Flour, Bukit Damansara - Curry me home

Thursday, April 5, 2018
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I have been meaning to write this post for about 2 months now, which is relevant for you to know because it means I paid my visit to Flour some time in February and this whole February thing lends a little bit of context to the meal we had.  So we were smack dab in the midst of Chinese New Year season and with every dinner plan that week promising either steamboat or all sorts jumping over the wall, North Indian food at Flour felt like a breath of fresh air. Flour hasn’t been around for very long - a little over a year old – but it’s made enough of a mark in the scene which leaves advance bookings necessary and the “Restaurant FULL” sign up front unsurprising.

Another detail I must add is that because it was technically a new year, I felt somewhat reinvigorated to new year, new me all over again and decided to drive to the restaurant. With driving not being my strongest suit, it was with heightened adrenaline and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I tucked into this meal. Read into that what you will in terms of the objectivity of this review but for now, I’ve digressed enough so take a seat, grab a drink and into the restaurant we go!

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Tell me about the food..
If you’ve had enough of the modern day minimalist menus that’s currently in fashion but shares hardly more than the name of the dish and what you’re shelling out, the menu of Flour is made for you. Built almost like a book rather than a menu, it takes you on a bit of a journey by introducing the founders and cuisine (North Indian as opposed to the South Indian fare Malaysians are more accustomed to) and houses beautifully illustrated pages made for browsing.

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To start, we ordered batata fritters (RM12), which were basically balls of deliciousness in our mouths. They arrived piping hot (major plus point!) and was the perfect introduction to what was going to be a flavourful meal.

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After a bit of a struggle in deciding how much to order for our mains, we finally decided that for 7 of us hungry young adults, 6 curries, 3 biryanis and a serving of garlic naan was the way to go. 

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For every curry you order, you may opt for a side of bread or a bowl of white rice. Not knowing which to pick, we left the choice up to the waitress and were treated with a variety of flatbreads, some fluffy, most crispy, but all perfect for accompanying the rich, piping hot curries at Flour. If you think you’ll be getting tough overnight bread here, don’t worry, there’s naan. ;)

If you’re curious, we tried the following:
  • Murgh Makhani (RM27)
  • Mutton Korma (RM32)
  • Methi Chicken (RM26)
  • Lasooni Ghost (RM31)
  • Paneer Nimbu Do Pyaza (RM24)
  • Ajwaini Baingan (RM22)
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When the food arrived, I pulled apart the bread, had a helping of golden, creamy Murgh Makhani (butter chicken), and actually gasped at how gloriously rich, flavourful and deep the flavours were. If you like your butter chicken a little sweet and very creamy, you’ll adore the one at Flour. Probably the most popular curry of the night for us, when we were 6 curries down and the food was just starting to settle in our stomachs, we even contemplated ordering another helping because it was just so G O O D. But alas, belly and wallet constraints ended the journey there, though a few of my friends made repeat visits and had it again not long after.

A close second for me was the Paneer Nimbu Do Pyaza, another creamy delicacy that made me wish I had more bread to mop up the deliciousness left at the base of the bowl. Now this is almost inexcusable but I just flat out did not know that paneer was a type of cheese and was wondering how they managed to make tofu taste so good. I finally figured it out when my friends were asking if everyone had tried the “cheese one” and I was like, “no wait, which” only to realise it was the dish I was hogging. LOL well, you live and you learn, am I right?

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I enjoyed the mutton korma because I thought it tasted really clean and not too meaty, which can happen sometimes with mutton. The meat tenderly fell apart in my mouth and the curry was a nice break from the other two above. However, I think in the entire pot, there were probably two solid pieces of mutton, a huge bone, and very little else which made us feel a little short changed. If they were more generous with the meat, it would’ve easily been one of my favourites, but as is, I would think twice before ordering it again, especially if I’m feeling hungry.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but if I’m having a lot of curries all at once, after a while, no matter how good they are, almost everything begins to taste the same. That’s exactly what happened at Flour and the rest of the dishes went by in a blur. I had the chance to try the other dishes we ordered, but the rest don’t stand distinct in my memory. All I recall was that they all tasted good in their own unique way and I left was convinced that whatever curry ordered was going to be good.

