christmas eve dinner

Senja is an Italian restaurant despite it’s Malay sounding name. The food is prepared by Chef Filippo Giunta, a friendly Sicilian which I got to meet later. It is best known for it’s homemade pasta and pizzas (they even have a firewood oven) and the ambiance – it’s built on stilts above a man-made lake and the view is quite pleasing.

senja saujana

I was there to check out their Christmas Eve Dinner. I haven’t been here for a while and I thought I’ll come and check out their new pasta machine. Thanks for the invite Azimy and Azirah and it’s a pleasure to meet you Karen!

bread

The five course meal was preceded by their wonderful home-made bread, which I absolutely loved. It came with four different types of dip – the whole olives and sun-dried tomatoes being two of my favorite.

Schiuma di Papate con Capesante ed Aneto
Potato Mousse with Scallop and Dill Oil

scallops

This is the first course proper – the amouse-bouche. It’s a nicely cooked piece of scallop topped with black caviar with potato mousse and dill oil. I thought it’s a nice start for the Christmas Eve course.

Capaccio di Manzo con Rucola e Dressing al Parmigiano
Carpaccio of Black Angus with Rocket and Parmesan Dressing

black angus carpaccio

I really, really liked this. The circular tissue-thin Black Angus is aged well so you can taste the intense flavors in this apt appetizer. I wish I could have more of this. Perfectly dry-aged (I think, forgot to ask) beef.

chef filippa giunta

There are three main courses you can choose from:

Linguine con Funghi Selvatici e Tartufo
Homemade Linguine Pasta with Wild Mushrooms and Black Truffle

linguini black truffle

This would be my recommendation for the main course if you’re not one of those people who must have turkey on Christmas Eve. I’ve seen how they make their pasta in-house and the linguine is cooked to perfection – dictionary definition of “al dente”. I enjoyed the simplicity of the dish, spruced up by generous shavings of black truffle.

Salmone in Padella Sevito con Spinaci, Salsa Prosecco e Caviale Nero
Tasmanian Salmon served with Butter Spinach, Prosecco Sauce and Black Caviar

salmon

There’s nothing wrong with this dish, but it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. It’s a generous slice of salmon on top of spinach and it was the first main dish that I ate but I felt that the salmon overpowered all the other flavors in the dish and it was a tad overcooked but then again I won’t pretend to be a food critic. Heh. I just felt that the other two dishes were much better.

Petto di Tacchino con Mele Verdi, Funghi in Padella e Riduzione al Vino Porto
Stuffed Turkey Breast with Poached Granny Smith Apple, Cepes Mushroom and Port Wine Sauce

turkey

I really liked the crisp turkey skin and the juicy turkey meat. I loved the stuffing. It’s a classic Christmas dish that has everything done right including the apple cubes beneath the turkey that gives it a sweet dimension. Highly recommended, I would go for this or the pasta for the main course. Come to think of it, I’ll recommend this, coz you can have pasta any other time. ;)

Panettone Tradizionale con Crema di Mascarpone e Caffe
Traditional Panettone “Tiramisu” with Mascarpone and Coffee Cream

panettone tiramisu

This is hands down the best dessert I’ve had this month, or maybe even this quarter. I might even hazard to go “this year” due to this wonderful creation from Chef Filippo Giunta. It’s not a regular tiramisu made with Savoiardi – that has been made passé with this “tiramisu” made from Panettone. Just think of Savoiardi being substituted with Panettone Antica Ricetta and you’ll have an inkling of what this marvelous dessert tastes like.

