Sunday, 26 August 2012

Menya Musashi @ 1 Utama, PJ

The newest ramen kid on the block is none other than Menya Musashi but it has gained fame at an incredible pace, thanks to its wonderful ramen which many rank as the tastiest in town. I highly recommend you to try it but if you're a healthy eater, best to avoid the place - scroll down to find out why =)
The ramen here is as authentic as those in Japan as evidenced by the numerous native Japanese eating here with their families and also by the yakuza-looking boss who walks around the restaurant to ensure that customers are happy and the kitchen is running smoothly. 
Menya Musashi
See the long queue even at 11am?
The owner really looks like the samurai painted on the scroll! He is an imposing figure with his tall and well-built stature, hakama and clip-clopping elevated wooden clogs. That's him on the menu below =P
The menu is relatively simple but that's the point of a specialised ramen-ya. It also helps to ensure that the ramen is served quickly.
Love the unique addition of mixed white, black and Szechuan peppercorns as well as chilli oil
Restaurant decor
Ice-cold green tea
I love the cold green tea here (there's no option for hot green tea). It has a very strong and refreshing green tea taste which is not found in the usual mall-situated Japanese restaurants. The fact that it is ice-cold helps "dissolve" the oil and fats from the ramen and cleanse your palate.
Kuro Musashi Ramen (RM 26)
This is the signature ramen with chashu and half an aji tamago. There are 3 choices for the soup base - shiro which is essentially white in colour and consists of onion-flavoured oil, kuro meaning black which is derived from the oil of fried shallots and garlic oil, and aka which consists of chilli oil to give it the reddish colour.
We had the kuro ramen and as you can see from the picture above, the colour of the soup really is black! Fret not as it is very fragrant and tasty. However there is a layer of oil sitting on top of the soup which will deter most healthy eaters and weight watchers, but if the oil is not present, the taste of the ramen would be less dimensional and bland. The method to disperse off the oil is to mix it all up, ramen and soup, and watch as the layer of oil magically melts away =)
  • The ramen here is extremely springy and unstarchy - I'd rate this the best ramen in town at the moment as it definitely beats Marutama and a lot of friends have said it even tops Santouka
  • The pork broth is heavily flavoured with garlic and shallot oil and is really satisfying
  • The addition of bamboo shoots and finely sliced spring onions and leeks gives a nice crunchy coating to the ramen - ms. bulat gushed continuously about the bamboo shoots, saying it's the best she ever tasted and proceeded to finish them =P
  • As you can see, the chashu here is a huge slab of juicy tender pork with appropriate ratio of lean meat and fats. It is so huge that even I feel two pieces is more than I can take O.O
  • The aji tamago is perfect with solid whites and half-runny yolks
Musashi Tsukemen (RM 27)
I've always wanted to try tsukemen and finally, it's available in KL! The tsukemen is identical to the Musashi Ramen but the soup and noodles are served separately. The broth for the tsukemen is a lot richer, saltier and thicker with a lot more of finely sliced spring onions and leeks. This is to allow the broth to adequately coat and flavour the ramen when you dip it in before eating. It is indeed an unusual way to eat it and I suggest that everyone try it at least once. Although it is very tasty, I think I'll stick to Musashi Ramen the next time I return or perhaps eat it once a year as the dipping broth is just too salty for me.
Tsukemen eating method
The owner knows that tsukemen is not well known so he has included a tutorial on each table, how thoughtful!
Gyoza (RM 9)
We also had the gyoza which came in 5 pieces and the customary vinegar dip. It is sufficiently good with a good portion of yummy minced pork and vegetable filling and moist yet well grilled skin.
To close this post, I must reiterate (strongly) that Menya Musashi is really good and you should try it and see for yourself =D Oh and I just found out they've got another branch on Jalan P Ramlee near KLCC so I can go there during lunch on weekdays yay!
PawPoints: 5 Paws
Pawket: Tomato
Menya Musashi
Eat Paradise @ Isetan
1 Utama Shopping Centre
Daily: 11am - 10pm

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Japanese Charity Bazaar @ Prince Hotel, KL

