Omakase + Appreciate, Kuala Lumpur

I can’t believe it took me THIS long to ‘discover’ the best cocktail bar in town!

Omakase + Appreciate, a speakeasy-type bar is founded by two noted Malaysian bartenders, Karl and Shawn.

(From 1920 to 1933, the US government banned all sales of alcohol, known as the Prohibition era. If you wanted a drink to forget the teetotaling crusaders, you’d get it at speakeasies – secret bars that illegally sold alcoholic drinks.)

Omakase + Appreciate Kuala Lumpur - bar

True enough, you may have some difficulty finding the exact Omakase + Appreciate location. The bar is also quite cozy, fitting a maximum of 20 averagely-sized drinkers at any time.

Omakase + Appreciate Kuala Lumpur - customised cocktails

What do you get at Omakase + Appreciate? Cocktails! No draft beer, no shots, nada! You get intricately crafted cocktails that you can choose from a menu that changes every night – depending on bartenders on duty (Karl and Shawn helm the bar Thurs – Sat), or every month for refreshment. Drinks start from RM25.

Omakase + Appreciate Kuala Lumpur - Angeltini

The best part is, you can “omakase” (leave it to you) your drinks to the bartenders! They would love to make you a custom drink based on your preference. Do you like something sweet? Sour? A drink that would sweep away your blues? Something your wife would hate?

I figure it’s a good way to know what you really like, or want.

Omakase + Appreciate Kuala Lumpur - appreciation

I told Janice, my sweet young thing of a bartender that I like sweet, refreshing, not sour nor bitter. For my first customised cocktail (RM35), she made me a blend of lime juice, sour plum, mango juice and gin.

Lovely but I don’t quite like gin. So for my second cocktail, she made me her own concoction, “Trio Connection” (RM35). Lime juice, praline syrup, sweet vermouth, angostura dark rum and pineapple.

One of the best cocktails I’ve had! Janice happily told me that she would be using this cocktail as her participation in the Monin bartending competition. I hope she did well!

Omakase + Appreciate Kuala Lumpur - Janice

But where can you get to Omakase + Appreciate? It’s somewhere in the Bangunan Ming Annexe along Jalan Ampang. The entrance is one of these doors…

Actually finding it is half the fun.

Omakase + Appreciate Kuala Lumpur - hidden entrance

Read more on Omakase + Appreciate at Tipsy-Turvy: *click*

Omakase + Appreciate
Bangunan Ming Annexe
Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

Facebook: OmakaseAppreciate

Opens Tue-Fri, 5pm-1am; Sat, 9pm-1am.
Closed Sun & Mon, sometimes for private events.

Marques de Murrieta – old world Spanish wine at La Bodega

I have not met a Spanish wine that isn’t bold. Though some more understated than others, it is not something you casually – almost carelessly sip away in the background. No, Spanish wine demands that you savour it deliberately. Its often full-bodied complex notes would not stand for anything but.

At the Marqués de Murrieta tasting at La Bodega BSC, we sampled some wines from the famous Rioja region. Founded in 1852, Murrieta wines are produced using traditional methods – aging wines sourced from their own vineyards for a minimum of 2 years.

Marques de Murrieta, La Bodega Bangsar - serving

We began with the Pazo Barrantes Albarino 2012. Light, citrus, floral, easy to drink white to pave the way for the rest of the evening. A bit too mild for me, but I can see why this is a starter drink.

Next, the Capellania Reserva 2008. Lovely bouquet with a strong whiff, medium-bodied, dry, a bit toasty, nice finish. Can get slightly intense. I approve. Marqués de Murrieta is one of the few Rioja bodegas left who still age white wine in oak barrels.

Marques de Murrieta, La Bodega Bangsar

Marques de Murrieta, La Bodega Bangsar - paella
Drink Spanish wine, eat Spanish food.

Marques de Murrieta, La Bodega Bangsar - wine and tapas

Marques de Murrieta, La Bodega Bangsar - refill

I am not much of a red wine person. But the Dalmau 2007, a blend of mostly Tempranillo left a strong impression. Rich, full-bodied with a velvety nose, toasty from being aged in French oak barrels. This is characteristically Spanish wine.

Marques de Murrieta, La Bodega Bangsar - guests

I hope you get to try these at La Bodega. I mean, I hope that they have included Murrieta wines into their list! You’re right, I don’t know what went on because I had to leave early.

You can learn more about Marques de Murrieta wines at their website: www.marquesdemurrieta.com.

Wine + Canapé @ Maison Francaise (the French House), Kuala Lumpur

A while back, a few of us were at Maison Francaise (the French House) for an evening of (way too much) wine and delicious canapé. I had too much fun not to share the photos with you, so here you go.

Side note: I previously blogged about lunch at Maison Francaise: *click*

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - bungalow
The inviting bungalow housing the restaurant, party space and a pool.

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - wine
French white semi-sweet wine. One of those things that you drink and drink, and don’t realise how much you’ve drank until you’re drunk.

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - canape
One of them was pumpkin puree with caviar.

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - eggs
Delectable eggs. Can’t get enough!

