Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Cocotei Tokyo Japanese Cuisine @ Jalan Delima, KL

Finally a chance to try fine dining Japanese cuisine! Cocotei is one of the top Japanese fine dining restaurants in KL and it is located next to another famous fine dining Japanese restaurant - Fukuya. The lunch sets at Cocotei are not really that expensive and really quite affordable for a special occasion where you can definitely see its quality.

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Love the ceramicware!

Chicken Meatball and Radish Soup
The soups are not a part of the bento sets hence we were delighted when they were presented to us. First up is the chicken meatball and radish soup. The gigantic chicken meatball is encased within the radish and topped with a tiny dollop of mustard. Taste-wise, it is exactly like Chinese-style radish soup but fret not, the one served here is not a watered down version. Instead, it is quite concentrated in flavour and the chicken meatball is smooth and juicy. The addition of mustard adds a nice little zing to the soup and meat.
Roasted Pumpkin Chicken Soup
The roasted pumpkin soup definitely wins paws down ^_^ The roasted pumpkin lends an extremely sweet taste to the soup with a hint of smokiness. Paired with the tender chicken which seems to have been browned a little, and a nice big floret of broccoli, we could not get enough of it. Perhaps it's time to replicate its flavour at home =P It's so good that you just have to try it yourself but I'm not sure if the soups are on a rotation basis.
Kiri Bento (RM 86)
Isn't it such a lovely presentation? The Kiri Bento consists of, clockwise from left, sashimi, miso soup, grilled saba, croquette, appetiser and salad. It also comes with a mini chirashidon which could not fit in the bamboo basket and is shown below.
The chawanmushi is totally out of this world! Served hot, it was silky smooth and unlike the chawanmushi served at other Japanese restaurants. Its taste was further enhanced with the addition of a piece of roasted meat - I couldn't tell if it was roasted chicken or duck but it definitely tasted like roast pork and I'm pretty sure Cocotei does not serve pork. 
Sashimi here is wonderful! Super thick slabs, cold, juicy and bouncy - totally surpasses our requirements for fresh sashimi ^_^
Grilled saba
The large piece of grilled saba comes with a huge mound of grated radish, lemon wedge and a small dish of finely sliced woodear fungus. The saba in this set was a little dry and hard but the saba in the other set was grilled to perfection. Perhaps it depends on the section of the fish you are offered.
Miso soup
The miso soup was good but could have been more concentrated. No mini mushrooms though, only huge slabs of smooth tofu and wakame. 
L-R: Salmon croquette and mentaimayo tamago
The croquette is wonderful! <bright shiny eyes> The outer layer of panko coating is crunchy whereas the inner salmon and potato filling is still moist. I like the addition of some sort of tonkatsu sauce over the croquette which does not overwhelm its taste.
The square block of Japanese-style fried egg is firm yet wobbly (does that even make sense?) and the generous dollop of mayonnaise mixed with mentaiko makes it even yummier ^_^
Lovely lacquered bento box
This tiny box of chirashidon is packed with extremely fresh cubed salmon, tuna and yellowtail sashimi, cubed eggs and cucumbers and topped with a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds. The ratio of sashimi to rice is definitely higher than the usual chirashidon - every mouthful is really just filled with juicy sashimi ^_^
Top view of the chirashidon
Cocotei Lady's Set (RM 55)
The Cocotei Lady's Set is really worth its price tag. As you can see, clock-wise from left we have fresh sashimi, a smaller piece of grilled saba, temari sushi, appetisers, mini cold soba, salad and right in the middle, deep-fried sweet potato.
