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Review: Tokyo Pastry @ Avenue-K

>> Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Overall comment: Pretty delightful desserts! Whimsical-like cakes, crepes & more to end (or even begin!) your meal on a positive tone ;) They've just started serving main courses as well, so they're still in the process of improvement & adjustments to ensure that their entire menu gets thumbs-up.
Halal: Pork-free, alcohol-free

Tokyo Pastry is no stranger in the dessert playground. The decor of Tokyo Pastry outlets feature an European touch from the era of the Meiji Restoration, when Japan promotes the study, culture and habits of the Western society. Such style has been popularize across many bakeries in Japan. Walking into such bakeries makes me feel comfortable & "at home" although my house is certainly not decorated with such 'woody' feel! :D

Exterior of the Avenue-K outlet

There are currently 2 outlets in Klang Valley i.e. one in Kota Damansara & another in Avenue-K, Jalan Ampang. It was indeed a privilege to taste & provide feedback on the items on the menu served to us on that day at the Avenue-K outlet :) Big thank you to NomsterAd + Tokyo Pastry for the opportunity!

Here's what we tasted that day. I'm gonna start from drinks to dessert to the mains as this pastry house is certainly more recommended for their desserts than their mains ;)

Cucumber Latte (RM9.00/cup)
Surprised by what you've just read? *cucumber??* I was very surprised as well & was very curious on how this actually tasted. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that the cucumber flavor didn't over-power nor cause the simple coffee-latte to taste strange. It wasn't too 'green'; subtle, but evident - plus the latte was pretty smooth. I'm no coffee connoisseur, so I can't provide extensive, constructive criticism on this :P

Ice-Blended Matcha (RM10.00/glass)
For those who love the taste of green tea, you would probably prefer this to the cucumber latte. The ice-blended was unfortunately slightly 'thin' (I was expecting a smoothie/shake-like texture + loads of finely crushed ice) & lacks sweetness. I would prefer it to have more milk, green tea, a tad more sugar syrup & crushed ice ;) Yes, this is coming from someone who doesn't like sweet stuff!

Rose with French Vanilla Tea (RM6.00/cup)
I actually love the smell of roses, but having a strong smell & taste of roses + french vanilla in a hot cup of English tea felt over-powering & somewhat artificial. The 1st whiff reminded me of 'Lovely Lace'. As the smell grew more pungent, I was reminded of my dad's car's Ambi-pur air freshener & was trying VERY hard not to consider the same fragrance that I also remember smelling in public washrooms...ergh. I love roses, but this one felt a little too weird. Tokyo Pastry, it's certainly not your fault. Dilmah has some homework to do...hahaha...

Ice-Blended Oreo (RM10.00/glass)
Among all the 4 drinks served to us that day, this was probably the most pleasing to the palette. It's nothing very fanciful & a rather familiar taste, but at least it tasted 'right'. Just like the ice-blended matcha, this Oreo variant could do with more milk, Oreos & crushed ice as well.

Dessert: Choko Brownie (RM13.00/serving)
Brownie studded with walnuts & crowned with ice-cream & hot fudge
This was the best among the desserts served for our tasting session. We really enjoyed the warm & moist cake, hot fudge, & the chill of the vanilla ice-cream. It wasn't overly sweet & cloying :)

Dessert: Matcha Red Bean Crepe (RM13.00/serving)
This was our next favorite! I especially love the chewy mochi pieces (those pink, green & white colored cubes) accompanying the cool matcha ice-cream, soft-boiled red beans & the fragrant crepe. The crepe could be further improved as I think it could still be slightly 'thinner'. It's overall a 'fun' dessert to enjoy!

Dessert: Yamaimo (RM8.50/serving)
Personally, this was my favorite. I was really surprised at my preference as I'm not a huge fan of yam! The 1st impression I had was "ooo...so cute...like a mop!" Hahaha. The rest of the bloggers stared at me with eyes wide opened..."Like a what....?? Mop..?? Could you like give a better description?" :P

Basically, what I REALLY appreciate about this Yamaimo is that the 'strands' + cream between the layers of cake aren't "yam-flavored cream" but are ACTUAL mashed yam! I LOVE the authenticity! *thumbs up* Lovely mix of texture; the smooth mashed yam + the cool, moist white cake. Yums!

Dessert: Oreo Mille Crepe (RM10.90/slice)
The mille crepe fell short of flavor. It needed more Oreos in the cream itself instead of just having cream between the layers of crepe with crushed Oreos as a topping.

Dessert: Mini Macaron Cake - Strawberry (RM10.90/serving)
The mini macaron cake is a pretty sight, no doubt. Flavor wise, it could be improved. The macaron was slightly dry & 'wafer-y'. It didn't have a distinctive strawberry taste as well unlike macarons from say TWG (I haven't tasted many macarons to make a good comparison). The chocolate & vanilla cream was quite nice, but the overall experience of the mini macaron cake would be much nicer if the macaron is actually slightly chewy & soft on the inside.

