DISH by Delicious, Dua Annexe, KL

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Dish is another restaurant opened by Benjamin Yong, the man who first came to fame with his chain of Delicious restaurants in Malaysia. Located in Dua Annexe, KL, Dish is the slightly more upmarket version of Delicious and is directly beside Delicious and its deli. While both have been sold off to E&O (along with several of Ben's other restaurants), we heard it still serves one of the best steaks in town.

DISH by Delicious, Dua Annexe, KL

While eating at Dish often brings about a hefty price tag, the interior itself is very simple with plain wooden furniture surrounded by spartan metal wine racks. However, we were quite surprised by the opening in the ceiling directly above us with electric cables dangling about. Definitely would not fly with UK's Health and Safety.

Some really lovely white bread was served. While it was quite plain, it was warm, with a crunchy crust and an amazingly airy and light interior. Each slice seemed so light I was tempted to continually gobble each basket refill. Both butter and olive oil with balsamic vinegar were available to suit personal preferences.


"Pan-Seared foie gras on a toasted brioche, served with red grapes & muscat wine reduction". Our waiter was quite amused that our party of five people were going to share this dainty little piece of foie but to be honest I was quite happy with just one little bite as I didn’t think it had the full depth of flavour and texture I normally associate with foie gras from my experiences in Europe.

DISH by Delicious, Dua Annexe, KL - foie gras

"Pan-Seared Scallops On A Bed Of Spicy Lamb Sausage served with Chargrilled Endive Drizzled With Lemon Oil". It could have been an enjoyable dish but the scallops lacked any natural sweetness or in fact any taste whatsoever. The diced sausage in the little pot provided some nice smoky saltiness which would have been a nice pairing to the scallops.

DISH by Delicious - scallops

"Lobster omelette served with a cograc infused lobster bisque sauce". Conceptually a simple idea, but very nicely executed. Some cubes of lobster meat was folded inside a perfectly cooked omelette then covered with lobster bisque. My favourite starter of the night and the table happily mopped up the remaining bisque with the bread. Not a drop was wasted.

DISH by Delicious - lobster omelette

"Prime Rib Bone In - Australian wagyu marble 5 prime rib". For our mains we decided to share 1.3 kg of Wagyu Grade 5 Prime Rib beef and about 400g of lamb. The beef was presented to the table with a knob of truffle butter on top which was then melted by the waiter using a blowtorch.

DISH by Delicious - wagyu

DISH by Delicious - wagyu

It was cooked perfectly medium rare. Upon enquiry, I found out they grill each side using charcoal grill then cook it in an oven till the doneness requested. There was a fair amount of marbling throughout the beef, but considering it was pretty much a rib-eye cut anyway, there were also lots of big pieces of fat around, not just in the middle of the piece but on the sides was at least an inch thickness of fat.

DISH by Delicious - wagyu

"Australian chilled lamb rack". The lamb was cooked medium as advised by our waiter; juicy pink and very tender. Strangely it was lacking a little in the natural lamb aroma though.

DISH by Delicious - lamb

On both the beef and lamb boards were provided some beef jus (presumably made from the drippings), green peppercorn sauce and béarnaise. The beef jus was great when eaten with the steak (and the lamb too to be honest), heightening its natural beefy flavour while providing some seasoning. Other accompaniments include different types of mustard.

DISH by Delicious - sauces

For some side orders, the table’s favourite was probably the charred brussels sprouts with chilies & anchovy while I personally preferred the roasted potatoes in duck fats as it had a really aromatic rosemary and garlic tinge to it (although I think the potato itself could’ve been fluffier). The hand cut chunky chips were a bit of a hybrid chip-wedge and it had a rather strange breadcrumb-like coating although it did make the chips extra crunchy.

DISH by Delicious - sides

At this point, we were quite stuffed so we only shared two desserts. We had the "Deconstructed banana split" and "Deconstructed Tiramisu Served With Home Made Coffee Ice Cream". The former was pretty good: slabs of banana about the plate with some vanilla ice cream sitting on top of whipped peanut butter cream and a healthy supply of chocolate sauce around. The latter was more disappointing as the flavour was strangely lacking and the coffee ice cream was decidedly icy.

DISH by Delicious - desserts

After that, we were quite full but still had a bit more room to squeeze in the complimentary petit-fours. The passion fruit marshmallow was nice and tangy while the chocolate truffle was deliciously rich and creamy.

