The Sweet Spot

Pastry Chef & Traveler

Maison Francaise (French House), Kuala Lumpur

MF private dining area

With only a five minute drive from Kuala Lumpur’s city centre, the dreamy and high-end French settings of Maison Française will bring you away from town. From bungalow refurbished to a restaurant, Maison is fitted with elegant chandeliers, black table settings and glimmering glassware, all which create a modern European feel.

mf evening

MF outdoorMaison Francaise Wine cellar

Maison Francaise is one of the restaurants I’ve always wanted to go but just never had the right dining partner (and time). Thanks to Mei for extending the invite for a review session at Maison, I finally got to strike it off my bucket list. The establishment has 3 floors, one of which is a hidden oasis for a private pool parties. The main dining area is on the second floor. Maison’s wine cellar has an extensive wine list with more than 150 premium French wines.

The menu is purely French with dishes like foie gras terrine with onion and apple chutney, roasted snails in red wine sauce with fried onion rings and sauteed dover sole with meuniere sauce. Naturally, the souffle and crêpe Suzette grace the dessert menu. Executive chef, Chef Franck Lamache has an impressive CV with work experiences trailing from renowned 3 Michelin Stars establishment, Crillion Hotelin, Alain Duccase, and Le Taillevent just to name a few. Chef Lamache creates light, refined and healthy food while staying true to authentic French flavours.

MF Chef Frank

MF Asparagus Cream

We started the evening with an amuse bouche of asparagus cream to lighten up and entice the palette.

MF baguette and butter

Next we have a basket of housemade baguette which my friend adores. I always try not to have too much bread prior to any meal because I just want to savour much more food but rest assured the baguette has a crispy exterior while still soft on the inside.

We were served with a chardonnay from the South of France along with our dinner. I really am not the right contender to talk about wines but it was crisp and palatable to go with our meals.

MF smoked salmon avocado salad

For appetizers, we have a home made smoked salmon with an avocado and celery tartar. The avocado were diced to the t and it had a hint of spicy to it. While the combination of salmon and avocado can be gluggy and fatty to the palette, this appetizer proves to be the opposite with a light and refreshing taste instead.

MF Chef Franck

MF squid ink risotto seabass

For our mains, we had a Seared Black Seabass with Squid Ink Risotto and Red Capsicum Sauce. The squid in risotto was cooked to perfection, the hint of parmesan was enough to make it ‘cheesy’ but not overpower the saltiness from the sea. The black seabass was moist and flakey, I only wished that the skin could be more crispy on the fish but otherwise the squid ink risotto was one of my fav of the night!

MF black angus beef

Another main on our menu was Seared Black Angus Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Sauce and Asparagus, Tomato, Celery Root and Brussels Sprout. The beef tenderloin was cooked to a perfect medium rare with hints of fleur del sel on it, resulting in a tender and moist, melt in your mouth texture. We also enjoyed the sides of vegetable of robust flavour. PS : The tomato was so sweet!

We also had a change to red; a cabernet sauvignon from the South of France

MF cheese platter

Before desserts, we had a cheese platter and home made baguette. The Cheese platter had 5 types of cheese from goats cheese, camembert, emmentel, and 2 cheeses from Normandy region; livarot and pont l’eveque and a fig jam. We had an enjoyable cheese session as the owner, Sainy joined us on the table and had a chat with us on her journey of becoming a restaurateur here in Malaysia.

Shortly, we were served with customized cocktails. I know right, what a lovely treat. I was asked the deadly question, what’s your favourite dessert to then determine what type of cocktail should be made for ME! Usually I cannot give anyone a definite answer on what my favourite dessert is. Anyhow I gave an answer of an opera cake. It may or may not be my most favourite but it holds a special place in my heart. HAha for no reason, I just really liked the opera cake, so I take my opera cakes very seriously. Anyway.

Mf cocktails

On the left, is a concoction of lemon and grand marnier for my friend who wanted something lemony, citrusy and refreshing. Think lemonade, refreshing and subtle. On the right is mine, a unique combination of hazelnut, coffee and orange liqueur. It did not remind me of an opera but that wasn’t the whole point. Point is, the ability to capture your taste preference after a meal, to somewhat prepare you for dessert. And I gotta compliment them for being able to do that. I quite liked it and would have finished it if it wasn’t for the endless flow of whites and reds throughout the night.

MF passionfruit souffle

For desserts, we have the famed Maison Francaise Souffle in passionfruit. The size was huge! I mean, we’re talking about about 3″ tall ramekin. As for the cloudy meringue, it was light, airy and creamy unlike souffles made with just beaten egg whites. A combination of creme patisserie and meringue makes a more ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ souffle texture. Was it worth the wait and hype? Well I must say it was!

MF pina colada cake

For another serving of dessert, we had a pina colada entremet topped with mango gelee dressed in traditional french dessert plating. The coconut mousse on a desiccated coconut base and mango gelee paled in comparison to the souffle. The mousse is kept to a decadent light texture to end our meal of the night.

mf famous souffle

Another pic of the souffle maybe?

Overall we had a very good dining experience in Maison Francaise.

Should you not opt for ala cartes, degustation menus of varying prices are available for those who would like friendly introductions to French cuisine. You do pay a premium price for everything here but it is worth it, given the beautiful ambiance and the top food quality.

Maison Francaise
5 Jalan Changkat Kia Peng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.151256, 101.715215
Tel: 03-2144 1474, 019-243 1200
Web: maisonfrancaise.com.my

AFF Philippines : Tofu Sisig

Hello!

Here’s another dish which I recently tried in Boracay, Philippines when I travelled there in April 2014; tofu sisig. I first tasted Tofu Sisig in Mesa, one of the more ‘atas’ restaurants serving modern Philippines cuisine when we asked the hotel caretaker on whereabouts to eat authentic Filipino food.

