A Local KL Breakfast @ Restoran Win Heng Seng, KLCC

Date of Visit:  Numerous – my local KL breakfast place

This post is for my friend who will be visiting KL next month with her family. She asked me about good local eats in KL, so I am recommending Restoran Win Heng Seng at the junction of Jalan Barat and Jalan Imbi, near Bukit Bintang in KLCC.  It is close to the majors hotels e.g. Westin, JW Marriott, Ritz Carlton as well as Pavilion where I stay. This is also where I go for my local breakfast when I am in KL – total spend of under RM5 for a bowl of wonton noodles and a drink!  Cheap!

How do one get there from Pavilion Mall…

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Liuligongfang crystal bowl fountain

Cross Jalan Bukit Bintang and walk into the street between the Sephora and Uniglo.

I am perplexed as how this funky deconstructive building received its development approval seeing that one of the sharp corners of the building pokes out into the pedestrian pavement.  A wee bit dangerous, one would think, nevertheless,  I am unperturbed since I like Sephora because they stock  some niche make-up brands including Stella, Too Faced, Urban Decay, Kit, etc…

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A Daniel Libeskind copy

Keep walking until you reach the end of the street.

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Star Hill Mall on the right – where Debenhams department store is located

You will have arrived at Jalan Imbi when you see a green coloured corner lot in front of you. This is the restaurant. Take care to cross the busy road (the pedestrian lights do not work)

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Restoran Win Heng Seng in green

This cafe is as local as it can get – one can mingle with the taxi drivers, office workers, families alike.

There are many stalls selling a myriad of hawker foodstuffs from fried noodles, soup noodles, tofu, rice (including nasi lemak – Malay rice delicacy) and pastries.  The local tea and coffees are very nice.  I always order Kopi-C Kosong Ais – Iced coffee with evaporated milk, no sugar.  Take care if you order Teh-tarikMalay pulled milk tea which is extremely sweet!

I recommend sitting alfresco if you are early, before the sun gets too hot (around 7:30am – 8:30am) because it can get a bit stuffy and smoky from the woks inside the restaurant. You will be hassled by beggars, hawkers selling lottery tickets and charitable organisations seeking for donation – please check the charity workers’ ID tags since it is compulsory that they carry it!

I always have fish-skin wonton noodles soup. The wonton skins are made from fish paste and filled with minced pork. The soup base has ikan billis (anchovies), parsleys and bean sprouts – and a LOT of MSG!  Very delicious, but still,  don’t drink the broth! 

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Fish-skin wonton noodles soup

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Accompaniment to the noodles: Light soy with green chilies for extra kick!

There is also a  stall selling mini pastries baked fresh on the premises – egg tarts (or princeling tarts), siew bao (pastry ball stuffed with BBQ meat), pineapple tarts, apple tarts, tuna pies, etc. This stall is apparently very popular among the locals.  (Psst…they misused 1 Chinese character, since when is a tart=tower?)

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Mini Egg Tarts fresh from the oven (about $0.70 each?)

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Princeling tarts, apple tarts and pineapple tarts

After breakfast, it’s back to Pavilion Mall for window-shopping. The mall only opens at 10am though.

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Entrance to Pavilion Mall: The LINE android app mascot saying ‘Hi’!

I reckon the Christmas decoration in Pavilion Mall is the best in KL! There are lots of activities, meaning it is very noisy which drives me KRAZY!

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Christmas Bazaar in the atrium inside Pavilion Mall

More furry friends on the top floor.  Let’s be naughty – let’s give ’em a good rub to turn them black!  OK, because we are adults, we say it’s for Good Luck then!  😝

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Larger-than-life furry friends

Near Death, 36 Hours in Pavilion Mall KLCC, Malaysia… and An Announcement!

