Casual French at the Croisette Cafe

Though Croisette Cafe remains hidden amidst the hustle and bustle of Bangsar, it has remained an establishment I've wanted to visit for sometime now. Nestled next to the swimming pool of the Cascadium, on Jalan Penaga, Bukit Bandaraya - it serves non-pretentious French food, straight from the heart. Not to mention that if you sit on the poolside, you get a breathtaking view of the KL skyline!

My Spaghetti Pistou remained a simple, yet satisfying treat. The dish contained subtle hints of basil and garlic, which were present in right amounts so as to complement the perfectly al dente pasta. The tomatoes added a nice contrast of flavors, providing a much desired hint of sweetness.

The Prawn Bisque was incredibly flavoursome, with a hint of saffron which permeated the dish. Being thick and hearty, there was nothing pretentious about it at all despite its name. It was just a simple bowl of warm, thick and hearty soup.

Someone ordered a Duck Confit with Roasted potatoes. The crisp skin and tender meat were a delight to eat, with enough saltiness in the duck to bring out its natural flavour. The roasted potatoes with a hint of garlic proved to be a perfect accompaniment.

Another friend of mine ordered a Beef Lasagna, which came with a side salad. Between the sheets of lasagna lay generous layers of meaty bolognese sauce and a béchamel sauce. This simple dish seemed rich and filling.

A trademark of the Croisette Cafe seemed to be their Rotizza - basically, a Pizza with a Roti Canai base. Their Magherita Rotizza, however, contained a base wore flakier than roti canai. This base was an ideal combination with the cheese topping, tomato sauce and a touch of some pistou.

The Chocolate Mousse contained the desired combination of sweet white chocolate mousse and bitter dark chocolate mousse. Topped with some whipped cream and almonds, the simple yet decadent dessert certainly didn't disappoint.

My friend's Peach Melba contained perfectly poached peaches - soft, yet not mushy. The combo of raspberry coulis, vanilla ice cream and nuts provided the humble dessert a myriad of textures and flavors.

The Creme Brulee was incredibly large a portion for a desert, yet my friend managed to finish all of it. The smooth custard hidden below the egg shell-like crystalized sugar top proved to be a hit with her, and certainly with me.

My Passion Indulgence, essentially a passionfruit cheesecake, was rich and smooth. The tart passionfruit coulis heightened the tastebuds, and the poached orange rinds provided even more of a sweet and bitter taste, with a hint of freshness.

Honestly, I could not find fault with the Croissette Cafe, apart from the fact that it seems to be one of the most underrated restaurants I've ever come across in KL. The service was impeccable too - very personal. If you drop by Bangsar one day, you simply have to visit this quaint joint for some delicious French food served straight from the heart, and at unbelievably reasonable prices too!

Presentation: 7/10

Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 9/10

Overall Taste: 9/10

General Impression: 9.5/10





Desserts at Alexis

Alexis is well known for their desserts, and we decided to try a few after having had a dinner with some family friends. We visited their BSC branch, which is located on the 1st floor of Bangsar Shopping Centre, right next to Busaba.

It was unfortunate that there were no slices of the mixed berries meringue available, but heck - I guess trying other cakes didn't seem that bad an idea. Lets face it, always good to break away from the norms every once in awhile.

The Black and White Chocolate Cake was a descent choice, though I personally felt that the cake was nothing out of this world. I felt it was a bit too dry and maybe a bit too one-dimensional.

The Tiramisu with strawberry coulis, however, is something not to be missed. Personally, I ate very little of it as I am not a fan of nuts - however having been the first cake to have been finished, it was safe to say that the cake remained a hit with the rest. The caramelized nuts provide a good crunch, whilst shards of chocolate within the cake and the strawberry coulis provide a nice sweet and tart contrast.

We ordered an Apple Pie a la mode as well. The apples were perfectly cooked with a hint of cinnamon - they maintained their crunch very well. The crust was a bit too hard, though pairing it with the ice cream compensated for that 'crusty' hiccup.

All in all, Alexis remains a great place for dessert and a popular choice for many. Though the quality of their deserts tend to remain inconsistent, it is safe to say that you will leave satisfied - at the very least. 

Presentation: 6/10

Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 7/10

Overall Taste: 6.5/10

General Impression: 7/10





Casual Italian at Garibar

Garibar is a part of Garibaldi, one of Bangsar's most renowned Italian establishments. We paid the place a lunchtime visit as we were in the mood for some Italian fare

Garibar is located below Garibaldi, in Bangsar Village along Jalan Telawi 1, and offers good Italian food but without the formality that the restaurant upstairs provides. 