It’s awesome – there’s no other word to describe it. The Mascarpone and coffee cream dominates the Panettone that has been rendered soft and yielding and the burst of fruitcake combined with the thick, cloying cream resulted in a truly fearsome dessert. It’s delicious! :D

panettone

This is the Panettone used for the Christmas Eve Dinner dessert at Senja. It’s the specialty Christmas cake of Milan which traces its roots to an ancient Franciscan cloister in Saronno. It’s orgasmic – there’s a bit of fruitcake to remind you of the festive season and I was very impressed by this dessert. The Mascarpone and coffee cream slathered on top of this Panettone “tiramisu” takes the cake (haha). I’ll go just for this dessert again!

christmas cookies

We also had mince pies, biscuits and gingerbread cookies after the meal and I was so enamored by the Panettone “tiramisu” that Chef Filippo Giunta came out with what the dome-shaped Christmas cake. The Christmas Eve Dinner at Senja, Saujana Hotel is priced from RM 160++ to RM 280++ with optional wine pairing.

wine

They also have a New Year’s Eve set dinner priced at the same range where you can watch fireworks by the lake. Senja Restaurant is also starting a new tradition of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day brunches with buffet style antipasto and desserts from RM 90++. They can be reached at 03 7843 1234 for reservations. Oh, and they also sell that Panettone cake by itself but it won’t nearly be as good as the one made into “tiramisu”. Heh.

chocolate cubes

This is one of the most awesome chocolates I’ve ever had – it’s made of over 80% cocoa, very dark and bittersweet, with a dusting to finish it.

chocolate cocoa

I think a whole bunch of us in Singapore had way too much of these. I know I certainly did, totally ruined my appetite for dinner.

hors d oeuvre

This is pretty good too – it’s a layered chocolate cake and almost impossible to dissect but let me attempt to describe it – it contains layer after layer of moist and fluffy pastry covered with chocolate. I was impressed, it was so light it felt like I was eating mostly air.

lobster shots

Lobster shooters. I liked this one too – awesomely concocted pieces of lobsters with the accompanying sauces and garnishes in one ready-to-drink (eat?) shot.

liquor chocolates

This were the chocolates that had liquor in it – it’s infused with Bailey’s Irish Cream. I preferred the original high cocoa content chocolate cubes instead but a lot of others liked these. :)

red prawn durian

This should be called The Hunt for Red October Prawn. Red Prawn or Udang Merah is known locally in Hokkien as “Ang Heh” – it’s a breed of durian only available in Penang – there’s too much local demand (and exports to countries like Singapore I imagine) for it to come down to Klang Valley.

Thus, after 4 meals before 12 pm we finally drove to Balik Pulau (it’s where the orchards for Ang Heh are) where I ran down to stall after stall only to be told the same thing:

There are no Red Prawn durians. The season just ended.

One stall sold his *very last* Red Prawn durian to a customer just before we came.

balik pulau durian stall

I had almost given up at this point when the next stall claimed to have Red Prawn. In fact, there were 4 of these luscious durians.

red prawn penang

Red Prawn is characterized by it’s red colored flesh and small seeds. It’s not bright red like the Sarawakian local ones, although some can have an orange hue, with just a tinge of red, or striped. I paid RM 45 for one durian – it’s RM 25/kg after a bit of bargaining.

ang heh durian

The durian only had 5 seeds!!!

red prawn

That works out to about RM 10 per seed. It was delicious though, definitely worth it for durian lovers. :)

Suanie got another one to take away, this has more seeds and it’s heavier, cost RM 50. There’s also various other Penang-only durians on offer – you can listen to the proprietor talking about it.

Koh Tsu Koon durian

Koh Tsu Koon is also another famous durian strain but I couldn’t afford to part with another RM 50 for a tiny durian, despite it being famed for having miniscule or no seeds at all, which is a running joke about the ex-Penang CM.

udang merah

All in all, it was a good durian hunt – I got to eat Red Prawn and even though it wasn’t as red as what I tasted on a previous excursion, it’s good. It tastes like Red Prawn.

durian udang merah

Sarawak also has a bright red colored durian (as does Penang, which has several). Red Prawn is pretty good, and at that price point, a bargain compared to overrated durian strains like Musang King.

eating red prawn durian

We sapu-ed two out of the four Red Prawn durians left – it was the end of season for that strain, D15 is still going strong though. :)

durians

Durian runtuh!

durians water

It’s durian season again. :)

donalds durian ss2

I went to Donald’s Durian which is just beside SS2 durian over the weekend to binge on the King of Fruits. The price has gone up since I last went – it’s now RM 10 for the durian buffet…but there’s heaps of people even at midnight!