Date: October 24 2013

4 sticks of satay chicken on a bed of tomato fried rice, 1 bread roll, some salad and a slice of orange cake on board MAS from SiBoo to Kuala Lumpur… could this possibly be my last meal? And if it was, at least I have tried the Malay tomato fried rice before I perished! 😉

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MAS: Inflight Lunch

Perished? Err… excuse me?

Let’s keep this hush-hush between you and I OK? I posted my flight’s near-collision on my FB whereby my friend immediately commented that this piece of info is considered ‘OSA’ in Malaysia and anyone leaking this info will face up to RM1 Million or 1-year mandatory imprisonment or both!

What the heck is OSA? According to Wiki, OSA is short for The Official Secrets Act 1972 (Act 88), a Malaysian statute prohibiting the dissemination of information classified as an official secret. The legislation is based on the Official Secrets Acts of the United Kingdom. Apparently, a blogger has been held under the draconian Official Secret Acts (here) because of his comments on the Sultan of Johor. Well then, since it was announced by the pilot onboard with 100-odd passengers, if the OSA does indeed operates, then we are all going to be arrested!

Back to the near-collision story, our plane was on approach to land in KLIA, when another bigger plane trespassed into our path. We had to make a sudden acceleration to go back up into air, spending a good 10 minutes of circling before we made finally it down to land (all-in-all, the flight to KL took nearly 5 hours, taking into account the hour-long delay in SiBoo). Anyway, I saw a nice seaside resort very similar to the plan of Dubai Palm Jumeirah’s land reclamation – if anyone knows the name of the resort, do enlighten me.

*****

After refreshing and unpacking – and feeling rather knackered, I decided to go for an early dinner @ La Boca which I had been before (here).

In anticipation of my Inca Trail next year, an induction into Peruvian food is a must. First up, the ubiquitous pisco sour. Sweet, tangy, punchy and deceivingly alcoholic, this lemonade made with egg white made me go: “Hit me Baby, one more time!”

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Pisco Sour

Since there were 3 of us, we ordered Fajitas La Boca to share. It looked exactly like in the menu. There is an option for beef, lamb, chicken or mushrooms (vegetarian). We opted for mushrooms. In hindsight we should have asked for the other meat options because the mushrooms with lots of onions and capsicums were oily and not very filling.

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Picture menu

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Fajita (with a side of 4 tortillas wraps, not pictured)

My main was Peruvian Salmon Ceviche. The salmon was not raw as I had expected, it had been lightly seared and mixed with bits of corn kernels, onions, tomatoes, avocado and capsicum. It tasted alright, although I didn’t bother with the accompaniment of the tough cassava chips.

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Peruvian Salmon Ceviche: Topped with rockets, tough cassava chips drizzled in pesto oil

My dining companion #1 had his usual: Steak, chips and salad, which he finished with a gusto.

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Steak, chips and salad

My dinner companion #2 had Seafood curry. It was a HUGE with pan-fried salmon attoped with 4 pieces of prawns, 2 huge wedges of pumpkins and rice. The curry was rather Malaysian, although I have no idea what Latino curries tasted like – I will find out in April 2014!

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Seafood curry

*****

To round off our meal, we headed to Meet Fresh, a Taiwanese franchise renowned for desserts on Level 6.

Dining companion #1, being the healthy one opted for Mung bean, Lotus Seed and Tofu pudding.

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Mung bean, Lotus Seed and Tofu pudding (RM6.50)

Dining companion #2 had the new Super Mango Shaved Ice which is lots of defrosted mango pieces on top of a bed of shaved iced soaked in mango juice and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

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Super Mango Shaved Ice (RM9.80)

Me, being me, went for Meet Fresh Special Herb Jelly – because I loved the combination of chewy taro balls, yam balls and melt-in-my mouth herbal jelly. I even requested for a scoop of Taro Ice-cream to send me to sweet-sweet lullaby!

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Meet Fresh Special Herb Jelly (RM6.90) + Taro Ice-cream (RM2)

*****

Breakfast meeting the next morning @ Pressroom Bistro which is at The Connection, outside the mall.