You've seen some of the desserts available, but do you know that Tokyo Pastry now serves mains & appetizers as well? Ahah. Tokyo Pastry is coming up with a "complete" menu to offer their dessert-lovers a proper meal before indulging into the delicious desserts!

Appetizer: Hearty Mushroom Soup (RM10.00/serving)
Fresh mushrooms cooked to perfection with porcini oil. Taste the aromatic mushroom goodness in every sip.
I felt that the soup could be thicker & more creamy, but it's not too bad for a mushroom soup. The porcini oil actually elevated the simple mushroom soup's taste & fragrance to the next level.

Appetizer: Salmon Chowder (RM10.00/serving)
Satisfy your craving for the ocean with this rich creamy soup of salmon complemented with carrots and celery.
I didn't really fancy this version of the salmon chowder. Somehow a "chowder" to me should be more 'chunky' & 'rich', but this one was slightly watered down. The chefs fried the salmon first, so the soup was slightly more "fishy". There were bits of fried salmon in the soup, but I would much prefer to have flakes/chunks (cubes) of salmon flesh itself, just like how it's served at the Utara Coffee House in Armada Hotel. The cream of salmon there is really commendable although it's double the price!

Appetizer: Salmon Salad (RM15.00/serving)
Luscious graviax salmon with refreshing mango lime salsa
I must say that the mango lime salsa was quite refreshing & make this dish a good appetizer. However, because the salad is served with smoked salmon instead of fresh salmon slices, the salmon slices were on the savoury side, which caused an imbalance of flavours in the simple salad. Kinda expensive too for such a small portion...haha.

Main: Japanese Curry Chicken Burger (RM15.00/serving)
Grilled chicken in Japanese curry sauce on charcoal bun
The chicken certainly needs more flavor/marination. The simple trick = salt & pepper! The Japanese curry wasn't evident enough as well, so there's still much space for improvement for this burger ;)

Main: Pan-Seared Chicken (RM19.00/serving)
Seared chicken with truffle sauce served with herbed roasted potatoes
Much to our surprise, this simple pan-seared chicken was actually the best among all the mains served for our tasting session! The part of this dish that made this dish a champ was actually the sauce/gravy. It was a well-balanced taste of sweet & savory, plus it has the fragrance of the truffles. Well done, Tokyo Pastry!

Main: Kikkoman Salmon (RM23.00/serving)
Pan-seared salmon glazed with Kikkoman sauce
I'm rather particular when it comes to salmon. I love my pan-seared salmon to have a nice, crispy skin with juicy/moist flesh of the salmon beneath the crisp. This was somewhat overdone as the fish was dry. The Kikkoman soy sauce gravy didn't really help as it's a savory sauce that could over-power the originality of the salmon.

Main: Prawn & Baby Octopus Spaghetti (RM19.00/serving)
Fresh sauteed prawns & baby octopus in tomato-basil sauce
Hmm...I found this a tad too sweet for my liking although I really appreciated the evident presence of fresh basil in the tomato-based sauce. No complains for the prawns & baby octopus. I just feel that salt could balance up the dish more than sugar.

Main: Mushroom & Garden Spaghetti (RM15.00/serving)
Assorted mushrooms spaghetti served in miso broth
This is one vegetarian dish. As a big fan of mushrooms, I was delighted to have this dish served in our tasting menu. Having said that, I was actually quite disappointed that the pasta sauce was more 'soupy' than 'saucy' :( It felt like a boiled spaghetti in miso-mushroom soup. I certainly feel that the sauce could be thickened & the pasta could be more al dante ;) The mushrooms were still a delightful helping to have in this dish...haha...

After tasting the variety of drinks, desserts, appetizers & mains, I would still say that Tokyo Pastry is living up to its name as a pastry house. Given more time, hard-work & passion, Tokyo Pastry could be the next place for a complete & scrumptious meal - a place where the young & old would want to hang-out for good ambiance, delicious food & comforting/refreshing drinks.

Avenue K OutletM-20 & SAC-M-1, Mezzanine Level, Avenue K
Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 2181 7660

URL: Tokyo Pastry
FB: https://www.facebook.com/TokyoPastry/

Kota Damansara Outlet
2A-1, Jalan PJU 5/9
Dataran Sunway
Kota Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel: (+603) 6151 2896

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


Still thinking of the 'cute' Yamaimo,


Review: Norwegian Salmon Promotion @ Utara Coffee House

>> Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Overall comment: Delicious fresh Norwegian Salmon cooked to perfection in various styles. If you're a fan of salmon, you'll really enjoy the variety offered (plus it's at affordable prices)!
Halal: Yes

Throughout the entire months of March & April 2014, be spoilt for choice with Utara Coffee House's Norwegian Salmon Promotion! There are 8 different dishes to choose from, with prices starting from RM25.00++/serving. Affordable for a salmon dish, right?

