Staycation & Chambers Bar and Grill Hilton

Sneaking in a food post which is way past due.

This is about our date at Chambers Bar and Grill at Hilton KL.

In December 2015, we decided to book a room for a night at Hilton KL for our staycation. I had accumulated some points in my HHonors card due to my extended stay at Hilton whilst in Netherlands, and thought it would be great to use up some points. After an bitter, eventful check in (room not ready even at 4 pm(!), and Daniel crying at the reception), we finally got an upgrade to our deluxe room. I also made a booking earlier on to dine at its infamous Chambers Bar and Grill.

2.5 months old baby Daniel didn’t want his pre-requested babycot. Only wants fluffy pillows and white sheets.

Though not as famous and therefore (probably) less expensive than Prime at Le Meridien right next door, we decided to go for the steakhouse at Hilton because I wanted to use my HHonors for further discount. Smart consumerism ok.

The steak did make a statement. 300 g Porterhouse T-bone steak from NZ sounded small, but when the waiter brought it in, I was like”WAHH ZAHH, huge gilerrr!!” I had it medium-well because my erythrocytes-phobic hubby will not have a share of my gigantic steak if he sees blood. See see, when I cut open the steak, still quite pink inside. Opps. He and I know it’s silly to eat premium steak above the medium-rare temperature, but oh well.

We knew one beef steak was enough, so hubby ordered fish: black cod steak. Our mains came with fragrant baked garlic and that garlic did make a lot of difference. Who knew baked garlic goes well with both been and fish steaks!

FYI, the mains does not come with sides, so we ordered sides. I had the grilled asparagus while hubby ordered the usual suspects – simple grilled vegetables – turned out to be surprisingly yummy. I also ordered the sauce to come with the mains – trio of mustards. Well, not all mustard suited well with my tastes nor goes well with steak, although technically mustard would be ‘smartest’ sauce to choose from the various sauces. In a very Malaysian way, I secretly wished I had Kimball chili sauce with my steak. ūüėõ Honorable mention are the array Himalayan salts provided at each table, but did wonder in which part of my dish would I sprinkle salts on, as the steak was perfect enough.

Try eating steak with a sticky baby on one hand and a knife on the other

Pefectly grilled cod for hubs. Melts

Back to the T-bone steak: it was absolutely yummy. ¬†Maybe I was hungry, but I managed to gobble the steak up within an hour and hubby just had a bite or two of my steak (because he sees pink). Had a bite of his black cod and it was so juicy. I thought a steak house serves perfect T-bones, but didn’t know they could make a fish meat melt in my mouth. Wah,…I secretly wished I had that fish instead (of beef) when I had that bite.

Mind you, I am never a foodie, so you know that I have limited vocabulary when describing good food. What I can write is that service was brisk, the ambiance was great albeit rather dark but romantic (and definitely not Instagram-friendly), food and sides were made skillfully, and I didn’t feel a pinch when I foot the bill (=worth the money). The staff also found us a table where I can dock my gigantic stroller. With such classy service and restaurant, you wouldn’t think eating here would be a challenge, but with a baby in one hand and a knife in another, the dining experience was still amazing.

My son would not have remembered that day at 2.5 months old. I shall bring him back here but only when I see my son is old enough to tell me he would share a medium-rare steak with his mummy (and not papa).

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Holiday Milestone in November

Holiday milestone achieve all in one month! November.

But NOT forgetting my holiday trips to Bangkok in May and Chiang Mai in August.

Entering November, it started with a Beijing business trip which I missed-out because my Chinese visa has expired and I was not-in-time to renew it due to the absurd short-notice for the trip. What I missed was the thousands of Enrich points that could be collected from this trip. Not entirely a loss, as I felt restless knowing that I will be going onto the equivalent of the doomed flight MH370 (albeit now a different flight code). And with MH17, who dare say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place?

