Hanaya Japanese Restaurant @ Grand Millennium Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit:  August 31, 2015

Getting good sushi outside of Japan is hard.  So I was very happy to find out that Hanaya at the Grand Millennium in KL serves an excellent Sushi Set Lunch.

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Hanaya

Thoughts have been put into the privacy concerns of the clients, that the tables are set further apart, and with privacy screens.  The one major drawback was the irritating background music.😞

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Glass privacy screens

Assorted Sushi , TAKE (RM60): Types of sushi as listed on the menu are – Tuna, Salmon, Trevaly, Boiled Prawns (I think I had a Alfonsino as substitute), Boiled Octopus, Scallop, Mackerel, Salmon roe, Squid, Kappa Roll: Cucumber Small Roll, Tekka Roll: Tuna Small Roll

Pictures of my Sushi Platter!  Fishes flown in from Japan and prepared by Japanese chef!  Absolutely delectable sushi!

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Beautifully crafted

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Kappa Roll: Cucumber Small Roll, Tekka Roll: Tuna Small Roll

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The other set worth mentioning is the Special Kaisen Don (RM88): Assorted sashimi served on a bed of sushi rice.

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Kaiseki Don

Same side dishes for all the Set Meals:  Comprising miso soup, salad and grilled vegetables

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Miso Soup

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Grilled Vegs

Complimentary dessert for the ladies: Black sesame gelato with chopped mixed fruits

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And Coffee or Tea to finish up!  Fab food, service and great value!  I shall be back! 😍

Ending A Fine Chinese Dinner With Canned Longans Anyone? @ Toh Yuen, Hilton Kuching, Malaysia

Date of Visit:  September 18 2013

Toh Yuen is the in-house Chinese restaurant in Hilton Kuching.  I am guessing this restaurant is very popular with the business set (expensive) and had won quite a few tourism awards judging from the certificate it displayed very prominently on table at the entrance foyer.

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Toh Yuen’s Signage

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Entrance: Wall paper in Chinese calligaphy and little Chinese figurines flanking an tourism award certificate

Not a fan of dark dimly-lit restaurants, I worried that I might trip over uneven carpeting (again) – as I am still nursing my cut knee and ‘bruised wound’ of my ripped 3.1 Phillip Lim sandals that I’ve only worn for under 5 minutes  from the fall I suffered the other day (wounding more for sandals though).  Squinting my eyes to evaluate the interior design of the restaurant, I see red fabrics busily draped from the ceiling to the walls.    Some may call it ‘Chinoiserie-chic‘, but for the more imaginative – imagine a fabric-dye factory straight out a scene in a Chinese kung-fu movie where a swordsman come flying out from nowhere.   To further enhance the Chinoiserie-chic experience, lanterns with tassles and calligraphy-patterned wall-covering are used.

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Interior of main restaurant

Thank goodness we had a private room for dinner.   A brightly-lit festive room with a huge table with lazy-suzy, underneath a huge red lantern and calligraphy-patterned wall-covering for uniformity with the rest of the restaurant.  Even the red napkins and place setting evokes festivity in the room.  I instantly perked up.

On the table are the usual condiments of freshly chopped garlic and assorted chopped chili- red chili,  vinegared green chili, chili-padis.  We are also given sweet cooked soy sauce peanuts to snack on while waiting for the others to arrive.

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Place setting

First up, a Combination Platter of jellyfish, ham, rolled squid in beancurd skin, a salad of seafood mixed with melon topped with mayonnaise.  I am allergic to shell-fish so did not try the salad, not a big deal for me since I don’t like mayonnaise.  The things that I enjoyed most in the platter are the crunchy jellyfish and fresh cucumbers.

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Combination Platter

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Close-up of a few pickings from the assorted Combination Platter

We also had Chicken Soup with a few tough chicken pieces, red dates, fungus and ginseng.  It came piping hot and very tasty.   Something is telling me that this dinner is going to be very healthy… so let’s wait out!