Sisig refers to sizzling. It usually is a dish made from parts of pig’s head and liver, usually seasoned with calamansi and chili peppers. In this case, there’s no pork here, as it’s made with only tofu. It comes in a sizzling pan, piping hot with sweet, creamy sauce.

Tofu Sisig in Mesa, Boracay

Tofu Sisig in Mesa, Boracay

 

It had a sweet, salty sauce and creamy as well. At that time, I couldn’t figure that it was mayonnaise, it could have maybe be condensed or evaporated milk; like our version of ‘nai you’/butter sauce ala chinese style. Until I did a little google and found out that it has mainly mayonnaise and oyster sauce for the saltiness. Serving on a hot sizzling plate also makes it easier to eat as the creamy sauce can sometimes be a bit gluggy if the dish is cooled.

The one in Boracay was sweet! I mean, I do realize that there’s quiet a bit of sugar in Filipino cooking, especially the use of condensed milk in desserts!

tofu sisig

Recipe adapted from Sassy Chef.

AFF Philippines : Tofu Sisig
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500-gram pack Chinese firm tofu
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • ½ bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 red chilies, sliced
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a deep pan.
  2. Cut up the Chinese tofu into small cubes and fry in hot oil until golden brown. Drain in paper towels.
  3. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, oyster sauce, sugar, and pepper. Mix well, and add water until desired thickness is achieved. (I added 1 more tbsp). Adjust taste accordingly.
  4. Heat the mayo mixture in low heat while stirring for two minutes, then add the bell pepper and continue stirring for one more minute.
  5. Take your heated sizzling plate and add a small amount of vegetable oil. Saute garlic and onions until cooked, add in the tofu and mayo dressing and mix well.
  6. If not using a sizzling plate, pour excess oil from the pan (from frying), with a little oil left, sautee garlic, onions and bell peppers. Once they sweat, turn to low heat, add in the mayo sauce and let it cook for 1 minute. Pour in the tofu and toss.
  7. Sprinkle with sliced chili and more onions.

chicken inasal and tofu sisig

I brought it to lunch and just heat it up. The sauce was still alright. I used pressed tofu / like beancurd, you can use Japanese firm tofu but definitely not silken tofu as it will be difficult to fry up.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest – Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

AFF Philippines : Chicken Inasal

Hello! Pardon my absent but have been busy busy!

chicken inasal AFF

A couple of months ago when I was in Boracay, we dined in this place called Andok’s, which is similar to our KFC + Nandos. Well it is fast food but mainly grilled chicken and fish. The grilled chicken and fish was soooo good that we bought and ate at a nearby restaurant to Kalibo Airport before we flew.

andok's chicken manok

Andok’s Chicken Manok

So anyway, I wanted to make it again because it was so yummy! And when I came back, I thought it was Chicken Inasal, so I went all the way (no la actually my friend from SG) to buy coconut vinegar and annatto powder back for me. Turns out, as I’m writting this post, Andok’s chicken has a easier marinade and it’s called Lechon Manok where it is roasted over charcoal fire, stuffed with lemongrass. Another grilled item that we liked was the Bangus, chargrilled boneless stuffed milkfish.

Oh well. Anyway I still got to try something new especially in roasting chicken. Most of the time, I just use herbs and lemon. This one calls for calamansi juice, coconut vinegar and soda water. Chicken Inasal is grilled over charcoal fire and uses a basting liquid that contains Annatto oil (Aswete oil) for that golden colour.

Annatto, sometimes called roucou or achiote, is derived from the seeds of the achiote trees of tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The seeds are sourced to produce a carotenoid-based yellow to orange food coloring and flavor. Its scent is described as “slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg” and flavor as “slightly nutty, sweet and peppery”. (from wiki)

chicken inasal ingredients

Ingredients for the marinade and basting liquid, calamansi juice, coconut vinegar and soda water makes up the majority of the marinade. Just marinade for 1-3 hours and the grill it. I air-fried it actually and every 5 minutes, I baste the chicken with the annatto mixture. I didn’t have annatto oil, so I used the powder and mixed it up with some corn oil. Recipe is adapted here

chicken inasal philippines

 

AFF Philippines : Chicken Inasal
 
I used the air fryer to grill the chicken, you can also grill it in the oven
Cuisine: Philippines
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Ingredients
  • 2 whole chicken legs
Marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup lemongrass, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut vinegar
  • ½ cup calamansi juice (about 300g of calamansi with before juicing)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (or palm sugar)
  • 1 cup lemon soda (soda water)
  • ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
Basting Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons annatto oil (atsuete oil) (or 1 tsp Annatto powder mixed with 2 tbsp oil)
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon calamansi juice
Instructions
  1. In a freezer bag or large bowl, combine chicken, lemongrass, salt, ground black pepper, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, soda, and calamansi juice.
  2. Stir or shake the mixture until every ingredient is well incorporated. Marinade for 1 to 3 hours.
  3. In a bowl, combine margarine, annatto oil (aswete oil), salt, and lemon juice then stir. Set aside.
  4. Grill the chicken while basting generous amount of the margarine mixture.
  5. If using a air fryer, preheat air fryer at 180 for 2 minutes. Put the chicken leg in skin side down, brush some of the basting sauce over it and 'fry' for 5 minutes.
  6. Once done, turn the chicken to skin side up and apply the basting sauce again and fry for 5 minutes. Repeat until chicken is cooked (about 20 minutes)
  7. Transfer the grilled chicken to a serving plate.
  8. Serve calamansi and rice.

 

Overall it’s a nice marinade flavour with a little bit of spice and coconutty taste. The annatto powder don’t really have much flavour,, except a little smokey. Otherwise it is just used for colouring purpose, like tandoori chicken.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest – Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

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