Sunday, April 26, 2015

D'Cuisine

When I received an e-mail from a 'D'Cuisine', I went, "Who? What?" and found out that they are a restaurant with an Peranakan, Chinese and Western fusion menu. Golly, this fusion food business is no joke, hey?

I questioned my memory of my two visits to Plaza33, both which were to Noble Mansion for bestie's wedding dinner. Little did I realise that D'Cuisine is tucked in the space underneath the escalators leading up to Noble. Talk about clever use of space!


They are a part of the D'Group establishment of restaurants, which also includes D'Italiane and Ketchup. They started from a humble Italian restaurant in Section 9 of Shah Alam and from there, they expanded to Jaya33 in 2007, Sunway Giza in 2009, Paradigm Mall in 2012 and one year later, here in Plaza33.


They aim to bring to diners variations of modern fusion fare that blends Eastern and Western flavours, something that was evident in their extensive menu. According to Wikipedia, fusion cuisine is cuisine that combines elements of different culinary traditions and have played a part in contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 70s. Malaysian food, I would think, is naturally considered fusion due to the multicultural demographics of our country.


From where we were seated, we had a clear view of the bar, which made ordering drinks pretty easy. We noticed that they recycle their coasters and corks into table numbers - creative and cost-saving.


Cocktails and mocktails come at the standard price of RM28.00 and RM15.00 respectively. As it was in the middle of the day and neither of us wanted to risk driving under the influence of alcohol (for me it was more of a case of avoiding falling asleep), we both ordered mocktails. I tried For Gordon's Sake, a concoction of Gordon's Gin, sake, elderflower syrup, grape juice, mint leaves and white wine. And I so beat myself up afterwards because I so should have ordered the cocktail version - without the alcohol, it tasted like juice. Alicia tried Stubborn & Peachy (what a name), a concoction of Don Julio Reposed Tequila, peach liquer, peach puree, ginger syrup, lemongrass stick and cinnamon stick. And she really liked the unique although a little peculiar taste! I thought her drink was more special, too, perhaps due to the combination of more herb-like ingredients. 


We left the ordering to their recommendations. For starters, we were served the caramelised orange calamari (RM19.00), fresh squid battered and deep fried till golden crisp coated with fresh orange infused caramel. Beautifully presented complete with an orange, the squid was definitely golden crisp. We thought that it would have tasted better if we could taste more of the orange instead of the caramel. Also, we could hardly chew the smaller pieces of squid - more batter than squid. However, that said, it was rather addictive - kept popping into our mouths pieces of squid until the next dish was served.


The D'Cuisine Peranakan special (RM26.00) was a large serving of their signature platter combination of deep fried whole chicken leg served with prawn sambal and coconut rice. Very similar to the everyday nasi lemak but minus the spice.


We thought the salad was good enough to be served as is and that the presentation of the dish was inviting. We gave chicken leg four thumbs up - crispy on the outside, tender, flavoursome and juicy on the inside.


We were also served the yam and seafood hotpot set (RM32.80), fresh yam stone-ground and infused into a seafood stock with fresh seafood. We were too full to finish the entire set but did enjoy the combination of yam and seafood. Alicia liked the adorable green pot it was served in, too. As it was the first we have tried this combo, we asked which Chinese dialect this dish belonged to. The informed guess would be Hakka, as we Hakka like using yam in our cooking. 


We both felt that the Chinese herbal soup gave it an additional home-like feel, as it is a commonly found dish of many home-cooked Chinese meals. We also liked how there were three sides that accompanied the main and understood that these sides were part of the set. However, without the sides, we felt that both bowls of soup with rice would have sufficed because the portion was super generous!


As we have tried a starter, a rice dish, and a set, they included a noodle dish to our list of must-tries. Alicia was ecstatic when they chose to serve us their grouper fish noodles (RM22.00), their signature noodle dish with deep fried premium group pieces in classic fish noodle soup with preserved vegetables, tomatoes and spring onions with a hint of milk. My mum would have loved this. Again, this was a huge bowl - if I came alone, I would not have been able to finish this. Alicia liked it, too. I normally take my fish noodles with vermicelli, no milk and non-fried fish pieces, which should I request, they would comply.


To complete our tasting session, we were served their chef recommended dessert of baked banana filo with butter caramel and vanilla ice-cream (RM16.00). Basically, it is a dish of fresh bananas wrapped in filo pastry baked and topped with screwpine infused butter caramel sauce, served with premium homemade vanilla ice-cream.


Alicia wondered if they were trying too hard to include too much 'fusion' into their menu - sometimes less is better. However, we both agreed that it makes a great place to chill, especially for after work drinks and for a cosy gathering with friends and family - service is friendly and quick and the ambience is inviting and clean, as well as no crazy loud go-through-your-body kind of music and no hold-your-breath-because-the-person-next-to-you-is-smoking.

