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! 😍

A British Affair @ Harrods Restaurant, Suria KLCC, Malaysia

Date of Visit:  Numerous times

Fancy a good solid Brit fare in Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC)? Well, do I have a recommendation for you!

Harrods is a fine dining establishment in Suria KLCC or the shopping mall under the famous Twin Towers. I first dined there when it opened in 2009 and saw that there was a chef from Harrods HQ in London and another expat manager.  A fair guess would be that the menus and fit-outs were all under the HQ’s specs, and the waiters all underwent silver-service training.

In the front is a retail section with a range of Harrods branded merchandises including dry foods, teas, coffees and the signature Harrods shopping bags and teddy bears.  There is also an impressive bar area for drinks. Since then, the store has added a bakery section selling cakes, pastries and macarons – business must be good, with Harrods expanding into Harrods Cafe on the ground floor, which I had done a review here.  

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Iconic Harrods Teddy standing guard outside Harrods in Suria KLCC

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The Harrods Bear attracts a lot of attention with people posing with it. The placard says: “Please do not touch me, I am at work” Funny!

The restaurant is at the back, modelled after the famous Georgian Restaurant in Harrods London.  It is very comfortable and relaxing i.e quiet and far from the maddening crowds in the mall.  The toilet is nice too.  Scented Harrods liquid soap, moisturiser and towels are provided.

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Interior shot of restaurant #1

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Interior shot of restaurant #2

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Fresh flowers

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Starched linen table-clothes and fresh flowers

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The walls of the salon are adorned with framed memories and iconic images from Harrods illustrious history.

Harrods serves traditional British fares.

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Leather-bound Menu

For lunch on weekdays, they serve Set Menu (Choice of Salad or Soup, Main and a Drink) which works out to be more cost-effective (cheaper).  Here is a sample:

Complimentary Bread and Butter

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Plain Butter and Sundried Tomato Butter – presented in traditional silverwares

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Soft Pretzel Roll

Drinks: Harrods do not serve water, they only serve bottled waters, that means you have to pay!

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Mango Slushy

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Carrot Slushy

Appetiser:  Soup of the Day

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Purple potato soup

Mains:  There are a couple to choose from which rotates daily

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Chicken Schnitzel

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Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding – Highly Recommended!!

A la Carte Includes:

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Steak Sandwich with sides of chips and pickles

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Chicken Caesar

Harrods also offers a British High Tea Set in the afternoons.  I have not tried it, perhaps you have and do let me know what you think!

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Views out to KLCC Park and the water fountain

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! 😘

China-Hip @ Chynna, Hilton Hotel Sentral, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: May 3 2013

Today I was invited to a business lunch at Chynna Restaurant at Hilton Hotel in Sentral.  It has been a good few years since I last went to Hilton and an opportunity to trek out of KLCC is always welcomed!

Hilton Hotel and Le Meridien Hotel are 2 of most secure hotels in KL. Both hotels are located on top of the Sentral Station which is the mid-way between the airport and downtown KL, thus rendering them a terrorist target.  As such, all vehicles entering the premises at Sentral have to undergo a metal detector sweep to ensure that there is no concealed bomb in the car.

We caught a taxi there from KLCC.  If you are new to KL, do remember to always ask the taxi driver whether they are using the meter to charge fare, otherwise negotiate the fare first. It is against the law to not use the meter but hey, laws are made to be broken, right?  And my pet hate in KL is riding in taxis.  I was charged $25 for the journey which is not far off the mark from my return leg which is $22 by the meter.

We had the private room and with consultation with Chef Lam, we had a tailor-made menu especially for us.  How lucky, eh?  Or let’s say, it’s good to know people in high places!

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Narumi bone china place plates – yes, I flipped over the plates to check the manufacturer

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Late Chows @ Champ, Bangsar Shopping Mall

Date of Visit: March 27 2013

‘Damn Shiok’ – literally translates to ‘damn delicious’ in Malay

Loitering around the malls in KL is fast becoming an excruciating lunchtime exercise. It was with relief that our meeting today went OT and my colleague offered to drive us out for a late lunch at Bangsar Shopping Mall. Bangsar is an up-market residential area about 30mins (on good traffic days) from KL City Center. Since our ‘mission’ is simply to grab a late grub then head out to catch the plane, I didn’t have time to check out the mall, however, with my sharp eyes, I noticed many nicely done up eateries. In particular, a pastry shop on the ground level which offers afternoon tea which I look forward to visit.

