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SurF tHis SitE RaNdoMly

Review: Songket Restaurant, Kuala Lumpur

>> Sunday, March 23, 2014

Overall comment: Comfortable ambiance with pretty good traditional & modern Malay cuisine. Guests will certainly enjoy the traditional performances as well! Great place for those who are foreign to Malaysian culture :)
Halal: Yes

It's one of those very rare nights that I actually brave through traffic in the city center to attend a food review. More often than not, I'll decline invitations to reviews where the restaurant is located in the heart of the city center, solely because 1) it's usually too congested & stressful to drive there from PJ & 2) I'm not familiar with the roads in town. Thank God that this particular weekday night, at that "right" time, the traffic flow was surprisingly smooth & I didn't get lost! Woohoo!! *exited*

The majestic view of the Petronas Twin Towers
I even managed to capture this lovely sight (rare one as well) while I was waiting at the traffic light to turn into Jalan Yap Kwan Seng :D

Tucked right at one corner of the city center is the Songket Restaurant, a Malay restaurant featuring harmonious traditional + modern cuisines that are suitable for various palates. I find this restaurant's concept especially suitable for tourists who would like to experience both a good variety of food & traditional dance performances.

Songket Restaurant
A "minion" amongst the "giant" sky-scrappers, but with HUGE flavours & experiences to offer!

The restaurant's kitchen is headed by Chef Umar, the executive chef with 17 years of working experience as chef & have been around with Songket for the past 2 years. Chef Umar & his team of passionate kitchen crew are constantly improving & serving guests at Songket with new/improved dishes, reviewing their menu once every 6 months.

Chef Umar with his latest creation/innovation

Chef Umar with one of his latest innovations: Rack of Australian Lamb Loin with Satay Sauce (Kambing Panggang Berempah)

Songket Restaurant usually serves ala carte dishes, but buffets can be arranged for groups with a minimum of 30 persons. Their dishes are richly infused with local/Asian herbs & spices plus fresh ingredients from their suppliers.

Typical herbs & spices used in Songket's dishes

Fresh "Asian-inspired" ingredients that are commonly found here at Songket

We were invited not just for the launch of Songket Restaurant's new & improved menu but to celebrate their 4th Anniversary together with the rest of the media & business partners as well :D There were approximately 100 persons at the event, so the restaurant served their dishes in a buffet spread.

Some of the latest dishes on their new menu (there are more than 10 new dishes on the menu, focusing a lot more on presentation of the dishes as compared to their previous menu) are:

Ayam Panggang Kuah Percik (RM28.00/serving)
Char-grilled whole leg(s) of chicken marinated in tumeric & ginger, & drizzled with lightly-spiced coconut gravy.
Marinated traditionally, Chef Umar aims to have this dish to be tastefully balanced to suit the palate of all races in Malaysia. It's not too spicy nor too heavily-infused with traditional Malay-cooking herbs & spices. According to Chef Umar, every race in Malaysia (and people from all over the world) would find this dish pleasing to their palate. I've yet to try it since it wasn't available at the buffet line that night! :(

Ikan Siakap Kukus Mangga Muda (RM65.00/serving)
Whole seabass steamed with Songket Restaurant's special mango sauce.
Here at Songket Restaurant, guests have a choice of 7 types of fishes & 8 methods of cooking. All you need to do is to pick your choice of fish, the method of cooking & just await to be satisfied with your personal preference!
Ikan Tongkol/Local Tuna (5 pieces) & Ikan Patin/Catfish (4 pieces) costs RM30.00/serving each, Ikan Bawal/Whole Pomfret costs RM45.00/serving, while the rest of the fishes like Ikan Senangin/Whole Senangin Fish, Ikan Siakap/Whole Seabass, & Ikan Jenahak/Fillet of Golden Snapper (450g) costs RM65.00/serving each.

Ikan Senangin Masak Lemak Asam (RM65.00/serving)
Deep-fried senangin fish simmered in a spicy gravy of chillies, turmeric, kaffic lime leaves & coconut milk.
This is one of the 8 methods of cooking for Songket Restaurant's fish dishes. The other methods are as photo below ;)

Kambing Panggang Berempah (RM58.00/serving)
Char-grilled slices of Australian lamb loin & ribs marinated with traditional spices, served with sweet-spicy peanut sauce.
According to Chef Umar, the lamb loins are grilled (bakar) before roasting/oven-baking (panggang) to ensure that the moisture of the meat is "locked-in". The meat is marinated with the traditional satay/peanut sauce ingredients over-night before it's cooked to perfection. Really interesting. I've never had a "satay-marinated char-grilled lamb loin" before! Yet to try it out! The dish is also served with a side of the traditional "bergedil" (fried mashed potatoes + meat patties) that resembles potato wedges.

