Thursday, 29 September 2016

Botanica + Co @ Bangsar South

Ever since I caught glimpses of the floor-to-ceiling glass walls and lush greenery of Botanica + Co @ Bangsar South on blogs, I was instantly attracted to the serene beauty of the place.  So, with my friends in tow, we made our way here one Saturday afternoon.

Look at all that greenery...picturesque :)

With two Ficus trees occupying centre stage inside the restaurant along with lots of abundant greenery, it was like dining outdoors in a lush tropical garden, only this one is indoors and in comfort with the luxury of an air-conditioned space...double yay!!

For those who want to dine alfresco, there are seats outdoors as well.  The abundant flowers and potted plants in and around the place were truly captivating to project a beautiful botanical garden.  It's perfect for leisure lunches, romantic dinners and warm conversations with family and friends.

I absolutely loved the fresh flowers and potted plants that adorn every corner of the place.  Not to mention the natural sunlight streaming through the floor-to-ceiling glass walls providing lots of instagrammable moments in the restaurant.

Even the washrooms took on a glass-and-green theme.....nice!

This restaurant and bar has only been opened for about 3 months.  I had wanted to come sooner but didn't want to visit during the early days to allow the place (and food) to settle down first and, more importantly, for the crowd to subside before coming.

Well, fat chance at that....we still had to wait for a table even though we arrived for a late lunch at 2.30 pm. We were told it'd be about an hour's wait (haiz!) but luckily we got a table after half an hour (yay!). The Botanica Deli next door was left open for patrons to wait in cool comfort, so that was a nice touch.

The first dish to arrive was our order of Crispy Soft Shell Crab Salad @ RM28 filled with fresh salad leaves, apple slices, cherry tomatoes, finely julienned carrot and crunchy shredded coconut topped with crispy soft shell crab drizzled with a spicy chilli jam for a hint of heat.

The soft shell crab was nicely done to crispy crunchy perfection and the chilli jam wasn't spicy at all (even my friend's kids were able to handle it).  The coconut shreds were a bit of a mystery for my friends who couldn't make out what it was initially coz there were some slithers that were crunchy and some that were soft.  Overall, it was a lovely combination of flavours and a salad I would gladly indulge in again.

Our second order of the day was the Slipper Lobster Bisque @ RM20, a creamy rich concoction of slipper lobster and seafood encassed in puff pastry.  It arrived almost immediately after our salad and I could see from the corner of my eye (while I was still busy taking photos of the salad) that the pastry was well puffed up.  By the time I got to it though, the puff has collapsed due to the heat of the broth (so this pic doesn't do justice to what it originally looked like)! :'(

But looks aside, digging through the crispy and flaky puff pastry revealed a rich and intense broth full of crustacean flavours (may be too crustacean-y for some).

I was eager to try Sam's Crab & Crayfish Laksa @ RM36 after reading the review by TimeOut on their Facebook page.  It's a bowl of Chef Sam's house-made laksa broth brimming with quality ingredients of a whole crayfish (as stated in the menu although it looked more like a slipper lobster to me), two tiger prawns, large chunks of chicken, quail eggs, thin strips of fish cake and crispy bean curd puffs.

As far as the laksa broth is concerned, it's very different (of course) from the usual coffee shop-style thick curry laksa (with coconut milk) we're accustomed to but probably leaning closer to a prawn mee with a distinct seafood bisque-like flavour as the broth must have been simmered for hours with lots of crustacean goodness.  The slightly spicy rich seafood broth (which you can make spicier with the accompanying sambal) was robust, intense and punchy in flavour.  It must have been very satisfying indeed coz there wasn't a single drop of broth left by the time my friends were done with it! ;D

The laksa comes with (slightly thicker than norm) meehoon and laksa noodles (aka "lai fun", the kind you'd get with assam laksa) instead of the usual meehoon with yellow mee.  For me, meehoon and laksa noodles is an unusual combo and, if I had known about the flavours I'd be getting from the broth, I think just the laksa noodles would have worked better in this instance but that's just me nitpicking.

