"Simple food made delicious"
I was ending my meal with a shot of icy cold lemoncello. I like it when my drink matches my outfit. Yellow, mellow, cold and slightly wet (it was raining afterall). Yes, it was a review on a stormy Friday night in Bukit Bintang. If there’s any restaurant worth braving the insane KL traffic for, it’s Chiaroscuro. And let me tell you why.
It’s the sheep’s cheese ravioli. I’m going to dispense all ceremony and start with the dishes I love first. The ravioli my friends, the ravioli. This one is made fresh and stuffed delicately with pecorino (the hard cheese of champions in my humble opinion). Then as to not distract you, it’s then drizzled with truffle honey and crushed pepper. That’s all and it’s divine. The saltiness and slight tartness of the cheese pockets with that sweetness of honey and peppery afterbite. Mmm… I could eat this all night.
That’s what I like about Chiaroscuro. It’s simple food made delicious. It doesn’t complicate your tastebuds, it doesn’t confuse your sensibilities with something unfamiliar. It just gives you what you want in an Italian meal and then some. But wait, try the pannacotta. Now I was never a fan of pannacotta but here they make it so creamy, I wondered why I never ordered the darn thing in the first place. Again clean flavours, good ingredients- it comes soft and wobbly on the plate ringed by a sunburst of berry coulis and runny jams. It’s the tartness of the fruit sauce that elevates this dessert into a tasty revelation.
Now that we’ve dispensed with my favourites of the evening, let's get back to the very beginning. Starters here are good classics like the buffalo mozzarella stacked with eggplant parmagiana and tomatoes. It’s fresh and earthy and if you must order another starter have the beef bresaola. This is air-dried salted beef aged until it becomes the dark red of old blood. It’s even earthier and slightly musty. Makes me think of deep cool cellars of Chianti, swilling and tasting while eating hard cheese and cured meats to enhance the taste of aged grape. I decided I preferred bresaola to carpaccio as it has more body to it and is saltier with a pronounced cured taste. This comes with a light mushroom salad and lemon dressing.
Now if you are lucky, on their special menu you might come across the homemade duck foie gras and pork terrine which according to my friend is so delicious, non-pork eaters might want to consider defecting for an evening. This is a soft and tender foie gras that simply melts on your tongue leaving a rich, indulgent aftertaste. Forget the bread, you can just cut this with a fork and eat it like a pudding.
One of the highlights of the Asian Culinary Forum was meeting Madhur Jaffrey and Martin Yan. Madhur, who I think is the funkiest dame of food writing (she was wearing a sort of leather/PVC tights while giving the inaugural speech at the first ever Asian Culinary Forum), is full of anecdotes and information. This is ASIA
She's been to the spice islands of Banda, Ternate and Tidore. On the twin volcanic island of Ternate, with the BBC crew as she was talking on camera backing the sea, when she noticed smoke coming out of the volcano. Turning the camera crew around, they filmed a small eruption, "so being a food writer is exciting," she said. During lunch I approached her with a book to sign. The lady I was behind had a whole stack of her Indian cookery books. There was one of her in a sexy sari sprawled behind dishes of exotic Indian cooking. Cool. The girl beside me with a newly bought biography of hers waiting for a signature whispered to me. "She's really famous isn't she?" "Uh-huh".
Jaffrey has an approachable movie-star aura about her (well she is a movie-star afterall) yet she's also someone you would love to have a cup of tea with or a glass of wine. Because she also oozes a vibe of having lived a very interesting life with no signs of stopping.
Martin Yan during his speech, jumps from topic to topic like from… Continue reading »
The title says it all. That's how good Japanese food is in San Francisco. In fact, San Francisco and California as a whole is a haven for foodies. The climate makes it easy to get fresh vegetables. Asian ingredients flourish here and Chinatowns in this part of America is well stocked. If there's a place where opening a good Asian inspired restaurant is a surefire thing, San Francisco will be it. My friend Aaron who grew up near Clement Street, a famous street where all kinds of Asian restaurants jostle together said he was spoilt for choice when growing up. There are all kinds of restaurants there, Malaysian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese, Chinese, Indian and so forth. He even knows where good Filipino food is. "There used to be this shack where you have to walk across a rickety bridge and they had this cracked jug where they served their beverages..." I reckon if he comes to Malaysia, Bagan Lalang
is his kind of place. Point is, don't try and pull a one over a person from 'Frisco'. They know their stuff.
