Sunday Brunch @ Maison Francaise

sunday brunch

Disclaimer: I have received numerous invites from a friend to Maison Francaise for a long time now but never did accept until recently (or since). It’s not that the food is bad, coz it’s actually quite decent. The service by regular staff was very nice too (at least for the girl who served us). It was just the front-of-house manager (?) who seemed brusque and actually dropped a cup full of desserts on our table, *shattering* the cup and sending dangerously small shards flying before giving a curt and insincere sounding one word apology which totally put us off.

shattered cup

However, I have been informed that the front-of-house manager is new to the job. I’ll just chalk that up to ignorance and inexperience and leave it at that. I do hope that he has improved coz we weren’t impressed at all. We had just gone for a very nice French dinner the previous night by visiting One Michelin Star Chef Alexy Fuchs and gladly paid RM 700++ for it, so going to such a different experience the very next afternoon was extra jarring.

I must add that the service by regular wait staff was excellent and attentive, and to be fair, the food was quite good so take that as you will.

Bread basket

bread basket

This is a very nice selection of bread to start the brunch. They’re all warm and we particularly liked the brioche like slices and the chocolate filled roll. There’s also honey, compote and butter on the side.

First serving

Smoked duck breast salad and balsamic dressing
La salade de magret decanard fume vinaigrette au balsamique

smoked duck salad

We both thought this was very nice – the smoked duck breast was flavorful and all the fat has been rendered down so there’s none of the chewy unrendered fat you find sometimes. I also liked the interplay of textures between the fresh greens, crunchy potatoes discs and duck.

Potato and leek soup
La soupe de poireaux et pomme de terre

potato leek soup

I had this one – the combination of potato and leek works well together.

Second serving

Grilled rib eye steak with green pepper corn sauce
L’entrecote grillee sauce poivre vert

grilled rib eye steak

The steak was cooked, seasoned and rested to perfection! Even my better half, who doesn’t really eat beef, liked it. I wished they trimmed some of the inedible gristle off it first though.

Le filet de merou poche au vin blanc
Poached grouper in white wine

poached grouper white wine

This is another impeccable dish – it’s delicious and plated beautifully, with just the right portion to get you wanting more. My better half had this and she loved it.

Cheese course

Cheese platter
L’assiette de fromage

This is a very French thing – having a cheese course before or in lieu of dessert. It’s not something my better half likes since she doesn’t generally like cheese (all the better for me coz I ate all her cheese in France) but I loved it!

cheese platter

It’s done wonderfully at Maison Francaise – the cheeses are selected well, and there’s a scattering of nuts and a quenelle of chutney to pair with the cheese.

The platter is also frozen before serving so the cheese doesn’t wilt, a nice touch that’s appreciated.

Desserts

Fresh fruit salad
La ssalade de fruits frais

Chocolate volcano
Le moelleux au chocolate

chocolate volcano

We actually got a selection of desserts, including two slices of cake and it was decent enough. Unfortunately, the name “chocolate volcano” evokes similes to molten lava cake or a self-saucing pudding so we were a bit disappointed when we cut into the cake and there’s nothing inside.

I wasn’t sure if it was overcooked or it’s meant to be like that and when we asked the front-of-house manager he didn’t seem to get what the question was and I was annoyed at his cavalier attitude towards such a dangerous incident which could have resulted in injury (dropping the cup from serving height and shattering it on our table) so we just left it at that.

Maison Francaise

Sunday brunches at Maison Francaise is priced at RM 188++ with wine and RM 148++ without alcohol. There will be soft drinks and chilled juices available for the latter. The prices listed are per pax and you can choose one item from each course listed. The menu is changed regularly.

Maison Francaise
5, Jalan Changkat Kia Peng,
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 21441474

Water buffalo steak basted with BBQ Sauce and eggs

buffalo steak

I had bought a pack of frozen water buffalo meat from India a while ago. I’ve always only seen these in ground meat format but this time I spotted a sliced meat package and decided to get it.

buffalo meat

Buffalo meat from India is very competitively priced and sometimes called carabeef. You’ve probably eaten it before as it’s often used in dishes like rendang since it’s halal and cheaper than beef.

crime scene

I decided to cook it last night as my studio had a 5 hour total blackout which resulted in the package of frozen buffalo meat defrosting and dripping smelly blood all over the fridge. It was starting to look like a particularly gruesome *crime scene*.

buffalo meat india

You will need:

  • Buffalo meat
  • Eggs
  • BBQ sauce
  • Olive oil

italian olive oil

I first used some olive oil to pan fry the buffalo meat. It cooks very easily when grilled for 1 minute on each side. However, water buffalo meat is supposed to be one tough mother. It sure lived up to its reputation.

