O Gourmet, BSC & A Slice of Heaven

BSC’s latest swanky food hall opened just last Thurs but not with as much fanfare in comparison to Hutong in Lot 10.

Pretty understandable I guess, since the concept ain’t entirely the same. Modelled after the food halls of Harrods or Selfridges, O Gourmet, BSC stocks a range of gourmet and unusual fine food items, imported mostly from Britain, Italy & Spain, including specialty wines.

Indeed, with the interesting & uncommon fine food available here, all one needs is a very deep pocket.
However, should you expect O Gourmet to be alike a food court, then prepare to be re-educated.
There is no dining space available; & O Gourmet features stalls after stalls of food items, both uncooked and cooked for take-away only.

I spied local delights like rice and local dishes as well as sandwiches and pitas (which was for RM15 each, so you can pretty much gauge the price levels here).

A note-worthy stall is the spice market, where little bowls of spices were lay out for the customer’s to smell, feel and see.
The lady manning the stall was mixing some nuts with a mixture of spices chosen by a customer when I was there. I was so tempted to take a pic but since I wasn’t a customer I hesitated & in the end i didn’t.

Anyhow, my main reason here was to visit Just Heavenly’s Pleasure’s newest outlet.
Unless you are blind, you can’t miss it since it is right smack in the middle of the food hall & happens to be the 1st ‘outlet’ facing the entrance.

Just Heavenly

It was a really busy time for them when I was there. I think this is perhaps JHP’s best outlet in terms of sales judging by the amount of cakes flying off the chillers!

O Gourmet3

There was even more variety of desserts here than their outlet in Jaya One.
I am not sure of the photography rules here, & was again hesitant to snap any pics especially at the other stalls since I didn’t buy anything.
However, with permission from Nigel, I could be click-happy around their outlet.

from top left:
Banana, Butter Rosemary & Choc Fudge Log Cakes.
Rose Meringue, Choc Durian, Strawberry Cheese, Blueberry Cheese, Peach Gateaux, Classic Cheese, Triple Expresso Brownies & Apple Crumble Cheese.

Cakes by A slice of heaven

I got myself a Blackforest Gateaux (Kirsch) – RM9.90. Absolutely love the big blackcurrants!

Blackforest by JHP

Just Heavenly Pleasure’s gorgeous creations.

O Gourmet

In keeping with the theme of the O Gourmet Food Hall, almost all the service staff here wore green bandannas & aprons with the words “O Gourmet’ printed on them. Likewise for the packaging of the food too.

A slice of Heaven

The very pretty and unusually shaped Spanish chocolates is a good enough reason to return, especially with Christmas just around the corner. I saw jelly beans in a myriad of flavours & specialty hams like Serrano & etc too.

ps: I heart Bar Italia’s gelato & nearly split my mouth grinning when I saw their outlet here. That is so going to be a self-rewarding treat once I get my condo moving operation done. Yup, gelato for me and Unka on Sunday!!
pps: I can’t wait for the Streamyx installation at my new place! I will be sharing it with my housemates & we are so relieved to have proper Internet access soon!

O Gourmet Food Hall
Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC )
Jalan Maarof.

El Meson – at Telawi, Bangsar

A lot of newly opened food outlets and even food courts, (in the case of Hutong at Lot 10) have chosen to go non-halal lately.
I’m not sure if that shows for anything, for I can only speculate: does that mean F&B proprietors may find the halal market actually negligible to their P&L?

Anyhow, in the case of El Meson in Bangsar, I’m certainly not complaining. The Spaniards are known for their fondness of pork and their Iberico pigs. It would be a shame if this is another pork-free outlet & we are deprived of this “delicacy” again.

el mesonAlign Center

To quote the owner Mr Ek, all their produce are imported, including their Chef, so authenticity is almost guaranteed!
And that sexy limb you see below is the leg of the Iberico pig……

Iberico Leg

………which looked like the below (pic courtesy of the Internet) when it was still alive.

cerdo-iberico-negro

cerdo-iberico-gordo

Mr Ek, who is Thai; owns & runs Planter’s Jim, The Social (both in Bangsar) and now, his latest baby, El Meson.
YogiTree at the Gardens, Mid Valley is also under his realm of restaurants.

