Friday, November 28, 2008

D'Empire Brasserie @ Solaris Mont Kiara

Pan-seared Canadian Cod
Nestled in the maze of pubs, cafes and eateries within Solaris Mont Kiara is this rather cozy corner bistro-like restaurant serving basically European/Italian fare. Twas was a friend's birthday and there was a big group of us. A variety of dishes were ordered although unfortunately, I only managed to take pictures of those that were within my vicinity.

Some starters were ordered but I was a little late and forgot what was served. However I do remember their personal pizzas were really good. Laddened with hearty ingredients with a thin and somewhat crispy base, it was how I like my pizza to be (sorry, no pic). The same thing can't be said about the soup that we ordered though. I couldn't really remember whether was it seafood minestrone or seafood chowder.
Seafood minestrone or seafood chowder? Presentation was better and not as above, we redistributed it into smaller bowls, hence the "messy rim".
I was expecting a thick type of soup for it was mentioned in the menu that it came with some bread. As a matter of fact, the soup was rather thin and lacked of flavour despite the rather generous seafood given. There was also no bread in sight but we did not pursue the matter as we were given an additional complimentary small bowl of the soup (sucker for free stuff, lol). Also, I doubt the bread would help the rather 'thin' soup much.

For my main, I ordered their special of the day which was not on their menu, Pan-seared Canadian Cod (apx. RM60 / pictured above). How was it? To be frank, it's rather easy not to go wrong with a good piece of cod as most of its flavour comes from its thick and creamy flesh. However, my main was just slightly overcooked and there wasn't anything partcularly exciting about the way it was cooked or the accompanying condiments. Overall, it was still decent
Seafood Pasta done aglio olio style
2 types of pastas were also ordered, one is seafood and the other is spicy sausage (or something that sounds similar). Both are done aglio olio style. My friends who ordered did not have any complaints. I stole a few bites and find it slightly too bland, even for an aglio olio style pasta. Also, the addition of chinese parsley seems a bit out of place, rendering the dish to taste like noodles cooked chinese-style.
Spicy Sausage Pasta done aglio olio style
Desserts were nothing to shout about (hence no photo too) and I would give it a miss although I wouldn't mind returning for their yummy pizzas.

D'Empire Brasserie
22 Ground Floor,
Jalan Solaris 4, Solaris Mont Kiara,
Kuala Lumpur
Tel : 603- 6203 6887

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Opera Cake "Wannabe"

Chocolate Opera Wannabe Cake
This is a cheater's guide to making an Opera Cake. In fact, I wouldn't really call it a classic Opera Cake. A more apt description would be "Chocolate Opera Wannabe Cake". Well, when time and ingredients do not permit one to bake an almond sponge base, one would have to make do with a normal plain sponge. Here's what I did:

Slice the baked and cooled sponge cake into a few layers, and spread a layer of Baileys-flavoured chocolate hazelnut buttercream. Chill it for awhile then top with a layer of chocolate ganache. Chill again till the chocolate ganache hardens. Repeat the above. On impromptu, I also added a generous sprinkle of crushed peanuts and biscuit crumbs in between the layers to make up for the feeling of a "slightly crunchy almond sponge cake". Once done, frost and decorate the cake with leftover buttercream, chocolate ganache and biscuit crumbs.
Chocolate Opera Wannabe Cake

The cake (sans baking time) and frostings took me a matter of minutes to prepare. The frosting and decorating? A matter of hours, no thanks to clumsy and amateurish fingers as well as unco-operative hot and humid weather.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lunching @ Koryo-Won Korean Restaurant, Suria KLCC

One fine afternoon, a few old friends and I made plans to lunch in KLCC. Usually, I tend to think that the dining options at KLCC are not what I would call “exciting”. However, a friend suggested a “new Korean place” that according to her, had just opened not too long ago at KLCC so we decided to give it a go.
Upon arrival, the “new Korean place” turned out to be Koryo-won, not exactly a new place as there’s one (not sure if it’s still around) that had been around for a long time just across the road.
Browsing through the menu, I could see standard Korean fare. As it was lunch, some set lunches options were also available. In the habit of sharing food, we ordered a few dishes.
Banchans (mini appetizers)
A customary prelude to most Korean meal is the serving of a variety of banchans (mini appetizers). This is one of my favourite parts of a Korean meal; and the fact that since most restaurants generously offer “free refills” too. Not so for this restaurant however. I couldn’t recall what we were told but after having 3 refills (not 3 rounds), we were told we couldn’t have any more unless we pay for it. I think the reason had got something to do with the number of ala-carte main dishes that we ordered. Nonetheless, we weren’t too pleased with their reasoning, nor the manner we were told.