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Croissant + Flat White (RM14++)

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Menu

*****

Lunch @ Ippudo. Surprisingly, the noodles have improved since my last visit here.

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Shiromaru Motoaji + Onsen Tamago

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Akamaru Shinaji

Met for Coffee @ Ben’s which I had been to before (here). The Iced Black Coffee was very weak, I prefered Dr. Mahatir’s version (here) with -60C ice-cubes!

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Weak, weak Iced Black Coffee… yuck, yuck, yuck!

*****

Upon entering the Madam Kwan’s (at the Basement of Pavilion Mall KLCC) for dinner, a quirky lady in a hat came to greet us and directed us to our table. Madam Kwan looked very much the caricature in her menu, a woman in her 70s, she is almost a fixture at her restaurant. Myself and one other decided to order 2 dishes to share.

Can you believe that I have never tried Otak Otak? I saw an episode on Asian Food Channel (AFC), presented in Mandarin by a chap called ‘Ah Sien’, who travels around Malaysia and Singapore in search of the perfect Malaysian street food. In one particular episode he talked about Otak Otak, his description of this street food made it sound impossibly delicious and got me interested. This is a spicy fish paste wrapped in banana leaf. Hmm… as a chili padi enthusiast, I have to say this one is overly spicy for me and thank goodness for the side of cucumber! The Char Kway Teow was pretty ordinary fare.

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Char Kway Teow $18.90

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Otak Otak $19.90

There, there, 36-hours stay-over in Pavilion KLCC, carb-ladden by meals with hidden sugars, no wonder I felt very bloated and very yucky… whew, at least my clothes still fits!

As I took my early flight back to the Land of Oz the next morning, I did a bit of contemplation and decided that my current sedentary lifestyle and the choice of food are not doing me any good. I am flabby, sluggish, achy and tired all the time. Even though I take time out to run at least 2-3 times a week, the unbearable heat makes me exhausted even before I start my run. Grr… running is not cutting it, I need to lift weights. So the picture below is my ‘final’ – fingers-crossed –carb-ladden meal before I embark on my 3-month Body transformation on November 1.

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Inflight Brunch KL-Sydney: Fruit salad, Main (Omelette with chicken sausage, spicy potato wedges, mushrooms, tomato and sweet peas, Orange cake, croissant, muesli bar, snickers bar, tea, red wine, 1 mini magnum).

So here’s THE announcement, in additional to my normal restaurant/food reviews and travels, I shall be blogging about my ‘transformation’ aka how I’m gonna get my groove back every Monday – starting next week! I will be documenting my food journal for the past week and the exercises I’m doing. A bit of a challenge, as you shall soon see as I love food and wine a teeny-weeny bit too much!

I’m excited now, hope you are too! See you around! 😘

Moon Cakes So Tiny! @ Mandarin Oriental Hotel Kuala Lumpur

I have been a fan of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Kuala Lumpur’s chocolate-shelled moon cakes ever since it was first introduced to KL a number of years ago. I had chanced upon it by accident while staying at the hotel. From that chance encounter, I have remained loyal and will often grab a few boxes if I am in KL around the Mid-Autumn season for gifts and for my own sweet tooth.

However, this year I want to try other more ‘unusual’ creations that Lai Po Heen, the in-house Chinese restaurant of MO has to offer.

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Packaging for individual moon cake

Snow Skin Durian (RM18)
At RM18 a piece, this is the must be the most expensive moon cake I have ever bought – and IT IS TINY! The size of a Chinese chess piece! I am tempted to pop the whole piece into my mouth, but decided to nibble at it instead as to make the experience last longer. It has a strong durian fragrance and tasted durian-ish. However, the filling were not grinded fine enough, thus the rough texture about it. I couldn’t put my finger to the other binding agent until I ate a piece with residual lotus seed. There we have it, durian and lotus seed paste snow skin moon cake .

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Mini Mini Moon Cake!