A most affable fellow, he graciously shared & explained to us about Spanish food, his experiences & the ingredients that went into our dishes; making our dinner most enjoyable & educational.
The Restaurant Supervisor was the epitome of good service as well.

Below: The master at work, Mr Ek craving the Black Leg for our Cold Platter.

Craving the black Leg

Interior wise, the outlet features dim lighting, comfy chairs and well-spaced tables. I don’t see much memorabilia or Spanish cultural gear here except for a painting or two.

el meson dining

And of course, any self respecting upper- class restaurant now boasts of a fine range of wine & alcohol, more so since this is Telawi, Bangsar.

el meson wines

A bread fan, I grilled Mr Ek and his Chef Fernando on the bread eaten with the tapas. My perception was since tapas is such a staple food, then perhaps the bread is made specially; (techniques or ingredients-wise) to go with it?
Apparently no.
Anyhow, he assured us the bread served here is baked in-house & is very much like the original Spanish bread eaten in Spain, which is slightly alike the Italian Ciabatta in texture, minus the herbs.

Taste-wise? Very plain. But that what makes it perfect with the flavourful tapas.

bread
Starters: Platter of Cold Cuts for 2, RM68.
Clockwise from top left, 2 by 2, separated by the rock melons:
Iberico & chorizo (the round shaped ones).
Serrano (long ones) & Salchichon (the round ones).
Parma & Pancetta; the italian ones.

I stapled a piece for every type, since I’m not a fan of cured meats.
But I must admit, even for an inexperienced gourmet foodie like me, the superiority of taste & texture is prominent, compared to the cured meats one gets at the local deli.
Likewise, I’m pleased that the saltiness level is not as overpowering as I thought it might be.

cold platter

Close-up shots of the Iberico & chorizo (the chorizos are the round ones).

iberico coldcuts

I was wondering what is Salchichon since I have not heard of it. The google results I got was very enlightening. Allow me to share with you the gist of it.

Salchichon sausage is a dry-cured sausage of Spanish origin. It is classically produced on the plains of Spain, where steady breezes permit an even drying period which promotes complete curing in the sausage.
Made with pork from Spanish white pigs, ideally pigs which have foraged in oak forests for their food, developing lean flesh with a slightly nutty flavor.
The meat is coarsely ground and the fat is not separated, leaving distinctive white chunks in the finished sausage, before being blended with pepper, nutmeg, and other spices. It does tends to be very spicy, with a slightly creamy texture from the fat.
After the ingredients have been mixed, they are packed into sausage casings and allowed to dry. Traditionally, salchichon is cured outdoors on large drying racks positioned to take advantage of the breeze, although many modern producers cure in a drying shed to maintain food safety. Although the initial ingredients are raw, the curing process renders salchichon sausage safe to eat as-is once it has finished curing. Curing generally takes around 45 days.

A fully-cured sausage has a white crust and a slightly dry texture. When cut open, it reveals leathery meat speckled with pieces of fat and pepper which can be eaten plain as a snack or combined with bread and cheese in the Spanish style. Salchichon sausage pairs best with hearty red wines which can cope with the spicy flavor and enhance it without becoming overwhelming.

Next was another interesting starter; the Boguerones on Toast, which is slightly pickled Spanish Herrings with garlic confit, RM14.

It was one fishy fish ;-) , & tasted like sardine!
Texture was wonderfully meaty though. Top grade olive oil coated each fish unsparingly and the garlic tomato confit was pleasingly piquant.

Boguerones

Then we tried one of their soups & it happened to be a cold one. While I am not a fan of cold soups (blame it on my Asian roots) the Gazpacho - chilled tomato soup with grated egg and serrano, RM14 was thick, full bodied and slightly grainy. I slurped away unabashedly.

gazpacho

Finally we got on to the HOT dishes!

Hot Tapas: Trotters - Crispy fried and served with apple sauce, RM22.
The skin was crackly crunchy and the meat, though it looked deceptively stringy at 1st, which made me wary; turned out to be fork-tender and disintegrated in the mouth easily enough without much effort.
A bit plain on its own, the accompanying sauce carried its role well.

