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.

Friday, February 9, 2018

IWFS at Uovo - good fun evening!

Wednesday February 7th 2018

February saw the IWFS finally heading to wine and dine at Uovo. Readers might know that I have been there a couple of times with the various foodie gangs over the past year. The food is very good, the corkage is free and the service is friendly and very good. It is good to see the same staff there on subsequent visits; it is a sign to me that they are happy and sufficiently motivated to stay rather than job hop. Which means they are well treated and a reflection on owner Chris Choo's ability to run his operation well. 

Uovo was chosen as a result of its leaning toward meat protein (beef and lamb) dishes, which coincided with the arrival of optimum drinking time of some Bigass Red Wines in the IWFS Cellar. Hence the event being billed as "An EGG-CELLENT Evening of Proteins and Reds at Uovo" - Uovo being the Spanish translation for "egg". Some more, the dinner was a little earlier in the month than normal, but Committee felt this was necessary to avoid clashing with the impending Chinese New Year festivities. Makes sense, yes?

If you haven't been to Uovo (or sister restaurant "From Farm To Plate" which is next door), you really should. Located in Damansara Kim on a row of shophouses up from and opposite the new Damansara GLO Mall, this modest location belies the quality of the food and service on offer. Now entering its third year, Uovo has quickly established itself as a destination restaurant serving hugely fresh food that is exquisitely prepared and cooked to tantalise the taste buds and leave you wondering where this place has been all of your life. The cuisine style might usefully be described as Asian Continental, though it is far from fusion - the cooking style changes to best showcase the ingredients' innate qualities so as to let the food speak for itself. 

Uovo interior
The website (www.uovo.com.my) says: "A unique restaurant where everything on the menu is grilled to perfection (through a) combination of skilful Teppan and slow roast techniques.  Our menu is based upon which seasonal products are most freshly available. Flavourful in the extreme. Dishes are relatively simple, relying on the quality of the super-fresh ingredients." 

Owner and Chief Cook Chris is a bit of an enigma, but no bad thing. Whispers come down that he doubles as an investment banker and has farms and suppliers across the globe from which he sources his ingredients. He also is rumoured to have stakes in some Wagyu cows which, on harvest, get imported to be consumed. Whatever, he is invariably happy to see old and new friends and ever appreciative of people coming to try his food. 

Both Uovo and his neighbouring From Farm To Plate operate on the philosophy of taking as little time as possible to get wonderfully fresh ingredients on to the tables. The key difference between them seems to be that no pork is to be served at Uovo; we punters need to go to FFTP for our fix of his brilliant Iberico Ribs and other porky delights. 

Forty of the diehards showed up for the beano, and all seemed quickly to get in the mood for a good time. There is something about Uovo that seems to generate this vibe; all the times I have been there have been pretty raucous - lots of laughter, cheering and clinking of glasses. 

Foodwise, the canapes got served at table and got quickly wolfed - very tasty little bites of sashimi style salmon, green tomato and unagi on crackers that gave some necessary carbo and salt to the sweetly light and lightly bubbled Prosecco. We were told that the three reds on show got flipped as a result of a late decision to pair the two Cabs so we presumed we were sucking down the delightful Guigal Cote Rotie with the first few dishes. Foodie friend Julian thought different - he said it felt like the Castillon, and he being the expert as a result of a few rough mornings given to him by this wine on a work stint in Bordeaux. He was right - it was indeed the Castillon in the glasses. I found it fruity and light to medium body, with a little bit of that South Bordeaux tang on the throat, and actually made for a good match with the chicken. The Prosecco was still getting served and made a fair match with the pasta which didn't kill off the lightness of the mushroom jus in the bowl. 

Possibly as a result of the wine mix up, the kitchen decided to add to the confusion by serving the Chicken ahead of the Pasta. And MORE confusion - after consumption and table clearing, Julian looked at the menu and said his Chicken was actually fish; it looked like fish, and he said it flaked like fish. We compared photos and they looked the same - crispy skin, Japanese preparation style. But he swore it was fish. And he does know his food and would not otherwise insist. There was possibly one vegetarian option floating around as a result of a late request (which subsequently became redundant as the veggie pulled out very late and got replaced by a carnivore) and the thinking was that Julian might have been landed with the swimmer. We never got the chance to find out. But strange, non?

Chicken. Or Fish. Maybe...
Both Chicken (or Fish) and Pasta were delightful, light and perfect stomach liners for the upcoming protein. The Cote Rotie was getting poured by this time and proved a rich full mouthful of fruit and forest, landing in the gut with that decent whack you always get from a good Rhone red. But the star would prove to be the Hawkeye; totally in the zone, smooth, full, silky, still a slight chew on the tannin but all elements fully integrated to produce a Cabernet of class and distinction. Got the timing well right with this one. Had to leave the Rotie in favour of the seemingly continual pourings of the Hawkeye. Finestkind. 

And it was naturally perfect with both sirloin and lamb rack, which were absolutely well prepared and hugely full of taste and freshness. Wise chefs know they don't have to do much when the meat is of the quality it always is at the Uovo. Dusting of salt and pepper and either light sear in the pan or short slow roast in the oven is enough; less is totally more and this is where Uovo always scores - it doesn't overdo things when the food can speak for itself. Same with the Big Tomatoes - large and crisp and sweet and tasting of lightly seasoned wholesome organic style goodness. Well tasty indeed. Though Lenglui insisted on being parsimonious with eating, preferring to save and doggybag the lovely meat home for sandwiches. And quite right too. Though I did steal an extra rib to go with the superb Hawkeye. So good. Should have stolen some Hawkeye for the home trip too...

