Mikoshi is about family togetherness

Mikoshi is about family togetherness

With the number of Japanese restaurants trying to adjust to the local tastes, Ayaka Fukuda of Mikoshi Restaurant in Damansara Utama believes that people still enjoy authentic Japanese shabu-shabu, especially when it is done well.  

She is a strong believer of the traditional Asian values where families came together to talk to each other. The frequent reunion over a sumptuous meal will help family bonding and strengthen the family unit.

Ayaka, who has lived in Malaysia for four years, observes that the use of mobile gadgets especially by the younger children has become more rampant these days. They would be occupied with the mobile games while parents are busy on the social media, making it almost impossible for the family to bond together.

For that reason, Ayaka tries to introduce the children to some fun time playing traditional Japanese games such as yo-yo tsuri (water-balloon fishing) or having some Japanese and local snacks together after the meal is over.

“Yes, I realise the importance of family togetherness,”

she said during the launch of Mikoshi Restaurant on December 5.

“This is why shabu-shabu will allow the family to spend some time together for family bonding.”

They can pick two of the range of seven shabu-shabu broths – either Mikoshi’s signature Ginger soup (which is also my favourite), Sukiyaki Soup, Sesami Soy milk soup or Wafu soup (a lightly-seasoned seaweed broth); while those who prefer something spicy can choose the Green Curry Soup, Spicy Miso Sou or the Spicy Mongolian Soup.

Besides the thinly sliced beef, beef’s tongue, lamb and chicken, they have a wide range of mushrooms and vegetables to choose from to ensure that the whole family has a healthy meal together.

Their shabu-shabu buffet is priced at RM48++ per adult, and RM30 (for children below 12). For an additional RM30++, you would be entitled to unlimited sushi.

My foodie friend, Tan Swee Ho who joined the food tasting session says he enjoys especially the camaraderie with friends in a cosy ambience that is truly Japanese, and he plans to come back with his friends.

“The raw ingredients here are fresh,” he said. “This is what a good shabu-shabu is about. The restaurant is also clean and its ambience gives a Japanese feel that makes fits its description as a Japanese restaurant.”

I agree that the restaurant lives up to its tagline, ‘the true taste of home’. Except that in Japanese homes, where they sit on low tables, the general ambience gives it the authentic Japanese signature to Mikoshi.

My son loves the Yakiramen the best. Enthusiastic with what he had to enjoy during the meal, he decided to do a video clip himself with some help from me. You can read his blog here. He has learnt one new Japanese word, Oishī (おいしい) which means ‘simply delicious.’

At the children’s corner, the ceiling is adorned with traditional wagasa (oil paper and washi umbrellas) which creates an ambience that young children would love.

Mikoshi’s logo is personally calligraphed by the group director, Akira Tashiro.

For bigger families, Mikoshi has a private room that can fit some 20 guests at any one time. It is also a good place to have small groups coming together for a meal together.

Visit other Japanese restaurants on the Oishi Food Trail: Ni Ichi Sushi still maintains its tastes, and prices despite the inflation. Background music to the video is a famous Japanese song, “First Love” (初恋) by Utada Hikaru (宇多田ヒカル).

Mikoshi Restaurant is located at 109 A, Jalan SS21/1A, Damansara Utama.   

Tel: 03-77331184  Whatsapp: 017-3373148
Business hours: Time: 11:30am – 11:00 pm Days: 7 days a week

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikoshijapanesebuffet/?ref=br_rs

Instagram: mikoshirestaurant

Waze location: https://waze.com/ul/hw283b6qn7

Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/SgdyGWja5H52

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3HE3Mnp8tA&t=152s

Pastries that are authentically Aussie

Pastries that are authentically Aussie

For the most part of his early years, Malaysian pastry chef or pâtissier, Justin Wong developed his love for pastry under the tutelage of mentors who had backgrounds in Michelin-starred restaurants.