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Chicken Soup

Steamed Cod in light soy sauce came next.  Our host asked whether we want rice to accompany our dinner.  None of us wanted any, and it seems that everyone is on a low-carb diet nowadays!  (Even older gentlemen! 😈 )

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Steamed Cod in light soy sauce

We also had Asparagus with whole garlics and fish jerky, which continued the health-vibe of our dinner.

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Asparagus with whole garlics and fish jerky.

Unfortunately for me, I could not try the Signature Buttermilk Prawns.  These are prawn balls deep-fried in buttermilk and very delicious I was told.  I did take a bite of the deep-fried basket the prawn balls came in to taste, let’s just say it’s for decoration.

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Buttermilk Prawns

Since dinner started late, at 8pm, we were very relieved when the dessert arrived.  Wait for it – Canned Longans in syrup added with coconut strips and fungus!  I find it very puzzling for a fine dining restaurant to be serving canned fruits.  Then again, I presume canned longans and canned lychees are made very popular  in Malaysia where the climate here is not inclined to producing these exotic fruits.

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Canned Longan

We also picked up a Hilton Kuching Red Bean Mooncake (RM24++).   A pretty pair of gold-fish embossed on salty baked skin infilled with sweet red bean paste and melon seeds.  It was ‘moreish’ – well, we were at Kuching airport, the Starbucks there didn’t cut it and we were hungry…

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Hilton Kuching Moon cake

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X-section: Hilton Kuching Moon cake

Meeting (or Rather ‘Staking Out’) The King and Queen of Malaysia @ Hilton Kuching, Malaysia

Date: September 17 2013

I spy, I spy with my little beady eyes (actually my eyes ain’t too small, only saying for dramatics), from the corners of my eyes I saw police outriders in their monstrous vintage motorcycles with sirens blaring, followed by a Silver Maybach coming to a halt in front of my hotel… and who’d pop out, but Their Majesties, The King of Malaysia and his Queen!

So thus began my 2 hours of stake-out on Their Majesties the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Raja Permaisuri Agong of Malaysia, at Caffe Cino on the ground floor of Hilton Kuching (err, yes… I’m on a work meeting, but the next one doesn’t start until late so…) To while the time away, I had Iced Blended Coffee (Viennese, I believe with the generous serve of whipped cream on top), without sugar, which costed me an arm-and-a-leg at RM15++. Considering I just had lunch here for only RM17 . Nice Illy coffee by the way, a bit weak but no complaints.

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Iced Blended Coffee

I saw the famous white-haired guy with white whiskers and his young chesty wife (who gave me a little wave – thrilled 😄 ). They don’t need any introduction, so me no takey pictures.

And also this couple, Yang di-Pertua Negari Sarawak (TYT) and his wife. TYT is the Governor of Sarawak, appointed by The King.

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TYT and Wife

But I really wanted to snap a picture of Their Majesties. I checked with securities if I can take pictures of Their Majesties. The securities gave me some ‘do and don’ts’, then told me to stand at the bend of the red carpet, for the perfect ‘direct line view’ of Their Majesties as they emerge from the lift! After hanging around for 2 hours, I finally captured my Lumix moment!

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Their Majesties (in the middle) flanked by TY and his Wife

They were a lovely down-to-earth couples who shook hands with everyone! All you do is line on the the right if you want to shake hands with them or line up to the left if you want to take pictures of them! I chose to take pictures as momentos for my blog.

Since I am staying at Hilton Kuching, I might give a little run-down about the hotel. I got a room with river view

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Sarawak River

The rooms were a bit tired: Nice hard bed, not lumpy, I slept well. Air conditioning worked. Desk was spacious to scatter all my docs. Mini bar was empty. Tea, coffee and 2 bottles of waters provided. No slippers in room. No turndown service. Bathrooms old and needed refurb. No free wifi, broadband internet access costs RM35++ per day, very expensive (Digi Global Roaming is only RM33++!!) House-keeping have to keep up with vacuuming, I spotted a used candy wrapper on the floor.

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Twin Beds, brown colour scheme – macho-honcho

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Concentrate on your work, mama says ‘No TV watching while working!”

Nothing for the commoner to harp home about, still if The Majesties dropped by, that’s a implied royal seal of approval, right? 😈

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!”