Tapas - Trotters

Hot Tapas: Berenjenas - aubergines in red pepper sauce, RM14.
I have always loved aubergines, more so when it was done so exceptional well here, with the red pepper sauce not too overpowering and quite flavoursome.
The name & the colour might be mildly misleading, for it was not spicy at all. Apparently, Spanish food doesn’t pack much heat; Chef Fernando had said to us.

el meson7

Mains:
Oxtail braised in Moscatel & Matchstick Potatoes, RM40.
I barely tasted the Moscatel, a type of Spanish wine, & honestly, I felt that this was like a very well done ordinary oxtail soup.
The matchstick potatoes were a delight though, and I had fun chomping away at them, and they were even better soaked in the gravy!

oxtail

Mains:
Linguini with Rabbit, Olives, confit Garlic and Herbs, RM32.
Rabbit meat was something I wanted to try for a long time.
And my verdict? It looks like chicken meat, tasted like chicken meat, albeit slightly more leathery & it gave my partner and I quite an exercise in jaw muscles building.

Linguini Rabbit


Dessert
:
Homemade Spanish Blood Orange Sorbet w Orange Slices and Liquer (Cointreau) RM18.
This was something refreshingly different! Sour with a very sharp bite, I thoroughly enjoyed it, what more when it came swimming in Cointreau!

Spanish Blood Orange Sorbet

Bottom left: Fernando, a Spaniard who loves his chocolates, the chef who prepares everything from scratch and with passion.

Chef & Owner

Just as we are about to leave, Mr Ek treated us to some Smoked & Pickled Herrings, as opposed to the pickled ones we had earlier.
These were saltier, (naturally, since its smoked) and while the entree we had was smoother in texture & easier to melt on the palate; so to speak.
The smoked ones were slightly more leathery, which I speculate could be due to the smoking process that drew out the water.

So here’s another lesson on Spanish food.

Boquerones are small, fresh anchovies. Accompanied by crisp, fresh Spanish bread, a glass of ruby-red wine or refreshing Asturian cider, they are a delight to eat
Like its friend the sardine, the anchovy is an oily fish, packed full of proteins and minerals, protecting against heart disease, and “good” for cholesterol. What´s more, in many areas of Spain -in particular the Mediterranean coast – fresh anchovies are extremely cheap.

Traditional preparation of Boquerones vary slightly from family to family. However, the basic principles are always the same. After cleaning and filleting the fish,soak them, either in white wine vinegar or a mixture of half vinegar and half water. The vinegar will clean and bleach the fish and also soften any remaining little bones. Some may sprinkle the fish with salt; while others feel that the fish is salty enough already.

The fish has to be left for a good few hours soaking in the vinegar. After that, throw away the vinegar, & cover the bleached fillets good quality virgin olive oil, which will preserve them. One can add as much, or as little, sliced garlic as you wish, plus freshly chopped parsley.

Left chilled and completely enveloped in olive oil, these herrings shelve lives can be prolonged for a quite while.

Last but not least, I think I will be spending some idyllic Sundays here soon ;)

brekkie menu

Total bill for the dinner was RM290 incl of service charges & tax.

El Meson,
Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru.



Burgers Galore IV: Pork Burger at Cristang, 8 Avenue

I seriously do not know what is so rave-worthy about this place.

Either that, or I’m seriously one of the unfortunately few who went on a bad day.
Since so many have had good experiences, I’m seriously in need of another visit. That, plus making sure this time not to order the ‘basics/original”. After all, condiments and toppings does make a difference in overall taste and texture.

However, I’m a advocate for the basics, cos if the food’s good, the frills and superfluities should be an enhancement, not a requisite to make the food passable.

So after my pneumonia recovery, I hasten to Cristang, for a recovery treat, so to speak. My good friend has generously allowed me the choice of venue, since it’s a celebration of sorts.

Thinking of going easy on my digestive system and throat, I ordered the original pork burger, minus the hooohaa embellishment of petai ( stink beans ) & what nots.

So for RM16.90, I got this.

Cristang pork burger1

A carelessly put-together ensemble of an airy, cheap burger bun, a thin almost anorexic slab of patty, a slice of cheese, ONE slice of tomato, ONE leaf of wilted lettuce, 3 onion rings and a sliver of pickle.

Cristang pork burger3

Bottom: The DRY SALTY patty that I dumped on my friend who shoved it aside after one bite. Likewise, he proclaimed it’s salty too! And this friend of mine is VERY easily satisfied when it comes to food, mind you.

