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Review: Chicago Rib House, 1 Utama

>> Friday, January 24, 2014

Overall comment: Tender ribs that will satisfy + a good variety of non-ribs dishes to enjoy as well.
Halal: No

You would have passed by the Chicago Rib House when you shop at 1Utama's New Wing. It's one of the very few places within the shopping mall that serves porkilicious meals! Now, aren't you excited? :D

Chinese New Year is just a week away. With the many restaurants offering their Chinese New Year promotions, Chicago Rib House will not miss the opportunity to introduce to you their Porkalicious Joy Luck Sets in addition to their famous pork ribs!

The promotional Porkilicious Joy Luck Sets are available from 17th Jan to 13th  Feb 2014. Prices range from RM39.90 (individual platter), RM88.80 (for 2 pax) to RM168.80 (for 4 pax).

To add to the festive mood, Chicago Rib House has introduced the Ang Pow Dip to further reward their customers. For every order of the Porkalicious Joy Luck Set (2 pax), customers are entitled to one lucky dip, while every order of the set for 4 pax will entitle 2 lucky dips. A la carte customers can also stand a chance for the lucky dip.Every RM100.00 spent entitles for 1 lucky dip. All lucky dips are while stocks last, so don't miss out the opportunity!
Jade Empress (RM23.80++ per jug)
A refreshingly cool and lightly spiced cocktail
This is one of their CNY promotional items. It is quite a refreshing drink that paired well with the load of meat served in the set. It has a good variety of textures, flavour & fragrance. The base of the drink is the apple cider vinegar, accompanied by soda water for the fizz, cinnamon powder for the "kick" & it's topped with chopped green apples & oranges for some "bite". I kinda liked it, but I thought the taste of the cinnamon powder was a tad heavy.

* Carlsberg Beer is also available by the jug at only RM38.80++.

So what's in the set, you may wonder. I had the opportunity to taste the set for 4 pax, so here are the dishes included in the set (4 dishes):

Yee Sang
Norwegian Salmon, shredded mango, carrots, red cabbage, white radish, cucumber, cilantro, spring onion, sesame seeds, crackers and served with Chicago Rib House's specially made in-house Plum Sauce
Unlike the typical Chinese Yee Sang, Chicago Rib House uses the smoked Norwegian Salmon, which is more salty. I personally didn't like the combination of smoked salmon with fresh vegetables with a sweet sauce as it was just over-powering with salt. As per its original name of "yee sang" (yee = fish, sang = fresh), I much prefer fresh slices of fish to go with the medley of fresh vegetables.

Toss it, mix it - for a more prosperous year 2014!

The end result of the mixed "yee sang" - salad with a Chinese touch

Platter Set (RM39.90++ per set for ala carte/individual platter)
Spare ribs, pork sausages,  grilled fresh water prawns, grilled mussels, vegetable sticks & cheese dip
I love the colours on the platter; it's rich in colour & the pieces of meat were nicely positioned to bring you on a "journey" through the whole platter. I actually liked the cheese dip, although I felt as if this platter was left out to be served for quite some time (the sauce looks "left out on the counter for a little too long"). The sausages lacked the "charred taste" & same goes the spare ribs. I felt that the spare ribs were somehow too soft. Not that I like tough & rough spare ribs, but these felt "boiled"/"pressure cooked" to get it tender before grilling it just for a while (not long enough) & smothering it with the BBQ sauce. Aroma is key for such ribs & it's falling short. On the other hand, the seafood weren't exactly top-notch. Prawns weren't very fresh, but mussels are still fine. It's something that Chicago Rib House will have to look into so that their mixed platters won't be affected by their seafood pieces. Remember, ribs is key here!

Braised Pork Belly
Braised pork belly served with an Asian-inspired tangy sweet sauce of passion fruit, spices and wine
When I saw this dish, I was like "oolala...". It's like our Chinese "tau yu bak" (braised dark sauce pork) + "dong por yoke" (braised pork belly - REALLY thick fatty one). Flavour is quite good, but somehow not much got absorbed by the meat i.e. the flavour was mostly just on the surface. The braised pork belly was tender, lacking flavour & realllllllly fat!