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - risotto
Slow-cooked beef bourguignon with risotto. Amazing!

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - Chef Franck
The French chef!

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - Chef Franck Lamache
He eats his own food so it’s safe for us all.

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - Frank and Kelly
Frank of Sid’s Pubs and Kelly.

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - guests
Guests! Spot The Yum List.

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - bloggers
Lovely people.

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - Haze, Suanie, Fireangel, Sainy
Haze, me, Fireangel and Sainy of Maison Francaise.

Maison Francaise Kuala Lumpur - Dennis, Fireangel, Jason
Dennis, Fireangel and Jason.

/end showoff
/end sorrydonthavetimetoblogproperly

Maison Francaise
5 Jalan Changkat Kia Peng
50450 Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia
Tel: +603-2144 1474
Website || Facebook

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013

As part of the Twestival Kuala Lumpur team, it has been an amazing journey to have helped raise nearly RM74,000 for our selected charities.

We started in 2009 with Destiny Starting Point, raising RM11,000 for the home for juvenile delinquents in Klang. In 2010, the team raised RM3,000 for Concern Worldwide, an international education NGO. The following year, we hit RM26,000 for PRIHATIN in Kota Bahru, a NGO for single mothers and children with HIV/AIDS.

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - The Bee Publika
In 2013, Twestival Kuala Lumpur was held at The Bee in Publika

After a year’s break, we rallied together in 2013 for Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Hulu Langat (PKKI). I blogged about PKKI earlier: *click to read*

Through ticket and product sales, auction items, outright donations, with your help and generosity, we pulled together nearly RM34,000 for PKKI. The amount has been transferred to PKKI, we hope it will be of some help towards their good cause.

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - work work
With Jian who flew in from Kuching

Our event for Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 was held at The Bee in Publika. We had a good turnout, fantastic performances by celebrities who donated their talent and time, a bighearted audience who gave and gave via our auctions, and generous sponsors who donated lucky draw prizes, food, drinks, goody bag items and outright donations.

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - goody bags

I’ve always been amazed and humbled by how kind and charitable folks are. I can tell you that I see this from the front row as part of the Twestival KL organising team. Even if they were not able to help us with goods or monies, they readily spread the word and tried to find others who could.

<3 <3 <3 Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - registration

I’m just going to post a few photos from 2013’s Twestival KL’s event.

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - Chelsia rehearsing
The kids couldn’t keep their eyes off Chelsia during her rehearsal :)

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - Chelsia Ng, Elvira, Liang, Ray Cheong, Vince Chong
What incredible, intimate performances from these talented home-grown singers – Chelsia Ng, Elvira, Liang, Ray Cheong, Carmen Soo and Vince Chong. I got goosebumps when Elvira sang :)

You can see more gorgeous photos of the performances taken by Robin Wong: *click*

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - crowd
Cosy space at The Bee

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - Hansen Lee
Charming Will Quah and Elvira auctioning Hansen Lee’s t-shirt. Yes, I wanted to touch too.

A BIG THANK YOU to our sponsors for Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013:

MDeC, The Bee (Publika), The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Blackberry, Text 100 Malaysia, Starbucks Malaysia, GSC Malaysia, Yeo’s Malaysia, Rama V Fine Thai Cuisine, Fa-Ying by Rama V, Nike, Nando’s Malaysia, Sid’s Pub, Nigel’s Visual Story, Threes & Tees, Damansara Village Steamboat Restaurant, Sanbanto Restaurant, and Czip Lee.

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - Carmen Soo, Vince Chong, Elaine Daly
Thank you Carmen, Vince and Elaine!

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - Suanie and Vince Chong
Vince and I! We first met at Bootcamp, then he went off to be infinitely fitter. Congratulations on your new bride!

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - Vernieman and Suanie
With Vernon, daddy of Twitterverse 😉

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - after event
After the event. We were bushed. Did we look like we were bushed? Absolutely dead knackered!

Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013 - team
Team Twestival Kuala Lumpur 2013. Grace, Ling, David Lian, Jason Lioh, Radiance Leong, Chee Ching, Fiona, Niki Cheong and Andrew. What an amazingly talented, energetic and enthusiastic bunch!

As Twestival Global announced, 2013 would be the final year for Twestival-branded activities.

It has been my honour and privilege to have been part of the Twestival Kuala Lumpur organising team. So much fun, laughter and knowledge gained! Thank you folks for having me.

Though it’s the end of Twestival, it’s not the end of us. Here’s looking forward to brand new ‘social media for good’ adventures! Stay tuned 😉

The #BBQAddicts New Year Eve party!

If there was ever the slightest, minuscule, microscopic chance that you wondered what I did on the eve of New Year 2014…

BBQ Addicts New Year's Eve party - venue

Yeap I was there, again! The gorgeous home of The Cheangs, where they host an annual BBQ party for family and friends. Previously blogged: 2010 and 2012.

Booze was aplenty as always, though most of us graduated to drinking more complex alcoholic drinks. That’s why it’s great to have friends who double as bartenders.

