Mission: To respond thoughtfully and responsibly to my experiences of drinking and dining at restaurants with regard to the quality, service, preparation, presentation and overall experience received thereat. The standpoint is one who respects the crafts of the chef and sommelier and who seeks to understand their choices in the kitchen and cellar and grow in knowledge. In this, I will seek to be fair, reasoned, direct and constructive and aim to keep my ego in check on our mutual journeys through the worlds of food and wine.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Food Adventures January to July 2017 - July 2017

Prior to the two month sojourn around Wales, France and Sicily across August through to mid October, I had been a bit taken up with a project that took me away from the food and wine writing (and the songwriting and recording) but I then got a bit of a breather to try and reflect over where the Lengui and I had eaten over the previous couple of months (well, seven actually). So I figured rather than try to document them individually, better to just load them all into a single narrative and see how it looked. So this is a full-ish listing of where, when, and with whom we ate and drank over this period. Some are barely one liners, others have a bit more detail. Whatever, it made for a more than usually long read so it got broken down into months for ease of, er, digestion. Not sure if it will prove useful, but when taken in total it does represent quite a litany of gluttony. Phoooooooo....

July 1st Dengkil Seafood with Tai Chi, Ho Chiak groups
Drive with El Manica and Uncle Lim. Dengkil is still the total business with their Crab Stew, Hokkien Mee and Lala Mai Fun and Sang Har Mee and sweet steamed Prawns and Pai Kuat. Phwoooar…. Maybe not fine dining, but darn fricking good. Big boozy singsong at the end. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam…..   SENG!!!!

July 3rd Checkers with Birthday Group
Mr Tan did a special menu for us. Which ultimately was a pity since I think we all really wanted to chow down on his porky ribs. Still, it was enough food and five bottles of wine across nine people. But I have had better there. Not that the food was bad; just not what was quite expected. So it goes. 

July 5th Nero Nero DC Mall with IWFS - A Night with Barone Ricasoli
A newly opened restaurant in the newish DC Mall in Damansara with a wine dinner organised again by the indomitable and indefatiguable Michelle from AsiaEuro. We will have to start calling her Tonka - indestructible. Located on the open top of the Mall, a pretty ordinary outside gives way to a steampunk Californian Italian interior with lots of eye catchers and theme pieces. Worth a visit just to see the inside. Got reacquainted with wine maestro Yuhei who has a Japanese tapas bar across the path from Nero Nero and who supplied the first course. Laid a bit of groundwork for a future IWFS event - we will see how. 

Foodwise, I can't remember much. Same with the wines. No one raved about anything on the plates. Having Oxtail in a Ravioli felt a bit rich and had an odd finish. But the tomatoes were sparkling fresh. Main memory was getting parked next to the FBQ who spent most of the night with her nose in her phone playing some word game. Not exactly sparkling company. There you go. Maybe FBQ saying the same thing about me...
Pre Dinner Antipasto
Tempura Prawn, Smoked Salmon Herbs Butter
Torricella Chardonnay 2013
1st Course Antipasto
Arrancini on Tomato Coulis, Caprese Bruschetta
Chianti DOCG 2015
2nd Course - Primo Platto
Oxtail Ravioli in Light Cherry Tomato Sauce
Brolio Chianti Classico DOCG 2014
3rd Course - Secondo Platto
Tagliata Sirloin Steak, Eggplant Ratatouille with Porcini Mushroom Sauce
Castello di Brolio Vin Santo DOCG Gran Selezione 2011
4th Course - Dolce
Crema Catalana
Castello di Brolio Vin Santo DOCG 2007

Dear Leader and kids
July 8th and 9th - IWFS Trip to Ipoh
This was a repeat of a jolly that the IWFS KL did to Ipoh last year, though with some slight differences this time around. Last year saw us leaving KL after lunch which some cursed as missing on a lunch in Ipoh. This year the bus departed from Barrique at 10am and got us to a wonderful lunch at a seafood place in Tanjung Tualang. Prawns, fish, crab, other lovelies and all washed down with lashings of the St Clair Pioneer Block SB which had been nicely chilled in the David Coleman coldbox. The bus had a little bit of trouble negotiating the very narrow roadway that led to the place but seemed to manage to eventually park alongside, much to the astonishment of the local children. I guess they rarely see buses parking in the village. And the disgorging of an array of pale skinned city folk, many of whom were showing off various degrees of bare arms and legs was the cause of much finger pointing and comment. 

After lunch, it was on to the Mu Hotel in Ipoh (which was previously the Ibis Styles, where we had all stayed the previous year) to sleep off lunch ahead of a sundowner hosted by IWFS Ipoh at the Royal Ipoh Club. The original plan was to have the sundowner at the hotel as we had done last year, but the new management were apparently adamant on corkage being payable. So our Ipoh compadres came through and got the Royal Ipoh to open their doors. Brilliant job, and thank you IWFS Ipoh!