The Calamari Fritti worth RM22 kept us munching, as we awaited our main courses. Lovely tender squid with a thin, crisp layer of batter over it - served with a lovely tomato puree.

The Linguine Funghi priced at RM30 was also a good option, as the al dente pasta together with the light cream-based sauce accompanied the mushrooms very well. The dish was rather light on our stomachs.

The Gamberi e Rucola Pizza worth RM39 was well worth the price, as it came loaded with succulent prawns. The rocket leaves added a nice touch of freshness to the cheesy pizza. I loved the pizza base too, crispy and not too thick.

The Cesare con Salmone worth RM29 is a perfect side dish to have with your mains. Good to see they were abundant with their salmon and croutons (which for me, is always a good thing). It could have done with some freshly grated parmesan though

As we were almost full to the brim, we decided to order a Pavet di Cioccolato worth RM18 for dessert. The moist warm cake was heavenly, and suited perfectly with the vanilla sauce. Although, a vanilla gelato would have been an ideal choice.

If you intend on tasting some good Italian fair but without all the formality, head on over to Garibar and give it a try, the next time you pop by Bangsar.

Presentation: 7/10

Ambiance: 6/10

Service: 6/10

Overall Taste: 8/10

General Impression: 7.5/10





Revisit to F Buffalo Kitchens

'F' by Buffalo Kitchens has undoubtedly managed to make its mark in Bangsar's culinary scene. It has been some time now, since we last visited - and indeed, plenty had changed.

The dining area and open kitchen indeed helped create a lively, yet sleek atmosphere for the diners. 'F' by Buffalo Kitchens, is situated right above Chawan on Jalan Telawi 3, in Bangar Baru.

We were given some Bread with a Balsamic and Olive Oil dip. The bread tasted rather stale, and surprisingly cold. Not the best first impression to give a customer, if you ask me.

A soup is a must-order, whenever I dine with mum, and the Wild Mushroom Soup worth RM14 was our choice for the night. The truffle oil gave it a great underlying flavour, yet it lacked some salt and should have been thicker in texture.

The Vietnamese Squid Salad, worth RM16 was hardly Vietnamese at all. Nonetheless, the squid was well cooked and in abundance. The dressing it came with with, albeit too much, tasted great.

We then ordered a Chicken Mash Roulade, worth RM28. At face value, the dish looked hardly appealing. However one mustn't judge a book by its cover, because it tasted great!

The chicken, although overcooked, contained smooth mashed potato within. The real highlight was the curry cream sauce which it was laced with. Smooth, and infused with turmeric.

Our dessert was a slice of Cherry Cheese Cake. For RM12, the slice that we had was incredibly small. Smooth nonetheless, though incredibly small. Not worth it, if you ask me.

Their Coffee there, however, is absolutely top-notch. As the place specialises in making coffee - I can assure you that they pull great espressos and make great coffee-related drinks.

If you are willing to climb the steep flight of stairs, then 'F' by Buffalo Kitchens offers food of an average standard. Their quality, however, has definitely decreased compared to our last visit, which is a pity.

Presentation: 6/10

Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 6/10

Overall Taste: 6/10

General Impression: 6/10




Breakfast at Fauchon

After months of idleness, I'm finally back. This post is regarding breakfast I had at Fauchon, a French establishment founded in 1886, known for their smoked salmon, macarons, chocolates and caviar - among other things.

Located on the Mezzanine Level of KLIA's Satellite Building, the establishment is a small one in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the airport. However, with that being said, its black and pink decor allows it to stand out from the rest.

Being one of the few establishments opened in the wee hours of the morning, I decided to try their breakfast, at a hefty price of RM48. Breakfast came with two pastries, butter and jam, a poached egg, some salad leaves, coffee and juice.

My cup of Brewed Coffee at Fauchon was truly pleasurable, as their nice strong brew awoken my mind and senses after having traveled throughout the night. A great brew to wake up any jet-lagged traveler.

Their juice, however, tasted average. I simply could not distinguish between a glass of Orange Juice at Fauchon to a bottle of Tropicana with orange pulp. I was a bit taken aback at the amount of ice present as well. I'd have expected much less. 