Colleagues whom he had worked with were both very passionate and inspiring in patisserie. That formed the bulk of his attitude towards work.

He spent ten good years of his early career working in Melbourne – the first three years with Singaporean-owned Stamford Raffles hotel in Melbourne, followed by another seven years with The Sofitel Melbourne, where he had developed a strong passion for Australian patisserie.

Since setting up Miss Ellie Tea House in Taman Melawati with his mother, Justin has become well-known for his scones. They come in four standard flavours, namely Plain, Raisin, Oat and Chocolate.

“There are also the seasonal variants from time to time, but based on the record of sales, most local patrons prefer our White Chocolate and Cranberry Christmas Scones,” he elaborates.

The 32-year-old graduated from the William Angliss Institute of TAFE in Melbourne, with a Certificate IV in Patisserie. That is, for your information, the highest certification available for tradesmen in Australia, just short of a Diploma in the hierarchy of academic certification.

Although the diversity of cultures and its cuisines in metropolitan Melbourne have mesmerised and moulded this young man’s life, it is the opportunity to learn from great chefs that he treasures for life.

For example, Filip Tibos, a former Belgian chef residing in Melbourne, trained him to be his scone-maker and now Justin’s scones are, in fact, his personal homage to him pâtissier Filip.

Justin reminiscences: “Scones are one of those really simple things that are widely made in homes in Australia, but it was Filip who taught me the special technique that could elevate a recipe to soaring new heights.”

To make a good scone takes a lot of skills and patience, and this is why Justin is so passionate about his scones.

“I would say our scone is what it is because of a combination of reasons”.

“Firstly, the recipe and ingredients must be excellent. Secondly, the technique applied to its making at every step of the way is stringently repeated every single day.

“This results in the third factor: consistency. Ultimately, it’s all about pleasing the diner.”

Besides the scones, at Miss Ellie Tea House, Justin has also introduced a good variety of other pastries, desserts, breads and other baked goods. This is why besides the lunch hours, people do go there for afternoon tea just to enjoy his patisserie.

As I put together this piece of article for our Waltzing Matilda food trail, I am already drooling over the mention of his Pandan Panna Cotta (RM7.50), Vanilla Crème Brûlée (RM9.50), White Coffee and Chocolate Parfait and Strawberry Cheesecake.

Occasionally, he makes one or two special dessert such as his Ginger Crème Brûlée. When durians are in season, his most popular special is the Durian Crème Brûlée.

Other baked offerings include the Salt Caramel Fudge Cupcakes, Flourless Orange and Poppy Cake, Passionfruit White Chocolate, Australian Carrot Cake, Baked New York Cheesecake (with a milk chocolate version) and Passionfruit Calamansi Tart, to name a few.

A good time to check out Justin’s range of patisserie while enjoying it with a pot of Earl Grey is just after the lunch hours, when there are fewer guests.

 

Miss Ellie Tea House is located at No. 7 Jalan H3, Taman Melawati, 53100 Kuala Lumpur.

Business hours: 10am-7pm (Tuesday – Thursday) Friday – Saturday (10am – 9.30pm) Closed on: Sundays and Mondays

Tel: 03-41620113

Email: [email protected]

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/missellieteahouse/

Waze  location:  https://www.waze.com/livemap?zoom=17&lat=3.22315&lon=101.72537

Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/scZj1RARPKn

The other articles on our Waltzing Matilda food trail series:

Penang Curry Mee at Restoran Tong Siang one of better ones in town

Penang Curry Mee at Restoran Tong Siang one of better ones in town

I have always enjoyed Penang curry mee, but there are too many versions of it and everyone is claiming theirs is ‘authentic.’

What sometimes puts me off is when some Penang purists say that non-Penangite foodie fans do not know to differentiate between the authentic Penang curry mee and from those that are

“good only for non-Penangite taste buds.”

 

Enough of the arguments, I am sure no two equally well-known hawker stalls in Penang selling the local Penang cuisine, would be able to produce exactly the same taste in order to claim theirs is more authentic than the others.

