Friday, 30 March 2012

Dukes & Duchess, TTDI, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The interior - not quite ready but looking attractive.
Ice cold beer! Each poured into an ice cold mug. Check out the frosty sides.

Champinones - sleek button mushrooms, chopped and sauteed with herbs and oil.

Artichoke Topped Toasts - tangy frays of thistle contrast the warm buttery toast.

Meat slides off the bone of these succulently sweet Hickory Smoked Ribs. That won't prevent you from gnawing the bone though - the marinade could be habit forming making you want to suck up every last drop. 

Nachos - notice the guacamole, tomato salsa and sour cream served in separate bowls ensuring your nachos stay crisp while you casually enjoy drinks with amigos.

Owner, Lawrence Tee's, childhood favourites - Deep Fried Meatloaf Sticks. 

House wine - 104RM a bottle, cold and a pleasant sip for the price.

Not yet officially launched, but open and ironing out the kinks, is the swanky new Dukes and Duchess Bar & Restaurant in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail. They currently offer light tapas and drinks early in the evening and lower the lights for more of a bar atmosphere later in the night. Already a thriving casual dining and drinking spot, Lorong Rahim Kajai 14 now has some added panache. While Dukes & Duchess is a little more up market than its neighbours, it still serves up bites and booze at competitive prices. Expecting to officially launch sometime mid April, I look forward to returning when they're in full swing.

Reason to visit:  swank place for a drink and small bites on that side of town

Dukes & Duchess
52 Lorong Rahim Kajai 14
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact:  Jenni +6 017 21 4726
Same row as Sid's Pub (opposite the Police Station)

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Pun Chun Chicken Biscuits and Restaurant, Bidor, Perak, Malaysia

The humble shop front - public holidays and weekends often see a crowd of travelers lining the streets in await for a table at Pun Chun

 Crispy Won Tons filled with minced prawns and pork - Pun Chun is known for making their wrappers and noodles from scratch. Many customers even purchase the whole egg noodles for home preparation.

 Popular Yam Buns made with 100% yam pastry - flaky and crispy on the outside filled with sweet moist pork and beans - dangerously addictive

 Pun Chun's signature dish - Duck Noodle Soup - with ginger, herbs, veg and goji berries

Nut and Winter Melon Biscuit

Famous for their duck noodle soup, yam buns and won tons, Pun Chun in Bidor makes a tasty stop on your travels to Pankor, Ipoh or Cameron Highlands. The soup is a herby aromatic broth packed with fresh greens, goji berries, longan, springy egg noodles and a muscular duck leg. The yam buns are apparently sooo much better than the KL versions as the dough is claimed to be 100% yam, whereas other varieties mix yam and flour together. I'm positive they're not the healthiest snack but they sure are filling and dangerously addictive. A flaky crisp pastry encases a juicy sweet bundle of pork, beans and gravy and every bite leaves you (or at least me) thinking how many more kilometres I will have to run tomorrow. The won tons are probably the crispiest I have ever tried. Filled with prawns and pork the insides are just as flavourful as you might imagine. Packed with travelers on the weekends and public holidays turn over is frequent. A steady stream of people flow into the restaurant for a break in a journey and roll out with their tummies full and arms loaded with packaged goodies for the road and for family and friends back home. Previous posts: 12 September 2011 29 August 2011

Reason to visit:  duck noodle soup, yam buns

Pun Chun Chicken Biscuits & Restaurant
38-40 Jalan Besar
35500 Perak
+605 4341 554
+605 4341 562

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Artisan Roast Coffee, TTDI, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

For a saporific cuppa and sacchariferous treats, Artisan Roasters has your taste buds covered. Expert roasters Michael and Amirah only source zero grade beans, which means every single bean is perfect with no defects. They take their roasting seriously too and have been known to discard large quantities of beans if the toast is not exactly as they please. It must be hard being a bean trying to live up to their standards. Knowing you have top beans is only the beginning though, comprehensive training and science goes into their baristas too. To top that off some seriously sugary sweets are available to add a nectarous buzz to your day. Pictured above are a slice of carrot cake, lemon slice and my all time favourites for a sticky chewy sugar high - chocolate caramel and grasshopper (mint choc) squares. Small portions of these squares priced at only 2RM a bite means you can taste both versions without feeling guilty. Superior beans, disciplined baristas, simple food and a relaxed atmosphere makes Artisan Roasters an adept spot to get your caffeine kicks. 

Reason to visit:  coffee, bite size caramel slice

Artisan Roast Coffee
Taman Tun Cafe
4 Lorong Rahim Kajai 14,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Opika, 1 Utama, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Three cheers for Opika - a new organic restaurant in 1 Utama.  First cheer for offering organic foods. Second cheer for buying what they can locally and attempting to support sustainable farming practices. Third cheer for managing to do the first two and still serve up delicious meals at a reasonable cost. Pictured above is Monday's set lunch menu: crispy salad greens with a light vinegrette and smoked chicken with a maple dressing - a toothsome balance of sweet and smoky; organic free range chicken confit slow cooked for five hours and accompanied by mashed sweet potato, pineapple chutney, a coconut salsa and maple sauce - a heavenly combination of sweet and salty with a sprig of spice; and a bottomless cup of green tea. All of this organic, healthy and tasty food is available as part of a weekday lunch special for 25.90RM. Sets change daily and the new more extensive al carte menu will soon be launched. Quite a large organic grocer is part of the scene extending beyond the normal fare to sustainably farmed fish, free range organic chickens and even gourmet treats for your pet. Opika is making a solid attempt at socially responsible practice so get on over there and nourish yourself, society and the earth.