The pastries were very good. The croissant had a lovely flakey exterior and a fluffy interior - I dare not imagine the amount of butter used to have made it. The pastry was also very good, with a generous amount of what seemed to be vanilla custard. However, when you take into account the price of it all, some pastries at Delifrance could have left me just as satisfied.

The poached egg, however, was an absolute disappointment. I could still taste a hint of vinegar and the yolk at the centre was overcooked. I was sorely disappointed, but was too tired to complain.

Though the food was somewhat of a let-down, I must say that the service was absolutely impeccable, with very attentive staff who were very patient with me - having noticed my visibly frustrated face.

I guess, what you pay for when you order this expensive meal, was the small bottle of jam that came with it. It was good apricot jam, however not good enough to warrant the price that came with the breakfast. I suggest stay clear of breakfast at Fauchon, although do drop by for a coffee if you wish to awaken your sluggish selves.

Presentation: 5/10



Overall Taste: 5/10

General Impression: 4/10





Bersih through my eyes

Dear all, acknowledge the fact that I've not been frequently updating recently. This is mainly due to the fact that I'm currently bogged-down with my A-levels exams, although I promise to be back as soon as the exams are over and Summer 2012 kicks in.I wish any of you sitting for A-levels or IB the best of luck! And may the odds be ever in our favour :P

On a note not relating to food whatsoever, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my experience at Bersih 3.0. Bersih is a cause I fervently believe in, and I strongly feel that it is important I share my experience in order to debunk any myths out there pertaining the rally.

To go, or not to go?

Admittedly, this article might be a bit overdue, however it was mainly due to the fact that I’ve been bogged down with my upcoming A-levels. As I sat in front of my laptop the night before, watching the crowds assemble near Dataran, I was still mulling over whether or not I should attendA part of me posed the following questions: What if I get hurt, gassed or sprayed? What if I get arrested by the police? Was it wise to take such a risk right before such an important exam? However, I also thought to myself: As a future law student, shouldn’t it be my duty to defend our right to protest? And more importantly, if ever I was forced to join the Malaysian diaspora, would I ever be able to forgive myself for not having tried fighting for my rights first?

In the end,regardless of the risks it posed, I felt that it was my duty to attend. Being 18, I am not yet eligible to vote; however I had always believed in the Bersih cause, as a clean and fair electoral system is the only way in which we could obtain a government that truly represents the interests of the people. In addition to the above, I was also dumbfounded by the illogical reactions of certain quarters to the rally. And so, with vinegar soaked masks, swimming googles, earplugs, legal aid numbers saved on my phone, a towel, water and some food in my bag – I left the comfort of my home, ready for whatever might come. A part of me was excited to become a part of national history, however I would also be lying to say that I wasn’t nervous and expecting the worst.

The march to Dataran

I travelled to Brickfields with family members who attended the rally together with me. Police presence was relatively heavy, and I remained anxious as I walked past the officers. What if they decided to arrest me there and then? I decided to smile at them; to my surprise, they smiled back! I felt somewhat reassured, and the huge participant turnout reaffirmed it. Upon joining the crowd, we coincidentally bumped into a group of church friends and began our march with them. To the chants of “Hidup Bersih!” and “Hidup Rakyat!”, we were cheered on by the many observers on the sidewalk and by a majority of the cars, motorbikes, a convoy of postmen and even a KTM commuter train who blared their horns in support of us.

While walking towards the city, I met people from all walks of life, of all ages, many races and many backgrounds; coming together for the good of the nation. Of all those people, the most memorable ones included a Standard Two boy, a brave disabled man on crutches, and an incredibly beautiful protester who was walking together with us (lets face it, boys will be boys). Ever since the concept of 1Malaysia had been introduced, I had not an idea of what it meant until Bersih 3.0. By this point, every feeling of nervousness which I had felt before had practically disappeared. Never in my life, had I been so proud to call myself a Malaysian.

Upon joining with the group from Central Market, we stopped for a break. To my surprise, I coincidentally bumped into a friend from school as well as a priest from a nearby church. Despite many businesses being closed, my group and I proceeded to an open Mamak shop to have lunch. To say that business was great would be an understatement. There were many vendors making a killing from selling cold drinks as well. It was amazing to see how much fuss some businessmen had made in response to Bersih and the supposed millions-upon-millions claimed in losses. Had those businesses decide to open on that day – just like those that did – they would have made a killing too. Why bother getting into business when you don’t even know the basics?

