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Featuring Sushi Oribe, Siam Road Char Koay Teow, Tommy Le Baker (Kampung Attap), Sumika 炭家, Random Food Store, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Bottega Mediterranea, Tokyo, Japan, Bijan Bar & Restaurant, Nerovivo Italian Restaurant
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Great fun catching up with some old friends (longrow, SMWS etc) and meeting some new ones (Douglas laing, Tbwc), oh and also bumping into and meeting people too I guess. The usual kakis, a lot of familiar faces, and others made familiar through the familial bonding power of whisky. Had over 30 drams (35? Lost count) and it was a pleasure to enjoy them in the presence of other malt mates.

Contemplating going for the afternoon instead of the evening round next year (I hear it'll run for longer?) just so I can get my hands on more bottles before they run out, but hmmmm. Most of the usual people would likely show up for the night one instead. Well, will see how it goes next year. Until then, here's to sipping whatever my overly exerted credit card can get me.

#whiskyplus #whiskypluskl #whiskyplus2019 #dramfull #foodgazerrr #burpple #singlemalt #whiskygram

Right up there with Omakase, really. Recently, though, they had a guest bartender over: Shinji Iwamitsu from @rpm_by_db . RPM by D.Bespoke looks like an absolute gem, by the way. 4,000+ vinyls, shochu and cocktails. Shoot this shit right into my narrative-loving millennial veins.

Anyway, great drinks all around from Iwamitsu-san. Three creations that showed a good breadth of technique, and an off-menu custom one afterwards that was quite good too. In particular, I loved the "Potato shochu and rosemary". Bright, lively, and very balanced. Very delicious potato shochu as the base. This drink in particular really felt like a thematic cousin of Bar Shake's usual fare. IMO, at least, Bar Shake excels at using just a couple of ingredients to accentuate and really emphasize the core component - take, for instance, my beloved mangosteen saketini (more of an essence-of-mangosteen than you'll get from eating mangosteens directly) or the perfect, transparent, Bloody Mary. But you can read more on that on a previous review - look through our past posts.

Also good was the 'Mugi Alexander'. The mugi shochu tasted like whiskey (didn't manage to try it by itself though). The drink as whole tasted like a lovely chocolate milkshake. What a treat. Chocolate bitters, cacao, fresh cream, and brown sugar powder. And...lemon juice? Somewhere inside there apparently. Great mouthfeel, and it wasn't too sweet. Delicious all the way through. It's like dessert when you're too stuffed for real, solid desserts. Can people start queueing for drinks like this instead of stir-fried pearls? Can this be a thing now?

The 'rice adonis' was nice too, but have never been a fan of vermouth. Too bad we couldn't get mangosteen saketinis from Sam, since the guest shift was going on. Next time! We'll be back. Obviously.

#burpple #foodgazer #gooddrinks #cocktail #bar #mixology #japandrinks #barshakekl #foodgazer #foodgae #minum #igersmy #cocktails

Instead, this is a snapshot of our meal there last night.

It started with the garlic bread: butter-like-confit garlic, and good bread from the pizza dough. Possibly the best dish of the night! Only MYR 5 for a lovely bun-flatbread-thing that's akin to a very airy calzone. Value meal. Oh, we also had a salad of spinach, rocket and pomegranate though it's not recommended. Very sweet.

The margherita was promising. Thin crust, with an alright chew and saltiness. Not the most airy or springy of crusts, but hey, Klang Valley has seen a lot worse. The ingredients were okay for the price. I mean, to be fair, this is MYR 26 for a Margherita, which is pretty damn affordable. Props for that. The buffalo mozzarrella was okay, but the shaved cheese on top was unnecessary and made it too salty - and not in the ways the best pizzas are. There's no salt punch coating the pie, or rising from within a warm crust. The tomatoes were alright: flavours were concentrated since they weren't obscenely drenched like Dihy- er, I mean like authentic Neapolitan pizzas. Overall, not bad.

Then came the 'carbonara' pizza.

We returned the first one because it was burnt to a crisp around the cornicione. Just straight up burnt. Even biting into the middle led to a mouthful of cancer. So we got a second one that...was less burnt but somehow much harder and dryer. Think flatbread and biscuits. I folded a slice in half and it snapped into two pieces. And to be honest, the first burnt pizza tasted even better! This one was just dry and uninspired. Also, never been a fan of beef bacon.

Anyway, not going to judge this one too harshly. The place is gorgeous, the heart seems to be in the right place, and plenty of pizzerias have struggled with getting to grips with their wood-fired ovens. I hope Pizza Mansion finds their way. There's promise and potential, and it's nice to see a pizzeria that isn't too prohibitively expensive. Would be even better if they can get a wine menu up.

