Meat-free delights at Samplings on the Fourteenth

SAMPLINGS on the Fourteenth at Berjaya Times Square Hotel offers vegetarians a fine-dining experience with its new Gastronomic Green Delight menu.

Veggie lovers can look forward to delightful textures from crisp peppers, meaty mushrooms, and leafy greens.

Leading the kitchen at the hotel’s award-winning Samplings on the Fourteenth restaurant is chef de cuisine Valmurugan Subramaniam.

Chef Val, as he is fondly known to regulars, says that the “fusion vegetarian concept” utilises ingredients that are typically and mostly Asian but dishes are presented in more refined and elegant western styles.

He added: “We want to upgrade vegetarian food, so presentation-wise it’s [fine-dining] restaurant-style. I play with the ingredients to make [the dishes stand out].”

The wholesome plant-based menu can be sampled in a comprehensive five-course meal at RM118 nett per person, seven courses at RM148 nett, and a hunger-quelling nine-course dinner at RM168 nett.

Meanwhile, ala carte dishes are also available, starting from RM18 nett.

For a flavourful warm appetiser, try the seared haloumi and breaded camembert with pickles and sesame dressing.

The citrussy element from the sliced oranges brings out a sweeter side to the warm and crusty stinky cheese, while the slightly tart pickled onion counteracts the saltiness from the firm haloumi.

An entree worth mentioning is the maple glazed pumpkin with king mushroom and spinach, sprinkled with toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

The three variations of the orange plant – glazed pumpkin, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin seeds – on the same plate offers not only a good mouthfeel when eaten together, but comforting flavours as well.

A light maple glaze coats the mushy pumpkin, which is only made better with roasted garlic and flecks of black pepper, pairs well with the king mushroom; almost like an elevated vegetarian version of steak and mashed potatoes.

An unmistakable hint of Thai basil perfumes this next dish of steamed dumplings stuffed with sweet turnip and beans, which relies on the seaweed and two-seed bed it is served on for added texture.

The main course entails a play on Chinese rice dumplings, where it is served deconstructed and minus the bamboo leaf wrapper.

The usual fixings of meat is replaced with diced yam and carrots to complement the soy sauce from the rice, topped with a slice of boiled lotus root and a crispy chip version.

Dusted with gold powder, dessert is a course arguably everyone will love unless, of course, they don’t fancy chocolate.

The sweet end to your meal comes in a form of rich chocolate mud cake served with a smear of butterscotch and row of raspberries, grapes, and orange slices.

Luscious chocolate and marshmallow cream filling coupled with cake makes for a decadent spoonful that is best to alternate between butterscotch-dipped fruit for a mini palate cleanser.

Be sure to have a cup of coffee or tea for a happy ending to your meal.

Samplings on the Fourteenth restaurant opens every Monday to Saturday, from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

For more, visit berjayahotel.com/kualalumpur, call 03- 2117 8000 (ext. 8131) or email bth.diningreservations@berjayahotel.com.

Treat your mum

YOUR mother deserves nothing but the best for all the love, care and guidance she has showered upon you over the years.

So why not take her out for a really good meal to celebrate Mother’s Day, at Esquire Kitchen.

Esquire Kitchen has a special Mother’s Day promotion for tomorrow and Sunday, where diners who order a la carte dishes worth a minimum of RM50 in a single receipt will get a RM5 voucher.

The restaurant chain was founded in 1974, serving up ‘home-style’ cooking from Shanghai and Sichuan. Its first restaurant was opened in Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, and since then the company has grown by leaps and bounds.

Among its signature home-style dishes is tung po meat, an old traditional dish that was created during the Song Dynasty, and named after the scholar So Tong Po.

As the story goes, he was so engrossed in a game of chess that he overcooked his stewed pork.

In Esquire Kitchen’s tung po meat recipe, the pork belly is braised in a special soy sauce until the meat is succulent and tender.

Other signature Sichuan dishes at Esquire Kitchen are sour and spicy soup, which has mushroom and minced pork, and boasts a fragrance of vinegar; paprika chicken, which has dried chilies, chicken cubes and cashew nuts stir fried in a special sauce; and eggplant Sichuan-style, featuring deep fried eggplant combined with a specially concocted sauce.

All these dishes have been served at Esquire Kitchen since the 1970s and are still popular.

Esquire Kitchen has also introduced some new dishes that customers will enjoy.

The paprika chicken in yam ring is one of Esquire Kitchen’s best-selling dishes.