Ketayap Pandan Dengan Ais Krim (RM10.00/serving)
Traditional Malay pancake rolled with "gula Melaka" coconut, served with pandan-flavour ice-cream
An interesting combination of the Malay traditional dessert with a locally-flavoured ice-cream! Chef Umar said that all their ice-cream flavors are Asian-inspired to give the traditional desserts a modern & fun touch :)

Durian Tiramisu (RM18.00/serving)
Traditional tiramisu (non-alcoholic/halal) flavored with creamy D24 durians, served with a shot of "fruit compote"
I asked Chef Umar if the compote was part of the "bold" tiramisu & he said "yes!". As the tiramisu is rich & may be cloying to some, the compote gives the heavy dessert a refreshing 'lift' to cleanse the palate when you feel "jelak" :D I'm impressed. Have to try this next time.

Satay (RM25.00/serving)
A Malaysian favorite, eight pieces of skewered chicken & beef fillet marinated in spiced honey & grilled over charcoal fire. Served with condiments & homemade peanut sauce.
My expectations of a good satay: tender & juicy meat, not too sweet, slightly burnt, & has the fragrance of lemon grass. The taste & texture of the peanut sauce has to be well-balanced too! I've yet to try Songket Restaurant's version. Hmm...after marinating the meat overnight with satay-marinade, I wonder how good the satay here would taste...

Variety of dishes
L->R: Daging Salai Masak Lemak Cili Api (RM45.00/ala carte serving), Sotong Goreng Kunyit (RM48.00/ala carte serving), Rendang Kambing (RM35.00/ala carte serving), Masak Lemak Ayam Nangka (RM26.00/ala carte serving), Ayam Rempah Bertumis (RM26.00/ala carte serving)
All their dishes that are cooked with coconut milk are really rich, creamy & nicely infused with herbs & spices (not over-powering). I could taste the aromatic kaffir lime leaves from some of the dishes like the Ayam Masak Lemak Nangka, a rather 'new' dish to me :) Yums!

Ikan Lemak Asam Gelugur (RM30.00 - RM65.00/ala carte serving), Udang Sos Mentega (RM48.00/ala carte serving), Ikan Masak Lemak Tempoyak (RM30.00 - RM65.00/ala carte serving), Baby Kailan Sos Tiram
I must say that the Ikan Masak Lemak Tempoyak is really delicious (rich, creamy, aromatic...oolala...)! For those who do not fancy durians, this may be a "put-off", but I've to say that it's a dish that you can rarely find in typical Malay restaurants. Must try!

My dinner for the night...a little bit of everything :D
The nasi minyak is fragrant & surprisingly more delectable than the nasi kerabu that I deeply missed! I need to head back to Kuantan/east coast again for good nasi kerabu... boohoo...

To conclude the traditional meal, we pretty much had "free-flow" of Malay traditional desserts from the buffet line. Those who know me will know that I'm not a fan of sweet food, but I still tried some of the desserts just to find out how the dessert here tastes.

Ketayap Pandan
It's no doubt very sweet...haha...but the pancake wasn't too thick, so the texture was still pretty satisfying.

Assortment of Nyonya kuih
Sweet & slightly savoury - I'm not a great fan of Nyonya kuih, so I can't really comment if these are really good...haha.

Assortment of Traditional Malay Desserts
L->R: Sago Gula Melaka (RM10.00/single portion serving), Sum-Sum Pandan Gula Melaka (RM12.00/single portion serving), Bubur Jagung, Kek Keju Mangga (RM15.00/single portion serving), Coconut Milk Pudding
I only tasted the sago gula Melaka that night (amongst the many desserts in the photo below), so I can't comment much on the desserts. The sago was slightly too soft, but it's still a nostalgic sensation to dish into this traditional dessert ;)

I did say that this place offers 'entertainment' as well, right? :D Some of us experienced watching certain traditional dances for the 1st time. How exciting! Haha...

L->R: Tarian Songket, Tarian Joget,Tarian Kuda Kepang (originates from Johor), Tarian Piring (originates from the Minangkabau people, West Sumatera)

L->R: Tarian Kipas Cina/Chinese Fan Dance, Tarian Sumpit (originates from Sarawak), one of the bloggers trying out how to blow the pipe, Tarian India/Indian Dance

L->R:Tarian  Joget Kadazan & Tarian Magunatip Buluh Kadazan/Kadazan Bamboo Dance, Cake Cutting Ceremony, Lucky Draw Prize Giving - one of our blogger friends won a lucky draw prize!

