It is not often when you go to a nice restaurant and come out unhappy over all the courses but I guess there's always a first. Recently we tried the newly opened Flinders Restaurant in Mont Kiara and came out an unhappy lot. Situated next to Energy Day Spa, the place has a nice breezy feeling to it, with very clean lines, whitewashed wooden floor, giving it all a very nautical feel, not unlike the places I have dined at before in Australia on a nice summer day.

The place was rather empty when we went, I guess not many people know about the place yet.

The menus are on nice blue cards and has a selection of light bites for anytime to Lunch and Dinner menus which have a mixture of salads, pastas and heavier mains and desserts. We decided to order Flinder's signature dishes, including the foie gras for appetizer, smoked duck and roast lamb.

We love foie gras so when the dish came (quite quickly I may add!) we were ready to go (not to mention I was really hungry as it was past my normal dinner time already). Presentation was ok, nothing inspiring, with poached pears at the bottom and the foie gras sitting on top, no greens or anything else to decorate the huge white plate. We dug in .. now, I love the way foie gras is balanced with normally a sweet type sauce to balance the delicate taste of the liver but even though I have a sweet tooth, the pears were way too sweet, overpowering the light taste of the foie gras, which also tasted not so fresh. The liver wasn't very large but there was also quite a lot of pear so it becams quite sickly sweet at the end of the appetizer.

Mains at Flinders is served with a heavy baked potato gratin, which was quite nice, except that it got a bit jelak towards the end with the heavy cream. It's a heavy accompaniment and reminded me of the heavy winter meals we used to have back in Melbourne. The sliced smoked duck sat on the lentil salad and again, the presentation wasn't anything to shout about as there were no greens or any other color to feast my eyes on. The duck was a bit tasteless, if anything, slightly salty and the abundance of lentil salad didn't help either as both did not have much taste to it.

G's roast lamb was at least better to look at and it looked promising. However, we learnt that looks can be deceiving. However, at least with the dried apricot sauce, there was some taste to add to the lamb, which was also served with sage polenta.

By the time we got to dinner and looked through the menu (signature deserts were lavender creme brulee and pumpkin tiramisu, other desserts incuded strawberry jelly with basil and some other desserts which tended to marry fruit with herbs), I settled on the Valhora chocolate parfait . We decided that we woiuldn't choose any of the Signature dishes anymore and what could be easier to prepare than chocolate!

How wrong we were. The parfait was basically assembled out of a base of chcolate coco-pops, with bananas in the middle and a scoop of chocolate ice cream on the top. Right! The ice cream was solid hard and when we tasted it, it had a powdery taste to it (we later learnt it was homemade), the banana were unriped and the wrong kind of bananas to use for these types of desserts and there nothing worse than having tasteless bananas. The coco pops were ..well ... coco pops!

The meal, including a glass of Kir (flavoured white wine) and Evian water cost over RM200 and that's after the 15% Opening discount (up to 31st October 2005)

The place has potential as a party venue, which was what I had in mind already, but the food was just disappointing. I hope that it's only because they are new but then again, in this industry, first impressions or in this case, first taste, counts. Looking through the menu again at the end, it looks like they're trying too hard to be fusion, which may or may not sit well with the diners. This place reminds of me of when Moomba (another Australian-inspired restaurant that opened up at Wisma UOA in the late 90s) first opened - people came but nothing kept them coming back. I hope Flinders does better ... Good Luck!

Ground Level, Damai Sari
Mont Kiara Damai
3 Jalan Kiara 2, Mont Kiara
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 6203 1841
fax: 03 6203 1756
After the usual "what are we eating?" "anything" "where are we eating?" "anywhere" banter, IS and I found ourselves at De Champion Duck Restaurant at Damansara Utama.

There wasn't much duck left as it was quite late but we managed to have some anyway. The duck's not bad, moist and tender and not too "ducky". Was told by the owner that the 'char siew' was VERY GOOD but they had run out so too bad ...