#pizza #burpple #burpplekl #klfood

Which, you know, great, but if that's true, I genuinely have no interest in going to Naples for pizza. Tokyo has ruined me. Seirinkan, Savoy etc (see previous reviews) are playing in a completely different league. Overall impression: Overpriced, but I can't think of another Neapolitan spot in Malaysia. Probably in the top 3 or 5 pizzerias in town, though I very much prefer Monnalisa's pizzas.

I wonder if the feel of the place influenced my judgment. No filtered water, a cold and clinical vibe, no service but 10% service charge, and an overall feeling that it's the stark opposite of an inviting, welcoming pizza parlor. Plus the bit about their 60 year old mother yeast coming from Naples...doesn't the yeast 'localize' when brought here? And not-cutting the pizza is annoying when the pizzas are bigger than the plates and they don't give you a cutter, you have to struggle with a shitty table knife instead. Authentic!

But eh, on to the food.

Verace margherita: RM86 and I didn't enjoy it at all. My cheese and toppings slid right off thanks to the authentic, watery tomato. The mozzarrella was quite good. In Savoy, each chew yielded a new burst of smoke and salt. Here, the crust was a lot chewier, and all I got was more salt in the dough. Still, it's better than most crusts you'll get in KL. The cornicione was really bleh though. Also, where's all the smokiness?

Bianca: Better than the margherita. Always love scamorza, but strangely there's not that much smoke in this pie either.

Prosciutto en rucola: RM108! That DOP 18 months parma ham aint cheap eh. Was alright.

Mortadella pomodoraccio: probably my favourite of the night! Loved the sun-dried tomatoes. I'd recommend getting this one, and perhaps the bianca.

Now let this weaboo circle back to the Tokyo pizza scene: the Tokyo boys don't give a shit about being authentic. They care about making the best pizzas possible. I applaud Dihyang for the efforts in bringing a slice of Naples (lol) to Jalan Yap Ah Shak but I can't help feeling like if they go the Tokyo route, authenticity be damned, we could potentially have a truly great pizzeria

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Most are lesser bars. This is not. Great, great cocktails. Essence of fruit. Hand-squeezed. Clear in thought and flavour. Comfort. Seductive and contemplative. Not overly solemn.

Mangosteen sake sublime. Striking, intoxicating nose. Slight pulp. Satisfying mouthfeel. Clear Bloody Mary fantastic. Spicy, fresh gazpacho. Sparkles like a living creature. Smoked martini creeps to the back of the throat. Spreads roots of cherry and coriander. "stood there in the cold, the last bits of my dream like figures in the distance, hard to hold"

White negroni. Sensuous body. Yuzu toys with the tongue. Moscow mule good but ordinary. Passionfruit with Tumugi better. Mango with rum amazing. Rich, thick, filthy head. Chewy body. CNY special. Mandarin orange. Yuzu bitters. Mangosteen.

There are others. Endless others. There's chocolate, a secluded corner, a lumbering slab of wood awash in dim lights, a promise to return. Many bars in the city. None quite like this.

#gooddrinks #burpple #cocktail #bar #mixology #japandrinks #barshakekl #foodgazer #igersmy

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They're a ramen and cocktail bar now. We checked them out.

First up, the King of Pork ramen. It comes with a 'pork tomahawk' which, yknow, if that serving size doesn't change, this bowl is going to be a goddamn value meal. The pork chop is massive. And it's tasty. Very tasty. Borderline pink (which is great, even better if it's more medium rare but people are squeamish about that when it comes to pork, so this is pretty much as good as it gets), succulent and comes with a whole perfume bottle of smokiness from the grill. In a good way, we promise. The chop is very good. It just doesn't quite fit with the rest of the ramen.

The broth tastes vaguely like a mix between a spicy miso and a tonkotsu. We say vaguely because it's quite a meek soup. Hard to taste too much in it. It's a bit milky, a bit cloudy, and mostly overpowered by the smokiness from the pork. Could be a pork broth in there somewhere. Hard to tell, really. And noodles-wise, we forgot to ask for hardcore noods so they came out Malaysian-level soft. Malaysians sure do love their soggy noodles! Not much texture or taste to the noodles either, but our bad for not indicating the hardness. Best part of the bowl? Perfectly cooked, flavourful, warm ajitama.

So yeah, that's the taste of the ramen. But when we said the pork doesn't quit fit in, we meant it literally. It's visually arresting but we had to remove it to a plate to cut into. Bit impossible if you leave it in the bowl and refuse to resort to grabbing it and gnawing away. Anyway, we'll be back to try the other bowls (rice bowls too)! Oh, and we had a cocktail. Liquid Courage was sweet, rummy, with a bit of desiccated coconut in the chocolate but would have liked a lot more liquid in the cocktail. Literally came out as half a glass.