Therefore, I have decided that this is all but a myth especially when one hawker is trying to put down the other. Taste is very subjective; it is all about the individual’s personal preferences.

Some like it spicy, but I prefer the milder curry that goes with the noodles. Occasionally, I would ask for a mix with bee hoon for a change.

I am sure most Penangites would give me a weird look, when I ask to replace the pig blood curd, cockles and the squid with Tahu Pok, because they say it is not authentic Penang curry mee, but that’s how I like it.

Because they have grown up becoming acquainted with certain hawker stalls and developed their likings based on the way the local cuisine is prepared a certain way, it does not automatically become the benchmark for what is good.

The moral of the story is: wherever I could find a place that serves reasonable good Penang curry mee, I would try it and judge it based on its own merits.  

Recently, I discovered another place in the Klang Valley where they serve good Penang curry mee which is worth checking out.

Initially, I was not impressed. Although they have been in business elsewhere for the past 15 years, Restoran Tong Siang in Desa Aman Puri only started two years ago. With people already flocking there during lunch hours, I could not help but take my friend’s word to check it out.

During the food review session, another foodie fan and I agree that the Penang curry noodle here is something that we would strongly recommend.

Its restaurant operator, Tan Lay Peng may not be from Penang, but her Penang curry mee beats others that I have tried in the past, including the ones that some claim to be ‘authentic’.

To get to the taste that I liked, I had to ask for a little more soup, as I personally prefer it to be less spicy. When it was less spicy, I gave it the thumbs up! Yes, this is how I like it and I enjoyed every bit of the soup, even to the last drop of the soup.

 

To get to the taste that I liked, I had to ask for a little more soup, as I personally prefer it to be less spicy. When it was less spicy, I gave it the thumbs up! Yes, this is how I like it and I enjoyed every bit of the soup, even to the last drop of the soup.

I later learnt from Lay Peng that she buys the raw ingredients directly from their regular suppliers from Penang. Maybe, that’s the reason why her Penang Curry Mee has been her bestseller for so many years albeit not originally from Penang.

Besides the Penang Curry Mee, Tong Siang is also famous for its Penang Assam Laksa. This was based on our observations when we were there during peak hours. On every table, there was at least one customer ordering it. They also serve Mee Jawa here.

Most of the recipes of these cuisines originated from Lay Peng’s 88-year-old mother, Hau Yock Chiyau.

“My mother is Hokkian from Bidor,” Lay Peng says. “She is adept at cooking, where even the simplest of dishes can be cooked to perfection.”

 

Here at Tong Siang, they also serve ice shavings with Red Bean and Yam as a dessert. I particularly find their Yam with ice shavings and glutinous rice. According to Lay Peng, the black glutinous rice is prepared using a slow cooker before it is added to the shaven ice.

What is interesting is that the restaurant has also been reviewed by a Japanese expatriate and its Soy Sauce Chicken rice appears to receive the thumbs up. My invited guest and I agreed with that review wholeheartedly.

The prices here for the noodle dishes are between RM7.90 and RM8.90, while a plate of rice with either the rendang chicken, green curry chicken or curry chicken is about RM8.90 to RM9.50.

So for the Penang foodie purists, if you ask me whether this restaurant serves authentic Penang cuisines, my answer is:

“It depends on one’s own taste buds. Never underestimate this restaurant.”

 

Based on Lay Peng’s explanation, the name Tong Siang was picked for the restaurant because it means `coming from the same hometown.’ So, whether from Bidor or from Air Hitam, we are all talking about the best local cuisines that most Malaysians know best to enjoy.

“The name was chosen as it evokes a sense of familiarity and camaraderie. This allows those who patronize our restaurant to feel a sense of belonging, wherever they may be from. The food has a classic and traditional taste which brings a feeling of having gourmet food back at one’s hometown,” she says.

Restoran Tong Siang is located at no 3-28, Jalan Desa 2/4, Desa Aman Puri, Selangor.