Anyway, new management has taken over this place (about 6 months ago) so while the restaurant name remains the same, the Chef has changed. We were told that to come at lunch time (they are opened everyday) for fresher meats.

As we paid to leave (we were the last customers there), IS spotted some white liquid in a bottle that the owner and chef were drinking and asked what it was. Turns out it was fresh toddy, delivered about 5 hours before, all the way from Mantin. Owner asked if we would like to try it. Oh well! Never tasted it before so why not?

We tried it neat i.e. pure from the bottle and there was kind of a little sourish taste to it. Looked a bit like really thick barley water. Then Mr L poured in some Stout and asked us to try it again. That made it sweeter and the taste more complex with more body. It was quite interesting and quite yummy! We were also told that fresh toddy needed to be consumed within 2 days else it would smell and taste worse than "old socks water" .Anyway, we ended up having a few rounds with our new 'friends' before we called it a night.

As we left the restaurant *pow* the strength of the toddy hit us. The stuff is really lethal especially when we drank so little. Anyway, I'd love to try it again - the toddy, I mean. Oh .. and also the famous char siew ...

D'Champion Duck Restaurant
(same row as Maybank, and few doors away from Vicchuda?)
Damansara Utama
Petaling Jaya

There is no doubt that Yung Kee has to be THE place for roast goose in Hong Kong and it's no co-incidence that many years ago, when I last visited HK with Cynthia and Adrian, we were taken there by David C (resident Hongkonger) as introduced as the best place for the goose and this time round, G also took me there.

We arrived early for dinner which was lucky else we wouldn't have gotten seats without a reservation. Of course, when at Yung Kee's one has to order their famous roast goose which is what we did and then we were lost for what order next! The friendly waiter then suggested the set dinner which comprised the following:
Roast Goose with Preserved Trotter with Soy Sauce
Deep Fried Prawn with Mini Crab Roe
Abalone with Mushroom in Superior Soup
Steamed Garoupa with Chinese Ham
Wonton Noodles
Mango Pudding

Yeap! All for two people!

The goose was absolutely delicious - tender, not gamey with the perfect crispness to the skin.
The prawns were ok, I thought the little crab was really cute!
Abalone was VERY yummy!
The fish was so-so ..nothing much to shout about. Rest of the menu were just supporting acts to the main cast of GOOSE!

I think everyone who visits Hong Kong has to make a stop there.

The Award-Winning Set Meal will set you back around HK$700 (RM350)

Yung Kee
32-40 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 25221624

After a tour on the Duk Ling junk which took us round the Harbour, G took me to Isola's, touted as one of the most happening eating places in town. It's not hard to see why. Located at the new swanky IFC Mall, Isola has a lovely terrace which overlooks Kowloon and on a nice day, probably one of the main reasons to dine there. Unfortunately, on the Sunday we were there, apart from the fact that I was suffering from a severe case of runny nose (that always happens to me on the first day in a highly polluted country!), the pollution index was pretty high which meant that Kowloon was a hazy sight. Thus, we decided to dine in!

We chose the Sunday brunch menu which gave us a choice of soup or antipasti buffet, pasta and dessert buffet. Before anything I had to down some Chinese pills to stop my nose from running anymore, downed with imported Italian still mineral water, no less, of course!

The antipasti buffet was scrumptious with a lovely selection of ham, salami, roasted veges, etc. Real pity I couldn't taste that much with the blasted runny nose! For mains, we both chose the spaghetti with prawn and crab which was yummy but such a huge serving!

The dessert buffet was fabulous but I was SO full by then so I could only manage a little bit of some.

Brunch at Isola's doesn't come cheap. With our 2 bottles of imported Italian still mineral water, brunch set us back nearly HK$800 (around RM400).

