28 February, 2017

Brunch & Afternoon Tea at 1837 TWG Tea @ Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

An afternoon tea affair at TWG Tea can be just the perfectly well-spent day with the loved ones.

Known for its luxurious, fine teas and posh setting, TWG has always been on my wishlist and I finally get to make a visit there and try out its signature afternoon tea set for two

The interior of this timelessly chic and elegantly inventive wood-panelled tea boutique exudes a touch of class and luxury as it is furnished with a magnificent tea wall that displays hundreds of single-estate and hand-blended teas in TWG Tea signature artisan tins. I'm surprised to see a vintage brass weighing scale there too!

In this cosy tea room, the warm polished-wood tables and cushioned wicker-back chairs are the epitomes of comfort that diners would enjoy. Apart from vintage tea paraphernalia, it is also beautifully adorned with old photographs, fine bone china, crisp linens, hanging crystal lamps and vases of brightly-hued exotic blooms.

One of TWG's Flower Tea among its 400 types of specialty teas.

If you do not already know, all TWG teas are hand sewn into 100% cotton teabags to allow the whole-leaf teas to develop their full and unique aroma and give them ample room to expand during infusion in hot water for 2-3 minutes. 

Glancing through the tea menu alone, I am amazed by the fact that it serves over 400 types of specialty teas to cater for different tastebuds. Among them, one of the classic favourites that first timers must try is the Silvermoon Tea which has been the bestseller since decades ago. This blend is accented with a grand berry and vanilla bouquet. Suave, with just a hint of spice.

TWG Signature High Tea Set @ RM69 nett

One can sip on his/her preferred tea while indulging in the beautifully arranged three-tier English afternoon tea set which is available from 2pm to 6pm daily. The set comes with a delightful combination of hot savouries and desserts, inclusive of 2 pots of tea. 

However, if you are up for something more filling, TWG serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner specialties, that imparts unique flavours of tea into the savoury recipes. Sounds fascinating, right? 

 Barbeque Chicken Boxing and Tandoori Lamb Skewer with Yoghurt Mint

Other than those served in the tiered rack, another platter of savouries consisting of well-marinated chicken and lamb arrives at our table, being part of the set we order. Definitely an excellent pick-me-up before we go for more.

 Lobster, Walnut and Celery Sandwich, and Matcha Financier

Our discovery of the day is TWG's lovely matcha financier that wows us with its moist and soft texture, along with sweet bursting flavours of green tea. Definitely not the ordinary financier cake you have elsewhere.

 Red Snapper Burger with Asian Mango Salsa, and
Smoked Salmon, Riccota and Sundried Tomato Quiche

Our fish burger and smoked salmon quiche come in miniature version. Popping into the mouth,
it bursts into a plethora of a myriad of oceanic flavors that leave you craving for more.

Caramelia Tart with Cocoa Dusting, Raspberry Shell, Dulcey Lolly filled with Chocolate and Lemon Bush Macaron

Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the desserts. They might have only 4 items,
but each is done excellently to perfect your afternoon with classic British indulgence.

CHIC Imperial Tea Time Set @ RM50

Other high tea sets are also available, depending on the portion you prefer. We also get to try the two-tier set with 2 scones and 3 pieces of sandwiches--  Foie Gras, Chicken with Comptoir des Indes Tea infused with creme fraiche, and Cucumber with cream cheese infused Earl Grey Fortune Tea.

My personal favourite was this luxe foie gras sandwich. It tasted like a thick slab of butter that melted perfectly in the mouth with a rich savory aroma. Although sinful, I wouldn't mind going for another helping of this!

Also from the tea set, we tried the two freshly baked raisin scones with the exclusive TWG Tea infused tea jelly or clotted cream. The scone was tender, soft, and delicate but lacking of the rich buttery flavour. Nevertheless, it was the house made TWG tea jelly that wowed me, so aromatic yet not too sweet for me. 

TWG Tea patisserie, where there are lots more sweet goodies ranging from classic macarons to dainty cakes and pastries.

TWG Tea macarons are the bestsellers among the sweets of all kinds.

Apart from the high tea set, I also find that it offers a great variety of breakfast items as well as main courses that are well-infused with TWG signature teas. 

 Smoked Salmon Egg Benedict @ RM32

A classic platter of egg benedict. Served with creamy hollandaise sauce and smoked salmon, the homemade English muffins are toasted into crisp outer perfection but I find it slightly tough inside. Nevertheless, it is a refreshing change from the usual toast.

As for the poached farmhouse egg, it is well-executed and oozes golden goodness upon being cut. However, it would taste better if the chef could be more generous with the application of the creamy hollandaise sauce.

