Wednesday, 11 December 2019


Creative cuisine, delicious wines

November 27, 2019

I attended a Wolf Blass Masterclass and dinner recently at Ember Modern Bistro in Jalan Wan Kadir 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.
On December 15, Ember Modern Bistro will hold a 6-Course Dinner with Wolf Blass wine pairing at RM250++ per person. Time: 7pm.
Sam Stephens, wine ambassador for Treasury Wine Estates, was already in the house. He said Asian food and wine go together better than most would expect.

The three Gold Label wines for the Masterclass and a Grey Label Shiraz (left)
In an experiment to find out more, Wolf Blass wines partnered with four Michelin-starred chefs across Asia and the answer, it seemed, was in the sauce. Since the sauce is usually the dominant flavour in any dish, this is where great wine pairings should begin.  
“Today we are tasting four sauces conceived by four Michelin-starred chefs which really celebrate the diversity of sauces and styles of food we get across the South East Asia region,” said Sam.
He admitted that wine is very much a matter of personal taste. “What you prefer, what I prefer may differ… like music, art… what you see and appreciate can change from person to person and there is no right or wrong with that,” he added.

Set on tables in the front part of the year-old restaurant, were glasses filled with three Wolf Blass Gold Label wines: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
We would be having all three wines with the four sauces offered with one common ingredient, duck meatballs. Sam asked that we try the four sauces with all three wines to find out for ourselves what worked and what didn’t.
First was a garlicky, nutty Basil Pesto sauce from Chef Lam Ming Kin of Longtail, Taiwan, followed by a sweetish oyster/soya sauce-based Chu Hou sauce from Chef He Hong Pin of Da San Yuan, Taiwan.

Duck meatballs with the four sauces from the Michelin-starred chefs of Asia
Then we sampled two spicier sauces: Masala sauce from Chef Manjunath Mural of The Song of India, Singapore, and Chu Chee Curry sauce from Chef Thitid Tassanakajohn of Le Du, Bangkok.

Corn chip with smoked yoghurt & caviar, shiso and sengkuang with avocado mash and romaine lettuce with pistachio and lemon. Hmmm... the red beans are raw and not meant for eating.
Then we went on to dinner, prepared by Ember’s Chef Gary Anwar. The first course was corn chip smeared with smoked yoghurt & caviar, shiso and a sliver of sengkuang stuffed with avocado mash and romaine lettuce with pistachio and lemon.

Raw hamachi tossed in ponzu and served with pickled apple and ulam raja
This was followed by translucent slices of raw hamachi tossed in ponzu and served with pickled apple and ulam raja. The pickled apple gave the dish a zesty lift and the ulam raja did not, surprisingly, overpower the delicate fish. This went well with the rich elegant palate of the 2017 Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay, with its melon aromas. 

Steamed senangin on mushroom pickled with asam keping. The smoked fish sauce is amazing
Then it was steamed senangin on mushroom pickled with asam keping and an amazing smoked fish sauce that Gary said was made with fish bones that had been smoked over a period of two months. But I found the sour taste of the pickled mushrooms a tad disturbing. With this, we had 2016 Wolf Blass Gold Label Shiraz, which I felt was a little too rich and intense for the fish. It seemed to fare better with the Chardonnay.

Dry aged duck with sweet soya sauce and stirfried pucuk paku
For the dry aged duck with sweet soya sauce tare & black and white sesame and pucuk paku stirfried with garlic cloves, the aromas of plum and berries of the 2017 Wolf Blass Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon proved amicable.

Striploin with potato puree and sauteed four-angle beans
The third main course was striploin with potato puree, sansho butter and sautéed four-angled beans. It sliced to show a lovely pink centre and everyone ooh-ed over how tender it tasted. This was paired with a 2016 Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz, which Sam said was richer than the Gold Label Shiraz, and had a greater intensity of aromas.

Elderflower ice on bunga kantan cream
Finally, to cleanse our palates, Gary offered elderflower ice on bunga kantan cream, topped with longan. A sprinkle of finely sliced bunga kantan completed the ensemble. Not your regular sorbet but the fragrance of bunga kantan proves to be most refreshing. 