The Sirloin. Yum.
Dessert got ingloriously wolfed down as usual and then it was carriages back to KL.  Managed to get around everyone to clink a glass through the night. Didn't get a bad word from anyone as to either food or wine, and the Governor said he would definitely be back. Wonderfully convivial and always a good craiche, the IWFS crowd. We are all now Uovons. Whatever that means. Cheers!

Chow down at Uovo
8 Jalan SS 20/10 Damansara Kim, PJ 47400
Tel : (603) 7731 8311

Getting there
From KL - Sprint Highway past Bangsar and Section 16 to Exit A for TTDI. About 1000m on, you see a big LRT station upcoming. You need to turn in as if going to the LRT station and follow the road past the LRT entrance and feeder buses which bends to the left - otherwise you miss the turning and be advised the original left turn to Damansara Kim is blocked at this time of writing. Also, it is not very well signed.  200 meters along, you see the Damansara GLO upcoming on your left; make a U-turn at the sign and about 120 meters back look for a turn left going slightly uphill to shophouses - Uovo is on the block that you see ahead on your right side. Park where you can. 

From PJ and beyond - NKVE onto Sprint past Damansara Jaya and when you see Tropicana Mall on your right make ready to turn left into Damansara GLO mall. Follow as above. 

Alternative is the LRT to TTDI station (apparently from KL Sentral) and a ten minute stroll up and around the bend behind the station and across the road to Damansara Kim shophouses.


Japanese Nama Pasta
with Shimeji Mushroom

Free Range Chicken
with Zucchini

Varieties of Lettuce Kale and Orange Salad

Prime Cut Sirloin
with Onion

Big Tomatoes

French Trimmed Rack of Lamb
with Green Beans

Lemon Curd Burnt Meringue
with Blood Orange Sorbet

Col Vetoraz Prosecco di Valdobbiandene e Conegliano, Brut Dosaggio Zero
Located in Cartizze, one of the prime areas of the Valdobbiadene region of the Veneto, Col Vetoraz grows its grapes organically at about 1,300 feet above sea level on very steep hills in vineyard sites where the Prosecco, or Glera, grape has grown since 1838. The grapes ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and wine enjoys a second fermentation in tank in the “Charmat” method.

Classic, delicate, and refreshing, scents of ripe orchard and stone fruits lead to a dry, smooth and intense palate with subtle notes of white blossoms, citrus zest, and a touch of toasted bread. An elegant, fine perlage fills the mouth with creamy texture. Energetic and clean, with an elegant, fine perlage filling the mouth with a creamy texture, Col Vetoraz Prosecco is an ideal to pour with appetizers and salads.

Clos Les Lunelles, Cotes de Castillon 2005
Had this at a previous IWFS Bash at Chinoz on the Park in Feb 2015. Notes then were:
Clos Lunelles remains one of the top Bordeaux wines of the Cotes de Castillon appellation. The wine's violet color is so superbly deep and dense that it is almost opaque, an eloquent sign of the maturity that is typical of the 2005 vintage. A ripe fruitiness of blackberries and black cherry jam is balanced by the mentholated and lively, fresh notes of a mature harvest. In the mouth, vibrant tannins give the wine a sound and tight structure, and the mid-palate shows great texture which is made for aging. A mouth-watering finish is long and generous, prolonging the wine's flavor. Tannins and acidity contribute significantly to its impressive structure. This is a superb wine which requires time: about five to eight years will bring out a more complex range of aromas.

The Wine Advocate - "This is the greatest Cotes de Castillon I have ever tasted." (RP 94 WS 92)

2005 Kendall-Jackson Highland Estates Hawkeye Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, USA
We previously had this at a bash at Arthur's Grill at the Shangri La around June or July 2014. The notes were:
Hawkeye Mountain is the spectacular signature KJ property on Alexander Mountain and home to owners Jesse Jackson and Barbara Banke. The 2005 is easily the best yet bathed in spicy black cherry, and tobacco scented fruit flecked with green olive, liquorice and cassis. Clone 4 and 7 cabernets, grown on steep hillsides and terraces provide a firm structure for this red wine to live a long life. An impressive savoury, made from small clusters of small berries sitting well above the valley floor at 900-2200 feet elevation. Buy and cellar for 5 to 7 years and beyond.

One of the riper of the Highland Estate’s current crop of Cabernets, the Hawkeye Mountain shows intense varietal character. It’s rich in black currants and cedar, with a tangy minerality and firm but pliant tannins. A beautiful Cabernet. "Generous cassis nose, ripe, but not overly. Opulent, but tannin creeps up, a lot of alcohol too. Ungainly, no lift or finesse. Drink from 2010." (Decanter) (WE 93pts, Cellartracker 88/100, Decanter 15.3/20)

Cote Rotie, Domaine E Guigal, 2007

96% Syrah with 4% Viognier from average age 35 yo vines in plots on steep slopes in soil rich in iron oxide. temperature controlled fermentation for three weeks in Closed stainless steel tanks and 36 months in oak (50% new). Dark ruby red on the eye, Spices, nose of red berries and delicate oak with soft tannins and aromas of raspberry, blackberry and vanilla on the finish. 91 Parker. 

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