DISH by Delicious - petit four

Service throughout was actually pretty good. The manager agreed to waive our corkage fee if we bought one bottle from them, which was a nice compromise I felt. The waiters were also happy to help and seemed quite attentive (although there were only 2 other tables besides us that weekday night).

Summary: The highlight of coming to Dish really is the steak which comes in a variety of cuts, sizes and quality. The obvious thing to do is to compare with Prime (another place for steak in KL, Malaysia): while the marbling of the wagyu found in Prime is definitely higher (Grades 6 there compared to 5 in Dish for the prime rib, while other cuts in Prime go up to 9-12), from personal preference we both found the prime rib in Dish more enjoyable to eat, maybe due to a good combination and balance of marbling and beefy taste (and also just a bit more seasoned too).

DISH by Delicious - wagyu

Lot 1.1, Ground Floor, Dua Annexe,
No. 211, Jalan Tun Razak, 50450 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: +603 2164 1286

Braised Noodles with Yellow Chives (韭王炒面)

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Taiwanese use a lot of black soy sauce paste (醬油膏) in their cooking - that's something I learnt from watching a lot of Taiwanese cooking shows.

black soy sauce paste (醬油膏)

I was intrigued and glad that I managed to find a bottle at the Chinese grocer. It is usually thickened with glutinous rice or any other types of starch and is usually used as a dipping sauce or for braising (滷肉) in Taiwanese cuisine. The texture is like oyster sauce but doesn't have the seafoody/ shellfish taste of oyster sauce. The taste is very much like soy suace but the flavour is more intense and slightly sweeter. It is extremely salty, so use sparingly. One tablespoon of it was enough to flavour the noodles.

Braised Noodles with Yellow Chives (韭王炒面)

Braised Noodles with Yellow Chives (韭王炒面)

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig's Corner

Prep time: 35 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Yield: serves 2

  • 2 portions dried egg noodles
  • 8 prawns - de-veined and de-shelled, dried with paper towels
  • 1 cup home-made Chinese soup stock OR any low sodium stock (plus more for braising, about 3/4 cup)
  • 4 dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 10 g dried black fungus
  • 1 small carrot - thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 100 g yellow chives - cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbs black soy sauce paste 醬油膏 (you can use oyster sauce)
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce (mainly for colouring)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tbs Sesame oil
  • Chili oil flakes (optional)
  • Mix together prawns, a pinch of salt and pepper. Leave to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Boil 1 cup of soup stock, remove from heat and add dried mushrooms and black fungus. Leave to soak until softened (about 15-30 mins). Drain, squeeze dry and thinly slice mushrooms and fungus. Keep the soaking liquid for later use. [You should get about 3/4 cup soaking liquid, top this up to 1 cup with more stock.]
  • Heat up wok, add about 1 tbs oil.
  • Fry prawns until cooked. Remove from wok and leave aside for later use.
  • Add garlic, fry until fragant.
  • Add sliced mushrooms, black fungus, carrots. Stir-fry until carrots are softened slightly.
  • Add yellow chives, stir-fry until slightly wilted.
  • Pour in Shaoxing wine, stir-fry until almost dry.
  • Mix in soy sauce paste, dark soy sauce, sugar and mushroom/fungus soaking liquid.
  • Add dried noodles. Cover and leave to cook for a few minutes. Open to check and stir noodles around. Add more chicken stock if too dry. [I added about 1/2 cup more stock for noodles to be fully cooked, the noodles shouldn't be too dry.]
  • Stir in cooked prawns.
  • Season to taste with soy sauce and white pepper powder.
  • Remove from heat, mix in sesame oil and serve with chili oil.
Braised Noodles with Yellow Chives (韭王炒面)

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL

Saturday, 6 August 2011

When my family offered to take us out to Prime in Le Meridien Hotel to eat some of the best steak in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, one does not simply pass it up. Especially if one is still a Kobe beef virgin. Needless to say, I was very excited about this opportunity to finally sample one of the world’s best breeds of steak to eat in one of KL’s best steakhouses.

Shortly after we were seated, some nice warm bread was brought out. There were two types, a cheesy white with some peppercorn (I think) and a dark wholegrain of some sort. While I really liked both breads on offer, I wasn’t too big a fan of the any of the three butters (seaweed, salted, tomato) as they didn’t seem flavourful enough and was too soft, more like mousse, for my taste.