The yam ring (made from mashed yam) is deep-fried in hot oil to produce a texture that is crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. The classic paprika chicken gives the ring an added depth of flavour.

Diners must also try the deep fried chicken in orange sauce, which is a chicken chop marinated and then deep fried and topped with a rich, citrusy aromatic orange sauce.

Another must-try is the golden sand fish, garoupa fish fillets coated with salted egg yolk batter and deep fried. The rich taste and aroma from the salted egg yolk on the fillets is tantalising.

Esquire Kitchen also serves a great egg taufu with vegetarian abalone.

The taste and ‘meaty’ texture of the vegetarian abalone is as good as the real thing, and together with mushrooms, egg taufu, and baby pak choy seasoned with abalone sauce, this is one dish the whole family will enjoy.

Another dish to enjoy is the stir fry mixed eryngii and shiitake mushrooms. Eryngii mushrooms are also known as king trumpet mushrooms, and have a meaty texture when cooked.

Esquire Kitchen cleverly combines shiitake mushrooms, a type that absorbs sauces, with eryngii mushrooms, a ‘dry’ texture mushroom, to produce a unique taste and texture.

Going Red for Raya

FOR THIS Ramadan, the folks at Kenny Rogers Roasters (KRR) has come up with something tantalisingly Malaysian.

Also perfect for Raya, the new KRR Meriah Raya meals now features the fan favourite rotisserie chicken and unfried fried chicken paired with the traditionally flavoured Ayam Masak Merah.

Available from May 7 to July 31, there are four Meriah Raya meals options. The Meriah Chicken Meal and the Meriah OMG Meal comes with either a quarter Ayam Masak Merah or two pieces of OMG Masak Merah, a portion of Kenny’s Nasi Tomato, a side dish, and a Riang Ria muffin.

The Riang Ria Muffin is a delicious pandan favoured variant of Kenny’s homemade muffin. At the centre of each muffin is a core of gula Melaka which adds an extra dimension of flavour to the already delectable treat.

The Meriah Classic Meal and the Meriah Classic OMG meal comes with either a quarter Ayam Masak Merah or two pieces of OMG Masak Merah, and two side dishes.

Prices for the Meriah Raya means starts from RM15.50.
To complement the new flavours, KRR is also introducing the rich Kenny’s Sirap Bandung which is a combination of rose and milk, and the light Kenny’s Fizzy Rose which combines fizzy citrus with rose syrup.

For families and large gatherings, KRR restaurants offer the KRR’s Meriah Take Me Home Package. For RM59.90, you can get Kenny’s Whole Chicken or six OMG Chicken pieces, the Masak Merah Sauce, four pieces of Riang Ria Muffins, two side dishes, and a 1.5litre bottle of Coca-Cola, all packed in an i.Care Bag.

Those who observe fasting in the month of Ramadan can break their fast at a KRR restaurant with no hassle by using the Roasters Ramadan Reservation service.

Just call or walk-in a KRR restaurant, confirm the dining time and order, and pay the bill to get a pre-assigned table. Return to the restaurant at the requested time, and your order will be ready fresh and hot.

Celebrating Shah Alam

TO CELEBRATE the holy month of Ramadan, the Melting Pot Cafe in Concord Hotel Shah Alam has cooked up a range of tantalising dishes to choose from.

With a theme inspired by the many areas of Shah Alam, The Best of Kota Anggerik Ramadan Buffet offers over 100 scrumptious dishes alongside 10 of the hotel’s specialty dishes including nasi kandar Seksyen Sembilan, sambal petai pedas manis, daging rendang tok, sup gear box, kambing panggang berempah bawang putih, and many more.

“The menu is also made up of Chinese and Indian cuisines, featuring a newly developed dish such as the savoury ikan asam boi that is highly popular with the Chinese,” revealed said the head chef, Shaiful IzwanAbdullah, also known as Chef Along.

“We’ve included the Malaysians’ all-time favourite snack, apam balik oat rangup, to the wide selection of desserts together with Turkish ice-cream, which will be served in an entertaining manner,” he added.

Priced at RM128 nett per adult and RM64 nett per child, the Ramadan buffet is available from May 17 to June 14, from 6.30pm until 10.30pm.

Additionally, enjoy the Ramadan Promo at only RM98 nett per adult during the first five days, and RM90 nett per adult during the last three days of Ramadan month.