Close-up of the variety of dishes
Deep-fried aubergine and sweet potato sandwich
I'm not too sure what this is but it tastes like eggplant and sweet potato stacked together and deep-fried. Not a fan of it but JS liked it.
L-R: Saba and salmon temari sushi
Temari sushi are such cute little things, don't you agree? The mackerel one had sesame seeds dotting it whereas the salmon one was paired with mentaimayo. Both temari sushi were absolutely moist and delicious and it's just so satisfying to pop the entire ball into your mouth. I wish more restaurants have temari sushi on the menu.
L-R: Cucumber slices with dip and pumpkin and wolfberry salad
The pumpkin and wolfberry salad on the right is pretty average. Mixed with some sort of wasabi mayo, the otherwise tasteless pumpkin cubes had quite a zing to it but the wolfberries retained its sweetness.
Now the appetizer on the left is very interesting. Cucumber sticks with deep-fried panko or tempura crumble and a thick bittersweetish and tiny bit spicy sauce to complement the plain cucumbers. I shouldn't even refer to it as a sauce because it has a jam-like consistency with tiny cubes of something I couldn't make out at all. This is truly the 1st time that I've eaten something Japanese that I don't know about =.= As I said, the sauce is bittersweet with a slight hint of spiciness and has a really really unique taste that I can't figure out. Anyone care to help enlighten me? Ms. bulat, maybe you can show your sensei this picture =P
Grilled mackerel
The portion of grilled mackerel in the Lady's Set is much smaller than the one in the Kiri Bento. Where the flesh was dry for the other saba, this one was moist, juicy and oily. Absolutely comparable to Kura and Tenjin.
Chuka Idako Salad
The salad provided a nice balance to the entire meal and also helped to cleanse the palate. Marinated baby octopi were also thrown in for some added flavour.
Cold soba
The Lady's Set included a mini cold soba which came with condiments such as thin egg strips, dried seaweed and finely sliced spring onions. Tasted good but not spectacular.
Can you see how huge the slabs of sashimi were? I'm pretty sure you can just imagine how good they tasted <drools by looking at the picture>
Matcha ice-cream
Each set came with ice-cream as dessert so we had green tea and black sesame flavoured ones. The green tea ice-cream is super creamy with a strong matcha taste. Definitely one of the better green tea ice-creams out there.
Kurogoma ice-cream
The black sesame ice-cream came with lots of black sesame seeds embedded in it. JS thinks the sesame seeds further enhanced the strong black sesame taste of the ice-cream but I prefer mine to be smooth and creamy so it really depends which way you like your ice-cream served. Nevertheless, it was one of the stronger flavoured ones in the market apart from Hokkaido Ichiba and really good.
We were seated in a private room with a few tables but because the sliding doors are usually closed, it was really difficult to call for the staff. Also, there was no bell or button or anything of that sort to attract their attention. Service was quite slow too but it could be because of the packed restaurant and the fact that we ordered late hence most patrons had already placed their order.
In any case, Cocotei is definitely one of the best fine dining Japanese restaurants and if you're looking for a place to go to for a special occasion, this is it. Just like how other bloggers have raved about it, I too would highly recommend you try it at least once ^_^
PawPoints: 5 Paws
Pawket: Salami
Cocotei Tokyo Japanese Cuisine
5, GF-B
Jalan Delima
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 1800-88-66-55
Daily: 10.30am - 2.30pm, 6pm - 10.30pm