Isola Bar + Grill
Level 3, IFC Mall, Central Hong Kong
Tel: +852 23838765
1. Equatorial KL (Nippah Coffeeshop)
RM79++ for adult, RM42++ for child;
100 fantastic specialties offered.
Traditional treats like Bubur Lambuk Daging, Sotong Gulai Minang, Gulai Ketam Bernanas, Kupang Masak Lemak Daun Kesum etc. Beverages include Sirap Bandung, Air Cincau, Lychee, Assam Boi and Peach Tea. Patrons who dine on at their Ramadhan buffet from 3 - 10 October 2005 will receive a 15% discount.

2.Saloma Bistro Theatre
109 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur; 03-21619122
RM65.00 nett per person (with cultural show), RM48.00 nett per person (without show).
Kampung style dishes will be served during the month of Ramadan at Saloma Theatre Restaurant e.g. salads and kerabu, soups, hot dishes, action stalls dishes, desserts. Six different menus which rotates daily.

3.Sun & Surf Café/Atrium Café (Sunway Lagoon Resort, Pyramid Tower)
Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel
Level 1, Persiaran Lagoon Bandar Sunway, Bandar Sunway; 03-7492 8000 ext 3169
Sun & Surf Cafe is priced at RM72++ per adult and RM36++ per child.
Ramadhan Pride at Atrium Cafe is priced at RM52++ per adult and RM26++ per child.

Evergreen favourites from the thirteen (13) states of Malaysia .

4.Terrace Cafe, Putrajaya Mariott
Putrajaya Marriott, IOI Resort, Putrajaya ; 03-8949 8888 ext 1888/1889
RM78++ per adult and RM47++ per child.
Hawker stalls, live carving stations and a la minute cooking stations.
Live ghazal music and suraus are available throughout the month for all muslim patrons convenience

5.The Terrace, The Regent (KL)
160 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur 03-21418000 ext 4245
RM70.00++ per person
75 varieties of dishes.

6.Paya Serai Restaurant, PJ Hilton
2 Jalan Barat, Petaling Jaya; 03-79559122 ext 4060
RM69++ per person for adults. RM49++ for children of 12 years and below.

There will be four Ramadhan menus on a rotational basis.

7.Melati Hall, Sheraton Subang Hotel & Towers.
Jalan SS 12/1, Subang Jaya, Subang Jaya; 03 - 5031 6060
RM60++ per adult ; RM30++ per child between 5 and 12 years old.
Live cooking demonstrations by celebrity chef, Jaafar Onn in traditional kampung setting, appetizers, "homemade" recipes and selections, Asian Favourites cooked "a la minute" & desserts and live entertainment.

8. Taman Sari Brasserie, Istana Hotel
73 Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur; 03-21419988 (ext 3667)
RM78.00++ per person, Children above 7 years will be charge at RM 48.00++ per child.
Asian, Mediterranean to Western choices at Berbuka Puasa buffet.
Live traditional music by the Kumpulan Sri Mewah II group, nightly.
Ramadhan quiz and win surprise gifts.

9.Melting Pot Cafe, Concorde KL
Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur; 03-2144 2200 ext 2337
RM58.00++ per person.
Home-cooked dishes from Negeri Sembilan.
Guest chef, Chef Razilah Bte Yusof or Kak Zilah teams up with Che Yah Bte Che Mamat and Zabedah Bte Ali.

10.Sunflowers Brasserie.
The Royale Bintang
17-21 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur; 03-21439898
RM48++ per person
RM24++ for children aged from 4-12 years old.
50 different dishes each day.
Special action stalls await you with an array of specialties like Laksa Sarawak, Roti Canai and Murtabak with Daging.

11. Abdul's & Charlie's
Mines Bearch Resort And Spa
The Mines Resort City Jalan Dulang, Seri Kembangan; 03-8943 6688 Ext 1117/1122
RM55++ for adults, RM28++ for children.
Traditional Malaysian favourites ulam-ulam and salad selections, soup, porridge of the day & hot selections.
Steamboat, satay, Thai barbeque, noodle and traditional rice counter.