BBQ Addicts New Year's Eve party - booze
AhFa and Mike, not married

Grill Sergeant Lance did what he does best. He is currently in a paella phase, having bought a paella pan.

BBQ Addicts New Year's Eve party - grill master Lance

He roasted a wonderful leg of lamb, superb with homemade mint sauce.

BBQ Addicts New Year's Eve party - roast lamb

And cooked up a host of other things, including a freshly caught fish from Mr. Cheang’s organic pond.

BBQ Addicts New Year's Eve party - food

Another specialty of the evening – superior whisky-flamed rib eye.

BBQ Addicts New Year's Eve party - whisky-flamed rib eye

A communal plate is used for ready-to-eat grilled food. It is usually empty within a minute.

BBQ Addicts New Year's Eve party - communal plate

People. People!

BBQ Addicts New Year's Eve party - people 01

Here’s to an awesome 2014! Bring horse come forth!

BBQ Addicts New Year's Eve party - people 02

p/s: BBQ Addicts ready-to-grill items are available here: http://www.bbq-addicts.com

Absolut Hibiskus et cetera

Did you know that there’s a hibiscus flavoured vodka by Absolut?

Really. The sentimentals could allude to Absolut celebrating Malaysia’s independence day and birthday so why spoil their fun? 😉

Absolut Hibiskus is a new deal from the Swedes, contains floral hints and of pomegranate. Quite sharp and delicious on the rocks.

Actually the only thing about this new bottle is that it makes me want to go out and smell a hibiscus. What does a hibiscus smell like? Do you know? I don’t. But I I shall find out.

Here, we were at the Absolut Hibiskus party at Luna Bar.

Absolut Hibiskus Luna Bar

Ms. Bao scored us invites for a free Sisley pampering session at The Westin KL. Quite nice to have a girly day out. Someone commented on my FB that Sisley’s products are so expensive, you’d think it contains gold. Yeah you right (about the expensive part 😛 )

Girls Afternoon Out

Then it was Taps Beer Bar’s Better Beer Festival. Had an absolutely wicked time, was fantastic to see my favourite Hitachino/Yona Yona guys from Jibiru Singapore. I think we drank most of their Yona Yona stock.

The Better Beer Festival 2013

On a somber note, it will be some time before I have another street burger.

Our regular burger guy, Wan flipped his last burger at SS2 mamak last Saturday. The stall will still be there, but it wouldn’t be Wan doing it. If it’s not Wan doing it, I don’t want to eat it.

Best street burger by Wan

So we went and paid our respects; SS2 mamak was legendary to us. So it was almost like the end of an era. Almost.

And we look forward to Wan’s next burger posting. Will keep you guys updated for the best street burger in PJ.

On the 1st Kilkenny event in Malaysia and Ben Ng

For years, I was actively drinking Kilkenny on tap. All the time I spent nourishing my belly with the great Irish cream ale, there was never a Kilkenny event, boo!

Now that I’m actively drinking Guinness on tap, they decided to hold the first ever Kilkenny event here.

A tharlaíonn saol riamh ar an bhealach is mian leat é a bheith. Agus rinne mé díreach tar éis a úsáideann tú Google Translate.

You know what they say, better late than never. The folks who hold the marketing purses are realising that Kilkenny is catching on as it is flavourful, easy to drink and is the entry-level to a bright beautiful world of ale.

At the inaugural Kilkenny event in Malaysia (thanks Fantastic Mike!), it was a fun night out with plenty of Kilkenny to go around and lovely company to keep me happy.

Kilkenny at The Bee - Suanie, Timothy Tiah, Michael Cheang
With a lady in red, Timothy and ferociously great Mike

The highlight of my evening was meeting Ben Ng of Fluid Alchemy. GAB engaged him to teach us why it’s important to drink Kilkenny at the right temperature: too cold and it’d mask the flavour, too warm and it’s really not pleasant to drink.

Kilkenny at The Bee - Ben Ng
Ben at work

What about Ben? I think it is very exciting and delightful to meet someone so passionate about what they do. You wish their passion would rub off on you; that if you only had 5% of their love and dedication to your work, you’d be doing darn well in life.

It was inspiring to hear Ben talk about his experience speaking with college students. At the workshops and seminars held in conjunction with local colleges, Ben would invariably get asked about salaries. How much do you pay your fresh graduates? How much should interns get paid?

So Ben asked them, what do you think a fresh graduate should get? RM2400! RM2500! RM3000!

Okay that is a little high and is not the market rate for fresh graduates, said Ben, but what would you do if I hired you, the fresh graduate for RM3000? What would do you for RM3000?

Anything, I would do anything! came the reply.

Right, Ben nodded in appreciation, so for RM3000 I want you to be available to me 24/7. You will drop everything to cater to me at anytime I want you to. That’s how you earn your RM3000. Okay?

Nooooo of course not! Shock shock horror horror shock shock horror.

Ahh so you are not willing to do anything

So that was my glimpse into the expectations of the younger kids of today, as told to me by Ben Ng. It was humbling as well as he organised all these talks and workshops to get to know the people he’d work with.

And the man can make a mean cocktail. Win.