Monday, November 20, 2017

Little Collins: Christmas Cakes

It might still be six weeks till Christmas, but the little elves of Little Collins are already hard at work. Santa has come early, as our favourite online cake store in KL sent us some terrific presents, proving that we've been nice, not naughty, this whole year.

Little Collins' 2017 Yuletide selection is full of festive flair: The cakes, their luscious forte, are gorgeous, abounding with meticulously perfected intricacies, scaling the pinnacle of cake craftsmanship. Rest assured, they taste wonderful as well, promising fresh, rich textures and sharp, sumptuous flavours.

The Baileys Chocolate Cake would be the dazzling centrepiece of any Christmas dinner spread, a seven-inch beauty of chocolate mousse made with Baileys Irish whiskey cream for a mellow kick, lushly layered with chocolate sponge, blanketed in Swiss meringue buttercream, merrily decorated with chocolate metallic domes that look like they could be hung on a tree, macarons, plump strawberries and a golden-hued topper made by The Pink Igloo design studio.

For RM185, the Baileys Chocolate Cake is the ultimate holiday indulgence. But if you prefer a completely alcohol-free version, Little Collins offers an alternative of a black forest chocolate cake for RM165. 

Also a dream: The Christmas 'Cookies and Cream,' decked with gingerbread men, gingerbread stars, strawberries and macarons, with a choice of butter-free carrot, chocolate mud, or red velvet for the flavour of cake within. A bright, happy-vibes creation. RM135.

Aren't these the absolute cutest? The season will be a whole lot jollier with Little Collins' Christmas cake pops - fondant-coated cakes-on-sticks, resembling Rudolph, Frosty, Penguin and Polar. May seem too adorable to eat, but bite into them and you'll enjoy a centre of rich, moist chocolate cake. A distinctively memorable entry to the Christmas-treats canon. RM50.80 for four.

Little Collins' classic mince pies spread scrumptious cheer and goodwill to all with a core of currant, raisin, orange peel, lemon peel and candied fruit mince that's been soaked in port wine, mixed with apple pie for a punchy, starry-eyed dessert (RM125 for 25 pieces). The non-alcohol version comprises purely the cinnamon apple mini-pie for the young at heart (RM106 for 25).

If your parties need more cake, Little Collins' does sterling cheesecakes too: The Lemon Cheesecake is exceptionally elegant, spruced up with flowers and macarons, looking like a ray of sunshine, tasting like a beam of sheer joy, courtesy of the use of fresh lemon juice and zest for a natural tang (RM95).

Other cheesecake options include the pastel rainbow (RM105 for a full cake) and Nutella-inspired hazelnut (RM115), irresistibly light and not too sweet at all.

With delivery to your doorstep (or down your chimney if you have one), we know we can count on Little Collins for a big slice of celebratory comfort. Many thanks to Little Collins for this treat.

To order Christmas cakes, pops and pies: http://littlecollinskl.com/product-category/cakes/festive/
To order cheesecakes: http://littlecollinskl.com/product-category/cakes/cheesecake/
To enjoy a 15 percent discount off any ready-made item available on Little Collins' website until 31 December 2017, use this promo code: eatdrinkxmas


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New Menu: Interlude, TTDI

Resilient after four full years in TTDI, Interlude has evolved a lot since its earliest incarnation. Not many might realise that this restaurant now tackles an impressive range of recipes from across the globe, often served with a intriguing twist or two.

Start with the Southeast Asian specialities. Few venues in KL offer sisig - the Filipino sizzling favourite of sliced pig head parts with egg, shallots, spring onions, calamansi and chilli peppers - and none does it exactly like Interlude, which imbues it with a relatively richer, French-inspired depth of flavour (RM25).

The grilled pork neck with tradtional nam jim jaew spicy-tangy dipping sauce will easily tempt fans of Thai fare, furnishing plenty of meatiness on one plate (RM15), but our top pick here is absolutely the Vietnamese omelette, thickly stuffed with crispy school prawns and herbs for an irresistible tastiness - delicious enough even without the accompanying sriracha and sweet chilli sauces; the omelette alone is worth a visit to Interlude (RM22). 

