Where? Nimbus (Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia) Map Menu

When? Wednesday December 21, 2022

Who? My Parents

Food Style? Asian Fusion

After frustratingly navigating through Kuala Lumpur’s rush hour, we’ve finally made it to the restaurant. Normally this journey would take us 10 minutes, but today, it took us 40 minutes because we also made a wrong turn, in addition to the multitude of vehicles on the road.

Anyway. In my final week in Malaysia, we’ve decided on Nimbus, a fusion restaurant with an interesting mix of French and Asian cuisines. The interior is playing Christmas pop and there’s two other tables on this quiet Wednesday evening. They offer a seven course degustation, a four course meal for two and a la carte, but since there’s three of us, they’re letting us do the four course for three pax.


Shark Attack
The shark comes with berry juice that you squirt into the cocktail, making it look like bloody murder in a green pool. I love it, great theatrics. The drink is nice and refreshing, especially after the chaos of KL traffic. There's a prominent lime and mint flavour.


Wheat: truffle butter
The home-made brioche is served warm and is very inviting. There's a strong truffle taste in the butter and it's really good.


Salmon and bottarga: smoked capsicum sorbet, prawn paste, fungus
There's an interesting combination of flavours on the plate. The sorbet is cold and adds a strange sensation; it’s smoky and sweet at the same time. The salmon is pretty tasty. Hoisin sauce ties everything together. The fungus is pretty nondescript but adds some crunch. I didn’t detect any of the bottarga - that's salted and cured fish roe pouch, usually from the grey mullet or bluefin tuna - even though it was clearly visible.

Pre Mains

Oyster Royale: herring roe, truffle jus
This is steamed egg custard with oysters and herring roe, topped with a dried oyster oil, very much like an elevated chawanmushi. It's smooth and delicious, intensely aromatic with a strong sea flavour and some hidden oysters that have sunk to the bottom. It's beautifully presented.

Mains #1

Tamarind baked barramundi: confit potato, green pepper coulis
My choice is the barramundi, a name from the Australian Aboriginal language meaning "large-scaled river fish". It's beautifully cooked, glistening in the middle, smooth and juicy. I can taste those typical Asian flavours of green onion, kai lan and tamarind mixed with French influences of potato and roe. It's not bad, but I'm filled with food envy after seeing how good my parents' food looks...

Mains #2

Prawn bisque noodle: grilled river prawn with gochujang, bunga kantan, ikura
The bisque is absolutely delicious. It’s got that strong prawn taste with a hint of char from the intense heat on the shell. The prawn is cooked perfectly, and is smooth and succulent. The pasta is okay - it’s home made squid ink noodles - but really just a means of soaking up that delicious bisque. There’s a hint of chili and kafir lime, it’s aromatic and sumptuous. Definitely the better option tonight. The prawn is large and meaty, almost like eating a lobster. Khim is done with her meal so I take over and abandon all sense of decorum as I suck the prawn head of all its juices, using my hands to break open the shells. The bisque doesn’t escape me either, I’ve completely consumed it all. Yum!


Hazelnut and chocolate: duche de leche, matcha, coffee tuile
The presentation is elegant and refined, like what I would expect from a French patisserie. It's rich and nutty, with a slight saltiness on the hazelnuts to balance the sweetness. The matcha is subtle but adds yet another dimension to the dessert by providing bitterness to the other elements. There's lots of crunch from the biscuit and nuts, and it's an excellent end to the night.

It’s an expensive meal (even after conversion!) but pretty enjoyable. Not something I’d go for multiple times but definitely a great showcasing of Asian flavours.

Bowl of Karma

Where? Bowl of Karma (The Beaches, Toronto, Canada) Map Menu

When? Sunday August 28, 2022

Who? Badminton Crew

Food Style? Indian

Summerlicious is upon Toronto after being on hiatus during the pandemic. Similar in execution to Wellington on a Plate, restaurants offer a three course prix fixe menu for two weeks to celebrate the end of summer and go out with a bang. Here on a warm Sunday after badminton, we’re trying some Indian food on the east side of town. There’s a whopping 14 of us at the restaurant and we’re the only ones here, but despite that, one of the appetisers (Aloo tikki chaat) and one of the mains (tandoori wings) is unavailable, and already I’m not impressed - how do you run out of wings?! Ordering is chaotic but it gets done - whether it’s accurate remains to be seen.

I’m pairing with Alfie so we can divide and conquer the menu.

