December 5, 2011

Invited Review : Young Heart Value Deal on

It was a pleasure to be invited to sample the very healthy and hearty meal at Young Heart recently on their RoundU Deal.

This is a value deal at 37% Off featuring 6-course chinese dinner for 4 persons for just RM48!

Check out the spread and portions of the entire meal:-

The 6 courses include:-

1. Water Cress & Pork Dumpling (6 pcs)

Being famous for its hand-made dumplings, Young Heart boasts a wide variety of signature dumplings freshly made with healthy ingredients. The water cress provided hints of fluid as an added texture to the pork as the fillings. There were also Chinese wolfberries within which not only gives colour, but it also contains high antioxidant content. All of Young Heart's handmade dumplings are served with 3 condiments, namely fried spring onions, ginger with vinegar and chillie oil that is home made. I love to have my dumplings alternately with all 3 condiments.

2. Braised Brinjal

I normally don't eat brinjal but I loved this version. It was very light and the accompanying ingredients complemented the brinjals perfectly. According to the very knowledgeable owner, brinjals have nutrients which help to block the formation of free radicals and is also a source of folic acid and potassium.

3. Gula Melaka Chicken

This was a unique dish indeed as gula melaka is normally used as an ingredient to prepare sweet desserts, but it was wisely used to prepare this chicken dish. Not surprisingly, the owner shared with us that this dish is pretty popular among children alike and I find it appealing as well. The gravy goes well with rice too.

4. Braised Pig Trotter with Peanuts

The pig trotters were braised until tender yet not losing its flavor and I just loved the gravy. I could have all the gravy to myself if I could! :) Vegetables were added to give some 'green' touch to this all-meat dish and the peanuts brought out the pig trotters well. Not to be missed by pig trotters alike for sure.

5. Black Bean Jelly

These gems were made of black beans and topped with generous amounts of black sesame powder. It tastes light with hints of black beans and I just loved the black sesame powder. A nice dessert touch to this Chinese meal indeed.

6. Showu & Lotus Seed (4 bowls)

This traditional Chinese dessert more known to us as 'thong sui' was chock-filled with goodies like Showu and Lotus seed. Definitely a nutritious thong sui indeed. On top of that, one dried Chinese black plum was added onto each bowl which we found out was pleasant when consumed. After peeling off the skin with our mouth, we were surprisingly welcomed with the sweet plum meat. The overall sweetness of this dessert was definitely mild and the black plum gave it a natural flavor indeed.

White Rice
(4 bowls)

We were all filled to the max by the time we completed our meal and I must say this deal is not to be missed! What a good homey and nutritious yet tasty meal for you and your loved ones.

The deal is still valid so grab it fast here!

September 13, 2011

Invited Review : Spasso Milano @ Straits Quay, Penang

It was definitely a privilege to have been given an opportunity in sampling all the cuisines that the newly established Spasso Milano has to offer.

Spasso Milano opened its doors in the beginning of September, marking their venture in Penang after their first outlet in Ampang, KL. Spasso Milano aims to tantalize all the Italian food lovers with their sincere offering of a truly authentic Italian experience, through their head chef Felice Martinelli.

When I reached Spasso, Craig welcomed with all smiles and hosted me throughout the meal, and he was kind enough to recommend many of the palatable delicacies off the menu, which had been thoughtfully layout in categories.

First up, we each had a soup...

Porcini Mushroom Soup (RM 18.80)

This rich and delicious soup was made with 100% Porcini Mushroom which had been finely blended, and then drizzled with White Truffle Oil. The portion was definitely a generous one, and I truly enjoyed this aromatic soup that still had bits of Porcini mushroom evident in each spoonfuls.

Asparagus Soup (RM 16.80)

Asparagus soup, on the other hand, was lighter in texture, yet maintaining the zest of asparagus. Not to be missed by asparagus lovers.

Our soup was heartily accompanied by Homemade Garlic Focaccia (RM 9.80), which is a Focaccia bread that is homemade by Spasso, then topped with Butter and Garlic. The Focaccia was a show stealer, rather than being on the sideline of the soups. The bread was crunchy yet light and was filled with the aroma of butter and garlic. Great to have it just as it is, or dipped in the soups.

Smoked Duck Breast (RM 23.00)

When Craig recommended this dish, I shared with him that I am not a duck lover at all, as it usually comes with a smell when not being prepared properly. But since it was highly recommended, I gave it a shot. These were sliced home-smoked duck breast, served with avocado, and drizzled with Hazelnut oil. Boy, I was really dumbfounded when I tasted the first slice! The smoked duck breast, which I expected it to be rough and slightly chewy, was nothing like that at all. It was smooth, the texture was just right and most of all, it did not come with any duck smell at all. It was a sheer delight to enjoy this dish with avocado, and what's more, the hazelnut oil really complements the smoked duck breast well. The salad came with a thickened version of vinegar dressing as well. I was surprised that I finished 5 smoked duck breast slices! Highly recommended

Next, our Prawn and Asparagus Risotto was served (RM 32.00)

Don't be fooled by pale color of this risotto that is made with Carnaroli rice cooked with fresh asparagus, and then topped with pan-seared Tiger Prawns. Firstly, the risotto was very soft, very flavorful that I felt the risotto absorbing all the goodness of asparagus. As Craig does not fancy seafood at all, I was given the privilege to have the prawns all to myself! The pan-seared prawns were juicy, well flavored and tasted just wonderful.