1. Melaka over-night

Being denied Beijing, Melaka trip was next. I was excited because husband good friend from UM, Janice, was getting married. We were there over the weekend and were so lucky to have Siow Nee and the bride & groom themselves(!) to bring us around jalan-jalan cari makan. I love the chendol in Melaka more than that of Penang all because the santan at the former is more lemak. I had satay babi (just next to Melaka river), Donald and Lily’s mee rebus (many fresh cockles) & rojak. The last makan-stop was the longest queue ever coconut shake at Klebang,15 minutes car ride off Melaka city. Of course, hubby and I took our own time out roaming Jonker street to have lunch and coffee. Certainly a memorable trip.

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Janice and Ivan’s wedding
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Nasi Ketuk at Donald and Lily
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Fresh juicy cockcles at Donald and Lily
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The infamous satay babi near Melaka River
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Klebang’s infamous long-queue, sweaty but worthwhile coconut milk shake and other Malay delicacies.

2. Grand Lexis, Port Dickson

Just the next morning(!) after returning from Melaka, I had to board the company’s bus to Grand Lexis, Port Dickson for a short team-building event there. The water villa was huge and unsuspectedly beautiful beyond words. The catch is that each villa has their own swimming pool! Yes, private swimming pool in your room. How about that for a Monday!¬†My roommate ended up making a day trip (her baby’s ill), so the entire king-size bed was mine. Mine!! I highly recommend this hotel to whoever wants to have a¬†relaxing vacation with a family of maximum five.

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One of the Water villas with a view of the ocean and from the floor
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Each room has its personalized pool and open shower.

Since this is a team-building,¬†there were¬†games and¬†surprisingly, I had a marvelous¬†time.¬†They were¬†all indoor team building games, and one of it was a Trading Game where we trade with other countries’ based on commodities selling prices, information of the countries and¬†collaboration, etc.

Another game was a Masterchef Black Box challenge, where my team (out of 40 teams) got 2nd placing!¬† We had access to a small kitchen, and just cook whatever was given to us, and we cooked a perfect Curry Chicken and Pengat Pisang (which I contributed the most) and Pineapple juice in 1 hour to win second placing. We were commended¬†and¬†honoured with a¬†4 star¬†certificate by the real Head Chef of Grand Lexis. I was proud because it felt like you could even¬†please¬†the hellish Gordon Ramsay with your normal Pengat Pisang (I watch too much TV). Should I lose my chemist job in Petronas, I¬†am pretty sure¬†I could make it as a chef of Pengat Pisang and Curry Chicken :-P. Naturally, hubby don’t quite believe my achievement.

Oil platform with Lego building blocks - one of the exciting Team Building game.
Oil platform with Lego building blocks – one of the exciting Team Building game.
This Cert means more to me than any sports achievement. Because it's rare that I get to show off cooking skills openly.
This certificate means more to me than any sports achievement certs. Because it’s rare that I get to show off cooking skills openly.

3. Penang

Upon retuning from Port Dickson, the same weekend itself, Hubby and I drove to Penang for his inaugural Penang Bridge International Marathon (PBIM)¬†at the Second Bridge. This is the first time PBIM is held at the new bridge. We stayed at Equatorial Hotel which room is so comfortable, I didn’t want to move out of the bed. Hubby and I loved the swimming pool, and we had a short dip to relax both our minds and body. I did not run, but since I played supporter this time, I need to wake up as early as 4am to wait at the finish line for my hubby, which I estimated would finish at 6.30 am sharp. So, there I was taking the shuttle to the finish line about 10km away, and spotted Ling Ling in the same bus!¬†What¬†got me surprised was that she is running 10km, like for real….

We did savour some¬†Penang cuisines¬†at Bayan Lepas, courtesy of hubby’s bosses and managers which were also runners and doing various distances at PBIM. We joined them for some great chit-chat and at the end, went to bed early with stomachs full (even I carboloaded). Hubby¬†woke up¬†11 pm to catch the 12.00am bus to¬†the starting line for Full marathon. Crazy!¬†I am so proud he did sub-5 hours this time. Guess what, I missed my husband at the finish line. Just tooo many people finishing the same time as him.

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Ohh-chien
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Frantically looking for my hubby, I was already glad this nightMARE wasn’t him
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On Penang’s Second Bridge

4. Turkey Honeymoon

And then, not even 2 days later, we board an Etihad plane, on business class(!), to Abu Dhabi (transit), and then to Turkey for our honeymoon. That shall be a 8 days trip, which I shall describe in my next blogpost. Wait up!