steak eggs

I also cooked a couple of sunny side up eggs to go with the steak.

buffalo steak fry

Thus, I continually basted the meat with BBQ sauce using a pressure fryer. I used Frontera Border Barbecue Sauce in the Original Sweet & Smoky flavor. The name is a bit of a repetition since frontera already means border in Spanish. It’s like calling Timor Leste as East Timor – timor already means east in the Indonesian language so East East sounds a bit off. smirk

buffalo steak bbq

Back to cooking (and eating), the buffalo meat was tough – really tough…

buffalo steak eggs

The buffalo steak tasted really good with the egg though especially when the runny egg yolk mixes with the BBQ sauce. It’s wonderful but obviously new cooking methods needs to be applied since the meat was tough to the point of being near inedible.

I had to use a very sharp steak knife and masticated each piece until my jaws were so sore I was sure I won’t be able to talk for 3 days.

buffalo steak sliced

It was so tough I was afraid I’ll need someone to perform the Heimlich maneuver on me each time I swallowed. I wish there was someone with me so if I choked while swallowing the half-chewed buffalo meat, at least I won’t die unnoticed for several hours.

I was seriously worried and wondered if was possible to do it myself in case of an emergency and called my better half while eating to verify I was still alive and not blue in the face with a piece of buffalo meat stuck in my throat. -_-

Ril’s Steakhouse and the fabled Gemas Gold steak

gemas gold

I was dragged to this place at Jalan Tun HS Lee at the promise of some really good meat one night. Yeah, I know how that came out. Heh. It’s located in a quite secluded area of KL – Ril’s Steakhouse is at one of those 100 year-old buildings in town, complete with a chic art gallery called thewarehouse cafe.art (complete with chic font) at the bottom.

rils steakhouse gallery

It’s actually one unit and there are a couple of paintings there but only two other groups of diners – a bunch that looks like a lawyer and another that looks like a tourist family from some country which has oil as its prime export (and loads of it).

rils steakhouse

On to the food, I was told by the waiter (and my dining companion, who has been here previously) that they serve either Australian Angus Steaks or a type of Malaysian-reared breed called Gemas Gold.

thewarehouse cafe art

They also serve a good platter of warm bread with a variety of spreads that I really liked before your meal. However, there were only one small bun for each diner, and no one going around for refills which I thought was a bit off for a place like this.

thai bloody mary
Thai Bloody Mary (RM 28)
Vodka, tomato, chilli, fish sauce, coriander

I think this is the best part of the meal – the cocktails. It’s like an East-meets-West cocktail with gnarly ingredients thrown in just for the heck of it. It’s like something I would do as my projects! I loved it. The bird’s eye chilli (cili padi) is enough to make your eyes water and clear your sinus right up! They have others in a similar vein too.

truffled egg
KC’s Truffled Egg & Asparagus Soldiers (RM 28)
Soft boiled egg caramelized with a sweet chilli glaze and served with crunchy breaded asparagus solders and a spicy salt dip.

This is an amazing appetizer that was recommended by the waiter and it comes highly recommended from me too. It was much better than the steak I had – the breaded asparagus is supposed to be dipped first into the salt you see on the cracked shell at the side and then into the egg. Lovely stuff, and immaculate plating.

Classic Fish Pie (RM 48)

classic fish pie

This is described as a mouthwatering selection of fresh fish and seafood, cooked with creamy leeks and onions in a dill and mustard white sauce, baked with a buttery, crispy golden mashed potato topping. My dining companion had this for the mains. It was serviceable but I wasn’t too impressed by it. There was nothing in it that stood out.

Australian Augus Rib-eye (RM 128)

rils steak

I went for this 300 gram steak because my dining companion does not eat beef. I thought that was rather ironic, bringing me here, but she knows I love the stuff. I ordered it extra-rare, basically a blue steak and it turned out wonderfully. This place knows how to cook their steaks, that’s for sure – just slightly cooked on the outside, with a wonderful cold center. However, it wasn’t as fresh as I was hoping for.

I should have gone with the local Gemas Gold Rib-Eye 700 gram monster for just RM 10 more and tried to finish that. Heh.

roasted garlic bulbs

They also have sides ranging from chunky skin-on steak fries (RM 14) to whole roasted garlic heads (RM 10), the latter of which I ordered. I liked it, it was done perfectly. It doesn’t do your breath much good but it tastes wonderful.

rils steakhouse kl

I was really unimpressed by the Australian Angus steak that I ordered and steaks are supposed to be the forte of the place. It wasn’t fresh enough to be cooked extra rare. I’ll like to go again just to try the Malaysian-bread Gemas Gold though – it’s local, with lower food miles and bound to be better. It comes in a huge 700 gram rib-eye at just RM 132 and I saw the tourist family eating it.

extra rare bluesteak

I’ll need to be especially hungry to tackle it on my own though – but it was beautifully presented and I’ll love to taste this Gemas Gold that I haven’t heard of before.

Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus Steakhouse

stuart anderson black angus steak

This is a higher end quick service restaurant that I had dinner at last week in Singapore. Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus Steakhouse has several outlets there – it’s a franchise that started in Seattle.

Black Angus Steakhouse serves All American fare like steaks (obviously), burgers and root beer. The prices are pretty reasonable too, if you don’t convert – the root beer float goes for SGD 7.50.

stuart anderson black angus singapore

It’s primarily known for steak though – the menu describes it lovingly as air flown USDA tender, flavorful Black Angus steak aged to perfection. There are several cuts available in different sizes.

I settled for a center-cut New York Steak – medium rare. It’s SGD 43.90 for 10 oz. I love the sauce options – the waiter recommended Red Wine sauce, which I went with.

black angus steakhouse new york steak

You can also choose the trimmings – I went for the standard side of fresh steamed vegetables and switched my baked potato to garlic mashed potato, which was an excellent choice. My only beef (no pun intended) is that they got my order wrong, it came out medium well instead of medium rare but in a group of about a dozen near closing time, I guess mix-ups are inevitable.

stuart anderson steak soup

You also get to choose an entree from the menu to go with your steak dinner and I went with Stuart’s Steak Soup which was recommended and I wasn’t disappointed – it turned out to be the best dish I had. Heh. The steak soup has generous chunks of beef inside as well as a hodgepodge of beans, veggies and even barley. Nice, thick soup for the soul.

gigantic burger pound black angus

They also have a monster of a burger, with patties made of Black Angus beef weighing a whole pound! That’s like eating 4 quarter pounders and this has strips of bacon on top to boot. Decadent stuff. Just look at the size of it. It’s about SGD 24 or so, and it would certainly take a very hungry man to finish it.

boatHouse restaurant, TTDI

boatHouse

boatHouse in TTDI is one of those places which you assume is the local watering hole but actually serves excellent food! I have heard good things about boatHouse and marvelled at their interesting bar when I walked past.

aquarium bar

They actually have a fully functional aquarium as a bar so you can watch the fishes swim along while you’re in your cups. :)

boat

boatHouse also has a lot of ship related décor, which probably explains the name. I bet you can get the “I’m on a boat!” badge on 4sq just from checking into the place. Heh.

Appetizers

oysters with caviar

Oysters with lumpfish caviar
One dozen oysters with lumpfish caviar (both black and red) is presented on a bed of shaved ice. I love oysters and it’s a stroke of good luck that not many of the others are, so I ate more than my fair share. :)

oyster lumpfish caviar

I had 6-7 of these lovely things and boatHouse dishes up really good oysters. You’ll think that oysters is fairly easy to do but there are flavor and texture nuances that adds a lot to it – for this, it was the two types of lumpfish caviar and the generous scallion (spring onions) and caper bud toppings. When your slurp the oyster, you’ll bite down into the juicy flesh, with the caviar popping on your palate and the spring onions bringing a nice crunchiness to the table. It’s delicious.

pig skin balls

Pig skin & balls
This decadent appetizer is made of pork wrapped in bacon. It goes very well with the dipping sauce and there’s a side of salad with cherry tomatoes, grapes, and other palate cleansing ingredients that diffuses the strong taste of the pork. I liked it, but it’s a bit too heavy as an appetizer for me. Your mileage may vary though.

caramelized roast pork

Caramelized roast pork
This is basically char siew. Lovely.

Mains

Spaghetti Scallop Olio with Poppy Seeds

Spaghetti Scallop Olio with Poppy Seeds
The presentation of this pasta dish is great – note the edible ornament and the sprinkling of poppy seeds (no, that isn’t pepper) on top of the dish. The olio (olive oil) based sauce is light on the palate and there is a generous portion of scallops lining the bed of the plate. I popped two of the scallops into my mouth and they were fresh and juicy!

Hollard Pork Belly Ribs

Holland Slow-baked Pork Belly Ribs
A feast for porcine lovers! I like how the pork belly is not excessively lean, but has a healthy layer of fat on it.