Plenty of parking upstairs payable at either the pay station or by Touch n' Go. Do note that if you come on a weekday, you would have to go up to almost Level 7 or 8 before you would get a spot because the office workers have reserved car spots, which means limited parking for visitors. If you do not drive, it is reachable by bus, as there are bus stops on both sides of the road and I am pretty sure these buses connect to nearby LRT stations. If the bus stops on the opposite side of the road from Plaza33, fret not, there is an overhead pedestrian bridge that leads you directly to the door step of Jaya33 next door.

A big thank you to the people who made this complimentary tasting session possible. They were especially accommodating, as we were bouncing e-mails back and forth to postpone this session several times.

D'Cuisine
PG-D & PGE Level Podium, Ground Floor, The Plaza @ Jaya33, 1 Jalan Semangat, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 3 7931 8985; Fax: +60 3 7932 0977
Daily 11:00am to 3:00pm & 6:00pm to 11:00pm
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

NaruOne Korean Restaurant

Did you know that there is a "Koreatown" in the middle of Sydney city? Well, if you head down Pitt Street from Town Hall in the direction of Central Station, you would be walking through it.

Needless to say, Korean food would be aplenty. One of the Korean places some of us like to frequent for their (very crunchy and addictive) fried chicken is NaruOne Korean Restaurant.

As they are located on the lower ground floor and is only accessible by stairs, I would imagine that they do not get many visits from families with babies in strollers. And depending on whether patrons arrive during peak meal hours, the queue could get pretty long.

We were lucky that we had a table as soon as we arrived. Customary of all Korean eateries, they had their little appetisers served as soon as our orders were sent to the kitchen.


.

We were here because of their KFC - Korean Fried Chicken. The boneless fried chicken gangjung or the boneless fried chicken gangjung with sweet and spicy sauce ordered individually are $33.00 per plate but we ordered half and half ($35.00) so that we could try the chicken in its original version and the version with the sauce.


If I were to visit again, I would just have these little crunchy babies with a bottle of soju or beer and go home happy.


We kept up with the chicken theme for soup, too, and ordered a ginseng chicken soup (half $16.00, whole $24.00). Hm, I have had better (especially in Eastwood).


If you come here often, perhaps you could tell me what else to order besides the KFC.

NaruOne Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

NaruOne Korean Restaurant
375 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9261 2680
Sunday & Monday 11:00am to 10:00pm
Tuesday to Saturday 11:00am to 3:00pm

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Toby's Estate, Chippendale

Named after its founder, there are four Toby's Estate owned and run cafes in Australia - two in Sydney, one in Melbourne and one in Brisbane. They also have one cafe in Singapore and another one in New York.


After 11 years in Sydney and passing this cafe countless times, I finally had the chance to try their coffee all thanks to my ex-DLC bestie, Jennie, who was re-visiting Sydney from HK. We were doing touristy stuff across the road on the grounds of the University of Sydney, so we had to refuel with some chow.


After some time of renovations, now we could see their roastery through a panel of glass.


Since I had a mocha over at Dave's, I ordered a cappuccino ($3.80) here and was very happy with it. Just like what Peter (my PhD supervisor, who is also my occasional coffee advisor) said, they have good coffee here.


Peter also recommended their french toast because he said it is unique. And so I ordered one to share with Jennie. Mmmm, their french toast with spiced poached pear, strawberries and chai anglaise ($13.50) - yummeh! However, we felt that we could have had a tad more anglaise.


Jennie wanted to be 'health-conscious' and ordered a Botanica cold pressed juice ($8.50). A very green one and she enjoyed it. She even kept the jar.


Toby's Estate, Chippendale
32 - 36 City Road, Chippendale, NSW 2008, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9112 1131
Weekdays 7:00am to 4:00pm (Takeaway from 6:30am)
Weekends 8:00am to 4:00pm

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Swine & Co.

From the name of this post, I am pretty sure you could tell that this is a non-halal place. I mean, c'mon....

Let's quickly jump to the main cast...

Bread basket

Hand-cut chips with rosemary salt and aioli ($10.00)
... the suckling pig directly off a rotating ahem, pig in the kitchen...


 ... and melt-in-your-mouth crispy pork belly ($30.00), a simple plate of pork crackling, calvados apples, braised endive and pork reduction.


Impeccable service and cosy environment. If you want to have awesome pork, that is.

Swine & Co. on Urbanspoon

Swine & Co.
16 O'Connell Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Tel: +61 2 9009 0990; E-mail: reservations@swineandco.com
Monday to Friday 11:00am till late
Saturday 4:00pm till late

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