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We had 2x chicken biryanis (RM28 each) and a serving of mutton biryani (RM33) to share. They were served in cute ceramic pots which kept them warm throughout the meal, but as far as I was concerned, the biryanis were just flavoured bases for the curries. Worth a try because to each their own biryani, but they didn’t do it for me.

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Their mango lassi was a whopping RM13 each, served in small steel cups and very assuredly not worth the money. Not pictured is their masala cha (RM8) which was delicately spiced and pretty good. Hahaha though my friend who ordered it for a hopeful caffeine kick was very disappointed and spent some portion of the night crying out for coffee.

Drinks aside, it was a really good meal and I am already planning a repeat visit in my head. Anyone in?
You should try it if…
  • You appreciate a good curry
  • You’re looking to try something different
  • You were a fan of Dishoom in London
  • You’ve never tried North Indian food and want an introduction
  • You already like North Indian food and well, want another place to try
  • You’re thinking of a place for group dining that you can make reservations for (order more to share!)
  • You’re vegetarian (plenty of options for you here!)
  • You’re craving curry, but a mamak just won’t cut it
  • You don’t eat spicy food (plenty of mild curries available - most of the ones we got weren’t spicy at all)
Minding Money Tips
Hahaha sorry this header’s a little misleading because I don’t actually have proper tips to give. Our total bill worked out to RM381.30 which wasn’t expensive, but it’s not exactly a budget offering. Including service charge and tax, that's roughly RM53+ per person without drinks.

But if you really want a tip, does it help to say that there’s a 7 Eleven right outside, and if you want to save money on dessert and you’re feeling #cheapo, you can get RM2 ice cream from next door? Um, not actually going to confirm if any of us did that but I’m just putting it out there that it’s always useful to know your options!

I tried the 7-Step Korean Skin Care Regime! x Althea

Sunday, March 11, 2018

There are some things that really only work out when you start early. Flexibility, for instance. Now it's probably not impossible to become flexible when you're older because, as they say, with enough practice and stretching, anything is possible. But I can envision some sort of not worth it stage, where your bones have stiffened and you can hardly walk, where stretching out into a split is more likely to tear some sort of vital muscle than turn you into the ballerina you always wished you were.


But before I digress further, what I’m really trying to talk about is skin care. I've been blessed with good skin throughout my life that has generally been clear and even toned, but my time of not needing to moisturize or heck, even cleanse my face, is running out. I'm talking noticeable creases around my mouth and eyes and semi-frequent monthly break outs on my forehead. Friends have actually started commenting about my skin's steady deterioration so it's really about time that I started doing something about it, lest it becomes too late and all that can save me is a face lift or Botox lolol.


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After 3 days of the skin care routine. You can still see some spots and redness but it was worse beforehand.


Rather than start out small, I thought, okay la, let’s do this properly. If we’re on the topic of skin care, no one does it as well as the Koreans and I decided to embark on the journey of..

7 Step Korean Skin Care

If 7 steps sound excessive, you should know that this isn’t even the full version. 7 steps is a fairly condensed version, with many incorporating 10 or even up to 14 steps in their daily routine! Just so we’re all on the same page, here’s what the 7 steps include! When I did some googling, there are some variations to this, but all in all, they generally follow this pattern:


Step 1: Oil cleanse

Step 2: Water cleanse (Yes, again)

Step 3: Exfoliate

Step 4: Toner

Step 5: Lifting cream

Step 6: Moisturize

Step 7: Mask

What was it like?

Step 1: Oil Cleanse
I used the Natural Pacific Perfect Deep Cleansing Oil for my first step which involved me slathering it on to my face and leaving it there for about a minute, rubbing in some water in to foam it up, and rinsing it off! Pretty straightforward and probably the most familiar step for those who cleanse on a regular basis.


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Oily and sheer when on a dry face


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Emulsified and milky


Step 2: Water Cleanse
So this double cleanse is a cornerstone of Korean skin care, because being Asian and competitive, ONCE IS NEVER ENOUGH. The cleanser we’re meant to use for the second step is a water cleanser which I suppose is milder and leaves my skin feeling clean but not too dry. This is probably one of my favourite steps and all I have to do is soak a cotton pad with the solution, and wipe my face with it. Rub from inwards to outwards and don’t be too sparse with the cotton pads (it’s okay to use more than 1!) else you might end up just distributing your gunk around your face.