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Giant Macaron @ Delectable by Su, The Gardens Mall

This gigantic macaron from Delectable by Su was given by an acquaintance so it was a lovely surprise ^_^ You probably can't tell from the picture but the macaron is about the diameter of an average-sized orange.
Love the packaging!
Can I print my own ribbon?
Giant Caramel Latte Macaron (RM 10)
The giant caramel latte macaron had chocolate bits sprinkled on top of it but since I ate it the day after I received it, it had already melted =( The macaron was crunchy with a soft center filled with coffee cream. The sweetness of the macaron complemented the slightly bitter coffee taste, making it less sweet than the typical macarons in the market which I find way too sweet for my liking.

Do give it a try if you love macarons or if you're a virgin macaroner, why not make your first experience a gigantic one? =P


PawPoints: 3 Paws
Pawket: Onion
Delectable by Su
S-213, Level 2
The Gardens Mall
Tel: 03 2283 5157

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sirocco Restaurant @ Holiday Inn, Melaka

I had the opportunity to stay at Holiday Inn in Melaka when I was there for business which also marks the first time I rode the "water rollercoaster" >.< If you think you can find Holiday Inn by following the Pusat Bandar signs, you'd better think twice. Best to bring a GPS as it is actually by the shore.
My overall view of Holiday Inn and its amenities was quite good with nice rooms, comfy beds and an infinity pool which overlooks the ocean (although there is construction going on near the shore). The buffet breakfast was average only but the hotel does house a decent Italian restaurant.
Lovely name
The restaurant boasts an open kitchen and wood-fired pizza oven so take note if you don't want to smell like pasta...
Complimentary loaf
The complimentary bread is huge! Just compare its size with the saucer or fork at the upper right corner of the photo. The first day I was there, I only had a slice whereas the 2nd day I was there, I had 4 slices but in my defense, I ate it with the Seafood Stew below and used it to mop up the gravy. It seems  freshly baked but most probably it is warmed in the oven. The crust can be chewy at certain places but overall it was crispy and crusty. Wonder what they do with all the leftovers =P
Not sure if it's the norm for a high olive oil to balsamic vinegar ratio? My preference is for lots of vinegar, otherwise wouldn't it be like soaking bread in oil?
Ghamberini (RM 32)
I was craving for pasta so the first day there, I had the Ghamberini which is king prawn (note that there's only one, uno, ichi single prawn =.=) and spaghetti tossed in chilli flakes and arugula. The first bite of the pasta was quite hard but it softened up as you make your way through the dish. Very flavourful, a tad too salty but I enjoyed it very much. The portion looked small on the huge plate but by the end, it turned out quite filling. I must say though that at this price, I expected at least TWO king prawns instead of a measly, lonely prawn =(
Seafood Stew (RM 25)
Seeing how cheap the Seafood Stew is (spag bol and meatless pasta are priced the same), I immediately ordered it on the 2nd day. There were double prawns, scallops, mussels, calamari and fish, all cooked in a rich tomato stew. The seafood tasted fresh and yummy and the gravy was thick and good with lots of tomato-ey goodness. The crispy, well-buttered garlic crouton was really, really good - everytime I bit into it, it snaps off with a resounding crunch even after being swished around the tomato stew.
Anyway good stuff and decent price for a hotel restaurant. Do drop by if you're sick of all the local delicacies and just want to chill at the hotel =)
PawPoints: 4 Paws
Pawket: Olive
Sirocco Restaurant
Holiday Inn Melaka
Jalan Syed Abdul Aziz
Tel: 06 285 8169
Sun - Thur: 6pm - 11pm
Fri - Sat: 6pm - 12am