12.Vogue Cafe
Renaissance Hotel,
Corner of Jalan Sultan Ismail & Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur ; 03-2162 2233
RM79.00 per person.
Buffet spread of authentic Malay delicacies and East-West as well as Pacific Rim cuisine.
The buffet spread consist of local specialties, and indulge in other Pacific Rim delicacies such as Sushi & Sashimi, Salmon in Puff Pastry, Oyster Rockefeller and Steamed Garoupa.

13. Stage Lounge RM79.00 per person.
RM49 per person
Typical Malay buka puasa "balik kampung" dishes.

14. Botanica Brasserie Restaurant
Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur; 03-27179933
RM79++ per person.
Buffet spread, with 10 new stalls featuring local favourites as well as other selections from the buffet line, like Sushi and Sashimi or Vietnamese Fish Claypot and Chinese Ginger Chicken with condiments.

15. Satay Club
JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur
183 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur;03-2716 8562
RM 48.00++ per person
108 of the best of traditional dishes from various states. The Poolside area on the 6th Floor of the JW Marriott and the Starhill Conference Centre on 4th floor of the JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur will be transformed into a Ramadhan bazaar, to replicate a "kampong" ambience.

Pak Ali, the hotel's icon for the month of Ramadhan who will be presenting dates and Malay kueh to guests just before “berbuka puasa”.

16.Swez Brasserie
Eastin Hotel, Jalan 16, Petaling Jaya; 03- 7665 1111 ext 137
RM80++ (adults). RM52++ (children aged 4 to 12 years)
Middle Eastern as well as authentic Malay and Middle Eastern dishes. Turkish specialties such as ˜baba ghanoush", Turkish lamb, ˜baklava", ˜taramasalata" and Turkish-style grilled chicken.
Live ghazal music, performed nightly during dinner hours.

17.Balik Kampung Gastronomy
RM65++ (adults); RM37++ (children aged 4 to 12 years)
Malaysian fare with home-cooked dishes such as Prawn Sambal Petai, Sotong Masak Lemak Cili Api, Briyani Ayam, Lidah Sapi dengan Air Asam, Ikan Cencaru Sumbat, Nasi Ulam Bubur Lambuk, Kerabu Daging, Ulam-ulam, Pucuk Ubi & Ikan Masin.

18. Rahsia Bistro & Wine Bar
13 Jalan Damai, 55000 Kuala Lumpur ; 03 2142 5555
RM38 nett.
Different Menu Daily
Menu e.g. : Rojak Buah - Penang Style, Mini Rolls with Sweet Thai Dip, Sukun Goreng, Tauhu Sambal, Kari Ayam, Kurma Daging Lembu, Sayur Campur Oriental Style, Nasi Tomato, Nasi Putih, Sup Tulang, Sup Ekur, Ikan Keli Masak Belada, Kangkung Belacan, Ulam-ulaman, Kerabu Jantung Pisang, Kerabu Mangga, Nangka Masak Lemak, Kuih Muih, Bubur Kacang, Pengat Pisang, Sajian Buah buahan Tempatan.

19.Cafe Serena Brasserie
Nikko Hotel, Kuala Lumpur; (603) 2161 1111
RM80.00++ per person
Ramadhan spread consisting of more than 80 home made favourites, international as well as fusion dishes. E.g. Rendang Tok Perak, Kalio Daging, Ketam Masak Cili Api, Fried Udon Noodles with Sambal Belacan and more. In addition, there are 8 action stalls offering endless varieties of cuisines.

First 25 group reservations confirmed (min 30 persons) will receive a special fruit cake. -Each diner will receive a pack of dates in an exclusive pouch. -Live entertainment starts from 6.45pm to 9.30pm

20.Benkay Japanese Restaurant
Nikko Hotel, Kuala Lumpur; 03-2782 6268
RM88++ per set, RM68++ per set
Special bento box meal for buka puasa, inclusive of sweet dates. Diners can enjoy a Malay traditional music performance while feasting on food like grilled mutton and seafood.