In addition, the hotel is marking its 14th year of maintaining its annual tradition of distributing bubur lambuk to the general public in conjunction with the upcoming Ramadan season.

Regarded as a comfort food that truly brings warmth to the soul, the rice porridge is simplistic yet rich in flavours.

In a spirit of goodwill, the event involves the hotel’s very own management and hosts assisting the chefs in making the eagerly awaited Ramadan delight.

The cooking process begins as early as 7am, with 300kg of rice, 80kg of beef, and many other ingredients and spices cooked in big pots for up to an hour.

“Our annual bubur lambuk charity event is something we have been looking forward to every year for the past 14 years. This event brings the management, hosts and the Shah Alam community close to one another,” said Concord Hotel Shah Alam general manager Patrick Ng.

Every day throughout the Ramadan period, a total of 8,000 servings of bubur lambuk are either picked-up by the public at the hotel’s version of a ‘drive-thru’, while some are delivered to mosques and orphanages, as well as underprivileged homes within the premises.

Two extraordinary flavours

HAAGEN-DAZS reveals its Love Blooms collection with two new limited edition flavoured ice-creams – Cherry Blossom and Lavender & Blueberry.

Let Haagen-Dazs take you on a floral sensational indulgence journey that will delight your senses with every bite.

The seasonal spectacle of the Japanese Sakura and aromatic Mediterranean Lavender mixed with the finest quality blueberries from Canada and Europe is set to tease many taste buds this Spring.

Ethan Lim, Commercial Director of General Mills Southeast Asia commented, “The Love Blooms Collection captures our commitment to carefully crafting flavour experiences that make the everyday, extraordinary.

From the beautiful packaging design to the fresh, most premium ingredients – like handpicked Cherry Blossoms from Oshima trees grown in orchards in the Shizouka Prefecture and celebrated for their rich aroma.”

Haagen-Dazs scouts every corner of the world to source the best quality ingredients and these limited edition flavours highlight Haagen-Dazs’ core philosophy of using the best ingredients to produce their signature dense, rich and indulgent ice cream.

Going the Thai way

FOR THAI street food enthusiasts here, there’s no need to fly all the way to Thailand to get their fix. Just head to Petaling Jaya and stop at the Go Thai outlet, either the one in SS2, or the other at Atria Shopping Gallery.

Serving up authentic Isan fare from the kingdom’s northeastern region, almost everything about Go Thai will make you feel like you’re dining on the streets of Thailand.

From the ingredients to the kitchen staff, and even snacks and beer, everything is imported from across the border to ensure customers get the real Thai food experience.

Even the SS2 outlet’s head chef Aek is from the Isan region.

Unlike many other restaurants serving Thai cuisine, the menu at Go Thai stands out for its hard-to-find regional dishes like the crowd-pleasing pad mee korat (RM10.90), a version of pad thai that is commonly found in Isan.

After a recent menu revamp, the restaurant now features six Michelin star-inspired dishes taken from Thailand’s Queen of street food Jay Fai. And in conjunction with the new menu,

Go Thai is offering a special promotion where you can sample all six dishes for the price of RM128.

The promo also comes with three plates of steamed rice and three pandan lemongrass drinks.

They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and at Go Thai, it does an impressive job at recreating one of Fai’s greatest, the kai jeaw poo (RM24.90) or crab omelette.

Get the image of the usual flat round omelette out of your foodie head because the Michelin star-inspired dish almost resembles a crab cake, with generous amount of crabmeat wrapped in a two-egg omelette.

You know the food is good when professional foodies Gourmet Hunter KL – founded by Derrick Te and Anthony Cheah – give their stamp of approval.

Cheah, who was recently chosen to be Go Thai’s food ambassador, said: “I already tried a lot of Thai restaurants and they mostly don’t serve anything extra special.”

But at Go Thai, he was impressed by the crab omelette as he has never tried anything like the crabby dish. “I love the texture. There’s a lot of crabmeat inside which [goes nicely] with the egg.”

The phad ki mao (RM 14.90) is worth mentioning due to its vibrant peppery kick from the use of whole Thai peppercorns. Perfectly cooked morsels of squid are a lovely addition, contrasting in texture with the pleasantly chewy flat rice noodles.

The classic tum thad (RM38) and kao gaeng thod (RM14.90) are perfect dishes to share with friends.

Expect meaty pork meatballs, spicy and plain pork sausages, served with a medley of Asian greens and noodles on a large plate in a rattan stand for the tum thad, with a fruity pla ra sauce that ties the elements together.