Bo + Co is proud of their thin crust pizzas and they have ten on their menu ranging from RM28 - RM39 and, of course, we had to try one of them, The Fishermen @ RM39.  From the name, it's obvious that this is a seafood pizza with crab meat, prawns, mussel and squid in a tomato-based sauce with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

I liked that the crust was thin and crisp with a good wood-fired char I'm inclined to say (since I've seen a brick pizza oven on their Facebook and on blogs) but I seriously don't remember seeing such an oven while I was there.  I distinctly remember seeing an industrial oven at the area where the pizzas were made (in fact, this photo I captured clearly showed an industrial oven lurking where the brick pizza oven used to be)! ;)

Nevertheless, wood-fired pizza oven or otherwise, this was one delicious pizza...jam packed with loads of fresh and succulent seafood on top a thin and crisp pizza dough, so don't leave without ordering at least one pizza! ;)

See how thin the pizza good :)  I'm not sure about the size of the pizza...there's only one size (maybe 12 inches?) but you get a good 8 slices from it and certainly big enough for sharing (probably sufficient for two not-too-greedy people as a main meal).

Unconventional as it may sound, the pizza was served with a sambal chilli that we initially thought was for the laksa (until we got another sambal for that).  I guess they wanted to add their twist or put a local spin to it. We didn't mind coz the sambal was really good, just a bit unusual eaten with pizzas (and it probably won't work with some types of pizzas).

The drinks list is pretty extensive from coffee & hot chocolate to milkshakes & floats, bottled & fresh juices, tea, home-made sodas, cocktails, beer, wine, even champagne and prosecco.

Assam Boi Mojito @ RM16
Iced Latte @ RM16
Hot Mocha @ RM14
Hot Cappuccino @ RM14

The assam boi mojito was a standout with lots of sourish flavours from the assam boi and freshness from the mint.  I was really surprised that I enjoyed this so much since I actually dislike mint...a truly refreshing thirst quencher on a hot day.

The relaxing ambience and comforting atmosphere made us reluctant to leave (hehe!) and we lingered over our meal (for a good 3 hours in the end)...and so, desserts had to feature at some point since we weren't about to lift our butts and head to another place for a sweet interlude. 

We went with the Churros Donut Stack @ RM19 featuring a round-shaped churros stack that's crispy and light and well dusted with sugar on the outside.

The dessert is topped with a torched meringue and served with a drizzle of caramel and a chocolate sauce underneath.  The burnt tips offer a lovely contrast and add a wonderful flavour to the smooth meringue.

Cut open the churros stack to reveal a lush and sweet vanilla ice cream hidden within.  Overall, it was a devilishly good dessert that will prove pleasurable for anyone with a sweet tooth.  It was just a tad sweet for my taste buds coz, personally, I would prefer a less sweet ice cream and a lesser sugar-coated churros (but that's just me).  Other than that, the combination of a crispy churro, a melting creamy-goodness of an ice cream and a smooth toasted meringue was just fabulous.

Our next dessert was the Yuzu Pudding @ RM16 served with the same vanilla ice cream (as our previous dessert...a mighty big dollop, I might add) with a tangy yuzu (+lemon?) sauce underneath.  Now those ordering this and expecting something that looks like a custard pudding will be in for a surprise as this one looked more along the lines of a steamed cake.

The yuzu pudding/cake was served hot from the oven and it was great eaten with the melting ice cream.  I liked the refreshing and zesty flavour that the yuzu sauce brought to cut through the sweetness of the ice cream.  I actually preferred this over the churros dessert that we had probably because it was less sweet and offered a more tangy and citrus flavour for my taste.

Our final sweet offering was the Mango Meringue Pie @ RM16....though not quite the size of a pie but more like a tart...hehe!  This one is for the mango lovers for sure.

It's made with a mango curd filling on a crisp crumbly tart crust that was finished with a sweet torched meringue.

I've always enjoyed a dessert that's not too sweet although I wouldn't mind more of the tangy flavour to come through with perhaps a sprinkling of lemon or lime zest on the meringue to elevate the tangy flavours even further. 