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Snow Skin Moon Cake with MO’s Signature Fan Embossed

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Yellow Coloured Filling: Snow Skin Durian

The other 2 varieties I bought were MO’s medium-sized moon cakes at RM20 a piece.

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Slightly bigger than the mini…

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MO’ s signature fan is embossed on the moon cake

Chestnut with Melon Seeds ($20)
The paste has a rough texture with pieces of melon seeds. I tasted something caramel-ish, but could not make out any hint of chestnut.

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Brown Coloured Filling: Chestnut with Melon Seeds

Pandanus Essence and Macadamia Nut ($20)
This has a very strong aroma of pandan when cut open. It was otherwise a very bland moon cake. One would not know that it has macadamia nut paste filling unless one reads the packaging. It’s rough and kind of floury. Incidentally, MO uses palm oil which I have no issues with. Quite frankly, the boycott of palm oils in Western countries is ridiculous and simply a propaganda for rape-seed and soybean oil industries which are substitutes for palm oil. Palm oil is healthy oil. Palm trees does not cause any ecological damage to the environment since they do not require replanting annually unlike the rape-seeds and soybeans. The palms’ replanting cycle is 25 years.

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Green Coloured Filling: Pandanus Essence and Macadamia Nut

My verdict? Expensive and not well-made. The fillings have rough/ coarse texture which is disappointing especially when one is expecting the smooth ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ feel that is hallmark of a high-quality moon cake. Perhaps MO should think of purchasing a high-speed Vitamix blender. Moreover, the sizes of the moon cakes are very small which defy the Chinese tradition of cutting the moon cakes into quarters for sharing.

My parting comment is: “Ouch to my wallet!”

Dining Lebanese in KLCC @ Al-Amar, Pavilion KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: Numerous times since 2011, the latest visit being November 2012

Tabouli is basically a salad of bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, mint, green onions, olive oil and lemon juice. Simple as it is, I love tabouli very much. I love the zingy sharp acidity of lemons mixed with the robust flavours of mint, parsleys and shallots. When I first arrived KL, I often went to Al-Amar for my tabouli fix. Although their tabouli is overly masticated to a pulp, I still went there for their Tabasco-ey tabouli which included the hot red chili padi that suited the Malaysian tastebuds.

Yes, I know tabouli is easy to make at home, but getting my hands on the fresh herbs was a chore for a new arrival especially since the supermarket downstairs does not have a complete stock of fresh herbs and I don’t know where the market is.  Anyway, how convenient was it to have one of Malaysia’s Best Restaurant at your doorsteps right?

Anyway, here is the review of my last visit from a while ago:

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Tabouli

The nice thing about Al-Amar is that each table gets 2 types of complimentary breads together with olive oil and seasoning salts.

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Baby Bagels

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Pita breads

Normally one would order the mezze plate of assorted hummus, but why order them if one can whizz these dips easily at home? (Chuck a can of drained chickpeas and a drizzle a bit of olive oil, then blend in the blender).

Foods in Al-Amar tend to be on the sour side.   If you crave for something really sour, I recommend the Dolmades (rice stuffed in vine leaves and marinated in lemon juice and olive oil) or what they call Warak Enab in Lebanese for appetiser.  A really sour finger food which jolts one awake, this is a welcoming respite after all the sweet Malaysian fares eaten in KL.

The restaurant has a huge oven on display, so naturally one would ordered grilled dishes.

I ordered Lamb Kofta, which came with more bread, spices and onions – warranting no complaints from me. (for the adventurous, there are raw lamb meats too!)

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Lamb Kofta

The oven baked Snapper looked festive sitting on a bed of lettuce and surrounded by lemons, tomatoes and onions.  It was a delicious fish.  Tarator dressing (made from more lemon juice, yoghurt, oil and nuts) was paired with the fish if one wants more flavour.  In the midst of eating, we realised that the fish was not cooked in the middle so we had to send it back, which was a negative.