Appetiser #1

Samosa chaat: crushed samosas smothered with chholay (chickpeas) and topped with yogurt, mint chutney, tamarind chutney, onions, and cilantro
Several people have ordered this for their appetiser, so when one plate comes out with no red onion or cilantro, and it's visually very different, we know something's wrong. After a correction, we’re good to go. It actually tastes pretty good, there’s plenty of spice and flavour, and the crispness of the samosa pastry is still there. I’m quite impressed.

Appetiser #2

Vegetable samosa: traditional fried pastries filled with potatoes, green peas & cumin seeds, with tamarind chutney
The samosas are pretty decent as well, hot and fresh out of the fryer. It’s got that lovely balanced spice coming through, and the tamarind chutney helping to add some acidity to the mix. I’m sweating profusely because there’s no AC in the restaurant and the samosas are really hot.

Mains #1

Paneer tikka naan pizza: Bowl of Karma's pizza out of a clay oven, baked with fresh tandoori naan and choice of flavour and toppings
This one is odd. There’s no sauce base, so it’s basically just baked bread and cheese, and it’s very dry. The paneer doesn’t have a strong flavour, so it’s kind of lost in everything else. I would much rather prefer something soft and fluffy like a naan bread filled with cheese, like what I can get from mamak stalls in Malaysia.

Mains #2

Butter chicken bowl: butter chicken served on a base of basmati rice and topped with fresh salad toppings and signature sauces
It’s a bit too sweet for me, but it does have a bit of spice kick. It’s weird that the salad is mixed in that way. There’s not a lot of chicken in there but what’s there disintegrates in an awkward way, like pulled pork. It’s been over cooked.


Gulab jamun: Indian doughnuts! Soft melt-in-your-mouth dumplings traditionally made of thickened milk and soaked in rose flavoured sugar syrup
I’ve had this before in New Zealand and it’s extremely sweet, almost to the point of sickness, so I know what to expect. What I got delivered on that exactly, and since there were only two balls of dough, it wasn’t unpleasant at all.

Not a bad way to end the meal, but quite disappointed with the mains. I’m super stuffed. I’ll be taking half the pizza home.

Her Chef

Where? Her Chef (Koreatown, Toronto, Canada) Map Menu

When? Sunday August 28, 2022

Who? Me

Food Style? Home-Style Korean Fusion

I’m back at Her Chef, because I’m craving something quick and hearty before Sunday afternoon badminton. I’ve been exercising a ton lately, mostly to get rid of all the excess fat from eating out over summer, so it feels like today should be Cheat Day. I’m here for another of Her Chef’s interesting dishes, the chicken croffle. The crispiness and butteriness of a croissant in waffle form, this is touted by the chef as “brunch perfection”, and I wholeheartedly agree. Even as it’s cooking, I can smell the aroma of cooking butter emanating from the kitchen. I am so looking forward to this.


Chicken croffle: Buttery croissant in a form of a fluffy waffle, served with crispy chicken and home-made honey mustard sauce
There’s something amazing about the way Koreans fry their chicken. Texturally perfect, crispy on the outside, and juicy and tender on the inside, it’s also full of flavour. The croffle itself is a culinary wonder, and although the combination of chicken, honey mustard and icing sugar looks strange, everything comes together beautifully. Really my only complaint is that I want more croffle, a half is not enough to go with all that chicken.

Knockout Chicken

Where? Knockout Chicken (Kensington Market, Toronto, Canada) Map Menu

When? Tuesday August 23, 2022

Who? Me

Food Style? Fried Chicken

Summer is rapidly approaching its end in Toronto and it’s now dark when Tuesday night badminton finishes. It’s bloody warm though, so I take advantage of the weather and bike to Kensington Market, and today I’m in the mood for some fried chicken.

At Knockout Chicken, the menu is appropriately themed to the boxing ring, with chicken combos named featherweight, welterweight, heavyweight and cruiser weight. They also do chicken sandwiches, popcorn chicken, wings and chicken strips, all in theme as well. Best of all, they’re open until 10pm, so I’m well within time to grab a feed. They’re also halal and they source produce locally where possible.


Featherweight combo with bone in
Pretty decent sized meal, with fries and coleslaw. The buffalo sauce is the right level of spice for me, and has that nice acidic tanginess. The chicken is juicy and crispy, but doesn’t have a very intense flavour, like what you’d get with Korean fried chicken or even Jollibee. It’s not bad, I’ve just had better. I don’t think I can finish the fries though.