Baby Back Ribs
Tender baby back ribs char-grilled with Plum Sauce accompanied with 2 sides
 What's there to complain about a plate of baby back ribs? Chicago Ribs House is living up to its name for a good plate of pork ribs :)

Some of the side dishes available:

Beer-Battered Fries
Crispy fries just like your favourite serving of the "fish & chips" fish.

Mashed potatoes with its skin + cheese
Not the best as it's somewhat dry, but I'm a sucker for mashed potatoes, so I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Corn, Fragrant Rice, & Fresh Vegetables

Baked potato topped with sour cream, cheese & bacon bits, I think
I didn't get to try it.


Ah, after those 4 dishes, I think I was over-dosed with pork, meat, & cholesterol. If you're adventurous & won't mind indulging in more sinful dishes, Chicago Rib House is also introducing the Drunken Prawns this festive season!

Drunken Prawns (RM68.80++ per set)
Steamed with white wine, flambé with brandy
It's not just a plate of steamed prawns, but an interesting "performance" as well when the staff flambé the prawns with brandy :) I didn't really like it as it lacks the alcoholic "punch" that I usually get from typical Chinese restaurants. I also felt the prawns weren't very fresh for that day.

For some variety this Chinese New Year with your family & friends, drop by Chicago Rib House & enjoy a Porkilicious Joy Luck meal! :)

Chicago Rib House
Lot F346, First Floor

1 Utama Shopping Centre (New Wing)
1 Persiaran Bandar Utama
47800 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel: (+603) 7727 3210
Business Hours: 11:00a.m. - 11:00p.m. 
URL: http://www.chicagoribhouse.com.my
FB: https://www.facebook.com/CRHMalaysia
No. of Seats: 120
Forms of Payment: Cash & Credit Card

Presentation: * * * *
Price: * * *
Environment: * * *
Taste: * *  1/2
Service: * * * 1/2



Pork is GOOD!


Review: Chinese New Year Promotion, Utara Coffee House, Armada Hotel PJ

>> Saturday, January 18, 2014

Overall comment: A good spread of Chinese New Year dishes that's consistently tasty :)
Halal: Yes

Chinese New Year is around the corner! To usher in the Year of the Horse, Chef Chew and his team at the Utara Coffee House, has prepared a variety of Chinese New Year dishes, perfect to be enjoyed with family & friends on this joyous time of celebration.

For families who would like something different to celebrate the reunion of family & friends during this festive season, the buffet line will feature a wide variety of "auspicious" dishes from 2nd January - 14th February 2014. Some of the featured dishes are the Braised Sea Cucumber with Green Vegetables and Mushrooms, Lotus Leaf Rice, Braise Duck with Black Mushrooms, Steamed Seabass with Ginger Sauce, Herbal Roasted Duck, Chinese Baked Salted Chicken with Herbs, and Braised Chestnut Duck. Quite an abundance of ducky dishes, eh? :D The buffet is priced at RM70.00++ per adult, RM49.00++ per senior citizen & RM35.00++ per child.

Buffet Spread on CNY Eve: Sample of ingredients that you'll find in the "Pun Choy"

Yes, you won't want to miss the "special appearance" of the "Giant-Sized Pun Choy" & "Yee Sang" on the eve of Chinese New Year at the buffet spread as well (at the same buffet dinner price)!

Buffet Spread: Sample of the Lotus Leaf Rice

Buffet Spread: Sample of the Longevity Noodles

Chef Chew introducing some of the dishes of the buffet spread

Chinese New Year favourites!