Mediterranean Scallops Pasta @ RM44

For mains, pasta and steak are aplenty on the menu but they are only available after 12noon. But if you love seafood, you should try the seared fresh scallops spaghetti tossed in olive oil and garlic. The taste is pretty interesting as it was slightly spicy, savoury and aromatic with hints of sweetness from the Weekend in Venice Tea infused in the dish.

Berries Compote Waffle with Vanilla Ice Cream @ RM17.50

What excited me the most is the waffle here because I have always loved this type of thick, fluffy waffle with crisp edges. Lightly sweet on its own, it is well-paired with extra creamy scoop of vanilla ice cream, sweet berries and crunchy almonds. Also available in apple compote and banana flavours, I am sure this is a perfect treat for those with sweet tooth.
Being a huge fan of pastries and sweets, I am certainly looking forward to my next visit to TWG Tea and have a taste on its delicate offerings! 

At the mean time, perhaps you would like to get some of TWG's finest harvests and most exclusive tea blends for personal enjoyment at home :)

1. A set of savouries, sweets and tea comes in an affordable price tag of RM69 nett, definitely a great steal.
2. Luxurious ambiance, fine desserts, premium tea; Simply perfect for a tai-tai afternoon gathering.
3. Recommended as one of the most ideal occasional high tea venues, whether you are a tea connoisseur or a casual tea drinker.

1837 TWG Tea
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
Level 2, Lot P2.16.00 and 2.34.01 168,
Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Contact: +603-2142 9922
Website: www.twgtea.com
Facebook: fb.com/TWGTeaOfficial
Instagram: @TWGTeaOfficial
Business Hours: 10am - 10pm daily

26 February, 2017

Pho Vietz Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine @ Sri Petaling, KL

Vietnamese cuisine used to be an uncommon sight in Sri Petaling, but now things have changed with the opening of Pho Vietz and O Banh Mi around this busy neighbourhood area. Visiting an authentic Vietnamese place for dinner is definitely one of the more refreshing experiences for me, so I decide to visit Pho Vietz after hearing numerous good reviews about it. 

Tucked at the corner of the road, it is easily noticeable with its bright yellow signage. However, it is usually packed to the brim in the evening, so we have to queue for a good 15 minutes before securing a table for five. 

Fresh Avocado Milkshake @ RM9.90

Vietnamese coffee is available here, but due to its small serving size, we find it a little pricey, hence we opt for a healthier option instead. Fresh avocado blended into creamy and milky concoction, every sip is so thick and healthy with no added sugar. 

Vietnamese Prawn Salad @ RM15.80

A great way to start the meal is to go for the Vietnamese prawn salad. Sitting on a base of crispy prawn cracker, the crunchy mix of vegetables, prawns and sesame remind me of a toned-down version of Thai salad. Nice combination of tangy, refreshing and slightly spicy flavours. 

Famous Vietnamese Baguette @ RM10.90
越南特式法包 (传统)

What not to be missed here is the crusty French-style baguette filled with a variety of fresh and pickled condiments such as pork liver pate, meatloaf, roasted pork, pork ear terrine, meatball, and the homemade sauce that tastes so close to those you have in Vietnam. The Banh Mi (bread) is crisp crunch on the outside, with a fluffy soft interior-- Highly recommended!

If you are a bread and meat person, surely you'd love it.

 Spring Roll and Lemongrass Pork Vermicelli @ RM14.90

If I were to choose the most endearing dish to both my soul and palate, it would be this dry version of Vietnamese rice noodles-- So springy, crunchy and well-flavoured by the condiments such as deep-fried spring rolls and well-marinated lemongrass pork that exudes a nice hint of smokey flavour. To enjoy the rice noodles, pour the spicy sweet sauce into the bowl and give it a good toss.

 Marinated Lemongrass Chicken Chop Rice @ RM16.90

I am pleasantly surprised that all dishes are so generously portioned especially this rice dish. Similar to the lemongrass pork in the vermicelli, I find that the marinated lemongrass chicken is slightly more tender and fluffy but more greasy especially when it is topped with oily spring onion.

To maintain the authenticity of the food, I notice that all the sauces and noodles used in the dishes are imported from Vietnam. If you love any of the sauces, they are also available for purchase along with famous Vietnamese snacks, coffee and noodles at the counter. 