Cristang pork burger4

The accompanying wedges were below mediocre and did nothing to divert our sharp pain (both in our hearts and pockets) ;p

Cristang pork burger

Hoping desperately for a redeemer, we focused on my friend’s Debal Curry and rice instead…..
which turned out to be so tasteless I nearly threw my hands up in despair!
They must have forgotten the salt here, and the lack of aroma from the chili left us baffled cos it did look the part with all its reddish hue.
To add salt to the wound (pun intended), it wasn’t spicy & it wasn’t rich.

debal curry

Oh, no worries, at least the fruit juices did its part; of washing away the *^%# taste in our mouth, even if the food didn’t satisfy us at all.

Well, at the very least, my mood was restored later that night by my zippy Streamyx connection. Finally something worthwhile for the monies I paid. And I scored the highest points on Shootm! Yay!

drinks

Cristang Restaurant
Unit B-G-19
8 Avenue
Jalan Jernih (8/1)
Petaling Jaya

Tel No: 03-7956 7877



Rock & Roll like the Good Ol Happy Days!

Taipan. Subang.

An area alien to me really. Too far & nothing intriguing there.
Other than La Cucina which I have been trying to visit for months, Taipan remains an area pretty much as humdrum as it can get.

And then I got an invite from Marian, about a new swanky diner opening in here, with a concept to boot.

Good ol Happy Days, she said, is an American diner, and serves cuisine like Chilli’s.

Do you know Happy Days? she asked.
I gaped; “Err…”
“It’s from the 70s”, she went on to explain..& I immediately grinned & chirped, “Oh.. that era.. then Unka would know. I can ask him”. ;p

So the night of the launch came, & I went, expecting another sit-down session, where we would be served with a myriad of dishes, where we would take the customary pics, followed by some chit-chat with the chef about the food; yadayada.. and perhaps an interview with the proprietor, for some insights on the concept.

Yup, I thought that’s all to it.

So when our chauffeured car dropped us off right front of this, my jaw literally dropped.

gd ole happy days (1)

Wah.. so happening one ahhh????

gd ole happy days

A 3 level bistro, with red & silver vinyl chairs, checkered floors, pool tables and a long bar serving almost every drinks imaginable, stepping into the outlet was an assault on the senses.
Even more so on the eyes. Everything’s so bright & cheery!
Happy” came to mind, and that’s exactly the state of being that’s advocated by this outlet.

gd ole happy days (2)

Not much to be reviewed on the food, as the free-flow dishes that night was pretty mass produced, and hence probably not a good indication of the quality.
However, most dishes was most palatable, & the group of us must have polished off 30 lamb chops among ourselves!

It was one happy Friday, with entertaining performances by the Beansproutz Dancers, complete with colourful cheeky costumes and sassy dance moves, almost making me feel like breaking into a hip gyrating & booty shaking dance as well.

ps: Do check out the video by cumi & ciki & even more pictures here by the Qwazymonkey.

As if the night wasn’t hot enough with lively dances & Elvis in the house, there was a daring fiery performance by The King Of Limbo ROck…

gd ole happy days (3)

Not enough with just fire, our King of Limbo Rock decided to go blind-folded!

gd ole happy days (4)

I think Good Ol Happy Days Diner may just be the reason for me to venture more into this area called Taipan. More so when I spied ribs, BURGERS, pizzas and MILKSHAKES on the menu.

Live band will be playing after dinners on Thursday, Friday and Sat. Music from the 60-70s (what else?) will be played throughout the day.
So, with this coming Fri, 28th Nov being a public holiday, anyone for some dose of Good Ol Happy Days??

note: This would be not the only outlet, for its founder Mr Fariz Abdullah , MD of SKN Leisure Entertainment and Grp Chairman Datuk Seri Shamir Kumar Nandy has set sights on opening another in KL, followed by one in Penang.

Good Ol Happy Days Diner & Bistro
55-A, grd Floor
Jalan USJ10/F
Taipan, Subang Jaya
03 – 8023 7229
W-days: 11am – 1am
W-ends: 11am – 2am

Patisserie RUI – The Velvets

the velvets
RM12.00 for 4, or RM3.50 each.