Map to Songket Restaurant

It was indeed an enjoyable night at Songket Restaurant. I enjoyed the food, the ambiance (although I was sitting outside at the non air-conditioned area with the rest of the gang), & certainly the friendship that we share over the same passion for good food. Looking forward to the next food review gathering! Thanks Nomsterad & Songket Restaurant for the opportunity to review the food here :)

Songket Restaurant
29, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 2161 3331/ (+6016) 3717 594 (Roslan)/ (+6012) 2607 769 (Firdaus)/ (+6012) 3945 004 (Umar)
Fax: (+603) 2161 3062
URL: http://www.songketrestaurant.com
Email: info@songketrestaurant.com
For media and PR related inquiry: plateauconsult@gmail.com
Business hours: Mon - Fri 12:00p.m. - 3:00p.m., 6:00p.m. - 11:00p.m.;
Sat/Sun/Public Holidays 5:00p.m. - 11:00p.m.

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


Enjoyed the experience at Songket Restaurant,


Review: Blu Med Ristorante e Bar @ The Gardens, Mid Valley

>> Thursday, March 13, 2014

Overall comment: Enjoy an interesting array of fusion Mediterranean-inspired food in a cozy ambiance. Their cocktails are pretty good too!
Halal: Pork-free (alcohol is served)

It's been a LONG while since I attended a food review session. The past month has been a rush to complete my work project & have the system go-live. I'm relieved that I now have some time to breathe & write again! Oh, how I miss blogging!

I started this week on a "food-adventure-friendship" a.k.a. "The Ruthless Eater" tone, clearing my Monday blues with a good meal & fellowship at Blu Med, The Gardens, Mid Valley. The restaurant actually looks pretty "posh" that from a glance, I wouldn't have thought of going in for a meal, thinking that it'll be too expensive. I'm glad to be proven wrong this time around!

The restaurant officially opened last Feb 2013 & it is a perfect destination for both casual & formal dining, considering that it has 2 separate levels to accommodate small groups of family & friends (lower ground) & also large corporate-like functions (upper level). The restaurant offers facilities like an LCD projector, speakers & microphones for events in addition to buffet spreads as well. Blu Med's seating capacity is about 160 diners on the lower ground (inside & outside the restaurant), while the upper level could seat 60 diners comfortably. They also have 2 private dining rooms for groups who would prefer their own space. (sounds like a good option for my project teams' next get-together session!)

For this "new menu" review session, my table was served a medley of 2 cocktails + 6 dishes + 1 dessert. Time to see for yourself what are some of the dishes available at Blu Med ;)

Strawberry Caipriroska (RM26.00/glass)
Absolute Kurant, lime chunks, golden brown sugar, soda water, strawberry puree & lime juice
I'm not an expert in cocktails, but I actually enjoyed this. The strawberry puree turned out pretty delightful & the cocktail was a nice balance of the Absolute Kurant & the non-alcoholic portions. Although I'm not a fan of strawberry drinks (solely because it usually tastes artificial/ like cough syrup), I found myself wanting more of this :D

Caipiranha (RM26.00/glass)
Cachaca Rum, lime chunks, golden brown sugar, ginger ale & lime juice
After drinking the Strawberry Caipriroska, I found this "woah!" The name itself tickled me. The first thing that came to my mind was a school of 'piranhas'! Kekekeke...This felt much stronger, but I can't resist the taste of rum! Loved this as well although I personally prefer the Strawberry Caipriroska to this Caipiranha. I know AP would love both of these!! I actually am looking forward to bringing him here for the drinks & food :D

Sample format of their new menu
Their new menu would be very simple, straight-forward & easy on the eyes. I can't wait to see the final menu next week! No more flipping pages, no more thick menu! *woots*

Appetizer: Chef’s Salad (RM24.90/serving)
Garden greens, hard-boiled egg, slow-cooked chicken breast meat, crispy yam chips, Parmesan cheese, curry-spiced mayonnaise (homemade mayonnaise, curry powder, garlic)
This is a simple & light salad, but I found it really delicious. What's most unique about this salad is the curry-spiced dressing. It's not over-powering, but the curry flavor is evident enough that it makes this simple dish very aromatic. The other ingredient that I really enjoyed was the slow-cooked chicken breast meat. It's so tender, juicy & flavorful that I thought it was thick-cut ham! *yums* This could be a main meal for those who prefer something light yet filling :)

Watermelon with Feta Cheese (RM5.00/serving)
6 cubes of watermelon, black olives, feta cheese
Who would have thought of putting these 3 ingredients together? I wouldn't, for sure! Very, very fascinating. Sweet, savory & juicy in a single bite...haha.