ss2 durians

You don’t get the good durians like Musang King/Raja Kunyit/D197 at that price though – it’s sold separately, was quoted RM 22/kg here which is quite cheap. Musang King apparently means Elvis Presley, an interesting name to call a strain.

eating durians

The RM 10 durian buffet is everywhere in SS2 now and you can eat to your hearts content on various lower grade durians. It’s a very good deal, and you get tissues and water to go with it. ;)

selecting durian

There’s a lot of the common but relatively premium D24, D101 and Holo/Labu/D163 durians for sale too. Funny thing was, we almost forgot to pay, we were leaving and then I suddenly remembered that we haven’t paid and went back to do so. No one stopped us, probably coz of the crowd. Heh.

eating durian

I’m looking for Durian Botak (D172) and the Sarawakian durian called Kepala Babi (D170) – anyone seen them around? :)

fine dining

I have written about some of the experiences I’ve had in Maxims Genting. Here’s the rest of it – the second and final post on the luxurious gastronomical and other adventures I had during my 2D/1N stay there. :)

maxims suite me

Totally chilling in the Maxims Royal Suite.

karaoke

There’s everything you could wish for in a suite – and probably some that you didn’t even know you want. ;)

bath

I’m loving the jacuzzi!

table

The Maxims Royal Suite has guest rooms equipped with computers at the working table in addition to a huge dining table that seats 14 people! :)

patio

It also has a balcony that’s even larger than my studio apartment at home. The “balcony” (patio) is actually located…

genting sign

…right beneath the old Genting Hotel sign. How cool is that? :)

floor

The newly refurbished Maxims looks nothing like the one I used to stay in as a kid. This is the floor area you’ll see in the Maxims Premier Room, Maxims Suite, and Signature Suite.

bed

The suites are amazing and equipped with the latest in technology, like that huge 42-inch plasma TV there. This is standard in Maxims Suite and Signature Suite but the photo above shows the décor in the latter. There are two options to choose from – Modern or Arabian.

The other rooms at Maxims starts from RM 550++ for Maxims Premier – it’s their most basic room but it’s surprisingly luxurious. Here’s a video tour where you can see the amenities and services provided.

moet chandon

There’s even a bottle of Moet et Chandon champagne in the mini bar. How many hotels do you see stocking that? :)

concierge

Maxims is the place to stay in if you want the best experience in Genting. There’s accommodation for every budget – all the suites comes with a private butler (!!!) and starts from RM 1,320++ for Maxims Suite to RM 4,125++ for the Signature Suite. You can find the full list of features in each room/suite at rwgenting.com.

the olive genting

Anyway, after the grand tour of the Maxims Genting we headed to The Olive for a Continental fine dining experience.

the olive private

The Olive is another award winning restaurant in Maxims Genting and there are private rooms where you can eat in relative…er, privacy.

bread basket

Squid Ink Bread
The bread basket served up when you’re seated is filled with a selection of different varieties of bread. One in particular stood up – the squid ink bread.

squid ink bread

It’s the irregularly shaped black bread that’s made with squid ink. It’s delicious when dipped in the vinaigrette of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

black truffle

Portobello Carpaccio
This is The Olive’s signature dish for starters and it’s a wonderful plating of Tartufo nero (black truffle), shaved pecorino (cheese made from sheep), grissini (breadsticks), aged balsamic, and truffle oil soft herb salad. The black truffle is the highlight of this dish and the flavor goes very well with the mushrooms. I had quite a few helpings of this. It’s delicious and it comes highly recommended from me.

pizza

Bruschetta Pizzetta
This mini pizza is made with semi-dried Roma tomato, sauteed mushrooms, Bocconcini cheese, basil pesto, olive oil and aged balsamic. It’s delectable but a bit heavy so small eaters would want to share this with someone.

lamb rack

Lamb Rack
This 3 pin lamb rack comes served with a white bean cassoulet, braised artichoke, carrot puree and rosemary juice. You’ll love this if you like mutton, I was half tempted to order this for my mains before deciding on beef.

