Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bonfire Restaurant & Bar, The Starling Mall

Located at Damansara Uptown's The Starling Mall, Bonfire is a new restaurant and bar serving modern Australian cuisine. Drawing inspiration from award-winning Australian restaurant, Porteño in Sydney, the restaurant has a custom-made woodfire and charcoal oven as a centrepiece in the kitchen.

As you can imagine bonfire consumes a lot of wood and they have artistically incorporated firewood into the interior design. Exposed brick walls and ornate floor tiles, along with a colorful, striking mural completes the look of this casual dining restaurant.

We sampled several dishes from both the lunch and dinner menu, all of which were executed flawlessly. We started off with the Braised Wagyu Cheeks (RM42) served with pumpkin puree, crispy shallots, broccoli, mushroom pudding and a sunny side up egg. A well-thought out dish, marrying wonderful flavours and textures together. We loved the tender, gelatinous beef cheeks as well as the interesting mushroom pudding.

From the lunch menu, we had the Crispy skin salmon with scrambled eggs (RM29) served with brioche toast and baby spinach. I am quite picky when it comes to eating cooked salmon in restaurants, however I am glad to report that Bonfire passed with flying colours. The salmon was perfectly cooked, just the way I like it - crispy skin, yet with the salmon flesh lightly cooked resulting in a moist, almost buttery texture.

The highlight of our meal was Big Bonfire Platter aka the 3-meat platter (RM165). Diners can choose from Wagyu skirt steak, Whole red snapper, Mediterranean baby spring chicken, Rack of lamb, and Pineapple glazed beef short ribs, all which are cooked in the woodfire oven. By using the woodfire oven to cook the meats, it imparts a lovely smokiness to the meat. If you come in a smaller group, you can also order them individually or go for the 2-meat platter.

So for our platter, we had the Wagyu skirt steak, snapper and lamb. When it arrived at our table, we all thought it looked mighty impressive.

The Wagyu skirt steak is one of their bestsellers and it's easy to see why. Cooked sous vide for 18 hours and then finished off in the woodfire oven, the meat was amazingly tender and flavourful. It is recommended to eat this with the confit garlic served with the platter.

The Australian rack of lamb was my personal favourite. Beautifully pink and tender, it is served with a mint and pea puree.

Not to be missed is the whole red snapper, locally sourced from the markets daily. The fish is seasoned with Cajun spices, cooked and served with a coconut beurre blanc. Incredibly moist and fresh.

The platter also comes with the Pana de Casa, house baked bread, toasted in the woodfire oven and served with a dried fruit (prune and apricot) butter.

Bonfire is currently offering a Free bottle of wine for every 3-meat platter purchased at the moment... what a deal! Available Mondays to Thursdays (6-9pm).

For desserts, we shared the Caramelised milk panna cotta (RM19), served with a nutella cigar and fresh berries. Whip your cameras out, jiggle it about and snap a Boomerang. Light and delicious!

Opening times: Sun-Thurs 11am to 12am; Fri & Sat 11am to 1am.

Location: Bonfire Restaurant & Bar, Lot G-032, The Starling Mall, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Tel: 018-919 8226


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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Somerset Damansara Uptown Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Staycations have been all the rage for a number of years now, as folks look for a weekend getaway within the city they live in. Serviced residences nowadays provide facilities on par with hotels, often with the added bonus of much more space at very competitive rates.

To keep things exciting plan your stay based around the serviced residences location as we did when we recently stayed at Somerset Damansara Uptown Petaling Jaya Serviced Residences. Visit the nearest mall, eat at the neighbourhood restaurants and explore a new part of town, and return home feeling well-rested and rejuvenated.

Somerset Damansara Uptown is one of the premier collection of The Ascott Limited's serviced residences in over 100 cities around the globe. It is conveniently located next to the new Starling shopping mall as well as right in the middle of a commercial hub where numerous offices, restaurants and cafes are situated, making it the perfect home away from home for travellers, those on business or for families looking for a new experience.

The 24-storey serviced residence features 211 contemporary serviced apartments, with a choice of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.  We stayed in the two-bedroom premier apartment, which comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, a living room, dining area, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. We were impressed with the spaciousness of the unit (1066 sqft) which can comfortably accommodate up to five people.

There is a king-sized bed in the master bedroom, as well as a separate working area and ample wardrobe space.The ensuite bathroom comes with shower and eco-friendly bath amenities.

