Saturday, 14 September 2019

HōMUplus+ Detergent Powder

Laundry wash, organic & eco-friendly way

Sept 14, 2019

Recently, my son suffered a few episodes of rashes on the inner thigh and, despite trips to the clinic, found little if any relief. He felt it might be caused by detergent, so I scouted around for a skin-friendly, eco detergent. There are quite a few brands on sale in the supermarkets and I tried a couple but was not satisfied with the overall results.
Then My Best Friend mentioned having switched to using an organic home use product and suggested that it could work for me too. HōMUplus+ detergent powder, made in Taiwan and distributed by 98 Percent Sdn Bhd, combines natural orange essential oil with cleaning elements to remove dirt and stains from clothing. Not only this but it also eliminates bad odour and, if you’re using it to hand wash laundry without scented softeners, you can detect a light, fresh citrusy aroma.
HōMUplus+ detergent powder (left) is finer than regular laundry detergent (right)
and does not contain blue-coloured optical brighteners 
The detergent powder is more powdery and finer than my regular laundry powder and what is most obviously missing are the bright blue specks of what are probably optical brighteners.
For handwash, add just one scoop to 10 litres of water and for washing machines, one scoop is sufficient for 2-4kg laundry, two scoops for 5-7kg laundry.
The detergent does not contain chemicals such as phosphorus, optical brighteners and nonylphenol, items which can cause irritation such as swelling or rashes in sensitive skin.
Instead, it has the following ingredients:
1.     Orange Essential Oil for refreshing antibacterial and disinfecting properties 
2.     Methyl Ester Sulfonates for its strong cleaning power
3.     Sodium Sesquicarbonate, a powerful cleanser that’s harmless to the environment and skin
4.     Mirabilite which penetrates deeply to remove dirt and stains
The organic ingredients used are certified by ECOCERT.  The detergent penetrates deeply into fibre to remove stains without leaving detergent residue.
Best of all, my son feels the rashes have subsided to a lesser degree and he’s hopeful these will clear up soon.
Priced at RM58 (RM68 Sabah/Sarawak) per 2kg box, HōMUplus+ detergent powder is available online at

98 Percent Sdn. Bhd.

65 Jalan 14/29, Seksyen 14
46100 Petaling Jaya

Selangor, Malaysia


 +603-7968 9988



Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm

Friday, 13 September 2019

PREGO @ The Westin KL

Viva Italia for a bubbly Sunday

13 September, 2019

Sunday morning dawned. Am particularly upbeat as I’m headed to Sunday brunch with champagne with My Best Friend and others.
Prego at The Westin is bustling with cheer even as I walk in and immediately see a table set with giant buckets of ice in which bottles of Moet & Chandon, wine and proscecco are chilling.
Right next to this is the dessert table, laden with delectable choices of cakes and pastries.
Oh, I see MBF and friends already seated with glasses of welcome juice in hand. I skip over and let the Cheers begin.
Prego’s Sunday Brunch is reputed for its selection of Italian antipasti and home-styled dishes by Italian Chef Marco De Cecco. In addition, there’s a seafood on ice and a sizzling barbecue going on at the verandah.
Cheese, cheese and more cheese
Macaroni Pasta Salad, Pesto with Pine Nuts, Feta Cheese, Cherry Tomato and Fresh Basil (top row)
and Roasted Broccoli & Fregola Salad
We start with the antipasti. There’s Macaroni Pasta Salad, Pesto with Pine Nuts, Feta Cheese, Cherry Tomato and Fresh Basil and Roasted Broccoli & Fregola Salad, which I have second helpings of.
Panzanella Toscana Salad
Sicilian Caponala with bread croutons
Spinach Frittata
Squid & Shrimps with mayo dressing
Eggs and Asparagus
There’s also Mushroom Soup, Spinach Frittata, Sicilian Caponala with bread croutons, Squid & Shrimps with mayo, Cured Salmon and plates of Pepperoni and Turkey Salami as well as Egg & Asparagus topped with tobiko.
The Panzanella Toscana Salad, comprising chopped toasted bread with finely sliced onion, cherry tomato and sweet basil, is delicious but even better is Semi-Dried Roma Tomato with added anchovies to give it a little perk.
Burrata, Mozzarella and a starter plate of small bites
Chef Marco adds a little drama with his special
burrata and mozzarella on dry ice
A whole table is devoted to cheese – Gorgonzola, Paramigiano Reggiano, Pecorino, Taleggio and Goat Cheese. In another corner, we see fresh Buffalo Mozzarella and Burrata. In case you wonder if you should take some, ask and wait for Chef Marco to prepare his specials of mozzarella and creamy-centred burrata drizzled with balsamic vinegar and served on dried ice for a little touch of brunchtime drama.
Actually, the waiting staff comes around at constant intervals to bring special offerings from the kitchen, such as polenta with caramelised onions, thin crust pizza with salami/pepperoni and a stunning crab risotto.
Not only that but they also come around with cocktail surprises such as Rosemary Gin.
Pepperoni pizza, fresh from the oven
Crabilicious risotto, a la Prego
Polenta with caramelised onion on top
Seafood on ice with scallops and oysters shucked and crab claws shelled for good measure
I keep going back to the Seafood on Ice for Half-Shell Scallop, Tiger Prawn, Mussels, Oyster and mini Mud Crab Claw, shelled. The Tiger Prawn is my firm favourite. These are so fresh, crunchy and sweet. 