Four holidays in a row. Who needs a breather when it comes to holidays. Nope, not tiring at all.

Man does not live by bread alone.

I kinda know why I hate leaving my country for an extended period of time. It’s the food (and my parents) that I miss, of course. I am not that independent as one would teethingly claim because I can assure you that I am highly dependent on Malaysian food.

What makes me this meaty and chubby despite my highly active lifestyle is because I am strictly unfussy in food. Except for tortoise, turtle, reptiles, insects and larvae, I pretty much gobble anything that is mildly nice. I can’t tell if a dish is better than another shop serving the same although ppl claim that one place serves it better. Say for example, some friends say that Ipoh’s Kuey Teow noodles is many times better than the one I am slurping on in PJ.¬† I really don’t know, man. I can’t tell. For me, both Ipoh and PJ Kuay Teow is insignificantly different¬† from each other (95% confidence level) despite my friend kept brainwashing me that it is. Another example: the Tau-Fu-Fah in Funny Snow Mountain Ipoh (whatever!) is soooooooooooooo good? Nah, don’t bullshit me. HOW MUCH TASTIER CAN A TAU FU FA in Ipoh compared to say…Klang Valley’s, eh?!?! It’s psychology…you come this far, you definitely think it’s worth it although it’s not, because you don’t want to think you wasted your time, journey and money to come here and say it’s the same as anywhere else. (warning: tongue twister).

Let me tell you a secret: I went to HK and I can’t tell if it beats every meat ball noodles I’ve eaten in KL. I’ve tasted noodles in KL that is as good as that in HK. Same goes for the lai-cha (Teh C). Oppss…

So after reading the above, you can tell that I ain’t a foody person. Cause I ain’t. I admit. When I go to many other country, I may enjoy whatever food (not fussy mah) I find, but I won’t never go search for a particular food. I won’t go the extra mild to search for a so-said famous food.

Anyway, here’s the list of my favourite food (from any country) from 10th placing to 1st¬† (only if I can’t cook/prepare them). But I dunno where’s the best place/restaurant to makan these, so no need to recommend me. I don’t care. Period:

10. Slimy Lady’s Finger Indian Curry (+ fish is a bonus)

9. Chapati + Tandoori Chicken + Mint sauce and pickled onions

8. Banana Leaf Rice (only when makan with clean bare hands) + must have deep-fried batter bitter gourd

7. Bakkutteh + offals + deep-fried ghost

6. Any egg dish i.e.¬† steam eggs, sunny side up, scrambled, half-boiled, full boiled, infused with herbs, fu-yeong, etc… including Century eggs, salty eggs and duck eggs in curry

5. Ramly/Otai burger daging special + cheese = “Sloppy Burger” in kwai low’s terms

4. Maggi Mee Goreng + Sunny side up

3. Semi-cooked (bloody) Kerang in 6-6 style

2. Penang style Char Kuay Teow with kerang (and must have chives!)

….and the number one food that I, without it for a week, would sit the first flight back to Malaysia:

1. Nasi lemak ikan bilis, only those in banana leaf packs. I can’t find it good in any other country. No nasi lemak in any part of this earth beats Malaysian’s nasi lemak.

A few food I found worth mentioning: Nasi Ulam/Kerabu, Ho Boh’s Lui Cha, Agedashi Tofu, Bibimbap + Kimchi, Fried Wanton, Dimsum’s Deep Fried Tapioca, Pheasant’s hand (Chicken feet lah!) + WanTon mee, Tau Fu Fah.

>Unexpectedly Penang

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Starting line. I spotted myself out of the thousands of random pics. I was pretty good in Finding Waldo!

My run at Penang was quite an experience. First of all, I am doing this all my own. Sounds like syiok sendiri but I it’s actually a brand new independent me in the making – woke up by myself, go to jetty myself, run myself (normal lah), kena thunderstorm myself, find transport back myself, ask for directions myself, walk back all myself. My parents teman me, but because the race was sooooo freaking early (1.30am I left the hotel, 3am race start)…they just don’t bother but snored throughout the night, and when they woke up..it was as if nothing had happened – I was already back in the hotel before they even woke up!

