Sunday, July 31, 2016

Chocha Foodstore @ Petaling Street

Welcome to the neighbourhood: Petaling Street's latest destination is an ambitious amalgam of a tranquil restaurant called Chocha Foodstore & an upcoming wine lounge, coffee bar, co-working space, newsagent & bicycle rental shop, initiated by the MentahMatter design firm, with a raw, almost unvarnished authenticity shored up by charming embellishments (check out the lovely, leafy courtyard), squeezed into yet another former brothel on the same street as smash hits Merchant's Lane & PS150.

 Chocha's affable creators, Shin Chang & his team, put their own personal spin on regional comfort cooking, promising capably executed platters of soul food that speak of Asian inspirations & ingredients; commence with this comfortingly nourishing bowl of steamed barley & rice, topped with tender pan-seared duck breast & flavoured with duck fat, respectably complemented by nitamago, crispy dried shrimp & local ulam cultivated in Chocha's sun-soaked courtyard (RM25).

Can't stop snacking: Cincalok fried chicken, its savoury succulence, complete with the unmistakable flavour of fermented shrimp sauce, balanced by a fresh summer salsa of tomatoes & pineapples, plus thick, kitchen-made tomato chutney (RM25).

 Chocha produces its own hand-pulled flat noodles, meant to evoke pan mee, for several pasta-like permutations with a twist, such as this one blanketed with rich ulam pesto, charred capsicums, semi-dried tomatoes, peanuts & sesame seeds (RM20).

Fans of vegetables will have a field day with this trio of tasty salads: 'Curryflower,' comprising crumbed cauliflowers with curry leaves, kesom & shallots; Indonesian-style terong belado, with eggplant & Thai basil in a suitably spicy sambal; & cucumber in an aromatic cumin vinaigrette (RM15 each).

There's only one dessert in Chocha's soft-launch selection, but it leaves an impression: A green-hued reinterpretation of creme brulee, tinged gently with ulam raja & Thai basil, sprinkled with honeycomb candy that simulates the brulee's crunch (RM15).

 Chocha is Hakka for sit & drink - the tea culture is alive & well here, with steaming-hot pots of Aged Fujian Shui Hsien from Mount Wuyi (RM18; served with chestnuts) & other representatives of the dark or scented classifications. You'll also find cold-brewed tea - Taiwanese Dong Ding Oolong & Yunnan Black Tea with osmanthus flowers & star anise (RM16 per bottle).

Chocha Foodstore
156, Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur. Tues-Sun, 11am-9pm.

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Milk The Cow @ Melbourne & Say Cheese @ Amsterdam

A cornucopia of cheese - check out Milk The Cow's Grundlegend Fondue (Grundlegend is German for ‘fundamental,' a fitting description, as this is the ultimate fondue), remarkably rich, blending Truffle Pecorino, Swiss Emmental, Gruyere L Etivaz, Remy Martin VSOP Fine Champagne Cognac, Monmousseau Brut Etoile & Truffle Honey. Pair with a very unique milk-&-cheese cocktail: Rum, cereal-infused milk, Midnight Moon Dutch cheese & truffle honey. Lactose-intolerant customers, beware!

Milk The Cow Fromegerie
Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, VIC, Australia

No lack of fromage either - or should we say, kaas - at this Schiphol shop, where Dutch cheeses take centre stage, easing the pangs of travellers trapped in transit at Amsterdam's airport. Sample the Reypenaer VSOP or Wijngaard matured with ginger.

Say Cheese, Lounge 3, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Friday, July 29, 2016

Local House & Majlis @ Dubai

Camels saunter into the spotlight - Local House is all about camel burgers (gamy but juicy) & camel milkshakes (a bit salty), a very fun & uniquely Middle Eastern twist on American fare.

Local House
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Camel milk coffee (aka 'camellatte' & 'camelccino') & camel milk soft-serve ice cream are the chief attractions at the Dubai Mall's camel milk cafe - perhaps an acquired taste, with a distinct flavour that somehow seems to speak of barns & farmyards.

Majlis
Dubai Mall, United Arab Emirates