Eggplant Gratin (RM10.00/serving)
Eggplant, homemade tomato “sauce” (peeled tomatoes, anchovies, capers, salt, olive oil), mozzarella cheese
I'm a great fan of eggplants & I have to say that this dish was a success! It's probably my favorite of the night :) The hearty-sized pieces of eggplants were crispy yet light on the outside & "juicy"/moist on the inside. The tomato sauce mixture was really tasty & the portion of cheese was generous as well. Thumbs up! I know my AP would LOVE this!

Not overly oily, not over-cooked, not under-cooked. Perfect!

Teriyaki Chicken & Salad Pizza (RM36.90/serving)
Such thin-crust pizza topped with teriyaki chicken slices, fresh lettuce, & homemade mayonnaise is best shared with family/friends. The combination of ingredients strikes the memory-chord of eating a chicken burger! It felt slightly strange to be eating a "pizza-burger"...hahaha...but it's still quite tasty nonetheless.

I love this shot: Grab your piece! :D

Linguine Tomato Cream “Bisque” Sauce (RM34.90/serving)
This was my sister's favorite. Twirl your fork into the plate of linguine al dante, tossed in tomato-prawn cream (prawn heads + shells: sautéed for 1 hour & stewed for 2 hours to get the stock) & served with crispy soft-shell crabs! Fuh. The prawn flavor was so rich & evident that it felt like eating a western-style "prawn mee" (Penang hokkien mee). Nice!

Executive Combo Set (RM59.90/serving) 
Deep-fried fish pieces, deep-fried chicken breast slices, & BluMed’s chicken satay on a bed of Japanese-inspired mash potatoes
As the mash potatoes are Japanese-inspired, it consisted of potatoes, pickles, beef bacon & homemade mayo. I quite liked the mash, but I felt that it was a tad too "mashed" for a mash potatoes that has mayonnaise. Kinda "jelak"/cloying. Unless the mayo is reduced, then I think the potatoes is best mashed 'til it's creamy. Well, this is my personal opinion :P 
The platter comes with 3 types of sauces as well i.e. tartar sauce, homemade BBQ sauce (beef stock, orange juice, chili sauce) & homemade peanut sauce for the satay. I guess my favorite in this platter is the deep-fried chicken breast slices as the batter for the fish felt like it had a tad too much baking powder (different batter from the eggplants & soft-shell crabs). The satay was slightly over-cooked as well, so it was dry & tough. Perhaps adding more "chicken fats/skin" would help? :P

Dessert: Chocolate Banana Honey Toast with Ice-Cream (RM18.90/serving)
This dish is best eaten as quickly as possible since the warm toast could become tough/hard & the cold ice-cream would melt (with our country's present heat-wave...even air-conditioned room also can't fight the crazy heat)! I'm not a fan of such toasts, but this wasn't too bad. I would prefer to have more toasted almond flakes on the dish for the extra crunch though :D


Upper Level of the Restaurant - very spacious

The "chandelier"...SO unique!
They used bottles & wine glasses - brilliant idea!

View of the restaurant from top down

With the chefs!
Tatsuya Ikeuchi - Executive Chef  & Kazutoshi Nakasone - Chef de Cuisine

The open-concept kitchen

The exterior of the restaurant

Drooling already? Blu Med & PerutBesi would like to treat all readers of "The Ruthless Eater" to the special Squid Ink Spaghetti at half the price for a whole 1 1/2 months! Just print out this "photo"/voucher & present it before ordering.

Click on photo to enlarge before printing

Special thanks to Blue Med, Ivy from FOOD Malaysia, Angeline & Suefin from Sushi Kin Sdn Bhd for the invitation :)

Bon apetit!

Blu Med Ristorante e Bar
27-G Ground Floor
The Boulevard, Mid Valley City
Lingkaran Syed Putra
59200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 2201 5081
Fax: (+603) 2282 0360

Business hours: 7:30a.m. - 12:00a.m. 
(yes, they're opened for breakfast through supper/late night drinks!)
URL: Blu Med

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


Will be visiting Blu Med again!

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