Twin single beds in the second bedroom, just nice for our kids :)

BabySumoKids love their welcome gift

Making themselves at home in the stylishly furnished living area

The apartment is elegantly furnished, with homely comforts such as LED television with home entertainment system, DVD player, washing machine and dryer, a steam iron and ironing board and complimentary Wifi in rooms and all common areas. And since it is a serviced residence, there will also be complimentary housekeeping services which will come and tidy your room for you.

All snuggled up for movie night

In the kitchen, on top of the usual coffee/tea making facilities, you will find cooker hob with hood, microwave oven, toasted, oven, refridgerator, glassware, crockery and cutlery; all of which are available for use should you wish to cook during your stay. Otherwise, there are lots of fantastic dining options within the vicinity. Some of the local eats that we checked out included: Annie 1, Nam Heong Ipoh, and Village Park Nasi Lemak.

There are kids channels available on the TV, or pay a visit to the Children's Playroom located on the Reception level. It kept our kids entertained for hours; they can engage in role play, read a book or play with the toys.  Daniel wanted to take the Shark home.

For guests, there will be a small continental spread served for breakfast, such as cereal, fried rice, fried noodles, eggs and pancakes as well as coffee/tea and juices. You can enjoy an alfresco breakfast or in the Resident's Lounge.

There is also a fully-equipped gymnasium, as well as outdoor gymnasium area should you wish to work out. There is also an outdoor swimming pool as well as children's wading pool with lounge chair to just sit back, relax and enjoy the city skyline.

Verdict: Great for family staycations. We love the swimming pool and children's playroom and there is a shopping mall directly next door if you are looking for more things to do (eat/visit the bookshop/watch a movie). 

The Ascott Limited is a member of CapitaLand. It is one of the leading international serviced residence owner-operators with more than 300 properties in over 100 cities spanning more than 25 countries across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. It operates three award-winning brands Ascott, Citadines and Somerset, and lyf.

Room rates start from RM292.50/night for studio. Check-in time 3pm, check-out time 12 noon.

Location: Somerset Damansara Uptown Petaling Jaya, 2A, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. (For parking, head to Level 3 of The Starling Mall, and follow signs for Somerset guest parking).

Tel: 03-7730 0888

GPS Coordinates: 3.135867, 101.623416

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Argentine Gastronomic Week @ The Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur

The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur and the Embassy of Argentina welcome yet another celebrated Guest Chef at The Library, from 23rd to 26th May 2017. In conjunction with the National Day of the Argentine Republic and in celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Argentina and Malaysia, The Library presents the Argentine Gastronomic Week, showcasing the best of Argentine cuisine in a specially curated menu by Argentine Chef Patron Diego Jacquet.

Chef Patron Diego will illustrate through a three-course menu, exquisite flavours representative of this South American nation. Argentina is world-renowned for its love for beef and wine both of which will be prominently featured on the menu.

Currently Chef Patron at London’s award-winning ZOILO, and boCHINche in Singapore, Diego began his career in Buenos Aires. He has great passion for food and wild products – something that transpires into the menus at his restaurants. He has worked alongside Argentine legend Francis Mallman and Ferran Adrià of three Michelin-starred restaurant El Bulli. Diego is also an ambassador and founder of the Comilona Food and Wine Festival, a nomadic Argentine food and wine festival that aims to build a community of cooks, producers and writers with the insatiable appetite for knowledge and the desire to discover, learn and improve their Argentine cooking.

To whet our appetites, we were served Empanadas Salteñas (hand cut beef, onions, potatoes, olives empanadas) and Trucha Curado (cured trout). 

Other than its beef, Argentina is also known for its seafood and Chef Diego highlights it in his appetizer, the Cangrejo Y Humita Nortena (crab on toast, humita, pickled radishes, coriander). Wonderfully vibrant and photogenic, this appetizer was nice and light - pick up the crisp toast with your fingers and enjoy! I especially enjoyed the combination of crab with corn, which adds a little sweetness in each bite. This course is paired with the Chakana Torrontes 2015, a pleasing, smooth and easy-to-drink white. We learnt that Torrontes is the only grape variety that originates from Argentina.

For main course, diners can choose between the Ojo de Bife (grilled Argentine rib eye, chips Provenzal, chimichurri) or Ravioles de Calabaza y Garrapiñada (pumpkin ravioli, sage, goat’s cheese, garrapiñada).