After lunch, we proceeded to a stage at Central Market where we had the honour of seeing S Ambiga herself. I was unable to hear what she was saying due to the deafening cheers, however just being in the presence of such a great Malaysian was sufficient for me. As a giant group, we then marched towards the direction of Dataran Merdeka with the chants of “Bersih!”, “Hidup Rakyat” and “Hancur Lynas”. Admittedly, there were also chants of “Reformasi”, however these chants had little traction with the people. At 2pm, we were reminded to sing the Negaraku; and the entire crowd did so with spontaneity. The sound of our voices together were deafening albeit a bit out of pitch – though there was no doubt that a sense of nationalistic fervour had gripped the crowd.

As we approached Jalan Tun Perak, we could hear the chants and cheers of the mammoth-sized crowd that had already assembled there. We merged with the giant sea of people, and my group and I successfully got a place right outside the Burger King outlet (which was also filled to the brim, by the way). We had ourselves a great view, and the atmosphere was akin to a giant festival. We then proceeded towards the side of the Masjid Jamek station – where we had a seat. We had no idea of what was happening at the other end, and were just minding our own business until we noticed a sudden rush of people. It did not take us long to realise that something was up, and that tear gas had been shot. We had no idea that the barricades at Dataran Merdeka were breached.

A change in the atmosphere

In the sudden rush, we had lost a cousin while heading to Medan Pasar – somewhat away from all the pandemonium that had spontaneously ensued. We stopped near the clock-tower to try and get in touch with my cousin. While doing so, however, we heard a loud gush of water like the sound of a distant waterfall. To our shock, large jets of water were being fired on the adjacent road (Leboh Pasar Besar). The entire crowd made a run for it. We had no idea where we were heading. It wasn’t long until we began to feel the effects of the tear gas which had wafted from nearby. It felt like rubbing your body and face with chillies. We began to help each other in the crowd – some distributed salt and water, others helped the elderly – all of us random strangers.

We took random backroads and alleyways, eventually finding ourselves in the midst of the Pudu bus station where we took refuge. Still recovering from whatever had happened, I was made even more dumbfounded by the fact that they had closed the LRT station. Why bother ordering us to disperse, only to have the LRTs closed? An hour later, when things had somewhat settled, we began to make our way home. Before leaving the Pudu bus station, I made it a point to give a yellow flower I had received from a protester to the police in the police booth at the bus station. They were surprised, to say the least.

Contemplating Bersih 3.0

From Pudu, we walked to Berjaya Times Square where we boarded a cramped Monorail filled with fellow protesters. Upon reaching KL Sentral, we were picked up by the cousin whom we had lost in the rally, who somehow managed to get himself home before us. In the car, I remained silent with a smile on my face – still trying to contemplate the day’s events. In a nutshell, I had walked miles-upon-miles in the blazing heat with thousands of people, I was tear gassed and ran instinctively; not knowing where I was going – and yet I was happy as ever. It just goes to show that the best thing to do in life is to follow your conscience, no matter how risky it might be – one of the many lessons being part of Bersih 3.0 had taught me.

I awoke the next day to the papers highlighting the supposed chaotic nature of the rally initiated by protesters. To say that I was angry would be an understatement. Looking at some videos that surfaced online, there was undoubtedly sporadic violence by protesters which had occurred; as a Bersih believer, I condemn such violence. But what about the numerous accounts of police brutality? Why did the media fail to acknowledge that? Selective amnesia perhaps? It was incredibly appalling that some quarters refused to even acknowledge the aspects of unity and creativity seen, and the predominantly peaceful nature of the assembly. Do they not seem to realise that by doing so, they actually stand to give their arguments more credence?

Looking back at the rally, I see the denial of Dataran Merdeka as the protest venue a blessing in disguise. Why? Because it symbolises the dreams and aspirations of our founding fathers which have yet to be fulfilled. They dreamt of building a society that would wholeheartedly reflect the will of the people, and not of a select few. Such a society can only be built by electing a government through a free and fair electoral process. The spirit of those who fought for our independence years ago was very much present in Bersih 3.0; and as we continue in our fight for this cause, it’s safe to say that Tunku and gang are smiling from above – proud of everything we have done. Hidup Bersih, Malaysia Boleh!


F1 Paddock Club @ Sepang Perdana Suite

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to have watched the GP2 Series finals and the F1 Malaysian GP qualifiers from the Paddock Club at the Sepang Perdana Suite.

The club is without a doubt, the most exclusive seating area from which you can watch the race, with views of practically half of the circuit.

