Welcoming the Chinese New Year at Absolute Thai Hot Pot, Mid Valley, KL

Gong Xi Fa Cai 🙂 

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Chinese New Year is undoubtedly the most important festival for the Chinese community. KL simply comes alive during these few days, with every nook and corner of the city being lit up, sales and discounts at shops, food stalls everywhere, beautiful decorations at malls, lion dances and fireworks!

Yesterday was the beginning of a long holiday for S and we decided to spend the next couple of days with friends- watching movies, going for drives, potlucks etc., basically chilling without a care 😀 We were at the Mid Valley mall and I suggested S & a friend that we go to Absolute Thai Hot Pot for dinner and they readily agreed. It’s rare that the husband would say no to Thai food 😛

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Our visit to this branch was a first, though we’ve been to a couple of their other outlets. Located at level 2, Center Court, its décor was all black which surprisingly had a very calming effect. We took a table near the corner from where we had a clear view of the outside. Although the restaurant was inside a mall, it felt as if we were sitting at a roadside open café.

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The menu was fairly exhaustive. We didn’t opt for their hotpot menu which was quite tempting, but settled for their usual fare instead.

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The menu

I have a thing for Chicken wrapped in Pandan leaves. It can be quite tricky though. You have to cook it just right to get the perfect texture- crunchy from the outside and soft, juicy inside. A little overcooked and what you have is an inedible hard piece of chicken. However, Absolute Thai nailed it. It was so delicious that it made us even hungrier.

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Pandan Leaves Chicken

The service was quite fast. As the waiter was bringing the other dishes to our table, I noticed S was glued to his phone looking at the highlights of a soccer match. Boys and their toys! After my stern look, he quickly put down his phone and beamed with delight looking at the food on the table.

Unfortunately the Tom Yam Soup with Seafood and Meehoon was the first thing I tasted. Why unfortunate? Because it was one of the worst tom yam soups I’ve ever had. It was so sour that all other flavours were overpowered and I felt as if I was biting on a piece of raw tamarind. I would never recommend it to anyone.

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Tom Yam Soup with Seafood and Meehoon (red base)

That made me somewhat skeptical about the other dishes we ordered. But my presumption was wrong thankfully. The Red Curry Roasted Duck was lip-smacking. The flavours were balanced perfectly. The sweet and spice quotient was just right and it tasted fabulous with plain white rice. The duck was quite soft, unlike a few other places I have had before, where it was hard and chewy.

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Red Curry Roasted Duck

The Green Curry Chicken was nice, so no complaints there but it wasn’t remarkable. I have had much better ones at other Thai restaurants in KL. S was busy removing chunky pieces of eggplant from the curry 😀  Otherwise he seemed to have enjoyed it.

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Green Curry Chicken

The best was saved for last. The Garlic and Black Pepper Fried rice with Fresh Crab was in one word heavenly! The crab was really fresh which elevated the dish to another level. It was mildly spiced and very juicy. The rice was perfectly seasoned with crushed black pepper and overall it was the best dish of the day.

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Garlic and Black Pepper Fried rice with Fresh Crab

Address: Mid Valley Megamall, 1, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City, 58000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Phone: +60 3-2201 5308

Open: 10am – 10pm

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BUMBU DESA: From the land of Kopi Luwak & Batik

Indonesia is my preferred destination for holidaying in the entire South East Asia. From the vibrant nightlife in Jakarta to the stunning natural beauty of Bali, the country has never ceased to spellbind me. So far Bali has been my favourite holiday spot. A land rich in culture, heritage, art & craft and of course food! My love for Indonesian food is pretty well known. The multitude of spices & herbs used in their food is what makes the cuisine a foodie’s delight. From their satays to bakso, gado-gado & rendang- every dish is scrumptious.

Few moments from my Bali trip 🙂

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Tanah lot, Bali

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Prawn Satay & Nasi Goreng Platter

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Grilled Tilapia

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A random flea market, Nusa Dua

I am always keen to try out new Indonesian eateries in town & when I learnt that Bumbu Desa, a popular restaurant chain in Indonesia has an outlet in KLCC, I decided to check it out. Honestly, this won’t be an exhaustive review as we sampled only a couple of dishes, but I can of course share my experience with you guys 🙂

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The restaurant is located on the 4th floor of Suria KLCC and with its warm lighting & elegant décor, it looked rather inviting. We were ushered in by a friendly wait staff and quickly asked for the menu as I was very hungry. There were many appetisers & main course to choose from but we decided to settle for their set menus (For a complete listing of their menu please visit Bumbu Desa Menu). I ordered Nasi Rabeg Kambing, which is a spicy mutton dish. The mutton came accompanied with Sayur Asem, Nasi, Peanut sauce (similar to gado-gado) & small disc shaped crackers.