(no pork served) 
20 Jalan Wan Kadir 1
Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

+6018-323 2786

Opening Hours
Tuesday to Saturday: 6pm to 11.30pm

December 15, 7pm. Six-Course Dinner with Wolf Blass wine pairing at RM250++ per person. 


Wednesday, 4 December 2019


Ringing in the good cheer

November 28, 2019

Myanmar children from the Shalom Education Centre singing carols after the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Walk into the Dorsett Kuala Lumpur and your eyes will land on the colourful tinsel Christmas tree in the lobby lighted up in rainbow hues of green, red, orange, purple and blue. 

Dessert corner near the entrance to Checkers Cafe
One floor up, at Checkers Café, the mood is equally buzzing. We’re here for a preview of the Christmas buffet. Near the entrance at the dessert counter, watermelon carvings of Santa and Rudolph take centrestage.

And these are just some of the appetisers
Poached prawn and mussel on ice
The temptation to stop here is strong but there’s plenty more inside the café, from assorted appetisers, beef cold cuts, sliced rolls and salad to poached prawns and mussels on ice. There’s a good selection of dressings such as blood orange, berries, French, Italian olive and Thousand Island.
I see dainty tea cups of apple salad, macaroni salad and metal spoons filled with pear and pate while colourful sliders in Christmassy colours of green and red beckon.
Lamb Navarin
Shepherd's Pie
Beef Goulash
But I am a sucker for hot foods and I am torn between two choices of soup: Roasted pumpkin soup with roasted almond and crab-sweet corn soup. Both prove to be equally creamy and fragrant, a delightful way to whet the appetite.
I fill my plate with Lyonnais potato and honey glazed carrots, pairing these with Shepherd’s pie and lamb navarin. My Best Friend gives the thumbs-up to the beef goulash. 
Deboned Grilled Fish with lemon butter sauce
Tomato Seafood Ragout
Jamaican Jerk Chicken is full of spicy aroma
On the other side of the island table are tomato seafood ragout, eggplant moussaka, a delightful grilled fish (deboned) with lemon butter sauce and Jamaican jerk chicken that’s aromatic from the spices. There’s pilaf rice for those who must have their rice. 
Baked Salt-Crusted Salmon
Traditional Roasted Turkey with stuffing and roasted vegetables
At the carving station, baked salt-crusted salmon with mustard dill cream sauce proves popular. I’m happy to note that the salmon stays moist, not dry. So is the traditional roasted turkey with stuffing, roasted vegetables such as pumpkin and brussel sprouts. You get a choice of sauces too, such as black pepper, giblet and mushroom.
Prefer your food cooked to order? Chefs are on standby to dish up pasta as well as sausages, chicken and beef grilled a la minute.
There's not one but two cheese platters
I wander over to the cheese platters, loaded with cheddar, aged cheddar, camembert, brie, blue as well as fresh grapes, strawberries and dried apricots, prunes and mango.
Sticky caramel banana pudding
Christmas stollen with soft marzipan centre
Festive cupcakes, pies and jelly
For dessert, there’s fresh fruit and ice cream with toppings as well as marshmallows to dip in the chocolate fountain. Or pick from cookies and star-shaped ginger breads, log cakes, cinnamon apple pie and cupcakes decorated with cute snowmen and Christmas trees. Crème brulee and mousses topped with berries are a treat.
Oh, look there’s Christmas stollen with a soft marzipan centre and sticky caramel banana pudding, to which I add a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Chocolate log cake, gingerbread house and macaron tower


(no pork served)

Dorsett Kuala Lumpur
172 Jalan Imbi, KL
+603-2716 1010

Opening Hours
All-day dining

* Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner, 7.30pm: RM118 nett, including 2 drinks and canapes at Windows Lounge (from 6.30pm)
* New Year’s Eve Buffet Dinner, 7pm: RM118 nett, including 2 Countdown drinks to watch fireworks at Level 30 rooftop of Dorsett Residences in Bukit Bintang, KL.