Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Coast Restaurant, Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort and Spa, Sabah, Malaysia

Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine
Coast, Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort and Spa

Coast, Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort and Spa, Pantai Dalit Beach, Sabah

Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by The Yum List

I’m enticed by the sensation of old style Hollywood glamour at Coast. The subtle underwater is elegantly represented with huge blue-glass chandeliers representing giant jellyfish dangling over the vast central bar. There is an undeniable feel of glamorous 1930s art deco in the design, with a silver backdrop to the mainly glass structure through which we view the sparkling night sky. Soft hanging glass lanterns provide a genial ambience to top the snowy linens and shining silverware. Our menu is presented in the style of an elegant black leather landscape photo album. A live pianist gently tinkling completes the soft assault on our senses as we relax into the atmosphere. Monica longs for a bob and I imagine evening gloves with long cigarette holders.  

Our host for the evening, Jeremy, adds to the charm with his wary responses to our gentle teasing and demands for food sharing. He encourages us to try the Chef’s special Table D’hôtel menu for the evening, which proves excellent value (RM130 for three courses) and additionally selects three signature dishes from the a la carte options. 

We love the presentation of the homemade bread selection, delicately light sesame crackers, crisp and delicious, vie with light fluffy focaccia and soft baguette, ready to dip in the balsamic mix. The accompanying amuse bouche is a ladle full of cauliflower puree crème in the centre of a large saucer with a narrow trail of fresh herbs.

Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine
Bread and Wine
Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine
Amuse Bouche - Cauliflower Soup

We find that Coast has a decent wine list including a variety served by the glass. Jeremy assures us that fine wines are easily procured for the more discerning diner. Meantime, we regular diners plump for a sweet round and clean Californian White Zinfandel (RM39) and a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc with notes of lime and pepper, which proves a good choice with fish (RM40). 

In presentation, Chicken Terrine (from the set menu) echoes the underwater theme; a black sea anemone sits among coral tendrils. We delight in the fine moist texture, the chicken flavour full but subtle. It’s a memorable dish.

Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine
Chicken Terrine

The second appetizer, Couscous Salad (from the set menu), is light, fluffy and colourful, with melon, yoghurt, cucumber ribbon, basil leaves and cherry tomato.

Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine
Cous Cous Salad

The Crab Roll (RM58) sits elegantly on the plate. We love this signature dish of salty crab and creamy avocado, with its cold tang of mango and subtle chili fire snow.

Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine
Crab Roll

We appreciate the hot plates that our mains arrive on. A detail many restaurants could do to pick up on.

Fettuccine Pasta bursts with the Mediterranean flavours of black olives, semi dried tomato, garden basil and Parmesan shavings. Capers give a zing to the dish, which is slippery and tasty and soon devoured by Jeremy (after we've had our fare spoonful). 

Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine

Pan fried sea bass is elegantly presented with the lemon beurre blanc served separately, by far my preference with fish. Cutting through the crispy skin reveals moist flakes with a good dense flavour.  One of the best-cooked pieces of fish I’ve eaten in Malaysia, and the lemon sauce delicate and light.  Delicious.  

Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine
Sea Bass

Seared Lamb Rack RM136) is thick cut, divinely cooked to my choice of pinkness. Potato foam is a light textured mash, through which thick dark soy honey reduction oozes delightfully. Monica loves the artichoke barigoule, and I enjoy the contrasting tastes of sweet apple puree and savoury celery leaf, combining with my juicy lamb.

Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine
Lamb Rack

Sipping the last of our wine, we prepare for dessert. 

Melon Soup is an unusual dish with humorous presentation. A patisserie crisp balances like a dhow sail, over a perfect quenelle of coconut sorbet atop a mould of fruit sitting in a clear soup. This all collapses into a floating fruit salad that we conclude is suited to the Asian palate.  

Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine
Melon Soup
The White Chocolate Cake, has the texture of a bread pudding. Another unusual choice combines papaya with coriander for a slightly savoury dessert.   

Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine
White Chocolate Cake

Both of us have a predilection for chocolate desserts, and Chocolate Fondant looks fantastically tempting. As I delve in, hazelnut chocolate oozes out. It’s gooey, delicious and dense. The accompanying ice cream merges sensuously on the plate and I end the meal with the happiness of bedtime hot chocolate.