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Nasi Rabeg Kambing

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A closer look

Sayur Asem is the perfect appetizer. Made with corn & squash, its sweet & sour taste made our tastebuds dance. Flavoured subtly, it is a very comforting soup. The peanut sauce was mildly spiced which balanced the hot & spicy mutton impeccably. About the mutton, I really have no words. Perfectly cooked, tender & juicy, & spicy without being too hot. I like my food very spicy, maybe my Indian palette is responsible for it, and so Indonesian food is an absolute winner for me & from whatever I had at Bumbu desa, I am coming back for sure, to try out more from their menu & give a better comprehensive review.

S had ordered Nasi Rendang Daging which he claimed was as good as the ones he had in Indonesia. The beef was succulent & tasted fabulous.

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Nasi Rendang Daging

The crackers in both the sets were unimpressive. They were neither crispy nor made any difference to the whole dish. I think one can do without it.

The wait staff was very friendly and obliged us every time we made any requests, from changing seats to clicking photographs, explaining the dish to us, etc. Do come and eat here if you want an authentic taste of Indonesia without burning a hole in your pocket.

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THE GANGA CAFÉ: Pure Desi Delight

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Read a lot of reviews about The Ganga Café on social media, got recommendations from friends as well, but somehow never had a chance to visit the restaurant. Being a meat lover, pure veg was never an option exciting enough to make a trip all the way from Tun Razak to Jalan Riong (On Lorong Kurau). But finally today, being 1st of Jan & a Sunday, S suggested we go there for lunch & I agreed. I was proven wrong & how! 😀

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We were greeted by one of the owners of the café, Mr. Prabodh Sheth who explained to us about the menu (Sundays are meant for only buffets) & went out of his way to make our experience memorable. His affable nature is what created my very first positive impression.

If you take pleasure in simple things in life & enjoy freshly cooked healthy traditional Indian fare, then Ganga Café is the place for you. I haven’t come across a place as such in KL. The café was pretty small but bustling with people which was a testimony to its popularity. I saw many Chinese take a fancy to veg Indian food which was very surprising for me.

Their lunch buffet spread had a pumpkin soup, masala chai, a salad, starters, main course & a dessert. All this for just RM21!! & unlimited helpings 😀 Can you beat that?!

Every single dish was freshly prepared using quality organic ingredients & no MSGs. My personal favourites were the dhokla, aloo tikki & onion pakodas from the starters. The pakodas were crunchy outside & juicy inside, dhoklas were superbly moist. I must give a special mention to the masala chai (tea) which complemented the snacks perfectly.

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The starters

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Among the mains, I simply loved the kadhi. In fact it was the best kadhi I’ve ever had. Rich, creamy with a lovely aroma of ginger & asafoetida, it was so comforting. I could have bowls after bowls of it with some rice. Throughout the meal I felt like I was at one of my close friend’s (who is a Gujarati) & eating food prepared by her mum.  Guess I needn’t say more.

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Main course

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I only wished there were more options for dessert 😀 After so much for yummy starters & main course I really wanted to have some sweets, & just a halwa (which was delightful by the way) didn’t satisfy me enough.

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But the highlight of my lunch was meeting the two owners of the café Meeta & Prabodh. The husband & wife duo also own the neighbouring Mediterranean veg restaurant, Barat.  You seldom meet people who are so passionate about their work & make you feel at home. A soul cleansing experience, The Ganga Café took me back home in India & renewed my love for fresh wholesome healthy food.

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BISOU- A little sugar & a whole lot of love!

 

Hello Peeps!

Today being New Year’s Eve, I thought what better way to end 2016 than on a sweet note. So this blog is dedicated to my favourite cupcake shop, BISOU in Suria KLCC, 3rd floor. BISOU- is a French term meaning Kiss! Quite an apt name for the bakery as their cupcakes are like decadent kisses of everything sugary & sweet. This will be a photo blog showcasing some of their amazing assortment of flavours.

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One look at the cupcakes on display & you’ll be drawn towards their counter in no time. They look so pretty that sometimes you just want to stare & not eat. Their cakes are always fresh & moist while they use the best quality ingredients for their cream, ganache & frostings. Service is quick & efficient, however only 4-6 people can have a seat at a time & enjoy their cupcakes peacefully, as it’s a small kiosk with a couple of bar stools. Rest have to either pack for home or stand in a corner & eat anyway 😀

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Next time when you crave for something sweet and are near KLCC, do not forget to check out the bakery. It will simply make your day 🙂

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So here’s wishing all my readers a very happy 2017! See you next year with more interesting reviews, travel tales & lip-smacking recipes.

Patissez (Bangsar, KL)- Of freakshakes & pastas

 

This quaint little café in the heart of Jalan Telawi in upscale Bangsar is slowly becoming one of my favourite places to eat out in KL. It’s the home of the original freakshakes (Patissez in Australia) which is quite popular for being ridiculously over the top. Look at the picture below to know what I mean 😀

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I had been pestering S to take me there for quite some time. But he being a little health conscious wasn’t too keen on my proposal. However finally he gave in on Christmas day. Yay!! 🙂

The location is one of my favourite spots, Bangsar. The look & feel of the eatery is similar to those charming little cafes you find in Paris, where you can sit undisturbed for hours, watching the world go by. Parking here is quite difficult as it’s a residential area & the nearest LRT is Bangsar (which is 5 mins drive from the café). So it’s better to take a cab to the place.