I try to make it for the Japanese Charity Bazaar every year as there's just so much to see and, most importantly, eat =D There are lots of activities for kids too and you even get to try on yukatas and take pictures of yourself for a nominal fee. Since the 2012 bazaar is just around the corner (usually in October or November), I thought I would highlight the food we had so you can decide if you would like to attend it =) Tickets are available at all Jusco outlets but you can also purchase it on the day for a slightly increased price. Check out the time and venue at the Japan Club website.
Authentic home-made goodies from Japanese ladies
Our haul ^_^
The onigiri is (lovingly) prepared by Japanese ladies and you can be guaranteed that it is far from the typical fare found in Jusco. The onigiri is moist and warm and well flavoured by furikake such as seaweed flakes and some savoury condiment (salted salmon perhaps?). The onigiri is definitely one of the best I've had.
This beef rice bowl is from some famous outlet - I can't remember the name and it's from a stall different from where I got the other food stuff. It is prepared by a professional chef and cost more than the usual dishes sold at the bazaar but it is definitely one of the best gyudon I've ever had! You've just got to try it out if you spot this stall at the bazaar.
Japanese stewed vegetables - Umani?
This is typical Japanese home-cooking - root vegetables (lotus root, carrots, sweet peas and mushrooms) stewed in dashi broth. The resultant taste is very light, the vegetables subtly flavoured with  the sweet taste of mirin and savoury taste of dashi.
The home-made okonomiyaki is quite good though with a denser batter. Not much filling though.
Ichigo Daifuku
One of the more famous Japanese dessert - strawberry buried in sweet red bean paste and encased in a glutinous rice flour ball. Anyone with a liking for sweet strawberries and red bean paste is sure to like this. The glutinous rice ball is so soft and pillow-like, so unlike the commercial ones found at malls. Really good ^_^
Cross section of the Ichigo Daifuku
See the huge strawberry embedded inside? They were really generous to give a whole strawberry.
Kinako Mochi
This is the typical glutinous rice balls aka mochi but instead of the typical sugar and peanut coating, this is rolled in roasted soybean powder. I've always been curious as to how kinako tastes like and I must say it is quite an unusual taste. The roasted soybean powder is so fine that it is powdery and immediately melts on the tongue when eaten and due to the moistness of the mochi, the flour sticks to it slightly. It has a nutty, distinctive flavour which I am unable to describe as it is very unlike roasted nuts. Anyway give it a try as this is also one of the traditional Japanese sweets.
PawPoints: 4 Paws
Hosted by Japan Club

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Chakri Palace @ KLCC

I've always wanted to try Chakri Palace but I knew the prices were quite exorbitant. That's no longer the case as there's a 20% discount off total bill for Citibank card holders so off I went =)
Chakri Palace
Mango Salad
The Mango Salad was extremely appetizing with lots of fish sauce and crunchy peanuts, raw onions and young mango shreds. I thought it very good but my friend said that she's tried better elsewhere.
Stir Fried Hong Kong Kailan with Garlic and Mushrooms
This wasn't too nice as it was quite bland with hardly any taste of oyster sauce. Skip this if you're there.
Japanese Beancurd with Prawns and Mushrooms
This was rather average...any tai chow place would be able to do this dish justice. Order this only if you really really like tofu and need to have one immediately.
Thai Green Chicken Curry
I never used to like green curries as there's this odd taste to it but Chakri Palace's Thai Green Chicken Curry definitely changed my mind about it. It was fragrant and creamy and oh so yummy. My friends and I could not stop scooping the gravy over our rice. It wasn't spicy at first but slowly, it got spicier the more we ate it but nothing too spicy. This is highly recommended.
PawPoints: 3 Paws
Pawket: Tomato
Chakri Palace
Level 417B, Level 4
Suria KLCC Shopping Centre
Tel: 03 2382 7788
Daily: 10.30am - 10.30pm

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

La Gomera Spanish Buffet & Dining @ NEO Damansara, PJ

This Spanish restaurant is a newbie on the scene, located at quite a secluded location in NEO Damansara. They have a buffet line on weekends and weekday dinner buffet but if that's not your glass of sangria, you can also order ala-carte dishes which are quite affordable compared to the likes of La Bodega and El Meson.

Good job!

Artistic terrace

Cordero Chilidro
This Spanish lamb stew was very comforting with a tomato-based gravy. The meat was tender and flavourful. If only we had a basket of bread to mop up the juices...

Gambas Al Ajillo
The grilled prawns with garlic and dried chilli were my favourite as the aromatic marinade was fully absorbed in the grilling process. The prawns were fresh and juicy and the shells did not stick to the flesh <thumbs-up> I'll definitely order this again.

Rabo de Toro
The Spanish oxtail stew was quite similar to the lamb stew but I prefer the latter. However that is not to say the oxtail stew was not nice; the oxtail was tender and flavourful and came with quite a bit of gravy. As with the lamb stew, it was a pity we did not order any bread to soak up the gravy.

Mejillones Vinagreta
Steamed mussels dressed with flavourful vinaigrette - light and refreshing yum! Will order this again too.

Calamares Rellenos
Hmmm the Spanish stuffed squid tasted a bit odd to me but Miss Pariahcetamol liked it a lot. The fresh squid was packed with a potato stuffing which after being stewed for so long, you can expect it to be something like mashed potatoes.

L: Pincho de Temera, R: Alas de Pollo Adeje
The one on the left is skewered beef with sweet tomatoes and onions whereas the one on the right is baked chicken in homemade sauce. The beef skewers were really good - very well marinated beef which were not tough at all. The softened sweet tomatoes and onions complemented the beef well.

I did not manage to try the baked chicken though but they looked good and seeing as they were snatched up in seconds, they couldn't have been dry.