Coast Restaurant, Rasa Ria by Shangri-La, European cuisine, wine
Chocolate Fondant

We think it’s worth the trip for off-site guests, and recommend starting on the terrace with a sunset cocktail to take advantage of the spectacular sea views.

Reason to visit: Superb location, elegant Hollywood glamour, exotic menu choices.

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort and Spa
Pantai Dalit Beach
Tuaran, Sabah 89208
+ 6 088 797 888 

Monday, 29 April 2013

Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
Frangipani Restaurant and Bar

Frangipani Restaurant and Bar

Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by The Yum List

The inside space at Frangipani is classically elegant. Soft bluesy music pervades the space, which is given a light, airy and indulgent feel by the central pool and high ceilings. I feel I have passed through a magical door to a different world. Silvery grey tones pervade, the water glistens, and candles throw off dusky light and gentle shadows. The hustle and bustle of the street fades from my mind and the cares of the day slip off my shoulders as I know I am going to be well looked after. 

Hungry, we nibble on our homemade bread, served with intriguing tomato butter. A pale, dry boutique champagne fizzes gently into flutes. The meal starts with Warm Pumpkin and Ginger Soup. Readers will know that I’m a soup fan and we all love pumpkin. This is something else. Really. This chef is a genius. Pumpkin flavours ring true, enhanced by ginger and deepened by shaved black truffles and just a drop of truffle oil. Edible flowers and crispy croutons add crunch and colour. The opening act of the meal has grabbed our attention. The champagne massages the tongue with a mousse like quality, its mineral notes drawn on by the flavours in the soup.  

Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
Warm Pumpkin And Ginger Soup RM 25++
Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
Champagne Jacquesson Cuvée n◦ 735, Brut, N.V, Dizy Bottle RM380++ Flute RM78++

Perched plaintively on the plate is a pink tiger prawn, marinated in an almond soup that sweetens the flesh and intensifies the flavour, a mouthwatering morsel enhanced by the salty flavours of sturia caviar. It’s the sea on a plate in the best possible way. Our accompanying white burgundy has oakish undertones with apple top notes, on tasting, the toasty butterscotch depths melt over our taste buds. It’s a light bodied wine that balances perfectly with the seafood bites. 

Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
Burgundy Saint-Véran, Joseph Drouhin, 2011, France Bottle RM195++ Glass RM40++
Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
Sauteed Tiger Prawn RM55 ++

A flllet of black cod glistens on the plate. Its firm texture is lush and springy, flaking apart in the mouth. Cod’s a tricky fish to get right, but this piece is perfectly cooked. Butter notes on the crisp asparagus moisten the palate and the dish is coloured by an accompanying complexity of mushrooms. The delicious dish is elevated to new heights by the companion wine, a creamy white burgundy with a fruity intense flavour and great depth for such a young wine. It’s a divine partnership and we are all groaning with pleasure.

Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
Confit Fillet of Black Cod RM90++
Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
Burgundy, Montagny 1er Cru, Demessey, 2010, France, Bottle RM310++ Glass RM60++

The food architecture of the main courses mirrors the interior architecture of the restaurant. Space surrounds us and space is cleverly used on the plates in front of us to create dishes appealing to the eye as well as delectable to the tastebuds. Our next dish is a glistening piece of Wagyu Rump steak. Well grilled on the outside, pink and juicy on the inside, true meaty flavours merge with the peppery Romesco Sauce. Each bite of beef is another reminder that sometimes the simplest cooking with fabulous ingredients is what pleases the most. The intense flavour of the beef develops the dark fruit aroma of the deep red Tinto Fino we are sipping on. It’s an elegant wine, for an elegant setting.

Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
Grilled Wagyu Rump RM120 ++

We are served a palate cleansing shot glass of fresh strawberries in a citrus jus. It’s light and refreshing and gets us ready for the final course of our banquet.

Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
Palate Cleanser

I love dessert wine and so rarely get to taste it.  This is one of my favourites which I first tasted at 17 years old, a delectable Muscat Beaumes de Venise. The deep golden yellow colour glows in the candlelight, and a first inhale reveals a delicious deep aroma. On tasting, it’s aromatic and full; not excessively sweet, and pairs beautifully with the delectably light Crème Catalana that we are happily spooning down. It is a wonderful way to end a marvelous meal.  

Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
Crema Catalana ‘Foam’
Frangipani, Fine Dining in Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur,
Rhone, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, M. Chapoutier, 2009, France, Bottle RM230++ Glass RM35++

Frangipani offers a degustation menu with wine and food pairings and if you want to experience the joy of wine and food matching, this is something to treat yourself to. Based on our experience, there is some masterful thought going into the wine – food matching, take advantage of this expertise.  Frangipani is a seriously good restaurant for people who appreciate great food, great wines and great service, really comparative to a fine dining experience in Europe or elsewhere in the culinary world.  

fine dining kuala lumpur, best restaurants
Map to Frangipani
Reasons to visit:  Elegant dining in an understated atmosphere, high quality European style dishes with amazing flavours, a wonderful range of wines.

29 Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang
50200 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2144 3001

Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Schooner Seraph

Sundays with Chef Peter….

The Seraph
Daahlings, Helloooooo…….!

            Apologies (again) for those who couldn’t wait to get to The Yum List last week for their weekly dose of Sundays with Chef Peter, only to find he was not there!

It was just such a busy time daahlings with Les Diables cakes and creations being enjoyed all around the island, I couldn’t seem to get five minutes for a chat with you!

I then decided I must allocate early Sunday morning but on delivering a cake Saturday night where my customers who are darling friends “insisted” (J) I stay for a drink… the rest is history!  
Fabulous evening but Sunday morning came far too quickly and I had a full day ahead (including morning WAKE UP calls) for my dear friend Bib’s birthday on a boat and I hadn’t even glazed my ham yet!

Monica is always telling me I should have some pieces for spare when these emergencies arise…SORRY boss, I am trying!

Anyway, the reason why I bored you with all this trivial information is because I want to tell you about another wonderful discovery of Phuket that very day which may or might be of interest to you!

The Sun is high!

If you have a special occasion coming up or just love being on the seas, well I found a great, not soo expensive way for you to enjoy it and we really did enjoy it…

Ship Ahoy!

The Schooner Seraph which on arrival to Chalong Pier with a car laden of food and drink for an army, I stood on the pier and I said to my friends, OH Daahlings, that doesn’t look like a great boat for a party but as always I just open my mouth too quickly! Of course Tracey was the first one to tell me to shut up!

The delightfully friendly and helpful crew unloaded my car to the boat while I stood in the shade and sipped my first “Orange Juice” of the day and what a beautiful day it was.

The rest of the guests and birthday girl Bib arrived (thankfully) and it was ship ahoy!

The Birthday Girl with Khun Sii and Guest!

Let me tell you a bit about the Schooner Seraph.
Seraph is the shortened version of Seraphim – one of the Archangels who protected God in Biblical lore. A six-winged Angel, the Seraph sat at God's right hand. His upper pair of wings was to cover his eyes (he may not look at his Master), the middle pair were for aeronautic purposes with the lower pair to cover his 'private bits' (don’t you just love that!). SY Seraph sails with a full complement of six sails/wings.

The 100 year old Schooner Seraph is available for charter for day trips for up to 40 people (personally I think 20 is a good number to be comfortable) and live-aboard cruises for eight or more. She is, therefore, the ideal charter yacht for that special occasion, be it an anniversary, birthday party, wedding, corporate event or simply a group of like-minded people who want to experience sailing as it was meant to be. 

Seraph was launched from a shipyard just outside Copenhagen in 1906 as a Ketch Rigged Fishing Boat destined to work for the next 70 years in the North Sea. Her initial role would have been as a 'buy boat', sailing out to meet the trawlers, transferring their catch to her large storage hold (which would have been partially flooded to keep the fish fresh) and returning to port to sell the catch at market. By the late 1970's she was bought by a Dutch couple who took her to Holland and converted her into a live-aboard Schooner with a Marconi Rig. They took some considerable time cruising the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean before arriving in Thailand in the late 1980's.

Seraph suffered a temporary setback in 1991 when a squall drove her onto a reef in the Similan Islands, from where she was recovered, restored and re-rigged in her current configuration – Gaff Rigged Schooner. She spent the next 11 years carrying thousands of live-aboard diving customers the length and breadth of the Andaman Sea. She has subsequently retired from this type of work and her present owners have, after a major refit (2005), tasked her to entertain visitors on the waters surrounding Phuket and Phang Nga Bay – a role for which she is ideally suited as she passes her one hundredth year afloat.