Udang Galah on the grill.... can you just smell the aroma? 
Roasted Whole Tiger Groupers with roasted potato and vegetables
Grilled chicken or leg of lamb?
Foot long lamb sausages
Skewers, Italian style
Barbecued short ribs in gravy
Outside, chefs are busy at the cooking station,  grilling choices of Beef Tagliata Style, Lamb Sausage, Fresh Water Prawns (Udang Galah) and Arrosticini (Italian style chicken and tomato skewers). Next to the grill are ready Roasted Whole Tiger Grouper, Chicken and Leg of Lamb with sidekicks of roasted potato and vegetables including carrot, peppers and zucchini as well as Braised Beef Cheek and BBQ Short Ribs simmering in claypots.
Part of the dessert spread
Oh, wait… don’t forget dessert. There are all kinds of cakes, pastries, cookies and pudding as well as fresh fruit. To be honest, I really couldn’t find tummy space for much more despite the tempting spread.


The Westin Kuala Lumpur
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL 

+603-2731 8333 

Opening Hours
Sunday Brunch: 11.30am to 2.30pm

Viva Italia Sunday Brunch is priced at RM188 nett. Add RM160 nett to enjoy free flow of red wine, white wine, proscecco, draught beer, special cocktails, soft drinks and chilled juices. Add RM260 nett to enjoy free flow Moet & Chandon champagne and all the available drinks.

Thursday, 29 August 2019


Time for some wicket cocktails

August 23, 2019

Friday evening. In view of the coming weekend, My Best Friend and I share similar thoughts… a wicket... I mean wicked… cocktail seems to be in order.
Erhhmm…pardon the pun but after all, we’re in The Sticky Wicket where mixologist S. Roy is shaking up a roller-coaster of cocktails for us.
Naturally, the cocktails are naturally named after professional cricketers from throughout the ages, such as K.S. Ranji, Mark Ramprakash and Liton Das to Albert Edwin, Chris Gayle and Gilbert Aessop.
I love The Record Breaker (RM48), named for George Griffin. It’s a combination of Beefeater, elderflower, honey infused beer, pineapple juice and fresh grapes. So fruity and delicious.

From left, Whiskey Sour, Dickie Bird, Record Breaker, The Light Bowler and Somerset
I particularly enjoy Whiskey Sour which shows the right attitude in the well-balanced mix of whiskey, sugar and lemon, with just the slightest tinge of bitterness.

If you’re a cricket player or cricket fan, The Sticky Wicket is the place to go. If you’re not, don’t worry. It’s still loads of fun, especially if it’s cricket season.

Walk in and you’ll see cricket paraphernalia lining the walls while sports programmes play continuously on the many large television screens. If you want more privacy, head upstairs.
The comfy lounge upstairs
Cricket originated in south-east England in the 16th Century but over the years, its popularity spread to the British colonies all over the world, especially India and South-East Asia.
Ouch! The tummy’s growling in protest. It’s been hours since lunch, so we ask for a menu. We see a list of dishes from countries where cricket is popular – Britain, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Australia and Canada. Yes, these include Cullen Skink, a Scottish smoked seafood soup, Fish & Chips, Toad In The Hole, Springbrock Boerewers, Crab Kottu and Eton Mess.
Actually, the menus for food and drinks are great conversation pieces. I am tickled by some of the names here such as Howzat Poriyal, Dolly Chick and Fried Leg Stump.

Delicious chicken poutine
We start with Poutine (RM26, chicken/beef). For this delicious Canadian specialty, fat fries are generously doused in a gravy cooked with pulled beef brisket or shredded chicken and topped with cheese. The Sticky Wicket presentation adds a sunny-side egg on top. In between chomps, MBF and I agree that the chicken poutine is better balanced in flavours.