chilean sea bass

Chilean Sea Bass
This is the signature dish of The Olive. The fresh Chilean Sea Bass is served with mushroom ragout, buttered asparagus, ponzu sauce and wasabi, providing a bit of fusion there. You can’t go wrong with this one.

sirloin wagyu

Wagyu Sirloin Steak
I went with the chef’s recommendation of a Wagyu sirloin steak with a Grade 8 on the marbling scale. The beef was so fresh that I immediately regretted having it done medium rare. It’s a great cut of Wagyu beef and it should be treated with the respect it deserves.

waygu marbling

I’ll recommend you go for extra-rare (also known as a blue steak) – the quality and freshness of the meat really shines through. I had a taste of the extra-rare Wagyu tenderloin and it practically melts in your mouth. The chef mentions that it takes just as long to properly cook a blue steak compared to one that’s medium or well done – it has to be allowed to “rest” before being served.

steak sauce

The Olive has different cuts of steak and marbling grades but if Wagyu is not your thing, they also serve Black Angus beef, which has been grass fed for at least 150 days in the Australian countryside. There are a lot of sauces you can choose to go with your steak, from Creamy Garlic to Truffled Morel.

creme brulee

Crème Brulee
This wonderful dessert comes in a trio – starting from left, there’s the petite apple (which actually is a very tiny apple), clove ice cream, and crème brulee with rhubarb and blackcurrant compote.

petite apple

A petite apple with a slice of regular apple. Gotta love the presentation.

clove ice cream

I loved the creamy crème brulee with an almond biscotti on the side and I couldn’t stop eating the clove ice cream too.

Hot Chocolate Ravioli

Hot Chocolate Ravioli
Good things comes in threes and this dessert is no different.

pashmak

There’s the black cherry gelee topped with orange blossom pashmak (a type of Persian candy floss).

pistachio ice cream

Pistachio ice cream which has the consistency of pudding, a wonderful texture from the ingredients and a delightful taste that tantalizes the taste buds…

chocolate ravioli

…and as the star of the show – the chocolate ravioli. It’s rich and sweet and the oozing hot chocolate from the ravioli would have you clamoring for more.

the durian

The Durian
This is the signature dish for the desserts menu of The Olive. It’s easy to see why. The aptly named dessert has The King of Fruits served as ice cream in a caramelized meringue with fresh strawberries.

durian inside

Durian is a fruit you either love or hate. I’m a huge fan of durian and this beautifully made dessert (spiked to look like a durian) had me at first bite!

Chef Daniel Sheen

Chef Daniel Sheen took time off to chat with us and the question on how he created the chocolate ravioli popped out. This is actually the second version he’s come up with. He was in the kitchen attempting to fuse pasta and chocolate – essentially creating pasta made out of chocolate and out come the chocolate ravioli.

It’s always interesting to hear the chef talk about how his creations came about. :)

The Olive is also featured in Must Eat – it’s in Mandarin but a really interesting watch even if you don’t understand the language. The video tour and awesome food shown transcends linguistic processes. :D

the olive lounge

We adjourned to The Olive Lounge after the heavy dinner. There’s a live band playing in the background and the drinks menu features quite an extensive single malt Scotch whisky and wine list.

band

The sommelier recommended two bottles of wine…

decanter

…while Eiling chose the third bottle, being a bit of a wine expert herself.

cigar

I smoked one of her cigars while the entire group talked over wine and cigars. The Olive Lounge is a great place to relax and chat with soft music playing in the background. It was the perfect ending to one of the best dinners I’ve had in a while. Pure decadence. :)

coffee terrace

Breakfast at Coffee Terrace the next day never tasted so good. ;)

breakfast

Coffee Terrace has six different cuisines ranging from Chinese to Western and we all had a huge breakfast before heading back to KL.

farewell

Thanks for the experience Chloe, Irene, Dee Lin, and everyone at rwgenting.com! I totally enjoyed my stay at Maxims Genting and all that fine dining. :)

jin xuan puchong

I had a rather delicious start to the morning by having dim sum at around 7 am this morning. This is quite an unusual hour for me to be up on a Sunday morning. There is a very good reason for that though.

