Monday, August 21, 2017

Shinobi no Sato @ Japan

This peaceful park near Mount Fuji makes for a pleasant place to stroll & savour a bit of hot & cold - yaki dango skewered rice flour dumplings soaked in soy sauce & chestnut-flavoured soft serve ice cream.


Haka Moi @ Cheras

This new Hakka kopitiam specialises in salt-baked chicken, with the free-range meat exhibiting the smooth, tender & delicately flavoured hallmarks of this widely beloved recipe (RM3.50 per 100 grams). Come for the chicken, stay for the Hakka mee, which conveys all the essential mince & crunch (RM4.50), the yong tau foo (RM1.80 per piece, with options like brinjal, bitter gourd & chilli) & house-made pork balls with salted fish & dried cuttlefish, quite textured & tasty (RM4 for three pieces in broth).

For fans of curry mee, RM10 gets you a fully loaded portion served in two bowls, packed with fried pork belly, prawns, cockles, clams, pork skin, intestines, long beans, bean curd & mint, certain to banish hunger pangs. If you need even more cockles in your life (really, we all do), the stir-fried cockles with salted veggies (RM15) prove as competently executed as everything here.

Haka Moi
4, Jalan Kaskas, Taman Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 8am-10pm. Tel: 016-331-1079

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Kwee Zeen @ Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara

Sofitel makes its Malaysian debut this month in Damansara Heights: Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara's marquee eateries - northern Chinese restaurant Wan Chun Ting & Mediterranean-inspired Nizza - will open sometime on the horizon, but the hotel's all-day-dining & buffet establishment is now up & running. Kwee Zeen (a name that'll be familiar to guests of Sofitel Singapore & Bali) is a stylish space with chic & colourful Frenchman-in-KL visual flourishes.

Buffet dinners are the main event here - start with the seafood counter, with a bounty of Alaskan king crabs, French oysters, prawns, mussels, sea snails & razor clams on ice. The tender, fleshy crustaceans should be your main target, complemented by some punchy ebiko mayo.

The selection strikes a fair balance to supply both quality & quantity - you'll find a smattering of sashimi & sushi, with some salads to sustain wholesome eaters ...

... cheeses, cold cuts & crusty bread ...

... hot & heavy Pan-Asian fare, with Chettinad chicken, Jaffna lamb curry & jeera pulao doing the Indian selection proud, alongside local ketam masak berlada & pajeri terung, plus some Oriental dim sum & roast duck in gravy ...

... Western temptations that may include seafood gratin, roast chicken with garlic, pan-seared snapper with lemon cream sauce, salmon Wellington & roasted vegetables ...

... & a solid section of fruits, a chocolate fountain, & desserts that range from Nyonya kuih & layer cake to financiers, crumbles & tarts.

There are reasons to head here sooner rather than later - the evening buffet currently costs RM138 nett per person, in a promotional opening rate that's scheduled to last until at least the end of the month. Also, the hotel hasn't ramped up its publicity yet, so the restaurant remains crowd-free; you'll find only a few other occupied tables for dinner, so you're assured of attentive service & no queues for the food.

But on the flip side, with so few patrons, there's scant turnover for the food; freshness suffers somewhat as the evening progresses. The ice cream might not be replenished at all, so you may be left scraping the frozen-solid bottom of a tray that seems to be several days old; the staff said it would not be refilled that night.

Also now open at Sofitel: The lobby-level Sofi Deli & Le Bar.

Kwee Zeen
Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara, Jalan Damanlela, Bukit Damansara, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-2720-6688

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