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




Kampachi @ the Pavilion

It had been a long time since I had last tried Japanese cuisine. I finally managed to do so last week, when I visited Kampachi. Kampachi is considered one of Malaysia'a most renowned Japanese restaurant chains, and the branch I had visited was their Pavilion one, located on the 6th Floor of the Pavilion, next to Al-Amar's and a stones-throw away from Ben's.

Upon taking our seats, we were served by courteous and an attentive waiter by the name of Ikmal, who gave us top-notch service. He had an extensive knowledge of the menu and helped us immensely in our choices. 

We had order two plates of Endame, which we snacked on until our food came. A favorite if my dad, the pods were lightly salted and the peas were thoroughly cooked, whilst maintaining it's crunchiness. There are quite a lot of these peas in a serving, so even a plate is enough to keep you going.

The Katsu Curry Rice worth RM42, is a good enough portion to share between two. The turmeric-flavored curry complemented the tender breaded chicken served on the side. It was so delicious, that whatever rice was left was used to clear the excess curry left over, until the plate was spotless. I will admit, however, that RM42 is simply too high a price to pay, for such a dish.

We then had the Unagi Kamameshi, with RM48. This dish, a simple unagi and rice, was served in a clay pot - and required 7 minutes of cooking. The unagi was well cooked, and had a good texture to it. However, the proportions of unagi and rice were not at all satisfactory. There was just too much of rice inside, which we could not do anything with once the unagi was eaten.

The last dish to arrive was the Ten Zaru Udon. The dish, featuring a side of tempura, featured a plate of udon noodles which was supposedly Kampachi's specialty. The noodles had a nice consistency to them and were served cold, with a tentsuyu dipping sauce. The tempura side consisted of a good assortment of prawns and vegetables, coated in a thin-yet-crisp tempura batter.

All in all, we satisfied with Kampachi as the dishes we ordered were of a good quality. It should be noted that the service we received was exceptional, and Ikmal was absolutely courteous and hospitable. The ambiance was haphazard in some instances, but probably because it was Saturday night.

Presentation: 6/10

Ambiance: 5/10

Service: 9/10

Overall Taste: 7/10

General Impression: 8/10