In case you are wondering, the classic baguettes arranged at the counter are for display purpose only.
1. Great place to enjoy traditional street dishes such as Phở, Bánh Mì, Bánh Cuốn, Vietnamese Coffee, and Desserts, all under one roof.
2. Taste and portion wise, we have no complaints at all. But ambiance wise, it can be quite noisy sometimes. 
3. Recommended: Vietnamese Prawn Salad, Famous Vietnamese Baguette 

Pho Vietz
2, Jalan Radin Bagus 7,
(Opposite OldTown)
Bandar Baru Seri Petaling,
57000 Kuala Lumpur.
Contact: +603-9055 4016
Facebook: fb.com/phovietz
Business Hours: 

24 February, 2017

Introducing the Jewel of Malaysia — Johor Bahru

Known as the Jewel of Malaysia, Johor Bahru takes the rank of being the second most densely populated city right after Kuala Lumpur. It is the state capital of Johor and lies just across the Causeway from Singapore. While some many argue that the city has very few attractions to offer to passing-by travelers, it is simply not true!

Being the hub of manufacturing and regional transport, Johor Bahru offers many things to do and see in a single day. And the best part is that traveling to Johor is easy from Singapore due to fantastic bus connectivity. Taking bus from Singapore to Johor is relatively easy when you can either board the bus directly at the bus terminal or book your ticket online via sites like Easybook.

How to reach Johor Bahru from Singapore?

Johor is Malaysia’s closest city to Singapore that sees thousands of commuters traveling between both the countries via the Causeway Link. Even though one may take a train or a ferry, the most popular form of transport are the buses, which the traveler may avail from either the Larkin bus terminal on the Kota Raya Bus Terminal/CIQ.

Facilities for online booking are also available to make things easier for the travelers who may prefer booking in advance. All the buses are highly comfortable express vehicles that charge very nominal rates for tickets. Once you experience the convenience of going to and fro Johor by a bus, you won’t want to avail any other form of transport.

Places to see in Johor Bahru

Apart from numerous options for entertainment and shopping centers, the city plays host to various natural attractions like Tioman Island, Endau Rompin National Park, and Kukup. Due to the city’s proximity to Singapore, it sees a steady influx of Singaporean tourists throughout the year. Tourism is also responsible for rapid growth of the economy.

Once you are tired of shopping and dining, you may either retire to the hotel to relax, or engage in a myriad of cultural activities located within the city. Some of the best places you can visit here are the following:

1. Legoland Malaysia: This is perhaps the best place to have fun with the kids as Legoland Malaysia offers a variety of fun-filled activities. Even though the park does not have extreme rides, adults who are a fan of Lego will enjoy the variety of sights and sounds this place has to offer. From exciting exhibits to thrilling roller coasters, this theme park has it all!

2. Sultan Abu Bakar mosque: For those with an unquenchable knack for culture, the Sultan Abu Bakr mosque will be a great place to visit. The historical monument is very large and spacious, well-guided tours are available to learn about the heritage and history of the Sultan of Johor. See the works of Islamic architecture at its finest and seek blessings in this place of worship.

3. Kuso Art Gallery: If you’re an admirer of magic shows and perception-bending works of art, dropping by the Kuso Trick Art Gallery would be an excellent way to spend an evening in Johor Bahru. The kids love this place as it is full of illusion and 3D drawings, fun-filled activities, and photo opportunities led by the helpful and friendly staff.

4. Pulai Waterfall: Looking for a quick day trip to refresh and your senses? Head over to Pulai Waterfall to enjoy its breathtaking view and even go on hiking in the surrounding areas. The hiking route will take you approximately 3 to 3.5 hours to complete, and in the meantime, you can enjoy the local scenery or have a picnic with your companions.

5. Chinese Heritage Museum: This little three-storey museum welcomes you to learn about the ancient cultures and customs of the Chinese immigrants in Malaysia. This beautiful location will also teach you a lot of things about Johor Bahru’s history and various events that shaped the city to be what it is today. This beautiful museum is worth a visit.

Make the most of your time!

Of course the list can go on and on and most probably you will not get tired of visiting Johor Bahru. While Johor Bahru is certainly not a “touristy” destination in any sense of the word, you can make the most out of your time here on or from your way to Singapore. The city will give you a glimpse into a rather chaotic lifestyle, which is rather in stark contrast to the organized lifestyle of Singaporeans.  Come and experience the Jewel of Malaysia like you’ve never done before.

22 February, 2017

Tea Verandah @ Atria Shopping Gallery

A tea lounge has always attracted me with its posh, elegant setting but the ridiculously high price often lets it down. Until recently I bump into Tea Verandah, I couldn't be more excited than enjoying my afternoon tea without burning a hole in the pocket! 