The Deck

We were also very lucky on this special day to have the owner of the boat on board, Khun Sii who not only has a great passion for boats and life but also for preserving a little piece of history. Thank you to her for sharing this with us.

Birthday Girl inspects the food!

Of course no day out on a boat is complete (unless of course you’re a racing sailor) without good food and drink to go along with the excellent company already aboard. Drinks were flowing and catering supplied by Moi (Les Diables), I think for an occasion like this some good simple food goes so we prepared a baked honey ham, delicious selection of cheeses, quiches, fresh breads and salads and some fried rice to have a Thai touch.

Baked Honey Ham

The sun was high as were the spirits as we sailed to Racha Island where we dropped anchor, swam and enjoyed the amazing Andaman Ocean and fabulous glorious day. Time To PARTY!

Party Time!!!

I have to share one incident of the day which just blew me away.
This is how helpful and wonderful the staff was on the Seraph. Dana was swimming and his ring slipped off his finger. Unfortunately, the ring was of great sentimental value and he was of course upset. The staff saw his concern and without asking put on their goggles and jumped in. Now seriously darlings, it really does compare with finding a needle in a haystack! Time passed and Dana was resigning himself to his loss (and also drowning his sorrows) the captain came up with the ring in hand! I tell you this upped the celebrations considerably! How simply fabulous and simply wonderful of the staff!
The Birthday Girl and Cake!

Do we have to go home now!

And as we returned in the dusk to Chalong pier, all burnt and “frazzled” from the day we departed Seraph and said our farewells to her and went home all feeling quite wonderful and happy to live in paradise!
See you next week (J)!

Chef Peter

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Chef Chong, TwentyOne Tables+ Terrace and Kitchen + Bar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

twentyone tables terrace, kitchen bar, chinese, Kuala lumpur, western, bar, chef
Chef Chong

Chef Chong tells The Yum List the best and worst parts of his job and what diners can expect in the upcoming months at TwentyOne Tables + Terrace and TwentyOne Kitchen + Bar.

What do you do and how did you get into the industry?

I am currently the head chef at Twentyone Kitchen+Bar. I also oversee the production kitchen that also sends fresh daily prep to our sister restaurant Twentyone Tables+Terrace in Bangsar Shopping Centre. I am also in charge of menu development and all function menus as well as special events such as:  Mothers Day, Valentines Day, Christmas etc. I joined the industry because I love food and the creativity involved in doing awesome dishes. I also wanted to learn more techniques and food styles from around the world.

Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.

Previously we outsourced many of our desserts. One day my bosses asked me to try to do a menu tasting for some desserts. They were amazed at the quality that I produced, so now all desserts are made fresh and in-house. This was a result of me wanting to produce some great desserts.

What's the best/ worst part of your job?

The best thing is the staff and the team. To train the staff and see them become really great at what they do and to watch them develop their skills is very enjoyable.
The worst part is the long long long hours. As we are in the service industry we have to work long and hard always!

What's your favourite Malaysian food?

Definitely an amazing chicken rice!

What's your favorite meal at TwentyOne?

It's my weekly special, because I get to showcase the best of that week, so it changes weekly!!

What's your favoured food and liquor pairing?

A handmade beef burger and a good German beer.

The perfect day off would be... 

Sleeping and resting at home.

A life in the day of a chef is...

The brain never stopping! There's always menu / dish planning, hard work, prepping food all day, getting ready for service, briefings training and the execution for all dishes with consistency.

What can guests look forward to in terms of Food and Beverage at TwentyOne this year?

Fresh local and imported products, Western style with a real Asian touch.

To see some of Chef Chong's fabulous creations and excellent value menus visit posts on:

Friday, 26 April 2013

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
RAW Coffee Machine
RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
Book Swap Library - bring one take one
Real and Wholesome (RAW): Expanded Menu

Words by Kristin Cosgrove
Photos by Monica Tindall

It’s Earth Week, which means it’s a great time to reflect on ways to make our lives a little more eco-friendly.  One movement gaining popularity is Meatless Mondays, encouraging everyone to go meat-free one day per week (any day will do).  Eating meat free saves fossil fuels as producing a pound of meat requires more water and fuel resources than producing and harvesting plants.  Plus, a vegetarian diet - even once a week - can also benefit the body, reducing cholesterol and fat consumption. 