Reason to visit:  organic locally sourced produce

Opika Organic Market & Restaurant
LG 105-106 1 Utama
Petaling Jaya
+6 03 7732 2581

Monday, 26 March 2012

Dine With A Local, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Guest writer, Polly Szantor Dines With a Local...

Last night I had a treat: the opportunity to enjoy warm, Malaysian hospitality along with a wonderful feast at the home of Encik Halim and his lovely wife Puan Saleha. Dine With a Local is the brainchild of Pauline Lee of Simply Enak, and last night was the first outing for this new venture. Enak is the Malay word for delicious. With the aim of enhancing the experience of visitors to Malaysia, Pauline is arranging special dinners where guests will have the opportunity to spend time in a local Malaysian home and enjoy a traditional home-cooked meal.

I met Pauline and her husband Maarten close to the venue, but guests are collected from their hotels if this is more convenient. Six of us gathered at the house. Before entering, we were given a quick briefing on etiquette, an important touch for those unfamiliar with traditions such as removing shoes at the door or eating with the right hand only. We were greeted with a refreshing drink of barley water with bitter lime soda, and our gracious hosts quickly put us at ease.

Encik Halim is passionate about food, and he prepared a variety of tasty Malay dishes to tempt our palates. The chicken rendang, braised slowly in coconut milk and perfectly spiced, was tender and delicious. We also enjoyed Thai style kailan, Javanese tempeh cooked with sambal and anchovies, and puncuk paku, young fern cooked in coconut milk with dried shrimp. There were interesting crudités served along with the meal: pegaga leaves, known to lower high blood pressure, ulam raja, said to beautify the skin, small steamed eggplants and slices of starfruit. We were warned that the accompanying sambal with belachan (fermented shrimp paste) was very spicy, but I found it just right. Chilies were judiciously used in all the dishes, perfect for diners new to Southeast Asian food.

When it was time for dessert, we were chatting away like old friends. We enjoyed longans, lychees and sea coconut in iced syrup along with pineapple and papaya. This was accompanied by a choice of tea or coffee, the latter roasted in Malaysia and prepared in the traditional way with a coffee sock. Our host was quick to add that this was not one that he had been wearing! At the end of the meal, we were asked to fill out a survey about our experience. I felt it was a very successful evening with delectable food and convivial company and the introductory price of RM150 per person is reasonable. This outing would be ideal for a first-time visitor to Malaysia, or even for foreigners who have been here for a while.

For more information on Dine With a Local, the first private home-dining experience in Malaysia, visit Here you can find out about other services provided by Simply Enak, such as the Food Walk in Chinatown or Off the Beaten Track, eating in the wilds of Petaling Jaya.

Reason to visit: an authentic meal in a local home

Sunday, 25 March 2012

New Menu @ The Mix, Holiday Inn, Shah Alam, Malaysia

Cocktails - always a happy way to commence

Yakuza BBQ Chicken - grilled teriyaki chicken with cheese tempura & Japanese slaw - 22RM
Fusion Pasta - spaghetti with chicken, chili and pesto - 35RM

The Mix Caesar - Romaine salad with grilled salmon - 25 RM   Southern Crab Bisque with Fennel & Pesto Stick - 32 RM

Set of 6 Fusion Tapas - Ika Jiaozi  /  Chimichangas /  Quaker Oats  Prawns /  Balsamic Lamb  Skewer  /  Jalapeno Chicken  - 45RM

Harissa Beef Tenderloin - Tunisian hot mixed spices paste coated beef with vegetable fricassee & roast potatoes - 55RM

Apuzzo Crab Cakes - Lemon Basil Flavor Crab Cake & Seafood Ragout 30RM
Asam Asam Chicken - north Sumatran style chicken with tamarind and sour mango salad - 35RM

BBQ Short Beef Rib - garlic herb mashed potatoes, grilled capsicum & polanaise vegetables - 50RM

Sea Bass Black Wu Chiu with Chinese Black Pepper, Vegetables & Yam - 40RM

Madras Lamb Kofta with Tzatziki & Garlic Tortilla - 40RM

Brazilian Style Grilled Lamb - Chimichurri Potato, Corn and Black Beans Salsa Verde - 50RM

Pizzas: Taj Mahal Chicken Naan Bread Pizza 28RM; Beijing Style Chicken 30RM; Neptune Pizza -  calamari, tuna, mussels onions and capers 32RM;  Hunter Valley - 
venison, apple & mixed herbs 32RM

Creme Brulee with ginger

Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding 30RM              Banana Pie with Berry Compote 30RM

Chef Francis Lau has again been letting his creative juices cascade in dreaming up a new menu for The Mix. In his usual style he takes you on a journey around the world in an attempt to please every taste bud's desire. If you find you don't see something you're hankering for on the extensive menu just ask and your wish will be his command. He wants every customer satisfied so do request what you're craving. Not so long ago I posted on The Mix so check out this post for more details on the man behind the menu:  Previous post:  6 March 2012

Reason to visit:  Get anything you want! A menu so extensive that all taste buds are catered for.

The Mix
Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie
1 Jalan Usahawan U1/8
Seksyen U1
40250 Shah Alam
Selangor D.E. Malaysia
+603 7802 5200 Ext 2400