OH and almost forgot - the storefront is gorgeous. Almost worth the admission fee alone.

#burpple #ramen #noodsnoodsnoods #noodles #cocktails #klfood

The menu is wide-ranging here, and the crew have put together a whole host of options for those wanting to dip their toes in gently. Case in point: the fantastic value-for-money set lunches (RM 19+ for a two-course meal and RM 26+ for a three-course), the 2-pax sharing set (RM 190+ for smoked salmon, foie gras terrine, prawn moscato, beef bourguignon, cheese platter and dessert), and upcoming weekend brunches amongst others. We went a la carte to try as many dishes as possible, and left knowing we'd need to return to try the remainder of the menu. But more on that in the upcoming blog post. For now, here are some of the highlights:

The fish soup (RM 15) was excellent. Sticky, jammy, intensely fishy. So so good, and very reminiscent of a powerful ramen both. Apparently it's Chef Florian's mum's recipe! Equally good were the escargots (RM 22) - more garlicky than creamy, with an understated, muted preparation that highlights the wonderful texture. The beef bourguignon (RM 48) lived up to expectations too, thankfully. Rustic and homey with a thick, concentrated stew, this was a lovely dish that reminded one of our writers of Canadian winters and slow-cooker dinners. Though the beef check came out quite a bit better here.

Naturally, we tried a lot of other dishes (foie gras terrine, big mix platter, Charolaise grilled ribeye, boudin noir, salmon, prawn moscato etc) but we'll leave that for blog-day. For now, we'll wrap up by highlighting the desserts: the floating island, in particular. Incredibly airy and fluffy, to an almost ridiculous degree, it's like scooping into an aerated egg-white version of cotton candy. Loved it. And it's a fantastic representation of Chez Gaston in its entirety - it's affordable without breaking the bank, it showcases the kitchen's attention to technique, and it's served up without frills and fanfare. Good, honest food in a very pretty-looking spot: what else can you ask for? A terrace? That's coming soon.

#burpple #foodgazer

There are plenty of changes (for instance, all-day RM5 food PLUS drink specials are a thing now, which, wow, hello crazy valuetown), but the overarching guiding principle remains the same: honest, simple food with as much as possible made in-house. It still works, for the most part. And please don't ask how we adjudicate the honesty and simpleness of food. We just use these words fam, our boss gives them to us

On to the new menu then. There's the nasi lemak set (sambal - mild in spiciness but punchy in flavour, plump ikan bilis, unfortunately mushy rice) which, again, RM5 for this and tea, sooooo yeah. There's the spinach soup (which we loved, so chunky and texture-y). And the fish and chips (tenggiri when we tried, siakap soon apparently. Lovely light batter. Perfectly cooked flaky flesh. Probably one of the best fish and chips around, to our pleasant surprise). There's a Radjmari pasta (great with the nutmeg and lime leaves!), and a spicy Thai spaghetti (really fierce, unforgiving spiciness, and some al dente pasta. Delectable). And the green curry chicken (super tender chicken, subtle but comforting curry). And, of course, there are a couple of dishes that don't hit quite the same heights. Looking at you, curry laksa (the subdued, muted flavour made us long for Ho Li Chow), honey mustard chicken (interesting Nestum coating but unfortunately the meat came out a bit dry), and burnt cheesecake (decent, not great). We wrapped up with dessert. The rum raisin nut-aholic is still excellent. Plump, plump raisins. And that waffle! Lovely homemade peanut butter. Excellent waffles with that slight hint of tangy sourness right at the end. Not as crispity crunchy on the outside as the first visit, but hey it's still great. Oh, and we had a luxurious, luscious Ovaltine brownie. Love the crunchy bits around the edges. Yum.

Overall verdict? Still very good. Now imagine if they had those RM5 set meals around Masjid Jamek too... #Foodgazer #instayum #instayummy #foodshot #goodeats #makan #gastronomy #dailyfoodfeed #yougottaeatthis #tastespotting #theartofplating #foodography #tastingtable #burpple

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We went during opening week, and it was a pleasant enough experience. From our first impression, the Malaysian branch of Tapas Club lands itself in and around the same category as Mercat Barcelona (some great, some good, some mediocre dishes) and a step below Marta's.

The Cerdo Iberico (RM55) was very enjoyable. Lusciously fatty, medium cooked Iberico, dripping wet with fat, paired with some lovely charred brussel sprouts. Which reminds me: burnt brussel sprouts and fish sauce are the best. But any properly cooked brussels are good, really. Very good dish.

The patatas bravas (RM19) wasn't quite as impressive. Nice bite to it (crusty case around a lovely pillowy interior) but a bit lacking in flavour. Hope they tweak this a bit, that texture's a winner.