I was very pleased that they decided to serve Argentina's national pride to us - the Argentine beef. Air-flown in specially for this event, the Argentine rib eye is simply grilled and seasoned with salt and pepper, just as they would serve in Argentina. Unadulterated, pure goodness. The portion was huge, more than generous, and the steak was cooked to a beautiful medium and served with chimichurri. As it's grass fed, the steak was much more robust in flavour, yet tender. Hubby and I were both in meat-lover's heaven. The steak was paired with the Luigi Bosca Malbec 2015, a red wine which was smooth on the palate and was equally enjoyable on its own.

Oh, and the chips... they were amazing! They were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Chef Diego tells us that these fries are triple-cooked; first steamed, then poached in oil and then finally deep fried to crispy perfection. The fries are then tossed in a garlic and herb mix before serving.

The Torta de 3 Leches (milk cake, coffee, citrus crumble, passion fruit) is made using 3 types of milk, which gives the cake its moistness. Delicious!

The Argentine Gastronomic Week is available from May 23 to 26 from 7pm until 11pm. The three-course dinner is priced at RM250 nett per person (food only) or RM375 nett per person (with wine pairing). For reservations and enquiries, please call +60 3 2142 8000 or email

Location: The Library, Level 1, The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, 168 Jalan Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2142 8000

GPS Coordinates: 3.146901, 101.715438


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Sunday, May 21, 2017

LI, Damansara Jaya - Contemporary Malaysian Restaurant

A hidden gem in Damansara Jaya, LI Restaurant is a contemporary Malaysian restaurant serving local Malaysian favourites with a twist. The restaurant is the brainchild of three friends Lim Heng Kit, Lim Yee Rui and Lee Ziyan, and the name of the restaurant takes its inspiration from their surnames.

Quirky corners in the restaurant

The menu is inspired by local cultures and ingredients, and enhanced by modern cooking techniques. One of the dishes you will find here is the classic Malaysian kopitiam favorite, kaya toast. However, instead of regular Hainanese bread, LI uses their homemade sourdough bread (RM3) which they pride themselves upon. Even the kaya is homemade (add on RM2), using the sous vide method. Smooth, rich and not too sweet, it goes well with the salted butter (RM2) and sourdough. Diners can also opt to have the sourdough bread with homemade roselle jam or soft boiled egg with soy.

Dragon fruit fizz and pineapple fizz (RM9 each)

One of the must-try items here is the Pork Toast (RM9.50), LI's take on the famous Roti Babi from Yut Kee. Minced pork is topped on their homemade sourdough and then deep fried together. Before serving it is drizzled with chilli mayo and herbs. Crunchy and delicious with a subtle hint of spiciness from the Sriracha mayo.

Porridge aka congee is a comfort food for many Malaysians. LI's congee is one of the bestsellers here, and is made using ikan bilis stock. The congee is topped with spring onion puree, a soft egg, fish sauce caramel, crispy fried ikan bilis and dehydrated kai lan. Not only does it look great, it's such a comforting dish too. Even Hubby who usually avoids congee loved this too.

Ikan bilis congee (RM10)

Chicken rice is another staple for many Malaysians, and LI pays tribute to this dish with their refined rendition, the House Rice Bowl (RM17.90). Using only chicken thigh, it is first brined, then pan seared skin-side down to crisp up the skin to a nice golden hue and then finished off in the oven. It is served with ginger and scallion, pickled cucumber, a soft egg and chilli mayo. Did I mention that I love the eggs here, cooked sous vide so they're always beautifully runny?

My favorite dish here is undoubtedly the Braised Pork Belly (RM30). Everything, from the melt-in-your-mouth texture to the beautiful flavours, was perfect. Amazingly tender, it was complemeted well by the charred lettuce, soft egg, pork glaze, crispy potatoes and ulam leaves. Special mention has to be given to the potatoes - so so good! They've been double fried so that they're really crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. This dish comes with two pieces of potatoes, however if you're feeling greedy, you can always order another side portion of crispy potatoes for RM8. Major love for this dish!

If you need something to balance out the meat, try the Charred spiced cauliflower (RM17) served with yogurt and dukkah.

Finish off the meal with a lovely Soy milk panna cotta (RM10) served with pineapple jam and gula melaka sago. Eating this reminded me of tau fu fah.

Opening times: Tues to Fri 11.30am-9.30pm; Sat 10.30am-9.30pm; Sun 10.30am-5pm (*kitchen takes a break from 4pm till 6.30pm). Closed on Mondays.

Location: LI Restaurant, 47 Jalan SS22/23 Damansara Jaya, Petaling Jaya 47400 Selangor, Malaysia (park at Atria Mall, head towards Pappa Rich and exit - the restaurant will be on the right).

Tel: 03-7733 7692


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