Monday, 10 December 2012

Gonbei San @ Starhill Gallery, KL

Ah...Gonbei San - the top guy of the fine dining buffet pyramid. Curious about its offerings and how much more fine dining it can get buffet-style, we headed over to Starhill Gallery one day. The whole mall exudes elegance and a sort of untouchable / unreachable sense to it (much like the elite Tan Sris and Puan Sris) and the same applies to Gonbei San.
The view from across
Main entrance
The main entrance itself feels surreal like you're entering an entirely different world. The drum is beaten once to signal your arrival and you have to walk through a series of criss-crossing bamboo poles shaped somewhat like a teepee to reach the inner chambers of the restaurant...
Once inside though, we found the seating arrangements here a little odd...most of the tables are 2-seaters and the seats are placed at a right angle. When we attempted to shift the chair so that we can be seated facing each other, the slightly snobbish manager hurried forward and told us sternly that we were not allowed to change the seating arrangements. Thankfully, a more experienced waitress came over and offered us another table.
Mango Juice
An assortment of juices is available for the little kids (in you)...
Sashimi! The whole point of going to a fine-dining Japanese restaurant is for their super fresh and juicy and bouncy sashimi! Here they have salmon, tuna and butterfish. Needless to say, the sashimi at Gonbei San totally lives up to expectations - chilled, juicy and bouncy - and we took many many servings...
Maki and more Sashimi!
I couldn't resist sneaking a few makis - here I've taken futomaki, soft shell crab maki and ebi maki =) The futomaki wasn't too well-prepared - I much prefer Sushi Zanmai's one. The ebi maki was average but the soft shell crab maki was really good. One point to note was the uneven and "un-clean" cut of the makis...you can see jagged bits of rice sticking out.
Pickled cold salad
The pickled seaweed on the left was typical but the one on the right which I couldn't figure out its contents, was kind of odd. It was crunchy and tasteless >.<
Seafood salad and carbs
  • I also couldn't resist sneaking a bowl of cold soba which was quite average. 
  • The seafood salad in Thousand Island sauce was fresh and yummy. 
  • The black blob on the plate is stewed hijiki, a type of sea vegetable, which was not too bad but Tenjin's version tastes much better and is more flavourful.
  • I love potato salads and this was no exception =D
The Chawanmushi has mushrooms, seaweed, bits of chicken bits and a squid ball and was slightly firm with a nice smooth texture.
Clockwise from top left are the prawns, beef, mussels, chicken, squid and fish teppanyaki. No prizes for guessing but I enjoyed the prawn teppanyaki the most as they were shelled (except for the tail bit) and you can just pop them into your mouth consecutively. The mussels were really good and juicy too. Actually, all of them were equally good and not the least dry.
From the left in a clockwise order, we've got tori karaage aka fried chicken, sakana katsu aka fish cutlets, tori katsu aka chicken cutlet, lamb teriyaki and butter fish fillet. They were deep-fried to perfection and very yummy.
Fried Rice
As usual, I had to satisfy my carby self so had this bowl of fried rice which was really good, perfectly separated rice grains and adequate wok hei.
Onsen Tamago
The onsen tamago was slurpilicious.
The tempura came with the usual dipping sauce.
Close-up of Tempura
We tried the prawn, sweet potato and ladies finger tempura and they were all good - light and not oily.
Traditional Japanese Dessert
These were my choice of desserts - mochi rolled in sugary peanut crumbs, chrysanthemum jelly with wolfberry and mini dorayakis filled with a choice of sweet red bean paste or smooth peanut butter.
I felt the mochi was slightly too sweet for me and after the heavy meal, I was really too lazy to chew on the gooey mochi. The mini dorayakis were addictive but there was no way of distinguishing which had peanut butter sandwiched in between and which had red bean paste.
My favourite was the chrysanthemum jelly...it was totally refreshing with sweet wolfberries embedded in each slice. A real palate cleanser, I easily had 4 or 5 of those irresistible squares O.O
Western Dessert
There were many types of Western desserts available which included an assortment of cakes but as were totally stuffed, we only had a fruit tart and some chocolate dipped marshmallow and strawberry. These were typical Western desserts and not very outstanding.
Black Sesame Ice-Cream
There were many ice-cream flavours available but we only took the black sesame and green tea ice-cream.
Green Tea Ice-Cream
Both the black sesame and green tea ice-cream were velvety smooth and creamy with a strong black sesame and green tea taste respectively.
Overall, the sashimi here is really good and fresh and most of the food tasted quite good but at this price, I'd rather go for quality over quantity. Plus there are other buffet restaurants serving the same or even better quality food at a much cheaper price.
By the way, if you are a fan of novelty washrooms, do visit Gonbei San's as they've got a modified shishiodoshi for a tap!
PawPoints: 4 Paws
Pawket: Salami
Gonbei San
T2 Relish Floor
Starhill Gallery
Tel: 03 2782 3801
Daily: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 11pm