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.

bistro42 bangsar village

Bistro42 is a quaint little dining place in BVII that has a weird seating arrangement consisting of regular tables and chairs with a plush sofa (complete with comfortable pillows) flanking the side. It also has a quasi al fresco area outside the main restaurant:

bistro42 bvii

You get what I mean when I say “al fresco” right – it’s smack dab in the middle of a shopping mall so it’s not a real open air dining area. That means no smoking, no cooling nighttime breeze (unless you count the central air conditioning) or any other activities you’ll associate with the phrase al fresco.

bistro42 bangsar

However, Bistro 42 does have pretty good food. I’ve been there a couple of times and if the place looks slightly familiar to you, it’s because it used to be T Forty Two. It now comes with a revamped menu and I went there last night with Kim to check it out.

bistro42 kim

Anyway, the story behind dinner with Kim is quite interesting in itself. I met her in 2008 while on a vacation in Miri. There is a funny story somewhere in there but that’s a bit of an #insidejoke. Heh. That was over 3 years ago and she came over to KL sometime last year. I didn’t know that and while hunting for photos from when I got out of rehab, I stumbled upon one of us and put it up. Kim had just started reading blogs again, saw it, and we got in touch and made plans for dinner.

bistro42 bread

…and that, my friends is the totally irrelevant background as to how I had dinner with Kim in Bistro42 last night. smirk

bistro42 waygu beef cheek

Slow Roasted Wagyu Beef Cheek (RM 45.90)
I knew I was going to order this when I saw it on the menu, It’s served with carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes and mashed potatoes. It sounds pedestrian from the description but when the dish came out, it looked (and tasted) wonderful.

wagyu beef cheek slice

The wagyu beef cheek is superb! It’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. The beef cheek literally falls apart when you slice into it – you can even eat it with a spoon! The sauce it’s swimming in complements the juicy slab of beef cheek perfectly. Kim tasted this and says it totally kicked her dishes’ ass.

tiger prawn linguine

Grilled Tiger Prawn Linguine (RM 49.90)
This is in a reduction of lobster bisque and finished with a touch of cream. The size of the tiger prawn is pretty generous and I was amazed to see that Kim can actually peel the shell off the tiger prawn using nothing but a fork and knife:

shelling tiger prawn

peeling tiger prawn

No shit. I’ve never managed to master that.

bistro42 wine

Anyway, I found this pasta dish quite good actually. I like the lobster bisque reduction – it goes well with the seafood based linguine. It’s the perfect pasta sauce. My only complaint is that it only has one tiger prawn. Granted, it is rather large but still…

bistro42 food

Bistro42 has a small but satisfactory wine list. The bottles starts from RM 100 so expect your meal to be in the RM 250 – RM 300 range if you have wine with your dinner. Bistro42 also has a very interesting cocktail called Lemon Meringue Martini. It’s made with vodka, Limoncello, lemon juice, sugar and fresh milk. It’s like a dessert cocktail – check it out if you’re there.

mamak

Williams Mamak is a rodent infested roadside stall with seating arrangements precariously set in a hazardous manner beside, nay, on the roadside. It’s also pretty expensive even for restaurant standards. Why do people still throng to this place like flies to…er, butter?

williams mamak

Well, Williams claim to fame is its unique concept of Italian food in a mamak stall. Nowhere else can you find a mamak serving Italian food – it’s exotic. It’s also located near the old LimKokWing building and you just can’t beat the ambience of having cute little rats scurrying about while you eat.

ribena lychee

The penultimate drink in William’s Mamak is undisputedly the Ribena Lychee (RM 6). It’s a huge concoction of purple goodness that you can see on almost every table. Patrons are indulging in this 1 liter monstrosity with a fervor previously unseen to my eyes. It also sets a precedence for the rest of Williams meals – the portions of the dishes are huge!

tuna rice

It should be noted that Williams is a firm believer in The First Baptist Church of No Menu but the waiters possess the admirable ability to rattle off the dishes they serve in a very well rehearsed spiel. I can only hear bits and pieces – risotto, spaghetti etc. I asked for a recommendation and was given the Tuna Rice.

fried rice tuna

The Tuna Rice came in a huge portion with a hidden gem which I nearly missed due to the poor lighting conditions. Williams is also a member of the Dim Lighting Appreciation Society. The tuna fried rice is served with tuna pieces swimming in gravy on the side. I was complaining about the canned tuna to my dining companion…until I saw a HUGE fillet of grilled tuna underneath all the gravy. Delicious! The waiter overheard me and told me that’s the best part.

chicken pasta

Huei Juin went for the Pasta with Chicken. It was repeated as “Pasta Ayam” by the waiter – I just love the fusion of our national language with Italian food. It sounds so wrong, yet so right. Heh!

pasta ayam

It’s quite good though, it’s made with Bolognese sauce instead of Carbonara, which I usually prefer. Williams is generous with the chicken pieces and the entire dish was practically drowned in the sauce, which I’m told is how it’s done over here. I ended up eating more of this than my own. The portions were huge though and we didn’t manage to finish either one of the orders.

williams us

The bill came up to about RM 64 for two – not exactly cheap for a mamak. This is my second visit – the first time was with Yee Hou and I went again last night with Huei Juin.

huei juin

The litmus test: Would I go again? Definitely! Despite of the dodgy hygiene standards, I am intrigued by the constantly updated menu items and the concept of an Italian mamak in Malaysia. There are a lot of interesting dishes I have yet to try and I can’t wait to go again.

Jom, mamak!

Williams Mamak is located at Jalan SS 26/9, Taman Mayang.

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