The winner, in my humble opinion is the delightful Salmon Tikka! I LOVE chicken tikka & tandoori chicken. Having this flavourful fish marinated with the herbs & spices for a "tikka" & grilled to perfection is just "oolaalaa"! My colleagues will remember how I craved for the smooth, buttery 'chicken tikka masala' from our frequented Indian restaurant from time to time :)

Salmon Tikka with Fragrant Rice & Acar (RM26.00++/serving)
You'll not experience the strong "fishy" smell & taste of the salmon, but the texture & flavour from the marinade, accompanied by the fragrant butter + raisins rice were just satisfying. It made me crave for more! I've never had salmon tikka, so this was a memorable experience. I would head back to Utara Coffee House for my "fix" of salmon tikka while the promotion is still on-going! *drools as I reminisce*

Pacific Rim Salmon Soup with Shittake Mushrooms and Herbs (RM25.00++/serving)
I was pleasantly surprised when I took my first mouthful of this 'cream of salmon'. "Where's the strong, fishy salmon taste??" I was seriously expecting that. But Chef Chew wisely commented that by slow-boiling the head & bones of the salmon & not "over-boiling" it, you'll never get the fishy smell! Oooh...I learned something new that evening. I love the fact that 1) there's no fishy smell & taste in the soup, 2) the salmon pieces are in nice "dices" & not flaky/broken in millions of pieces (the trick is to poach it before adding it to the soup!)...loads of salmon in the soup as well, 3) there are diced carrots, leeks & celery for some variety of texture & bite, & 4) there's a generous piece of fragrantly "buttered & herbed" toasted baguette to go with the soup!! Oh my goodness...such comfort food! It's a good meal by itself for those who are not keen on having too heavy a meal. Oh yes, the shitake mushrooms are apparently in the soup. Hmm...it needs to be more "evident", I feel.

Spoonful of salmon & vegetables!

Salmon Caesar Salad (RM26.00++/serving)
 Another good meal by itself; light but filling. I actually enjoyed the dressing as it's nicely fragrant with some cheese. You'll have the pieces of protein from the salmon, slices of carbs from the potatoes, a good portion of vitamins from the garden greens & a touch of "crunch" from the biscuit stick! Although I rarely take salads as a meal by itself, I would actually go for this since it's such an enjoyable salad! :D

Foil Baked Norwegian Salmon (RM28.00++/serving)
Served with a bed of zucchini, capsicum and champignon mushrooms
 Interesting! This is one homey-comfort food on a long, tired workday. It's not exactly the most "slimming" of the variety since it is creamy & cheesy, but it certainly is VERY comforting...hahaha...the baked salmon was nicely cooked (not over-cooked & dry), plus the zucchini, capsicums & mushrooms gave a good variety of texture to this rather cloying dish :) The lemon juice surely helps to take some of the cloying feel away.

Salmon Roulade& Oyster Gratin (RM30.00++/serving)
I had mixed feelings for this dish. I enjoyed the cheesy, baked oyster gratin, but somehow I didn't enjoy the salmon as much.

The salmon was actually stuffed with spinach & cheese. It's then rolled & poached before serving on a bed of more cheese + spinach mash & some prawn 'bisque'. I found the flavours slightly clashing, so you could opt for other sauces like the fruity orange or the lemon sauce to go with the piece of salmon instead of the somewhat "pungent" prawn 'bisque'. 

Salmon Tostadas  (RM26.00++/serving)
Served with tortillas, guacamole, sour cream and tomato salsa
This dish was quite pleasing to the palette :) Being a fan of Mexican flavours, I enjoyed the combination of ingredients that the Utara Coffee House placed together in this dish. You'll get a good portion of salmon chunks, capsicums, jalapenos, tomatoes, & cheese all in the little pockets of tostadas! The best part of this dish, in my opinion are the dips. I especially love the fresh guacamole & tomato salsa...ah, I need to head back to the States again for my fix of good Mexican food!!

 Salmon Ratatouille (RM28.00++/serving)
 This is the Utara Coffee House's "best seller". I actually like ratatouille, but the cut of these vegetables & the degree to how it's cooked didn't suit my preference. I prefer to have larger chunks/pieces of vegetables & slightly softer texture as well. I felt that there's a lack of tomatoes as well...hmm...

Salmon and Potatoes Au Gratin (RM28.00++/serving)
One of the bloggers probably had an "orgasmic" experience when he had this cos he was SO in love with this salmon dish that he kept praising it for the entire 10 minutes or so...yes, on this ONE dish! The combination of flavours are very similar to the oyster gratin dish, but this one didn't have the oyster on the plate. I have to say that the 'gratin' part of the salmon was very flavourful, creamy, & silky-smooth. Well executed, chef!

It was indeed an enjoyable evening filled with loads of salmon! I still can't get over the delectable Salmon Tikka dish. Anyone keen to join me for that sometime soon? Hahaha...

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


Salmon Tikka, anyone?

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