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Step 3: Exfoliate

Exfoliating is probably one of my least favourites because I never know whether I’m being too rough with my skin. So, Korean skin care necessitates that we rub off those dead ol’ skin cells which will make the moisturisers to come more effective!


Step 4: Toner
Before this, I always presumed toners were something related to the colour tone of your skin. But, well, it’s not hahaha and toners are meant to balance the pH levels of your skin and like exfoliating, also helps in the absorption of all the good products to come. The toner I’m using is the Beauty Water which feels amazing! Use a cotton pad to swipe it across your face for the most shiok tingling sensation across it. It’s so quick to do, but the feeling afterwards makes me feel like I did something complicated and important for my skin.


Step 5: Lifting cream

To combat the early onset of wrinkles, I’m using Leaguertox V-Shot Silhouette Lifting Ampoule as a lifting ampoule which has instant results! This one is pretty cool where a little goes a long way and instantly lifts up my face. So I put some under my eyes and by the corners of my mouth and jaw, massage it upwards and it’s like an auto face-lift. What the gel does is that it kinda turns sticky once rubbed in and holds my face in place? Which I guess would be useful when I’m asleep so my face sort of “sets” in a not saggy way.


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Step 6: Moisturise
Over the years, I’ve collected a variety of moisturisers from my half-hearted attempts at keeping my face supple over the dry winter months in UK. I never diligently used any of them but now that I’ve started trying to care for my skin properly, I’ve been playing around with a range of moisturisers. Haven’t found my go-to yet but I love how no matter what, I wake up with my skin feeling soft.


Step 7: Sheet mask

I found this very difficult to follow on a daily basis because it’s so over-the-top! Sheet masks have always felt like a treat to me so it seems a bit indulgent to do it every day, and I find myself giving this a miss every 2 days. But, if you really think about it, it’s only about RM3 per mask, so if it makes you feel like a queen, then by all means, it’s a small price to pay for royalty!

Where do I begin??

If you’re a first timer like I was, all of the above can sound a little overwhelming. My products came from a variety of brands and making an investment on things you don’t really know how to use can be intimidating. However, knowing what the 7 steps entail means that you know what you’re looking out for. More often than not, you probably already have some moisturiser lying around, a cleanser that you’re already using perhaps or even some exfoliating cream. Just put them all together, supplement the missing steps and you’re well on your way to starting on 7 steps.


If you have no idea where to start, my products were all from Althea, a Korean-Malaysian shopping site for Korean beauty products. Whilst they do sell most of the items individually, they periodically issue Althea Boxes which put together a collection of skin care or beauty products all in one box. I had the chance to review the 7-Step Korean Skincare Box which was absolutely perfect for a beginner like me because it pretty much sourced all the different products I needed and is much more affordable than getting the products on their own.



The box itself is sold out right now, but you can still get the items individually if you wish to. I’ve starred the ones I personally found amazing to use so definitely check those out.


P/S: Minding Money Tip: 15% off for first time customers!


Here's what was in the box and the links to them:

  • *Natural Pacific Perfect Deep Cleansing Oil - get it here
  • *The Saem Healing Tea Garden Tea Tree Cleansing Water - get it here
  • Dr.Frog Control-Tox Peeling Gel (120ml) - get it here
  • *Son & Park BEAUTY WATER (340ml) - get it here (non-Althea link)
  • *Leaguertox V-Shot Silhouette Lifting Ampoule - get it here
  • Rire Camu Camu Moisture Cream - get it here
  • Lebaton Pearl Whitening Essence Mask - get it here

Just as a general remark, I really recommend these Althea Boxes because they come at good price points and from what I’ve seen, include full sized products so you won’t have to worry about not getting your value for money. It’ll make a great gift for your girlfriends, your mother or even yourself.

Is it worth the effort?

I had so many questions when I first started this like do I have to wait between each step? How much time is this going to take? And ultimately, is it worth the effort??


For the first question, it’s recommended that you allow the product to set in before you apply your next one. So maybe a minute between each?


