun experience. The heat is only very mild for my taste, and these are so good pairing with whatever drinks you are having.

El Sid’s Tacos de Pescado RM18

Of course, one does not go through a South American menu without ordering some tacos. Sid’s Pubs’ Cod and Chips has always been pretty good, so I had high expectation for the fish tacos here. Cod is the choice here, and wisely so as it’s lovely and tender. If anything I would prefer the batter to be a bit thinner. I like how the yoghurt dressing is spiked with a little cumin too.

Alitas de Pollo (RM24)

I’ve long heard about the Chicken Wings with inferno sauce here and was looking forward to the burn. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet my expectation (my fellow diners could really eat spicy too and they also thought these were not hot enough) and when I brought it up to Geoff, he brought these babies out.

Can you handle the heat?

The scoville scores of these are in 6 digits and trust me, they are crazy hot! My craving for spice knows no bound and these made me very happy, while some on the table screamed in pain (looking at you, Anna!).

Chicken Wings with Sweet Tomato (RM24)

These are for the weak. Joking. Can’t go wrong with Chicken wings really and these were gone pretty quickly.

Roasted Beef Ribs (RM24)

The highlight of the night would be these fabulous Beef Ribs, which is apparently the most popular item on the menu. I can see why though, as these babies are slow roasted in oven and coated with a tangy BBQ sauce. The meat is so tender with a hint of smokiness, and the BBQ sauce is just perfect with a balance of savoury, sweet, and tangy notes. So good! I would lick my finger but I ate these with fork.

Ensalada El Sid’s (RM16)

We needed to fulfill our vegetable quota so this colourful salad was ordered. Consisting of mesclun leaves, red cabbage, nuts, seasonal fruit (we had a mixture of apple and orange), feta cheese, cilantro, quinoa, finished with a honey lime dressing; it provides a much needed healthy boost while remaining relatively tasty.

Nachos (RM18 for single portion, RM32 for family size)

We also asked for some Nachos to munch on while we continue our merry making session, and my my the family size is rather huge! We opted for chicken (you can also choose either Chili Con Carne, Chili Tuna or Eggplant/Capsicum), and the nachos are covered in Ranchero sauce, Cheese and Jalapenos. Because of its size, some bits of the cheese were melted enough, but these are great to accompany the drinks.

And speaking of drinks, we had a lot more!

Gold Patron, my friend. Cause this is how we roll.

And….

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum.

This tastes like a combination of vanilla and cinnamon, and is so smooth! I recommend to sip it slowly to fully appreciate the body and the aroma.

And more…..

The wine selections here are not too shabby with reasonable price too.

Fortunately, we made it through the night without any table top dancing (trust me, we were ‘this’ close), but it sure was a great night with plenty of laughters. Thank you El Sid’s for the fabulous hospitality!

El Sid’s
1, Jalan Setiapuspa,
Bukit Damansara, Damansara Heights
03-2095 7437
https://www.facebook.com/ElSidsBar
Pork Free

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Bella Unwind NTV7 Appearance and Spaghetti with Prawns in Laksa Sauce

Just a year ago, I was invited to be on Bella Unwind NTV7 (read about it here), and it was a nerve wrecking, yet memorable experience as it was my first live TV filming experience. Fast forward a year, I’ve had a few more TV appearances, but still pretty much a newbie when it comes to talking into a giant video camera. Well, just a couple of weeks ago, I received yet another invitation from Bella Unwind to appear on their show, this time I was invited to demo a pasta dish with a local twist. Of course, I’m never one to turn these things down, even though it would mean I give up a little bit of sleep to be at the studio (going through a particularly bad period of insomnia at the moment).

I experimented with a few pasta dishes and finally decided on a laksa inspired version with prawns. The day came and as expected, I had almost zero sleep that night (brilliant). We made our way to Shah Alam Studio and it all seemed like I was there not too long ago. After prepping the ingredients and some touch up by the make-up artist, we were ready to film!

Busy busy!

The host of the day was Lisa Wong, whom I had the pleasure to meet several years ago when I just moved to KL, so I was a little less nervous. Though being live TV, my tongue did react a little slower, hah.