Hans, May and Vijay waiting for the food. Note the glasses and ice bags. We are IWFS. Yes.
The delightfully fresh Prawns
We and the bus got stopped at the entrance to the Club driveway, though it was not initially clear why. Fifteen minutes later, the news came back that whilst going in was fine, getting out the other side was impossible due to a low barrier across the exit. And it was chucking it down with rain. So off the bus we stumbled with umbrellas hoisted against the uncaring rain and slowly and wetly bundled ourselves into the Club. Old Glory was the immediate feel - not faded, but old - a place where you felt that traditions still meant something. We were scuttled upstairs to the main hall where we were met by our IWFS Ipoh compadres and about eight ice buckets with three or four bottles of vintage fizz in each. Yes. We had arrived. 

The Booze at Mun Cheong
Lashings of fizz and fingerfood and a cool evening chill after an afternoon of rain made for a most pleasant aperitif party. Though given the persistent drizzle we couldn't see much in the way of downing sun. Never mind - we all enjoyed the fizz and the cool evening muggy air. We were then back on the bus (well, most of us - we managed to lose Mossie) to the Mun Cheong Seafood for a bigass Chinese banquet with various styles of wine from across the globe. I was told I conducted a singing contest between the tables. Quite probably true. Raucous evening. No photos for some reason - only got one of two bottles that we all sucked on for the night. Will steal a few from the Facebook. The IWFS Ipoh prefer their spirits and were happily chugging away at the various Scotch on show. Me and whiskey are not a good match; my worst mornings have been after nights on the Gold Watch so I pretty much swear off it. Serious mental derangements. Best nightcap for me is a cold beer. 

Sunday breakfast saw the faithful pilgrims off on a Curry Mee breakfast trek at 7am whilst others snoozed the morning away. Not sure if anyone went to church but I suspect so. I went for a post breakfast stroll around the hotel block to clear some cobwebs. There is an amazing old school feel to this part of Ipoh; kind of like stuck in a time warp where the year is constantly 1965 or something. Just get a total 60s vibe from the roads, the buildings, the signboards... everything. Quite odd but somehow reassuring, as if the place will still be the same decades hence. I certainly won't be. One more decade would be good enough. 

Crab House Prawns

Crab House Fresh Pomfret with soup
Crab House Crabs. Of course. 
IWFS Ipoh Gin La getting presented with some fizz by IWFS KL David
11am saw the pilgrims gathering to check out and board the bus for a 30min drive to lunch at the Crab House, apparently a place of legend for the orange crustacean. This was epic - loads and loads of dishes coming out and everyone scrabbling to save space for the lovelies. Which most were able to do - there was barely a leg or a morsel left for taking away. And all washed down with some lovely fizz, white and red. Then back on the bus for a leisurely trundle south back to KL and the Uber home before a swift pasta and wine with Lenglui and the Princess. Perfect weekend.  

Upstairs at Vintry
July 10th Vintry Damansara
Not sure how we ended up here - think we were wanting to go to Checkers but forgot that Mr Tan closes on Mondays and I must have persuaded Lenglui that the Hokkien Mee at Vintry is magical. Which it was, and is. Bit disappointed with the service - got shuttled upstairs against Lenglui's complaining knees then had to go back downstairs to try and choose the wine in a badly priced and not very well lit set of wine racks. Staff were smiling and friendly but frankly not that helpful, save for the competent and swift maiden who attended us upstairs. Vintry might have the food, but Stoked is way better for service. 

July 11th Marco with Rubber Baron
On occasion, the Marco does a promotion whereby they retrace their steps back thirty odd years to when they first started operating and offer dishes from that time at the PRICES of that time. So people can get the Shark Fin and the Pai Kuat at Shut Up prices and sock it all down with an amazing Sang Har Mee. The Baron brought some spectacular wines, but topped it off with a surprise dessert wine from Santorini. Black and thick as treacle, it was stunning - dark figs, raisins, but with a poke in the mouth like an exploding toffee apple ripping the cheeks. Belting wine. Marco food stunning as ever. Full report here>>>

Hung Kee Char Siew Noodles
July 16th Marco with El Manica
Again, taking advantage of the silly prices for the food, we went with the Ho Chiak group to resample the wares. I now fully understand the meaning of too much of a good thing. Phooooo….

There was also a night out at Casa Rosa (link is here>>) and (surprise!) Marco Polo with the IWFS (link is here>>). Also a Char Siew noodles lunch at our long time favourite up the road from the apartment (the Hung Kee on Jalan Loke Yew - excellent everything). The noodles have this amazing (what Lenglui calls) "bounce" texture - the bite and chew are some of the best around. Probably equates to "al dente" for pasta but in a Chinese cuisine context. We have it with some steamed chicken and garlic fried vegetable with a pot of tea. Stellar. 

There were a couple of other trips to Sapore, including one with Texas to see if it would do for his upcoming birthday (it didn't) and one with the Baron and his wines. He was very relaxed this night, more so than on previous outings. That's what wine and well cooked pig can do for you. Cheers!!

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