It was a wet and misty morning as we drove up to meet up with the other bloggers for a little road trip to a free-range chicken farm. I was excited to see what happy chickens looked like Continue reading »
Since Friday we've been the guests of Victoria who have taken us on a whirlwind eating tour of Melbourne. The 2010 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is '12 Glorious Days' of food and drinking debauchery of the finest kind. So for starters we're going to do short recaps of what's been going on daily while we are still here and I can still reach the keyboard with my ever-pudgier fingers. Here are 3 bites on each of the stuff we did. Longer morsels to follow soon. Longest Lunch
-Over 1,000 people showed up this year in various hats and parasols. The day was hot and breezy, near perfect for an outdoor lunch with 999 strangers.
- The theme was oriental and we were entertained throughout the lunch by dragon dances, martial artists,… Continue reading »
I first caught wind of this Lebanese restaurant through my brother, who mentioned that they have an awesome lamb, which they served with rice. Never one to pass up a good meal, I made it a point to pay Al Rawsha a visit. It’s quite tricky to find, if you’re unfamiliar with KL, so bring along GPS to make things easier. Hint: turn left after Ampwalk Mall.
Nestled along Jalan Damai, Al Rawsha Restaurant serves traditional Lebanese cuisine, a ‘taste of Beirut’, as their menu says. ‘Rawsha’ apparently refers to a rock off a cliff, along the coast of Lebanon. I first thought it was a formal, fancy place, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it’s anything but. It’s actually a converted bungalow, with open seating areas, and lots of tables. Luckily, being there at 6pm meant no crowds.
Having taken our seats, we scrutinized the menu, looking at the various dishes on offer. The menu is quite large, with grill items, rice, cold and hot appetizers, as well as various side dishes and entrees. Feeling very hungry and enticed by the sight of a waiter carrying what looked like a platter of rice with huge pieces of meat in the center, my friend and I quickly decided on some dishes.
We ordered the Vine Leaves (RM9), which are grape leaves stuffed with rice, tomatoes and mint as a starter. As entrees, we decided to share a Lamb Mandy (RM22), a gently spiced rice dish with lamb, and a Shish Tawook (RM16), which were grilled chicken breast chunks, with bread and condiments. We also had a small bowl of Hummus (RM8) as a dip.
Hot on a trail for Nyonya laksa, my crew and I found ourselves in Melaka last Friday. Now if KL seemed like the inside of an oven recently, Melaka was that oven cranked up to the highest setting. Whew! Was it hot, hot, hot. Our gracious host for the day was Mrs. Ee Yong Neo (yes from the same talented family as the now infamous Baba Ee). She used to run a popular coffeeshop serving nasi lemak, nyonya laksa and economy rice. Nowadays, she relaxes with her two dogs, a rather excitable terrier pup and a more laid-back Shih-Tzu. Man, I have no idea how furry creatures can survive in this sweltering heat.
The front of her house still has long tables and chairs from her coffeeshop days. She was all set with the ingredients when we got there. It appears that Melaka Nyonya laksa also has quite a number of ingredients and the only one I've seen so far that uses candlenuts though I daresay the Northern version probably dabbles in it too.
Shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal and candlenuts are pounded into a rough paste, this is then fried in oil until 'garing', says Auntie Ee. Sometimes she also includes belacan and dried prawns in it to add sweetness to the broth. When she was running the shop she would have large batches of the fragrant ingredients ready fried and kept in the fridge. So with hungry punters waiting, she could speedily… Continue reading »
"Succulent juicy meat"
‘Cut The Crab’, which marks itself as ‘fusion BBQ’, is a relatively upscale seafood place, with focus on simple cooking methods and fresh ingredients. It is a clean, open restaurant, with garden-style seating, a fresh seafood counter and a separate drinks bar, probably meant to conjure a beach atmosphere. It is a relaxed, casual place, quite suitable for makan-makan hangouts. The friendly, attentive staff is all dressed in black. Going on a weekday meant we avoided the crowds.
Their menu is simple, and some items are marked as ‘coming soon’. Being a very new restaurant, some of their items are not yet for sale. You can order off the menu, but it’s always nice to see your fresh seafood prior to cooking, so they have a counter, lined with ice and stocked with a variety of seafood. There were Snapper and Siakap, squid, huge prawns, stingray, and of course, crabs. You could have either flower crabs or mud crabs; the mud crabs are sold alive… and still kicking, too. In fact, one of the critters managed to climb over its glass enclosure and fall to the floor with a loud smack!
Undecided, I asked the chef what he would recommend. He told us he’d do a ‘tasting menu’, showcasing their signature dishes, so we could have the best of the dishes. And of course one of the dishes was crab. We agreed, and took our seats. Pretty soon the dishes came to our table one by one. All the dishes looked colorful and fantastic, with simple but effective decorations.
We had Sweet & Sour Crabs with Mantou Bread (RM30 per crab), Grilled Snapper (RM68 for a medium fish) with Cut The Crab’s own secret glazing, a platter of Rosemary Jumbo Prawns and Spicy Squid (RM30) and some white rice. Do notice we didn’t order lobster; the head chef said they were out of stock.
"Golden fried morsels packed with flavour"
This is the sort of spot to enjoy a hearty Italian dinner and on Friday and Saturday nights there are all sorts of Jazz acts that take the stage for the guest’s entertainment. The quirky arty décor coupled with the cement floors and music theme makes this a swanky cool place to hang out.
The menus are printed on old records and a presented in record sleeves, and the tablemat is a retro photo of a turntable. This is done tastefully without looking like a cheesy theme restaurant and the whole ambience has a whole New York jazz lounge feel to it.
The pastas here are made fresh every other day and I was excited to try them out. To start off with we sampled the deep fried prawn balls. These golden fried morsels are packed with flavour with tiny bits of zucchini and carrot strewn throughout. This can also be ordered as a soufflé if you don’t want a fried starter.
I learnt how to make laksa Johor from a friend of mine named Mariam. She's of course from Johor. We used to exchange dishes for buka puasa (break of fast) during Ramadhan. Ah... the art of exchanging dishes for puasa. I wonder if people still do that. I used to have a neighbour from Terengganu and would trade a rendang tok for her nasi dagang. That's… More »