Having fun, evidently.

We talked a bit about the different types of pastas and cooking tips, and I went on to demonstrate the dish.

So focused.

Oh yeah, I’m getting the hang off dyeing my own hair, this shade was supposed to be a deeper purple, but because of my bright red hair, it’s gone a little maroon-ish. My dress is from Zalora, by the way.

Trying to stay graceful while cooking isn’t an easy task, I tell you.

I didn’t get a picture of the dish I cooked though, but will share a recipe of the version I did at home.

Groupie pic.

The plate they had at the set was so small, so my plating was a little messy. Oops! The taste was good though, judging by the crowd’s reaction. My mind was completely blank by the time we finished the interview, phew! Hoping for more opportunities like this so I can practise more. Thank you Bella NTV7 for the invitation!

So here’s the Laksa inspired pasta:

Spaghetti with Prawns in Laksa Sauce

Naturally, I used a Sarawak laksa paste to make this at home, but during filming I had gone with a Nyonya laksa paste (I ran out already, uh oh!). I added spiralised (will do a post on my spiral cutter soon) butternut squash and curry leaves along with the prawns. The combination works fabulously, and it’s really quick to put together too.

Spaghetti (100g for 2)
8 Medium Prawns (I used big tiger prawns for the demo, feel free to add any other seafood you like)
Half Butternut Squash, spiralised or julienned
2 cloves Garlic, minced
4 tablespoons Laksa Paste
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup Cream
Handful of Curry Leaves
2 tablespoons Sambal belacan
2-3 Calamansi Limes

Cook Spaghetti to packet’s direction in salted water. Generally about 10 minutes, but I suggest under cooking for a minute as you will need to cook it again in the pan.

Fry the curry leaves in a bit of oil until crispy, and set aside until needed.

Meanwhile, saute garlic and butternut squash until soft, then add laksa paste, tomato paste and mix around for a couple of minutes. When it’s aromatic, add cream, followed by the prawns (alternatively, cook prawns separately and then combine with the sauce). Once the sauce achieves a nice thick consistency, add the spaghetti and curry leaves and finally the sambal belacan and toss to coat. And you are done! Squeeze the lime over just before serving.  This takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and so delicious!

Get into my mouth already.

I love the richness of the sauce, while the squash/pumpkin lends a subtle sweetness, and the zesty lime kick is ever so aromatic. The aroma of the curry leaves is rather addictive too. Next time I crave for laska I might give this a whirl again.

Have you tried any fusion pasta before? If so what is your favourite combination?

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Birthday Dinner at Gobo Upstairs, Traders Hotel

Can’t believe it’s more than a month since my birthday! Where has the time gone? I celebrated my birthday quite a few times this year and probably eaten more cakes than few years combined. The celebrations span through almost the whole month and of course I have many people to thank for organising the parties/dinners/surprises, as well as all of you who have taken your time to send me birthday wishes (I’m sorry I didn’t get to reply each of you on the wall). Of these, I would like to specially thank Traders Hotel for agreeing to host us for a birthday date. The Traders hospitality is undoubtedly warm and very personal, and you might have read my experience of staying at this hotel here, and I’ve also recently dined at Gobo Chit Chat for their Seafood Buffet. This time, we had a meaty dinner at Gobo Upstairs.

Gobo Upstairs prides itself for serving one of the best steaks in town. The restaurant has gone through a small revamp since our last visit, and now the lighting is slightly brighter with an overall blue hue (which you’ll see affected my food photos) but still has a romantic ambience.

The wall art is so me!

The menu is clearly divided and is pretty concise with good options for Paleo diners, while focusing on seasonal quality produce. The beef comes from Australia (though no mention whether it’s Grain-fed or Grass-fed) and you can go for either Black Angus or Wagyu. There are also quite a few seafood dishes too if beef isn’t your kind of thing. We settled down to ponder over the menu for a while before deciding on our orders. While the waiter brought us some amuse bouche.

Beef Stew served in a lettuce cup.

Tender chunks of beef in a thick gravy, not a bad start to the meal. Though I had to have Frank’s portion as well because he doesn’t like stew meat. His loss, I guess.