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Oven Baked Fish

We had a bottle of Lebanese red wine from Chateau Musar which I thought  was rather special, as this was my first time tasting vino from the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia  (Interesting history read up here ).   It’s a young fruity wine, with a nose of rich red fruits, cherries and violets. The tannins left a long velvety touch hinting towards dark fruits at the end.

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Chateau Musar Jeaune Red

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Interior

The interior harkens to Aladdin’s caves with red furnishings and exotic ornaments which is rather dated, but still attracting Middle-Eastern clienteles.   The restaurants serve huge buffet spread during the weekends.  A perfect chance to sample all the offerings the restaurant has.  I definitely recommend Al-Amar to the vegetarians, raw foodists and those who wanted something savoury and tart, away from the unctuously sweet dishes.

Harrods Cafe, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: July 19 2013

Getting a simple ala carte dinner during the Ramadan month is pretty hard to come by in most hotels. This is because Ramadan is time for the hoteliers to cash in on the all-you-can-eat-iftar-buffet. The iftar buffet is a lavish affair and very popular so advanced reservations are required. I gather that most companies are also using Ramadan as company dinners as well.

However, doesn’t this debase the religious purpose of fasting for spiritual purification into a simply indoctrinated practice of not eating during the day for fear of prosecution by the religious police turning into food-frenzy come sun-set? This is also not particularly healthy.

Moreover, I was unsettled by an article that a friend of mine sent me the other day. Non-Muslim students eating in the toilet? That is simply a no-no… Check out the link here for the complete story. In a seemingly peaceful multi-cultural country like Malaysia, one would expect harmony and tolerance but unfortunately tensions on the racial divides runs underneath.

Anyway, without digressing further, off to my Sundown Set-dinner at the Harrods Cafe in Suria KLCC. Among all the cafes in KLCC, I particularly like Harrods Cafe for the clean and bright ambience. There is a bit of a posh English expat touch to the interior from the white-washed timber panelling, tiled floors, cane chairs, quirky Harrods boater hats that the wait-staffs wear, down to the cutleries and china!

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Interior and server

Sundown Set Dinner @RM52 per person.

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Sundown Special Set Dinner

First to arrive were 2 types of juices – mango juice, orange juice and a mug of English Tea Teh Tarik. Apparently, this English Teh Tarik is only available in Malaysia! We were suprised that they all came at once. As usual, the drinks were overly sweet, however in the break fast context probably to give the much needed energy boost after a day of fasting, I presume. I like the ‘teh tarik’ (pulled tea) which has a frothy head, I particularly like the tannic vanillin tea taste.

A short wait later, our soup of the day, the pumpkin soup arrived with some toasted bread. The server very nicely cracked some black pepper over it.

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Top: Drinks
Bottom: Soup

Service was very slow that night, and I noticed the Muslims were all not eating. They were only drinking the 3 drinks and eating the dessert platter, which I found odd. Then at the stroke at 7:30pm, the in-house speaker piped in the evening prayers. From then on, the service caught up, and we got our mains.

My dining companions chose from the Western Delights, pictures below:

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Pan-fried Fillet Beef with Black Pepper Sauce

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Baked Perch Fillet with Butter Caper Sauce

I chose from the Local Flavours which came with biryani rice. My lukewarm perch fillet was accompanied by the tamarind vegetable curry, which was very ordinary. However, I like the dhal curry sauce in the small pot which has a strong nutmeg flavour in it.

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Baked Perch Fillet with Tamarind Curry

Ending our dinner, we have 2 courses of desserts! I don’t particularly like the local desserts. The melting chocolate mousse cake was a disappointment. The other 3 types of savoury-sweet local kuihs were an acquired taste.

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Left: Local desserts with dates
Right: Fruits

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Ramadan Decorations at Suria KLCC Mall

The Sundown Dinner was very ordinary, disappointing cafeteria-fare, however, since I am a regular at Harrod’s Cafe, here’s my recommendation:

The smallish Caesar Salad with anchovies and bruchetta.