Business hours: 10AM–9PM (7 days a week)

Tel: 03-6273  6915 / HP:012-210 5273

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Restaurant-tong-xiang-%E5%90%8C%E4%B9%A1%E7%BE%8E%E9%A3%9F%E5%9D%8A/199354243437579

Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/2hPEHmhr4212

Waze location:  https://www.waze.com/livemap?zoom=17&lat=3.20917&lon=101.61585

Miss Ellie’s legacy goes on…

Miss Ellie’s legacy goes on…

Miss Ellie has left behind a legacy that is hard to be erased from the memories of those who loved her.

The cute little lady-like toy poodle, Ellie was a favourite pet of the Wong family, especially Nancy, who still misses her after several years that she died.

The English tea house in an isolated location somewhere in Taman Melawati is now named after the “late” Miss Ellie.

Thanks to Waze and Google Map, I was able to find it. Even some friends who live in Taman Melawati did not know it existed, as the façade was more like a home than a restaurant. The moment you swing open the door, it is like a totally different world altogether.

The tea house is cosy and decorated very well with Nancy’s own collectibles accumulated over the years. The place is tastefully decorated with a portrait (that looks almost like 3D) of Miss Ellie.

The ambience and the cuisine that it serves receives my thumbs-up, except that you should try to avoid going there during peak hours. Prices are reasonable.

Hopefully, by the time this article is out, Miss Ellie would get a boost with the help of the local state assemblyman, Saari Sungib over the problem with the business license to expand to another shoplot.

Nancy’s son was working as a pastry chef in Melbourne, Australia for about ten years. For that reason, I will put his pastry on the Waltzing Matilda food trail; therefore, I will not mention about his pastries in this article.

When Justin’s father, Col. Wong Yeng Kee (known to his friends and colleagues as Colonel Wong) passed away, he came back to Malaysia to be with the mother. The mother-and- son gradually came out of their bereavement and decided to start the English tea house in December 2012 with the help of Justin’s wife, Hsin I and a family friend, Auntie Helen Choong. “Yeng Kee used to work with the British,” Nancy reminiscences.

“Having been influenced by the English culture, he started to introduce to the family the finer things in life such as the habit of having afternoon tea. This tea house was, in fact, an idea we had as part of our retirement plan. It was good that Justin decided to stay back to start this tea house together.”

For the food, go for their Spaghetti Pesto Prawns (RM22.50). This is one dish that you cannot leave the place without even if you are just ordering a plate to share out. I went there a second time with my family and my children love Justin’s Spaghetti Pesto Prawns the best.

(See my son’s blog; he even took a selfie with Justin. To encourage him to write more, please post short comments on his blog. Children being children, when he now benchmarks this tea house against his list of favourites, he puts this as his No 1).

I must admit that during the food tasting session with two other guests a couple of days earlier, the Spaghetti Pesto Prawns was also our No 1 dish, but I am sure there are other cuisine that are good but because we could only eat so much, we asked Justin to cap his wide repertoire to just a few.

Former Bernama editor-in-chief, Datuk Yong Soo Heong and his friend, Stephanie Khoo were the special invited food tasters on this round. Yong, who lives in the neighbourhood, returns for more on the Saturday after the food tasting session.

A fan of Shepherd’s pie, I think this is another cuisine of Justine’s known as Tikka Shepherd’s Pie (RM16.50) that I would recommend to all foodies. In Malaysia, this is not very popular but it was one of my favourite when I had to depend on pies served at the university café when I was studying in Australia.

On my second visit, Justin was able to reduce the pepper for me and added a little bit more salt, to give it just the ‘perfect’ taste for my taste buds.

We all liked the Australian Beef Casserole (RM19.50) as it was well-stewed. With my family, I got to taste more cuisine. My children literally grew up on pasta; so, the four of us spent about RM150 to savour the different kinds of pasta and pastries.

