Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bali Trip Part 4: Tanah Lot Temple

In a place with such strong influence of Balinese Hindu culture,
visiting temples is definitely a must-do activity in Bali.
Unfortunately our trip was constrained by time, so we could only choose to visit either Uluwatu Temple or Tanah Lot. T_T both are equally scenic, seriously how to choose??

I heard that Uluwatu is great for sunrise, whereas Tanah Lot is famed for sunset. Not sure how true is it, but we decided to visit Tanah Lot in a late afternoon.

The traffic from Kuta to Tanah Lot was insane, because of thousands and thousands of cars travelled there each day. It took us over an hour, thankfully quite smooth and not too hilly. Upon arrival, we got our entrance ticket at only 30,000 Rupiah (Equivalent to a mere RM10). 

It was already very crowded around 4pm, despite of the hot scorching sun. The art and cultural market there was pretty similar to what we saw earlier in Kuta-- fashion booths, street food stalls and small eateries serving the local food.

Oh, I love my Jagung Bakar (Grilled corn)!


The spectacular temple actually sits boldly on the huge rock beside the Indian Ocean since the 16th century. So, standing on high grounds above the ocean gives us a perfectly picturesque view before, during and after sunset.

The place is so huge, and I don't mind walking miles for the beautiful scenery.

The sunset at Tanah Lot was considered quite early, around 5pm. And the view was too picturesque to be missed!!! We skip the Kecak Fire Dance performance, and wait for the dawn to keep fascinating us with different panoramic views of the sky.


Everyone starts to leave around 7pm, and our tour guide recommends us for seafood dinner at Jimbaran, otherwise dining above the ocean can be an unforgettable experience too.

Dear Tanah Lot, thanks for the amazing evening!

Tanah Lot is certainly one of the main highlights of the trip;
If I were given a chance, I'd definitely love to visit this temple again.

Lots of love,
FiSh 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Value-for-money 7-course Meal at MARCO Creative Cuisine, 1 Utama

When I first heard that MARCO Creative Cuisine in 1 Utama shopping mall is introducing a fine dining concept, my first concern is, "Would it be expensive?" To my surprise, the 7-course meal I try here is only RM78 including drinks / coffee / tea

Let's see what exactly does MARCO offer in the 7-course meal.....

If you do not already know, MARCO is the newest establishment at the Ground Floor, Old Wing of 1 Utama shopping mall. Located near TGIFriday's and Pappa Rich, surely you'd notice the vibrant gold shopfront if you pass by this area. 

What excites the patrons of the mall is the huge aquarium display in front of MARCO. Guess what's inside? Not the ordinary fish, but it's jellyfish! 

I am sure it is not something you commonly see in a mall, and truly the jellyfish display is so beautiful that you have to stop by and just admire this lovely sea creature! 

MARCO's Journey of Flavours Menu

Excellent decor and ambiance aside, now let's check out what's on MARCO's menu (Available during lunch and dinner). Unlike common fine dining that is expensive and time-consuming, MARCO offers a multicourse creative cuisine at only RM78+ per person and served in 50 minutes

For this 7-course meal, except for the palate cleanser and appetiser which has already been set by the chef, you can choose among 3-6 options for the remaining 5 courses. 

The menu, invented by Chef-owner Daren Leong, is a culmination of Chef Daren's endless experiments with flavours and textures of food. To complement this up-scaled culinary journey, the 62-seater restaurant is tastefully designed with tiffany blue and white theme to exude a sense of class and elegance. 

PALATE CLEANSER
Velvety Matcha-Lime Shooter
Velvety Matcha-Lime foam covering a chilled Lime Snow

We begin our gastronomical journey with the palate cleanser - a smooth concoction of chilled lime snow, topped with tangy lime foam and matcha powder. So cool and refreshing to wake up all our senses and get our palate ready for the next dishes. 

APPETISER 
Savoury Eclair
Gruyere Flavoured Pâte à Choux decorated with
Aubergine Caviar, Green Chile Pesto and Tomato Confit

After whetting the palate with something tangy, here comes the appetizer - an airy choux pastry filled with smoky aubergine caviar dip. If you enjoy something heavy in taste with an added twist of spicy flavour, this is something you'd love.

SOUP
Truffled Mushroom Soup
Plant-based Creamy Mushroom Soup infused with Truffle Oil

Moving on to the soup, the staff recommends us the cold Strawberry Gazpacho which is a classic Spanish chilled vegetable soup but none of us is a fan of strawberry.

So we decide to opt for the piping hot creamy mushroom soup instead. The overall taste of Truffled Mushroom Soup may seem overly earthy for some, but I personally love it because of its deep earthy flavours. 

French Onion Soup
Caramelised Onions Broth accompanied by French Toast

If you prefer something not so common, do try the caramelised French Onion Soup. It is wonderfully topped with a thick layer of gooey, melty cheese which tastes amazing once we stir it into the rest of the soup. 

We appreciate how the chef boils it slowly for over 5 hours to achieve the ultra concentrated texture and natural sweetness in the onion soup. The French Toast is a bonus, but the soup is already thick, filling, and incredibly tasty on its own.  