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Caesar Salad

Burger with fried-egg, Malaysian-style

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Harrods Burger

Fish-fingers and Chips with tartare sauce and lemon

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Fish and Chips

Honest-to-goodness, old fashioned Strawberry Cheesecake which is very popular and tasted fantastic.

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Strawberry Cheesecake

Simple Fare, Stylish Environ @ AMCE Bar & Coffee, Troika KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: July 2 2013

The KL property market had a soft-landing back in late 2000. I was not suprised when Malaysian property developers kicked off their sales launches in Hong Kong since there are many Malaysian expats living in Hong Kong. High-end properties in KL are very much cheaper compared to Hong Kong, and it was envisaged that most Malaysian expats would be looking to retire back home in Malaysia where the cost of living is lower. In a nutshell, that was how Troika came into my radar. I went to its launch at Mandarin Oriental to see the Norman Foster design, unfortunately the wasted spaces and dead corners did not excite. There was no mention of sky-dining at all.

Now what excited me about AMCE was its sharp interior from the same designer who did the clever interior for Melur & Thyme (my lunch experience here). Since my associates and I were in the vicinity with 2 hours to kill before our next appointment, we dropped in for a coffee and a quick bite.

Incidentally, in Greek, ‘Amce’ means ‘the best’. At the moment, AMCE is the best cafe in the prestigious KLCC condominium area, simply because it is the only cafe – unless one wants to trek across the KLCC Park to the Convention Center or to Suria KLCC on the other end.

What drew me to the design was its functionality in using natural lights, circulation and ease of assembly (and dismantling since it is in a residential block). Central to the design is the service booth which functions as reception, drinks and sometimes buffet display area. One’s experience begins from one’s entry through the heavy brass doors, being led by service through the double-volume atrium lined by light weight I-beam structures with over hanging pseudo-street style lamps which gave a feel of instant retro-industrial ‘oomph’.

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Reception

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An otherwise, basic fit-out highlighted by I-beams and overhanging lamps.

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Side-walk Cafe

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Service area

Mirrors are suspended on the ceiling affixed on steel girdles for added drama. Oxidised mirrors also lined the length of the wall. One would certainly enjoy a surreal experience with soft lights bouncing off the ceilings and wall under dim lightings. When dinner service comes around, the tinkling soft background music would perhaps make a romantic experience a well.

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Upper part of the split level bistro

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Private booths

There are little touches of details noted throughout the bistro. I especially liked the details in the light bulbs and custom-made tables with plumbing pipes for legs. The colour palette is muted with dusty pink banquette, grey steel, natural coloured timbers and white/ patterned tiles.

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The cleverness of the designer is further displayed at the end of the bistro, where one can find a Mondrian-esque decorative art on the brick wall using only the chasing of plumbing pipes.

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Plumbing Wall Art

Between participating in chit-chats with my associates and appreciating the bistro fit-outs, I had a cup of tea (Cherry Marzipan which smelt very good and something different to my usual order of Mint tea) whilst my associates enjoyed their hot coffees.

My quick bite was Japanese Scrambled Egg Salad with Miso Mayo (RM29) which sounded interesting but tasted very average. It was slightly overdone with rubbery texture. However, this is an easy DIY if I were to recreate at home.

Recipe for Le Chica’s Japonaise a la Scrambled Egg Salad
Pick up a pre-packed mixed salad (whichever that takes your fancy) from the supermarket
Scramble 2 eggs (my preference is to crack 2 eggs into the pan with a tablespoon of cream and give it a quick whirl)
Mix a tablespoon of mayo with a teaspoon of miso paste for dressing
Assemble

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AMCE’s Japanese Scrambled Egg Salad

Other interesting bites from the menu which I can attempt at home from looking at the ingredients listed on the menu are:
Mango Yoghurt Chilled Gazpacho (RM21)an easy-peasy blizz for my Vitamix using fresh mango, lemon, yoghurt, seasoned with white wine vinegar, decorated with a sprinkling of shallots and a touch of tomato salsa.
Strawberry Pomelo & Rocket Salad (RM21) which one of my associates had. My DIY at home would be a quick assembly of rocket salad, some slices of red radish, strawberries, pomelo, citrus segments with a touch of balsamic vinaigrette.