Besides the Spaghetti Pesto Prawns, we also tried Mom’s Spaghetti Bolognesse (RM15.50) and Spaghetti METHriciana (RM14.50). You can also try their Tea-Smoked Salmon Salad (RM15.50) and Vanilla Crème Brulee (RM9.50).

It is unfortunate that the tea house is located quite a distance away from home; otherwise, I would make it my second home.

Maybe the next time I visit the place is when Stephanie goes a cappella here and I will try out Justin’s other cuisine for a change.

Miss Ellie Tea House is located at
No. 7 Jalan H3, Taman Melawati, 53100 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-41620113

Business hours:
10am – 7pm (Tuesday – Thursday),
10am – 9:30pm (Friday – Saturday)
Closed on Sundays

Restoran HSBC – Hot & Spicy Bangsar Cuisine

Restoran HSBC – Hot & Spicy Bangsar Cuisine

Restoran HSBC in Lorong Maarof, Bangsar has become a household name for the past 17 years not because it is owned by a bank.

After all I am not a fan of the banking group, but the acronym which stands for “Hot & Spicy Bangsar Cuisine” has its uniqueness that is not often found in other Chinese restaurants. The two entities are a world apart.

It was set up a family restaurant in 2000 by Jeevan Simon, with the help of his wife, Uma Revathy and brother-in-law, Ravinder Nadarajah. At that juncture, Jeevan had decided to give up his banana leaf rice to concentrate on his passion for Chinese food. But, for an Indian to run a Chinese restaurant?

Why not? Malaysians operate Japanese, Italian and Western, Thai, and even Korean restaurants, so why can’t a Malaysian Indian operate a Chinese restaurant. After all, Jeevan comes across as an Indian who understands what understands what the Chinese tick.

In fact, I was wondering whether Jeevan is a lost descendant of Admiral Cheng Ho or Justice Pao. Both were well-known Chinese heroes but they looked more Indian than the average Chinese.

Hailing from Penang, Jeevan’s success in the food business is largely due to his passion for anything that satisfy his taste buds.

So besides the Chinese dishes, he has also introduced a wide variety of cuisine such as Nasi Ayam Dulang (RM12.50) which he claims to be from Bali. His HSBC Special Tom Yam Soup (RM10 per pax) and HSBC Special Pineapple Fried Rice RM12.50 also received positive feedback from the foodies invited to the food tasting session.

Every year, he travels to other countries where he would try out different kinds of gastronomic.

“When I find something interesting, I would come back to try to reproduce it,” he said. “Sometimes, I have to improvise it to suit the local tastes.”

For those who love crabs, they can also try Jeevan’s curry leaf crabs (RM45 a kilo). He uses the smaller blue crabs which I understand are more acceptable to Muslims.

Because Jeevan wanted enough foodies to help finish up the dishes that he wanted to introduce, it turned up that I received a lot of thumbs-up for his other dishes, too. I particularly like his Special HSBC Kailan (RM20 for a medium serving) and his Kung Po fish fillet (RM15 Small).

Others picked the HSBC Special Chicken ((Medium) RM20) and Cheong Cheng Style Deep Fried Siakap.

In fact, since they do have a wide variety of gastronomical delights, I can understand why some older couples in the neighbourhood prefer to have their dinner there almost every night.

By the time we finished our meals at 6pm, other customers already started streaming in. They included expatriates, Eurasians and even Malay customers.

Restoran HSBC is located at
84, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2282 7221

Business hours: 11:45 AM – 2:45PM, 5:45PM – 11:45PM (Sunday – Saturday)

Lavishing Oneself at D’italiane

Lavishing Oneself at D’italiane

Life is such that sometimes one has to lavish oneself or loved ones to some really nice cuisine.

Occasionally, a little indulgence in life or just to pamper the family is a good treat to motivate ourselves to work even harder to achieve our next milestone in life.

After all, as we have always been told, when we die, we cannot bring along with us even a single dime. There is time to stinge; there is also time to satisfy the craving of these taste buds before they start shutting down.