Beef Bulgogi
The Beef Bulgogi was alright. Tender thin slices of grilled beef fillet in saltish-sweetish sauce, it tasted best when paired with plain white rice.

Kimchi Chigae
Another favourite dish of mine and which I usually ordered at Korean restaurants is the Kimchi Chigae which is some sort of a spicy vegetables stewed in kimchi broth. The serving size of this is really miniscule (the photo you see above is misleading as it's just a close-up) although not uncommon. Again, it tasted just mediocre. It just didn’t have the right “zing” for us.

Bibimbap in Hot Stone Bowl
I love Bibimbaps! There is something about tossing plain white rice with a variety condiments topped with a raw egg in the sweetish spicy bean sauce that proves to be really addictive! Even better is having it in a hot stone bowl. The slightly charred rice at the bottom of the bowl provides a delicious crunch.

Aside from the above, a friend who came later ordered their beef bulgogi set lunch which came served in a bento box not unlike what you see (here) except for the fact that it is almost 3x the price as compared to the latter. (eeks!) Then again, this is in KLCC-lah so one can hardly expect the price to be cheap. Still, I find paying RM8 for a glass of cold green tea to be too much although it came with free refills (however it seeems like they refill the glass with just plain water).

Also, we were less than amused with their service. We weren’t in the mood to put up with sulky waiters and waitresses who bordered on being rude. During the course of our lunch, one waitress actually broke something twice, one of it being rather near to our table with nary an apology. Geez! No prize in guessing that we would definitely not be in a hurry for a revisit!

Koryo-Won Korean Restaurant
Level 4 Ramlee Mall (418/419)

Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Tel: 603- 2171 2189/ 603- 2166 6189

Link to this article published in Sunday Star, Metro 11-01-2009

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Korean Street Food @ Ccozi & Friends

Yummy Tuna Kimchi Rice Balls (RM8.00)
Truth to be told, I love street food/snacks. When travelling, put me in an area lined wth local street food and I will be extremely delighted. Similarly, I was delighted to have discovered this little outlet that specializes in Korean street food. Nestled in the maze-like Asian Avenue in Sunway Pyramid, it is not exactly easy to find. I could only describe its location as being somewhere on the 'right-hand side', in the 'middle' of the avenue.

The outlet itself is rather small, more like a stall. There are a few small tables with "not exactly comfortable" bar stools. It is hard to imagine how a group bigger than 3-4 persons could dine there comfortably.

Ccozi & Friends offer quite a variety of light eats ranging from various meat skewers, ddok bok ki (korean sliced rice cakes), stuffed rice balls, student lunch boxes served in metal tins, noodles and meals in hot stone bowls. The Tuna Kimchi Rice Balls (pictured above) that we ordered were delicious! I wasn't really expecting that I would like it so much but tuna flakes in slightly spicy kimchi sauce rolled together with the fluffy and slightly moist rice proved to be a delectable combination!

Grilled Chicken Bulgalbi (Korean BBQ Sauce) RM4.50
The Grilled Chicken Bulgalbi (Korean BBQ Sauce) skewers tasted as good as it looked in their menu although I would have preferred it to be served to us in skewer stick as seen in their menu rather than just serve the meat pieces on a plate minus the skewer stick. I reckon the latter is more convenient for the patrons but it just didn't look so good"lah". Fortunately, the chicken was delicious. Juicy, slightly smokey and really flavourful!

Delicious Ddok Bok Ki (korean rice sticks) (RM8 - 9.50)
Ever since I keep seeing the ddok bok ki (korean rice sticks) in korean dramas, I have been curious as to how they actually tasted for they sure look yummy drenched in the vibrant red sauce. So we ordered a plate of ddok bok ki with vegetables to share. Indeed it did not disappoint. The ddok bok ki was not unlike our cheongfun except that it has a thicker and more chewy bite to it. Together with the slightly sweet and spicy sauce, every bite was delicious!

One of us also ordered their hotstone bibimbap. I didn't try so couldn't comment on it. But it didn't really look that irresistable, for otherwise I would not be able to resist trying, would I?

Ccozi & Friends
First Floor, Asian Avenue
Sunway Pyramid
Link to this article published in Sunday Metro, The Star on 30 Nov 2008
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