Spasso Milano offers a range of Prima Pasta, which are imported handmade pasta with Durum Wheat. Guests now have the freedom to opt for the classic pasta range, or the Prima Pasta range, namely (from left to right) Orecchiette, Strozzapreti, Eliche, Paccheri and Fileja Calabresi

We had the Mushroom & Bresaola Pasta (RM 28.80) with Prima Pasta (RM 4) known as Paccheri, which is the broad cylinder type among the 5.

Bresaola is air-dried, salted beef that has been aged until it becomes hard and turns a dark red. It is made from round primal cut of beef and is lean and tender. Spasso Milano makes such a fascinating version of this - just check out the thin-ness of the Bresaola and the beauty of its texture. Though the prima pasta was broad, they were well done. Not only it came with the right al dente texture that all prima pasta should have, it basically soaked up the taste of creamy mushroom as well. The mushroom were plentiful and equally delicious, sheer delight to sample!

After all the hospitality of Craig and staff at Spasso, I was honored to meet up with Chef Felice Martinelli, who heads the team here at Spasso - with the sole purpose to delight us with authentic Italian delicacies. Chef Felice was very friendly, absolutely approachable, and he gave me a feeling of being very down-to-earth.

He was enthusiastically sharing with me his passion to deliver Italian cuisines which are authentic and mirror of what Italians are enjoying, without compensating the preparation and ingredients used to tune to local taste buds. It is very rare indeed to chance upon such an uncompromising Chef who wants nothing but the best for their guests. A light joke was initiated about how Craig asked Chef Felice on what are the Signature dishes here at Spasso, and Chef Felice simply emphasized that every dish featured on the menu are his Signatures. If they are not Signatures, they will not be on the menu! :)

Chef Felice and Craig insisted that I try out their desserts as well, so we had...

Tiramisu (RM 18.80)

Tiramisu is made up of Espresso soaked Savoiardi Biscuit & Mascarpone Cream. The version here is delicately done with the Savoiardi biscuit evidently visible, and I love how they top their Tiramisu with a good coating of cocoa powder on top.

Panna Cotta (RM 14.80)

Panna Cotta, which literally translates as cooked cream in Italian, is an Italian dessert generally made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing with gelatin and letting it cool to set.

The Panna Cotta here consisted of fresh cream pudding, topped with mixed berry coulis. Many might shun away from this dessert due to its sweetness, rich and creamy pudding texture. But being a super lover for pudding desserts, this just moved up my personal dessert ranking! The texture of the panna cotta as smooth as butter, the taste was rich and awesome, and it did not come across as overly sweet. The sourish mixed berry coulis complemented the creamy pudding like match made in heaven. Simply lovely.

We toured around the spacious and contemporary Spasso Milano and I learnt that Spasso boasts of its wood-fire oven which churns out delicious Italian wood-fire pizzas, as well as housing a full wine list with specialty wines that one cannot find elsewhere too.

The bar

Different table settings to cater for private groups, family, or romantic night out.

Spasso Milano houses many retail products that are fully imported, for example sweets, biscuits, jam, extra virgin olive oil, as well as premium tea.

What a great night it was - superb cuisines and friendly company. I was offered a refreshing orangecello to help digest all the great food in my stomach. Orangecello is a variation of limoncello which is an Italian lemon liqueur traditionally served chilled as an after-dinner digestive.

Thanks so much to Adrian, Craig, Chef Felice, Denver, Wayne, and not forgetting the hospitality of everyone at Spasso Milano for the great experience!

I'm already looking forward to tomorrow :)

September 11, 2011

Soo Kee Mee Stall @ Medan Imbi, KL

Hubby brought me to this place which he claims offer the best Beef Hor Fun! So far we have been here twice and we have always enjoyed their signature dishes.

Infamous Beef Hor Fun (RM9 per pax)

The beef hor fun is filled with gravy and egg; the beef strips were tender, plentiful and marinated oh-so flavorful-ly. The ginger and scallion brought out the fragrant of the whole dish. This dish did not disappoint and the portions were huge. So if you do not intend to sample too much of one dish, always remember to ask for 1 person's portion; as they will submit orders based on the number of pax.

Another one of their signature dish Sang Har Mee (Deep Fried Mee with River Prawns) (RM 20 per pax, I think)

I love the tasty gravy that covered the giant river prawns, that made up of salted egg yolk. When we sampled this dish, the combination of the softened mee, river prawns and the fragrant thick gravy was the best! The river prawns were evidently fresh and we could see many tourists and Japanese mainly having this dish on their tables.