Buffet Spread: Sample of Steamed Chicken with Black Mushrooms

Buffet Spread: Sample of Ingredients in the Braised Duck with Black Mushrooms dish

Buffet Spread: Sample of Fish Cake Rolls 

Buffet Spread: Sample of a rrawn dish

 Buffet Spread: Sample of fresh sashimi & sushi (yes, also available!)
Also available are the fresh & crispy Fruity Veggie "Yee Sang" (vegetarian), Salmon "Yee Sang", Butterfish "Yee Sang", & the Japanese-inspired Hokkaido "Yee Sang" for your "Lou Hei" from RM40.00++ per portion. Chinese New Year meals are just incomplete without having each person to toss the medley of fish, fruits, & vegetables to boost prosperity, good health & more blessings for the year ahead.

Apart from the extensive variety of dishes at the buffet spread, guests who would like to indulge in set menus will also not be disappointed with the 3 spectacular Prosperity Set Menus (minimum table of 10 pax), ideal for family, friends & even for business.

Look forward to be spoilt for choice with Utara Coffee House's Blissful Longevity Set Menu (RM988.00++ per set), Everlasting Success Set Menu (RM1088.00++ per set) & Bountiful Treasures Set Menu (RM1188.00++ per set), each comprising of a "Yee Sang" dish, plus 8 other special Chinese New Year dishes, to complete your celebration. What better way to celebrate such festivity than with a great company of family & friends over a sumptous spread of food, right?

I sampled the Blissful Longevity Set Menu that night, so here's a sneak preview of the dishes served:

Prosperity Yee Sang with Crustacean

"Lou Hei"!

The 'joyous mess'! :D
The "yee sang" has been pretty consistent since the previous years that I've had it, sweet & tangy. This year, I had the opportunity to sample a different variant of "yee sang" with crustacean, which was quite interesting, although I felt that the abalone's freshness needs to be checked prior serving. I would say that I still prefer the traditional 'fish-based' "yee sang", but this is a good change that does not break tradition too much ;)

Braised Seafood with Mentaiko Soup
Thick & flavourful broth with an abundance of seafood. The only thing I didn't fancy was the crab's soft-shells that I found while drinking spoonfuls of soup.

Pei Pah Chicken in Orange Salsa Sauce
This was "eye candy"! The colourful & pretty sight just whets our appetite & tempted us to pick up piece after piece of the chicken & the salad. It was a dish with balanced taste of savoury & sweet with a tinge of sour. Very fragrant :) The combination of textures available on the platter was a "palate-pleaser" as well. I enjoyed the orange & cucumbers salad, which had a nicely balanced dressing *thumbs up* Great innovation to a traditional dish!

Deep-Fried Sea Garoupa in Spicy Sesame Sauce
This was another favourite on the table. It's a plate of art! We found this a creative way of presenting a simple fish dish that caught everyone's attention :) You'll certainly find cameras (and camera phones) clicking away before everyone picks up a piece of the crispy & spicy bean-sauce, sesame-fragrant fish. Well done, chefs! Last year's was the "Flying Fish"; this year's a "Dancing Fish" :D

Steamed Tiger Prawns with Ginger Sauce
The prawns were fresh & the taste of the ginger was certainly evident. Fuh. "Ada kick"! There was sesame oil added to the ginger sauce, which gave the steamed prawns a slightly smokey taste, but the dish could do with a bit more salt. It would be WAY better if Chinese cooking wine was added to the dish, but the restaurant serves halal food, so too bad for people like me who prefer a touch of alcohol to such a dish :D

Braised "Taukan" with Black Mushrooms & Chinese Brussel Sprouts in Black Moss Sauce
A simple vegetarian dish that tasted SO delicious that we finished the entire plate of veggie! The "taukan"/beancurd sheets & black mushrooms were perfectly braised in the flavourful black moss sauce that it absorbed all the flavours of the sauce. You can be sure to expect pieces of silky smooth beancurd sheets, bursting with the black moss sauce in every bite of the "taukan" *drools* The crunchy Chinese brussel sprouts/"choy tam" adds to the enjoyable experience in every mouthful of this dish as well...yums!