Side Story #1
Halfway through our Yuzu Pudding, we came to something hard in the centre that looked like hardened brown sugar to me.  I beckoned the server to ask if it was meant to be like that and the server said he would check with the kitchen.  Not long after, a lady-in-charge came to tell as that it wasn't meant to be like that and told us that it would be immediately replaced.  

So, we got a second one and, this time, I cut the pudding right through the centre to reveal just two spots of that same brown thing.  That same lady must have been hovering around our table (oblivious to us) and quickly descended upon us to say that's not how it's supposed to be either (there must have been a flaw with that particular batch of puddings) and offered us another dessert on the house.  And that was how we got our third dessert, the Mango Meringue Pie.

I would have gladly eaten the slightly flawed (second) yuzu pudding as it was but the perfectionists in them wouldn't allow their patrons to eat something that wasn't 100% perfect...and that clearly demonstrated their high standards to put out the best (and anything less would not suffice).

Side Story #2
When the bill came, I was very surprised to see that they deducted the two desserts from our bill and didn't charge us for both the flawed yuzu pudding and the replacement mango meringue pie....and that says a lot about their service and commitment.

Side Story #3
Still on the subject of their impeccable service, my friend's two 'lil ones got bored with all our chit-chatting and ventured away from our table to sit at the bar counters (first at the pizza making counter and then the drinks counter).

They later came running back to say that they were offered an orange juice each (which turned out to be ice blended peach actually.

Little 'adults' enjoying their ice blended peach ^_*

Side Story #4
The little ones even attracted the attention of a diner who was having a birthday celebration and came to us to ask if she could offer them a slice of cake.  Well, a classy joint begets classy clients! *wink wink*

My Personal Opinion

There's nothing I like more than dining in a place that's serene and beautiful as food always tastes better when you're in the right mood and feeling relaxed! ;)  

You can't go wrong with pizzas or salads may even want to give their unique take on laksa a try. Though I felt that desserts may not be their forte (in a place that's focussed on food rather than desserts), they were able to hold their own and proved respectable...just don't compare them with speciality dessert houses or artisan bakeries (it wouldn't be fair to) and you should still come away with your sweet cravings satisfied.

Prices may be slightly higher than the average cafe prices but they compensate that with larger portions, quality ingredients and unique dishes.  Coupled with first-rate service and an unbeatable ambience, it's a not-to-be-missed spot for leisure meals and drinks.  There are quite a lot still on the menu I've not tried, so further visits are definitely warranted! ^o^

Botanica + Co Restaurant & Bar
G3A/G5 Verticals Podium
Bangsar South City
No 8 Jalan Kerinchi
59200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 016-965 6422

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Cookie likes to chew.....and bite!

Cookie loves an oral sensation....and has a leg fetish! ;)
He's quite the little rascal!  Don't believe me.....look!

He likes loves to chew on wires of all things.  When I googled this habit, it seemed it's quite common, almost natural, among cats.  No wonder he likes to play with things that's long and thin and shaped like a wire.

They say cats chew on wires coz they're bored or just want to play and (I read somewhere) that the oral sensation of chewing on wires is somehow pleasant to them.

Cookie:  This is so much fun (better than any of my toys)'s mine, mine, mine! ^o^

His favourite laptop wires!  He likes to do that when I'm busy doing some blog writing.

Cookie:  Oops....."tercabut liao" (disconnected already)! ;D

You see's my "weapon of choice" aka my squirt bottle...muahahahaha! :D  When all things fail and I can't get him to stop, I have no choice but to use it.  A little squirt of water and he'll be off and running (though I try my darndest not to use it).

Nowadays, I don't even have to squirt, the sight of the squirt bottle alone sends him scurrying away for dear life! :D  Not necessarily the best method but it's the most effective, I tell ya.

They say one way of making them stop chewing wires is to wipe or spray them with anything that's citrus in flavour, like lemon juice or vinegar, or rub them with citrus peels.

Besides this annoying habit of chewing wires, he has another one...he likes to bite my legs....either that or he has a leg fetish! >.<

It seems cats bite and lick to communicate or as part of play.

It's not like a forceful bite, just a soft bite but I do feel the gentle press of his teeth against my flesh.  This (I read) can be a sign of affection or a request to be left alone.