Berenjenas Con Romero
Hmmm the baked eggplant with olive and dried chilli tasted...raw. Not raw as in hard (it was well grilled actually) but raw as in strong vegetable taste. That is probably due to the olive oil I suppose? Anyway not my favourite and it didn't seem too popular with the rest of the party too.

Paella Mariscos
The Signature Seafood Paella was a portion for 2 and boy were they generous with the ingredients! This is totally worth it with fresh seafood and extremely aromatic and fluffy paella rice. Will also order this again when I return.

Chicken Paella
This is a portion for 1 and you can see how big the portion really is. I couldn't taste any difference between this and the Seafood Paella but a few of my friends preferred this so perhaps this is a must-order.

Seafood Paella in Squid Ink
This is a portion for 1 as well. My friends and JS absolutely loved this. They said the squid ink gave the paella an added dimension to the taste. Word of caution though: do not ever, ever order this on a first date. Or one of you will freak out at the thought of kissing black-stained lips (and teeth) =P

Pizza Margarita (RM 12.90)
I had actually ordered Pizza Marinara but the waited mistakenly took the order as Margarita =.= So here's our bland tomato and mozzarella cheese pizza (Miss Pru was the mouse =P). I did not look forward to eating it but surprisingly after a few bites, it was quite yummy. The dough was firm and not crusty nor crispy but it was kind of addictive. Anyway what I meant to say is that it's not a bad option if you're sick of the usual toppings =D

Spaghetti Bebe (RM 17.90)
The Salmon Spaghetti in Creamy White Sauce was nice. Again they were generous with the amount of fresh, cooked salmon as you can see from the picture. The white sauce was creamy but did not feel too rich which is good as I tend to feel jelak after having cream pastas. Overall, it was a good and well balanced white sauce pasta.

In conclusion, this is a place I would definitely return to to try the other dishes. I really do hope they maintain the current standard as it is quite tough to find yummy affordable Spanish eateries. Also as you can see from the first few pictures, there is a Citibank credit card promo for a buy 1, free 1 buffet. The weekend buffet line-up looked good too. Best take advantage of it!

PawPoints: 4 Paws
Pawket: Tomato

La Gomera Spanish Buffet & Dining
Block E-LG-1 & 2, NEO Damansara
Jalan PJU 8/1, Damansara Perdana
Tel: 03 7710 0262

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Old Hong Kong Legend Restaurant @ Raffles City Shopping Centre, Singapore

Our friend PMS brought us to Old Hong Kong Legend as she said it was one of the few nice dim sum restaurants at Singapore. You can trust that it's definitely nice as she has good taste(buds) =P
Ji Gei Yau Restaurant
Complimentary pickles
The pickles which had a hint of spiciness were very tangy and refreshing. I couldn't stop munching on them.
Barbecued Pork Puff Pastry with Macadamia
The Char Siu Sou here is really good - crumbly baked pastry with lots of delectable filling within.
Abundant pork
Salted Pork with Century Egg Congee
The congee is extremely good as it was silky smooth with a sufficiently thick consistency. I love how the yau char kwai (Chinese crullers) is deep fried to a crisp and crunchy texture. Too bad I couldn't have a bowl to myself =P
Steamed Shrimp and Pork Dumplings with Scallop
Dumplings were springy and well flavoured.
Steamed Mushroom Dumplings
Somehow I don't recall eating this... =.=
Steamed Shrimp and Pork Dumplings
Gigantic siu mai with prawns and lots of pork filling - very good.
Steamed Shrimp Dumplings
The har gau is springy and fresh and the skin of the wrapper is really thin - thumbs-up!
Steamed Mushroom Dumplings
I found this a little odd with the many ingredients within the translucent wrapper but it tasted quite nice.
Steamed Chicken Claws with Black Bean Sauce
The chicken feet fully absorbed the delicious savoury flavours of the black bean sauce. Yummy =D
Steamed Flour Rolls with Mushrooms, Barbecued Pork and Shrimp
The cheong fun consisted of mushrooms, char siu and shrimp so it was tough to tell which part consisted of which filling. Nevertheless, it was good.
Pan-fried Radish Cake
I love pan-fried radish cake and this was cooked to perfection. The accompanying chilli oil (not pictured) was the perfect companion to the not-oily radish cake.
Deep-fried Chive Dumplings
The chive dumplings had an abundant amount of chives and minced pork - this was good too.
Panfried Shrimp Rolls Wrapped in Beancurd
This is something new...I have not seen this in KL before. Shrimps were encased in a dried beancurd wrap which was then deep-fried. It was extremely crunchy and the shrimps did not lose their moisture - very yummy!
Mini Egg Tarts
The mini egg tarts had a flaky, buttery pastry and smooth egg custard. Yummy when eaten piping hot =)

I gather this is like fine dining dim sum and I wouldn't mind returning here whenever I'm at Singapore. Really good stuff <thumbs-up>
PawPoints: 4 Paws
Old Hong Kong Legend Restaurant
City Hall MRT
#02-18 Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road
Tel: +65 6336 3038