The kao gaeng thod is a green curry rice ball reminiscent of Italian arancini. If you like green curry, then you’ll probably like these bite-sized balls made with two different curry pastes.

Khao kha moo (RM11.90), a simple but rich dish of stewed pork leg served with rice and egg, is comfort food at its best.

Not all tom yum soups are made equal and Go Thai’s tom yum seafood (RM14.90) is one of the better recipes you can slurp on.

The broth is wonderfully rich and savoury with a depth of flavour from the whole prawns, squid, mushrooms, and tomatoes. This is a must-try if you love the spicy dish.

For dessert, make sure to try the tub tim krob topped with 3D gelato (RM17.90). The shaved ice with Thai red rubies and coconut milk is refreshing on its own, but the creamy addition of a three-dimensional teddy bear perched on top makes it extra pretty for your Instagram feed.

For more, visit the Go Thai Facebook page.

A choice of over 100 dishes at The Coffee House

The Coffee House on Level 9 of Sunway Putra Hotel Kuala Lumpur is featuring more than 100 selections ranging from Malay lauk-pauk to Asian and western cuisines for buka puasa this Ramadan.

The hotel’s executive chef Rossham Rosli and his team will be preparing some of his specialities including his Thailand culinary competition award-winning oriental barbecued lamb, his gear box soup, salmon fish head curry, laksa utara, udang kalio with belimbing buluh, daging masak lemak cili padi, and ikan patin masak tempoyak, among others.

“In the past years, many of our guests have complimented us on our barbecued lamb, gear box soup and other selections,” said Rossham, who has some 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry.

For appetizers, the chef has planned an extensive range that include kerabu jantung pisang, kerabu lala pedas, rojak buah, tauhu sumbat, grilled beef mandarin salad, pecal, ulam, chilled mayo crabmeat with corn salad, poached fish with pineapple and snow peas salad, just to name a few.

For something different, check out the Japanese counter with its assortment of maki and sushi rolls.

There will also be 12 action stalls featuring some of the popular local delights – grilled fish and seafood, chicken chop with mushroom sauce, chicken shawarma, and cucur – prepared a la minute.

The buffet also offers an abundance of local desserts including 10 types of kuih talam such as talam keladi, talam seri muka, talam lapis, talam cendol, talam berlauk and even talam durian.

Cendol, ice kacang, teh tarik, fresh tropical fruits and a variety of cakes are also available at the dessert counter.

The hotel’s Ramadan Buffet will be available from May 19 to June 4, starting at 6pm, at RM128 nett per person and with a half price promotion for senior citizens and children aged six to 12 years old, while children aged six and below eat for free.

For more, visit the Sunway Putra Hotel Kuala Lumpur website.

Dripping with star appeal

YOUR Friday nights are about to take on a whole new shine with Absolut Uncover, the eponymous vodka maker’s latest limited edition bottle, featuring an interactive design that makes popping open an Absolut part of the fun.

Absolut Uncover was unveiled at a Midnight Glam-themed party, with plenty of dancing and blue, glowing balloons in the shape of the bottle.

The exclusive new design on the bottle is inspired by the shimmering night sky and is apparent not only on the iconic glass bottle itself, but also on the outside.

The bottle comes with a night-sky blue wrapper, decorated with a galaxy of silver and blue dots, which make unwrapping a bottle of Absolut Uncover feel like unwrapping a gift.

Absolut global communications director Gaia Gilardini said: “We would like to inspire you to shine with a bottle that can be the perfect gift to any party or celebration, as it can be unwrapped like a present.”

Besides the glitzy new bottle design, Absolut has also come up with four signature concoctions – Absolute Soda, Spicy Absolut Mule, Absolut Winter Drop, and Salty Sea Breeze – to highlight unexpected ingredients in the drinks.

Absolut Soda is made with refreshing elements of lime, cucumber, and mint, while the Spicy Absolut Mule is a play on the typical ginger beer recipe with a dash of green hot sauce.

Just like the name suggests, the Absolut Winter Drop features comforting flavours of citrussy Triple Sec and lemon, in a cinnamon and sugar-rimmed shot glass.

And the Salty Sea Breeze – made with two parts of Absolut Vodka, one part grapefruit juice, and three parts cranberry juice – serves as a delicious drink to enjoy on the beach under a blanket of twinkling stars.

For more shimmery celebrations of the limited edition Absolut Uncover, visit the Absolut Malaysia Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page. – Marion Fernando