ENTREE
Savoury Ice Cream Salad
Assorted Baby Leaves, Heirloom Tomato, Seasonal Microgreens and Violet Flowers
served with Savoury Ice Cream

While we are allowed to choose from two types of salad and one chicken liver pate for the entree, we go for the most unique one among all - Savoury Ice Cream Salad - which features a large dollop of ice cream made from sea salt and skimmed milk. Accompanied with lots of greens, this is a great option for the healthy goers. 

Chicken Liver Parfait
Creamy Chicken Liver covered with a Brûlée top served with Toasted Bread and Apple Chips
*Contains traces of alcohol

My dining partner prefers a more filling entree, and hence chooses the rich and decadent Chicken-Liver Pâté paired with toasted bread and crisp apple chips.

I personally love the creamy liver pâté which makes a good spread for sandwiches, toasts etc.
Its rich savoury taste is simply delicious and does not smell "metallic" at all.

MAIN
Duck Breast with Orange Puree and Roasted Beetroot
Sous Vide Pan Seared Peking Duck Breast with Orange Puree, Roasted Beetroot and Valrhona Dark Chocolate

Food continues to arrive at our table while our stomach is already half-filled. Daren's most notable main dish, the Duck Breast with Orange Puree and Roasted Beetroot, is a nice variation from the usual Cantonese roast duck.

Prepared using the sous vide method, the meat is more tender than usual. Accompanied with Naval orange and 66% dark chocolate sauce, the resulting flavour is a complex burst of sour, bitter and sweet notes for the taste buds to explore

Pomodoro Cream Seafood Pasta
Penne in rich Pomodoro Cream Sauce with Baby Squid, Clam and Mussel

We also sample the pasta for our main course and are totally smitten by the simple yet tummy-comforting plate of seafood pasta coated with sweet and rich tomato-based cream. A more generous helping of sauce would be great for richer flavours in every mouthful. 


Squid Ink Japonica Rice
Japanese Short Grain Rice cooked with Squid Ink accompanied with Prawn, Baby Squid and Omelette,
served with Garlic Mayonnaise

Another highly recommended main is the Squid Ink Japonica Rice, which is my personal favourite as well. Coated with squid ink, the texture of Japanese rice is slightly sticky, reminding me of sushi rice. Taste wise, the rice is flavourful on its own, and the portion is rather huge for one. 

The best part of this dish is, the egg is perfectly done in the way I love it! Forking into the fluffy egg
omelette, it reveals a custardy cascade of soft-cooked egg curds. So creamy, smooth and gooey!

Besides, other main course choices such as Chicken Roulade with Brussels Sprouts, Salmon with Jet Black Hollandaise and Vegetarian Arrabbiata are available too. 


DESSERT
Crème Brûlée with White Chocolate Sherbet
Lush Egg Custard accompanied by White Chocolate Sherbet and Meringue Kisses

The second last course certainly brings us on sugar high! The classic Crème Brûlée is done perfectly well in the traditional way, achieving the sweet glorious gooey texture of egg custard that we enjoy. 

Raspberry Decadence
Luscious Raspberry Cheesecake with Raspberry Gel accompanied by
Lemon Meringue Shards and Passion Fruit Gel

Fans of berries may go for the creamy raspberry mousse-like cheesecake as it is bursting with refreshing tang in contrast to the very slight sweetness. 

However, if you have slightly sweeter tooth, then the Deconstructed Lemon Meringue Pie would be a great option for you to indulge in the sweet concoction of soft lemon curd, passion fruit gel, Italian meringue and white chocolate sherbet.  

DRINKS 
Single Origin French Press Coffee

After ending the meal with a sweet note, drinks are served last. Among the 3 options of handcrafted coffee, loose leaves tea and sparkling berry, my personal favourite is the French Press coffee as it washes down the palate with a slightly acidic finish. 

Sparkling Iced Berry

For Ala Carte Order:
Soup, Entree: RM18 per serving
Main: RM35 per serving (+RM10 for Duck Breast)
Dessert: RM20 per serving

Price includes 6% GST and excludes 10% service charge.

The menu we sample here is seasonal and subject to change every 3-6 months. Perhaps during our next visit, Chef Daren may bring us more surprises and treat us with a myriad of flavours and textures? Can't wait to come back for more!  

Verdict:
1. The fine dining concept in Marco Creative Cuisine is a great approach for more people to actually enjoy the experience of "fine dining" without burning a hole in the pocket. 
2. y the
3. Recommended dishes: Savoury Ice Cream Salad, Duck Breast, Squid Ink Rice, Creme Brulee

Marco Creative Cuisine
Lot G146, Ground Floor (Old Wing)
1 Utama Shopping Centre,
1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
Petaling Jaya,
47800 Selangor.

Reservation: +603-7731 8293
Email: reservation@marcocreativecuisine.com
Website: www.marcocreativecuisine.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/marcocreativecuisine
Instagram: www.instagram.com/marcocreativecuisine

Business Hours: 12noon – 10pm daily
• 12noon – 3pm: Lunch Service
• 3pm – 6pm: Coffee and Desserts only
• 6pm – 10pm: Dinner Service

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