Service busied themselves with setting up for the lunch but still kept an eye on us in case we needed service.

Personally, a dining experience is never complete without a tour to the restrooms. There are 3 stalls of unisex toilet, each fitted with a timber door with vintagey opaque glass. Overall, it looked retro and perhaps a hand-pulled flush toilet would complete the vintage feel.

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Wash area

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Inside the stall

If you are residing nearby, no doubt you would have been there many times and might had even made AMCE one of your locals. For a visitor to the area, just drop in for a cuppa to soak the ambience.

Que Volveré @ La Boca Latino Bar, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: July 2 2013

With the bright colours and funky murals evoking Bohemian vibes, one would expect La Boca Latino Bar to be easy to find. In my case, it was not. I had walked past it countless times without knowing the existence of a bar tucked away near the thoroughfare, hidden under the escalator on Level 3 of The Connection at Pavilion. It was a mere coincidence that I was in the vicinity one day and was led by the loud music to a crowd gathering in front of the bar. Apparently this is a popular bar for live singing and dancing, in particular tango and samba nights. I made a mental note to visit the bar when it is quieter, which happened to be on this particular Tuesday night.

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The essence of the rough-and-tumble shanty barrio of Carminito’, in the La Boca dockside district of Buenos Aires are recaptured by the brightly coloured hand-painted murals on the wall.   Together with colourful flags,  balloons and chairs, they added an eclectic ambience together with  little touches of novelties such as window-shutters to frame the portraitures, wrought-iron balconies and spiral stairs to further enliven the space with loud music.   My only hang-up was that it was not air-conditioned and a smoking restaurant.

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Welcome! Giant mural depicting Tango dancers

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Bar featuring flags from latino countries

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Stage for Live Music and Performances

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2-D Murals

With a mixologist hailing all the way from Brazil, an extensive drinks menu showcasing his skill is a must and only proper.  Alas, me being me, I still ordered our usual tipple – a Caipirinha – nothing more perfect to end a hectic day than a zesty alcoholic kick with mouth-puckering fresh limes.

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The menu is another extensive list of Latino cuisine detailing foods from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Peru (a reference to the colourful flags at the bar).   It was hard to pick, but we settled for the ‘Argentinian theme’.  We were looking forward to sample Argentinian rotisserie steak (which comes in skewer) but advised by the server that it will be a slab of steak instead.

Striploin (RM68) was cooked medium-rare as requested.  Charred on the outside, still juicy with a bit of red on the inside.  Served ‘gaucho-style’ with chimichurri sauce, and a side of   mixed green salad and chips.  It would be wonderful if the cut originates from Argentina, but then again happy with the Aussie alternative.

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Pizza Rellena (RM30) is Argentinian folded pizza, similar to the Italian calzone.  I had a mild shock when it arrived, for it was a huge thing!   Relief came after cutting it open to find  that it was puffed up by  hot steam.  I  was delighted  with the generous stuffing of ham, salami, mozzarella, basil and olives.  A tomato sauce came with it, but did nothing to enhance the already delish pie/pizza.

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Overly-stuffed, we did not opt for dessert although we were looking forward for the Churros when we first sat down.  This and also the very rowdy group of red-neck expats just seated at our next table made for quick exit.

All-in, service was affable and smooth (quick) and I believe we met the proprietor as well.  Judging from his friendliness and his overly familiar use of the word ‘tapow, tapow‘ (take away), I am sure he uses it often on his customers for the huge serves he serves in his bar.

Que volveré !  I will be back for Peruvian next, for Creviche and Pisco Sour.