But the thing I hate most about his gentle nibbling, it's always a sneak startles you when you least expect it.  He likes to sneak up on you from under the chair when you walk past.  Or when you're engrossed with writing your blog or watching your favourite show on TV.  Suddenly, you feel this little nibble at your feet and your first reaction is to let out a scream or move your leg...and that in turn startles him....and the gentle nibbling may turn into more than a nibble! :(

But, in the end, the cute factor always wins....and you can't stay mad for long! ^_*

Monday, 26 September 2016

Just One Food - Domino's Fabulous Four

It was a day when there was an early EPL match at 7pm that I wanted to catch, so food delivery looked like the best option for our family dinner.  

I noticed a flyer in the newspapers just days earlier that promoted Domino's Fabulous Four, so this was as good a time as any to try it out.  After all, it's been a while since I've last had Domino's Pizza.

The new Fabulous Four Promotion comes with 2 Pizza Deals....2 Regular Pizzas for RM30 (usual RM26.80 for one), 2 Large Pizzas for RM50 or 2 Xtra Large Pizzas for RM70.  So, we ordered 2 Regular Pizzas @ RM30 and the Fabulous Four Box @ an introductory price of RM19.90.

We paid RM49.90 in total!  What a deal....coz for just under RM50, this can easily feed 3 rather-hungry people (you may even have leftovers) or 4 smaller-stomach-sized people! ^o^

Now, as the name implies, you get four of your favourites in one easy-to-share yummy box...a mouthwatering mix of three savoury treats and one sweet delight.

The first of which are 4 roasted chicken drummets that's tender to the bite with just enough of flavour in the meat.  At least you won't have to fight for which part of the wing you want....hehe! ;D

Next, you have 4 cheesy mozzarella stix with molten, hot and melty cheese inside (which I didn't have any, of course) which turned out to be my son's favourite.

Then, there were 8 garlic cheese onion rings with a soft onion ring embedded within a golden and savoury breaded batter (that's barely hanging on unfortunately)...and not quite as crispy too but still edible.

Finally, the only sweet treat of the box were 8 mini cinnadots that were like tiny bite-sized squares of bread that's been dusted with cinnamon and sugar (I think) but not sweet at all.  I don't know what that white sauce is accompanying these mini cinnadots but I know I didn't like it.

This Fabulous Four promotion comes with an order of two pizzas, so we went with Aloha Chicken of shredded chicken and pineapple.  I actually called it Hawaiian Chicken when I made the order....oops, I think that's what Pizza Hut calls it but, hey, it's a name synonymous with chicken and pineapple, so I guess that name is universal....hehe! ;)

Whether you want to call it Aloha or Hawaiian's still one of our all-time favourite pizzas coz we love the fresh and juicy pineapple chunks! ^_*

Our other pizza was the Beef Pepperoni.  Look at the abundant beef pepperoni slices!  When I first started eating Domino's, I always went for their thin crust pizzas...what was I thinking? >_<  I remembered them being crispy but I sometimes they're so overly crunchy it was like eating a hard biscuit.  I now prefer their classic hand tossed crust, soft and pliable when warm....a little bit more jaw-exercise when cold.

A regular sized pizza is 9 inches and yields 6 pieces, so you do the math...12 slices for 3 pax means each person has to eat 4 slices...that's more than half a pizza each (and with sides)!  That's why this is a value deal which can feed up to 4 persons.

Another reason why I like to order Domino's and not Pizza Hut is because we have a branch in our housing area. That means the pizzas arrive hot...and on time (in fact, in less than half an hour) or you get a free pizza the next time.  I've never gotten any free pizza coupons from Domino's but quite a few from Pizza Hut (which I've never claimed) and I've since stopped eating Pizza Hut's pizzas altogether.

Of course they aren't as good as those wood-fired fresh and made-to-order pizzas we get from pizza specialists and/or restaurants, but (seriously) where can you get a whole 9-inch pizza for RM15 nowadays...delivered right to your doorstep....and for that Domino's pizzas are a pretty darn good option for TV nights! ^.^ 

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