Monday, October 23, 2017

I Love Pho @ IPC Shopping Centre

The first Malaysian spin-off of Melbourne's I Love Pho (with branches in Richmond, Abbotsford and Melbourne Emporium) has landed at Mutiara Damansara's IPC Shopping Centre. Most of the original Melbourne menu remains encouragingly intact here; order one of the combination pho bowls - a classic bovine brew of sliced beef, brisket, beef balls, tendon and tripe (RM22) or an interesting poultry potpourri of shredded chicken, chicken giblets, heart and liver (RM20). Note that I Love Pho's broths may taste relatively mild and mellow, especially for the chicken.

I Love Pho Express
Ben's Independent Grocer, IPC Shopping Centre, Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Dish Room @ Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur

Possibly KL's only hospital-based restaurant that looks conceived for Instagram, Dish Room is the flagship eatery of the new Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur. Might seem strange to serve char kuey teow with a sunny-side-up (RM20) at a heart care hospital, but customers can counter that with the Omega-3-rich Norwegian crisp-skinned salmon with prawn bisque (RM38). The menu spans East and West, from nasi ambeng to spaghetti with roasted pumpkin; service is warm & welcoming.

Dish Room
Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur CVSKL, Jalan Stesen Sentral 5, KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 9am-7pm.

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Cafe Central @ Vienna, Austria

Cafe Central, Vienna's key representative of its coffee house culture, once welcomed luminaries like Leon Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin & Sigmund Freud. Today, there's a consistent line of customers outside, patiently awaiting their turn for Esterhazy tortes & apple strudels.


Nayuta Chocolatasia @ Isetan The Japan Store, Bukit Bintang

By Aiman Azri
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With the catchphrase 'For Asians, By Asians,' this new chocolate boutique-cafe relies primarily on cacao beans from Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, turned into treats that are made in Malaysia under Japanese auspices.

'Nayuta' is Sanskrit, roughly translating to infinity, while 'Chocolatasia' is an amalgamation of Chocolate and Asia. That spells out what Nayuta Chocolatasia hopes to offer - seemingly limitless possibilities of Asian-inflected chocolates, sold starting this week at Kuala Lumpur's ISETAN The Japan Store.


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Nayuta’s delicacies are developed by confectioner-chef Shunsuke Saegusa, who has devoted his past 14 years to the bean-to-bar craft. The chocolate here is single-origin, largely created with cacao sourced from our country's Koh Cocoa Farm in Pahang (which has produced cacao for over three decades), Bali's Kerta Semaya Samaniya Cooperative, Davao's Plantacion de Sikwate Cacao and Ben Tre's Puratos Grand-place Vietnam.


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Choose from 70% bitter chocolate, 60% milk chocolate, and 40% milk+ tablets, offered plain or in flavours like mango, coconut or cashew. Or bonbons in flavours that span tropical fruits like pineapple or passion fruit as well as Japanese flavours like matcha, sakura and yuzu. Plus, other offerings like chocolate financiers, bars and beverages.

Representatives of Isetan Mitsukoshi, which oversees this enterprise, say this concept caters "more toward the Asian palate, with milky chocolates" that convey soft textures, in contrast to European preferences for "bitterness ... and complexity."

The fun is in finding the right kind of chocolate for you - perhaps, say, a Vietnamese varietal, a touch fruity, with a lingering aftertaste that beckons you for another nibble.


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Nayuta Chocolatasia's Malaysian outpost is its first in the world; next up, Japan in 2018. Our visit here was at a launching ceremony with media in attendance.


Nayuta Chocolatasia
Ground Floor, Isetan The Japan Store, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Open 11am–9pm.


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