Calamari with  house-made Salted Egg Yolk dip
Gin & Tonic with a slice of grapefruit
Then we have Salted Egg Yolk With Calamari (RM35). The basket of thick rings of deepfried calamari are crisp on the batter coating and juicy inside. The house-made salted egg yolk sauce is delicious, with that slight gritty texture that comes from real egg yolk. Leaning a little on the more salty side, it’s perfect with beer or, in my case, a gin tonic (when in a pub for cricketers, drink what cricketers drink).
Also great with drinks is Crab Waugh (RM20), with chunks of soft shell crab battered and deepfried to a crisp and tossed in salt and pepper. And it’s a “straight run” with the addition of curry leaves and chopped chilli padi.
Hot and spicy Soft shell Crab Waugh is perfect with drinks

The Sticky Wicket Beef Rib Burger
For mains, we start with The Sticky Wicket Beef Rib Burger (RM42). I don’t take beef but MBF is delighted to find, instead of the regular beef patty, a wow factor in the shape of braised beef short rib in between the burger bun, along with caramelised onions, rocket leaves and a mac’n’cheese waffle. Comes with thick fries.
Fried Leg Stump
Fried Leg Stump (RM32) – somehow I keep seeing images of Long John Silver, the pirate – turns out to be a deboned chicken leg, panfried to golden brown and served on a bed of mashed potato/mushy peas, with mushroom sauce, salad greens as well as buttered cauliflower and carrot sticks. It has a strong flavour of rosemary, so beware if you’re not too fond of this.
Quintessentially British Fish & Chips
For Fish & Chips, a British staple, we have a choice of cod (RM60) or pollock (RM36). We pick cod; there are 2 slabs of white fish fillet with a basket of chips. The beer batter coating is crisp, preserving well the sweetness and moisture of the delicate fish. On the side are two dips of mayonnaise and mushy peas.
Springbok Boerewers 
Springbok Boerewers (RM69) is not meant for the faint of heart. A full 500g of pure chunky meat (in this case, beef) sausage comes coiled and sizzling in a cast iron pan, drowned in a spicy curry sauce, with waves of thick cream on top.

Crispy Lamb Shank
The Crispy Lamb Shank (RM58) is unusual. While lamb shank is usually soft braised, The Sticky Wicket offers a new perspective by a quick dunking in hot oil to make the outside crispy. The shank is then served on herb-infused mash and what the chef calls “naughty bean sauce” which actually has baked beans.

The hearty Full English is also available for Weekend Breakfasts
After much discussion, we pick The Full English (RM38) for the final hattrick. Also available for Weekend Breakfasts, this is a whole wooden bat topped with 2 sausages, sautéed mushrooms, panfried tomato, buttered and panfried bread, beef bacon, baked beans and two sunny-side eggs. There’s enough chow here to satisfy any growling tummy.

Sticky Date Pudding with melted toffee and cream
After all this food, we are hesitant about dessert. But The Sweet Taste Of Victory beckons, so we have Sticky Date Pudding (RM22) and Sweet Appam (RM8) to share. The pudding is light, moist and springy in texture. Laced with sticky melted toffee, it’s perfect when served with thick cream.

Sri Lankan sweet appam also comes with an ice cream option
The Sri Lankan appam is a circle of crispness surrounding a soft centre sprinkled with coconut milk and gula Melaka. If preferred, customers can have it with a scoop of chocolate ice cream though I’d recommend having it the original way as the chocolate ice cream confuses the flavours somewhat.

Happy mixologist S.  Roy
Tummy appeased, we retreat downstairs to make S. Roy mix up more cocktails at the bar. His new creation, The Light Bowler, has raspberry syrup with extract of fresh rosemary, gin, sugar, lemon and egg white, which he finishes off with dabs of angostura bitter and a flower on top.
Dickie Bird (RM39), named after Harold Bird, is a crisp mix of Monkey 47 sloe gin with Campari, Yorkshire Tea syrup and fresh apple and lemon juice.
The jury (or is it umpire?) is still out on Somerset (RM29). MBF loves it, saying it smacks of apple pie. But this is where I beg to differ, not having a love for apples or cinnamon and Somerset has an overindulgent, lingering aroma of the bark spice. The drink combines fresh green apple juice with organic apple cider vinegar and cinnamon syrup.
Love gin? Sticky Wicket stocks over 25 types of gin and its house pour is Beefeater which is RM9.80 during the Happy Hour which is noon to 7pm daily and all day Sunday. I can see I’ll be quite happy here.
There are also 2 Gin Buffets. Choose from brands such as Beefeater, Ungava, Opihr, The London, Boodles, Tanqueray, Roku Gin and West Winds at 3 glasses for RM60++ or 5 glasses for RM95++.
The premium Gin Buffet comprises Rutte, St George Spirits, Bitter Truth, Hendrick’s, The Botanist, Gin Mare, Poli 1898 and Citadelle at 3 glasses for RM75++ or 5 glasses for RM120++.