Fried Rice with Pineapple
I must say that it's not too bad to have pineapple fried rice here instead of the usual "Yong Chow" style fried rice. It has good "wok hei", which is very important for Chinese-style cooking :)

Shanghai-Style Pancake
 This is a common dessert in a Chinese 8-course meal. This wasn't too sweet, but the pancake's crust was a tad too thick for my liking.

Sweet Red Bean Cream with Snow Fungus & Sago
Visually, it looks rather strange. But taste-wise, it was actually quite pleasant! The snow fungus were tender, the red bean cream was not overly sweet & the dessert overall was quite smooth in each mouthful. For a person who doesn't fancy desserts, I thought this was quite a nice twist to the usual red bean soup. It adds another dimension of texture to the humble red bean dessert.

The portions were generous, so I was stuffed at the end of the dinner. What a satisfying meal!

For reservations or enquiries on the Chinese New Year promotions available, please contact the Utara Coffee House at their contact details below :)

Stay tuned for more Chinese New Year specials with PerutBesi!

Utara Coffee House Armada Hotel
Lot 6, Lorong Utara C, Section 52
46200 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
For reservations, please call (+603) 7954 6888 ext. 4557
URL: www.armada.com.my
FB: Hotel Armada
Twitter: Hotel Armada

Presentation: * * * *
Price: * * *
Environment: * * * 1/2
Taste: * * * 1/2
Service: * * * 1/2


Looking forward to Chinese New Year,


Review: La Maison Restaurant, Silka Maytowers Hotel & Serviced Residences

>> Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

I finally have some time to put up my blog posts :D I sure hope this year will be a greater one for each of us as we step into a brand new year, one with renewed hope & passion in everything that we do :)

Much has happened since my last blog post, but I don't think I've the bandwidth to capture it on this blog (work is still quite a roller coaster ride). So, do continue to enjoy reading my food adventures this year!

Overall comment: Decent variety, but efficiency of service & taste of food has room for improvement.
Halal: Yes

Silka Maytowers Hotel & Serviced Residences is strategically located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, walking distance from/to the Merdeka Square, Central Market, Chinatown/Petaling Street, the KL Tower, the Petronas Twin Towers, and the Lake Gardens. It boasts of 193 rooms and suites, providing affordable yet comfortable accommodation for business & leisure purposes.

The hotel building
photo taken from Silka Maytower's website

View of the swimming pool (day time)
photo taken from Silka Maytower's website

View of the swimming pool (night time)

The Deluxe Room
photo taken from Silka Maytower's website

The Studio Suite
photo taken from Silka Maytower's website

The Studio Suite's Living Room
photo taken from Silka Maytower's website

Lift area (photo taken late December 2013)

The moderately sized hotel has an in-house restaurant, La Maison, which serves freshly prepared breakfast, lunch, & dinner. It also offers 24-hours room service for those who would like to satisfy their cravings in the middle of the night or at their convenience, without having to go down to the cafe for a meal.

Reception (left) and restaurant (front)

View of the restaurant/cafe

The restaurant serves only à la carte dishes at most times, except when there are groups staying at the hotel. During such times, the restaurant will prepare a mini buffet area, serving a soup, salads, & desserts for all to enjoy (it's paid-for by the groups anyway...heehee...).

I was quite fortunate to review the restaurant's dishes when there was a large group staying at the hotel for a conference. Woots! More dishes to enjoy :D

Tomato soup

I didn't find their tomato soup very exciting. It lacks the "personal touch" i.e. herbs & spices & texture. I would much prefer it to be thicker, perhaps more chunky (with some bite) & some fragrant herbs in the creamy soup. This one feels somewhat 'direct from the can'.

Salad section
Unlike the other larger hotels, Silka Maytower Hotel's salad section is very small. At the very least, I must say that their vegetables are fresh. It would be great to have at least 1 or 2 additional types of salad dressings to accommodate the variety of palate of the guests.