Patisserie RUI’s signature Red Velvet cake – Valrhona Pure Cocoa Cake brushed with Felchlin 54% Dark Chocolate with Rui Signature Light Cream Cheese Frosting.

While this may be RUI’s signature, it was the Lemon Velvet that got our vote. Bangsar-babe & myself preferred the lemony-slight tangy taste and I find that it binded well with the moist buttery crumb of the cake.

boolicious has a very comprehensive write-up on RUI’s Velvet range so I shall not repeat it here since I agree wholeheartedly with her review.
Indeed the cakes here are lighter and thus would probably appeal more to those who are seeking for sweet gratifications that are friendlier on the hips. (However, if you are gluttons like us who wallop 4 velvets, a tiramisu and a Princess Torte almost clean at one go, then be prepared still for a tighter fit in your pants anyways ;p)

Patisserie RUI’s Red Velvet, however, could not triumph over FBB’s version, as Bangsar-babe, Sue (of Delectable by Su) & myself had concluded.
Fat Boy Bakes ‘s is undoubtedly richer in flavour and denser in composition. But then again, FBB’s Red Velvet will not be selling for RM3.50 each so essentially you get what you pay for.

My 1st Red Velvet was by A Taste Boutique, and if my memory serves me right, they do churn out a pretty good version. Just the cream cheese frosting itself was drool-worthy.
That has been a while though, and I can’t wait to get my fix again. Even better news, A Taste Boutique have recently (9th Nov to be exact) opened a branch in SS15, Subang & that, thank goodness, is so much more accessible than Putra Heights, Shah Alam!
Imelda, the owner/baker had advised me to wait for a week for everything to settle down & also for their full range of cakes to be available before hopping over. I do miss their carrot cakes & I’ve heard from a fellow dessert-acholic that they do a mean version of hummingbird as well. Can’t wait to pay a visit!

As far as Red Velvet goes, I can’t say the same for The Daily Grind‘s (Bangsar) version since I didn’t like the topping they used.

cross-section - VELVETS
Back to RUI’s velvets, a close second favourite of mine after the Lemon Velvet would be the Green Tea.
The green tea flavour wasn’t as strong as I thought I would have preferred at first, but as I heaped forkfuls into my mouth, I started to appreciate the subtle nuances of green tea, developing slowly rather than a forceful hit- you- in- the- palate sort. After finishing half of the cake, I do find the green tea flavour pleasing enough and I do not mind going back for more of it.

The Chocolate Velvet looked so promising at first, dark & sultry as we cut it into half. Both Bangsar-babe’ eyes and mine glittered with expectations and you should have seen our grimacing faces when we took our first bite! LOL. It was just not chocolaty enough I guess.

Each of the cakes got this blob of billowy airy cream cheese (also known as Rui Signature Light Cream Cheese Frosting) on top which is again, nice if you enjoy Japanese light cream.

We dug into the Tiramisu, RM18 next.

Tiramisu
With alternating layers of coffee soaked sponge, vanilla genoise, light cream cheese and light cream, this would probably be more approriately named LIGHT Tiramisu ;)
Again, it is a matter of preference. Do you like your Tiramisu rich or light?

For light confectionaries, Pattiserie RUI would probably be your best bet.

Myself? Give me those rich Tiramisu anytime!

Pattiserie RUI
Mont Kiara Meridien Promenade
Jalan Duta Kiara
Crystal Chan
012 – 3177 290
ps: I hope to try RUI’s white choc cheesecake & claypot fruitcake soon!

MARU, Mt Kiara. 2-in-1 Jap & Korean. Truly Value for Moolah!

I remember reading a few posts on Venicia (in Bangsar Puteri) & Fiesta, Mont Kiara lately & subsequently leaving a remark to Sean about how it would be interesting to hunt those lesser known food outlets, cozily tucked away in condos.

And by some crazy twist of events I found another gem of such praise-worthy restaurant in Angkupuri Condominium, on Jalan Kiara itself.

maru signage

Driving around Mt Kiara aimlessly after feeling disappointed to find Patisserie RUI closed, I called up a close real estate friend (who lives nearby) & asked her about the CHEAP Jap & Korean place she was raving about few weeks ago.

