Dragon-i Signature @ The Pavilion

My household often receives guests from India. These guests are often people I don't know - distant relatives who are, for example, my grandmother's sister's brother-in-law's daughter. Some of them come with bitchy attitudes, while others tend to be genuinely nice. Recently a gentleman - priest and headmaster, had dropped by. We were keen on giving him a taste of Chinese food.

Our destination was Dragon-i Signature at the Pavilion. I have been to their establishment at the Pavilion quite a few times now, and have constantly been impressed at their standard of food and service, though it was interesting to see if it had changed. Dragon-i Signature is located on Level 1, right opposite the Food Court at the Pavilion on Jalan Bukit Bintang - and serves Shaingainese food.

As an appetiser, Dragon-i always serves its customers Beans which have been Steamed in Tea. The beans were soft but retained a bit of crunchiness. The delicate flavour makes you want to eat more and before you know it, its all gone.

Our first dish to arrive was the Fried Rice with Seafood, Char Siew and Yam, worth RM16. The delicate flavours blended perfectly. The tender meat, soft yam and the crunchy vegetables blended perfectly with the rice which wasn't excessively oily at all.

The next dish that arrived was the Sauteed Spare Rib with Signature Sauce - worth RM22. The pork was crisp on the outside and tender inside - which made the meat easily come off the bone. The only downside to this dish was that the sauce was excessively sweet and overpowered the subtleness of the pork.

After that, we were served another pork dish which was called Sliced Pork with Assorted Paste, Black Pepper and Bean Sauce worth RM18. This dish was served with some steamed rice-paper rolls. The thin strips of pork in this dish were tender, and the sauce that flavoured it had a nice sweet/salty balance. The pork strips contained enough of fat to give the dish its 'yum' factor, and with the rolls - we were all in for an interesting but yummy treat.

Our vegetable dish was the Stir Fried Spinach with Garlic and Mushroom, worth RM18. The spinach was soft and well cooked, but not overcooked as it it still retained a bit of crispness. The only complaint I had for this dish was that it tasted incredibly bitter for some odd reason, and that there were hardly any mushrooms in it.

The final dish to arrive was the Fried La Mian with Black Pepper Chicken - worth RM15. The black pepper sauce perfectly complemented the noodles, which we could see being made right before our eyes, in the kitchen. The the pieces of chicken were tender, and the capsicum was sweet - and both ingredients were present in abundance.

On the whole, the service there seems to have slowed down, as they were rather unresponsive at times. The quality of food seemed to have decreased too, though not by a significantly large amount. If you ever do choose to eat at Dragon-i Signature, you probably won't be let down. The food was still tasty and of a reasonably high quality, though do bear in mind that prices there are a bit steep. After all, quality does come at a cost.

Presentation: 7/10

Ambiance: 8/10

Service: 6/10

Overall Taste: 7/10

General Impression: 7/10




Unique Seafood, in PJ

Apologies for the poor quality of photographs, as these photos were taken using my BlackBerry phone.

My cousin and his wife treated my family to a wonderful dinner at a halal chinese restaurant named Unique Seafood, where we enjoyed one of my most favourite types of food, that is seafood. The restaurant featured a wall with fish tanks from floor to ceiling, where we saw waiters catching the food that we (and everyone else of course) were about to eat.

The restaurant is located in Section 13, along Jalan Kemajuan in Petaling Jaya. While waiting for our food to arrive, we were served Acar - which is a traditional pickled salad of cucumbers, carrots and onions. The acar, having a little sweetness to it was subtle in flavour. The dish also contained small bits and pieces of peanuts, which added further flavour and texture to it.

The first dish to arrive was the Panfried Tiger Prawns in a Spicy Sauce. The sweet and spicy sauce complemented the prawns very well - though the sauce was not spicy enough (in my opinion). It was also a pity that the large prawns were slightly overcooked and dry.

We were then served Seafood Fried Rice. This dish was an 'authentic' variation of fried rice, as it contained no excess oil, salt and was not lacking in filling. There was an abundance of filling such as prawn, green beans, anchovies and chicken - with each filling adding a variety of different flavours and textures to the dish.