Dessert section: "Sweet soups"
The dessert for that day was green bean soup, cooked in the typical Malay-style that has coconut milk. Perhaps La Maison could include the list of major ingredients on their "dish titles/cards", so that the guests would know what they're eating ;)

Dessert section: Cakes & fruits
Decent variety of cakes, fruits, & puddings. I didn't try 'em out, but I thought it looked pretty good. Haha.

At present, La Maison is having a lunch promotion called the Silka Lunch Savers. For just RM19.90++ per set, you'll get to enjoy 1 of their 9 tantalizing dishes (3 types of pasta, 2 types of chops, 1 type of noodle dish, 1 type of rice dish, & 1 type of sandwich), along with free-flow beverage of the day, plus an array of appetizers, soup & desserts from the buffet line. The lunch promotion starts at 12:00p.m. - 2:30p.m. With the generous serving of food for lunch, I sure hope that you won't doze-off when you get back to work!

The restaurant is also opened for those who would like to have a tea break or a light meal of chicken pie or the cappuccino cheese cake (current promotions; RM12.00++ per serving of either variant).

Here's what we had for dinner that night:

Revitalizing Juice (RM12.00++ per glass)
I wanted to have the concoction of cucumber, celery & green apple, but they ran out of celery. So I ended up having something that's not on the list i.e. cucumber, orange, & green apple. Doesn't taste too bad, but as you can see, quite a lot of water (and syrup) was added to the glass. You'll have to tell them if you do not want syrup added to your juice, or it'll be added by default.

Seafood Aglio Olio (RM22.00++ per serving)
Fresh prawns, squids & mussels tossed & sauteed with olive oil and spaghetti with a dash of garlic
My friend had this, which I didn't do a taste-test. But the sight-test tells me that it's somewhat dry & I wish the mussels were larger! So tiny....

Spaghetti Carbonara with Turkey Ham (RM22.00++ per serving)
 Rich cream sauce of eggs, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, sliced turkey, and mushrooms served with penne pasta*
I was quite disappointed with their carbonara. The reason why I ordered the carbonara was because of the "rich cream sauce of eggs". Actual carbonara uses eggs as the "cream", but this one tasted like the actual cream itself. 
They didn't have penne that night, so they suggested that I take the fettuccine, but they came out of the kitchen again to tell me that they ran out of fettuccine, so I just asked to have the spaghetti. Hmm...the kitchen really needs to be stocked up with such ingredients! How can they run out of "dried pasta". If they make their own fresh pasta, it's a different story. 
I found this too creamy & thick that I couldn't finish the whole plate of pasta. The spaghetti was over-cooked & too soft, so it gave a rather cloying feel halfway through. The mushrooms were canned button mushrooms, which didn't have "class" for a hotel's pasta dish.

Grilled Chicken
The kitchen is apparently more popular with its grilled meats i.e. salmon, steak & chicken. Our friend ordered the grilled salmon, which took a very long time to arrive. Upon requesting for his food again, he was told that they ran out of salmon, so he settled for the chicken. I failed to understand what's happening in the kitchen as chicken doesn't take THAT long to be grilled. I didn't do the taste-test for this dish, but I wasn't too excited when I saw the dish as it lacks creativity. I guess presentation & layout of the dish does help. Haha.

Perhaps having dinner here wasn't too good an idea compared to having the Silka Lunch Savers. If you happen to give the lunch set a try, do let me know how's the food & service. I sure hope that kitchen crew will do way better during lunch hours, when business is peak & the crowd turn-over is quicker.

Much room for improvement :)  

May the year 2014 bring greater opportunities, revenue, & excitement to La Maison!

La Maison Restaurant
Silka Maytower Hotel & Serviced Residences
7, Jalan Munshi Abdullah
50100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 2692 9298
Fax: (+603) 2692 9991
Email: reservation.maytower@silkahotels.com  

URL: Silka Maytower Hotel & Serviced Residences
GPS: 3.154084, 101.698235
Restaurant's business hours: 6:30a.m. - 11:00p.m.

Welcoming the brand new year 2014,

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