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
Tomato and Italian Herbs Soup RM15

For unpretentious vegetarian food that nourishes the body AND does Mother Earth proud, one look no further than the newly expanded vegetarian menu at Real and Wholesome (RAW). 

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
Spinach and Pesto Pasta RM15

I first discovered RAW last year while on a quest for an independent coffee shop in which to meet a friend.  I did a quick search of this very website and found a post by Monica on Real and Wholesome (RAW) Coffee.  I would have never stumbled upon RAW’s location on my own (in the lobby of the Wisma Equity building) but I was so excited to have found it – the location was convenient, the coffee, roasted onsite, was outstanding and parking out back was free.

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
Latte, Americano, Espresso

RAW has expanded their menu in the last few months, and is now a hot spot for anyone looking to fuel up and feel great at the end of a meal.  The new menu is simple yet offers plenty of variety; all-day breakfast includes muffins, pancakes, and rosti-combination choices while lunch options include soups, sandwiches and pasta dishes.

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
Rosti with Spinach and Cashew Nut Cream RM13

Most dishes at RAW are vegan-friendly, yet you’d never know it by taste alone.  The Rosti with Sautéed Spinach and Cashew Nut Sauce (RM13) gave me a chance to try the vegan sauce, as rich and sinful as any Alfredo sauce I’ve had, but without the heavy cream and the “Why did I just eat that?” after-feeling.  I’ll be trying to recreate this one in my kitchen soon! 

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
Rosti with Egg, Mushroom and Homemade Ketchup RM13

Among my favorite dishes is the Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Soup (RM15). The perfect consistency, not too thick but not at all runny, one spoonful was all it took for me to be hooked.  The bowl is deep and plentiful, but bread served on the side should be left for the end, you’ll want it for sopping up any residual soup – it’s too good to waste a drop! 

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Soup RM15

The hearty Tagine Cous Cous (RM15) is a warm homemade dish combining varietal squash in a fresh tomato and vegetable base with a lemony zing aftertaste.  Topped with the nutty, chewy and seed-bedazzled tempeh and set beside a large portion of seasoned cous cous, this delightful dish may have changed my mind forever about tempeh, a fermented soy product used as a meat substitute. (I’ve had some not-so-great experiences eating tempeh but was thrilled to rediscover tempeh done well at RAW.)  Even if it hadn’t, the tempeh can easily be omitted and the dish is would still be excellent.

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
Tangine Cous Cous

At the request of a RAW customer, the aforementioned tagine has been incorporated into an equally tasty sandwich and now appears on the menu alongside the BLT (Tempeh “bacon”, Lettuce and Tomato), Mushroom Pesto and Cheese, and the Tomato and Scallion sandwiches.  Each comes with a side salad and is served on a choice of bread: whole meal, gluten free, ciabatta, or white.  Big enough to share with a friend, sandwiches are a reasonable RM15.

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
BLT Sandwich (with tempe) RM15
RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
Tangine Sandwich RM15

If you’re short on time and still want to pop in, choose from several salads in the display case for takeaway including beetroot, marinated mushrooms, pumpkin and green salad. 

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
Mixed Salads from the display

I’ll admit, I had people coming for dinner and no time to cook last week so I headed to RAW, armed with my own Tupperware.  I loaded up on pumpkin, mushrooms, and three orders of the Cous Cous Tagine and snuck them home and into nice serving dishes.  For less than RM60 I had dinner for four (with leftovers) and my guests remarked they loved the meal and felt fantastic afterwards.

RAW, Real and Wholesome, Kuala Lumpur
Reduce your impact with a Keep Cup

RAW is located in the bright and spacious lobby of the Wisma Equity building directly across Jalan Ampang from KLCC.  Catering mostly to business people in the adjacent buildings, RAW also makes for a relaxed social setting to enjoy a long lunch and chat with friends, or for getting some work done while luxuriating over some seriously good coffee.  (Clickhere for more info on RAW’s coffee.)

Reason to Visit: Delicious meals for healthy living, eco-friendly, vegan friendly, exceptional single-origin coffee roasted onsite.

best coffee in Kuala Lumpur, Vegetarian, vegan, meatless
Map to RAW
Real and Wholesome (RAW)
G/F Wisma Equity (across from KLCC - parking available at back of building)
150 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
+6 019 3138978