21.Pool Deck of Lanai Gurney.
Lanai Gurney Corporate Suites; 03-4256 6119
M45 nett
35 dishes by Chef Din.
5 + 1(free) diner. So there's 6 of you, each will pay about RM37.50 only.

22.Semarak Cafe
Grand BlueWave Hotel, Section 14, Shah Alam ; 03-50313388 ext 2811, 2805, 2804
RM59++ for adult, RM39++ for senior citizens, RM29++ for children below 12 years old.
Minangkabau cuisine as well as several Chinese, Western and Japanese dishes.

RM59++ (adults), RM49++(senior citizens 55 years and above), RM29++ (children between 7 and 12 years)
30 Japanese food varieties like sushi, sashimi, california roll, chawan mushi, saba teriyaki, tori katsu and much more.

24.Cafe on the Tenth
Crowne Princess Kuala Lumpur,
City Square Centre, Jln Tun Razak; 03-2162 5522 ext. 5503
RM68++ (adults), RM34++ (children)

25.Rasa Melaka: Choices range from Malaccan Peranakan cooking to Malay, Nyonya, Portugese and Chitty food.

26.Hard Rock Cafe
Concorde Hotel, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur ; 03-2715 5555
RM39, RM30, RM26
The menu selection consists of sizzling cod fish, roast shoulder of kebab, barbecue beef kebab, baked Portugese fish and local style barbecue chicken.

27. Lemon Garden Cafe
Shangri-La Hotel, 11 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur; 03-2074 3902
RM88++ (adult), RM44++ (children 3 to 12 years)
Malay, Chinese, Indian and Western food in five rotational menus : acar rampai Nyona, sotong bakar berkunyit, ketam bakar bermadu, ayam tikka khadari, udang putih masak rendang, kambing briyani and many more.

28.The Planter's Inn
Crowne Plaza Mutiara Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
RM85++ per person, (50% discount for children 12 years and below)
Buffet line of food like kerabu mangga, kerabu anika laut, ikan patin masak asam tempoyak, udang masak lemak dengan nenas, and ikan gelama masin. Local and international desserts like bubur pulut hitam, bubur pengat labu and tapai ubi are also available.

29.Planet Hollywood
Planet Hollywood Kuala Lumpur, KL Plaza, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur; 03-2144 6602
RM42++ (adults), RM21++ (children below 12 years)
Ketam goreng masala, baked mussel, beef and chicken satay, rendang kerang, ikan masak tempoyak, koori chicken, lala masam manis, udang koori, mee jawa, nasi beriyani, pengat labu and many more.

Legend Hotel, Putra Place, 03-4042 9888 ext 1011
RM56++ per pax
Japanese Buffet Dinner

31.The Verandah
Federal Hotel Kuala Lumpur; (03) 2148-9166.
RM55++ (adult), RM27.50++ (children below 12)

32.Warisan Buffet Ramadhan
Taman Warisan Pertanian Putrajaya, 03 - 88880099
RM25 nett for Adults, RM15 netts for children.
25 menu choices.

33. Kiara Coffee House
Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort, Jalan Bukit Kiara, Off Jalan Damansara, Kuala Lumpur; 03-20941222/20931222 ext 218
RM35++ adults, RM26++ children
Malaysian and Middle Eastern buffet. Beef rendang, Mutton Kurma, salads, jeruk, etc.

34.Ario Dee Thai Restaurant
Palm Garden Hotel Putrajaya; 03-8943-2233.
RM38++ per pax.
Authentic Thai Buffet
Hot and spicy as well as live action stations: tom yam noodles and laksa Siam on the spot.
Main main buffet counter: mango sticky rice, pandan chicken, fragrant rice, asparagus with Thai sambal and others.
Dessert corner offers tako, water chestnut in coconut milk and mango pudding.

35. Wild Rice Restaurant
Boulevard Hotel, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur; 03-22958000
RM60 nett per person
Early Bird Promotion: For a group of 10, 2 persons eat for free (so each pay only RM48).