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Hotel Review: Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur
December 15, 2014

Hotel Review: Parkroyal Kuala Lumpur

When it comes to choosing a hotel, I emphasis on these key things – location, amenities, accessibility and value. I’ve stayed at hotels far from the city centre and there was little or limited transportation options for me to get around. In the end, I spent more money on taxi fare, which I could have […]

New Chef, New Menu at Mandarin Grill

Fine dining was never a forte of mine and it still isn’t – I’m constantly learning from new dining experiences and chefs I meet, both locally and abroad. I learnt a great deal about the fine dining scene when I travelled to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, where I explored the culinary offerings through the recommendations of my friends who are based in these cities.


Snow peas & lobster tartar

It isn’t just about the food. It involves a lot of emphasis on presentation, service and flow of courses. My recent experience at Mandarin Grill gave me a similar preview, courtesy of the hotel’s new Chef de Cuisine Benjamin Halat. Each course was cleverly thought through, beautifully presented and paired with an assortment of wines.


BBQ Crackers

Chef Benjamin is all about pushing the boundaries and thinking beyond the box. I’ve met many Chef de Cuisine who are French, Italian, Swiss and Norwegian, but a German Chef de Cuisine is rare. Which made me all the more curious about this newly appointed chef of Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur. 😉


Olive oil jelly & almond powder

Dinner was a delicious symphony of textures, flavours and senses. From the amuse bouche right down to dessert and I’m pleased with how Benjamin revamped the previous menu of Mandarin Grill. It was more current and with much more flair. Each dish had a feature ingredient, like a centerpiece with elements of subtlety surrounding it. Best of all, his food was easy to understand. It was refined yet not at all complicated.


Eggs royale with beetroot


Shrimp dill mayo

I enjoyed a sumptuous 7 course dinner comprising some of Chef Benjamin’s signature dishes, like the 90 degrees poached egg with oscietra caviar and white champagne sauce and lobster medallion. There was a teaser before the amuse bouche (yes, a teaser before the teaser), of snow peas and lobster tartar, olive oil jelly with almond powder and BBQ crackers.


Smoked eel with pickled onion and yellow beetroot

Then the amuse bouche arrived; shrimp dill mayo, eggs royale with beetroot and smoked eel with pickled onion and yellow beetroot. The Lobster Medallion was quite a sight, like art on a plate, paired with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc by Mandarin Grill’s newly appointed sommelier, Peter Teng. Slow cooked lobster claw, served with yuzu jelly, cous cous and lobster tartar started the meal on a high note — the lobster claw was sweet and succulent, with a contrasting texture from the cous cous.


Lobster medallion


Oomoo Sauvignon Blanc 2012


Lobster claw served with yuzu jelly, mango, cous cous and lobster tartar


Belleruche Cote du Rhone 2012


Mushroom soup with ravioli

The mushroom soup was aromatic and earthy from the use of chanterelles, complemented with enerous drizzles of truffle oil. I found the skin of the duck ravioli slightly on the thick side, which required a little more chew.


Thick soup with earthy flavours


Laced with truffle oil


The famous 90 Degrees Poached Egg with Oscietra Caviar


Molten centre


Paired with the Alsace 2012 Hugel & Fils Gentil

I waited in anticipation for the 90 degrees poached egg with oscietra caviar and salmon roe in champagne sauce, supposedly another signature of the chef. This did not disappoint; excellently executed with simple flavours that married well together. The foie gras ravioli with madeira foam comprised a dainty pocket of pasta with a creamy yet light foie gras centre, topped with a generous sliver of truffle. Absolutely gorgeous with the Tokaji.


Foie Gras Ravioli with Madeira Foam


Holdvolgy Tokaji Eloquence 2007


Lemon sorbet


Wagyu Ribeye Marble 8


Broquel Malbec 2012


Benjamin, adding the finishing touches

After a palate cleanser of lemon sorbet, the steak arrived — a wagyu ribeye marble score 8 with beans cassoulet. I liked this better than the wagyu from the old menu as Benjamin kept things simple to allow the flavour of the beef to stand out. And it was really tasty beef.