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL - bread

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL - butter

While devouring the bread, we were fortunate enough that Chef Antoine came walking by and he took our order. We explained that we would like to try a couple different types of his beef and we quickly sorted that out (to be covered later). He was also nice enough to show us the raw beef while we were choosing them.

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL

He also arranged for a sample starter of sorts for us each to get. I didn’t see this sample trio on the menu but it had the signature crab cakes as well as the truffle ravioli from the menu and a Portobello mushroom with some greens. The crab cake was surprisingly nice, loaded with crab meat within while the slight mango dressing and cubes gave it a little extra sweetness. The ravioli had a significant truffle aroma wafting from it and was otherwise decent if unremarkable.

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL - starters

Now onto the meat of the review (hehe): the steaks. Chef Antoine explained that the Blackmore range of cattle were all originally shipped from Japan to Australia where they are raised in the highest standards as expected from Kobe-quality beef. Incidentally, these were all BMS Grade 9-12 beef and you can very clearly see the difference in marbling between the Grade 9+ beef and the “normal” beef.

So anyway we tried the “Blackmore Wagyu Chuck Flap Tail”, “Blackmore Wagyu Cube Roll”, “Wagyu Prime Rib” and “Master Kobe oyster blade steak” and a 200-day grain fed Australian Black Angus rib eye. Suffice to say that all the above were cooked medium rare and exceedingly tender and juicy. Even the cuts known to be leaner and tougher such as the chuck and oyster blade was still very tender and oozed beef drippings on biting. I could literally feel the beef oil being squeezed out between my teeth, so not for the faint of heart.

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL - beef
From left: Blackmore cube roll, 200-day Black Angus, chuck flap tail, oyster blade.

For the extremists there is the “Cube Roll” (Grade 12), also known by its more familiar name as the rib-eye and it was almost like eating beef-flavoured butter. While definitely flavourful, it was almost a bit too much fat and we were all thankful we were sharing it to be honest as eating more than a couple of bites of nearly-almost-pure-beef-fat can get a bit tricky.

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL - blackmore wagyu rib eye
Blackmore Wagyu Cube Roll

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL - blackmore ribe eye
Blackmore Wagyu Cube Roll

The Prime Rib meanwhile was much easier to eat even though it should consist of the same rib-eye cut as well, so maybe it was a Grade 9 instead.

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL - prime rib

As if all that wasn’t enough, we also had a 200 day old Australian rib-eye on the table, just to compare with the wagyu. The difference in marbling is clear, even after cooking, as there is much less fat on this one and hence it is slightly tougher and chewier.

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL - beef 200 day

Along with our steaks came some side orders too. I quite fancied the big fat chunky fries while the truffle mashed potato was sinfully creamy and they definitely didn’t skimp on the truffles. There were some sauces too, but I didn't try any of those as I wanted to eat with mustard instead, unfortunately it didn't arrive, so I ate everything plain.

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL - sides

For desserts, we shared amongst our table, a brownie (despite the menu’s claims, not the fudgiest ever, it was more like a chocolate cake with lots of chocolate sauce), a rich hot chocolate cake, a mango cheese cake, a tiramisu and a crepe Suzette. Most of them were reasonably good if not particularly eye-opening or delicate (except for the brownie which I mentioned already which was quite poor).

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL - desserts

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL - desserts
Left: rich hot chocolate cake; right: brownie

Finally, I have to say that for a fine dining restaurant in a top hotel chain, the service was decidedly lackadaisical. For example, my glass of water was half full for pretty much half the meal before a waiter decided to come around and refill the table’s water then stopped at my part because his bottle ran out of water and never came back again. However, Chef Antoine was very accommodating for our meal; he showed us the cuts of raw beef; he helped us organise our meal by making us a starter compilation (that isn't on the menu as far as I know); he took us around to show us the kitchen after our meal and showed us his grill, custom made to his design from Germany and fuelled by charcoal from Korea.

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL

To summarise: the grade 12 beef was amazingly marbled and tastes really good if you like it fatty and some cuts like the rib-eye (Cube Roll) is so tender its like eating butter. However, it lacks in terms of beefy taste compared to Hawksmoor for example. The beef was actually cooked pretty well here, perfectly medium-rare and with enough charring over the surface. For a better balance of fats/texture and flavour, we both preferred the oyster blade and prime rib.

Prime, Le Meridien Hotel, KL

Level 5, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur Hotel
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral
Kuala Lumpur Sentral
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2263 7434
Official website