The restaurant we are heading to is ‘Champ’. Apparently, it is a favourite of the locals serving Malaysian fare. On the large brick wall inside the bistro, there is a huge red board proclaiming that Champ is placed in the Top 30 restaurants in Malaysia by Miele. From my googling, I later discovered that Miele Guide is an authoritative guide on eating out in Asia since the opinions are based on the professional jury and also online polling.

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Gonna work through this list!

The deco in brickworks with a large bar, dim low lights and booth seatings is reminiscent of ‘Cheers’, the popular sitcom from the 80s, ‘Where everybody knows your name! What is lacking is perhaps the jukebox! True to its spirit, while waiting for our food to arrive, we saw the chef-owner Richard Nah. A big man in T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. All very casual, simply out to inspect his business which my colleague tells me is humming along briskly. I can concur, with beers on tap pulled into huge icy cold schooners.

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What we ordered:

We ordered a BBQ pork (char siu) and crispy pork belly to share. Like all Malaysian dishes, they were very sweet. Still, I liked both dishes. The BBQ pork, although very sweet, was perfectly caramelised and the fat literally melts in my mouth. The crispy pork belly was tender, tasty and has crispy skin. I can attest that they were ‘damn shiok‘!

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BBQ Pork and Crispy Pork Belly

Mee Jawa: A Malay/ Indonesian fried noodles

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Mee Jawa

Nyonya Kerabu Mee Hoon: A dish similar to dry angel hair pasta. Spicy and sour with onions and chilies to unblock one’s tear glands. The mee hoon were very fine, but did not stick together and the best part of it, it was not oily and more like a noodles salad with herbs! Shiok!

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Nyonya Kerabu Mee Hoon

Fried Kway Teow: This is a popular dish and my colleague explained that this is his favourite because it has a lot of crab meat and the shrimps are big and juicy.

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Fried Kway Teow

Chu Yuk Fun: This is Champ’s signature dish – a bowl of noodles chock full of minced pork, pork ribs and innards. Shiok again, no doubt, but it has a layer of oil on top and only 2 tiny miserly bits of innards.

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Chu Yuk Fun

My verdict? Well, anytime I don’t have to jostle for a table is damn shiok. However, in all fairness, the BBQ pork definitely ranks in my top 5 list char siu for dessert!

Shang Palace @Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Date of Visit: February 4, 2013

The Lunar New Year will fall on February 10 this year which is less than a week away. And rightly so, Kuala Lumpur is buzzing with the festive air. Cue the red Chinese latterns, cherry blossoms and ever-so-annoying Chinese New Year music on the loop. The coming year will be the Year of Water Snake which is ‘yin’ and not a particularly good sign.

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I was told that today is the first day of Spring in the Lunar Calendar and that the farmers go back to work after their long hibernation since Winter Solstice. My lunch today was at Shang Palace in Shangri-La Hotel. It is also my first Chinese gourmet meal in yonks. What is different about Shang Palace is that it is the only Chinese restaurant in a hotel in KL that is not ‘halal’ and they can serve pork.

For convenience sake, as we are a rather large group, we ordered the Chinese set lunch. The meal was ordinary but very filling. I had to struggle to stay awake for the rest of the afternoon.

ONE: Dim Sum (steamed prawns in basket and BBQ pork in pastries)

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TWO: Roast duck with sea jelly

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THREE: Pork consommé with figs

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FOUR: Fish

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FIVE: Fried e-fu Noodles with chicken and mushrooms

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SIX: Bean curd dessert

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My only complaint was that the food were all very sweet and overpowering. I felt very uncomfortable and bloated after the meal. I learned that high-end Chinese restaurants are using sugar and hoi-sin sauce in place of MSG to make their good tasty.
Auspicious decoration on the table. The yellow fruit symbolizes family unity and harmony, its literal translation in Chinese is ‘3 generations living under 1 roof’.

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During the 15-day long Chinese New Year celebration, the first greeting that we utter when we meet our friends and acquaintances will be ‘Kong Hei Fatt Choy!!’, this means ‘Wishing you fortunate prosperity!’. The ancient Chinese gold ingots ie money

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