And, if the craving is for some great Italian cuisine, D’italiane is the right place. We have been here several times before and the ambience is just right for casual dining.

The restaurant first started in 2003 with the name, ‘The Little Italian Kitchen’ at Section 9 in Shah Alam. Four years later, it relocated to Jaya 33 and another two outlets were added, one at Sunway Giza and the latest addition is located at Ground Floor of Paradigm Mall.

It was here at D’italiane @Paradigm that an old friend of mine, Janet Ooi was invited along with her son, Colin Ng Soon Beng for a food tasting together. It was in appreciation of their efforts, especially our wonder-boy-turned-young-man, who has provided the music background to all my video clips.

Colin is a wonder boy whose musical talent has yet to be discovered. At the age of 3, his mother discovered that he was able to produce music using the magical calculator.

Despite being born blind and with multiple disabilities, he managed obtain his Bachelor of Music. A young man of his talent should be performing in major concerts nationwide, and perhaps beyond. For this Go Italian food trail, he has played for us Santa Lucia (Italian: ˈsanta luˈtʃiːa) to enjoy.

And at D’italiane on November 1, Colin entertained guests with his wide repertoire of music. He can listen to any song and play it back to you. The music and the wide range of modern Italian gastronomia at D’italiane blended well.

From starters, soup and salad to risotto, pizza, pasta and main courses, it attracts both old and young alike. It also serves sandwiches and mouth-watering desserts, for which this month, they have the Choc Banana Mille-Feuille which is served with Madagascar vanilla gelato. The mille-feuille, a French word meaning “thousand-leaf” is basically a French pastry with layers of crunchy puff pastry and rich custard.

It is sometimes known as the Napoleon pastry dessert. It may not necessarily be linked to the French military leader-turned- emperor but the dessert became popular in Paris during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Grilled Cod Fish with lemon cream reduction is what I would recommend to guests who wish to impress their corporate clients with this cuisine.

The succulent fillet is grilled to perfection and creamy lemon dill sauce poured over it, giving this signature dish just the right taste.

Their Stromboli priced at RM32 is good for a hearty meal, perhaps, for two persons if they happen to be small eaters. Because I told them that I was looking for a place where they serve nice turkey for Christmas, they gave us their glazed honey turkey Stromboli, but you can also choose roasted lamb, roasted beef, chicken drips or mixed seafood instead. For an additional RM8, you can add opt for their smoked duck or chicken.

Cream of Fresh Mushroom soup is rich in mushroom, and of course, with the price that one is paying, this is to be expected. It’s value for the money as mushrooms are not cheap these days, too.

D’italiane’s off-menu cuisine is the Chicken Chorizo with sundried tomato spaghetti. Give it a try but if you are the type that loves the Italian spaghetti.

If ambience and food quality is top on your priority, this place should be your next Italian food adventure
stop. The portions that you see in these photographs are for food tasting purpose purposes.

A good thing is that you can decide on what to order in advance by checking out their menu online.

Currently, D’italiane has three outlets at Jaya 33 Mall, Sunway Giza Mall and Paradigm Mall.

D’Italiane @ Jaya33
Address: PG-01B, Ground Floor, Jaya33, No 3 (Lot33) Jalan Semangat, Seksyen 13, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan. Malaysia
Tel: 03-7956-3684
Business hours: 11 am – 11 pm (7 days/week)

D’Italiane @ Sunway Giza Shopping Mall
Address: Block D, F 10, First Floor, No.2, Jalan PJU 5/14, PJU 5, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan. Malaysia
Tel: 03-6148-1828
Business hours: 10 am – 11 pm (7 days/week)

D’Italiane @ Paradigm Mall
Address: GB 03A &05, Level G, No 1, Jalan SS7/26A, Kelana Jaya, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan. Malaysia
Tel: 03-7802-8968
Business hours: 10 am – 11 pm (7 days/week)

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