Here are my Favourite 5 places to eat in San Francisco.
Shimo @ 2339, Clement Street
is just a normal Japanese eating house, no frills. The sashimi and rolls are so stonking fresh it actually saddened me a little, knowing that it would be a while before I eat Japanese again in Malaysia. The mackerel is delicious, grilled with juices… Continue reading »
I've taken to leaving extra food on top of rubbish cans. It's for the hobos and the hungry vagrants. In the US portions of food can be well... huge. And I am well... greedy. My friend Sarah with her sweet logic says, "they usually dig inside the can, this way they can just pick it up and eat." In America (even in healthy California where portions are modestly gargantuan), I can hardly finish anything. So I leave a trail of burrito and sandwiches on top of rubbish cans making sure I wrap them carefully so that the bird and insects don't land on it and hope someone hungry gets to eat it.
Anyway... I took a lovely picture of a tasty turkey sandwich on top of one of their green recycle bins but alas! After my great Mac mishap last week, my hard drive croaked so you just have to imagine it. What I can tell you about is the burritos. You got to have one of the burritos in San Fran. It's a thing to have. This is what natives come back for the moment they touch down at the airport. The Mexican-American burrito of San Fran was born and bred in the Mission District somewhere in the 1960s and of course there are lots of debates on whether or not this is true. In fact, you can get people here to debate for hours on the origins, what makes the best burrito or who makes the best burrito much the same way you can get people to verbally battle about nasi lemak.
A San Fran burrito can be a pretty disgusting experience. Reminded me a bit of our Sloppy burgers here. You… Continue reading »
A trip to New York would not be complete without hooking up with the guys responsible for the New York Food Film Festival. Afterall they screened our 'Sloppy' and then gave us the Award for Best Super Short. Amazing how months after winning it, we still get a warm inner glow thinking about that especially when stroking the 'Silver Spoon'.
Mmm... my prrrecccciousss...
Anyway nevermind that we are over 3 months late. George Motz the hamburger nutter from Hamburger America came and joined us at Taste Good in Queens for his first taste of Malaysian grub. I didn't think he looked up once from his bowl of curry laksa.
He had a car full of film equipment and said he's going to Maine for a few days to eat oysters or something like that. Sigh... our timing could be better since he would have taken us to eat at his latest film project- the infamous Brooklyn Pizza. So much food so little time...
He also told us that we won because our film is so unpretentious. Pretty much it's Riz saying, "if you haven't heard of it, c'mon man where have you guys been?" Apparently the vote was unanimous to give 'Sloppy' best Super Short. Motz also said during press interviews they asked him how on earth he got… Continue reading »
Now here's a bit of a surreal experience. Here I am at the largest rooftop bar I've ever seen smack in the middle of Manhattan. I am surrounded by the trendy set, women in cocktail dresses so short, they have to precariously perch or risk showing their see you next Tuesday. There are investment types, stag party types and those who are suckers for the spectacular views on the rooftop.
Now the thing about rooftop bars is that it toes the line at tacky. It's a bit of a showboat and usually sells overpriced drinks. However what's interesting here is that they serve Malaysian sliders called Romli burger. We kid you not! It's actually inspired by our own street-side Ramlis except here they stuff it between potato buns and have a beef-lard combo on the patties. The lard is to ensure that the patties stay moist. Oookay... not exactly kosher.
Here's what they wrote on their website, "try our famed 'Romli Burger,' Kuala Lumpur's famous spiced slider beef 'burger' served with pickled cucumbers and housemade aioli". They also have vegetarian 'chow' kway teow, short-ribs rendang, kari puffs and even their own version of nasi lemak can be specially ordered. According to the chef, they are really popular… Continue reading »