“Oh, come come! I haven’t had lunch yet either!”, she chirped cheerily on the phone.

Ah, great. Not a trip wasted then, I thought as I swung into her condo.

Maru, SURPRISINGLY, is actually under the umbrella of Shogun & Saisaki group of restaurants.

shogun

The restaurant is situated on the ground floor of Angkupuri Condominium and there are separate sections/rooms for the kitchen & dining (funnily, it is not all housed within one big outlet).
For inside dining, one will be ushered into one of the many private dining rooms.

interior

Which is great, for you’ll get privacy, plus any ruckus you make with your gang of dining partners will be “contained” within the thin walls ;)

As you can see above, they have this interesting circular tanks of live seafood, allowing patrons to choose their ‘prey’ and have it prepared on the spot for their dining pleasure.

However, I didn’t think live seafood in tanks are anything new..till I saw this….

live octupus

..and my friend said it will be caught and slained on the spot to prepare this!

octopus1

Too bad I missed the action of the preparation since she only told me that after the meal!

Anyhow, should you prefer dining alfresco style, out in the open by the pool, enjoying the cool caressing breeze and sounds of water, the outdoor tables are just as comfortable.

MARU - outside

My friend took charge of ordering while I browsed through the menus.
Yup, Maru got not one, but TWO wide-ranging menus for each of their Korean and Japanese offerings.

The free flow ban chan (Korean side dishes) were laid out as we tried to decide on the rest of our lunch.

banchan

And a complimentary trio of appetiser was served to each one of us shortly after we placed our orders.

Deep fried soft- shelled crab & fresh fillets of fish plus a cute pork dumpling (siew mai lookalike)

appetizer trio

Not bad, the crab and fish was fresh and its flesh sweet. The “siew mai” thing was forgettable though.

Their Sashimi is a must -order, my friend had said, and went on gushing & swooning about how fresh it was on her previous visits and how the cuts were very sweet and succulent.

Sashimi (5 kinds of fish) Rm25.

sashimi

And I have to agree whole-heartedly. It was REALLY, REALLY fresh with each cut thick, firm and moist.
Feeling very pleased, we added orders of Tekka Maki (tuna sushi) RM10 & Sushi Nigiri Special, RM28 & both were up to expectations.
I love the vinegared rice of each piece of sushi. It was perfectly cooked, with each grain firm and the overall gobbet of rice not too compact. Plus the amount of vinegar was in good balance too.

sushi

When dining Korean, the BBQ meats are a must. We had the Marinated Sliced Pork for RM30.
Instead of having it grilled in front of us, my friend requested for it to be grilled and cut in the kitchen as she was worried of getting smoky smell in her hair and outfit.

Pork - BBQ

Myself, an unagi fan, ordered the Korean Unagi, RM30.

Korean unagi

It arrived looking very impressive, all mahogany glazed and shining with promise. I could bare wait to pop a slice into my mouth.

Sadly it was a let-down as the sauce was wayyyyy too infuriatingly sweet and I could barely enjoy the flesh of the eel. Neither could my 3 other dining companions.

During the feedback session, Chef Eric apologised and explained that the Koreans and Japanese actually enjoyed it prepared this way. However, he acknowledges that Asian has milder tastebuds.

chef

For the sake of a balanced diet, our order of Kani Kama Tataki, RM12 was a good choice with its creamy tangy dressing.
However, I wished that they had thrown in better quality crab sticks instead of the generic ones. Even Pasta Zanmai serves better crab sticks!

Another thing to note about this place, the chef has a tendency of sending surprise dishes ON THE HOUSE your way.
For 4 of us, we had a few complimentary dishes on top of the Appetiser Trio and Fruits (which my friend said its customary).
The Avocado Tofu roll below is complimentary.

fresh

This delicious Japchae (stir fried clear noodles) with Beef Slices and Vegetables was complimentary as well.
With generous fillets of tender beef & loads of capsicums, sweet peas, carrots, mushrooms & wood fungus, it is worth the price of RM20 if ordered ala-carte.

korean noodles

So, the 4 of us were stuffed to the brim and I couldn’t even fit in dessert. And we only paid about RM25 each.
receipt

MARU, what a great find!

OPEN DAILY:
1130am – 3pm
5.30 – 10pm