Paper-wrapped Chicken (Chee Pao Kai)

These chicken pieces are marinated, wrapped then deep fried. They were juicy, flavorful and acted as a good appetizer as the opening of your meal or as a side dish.

Sweet & Sour Fish Fillets

I feel that this dish paled a lot in comparison with their signature dishes. The gravy was gravy, battered fish fillets were battered fish fillets, all separate when the fillets should be coated out well with the sweet and sour gravy. The vegetables were hard and raw when they should at least be lightly cooked. The fish fillets were no doubt lightly battered but carried an apparent fishy smell to all of the pieces. Me. no. like. fishy. fillets.

Stir-fried Vegetables

Another simple dish that failed miserably. The vegetables were old and no longer crunchy.

As a verdict, the service here was definitely not friendly at all; as though every customer is being taken for granted. Other than their signature dishes, all the other dishes did not seem appealing at all, and I don't think they would even bother to improve. Pricing-wise, the dishes here are on the high side in terms of pricing due to its popularity. And, be prepared for huge crowds and filled up tables if you intend to dine here.

Soo Kee Mee
No. 14 Medan Imbi
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact : 03-2148 1324 / 03-2145 9528

September 9, 2011

Chai Diam Ma @ Queen Street

Kellin suggested to visit this special Chai Diam Ma (Hokkien for sundry shop) together with Alvin on a fine Sunday noon so we met up there.

As the banner says, they feature lots of handmade crafts from local artists

Almost every corner we turn, there were bound to be hand made articles the likes of stuffed soft toys, button badges, accessories, soaps, and there are even clothing and shoes on sale.

These freedom handmade soaps are actually made by one of our work acquaintance :)

We noticed some brilliant usage of the egg holders where it was painted in hues of pink, housing more accessories - Cute! And for some reason, I love the big-headed owl too~

Touring the entire Chai Diam Ma, we saw some out-of-the-box 'deco' such as these fighthing fish containing bottles just hung on the wall, as well as old wooden furniture housing the handmade crafts.

There is a walkway leading to the air well at the inner back of the 'shop' which is made up of a mini garden where plants are either hung down from the top or being nicely planted in pots.

The menu is a scrap book with limited food and drinks item, and you can check out the daily specials written with white chalks on the board right above their kitchen.

In the end, we settled with (clock-wise) Almond Banana Milkshake, Dragon Fruit Shake and Papaya Milk

First up, my almond banana milkshake was passable, the dragon fruit shake was almost bland, if not for the vanilla ice cream on top of it; and the papaya milk was really runny and I don't think I could taste the papayas at all O_o

Alvin's Baked Macaroni with Bacon & Mushrooms (RM 14)

Ask Alvin how his drinks or food tasted, his response will always be 'not bad' :) I tasted a little bit of the macaroni and it was good. The macaroni was not too hard nor too soft, the cheese taste was not overly powering. The side was something interesting - cherry tomatoes with yogurt.

We ordered a BOLD dish called Kimchi Zucchini Mini Pizza (RM 8)

Our consensus impression was : wow, that's mini indeed. A bite of this mini pizza sent a message to our brain that this was definitely an odd combination. Kimchi + zucchini + cheese? It did not taste bad, just not something we'd fancy. Good try though! The base was crunchy.

After what seemed like AGES, my Rice Sambal Prawn (RM 14) finally arrived to my hungry gaze!

We could already smell the sambal when my order was being fried as we were seated very near to the kitchen and after trying a spoonful, this fried rice proved to be something coz it was very spicy actually! Yes, even to my standards which is slight higher than average Penangite's tolerance level. But I must say I enjoyed the fried rice as the spiciness etches in my memory til now. The onions brought out the fragrance of the fried rice and there were 8 prawns altogether in it (yeah, I counted), not forgetting the long beans they put in as well.

Last but not least, Kellin's Udon Sambal Prawn (RM 14) - sister to my rice version arrived at her Hangry gaze (hungry + angry) lol~

It was a fair bit of challenge for Kellin to finish her dish as she could not take too high level of spiciness but she made a good attempt. After sampling her Udon version, I still liked my rice version better, maybe because the rice could really capture the wok hei as well as the flavors from the onions and sambal.

On the environment, it is my responsibility to share that it gets *really* hot and stuffy around here in the afternoon, despite the blaring fans they put up on various corners. This may probably be due to the fact that the ceilings are low and that the kitchen is located very near to where the tables are. Wear cooling clothes, carry a mobile fan or something if you intend to come here in the afternoon.

In all, I personally felt that the specialty of this cafe lies in the array of handmade crafts on display as well as the feel of the deco that the owners attempt to portray. Food-wise, there are still rooms for improvement and I reckon they can increase more varieties as well as improve the speed of serving as well :)

Chai Diam Ma

15, Lebuh Queen,
10200, Georgetown,
Penang, Malaysia