After the fried rice, we were served Fish in an Asam Curry Sauce. The fish was incredibly soft and flaky inside, and the texture of this contrasted (and worked well) with the crispy skin of the fish. Despite the incredibly strong flavour that the curry had, the subtle sweetness of the fish could still be obtained. A great dish to have when with a lot of people, in my opinion.

Our next dish was Mango Chicken. The boneless chicken pieces were cooked really well, being crisp on the outside and tender inside - with the right proportion of fat and meat. The only downside to this dish was that it was there was too much of sauce - and that had overpowered the meat.

Then, we were served our vegetable course, which was Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli, also known as kai lan. The leafy vegetables were well cooked - being soft, but maintaining a certain degree of crispness at the same time. The kai lan (Chinese broccoli) was also flavoured with the right amount of oyster sauce.

The final dish to arrive was the Japanese Tofu with Minced Meat in a Clay Pot (picture unavailable). The small and tender meat pieces in soy sauce complemented the tofu very well - providing a nice balance of texture and flavours. The disappointing fact to this dish, was that there was not enough of tofu pieces to go around.

On the whole, my cousin (reluctant to tell me the exact amount) had said that the bill, inclusive of drinks, came up to about RM300. I had a really good dinner sampling a variety of dishes which were of a reasonably good quality. I also loved the fact that I could see my food being caught before my very eyes.

If you ever find yourself in Petaling Jaya, longing for seafood, you will probably not be disappointed when try Unique Seafood. The food that was served - was definitely fresh, well prepared and seemed to be of a reasonable price. Further more your dinner with good company, will surely enough, become a wonderful meal.

Presentation: 6/10

Ambiance: 5/10

Service: 6/10

Overall Taste: 7/10

General Impression: 7/10





Buffet Breakfast @ the Carousel Cafe

Buffet breakfasts are usually the highlight of my stay at hotels. The idea of waking up to an unlimited supply of bacon, eggs, hash browns and waffles - among many other things - is a feeling that brings me so much of joy, words simply can't describe it.

I stayed at the Palace of the Golden Horses, located on Jalan Kuda Emas, at the Mines Resort City - over the summer. The buffet breakfast here was served at the Carousel Cafe. In the ornate cafe, were huge brightly coloured horses on golden poles - just like those on a carousel. The designs of the plates and cutlery were intricate.

The buffet spread was of reasonable variety, and was separated into different sections - such as the asian, western, bread and cheese sections. Depending on when you stay, the buffet breakfast here can get pretty crowded. As I was there during the summer, there were plenty of tourists from the Middle East staying there, and the cafe was incredibly packed.

Some of the western items on the spread included Beef Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Chicken Sausages, Baked Beans, Hash Browns and Turkey Ham.

The western dishes were commendable, as the beef bacon had a nice crispness to it and the chicken sausages were succulent, though not undercooked. The baked beans however, seemed like the ones in Heinz cans, with bits of capsicum added to it to make it look good, though I liked the fact that the hash browns were bitesize pieces, and in being so - they were a hit among children.

The variety of types of eggs available were of a reasonable amount, though I only stuck to the scramble eggs due to the fact that the omelettes came with a standard filling, and that I generally do not fancy half-boiled eggs with soy sauce.

As for the Malaysian delicacies, some of the dishes available included:

Nasi Lemak, with Chicken Rendang. Nasi Lemak is loved by Malaysians for its combination of wonderful flavours. The aroma of the rice, the sweetness of the sambal and the saltiness of the anchovies makes it the renowned dish it is. Though, the taste I got from the Nasi Lemak here was simply that of salt. The anchovies, the sambal and the rendang were all salty in flavour, and tasted nothing like those available in mamak stalls.

I also sampled the Congee with Condiments and the Roti Jala with Chicken Curry. These dishes too, were a disappointment to me. Firstly, the Roti Jala was dry and hard, the chicken curry was as salty as hell - the hard, overcooked chicken pieces didn't help change my impression either. The congee was of a nice consistency, though the condiments provided were not replenished, and so only the spring onions remained for me when I was there.

The other Malaysian dishes that I did not try included the Noodles with Condiments in broth, and Roti Canai with Dhal Curry. For a Malaysian hotel that has featured so many prominent guests, I was let down by the fact that the hotel was certainly not giving its visitors an authentic taste of Malaysian food.