Fettuccine Pesto Beef Rocket Leaves

Fettuccine Pesto Beef with Rocket Leaves
I’m not sure why but every time I hear (or read) the words “rocket leaves” in a dish, it just somehow puts me off. I think it’s coz rocket leaves are the “in” thing right about now, and it seems that everyone is trying to incorporate it into their menu. It has become kinda gimmicky in the F&B industry.

rocket leaves

However, boatHouse surprises again by having a really good reason for putting rocket leaves into their pasta. The choice of fettuccine is perfect, as it absorbs the sauce well and we were told to eat the pasta with the rocket leaves. I did just that, and I was blown away. The contrasting textures plays a delicious medley in your mouth and for once, I have to agree wholeheartedly that the rocket leaves adds a lot to the dish.

preperation

Steak au Poivre a la Gueridon
This is hands down my favorite dish at boatHouse! It doesn’t look like much…yet, but wait!

flaming steak

It’s prime fillet steak flamed with brandy right beside your table. Just look at the pyrotechnics!

charbroiled steak

I rant a lot about how restaurants in Malaysia do not understand what “rare” means in steak parlance. boatHouse is not one of these places. They know what rare means and they do it very well! The steak practically melts in your mouth, even after I asked them to sear it three time so I could get a shot of the flames.

Steak au Poivre a la Gueridon

The charbroiled steak is served with a VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) cognac gravy which adds a lot to the flavor. It’s not just a visual feast but an epicurean one. I highly recommend this dish!

Desserts

chocolate souffle

Chocolate Souffle
Oh, how do I describe the awesomeness that is boatHouse’s chocolate souffle? It’s hot from the oven and the melted chocolate with hidden cherry treasures inside is simply orgasmic! Add a bite of the lightly grilled banana and you’re in pure heaven. The hyperbole is justified. I haven’t had a souffle this good for a long time. :)

flambe

Crepe Suzette
This is an excellent option for those who’re not big fans of chocolate. The orange slices are flambeed right beside you. That’s right, I said orange slices. A lot of Crepe Suzette uses orange juice with liquor but not boatHouse. They use actual orange slices, and a lot of it to boot!

Crepe Suzette

I love the light and fluffy crepes that goes into this dish. There just a hint of bitterness from the orange rinds that tops it, but that is offset by the scoop of vanilla ice cream. It all works together to create a complex flavor profile. It’s magnificent!

milkadeal

I was there for a food review session courtesy of MilkADeal and Nuffnang. This is the first time I’ve met the guys, it was a pleasure. I remember a discussion about the drinks that we had too – I think it’s a grape soda based concoction and it sure brings back childhood memories.

nuffnang

I enjoyed the dinner, particularly the oysters, steak, chocolate souffle and Crepe Suzette. Those were the highlights of the meal. I wish I could have tried the cempedak chicken too, but no worries, there’s always time for another trip there. It’s not too far from my place. Thanks for having us, boatHouse! :)

Denis Place cafe & restaurant review

denis place

Denis Place cafe & restaurant is a well-hidden gem in the old
part of town. Nestled between rows of old shop houses, this charming
restaurant manages to work with the existing infrastructure and create
a luxuriously decorated interior at the same time.

denis place interior

The ambience of Denis Place once you step into it is palpable. The
lighting is dim and diffused, and there are racks of wine everywhere.

denis place stairs

There is also a staircase leading to the upper dining section and
sections which have ceramic bowls filled with water and fresh flower
petals, as well as candles everywhere.

denis_place_decor.jpg

I love the effort spent into creating a warm ambience here…

denis place flame

Denis Place is very big on candles and flames, as you can see.

denis place wine blueberry

I had a glass of house red wine (RM 12) and a Blueberry Coolest Shake
(RM 8), which is a blueberries and ice cream blended drink. It’s nice
and creamy. My dining companion opted for the more conservative freshly
squeezed carrot juice (RM 14).

denis place house steak

She had the House steak (RM 21) for the main dish.

denis place house steak f

It’s the signature dish of Denis Place, with 250 grams of well-done
prime Australian mince meat, grilled with melted cheese and served with
fries and chilli cheese sauce. It’s alright, once you find the steak.
It’s there somewhere under the other adornments. ;)

denis place house sandwich

I had the House sandwich (RM 15), another Denis Place signature dish. This sandwich is huge…it’s impossible to open wide enough to get a bite. Seriously, it’s that good.

denis place house sandwich f

It’s a generous triple deck of toasted bread with salad, chicken, a whole fried egg, and beef bacon, served with crinkle fries.

denis shared dessert

We shared a dessert billed as Chocolate made in heaven,
with chocolate ice cream decked with pure chocolate fudge and Oreos for
RM 9. I was amazed by the sheer portion of the ice cream serving when
it came out…

denis place choc made in heaven

Behold! The Chocolate made in heaven in
all of its glory! Just look at that sinful concoction of Oreos
slathered with chocolate fudge in a huge bed of chocolate ice cream…

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