Cheese Comte Risotto Pralines


Luis Felipe Edwards Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

A richer, more robust dish would be the cheese comte risotto pralines with avocado, rocket pear salad and cheese sabayon — a bit heavy for some, but I loved it. Crusty cheese with a savoury sweet centre for a twist.


Duet of Valrhona Chocolate

I was a wee bit sad to see that chocolate sphere is no longer on the menu but this was made up by Chef Benjamin’s duet of Valrhona chocolate, topped with a 70% dark chocolate ganache with hints of whisky for a strong finish.


Drizzled with dark chocolate sauce, laced with whisky


Penfolds Club Reserve Classic Tawny

From pre amuse bouche to dessert, I enjoyed them all. Each were expertly prepared and the pairing was well crafted by the sommelier. I look forward to many more creative dishes from Benjamin. If you’re a small eater, I suggest sticking to a 5-course meal (RM398++ per person, additional RM85++ for wine pairing) rather than the 7-course (RM498++ per person, additional RM125++ for wine pairing). For reservations, please call 03-2380 8888 or email [email protected]

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Ambiance: 8/10
Price: 5/10
Food: 8/10 (pork free)
Verdict: I love Benjamin’s flair for creativity, evident in his dishes. Definitely try the lobster medallion and poached egg when you’re there.

Mandarin Grill
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2380 8888

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Ee Chinese Cuisine at Eastin Hotel Petaling Jaya


Mooncakes at Ee Chinese Cuisine

With the Mid-Autumn Festival happening this September 8, many F&B establishments have come up with their version of mooncake be it snowskin, baked or chocolate. At Ee Chinese Cuisine, mooncakes are a feature from August 4 till September 8, 2014. During the recent preview, I tucked into a sumptuous dinner comprising Cantonese favourites, like the fish broth in mini claypot.


Deep Fried Stuffed Prawn Dumpling in Superior Broth & Gratinated Canadian Oyster with Lemon Cheese Sauce

I’ve dined at Ee several times in the past 5 years – mostly for work meetings and sometimes, for a publication I freelance for. So I knew the food was going to be good. The gratinated Canadian oyster with lemon cheese sauce tasted as delicious as it looked. Oyster was plump while the cheese sauce had just the right balance of richness. The prawn dumpling was prepared like a “siu long bao”, where there was a bit of broth at the centre. I liked this too.


Fish Broth with Mushroom, Lotus Root and Fish Mousse in Mini Claypot

But the star of the dinner was definitely the fish broth in claypot, served with mushroom, lotus root and fish mousse. The broth was thick and each spoonful was packed with flavour. This reminded me of the double boiled supreme soup I had in Hong Kong.


Baked Stuffed Chicken Wing with Savoury Sauce


Boneless, for a fuss-free dining experience!

Chicken wings are usually a messy affair but Ee’s version was deboned, stuffed with minced prawns and glazed to perfection. The charcoal beancurd sat on a light yet savoury base with crispy enoki mushroom on top. I liked the texture of the beancurd – soft yet firm enough to hold with your chopsticks and it melts in the mouth.


Charcoal Bean Curd with Crispy Enoki Mushroom


Baked Cod Fish with Garlic Fried Rice

The baked cod fish was garlic fried rice was also good stuff. I’ve eaten this a few times in the past and this round, it was just as delicious. The fish was beautifully cooked, resulting in a firm yet succulent flesh. Aptly paired with fried rice for a balance of savoury and sweet.


Lotus Paste with Double Yolk


Snowskin mooncake

To end the meal, we had a selection of house mooncakes with the eight treasure sweetened broth – the mooncakes are priced from RM11+ per piece and some of the must-try flavours are the snowskin durian paste, blueberry paste and Pu Er tea.


Eight Treasure Sweeten Broth

For mooncake bookings or to dine at Ee Chinese Cuisine, call 03-7628 7338.

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Ambiance: 7/10
Price: 6/10
Food: 7/10 (pork free)
Verdict: The food is really quite good. Give this a try if you want a sumptuous Cantonese meal.

Ee Chinese Cuisine
Eastin Hotel Petaling Jaya
13, Jalan 16/11,
Pusat Dagang Seksyen 16,
46350 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7665 1111
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