34 Jalan Medan Setia 2
Plaza Damansara, Damansara Heights
Kuala Lumpur

+603-2011 5378

Opening Hours
Monday to Thursday: Noon to 2am
Friday: Noon to 3am
Saturday: 9am to 2am
Sunday: 9am to 1am
Happy Hours: Noon to 7pm daily and all day Sunday

Sticky Wicket also serves set lunch menus that include soup and a glass of iced lemon tea or lime juice. Items include nasi lemak, nasi goreng, pulled beef burger, chicken salad, fried leg stump, fish and chips, beef bacon linguine carbonara, chicken chop linguine in basil-pesto sauce, chicken casserole and a spicy vegetarian fried  rice.
On Saturday and Sunday, Weekend Breakfast, from 9am to noon, offers choices including Eggs Benedict, Avocado Toast, The Full English, Scotch Egg, pancakes, burrito, South African Lamb Curry, Sri Lankan Breakfast, Idli Tiffin and apam.


Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Xin Cuisine @ Concorde Hotel KL

Meaty treats

August 23, 2019

Chef Ricky Wong
Ricky Wong has a reputation for his skills with seafood. One evening at dinner, he recommends Steamed Soon Hock (RM30/100g) with nyonya sauce. As this delicate marble goby is best lightly steamed with soya sauce, we wonder why Ricky chooses to cook it this way. He explains: “I feel the firm flesh and sweetness of the fish pairs well with this sauce made with ginger and galangal.”
The mildly hot sauce, aromatic with fresh herbs, is perfect for local palates and will go well with a bowl of steamed rice.
Steamed Soon Hock (goby) with nyonya sauce

Spinach tofu with special sauce, shimeji mushrooms, shredded conpoy and chard
But it’s not just seafood that Ricky shows his deft hand. I really enjoy Spinach Tofu With Special Sauce (from RM35), served with chard (white bok choy). The house-made tofu is prepared with chopped spinach scattered on top. Then it’s cut into cubes and deepfried. The tofu is topped with white shimeji mushrooms and shredded conpoy (dried scallops). The oyster-based sauce is delicious and perfect to add a perk to the dish.

Sweet & Sour Pork in Ice Bowl
Then there are new meaty surprises in the a la carte menu. The Sweet & Sour Pork in Ice Bowl (from RM40) is Instagram-worthy. The deepfried cubes of meat are tossed in sweet and sour sauce and then placed in a bowl made of ice. The sudden chilling of the outside caramelises the sauce, giving the meat a crisp exterior while the inside stays juicy. Ricky sprinkles crumbled cheese on top to give flavours a deep boost.

Baked Spare Ribs with Crispy Sliced Bentong Ginger
There are 2 more pork dishes. For Baked Spare Ribs with Crispy Sliced Ginger (from RM40), Ricky extracts juice from top grade Bentong ginger and uses this with fermented beancurd to marinate the ribs. Brushed with apple jam and sesame sauce, the ribs, which have plenty of meat attached, are both sweet and flavoursome. Thin slices of young ginger are then battered and deepfried before these are scattered over the ribss. As much as I dislike ginger, I find these very palatable, with just a hint of the root spice.

Braised Pork Belly with Fermented Beancurd Sauce and steamed broccoli
Braised Pork Belly with Fermented Beancurd Sauce (RM58) and steamed broccoli florets is a treat, especially when I would not attempt this at home, given the labour-tedious preparation. The slab of pork belly, with skin attached, is boiled, fried, braised and steamed for 5 hours to render the meat tender and the fat layer, melt in the mouth. The flavours are complex from the use of various spices and fermented beancurd. It’s served with a brown gravy with juices collected during the braising process.

Stirfried Kailan in 2 Styles
I haven’t had Stirfried Kalian in 2 Styles (from RM35) in a while. Popular in the early 1990s, this method separates the leaves from the stems. The stems are sautéed lightly to render them tender while the leaves are shredded and deepfried to a crisp. The contrasting textures are a playful symphony in the mouth.


Xin Cuisine (non-halal)

Concorde Hotel KL
2 Jalan Sultan Ismail,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

+603-2144 8750
Opening Hours
Daily: Noon to 2.30pm. 6.30pm to 10.30pm