Upon arrival, you are escorted to your table, donned with a Hermes tablecloth specially designed for the Paddock Club.

With access to the Perdana Suite, you are given special views of the main grandstand, as well as a top-down view of the pits and of the podium.

Drinks at the Paddock Club are free flowing. One can have anything, with a wide-array of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. As I arrived in the morning, I ordered myself a cappucino. This was followed by...

...an affogatto later in the afternoon. It wasn't strong, however it did do me reasonable justice. Certainly allows you to have more than one cuppa without feeling any guilt (if you're like me, trying to cut the caffeine).

For breakfast, we were served some oatmeal with raisins, which I found incredibly satisfying

 We also had a bowl of fruit at our disposal. I had with my oatmeal, some freshly squeezed guava juice. A healthy breakfast to start the day!

In between breakfast and lunch - as the buffet spread was being set - we were given a selection of small snacks.

I managed to pick up a king prawn dish with an aubergine base and garlic aioli aside. My juice was topped continually whilst I watched the cars from the balcony.

Our lunchtime spread was a buffet, consisting of numerous items. My first plate, pictured above, consisted of the following. 

The roasted vegetables infused with thyme jus was sweet and perfectly cooked. Prawns with a turmeric-infused cream sauce were succulent. The pandan chicken in a sweet peanut sauce was a bit of a let-down unfortunately - but the roast beef compensated it - unbelievably soft and tender, possibly being the best I've ever had. As for the cod, there was a great texture to it: firm, yet flaky. 

I also had a rigatoni with a spicy lobster bolognese. The rigatoni was perfectly cooked, and the sauce provided a great accompaniment - however the lobsters were a bit dry and overcooked.

Other items on the spread included Mashed Potatoes, a Potato and Wasabi Soto, Smoked Aubergines, Celeriac Mousseline and a Coriander-Lemon Rice.

Throughout the race, you can pretty much ask them to serve you anything you want to drink, be it Beer/Champagne/Juice/Coffee or Tea. We consumed around 8 bottles of S.Pellegrino

Try avoiding the bread with dip we had - addictive, but it fills you up immensely.

After lunch, lay an assortment of delectable desserts that lasted the crowd through till the end of the day - we indulged in this till the very moment we left. The desserts were made with good quality ingredients and tasted great!

The panna cotta with raspberry glee was smooth, with a perfect balance of sweet and sour

Meanwhile, the chocolate mud cake with vanilla sauce was decadent, yet not overwhelmingly sweet - giving you the urge to have one more (as I did, an hour later).

Mud cake no.2 came with chocolate sauce and some apple strudel with strawberries and cream. The strudel was crisp, however I found the filling albeit a little tart for my liking.

Before leaving, I had myself some Darjeeling tea and biscotti. The teabag was a product of Fortnum & Mason - a company founded in 1707, and renowned for their teas.

I also had some mango mousse. It was smooth, however I found the fact that they paired it with a  strawberry a bit weird. Talk about an identity crisis.

The strawberry macaron was fantastic - eggshell-like exterior and a meringue-like interior: just how every macaron should be.

The experience included a walk around the F1 pits, some up-close-and-personal experiences with some of the drives, free merchandise, amazing service as well as a swanky pass around your neck. Not to mention the priority parking, and the sweeping views of Sepang. Here are some of the shots I managed to take:

Panoramic view from the pits.

RedBull car coming through...

We saw the teams busy at work in their garages.

Up close and personal with a McLaren car.

What's F1 without the pit-chicks?

We were given a tour of the Sepang media centre.

The one and only Michael Schumacher himself. With him, Nico Rosberg and Mokhzani Mahathir.

Jenson Button (above) and Fernando Alonso (below) cruising right below our noses.

A quick pit-stop during the GP2 Race - before the F1 qualifiers.

F1 Teams at work. McLaren boys take first and second places for Sunday's race.

The Paddock Club will set you back USD4200 for 2 days or USD4600 for all three days. Personally, I would purchase the tickets once I'm out of school, working, and (hopefully) have a reasonable amount of money with me :P

Ultimately, the value you place on the ticket depends on just how much you love F1. And I do. Very much. Hence the unofficial endorsement.

So long Paddock Club, till we (hopefully) meet again in a few years to come!

Presentation: 8/10

Ambiance: 7/10

Service: 9/10

Overall Taste: 8/10

General Impression: 7.5/10