Charcoal, Olive and Wholegrain Bread, served with butter and celery puree.

Looks like charcoal bread is still a trend, but our favourite was the olive bread of course, with the fruity note and umaminess imparted from the olives, great with the celery puree.

Goats Cheese Salad RM37

The obvious choice for Frank was the Goats Cheese Salad, which has the perfect combination of beetroot, roasted walnuts, thinly sliced radish, mesclun leaves with a honey balsamic dressing. The sweetness is nicely balance by the slightly pungent goats cheese. I only managed to steal a bite before Frank polished it up.

Pan Seared Foie Gras (RM56)

I decided to totally pamper myself and ordered the Pan Seared Foie Gras (another obvious choice). Here it comes with slices of Smoked Duck Breast atop a Brioche toast and finished with Berries Compote. Berries with Foie Gras are always a winning combination and I like the slightly salty Duck Breast to complete the dish. The Foie itself? Well it’s perfectly cooked with slightly charred exterior and absolutely buttery interior. I was a happy girl that night.

For our mains, we ordered the steaks of course (yes, even Frank who usually go for meatless dishes while dining out). I went for the Wagyu Tenderloin and ordered a Black Angus Tenderloin for Frank, since he likes his steaks well done (it would be a waste to cook Wagyu this way!).

Wagyu Tenderloin (RM198) Marble Score 7

My Wagyu Tenderloin came with a Mesclun salad and Caramelised Onion Relish and I asked for a Bearnaise sauce to go with the steak.

Medium Rare perfection. And check out that beautiful marble!

I always say that I like my cow still bleeding (or still eating the salad on the plate) and here they achieved the perfect doneness for me. Tender, juicy, a little smoky, and full of bovine flavours. It is already delicious without the need for sauce, but I do like the rich, buttery and slightly tangy Bearnaise. The caramelised onion goes really well with the meat too.

Black Angus Tenderloin (RM130)

Frank’s well done Black Angus Tenderloin looked well done even from the outside (I don’t understand people who eat well done steak though, but that might just be me. Hehe), and is served with a roasted tomato with feta herb mayo, and the same caramelised onion relish. He liked it so much that he ordered a second steak! Even the chef was impressed.

Grilled Tenderloin with Foie Gras (RM150)

Lex, Communications Executive of Traders also joined us for dinner and this was his very pretty plate of Grilled Tenderloin with Foie Gras, which induced a pang of dish envy. The Bordelaise sauce looked amazing, I should order that next time I’m there.

We ordered a few side dishes to share as well.

Saute Asparagus with Parmesan (RM19)

Simply sauteed and then sprinkled with Parmesan, great for asparagus lovers like me.

Saute Baby Spinach (RM15)

Though my favourite was the Sauteed Baby Spinach with Raisin and Garlic, simple but so comforting to eat especially with its smooth texture.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes (RM15)

The Irishman was happy with the mash, which says a lot.

At this point I was actually pretty full, but it would be a sin to skip dessert during my birthday month (self-imposed rule?). In hindsight I really shouldn’t have though, you’ll know why soon.

Vanilla Panna Cotta (RM22)

The Panna cotta is served with candied hazelnuts and lime caramel sauce (!). It has the telltale wobble and wasn’t too cloyingly sweet, which suits my taste.

Uptown Girl (RM22) – Chocolate, Rum and Raisin, Strawberry.

Even though this is pretty simple (childish, even), it ticked the boxes for Frank the ice cream lover.

Just when we were about to wrap up our dinner, this appeared:

A. Whole. Chocolate. Cake.

A whole cake, along with Happy Birthday song. I sure was being spoilt rotten! Even though I could only manage a small slice that night. That cake sat in my fridge for a few days and made Frank a happy boy. I think he had enough Chocolate for a month at least.

So I just want to say this again and this goes out to Hui Zhen, Lex Ariff and all the staff at Gobo Upstairs: Thank you for making my birthday special. Looking forward to visit Traders Hotel again!

Gobo Upstairs Lounge and Grill
Level 6
Traders Hotel
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Malaysia
+6 03 2332 9910
www.shangri-la.com/kualalumpur/traders/

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