Cochifrito con Espinacas a la Catallana (deep fried suckling pig with spinach) was RM27 of disappointment though. Very, very dry pig. Very, very salty spinach. Only good point is the spinach didn't have the typical astringent, coarse bite on the tongue. Apart from that? Very disappointing.

Thankfully the gambas alajillo (RM26) was quite good. Nice, crusty bread to go with the prawns. And the prawns themselves were decently plump and juicy, cooked to a perfect doneness. Very rich sauce too - love the sauce.

Looking forward to return and see how they further develop the menu. There's a lot of promise here. Plus the prices aren't too crazy either, considering it's in Pavi!

#tapasclub #tapas #burpple

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I thought it was good but personally would like the usual sea salt. BUT THEN I TRIED ALL THESE OTHER BAD BOYS FROM @minus4degree

And they were pretty much all good to great (to varying degrees, of course). Like the Banana ice cream. Very measured sweetness, not too cloying, lovely nibs scattered throughout to break up the texture and give it a nice bite. Or the Durian. So so thick and creamy, it's like essence of durian without the funky texture and with a more muted nose. Or the Bailey's, with its rich coffee lacings. Or the Stout - so so good. Bitter, full-bodied, unforgivingly strong. Love the rich unrelenting nature of it and it's definitely sweet enough imo. Unlike the rum and raisin, which was too sweet for my liking. But on to better things, like the Black Sesame. Probably my top 3 from minus 4 degree. Thick, grainy (not powdery), delightfully chewy, absolutely love the texture.

But my top pick has to be the Smoked Salmon. Yes, smoked salmon ice cream. And it's bloody brilliant. The smoke smacks you in the nose like an Essence of Islay fragrance (@tomford, get on that please), and each bite is a shock of smooth cold ice cream contrasted with the salty, savoury explosions of flavour. So goddamn good.

You can find them at Butcher Carey and TLB for now, or order online, buttttt maybe they're opening a physical store soon? 🤔 Perhaps? Maybe? We'll see.

#icecream #artisanal #cafefood #instayum #burpple #tastingtable

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Or at least we do when we go. Case in point: last night's lovely sausage party, featuring an agglomeration of vaguely country-themed hot doggus. We liked the Malaysian one best (yay national pride) thanks to the textural tapestry of the peanuts and chopped-up crispy anchovies. Good stuff. And we understand the hot doggus will be making their way into the past-5pm menu at Alta. Yay.

But not as yay as the laboriously homemade stracciatella with raw honey and olive oil and pumpkin seeds. Or the ricotta! Look at that pretty plate. And the accompanying sourdough est fantastique. Chewy, resistive and crusty in all the right amounts. Perfectly balanced as all things should be.

Maybe even more than the food, though, this foodgae likes the layout and the general feel of the place. Airy, open and inviting, Alta consistently beckons and we consistently heed the call. Great sourdough, delicious cheezes, lovely natural wines - just bring the company.

#Foodgazer #instayum #instayummy #foodshot #goodeats #makan #gastronomy #dailyfoodfeed #yougottaeatthis #tastespotting #theartofplating #foodography #tastingtable #klfood #klfoodie #igersmy #foodphotography #deliciousfood #burpple #klcafe

That chain owned by some dude from big bong. We tried it. After almost 2 hours of waiting.

Inside, it's a bit like Ichiran with less isolation - and as a bit of a sidetrack, Ichiran is far from the best ramen around wtf can people stop parroting this shit, DM me for 3 ramen joints I tried in Tokyo that are far superior. Ichiran is convenient and accessible and open at all hours and better than pretty much all ramen places in Malaysia but that's about it. Anyway, back to Aori. Although not physically because it's unlikely we'll return.

It's not that it's bad. It's pretty good actually, for Malaysia. It's just...overpriced and not super impressive. Factor in the tokyo-level queues and it feels a bit pointless. I had a bum egg (dried yolk, runny white) but the rest of the gae team had decent ones. Still think Kagura's add-on marinated egg is the best in town. The noodles were maggi-level soft. No texture or taste. Ugh. The seaweed was good. The marinated bamboo shoots were okay but menya Shi shi do did it better (do they still have it ah?). The pork was okay - burnt bits were deliciously smoky - but was also a bit tough and chewy. Bari Uma does it better.

The broth, though, was quite good. Nice porkiness. Decent, not overwhelming, spice even at the Basic level. Creamy, rich, almost milky one-note broth that's much better than current-age Ippudo and Bankara in KL. Bit behind the kuro @ menya Shi shi do but that's me I guess. Overall? Okay lor.

#ramen #burpple #aoriramen

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