There's much more though - Interlude's kitchen showcases its solid capabilities with a recently introduced special of chili con carne; this is a surprisingly satisfying interpretation, packed with firm beans, well-balanced in its naturally mellow flavours, rustically textured for a homemade feel, much more compelling than the versions served at Tex-Mex chains. If you like chili con carne, it's very possible you'll love Interlude's. It's a revelation.

Of interest for Europhiles: Baby calamari stuffed with minced pork, saturated with Napoli sauce (RM22), and a crowd-pleasing bangers-and-mash, featuring chubby pork Bratwursts atop mashed potatoes with onion gravy (RM25).

There's a fair share of Indian-inspired dynamics heating up the menu: Interlude insists that its pork vindaloo is one of a kind, and we're inclined to agree - the Goan speciality is made extra-special with pork crackling strips that bring a crunchy decadence to what's already a flavour-loaded curry in itself; it's easy to understand why this is a popular order (RM28).

Also a safe bet, the Mutton Masala is one of 10 pizzas on the menu, and it lives up to its billing as one of the ultimate mutton pizzas in town (RM30).

We began with one Filipino classic, we'll finish with another: Bring the entire gang over if you plan to take on the crispy pata, featuring fleshy pork knuckle meat with the crunchiest of skin for pure porcine pleasure, completed with potato wedges and house-made vinegar and soy dips, for a reasonable RM70. It's the rare restaurant that can do justice to chili con carne, pork vindaloo and crispy pata all at once, but that's Interlude for you.

Many thanks to the team here for having us.

Interlude
50, Lorong Rahim Kajai 14, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 3pm-2am Tel: 03-7733-7119

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Butcher's Block @ Medan Damansara

Damansara Heights' new cavern for carnivores is a treasure trove of Charolais rib eye steaks, Wagyu briskets, French duck breasts and Dorper lamb loin chops. 

Choose a cut and bring it back home or have it cooked for you here - the grain-fed tenderloin, for example, costs RM36.80 per 100 grams for takeaway purchases, or RM38.80 for dine-in purposes within the cosy space of this 'gourmet meat market.'

An a la carte menu is additionally available: Our three best bets to represent this venue are the Tasmanian grass-fed striploin (RM72, with two complimentary sides), the charcoal-grilled free-range peri-peri chicken (RM30 for a quarter, also with two perfectly portioned sides) and Spanish octopus leg (RM75 for the smallest serving).

The proteins are capably prepared, furnishing the necessary flavour and tenderness that underscore a commitment to solid produce and honest cooking. The chicken is reputedly raised on corn, passion fruit leaves and organic feed, supplied by a farm in Kuala Kubu Baru.

Each of the sides is pretty tasty too - our hands-down favourite is the cauliflower mash with truffle oil, uncomplicated but irresistibly addictive.

The grilled capsicum and zucchini with hazelnuts and lemon dressing, roasted beetroot and feta cheese with Italian herb dressing, and asparagus with tomatoes and avocados in lemon mustard dressing all master their roles as well in making this a satisfactory meal.

Wine is offered by both the bottle and glass. Service is thoroughly warm and efficient. 

Trivia: Butcher's Block is spearheaded by the man who was formerly one-half of Jarrod & Rawlins.

Butcher's Block Gourmet Meat Market
124, Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 10am-10pm. Tel: 03-2011-7373



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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Terasa Doamnei @ Bucharest, Romania

Guts & gore in Bucharest: Dracula's Fillet (pork with hot sauce); brains fried in omelette; grilled spleen; sour tripe soup - traditional Romanian restaurant Terasa Doamnei might not be for the faint of heart, but the menu is a thrill for the taste buds. Finish on a safe, sweet note with papanasi - a delectable, doughnut-like dessert overflowing with cherry preserve & cream.