Richmond Station

Where? Richmond Station (Financial District, Toronto, Canada) Map Menu

When? Thursday July 28, 2022

Who? Marc

Food Style? Elevated Canadian

My Catalan friend has been staying with me for the past three weeks and as his time in Canada comes to a close, he’s told me to choose a fancy restaurant and he’ll shout dinner. After pouring over several lists of Toronto’s best restaurants, and cross checking reservations and menus available for tonight, I’ve settled on Richmond Station, right around the corner from Queen Station in the heart of downtown. Most attractive though, is this little blurb on top of their online menu: "We are a Hospitality Included restaurant. The prices you see in this menu include the cost of service. Tipping is discouraged." A growing number of restaurants are beginning to include tips in their prices, and I cannot wait until this dumb practice is completely gone from North American culture and we just pay the staff a proper wage.

Richmond Station is one of those trendy places that’s always got some buzz about it, and today, the restaurant is almost full, even at 8.45pm. We’ve been seated on the long communal table and we’re here for the Chef’s Menu, a six course degustation.


Selection of canapés: Salmon tartare; Oysters; Torched scallops; Parmesan foam
I suppose "salmon tartare" is just a fancy way of saying sashimi but there's a nice flavour and savouriness. The oysters were okay, no strong flavour that stood out. These were apparently from New Brunswick, but I couldn't quite catch the variety. The torched scallops had a beautiful, smooth texture and were sweet and tasty, and finally the parmesan foam had a nice tomato base, with a rich, cheese finish on top.

Appetizer #1

Duck liver pâté: sour cherry, chicory, black pepper meringue
Amazing. Fantastically smooth and rich, perfectly paired with that sweet fruit and crispy meringue, great texture, for a well balanced dish. Pâté and fruit, usually as a compôte or chutney, is a very common combination that I've encountered multiple times, and have always enjoyed it.

Appetizer #2

Ontario new potatoes: sea lettuce, trout roe, dashi beurre blanc
Great presentation - lots of colours on the plate. Absolutely fantastic, I’ve never had such luxurious potatoes before. Such an amazing taste, buttery and rich. I would love to lick my plate. Or failing that, at least some bread to soak up that delicious sauce. To be honest, I was kind of skeptical about the dish to start with (come on, it's just potatoes, how good can they be?) but by the end, I was fully on board.

Seafood Mains

Butter-poached pacific halibut: courgette-basil purée, summer squash, fermented jalapeño emulsion
It takes a while to arrive and the waitress is super apologetic so she gets us some bread and olive oil. Eventually, the halibut arrives, and it’s soft and buttery, cooked perfectly. The purée and emulsion are tasty and add to the dish. There's a strong basil flavour, almost like it’s pesto. However, it’s a bit small and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, especially because it took so long to come.

Meat Mains

Good Family Farms Berkshire pork: charred sweet corn, hakurel turnips, truffle jus
The waitress says it’s the best dish the chef has ever made so expectations are through the roof. It’s 10.15pm and the restaurant is slowly emptying. The pork arrives and smells amazing. It’s cooked perfectly, juicy but a nice crispy crust for texture. The truffle is subtle but enriches the jus and the corn is sweet with a hint of the bitterness from the char. Well balanced and great complimentary flavours. A little disappointed at the portion size though, again.


Chocolate crêpe: blackberry and blueberry compôte, milk chocolate, crème de cassis chantilly
Beautiful vanilla aroma, you can see the seeds in the chantilly creme. The crêpe is chocolatey but not too rich, and the compôte is tart to balance it all out. Fantastic end to the night.

Surprise petite fours

Lemon tart: chantilly blackberry and blueberry; Compressed powdered fruit cubes
I thought it was the end of the night but we're given some petite fours. The lemon tart has a wonderful citrus tang, almost effervescent in its taste. The fruit cubes (the waitress couldn't provide a better description) are sweet and floral, packing an intense berry flavour in a small space. A lovely finish to send us off to the night.

All in all, an extremely enjoyable night with some fantastic food boasting great flavours and great emphasis on local food. A bit small in portion though, and I’ll have to grab some extra dessert at home, but a worthwhile visit especially for those who want to experience some of Toronto’s finest dining. The entire experience took 2.5 hours. As Marc pays, our waitress makes some conversation with us and she asks us where we’re from, and when I say New Zealand, she calls over the bar manager, who reveals she lived there for a few years. Ka pai!