Other features of the buffet included the Fruit and Juices Corner which contained freshly squeezed juices with pulp, and tropical fruit such honeydew, watermelon, papaya and mango. There was also the Cereal Section which contained cold milk and standard cereals such as Coco Crunch and Cornflakes, along with yoghurt and muesli - among other things.

There was a Bread and Cheese Section with varieties such as Cheddar and Gouda, and the breads came with a wide Selection of Spreads such as strawberry and apricot preserves, peanut butter, honey, blueberry jam and those small packets of butter.

Apart from the bread, there was a wide Selection of Pastries that tasted incredibly warm and fresh, though only after they were placed on the conveyer-belt like toaster located in the bread section. If not properly heated up, they were a bit tough and cold.

On the whole, the buffet breakfast at the Palace of the Golden Horses' Carousel Cafe had a satisfiable amount of variety that you would not be disappointed with. If you are staying there however, I would strongly recommend that you stick to the western section when you go down for breakfast. The quality and taste of the western food is far more superior than the asian varieties available.

Presentation: 5/10

Ambiance: 6/10

Service: 4/10

Overall Taste: 4/10

General Impression: 5/10





F for Fantastic

When asked to think of a word beginning with the letter F, most 23 year olds would have a nasty 4-letter word running through their minds. This, however, wasn't the case for Hsiao Tung Wei - a 23 year old graduate in diplomatic relations and the owner of F, Concept Dining by Buffalo Kitchens, right above Chawan on Jalan Telawi 3, in Bangar Baru.

To him, the letter 'F' symbolises Food, Friendship, Fusion and Family, and judging by the look of determination on his face you could see that he clearly wasn't 'screwing around'. I was told that the menu changes often, to allow diners to try out different items and I'm glad that this concept of dining has finally come to Bangsar.

The restaurant's interior was chic with mood lighting shining down from the ceiling, and the stainless steel pans along with the open air kitchen added a contemporary touch to it. Oddly enough, this was blended perfectly well with the wooden floors, chairs and tables that added a rustic feel to the restaurant.

Ladies won't have to worry about placing their handbags on the floor or on other chairs, as the bags can be placed on a special sliding platform that slides out from under the chair. The above picture was of my mother's bag, placed right next to her chair. Seeing as it was the restaurant's first day in business, the food took a little bit of time to arrive, but it came in the end, nonetheless.

The first dish to arrive, was our appetiser of Pan Seared Tuna Salad with a Miso Mustard Dressing, worth RM15. The dish, truly was like art to the eyes. The seared tuna was fresh, and the subtle sweetness of the dressing complemented both the tuna and the salad. The salad consisted of enoki mushrooms and lettuce, which provided an interesting variety of textures to the dish.

The next dish to arrive was the Duck with Homemade Soba Noodles, worth RM25. Though not as elegantly presented as the salad, this dish was no doubt the best rendition of soba noodles I've ever had. The combination of noodles with the small shitake mushrooms and what seemed to be a sweet miso sauce sent shivers down my spine. The only complaint I had about this dish was that the duck was slightly undercooked, though I would definitely consider ordering the dish again when I return.

Finally, we were served our dessert, which was a Chocolate Tart with Filo Pastry, worth RM10. The tart was pure decadence and was truly filling, despite being small in size. Upon tasting the bittersweet chocolate, you could tell that high quality chocolate was used. The only down bit to the tart, was that the filo base made the tart slightly hard to cut and eat. Though on the whole, the chocolate tart tasted brilliant.

The 23 year old owner Tsiao Tung Wei, told us about his future plans for the restaurant, such as providing cooking lessons in their kitchen and stocking up their book corner to allow customers to borrow books. He also hinted at the fact that the restaurant was packed on its first day, despite not having any front signage. Other than selling food, the restaurant also sells sells kitchenware by Buffalo Kitchens, and is known for their specially imported coffees - which I have yet to try.

On the whole, I can envisage a bright future for this interesting new restaurant, here in Bangsar. I know for a fact that I will definitely be back as I had a near-perfect experience at F Concept by Buffalo Kitchens. The food was superb despite the minor hiccups with the duck, and the ambiance was pure-class. F, concept dining by Buffalo Kitchens, is a must try.

Presentation: 9/10

Ambiance: 9/10

Service: 8/10

Overall Taste: 8/10

General Impression: 9/10