Unexpected: Rain and huge thunderstorm from midspan of the bridge til the finished line.

I was pissed…because just a day before my race, my old Adizero was stolen from my apartment. Immediately, I took EL (it’s Emergency, okay!) and bought the exact same one. I could have bought a New Balance which I once eyed on, but I needed to ‘break’ the shoes as running in new shoes can be a pain in the ass. But any Adizero doesn’t require ‘breaking’. You can run miles and miles in their brand new pair. They are famous for that……
Unexpected: Someone stole my only running shoes a day before a race. I place that fugly, muddy shoes outside for the whole week, but now only u steal!!
My mum and it was her Birthday today! Her wish? – “Take me to Fatty Boy”
Usually when you go Penang, you think of Har mee, CKT, chendol, Nasi Kandar…..but never will you think of Chicken Rice. Chicken Rice always is associated with Ipoh or Melaka or KL. 
Unexpected: my mum’s recommendation (she visited before): Fatty Boy Chicken Rice off Restaurant 98 at Jalan Burmah, right under Tunes Hotel. It was sooo good! The roast chicken as well as pak cham kai was very juicy and the garlic chillie was just right! We also had chai-boy, chicken ofal, and siew-yok as well. They were all delicious but normal. WHAT WAS AMAZING WAS, UNEXPECTEDLY – the RICE. The oily rice itself was sooo fragrant and chi liap-chi liap, not very sticky. Just nice. And also, the customer service was good.

Come to Fatty Boy for the RICE. Tambah nasi!
Fatty Boy Chicken Rice also serves WanTon Mee. Early early also sooo many ppl eating already. The tables were fully occupied at 10am.

Of course, cendol must be part of the Penang’s feast. We ate cendol at Komtar first, not the one in Penang Road. The cendol was as good because it’s the franchise of the original. Think Old Town Kopitiam concept.

However, we still went to Penang Road’s Joo Hooi’s cafe for their assam laksa (CKT at Joo Hooi sucks!), and of course the famous Hainan Cendol store right outside Joo Hooi. People, please crowd around the cendol stall. Queuing is never in the vocab. Unexpectedly, it was approx. 15 min wait for my cendol….but wallop all in 1 minute!

One of the most satisfying vacations, as I’ve accomplished a lot in Penang –  in food and in race (2:41 min)

>Asia Cafe

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We always commune Asia Cafe. While some ‘members’ are regulars, some are not. There were times we move to Murni (ex-SS2) but ever since Murni moved to its new site at Aman Suria (Sunway Mas), we’ve never looked back at any other options. It has been Asia Cafe ever since. Btw, Asia Cafe at SS15 – situated near Inti, Taylors, Metropolitan colleges, and to the delight of CNB – where many young leng luis pass by.
Asia Cafe no doubts offers a myriad variety of food. But I won’t say the same for the parking spaces. You may park under the trees but it’s never a good idea esp. at night because by the time you return from yum-cha, you’ll soon realised the white, green, splats of torpedoes/missiles from the natural aviaries above. Find places to park where no trees are in-sight.
My fav – fried sotong
Claypot Lou Shu Fun

Asia Cafe does live up to its name. It has all sorts of stalls selling all sorts of foods. Asian food (of course!), Italian, American…you name it, you got it (somebody proof me wrong, pls). I wouldn’t say all food there taste good; but I can vouch for the Korean food. ‘Cause when I am in Asia Cafe, I usually go for Korean. The stall is right at the corner and is own by this Korean Man; of course, you see banglas managing the stall once in a while. You can’t miss this stall; the Korean boss always stands right outside his stall, with his strong accent, luring passer-bys to his stall, even explaining the menu. From Dong Kkas to Bibimbap, food cooked here are all authentic, quite tasty, though the presentation is rather sloppy.

Bibimbap

Worth mentioning is the Italian kitchen – having the most handsome guy in Asia Cafe (he’s the owner-cum chef). Plus, he is (authentically) Italian! I’ve never tried his food; only by look at him makes me full already. Hah!