lake edge us

I didn’t sleep.

lainey birthday

I have been up since I went to Lainey‘s birthday party since 8:30 pm on Saturday and spent 12 hours talking and nursing various alcoholic drinks (beer, cider, single malt, champagne, vodka) and shooting the breeze on a bewildering array of topics (to the casual listener) with Fresh, Gareth and Kim till dawn broke.

jin xuan dimsum

It’s been a long time since I did that. Heh. It was a lot of fun though and before crashing we headed to Jin Xuan in Puchong for dim sum.

deep fried har kow

Deep fried har kow
I usually don’t like deep fried dim sum but the har kaw (prawn dumplings) here are done quite well. No excessive crackly skin and it’s superb with a dash of mayonnaise. The ones with fu chuk (the soy bean byproduct) wrapped around prawns is good too – a nice variant of har kow.

pai kuat

Spare ribs (pai kuat)
This is really good as well. I like the ones that’s swimming in a pool of delicious marinate too:

marinated pai kuat

It’s a bit hard to get at the meat, but when you do, it’s perfection.

salted shrimp scallops

Salted shrimp scallops
This one is pretty good as well. I’m a huge fan of shrimp in general so anything with it can’t really go wrong. It has bits of scallops, salted egg, and other stuff inside too.

flowing custard bun

Golden flowing bun
I don’t know how this translates in Cantonese. It’s supposed to be the piece de resistance in Jin Xuan and is a custard bun with bits of salted egg (?) that flows like lava when you break it open.

jin xuan custard bun

The savory taste of salted egg is surprisingly good in the sweet custard bun. It’s supposed to be really runny and despite multiple exchanges initiated by Gareth to get the perfect golden flowing bun – all of them was just a tad overcooked this morning.

jin xuan us

However, if I didn’t know better I would have though it was excellent. I’m definitely going back again for the golden flowing bun. I bet it’ll be orgasmic if they get it right. However, we didn’t get charged for it due to the poor quality control so I guess it’s free dessert. Heh.

I totally crashed and slept for 9 hours when I got home. I had a total blast though. It’s a good thing tomorrow’s a public holiday. Have a great time everyone! :)

honeymoon dessert

Honeymoon Dessert is a vast enterprise in Hong Kong with franchises all over the country specializing in one thing only – desserts! It’s like 7-Eleven over there, you can’t walk a couple of blocks without seeing a branch. Seriously!

honeymoon dessert hong kong

We went to check out the very popular Honeymoon Dessert at the World Trade Centre in Causeway Bay. I’ve heard good things about their signature mango pudding desserts and would love to see how it measures up to my personal benchmark – Mango Tango in Bangkok.

honeymoon dessert mango sago

Mango Sago (HKD 26)
This is what the waitress recommended. It’s their flagship dessert and it’s pretty basic – fresh mango cubes with sago. It’s about RM 10, which is surprisingly cheap. The price for a drink at one of Honeymoon Dessert’s competitors – Hui Lau Shan Healthy Dessert runs for about the same price.

honeymoon dessert mango sago pudding

Honeymoon Dessert does a pretty good rendition of the Mango Sago dessert – it tastes light yet creamy with a tart and sweet mango overtone but it can’t beat the mango desserts from Bangkok.

honeymoon dessert mango sago black sesame

Mango Sago with Black Sesame Ice Cream (HKD 36)
Jeanie had this for her dessert. Well, it’s not technically dessert since we dropped by Honeymoon Dessert right before dinner. Heh. I really liked her order. The black sesame ice cream adds a whole new dimension to the humble mango sago dessert.

honeymoon dessert mango sago black sesame ice cream

You can taste the rich notes of the melted black sesame ice cream and the crunch of the sesame adds to the texture of the dessert. The whole is much better than the sum of its parts. The mango comes served as an entire diced half fruit too. Highly recommended.