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We placed an order for two of their freakshakes-

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Cafiend
Espresso salted caramel shake, loads of drizzled espresso salted caramel, chocolate mousse, house made graham cracker & toasted marshmallow s’more

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Pretzellâ
Nutellary Nutella shake – lashings of Nutella – salty pretzels – vanilla mousse – Nutella dunked salty pretzels – pretzel dust

Both were insanely good but my personal favourite was the Pretzella. It was pure sin especially for worshippers of nutella like me. The salt and the crunch from the cute little pretzels balanced the sweetness of the nutella to perfection. All freakshakes are priced at RM23.

One thing I must mention is the service. Unfortunately because of the rush, the service was pretty slow that day but I didn’t mind because the staff were very friendly and polite. They always had a smile on their faces whenever we approached them.

For our mains we ordered pasta. Although Patissez doesn’t offer a wide range of pasta dishes, but what they do offer is irresistible. In fact I have had my best pasta here at Patissez.

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Kale Pesto Fettuccini 

This one was vegetarian. The fettuccini cooked with Portobello mushroom, Confit cherry tomatoes & kale pesto, with generous cubes of parmesan cheese was in one word heavenly! The cheese coated deep fried zucchini was complementing the dish superbly.

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Aglio Olio Chicken Bacon

The angel hair pasta was perfectly seasoned with chili flakes in olive oil. The chicken bacon was delightfully crispy and I wished I could have some more.

Overall, this place is a must visit. It’s perfect for a first date, a girls’ day out or even a casual business meeting. A lunch for two would set you back by around 100RM.

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Sanook- A little thai gem

So guess who’s back from a hiatus 🙂

2016 has been a roller-coaster ride, some ups, many downs 😦 but that’s life. What I learned is that you should treasure each and every moment you spend with your dear ones and never let the passion in you die.

So I have decided to follow my love for all things food more fervently. Along with experimenting in the kitchen and sharing recipes, I would also dabble in restaurant (from small roadside shack to a 5 star) reviews specifically keeping in mind our Indian travelers. We Indians love to travel and South East Asia is one of our favourites. The enormous range of cuisines and flavours are simply overwhelming. From Nasi Lemak to Gado Gado, Bibimbap to Mee Goreng, Satays to Tutu cakes- one can’t even envisage the sheer variety on offer. So I will mostly tell you guys about places to eat keeping in mind our palette 😀 Basically a handy guide not just for travelers but also for Indians who are new to KL and plan to set base for a while.

That brings me to my very first restaurant review- Sanook (Pavilion Mall, KL)

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A Thai restaurant, Sanook is a small cozy eatery located at a corner in Pavilion mall, Bukit Bintang, KL. The other outlet is at Sunway Pyramid West Hotel. The husband and I, let’s call him S here, were craving for some Thai food, while we were pottering around the upscale mall. So we headed to the area that housed the most eateries. Looking around for some time, we finally spotted Sanook- a little further from Food Republic (food court at Pavilion). The lively décor and welcoming staff are hard to miss.

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The place was relatively empty for a Saturday and we were wondering if we made the right choice. But then they say, never judge a book by its cover, so we decided to check in anyway. The menu had many Thai starters and main courses to choose from, along with few options for sushi burgers. The husband ordered Original Pad Thai-Chicken, which is his favourite. In fact sometimes I wonder if he is on a secret mission to discover the best Pad Thai ever 😀 The pad thai looked delish and the portion was enough for one. The crunch of the peanuts, juiciness of the tender chicken, spice from the chilly, tang of the lemon along with the warm rice noodles, were a riot of flavours in the mouth. But what upset me in the beginning was that they didn’t serve lemon wedges with the noodles!! Isn’t it a crime? Pad thai without lemon?? But they made up for that with their taste. The pad thai was absolutely lip-smacking! I would have preferred a little more sprinkling of salt though, but S didn’t seem to mind. Overall it was very scrumptious.

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I had ordered for Tom Yum Seafood Fried rice and Spicy Red Curry Chicken in a peanut based sauce.The curry was not too spicy, but nonetheless flavourful with generous chunks of boneless chicken pieces. The coconut milk was very well balanced with the spices and the kaffir lime. None of the flavours were overpowering which I feel is the real hallmark of Thai food. But the insane number of chunky galangal pieces I found in my curry was sort of annoying and distracting me from enjoying the dish to the fullest. But overall, it was delightful.

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However the star of the night was definitely the fried rice. It was in fact one of the best tom yum rice I ever had. The fresh prawns, fleshy calamari, sharp kaffir lime leaves, fragrant lemongrass, spicy red chillis and the aroma of crushed shallots and garlic, in just the right measure is what made the dish mouthwatering. I just couldn’t have enough of it. In fact I wanted to pack some for home.

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Sanook is pretty easy on the pocket. A similar dinner for two would cost around 80-100RM. So do check this place out. I am definitely returning soon.

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