You can’t miss the seafood grilled as there are about 6 stalls selling grilled seafoods. I’ve tried the ikan pari before which was quite commendable ūüôā However, if you want to choose a seat/table, don’t sit right in front of those grills beause the chilly pepper or the spices e.g. sambal belacan they are cooking makes your nose itch the whole night! It’s like you’re being infected by some sneezing disease. Stay away from those A-labeled tables. But if you sit beside the Italian kitchen, you will also smell carbonara or bolognese sauces or the spicy pesto cooking at the kitchen – those smells really make your stomach itch. Which turns out to be a good itch – cause the smell will make you order a serving of spaghetti even after you’ve wallop the whole Bibimbap.

Fettuccine Carbonara from Asia Cafe

WTF, no Wifi!?!??! I recently brought my netbook and realised there’s no free access to Wifi. What a big turn-off to a happening area such as this.

Otherwise, Asia Cafe is a nice place to hang out. Far for many others, but a good distance from my apartment albeit the toll.

But still, we have to suggest other places to hang out d…..Any suggestions?

>Canton-i

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I hate reviewing about food. In fact, I just don’t. Try to trackback my post, and you won’t find food reviews. But I had to review this one:

Canton-i, Sunway Pyramid

The oversized menu. Typical HK style. (squint your eyes!)

And why one shouldn’t confused this HK-style chinese restaurant with Dragon-i: though opened by the same big boss, Canton-i is definitely one notch higher than its overrated twin.
Thanks to an amazing person, who happens to eat good food his entire life (nope, he probably doesn’t know what hawker stall food is :P), I was introduced by him to this restaurant. My first time too. The settings and environment was great. Service not too great cause we were the last couple out of the restaurant and we were both bogged by wild stares from their tired staff! “It-is-10-pm-get-your-asses-out-of-the-restaurant stares!”
For your information, I was earlier primed by how un-worthwhile Dragon-i’s food is but I was surprised by the different offerings on Canton-i’s menu instead. Still very un-worthwhile if you compare a normal wanton-mee out in front of my Puchong apartment (RM3.50) to this Canton-i’s at least RM11.00 per plate. Stop judging the food alone. It’s the ambience. And it’s the first date. You expect luxury.
I chose something different out of the menu. Earlier I thought of playing it safe, cause I don’t want to waste/throw adventurous (=different) food in front of a cute guy who was obviously buying me dinner. Wanton-mee is familiar, but I went for Wanton-mee with Goose meat. A bit salty for the gravy and soup (ajinomoto!) but the goose meat was very tender. Tasty. I wallop the skin also. Actually, the skin was the best part.
Then he ordered oily deep-fried ghost wrapped with a thin-slice of chee-cheong fun-noodles. WTF. Such creativity! Who could ever think of such combo. Brilliant!
Then, there’s this mantau that when you bite on it, it splurts out its yellow fillings. The taste of 4 melted egg yolks (=think mooncake yolks, but creamier) just burst into your mouth and though you are literally choke by the oncoming eggy lava, you still won’t want to swallow it. Cause it’s too good. Too good. Too good. Cause there’s only two mantau. One’s for him, one’s must be for me lah. I really wanted to rob him off his mantau. Can’t get enough of it. But but but but…..a very bad first-date dish = so sloppy!

Out of the 5 small pics: That’s the sloppy dim sum I was mentioning about (purple mantau with yellow eggy in there). 2nd pic from your right. It’s called errr…’egg custard bun
It’s more of the experience. Even you would reckon. The food is not THAT flabagasting. But it’s better than Dragon-i’s, definitely. Both are still good food but I sorta can tell the clear winner in the battle between Canton-i and Dragon-i.
Verdict: 3.5 stars for food and presentation, 4 stars for serving portions, 1.5 stars for myself for misbehaving (soo sloppy) on a first date.
Outcome: He asked me out on Date no. 2. Means, I didn’t do that bad, did i?
http://www.vkeong.com/2009/food-drink/canton-i-sunway-pyramid-truly-hong-kong/ also corroborated with me that Canton-i is better than Dragon-i.