honeymoon dessert egg pudding

Honeymoon Egg Pudding (HKD 5)
There was a promotion going on where you can get an egg pudding for just HKD 5 (RM 2) if your order exceeds HKD 50 and we went for it. It comes served in a real egg shell, which makes a lot of sense considering the dessert shop would use a lot of fresh eggs. It’s a traditional egg pudding with caramel on top. It’s creamy, warm and sweet. Delicious!

honeymoon dessert hk

Honeymoon Dessert lives up to its hype…kinda. It’s comes across as a bit overrated but that stems from expectations being pushed to an unreasonable (and unreachable) standard. With hindsight, it’s not a bad place to relax and order from the plethora of desserts options – be sure to drop by when you’re in Hong Kong and see what the fuss is all about.

choi heong yuen bakery

Portuguese egg tarts are just one of those things you have to eat when you’re in Macau. It’s practically the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Macau and food.

portuguese egg tarts

There are a lot of places selling this delightful snack but one of the best I’ve had when I was there last week was surprisingly in the touristy area below the Ruins of St Paul’s.

portuguese egg tarts macau

Choi Heong Yuen Bakery (established in 1935) makes amazing Portuguese egg tarts – it’s piping hot and comes with a buttery flaky crust encapsulating a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth egg custard.

macau portuguese egg tarts

The confection is incredibly light and paradoxically rich at the same time. It is usually priced at around MOP 7 (about RM 3) for a pastel de nata. There are many outlets selling these and you can’t go wrong with most bakeries.

pastel de nata

Portuguese egg tarts are the pride of Macau, so you can be sure of getting a mouthful of epicurean heaven no matter which one you go to.

hui lau shan hong kong

Hui Lai Shan is one of the extremely popular dessert chains around Hong Kong.

hui lau shan menu

There is basically no seating – it’s like the bubble tea establishments on the street, except this offers a new twist by having “healthy drinks”. You get a number when you order and you wait for your drink to be prepared at a side counter.

hui lau shan counter

The drinks are in the HKD 20+ range and there are heaps of options you can choose from, all with a local twist.

hui lau shan hk

I notice the trend is to have a local base with various fruits on top, such as the tongue twisting Glutinous Rice Balls in Mango Cubes & Coconut Juice with Red Bean.

hui lau shan healthy drink

I ordered from the Bird’s Nest and Honey Jelly Series – this is the popular E4 – Bird’s Nest & Honey Jelly in Mango & Coconut Juice for HKD 25 (about RM 10). I added HKD 3 for a larger 16 oz drink.

Birds Nest Honey Jelly Mango Coconut Juice

These drinks are surprisingly addictive. It tastes really good. The bird’s nest and honey jelly breaks apart into soft and slurp-able pieces when you stir it with the huge straw. The coconut milk (not juice as stated on the menu) goes very well with the mango pieces (that’s your daily dose of fruit right there) and jelly.

hui lau shan drink

It’s the perfect drink while walking around Hong Kong on a hot day. :)

tower chocolate double cheesecake

Before Secret Recipe opened up a branch in Sibu, the place to get quality cakes for birthdays and other celebrations was at Tanahmas Hotel. They have pretty good cheesecakes in Peppers Cafe (the hotel’s cafe) and I revisited the place with Anthea right before flying back.

jelly pisang sibu

I was here a couple of days ago to explore the mythical Sibu Famous Jelly Pisang. I had the exact same thing this time around. Heh! I noticed that the entire bottom is made out of jelly – probably a good 1/3 of it, and I really liked how the entire shaved ice dessert goes.

anthea goh

This time around I also ordered one of the cakes that caught my eye from the glass display counter.

tower cake

This is the Tower Chocolate Double Cheese. It’s a tiny cake about the size of two stacked Tiffany boxes – half of it contains their famous cheesecake and it’s topped with a layer of chocolate mousse. The entire shebang is then drizzled with chocolate sauce, a piece of their kitchen-made chocolate and a maraschino cherry.

chocolate mousse

It’s really quite good and reminds me of why Peppers Cafe used to be the king of cakes – if you wanted one, that’s where you go in Sibu. :)

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