TEA Verandah serves a wide variety of tea beverages, contemporary fusion snacks and desserts under a cozy, open-concept lounge setting. And most importantly, it emphasizes on the value for money, hence the menu pricing is from RM9.90 to RM40.60, which is just a fraction of the price tags in many hotel lounges or tea houses.

I am not kidding when speaking of the wide varieties of tea. Upon arrival, the waiter presents me with a tray of more than 24 types of tea ranging from the classic black tea, Rooibos tea to healthy, organic herbs tea and Europe fruits tea. Just get a good whiff of each flavour, and decide which to go for. 

TEA Verandah @ RM18.00 per pot / RM36.50 including tea set 
(Apple bits, lemon bits, cherries, pineapple, mango bits, papaya, hibiscus blossoms,
orange peel, rose hip peels, elderberries, peach bits, apricot bits and orange bits)

Named after the shop itself, TEA Verandah is a must-order signature tea, especially for first timers. It is my personal favourite among the Europe Fruit tea selection, because of its complex combination of dried fruits and flowers. Just brew it for 8 to 10 minutes, and let the excellent floral-fruity aroma fill the space. It tastes lightly sweet and tangy on the palate, which I think is a great choice for ladies. 

Yogurt Tea - Pinky Panther @ RM16.80 per pot / RM35.50 including tea set 
(Strawberry bits, apple bits, hibiscus blossoms, raisins,
carrot bits, yogurt bits, beetroot bits, Rhubarb bits)

For something unconventional, I'd recommended this icy concoction of Yogurt Tea! It is interesting to find that the hot fruity tea, when combined with yogurt and crushed ice, tastes extra smooth and more refreshing. The consistency is just perfect--- Slightly thick but not creamy and heavy at all. 

Regardless of which tea you pick, you can opt for: Either the serving of tea only, or complement it with a high tea set. The two-tier set comes with 3 pieces of savoury pastries on top and 4-5 pieces of sweet treats at the lower tier. 

Savouries: Tuna Filo Puff, Crabmeat Filo Puff, Sambal Hotdog Puff

If you are a huge fan of pastry like myself, you can easily lap up the huge crispy puffs on your own. I personally enjoy the huge filo pastry more as the crispy skin is generously filled with yummy chunky seafood.

Sweets: Mini Chocolate and Strawberry Tarts, Orange Poppy Seed Muffin, Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart, Scone

Among the dainty desserts, I couldn't decide which is my favourite because they are all so tasty and baked to perfection. However, unique ones such as the thick chocolate peanut butter tart is worth a special mention, because of its electrifying marriage of creamy sweet chocolate and crunchy, savoury peanut butter layers. Sinful yet satisfying!

Luck is on my side during my visit, as I get to try the homemade fruity scone which is only available on a rotational basis. The warm scone is loaded with chunks of dried orange and berries that add a nice biting pleasure to the melt-in-the-mouth scone. 

How I'd wish to have more of these! 

Fruit Tart @ RM13.80

The desserts are seriously too good that I can't help but to order another piece--- the popular Fruit Tart with a crumbly base, thick cheese filling, and fresh cream topping. I personally love this type of crust that exudes rich flavour, similar to those butter cookies.

Best served cold, the tart tastes fresh and chilly without feeling too sweet on the mouth.

Ocean Oglio Aglio @ RM25.90

Apart from light bites, Tea Verandah actually serves simple breakfast menu such as banana pancakes, poached eggs, and assorted pastries (which comes with a cup of Americano), as well as main courses such as rosemary chicken, mussels pot and pasta. If you love strong garlicky flavours, the seafood spaghetti topped with tiger prawns and mussels is a great option for its aroma and mild spiciness.

Grilled Salmon Steak @ RM25.90

Again, the thick slab of salmon steak is generously portioned and beautifully presented on a bed of mashed potato, garlic butter spinach and asparagus. Love its well-flavoured flesh with just the right amount of charness!

If you'd love to enjoy the premium tea at home, you can get your supply from Tea Verandah!

1. Ambiance wise, I totally have no complaints at all. Posh, trendy and elegant; Perfect venue to chill!
2. Thumbs up for the wide assortment of tea that wows me with unique and distinctive flavours. I think I'd consider reducing coffee and go for the healthy tea instead. 
3. Recommended: Tea Verandah, Yogurt Tea, Scone

Tea Verandah
Lot SK-1, Level 2,
ATRIA Shopping Gallery,
Jalan SS22/23,
Damansara Jaya, 
47400 Petaling Jaya,
Contact: +6 017 6699 332
Website: www.teaverandah.my
Facebook: fb.com/TVerandah
Business Hours: 10am - 9.45pm daily
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