When I first started, it took me 30 minutes to go through the whole procedure, excluding the sheet mask. Now that I’ve gotten used to it, it takes less than 15 minutes, and can be a really therapeutic way to end the day. I’ll confess that I’ve given it a miss every now and then, but will at least try to water cleanse, toner and moisturise if I can.


This has done wonders to making me feel more adult and when I got a really strong tan after my recent trip to Australia, very quickly lightened me back to my slightly-less-tanned-but-still-tanned self.


The best part of this is really just feeling like I have cleaner and healthier skin. My recent period came and went without any major breakouts and whilst I still haven’t returned to the baby skin days of the past and don’t know if I ever will, it’s doing a lot better than it did prior to this!


All in all, it’s a commitment worth sticking to and I’ll do my best to keep at it!


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Thanks again to Althea.kr for the sponsored box. As usual, I’m not being forced to say nice things and I’m only saying it if I mean it.

Tiffany x Caffe Bene: Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Series Party!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
I don’t think I’ve ever had a post so colour themed, so if you’re into purple, then you’re in for a treat!

Caffe Bene

K-culture blew up as I was a high school student, and I can still vividly remember when bingsu hit our shores (I guess it arrived with a Big Bang ;)). In fact, the first one I tried was at Caffe Bene, and I remember glorious toppings of chocolate ice cream and chunky brownies, so I guess you can say that we’ve had a pretty good relationship. But if you haven’t met bingsu yet, here’s an introduction for you: bingsu is pretty much the millennial ice kacang, which puts it squarely in the realm of being very Instagrammable.

I was recently invited for a party with the Butterfly Project at Caffe Bene to sample their new seasonal range: Ultra Violet Purple Sweet Potato Series. No prizes for guessing what the dress code was though I have to say, I never thought I’d ever try dressing up for a party to match the food being served.

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My staple holiday dress

Caffe Bene(pronounced Kah-Fey Bey-ney and not Cafe Bean as I once thought)
The event was held at the One Utama outlet which is a beautiful two story store tucked away in the Old Wing, and the first of the Caffe Bene outlets to feature its modern, newer industrial look. With a focus on “more than coffee”, Caffe Bene is positioning itself as a everyday hang out especially for its new outlets in One Utama and Mid Valley, equipping its stores with story books, plug points and wide tables. If natural lighting and a comfy seat is your cup of tea, you’ll be happy to spend hours at Caffe Bene.

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Tell me about the food..
Meet the cast of characters: the latte, bingsu, Frappeno and my personal favourite..

Cafe Benne

the waffle!

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Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Cream Waffle (RM18.90)  - Vibrant purple sweet potato paste layered on top of Caffe Bene signature Belgium waffle, crunchy granola, topped with seasonal purple sweet potato gelato and dusted with some purple sweet potato powder.

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Hahah look at the adoration the waffle’s receiving!

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Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Bingsu (RM29.90)  - This ultra violet icy treat is built up with layers of shaved ice, purple sweet potato milk base, crunchy granola, bouncy agar jelly and topped with Caffe Bene’s seasonal Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Gelato.

You can eat bingsu in one of two ways: (1) press down on the ice cream and mix everything up so all the flavours are combined. The ice keeps the ice cream from melting too much and you get a creamy, almost McFlurry like concoction; or (2) eat it layer by layer but get left with some layers of just ice in the middle.

Caffe Bene recommends doing it the first way but since people like monstrosities like deconstructed cheesecakes, I’m sure some would prefer the second. Whatever floats your boat, man!

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The bingsu was the most photogenic of the bunch and found itself the star of many photos. But as beautiful as it was, I think you’ve got to be a fan of sweet potato to really appreciate this. It had a very generous chunk of sweet potato paste in the middle but I was honestly more interested in the jelly pieces than anything else in the dessert. On the plus side, it wasn’t too sweet and we made it all the way to the bottom of the bowl.

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Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Frappeno (RM16.90) 

I didn’t try the Frappeno so here’s the press release description: The perfect icy drink for a hot summer day. Ice blended purple sweet potato frappeno, topped with whipped cream and sprinkle of purple sweet potato powder for that finishing touch.

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Ultra Violet Sweet Potato Latte (RM14.90)

This was comforting and tasted nothing like a latte I’ve had before. Because it was so creamy, it was almost like Nestum or oats. I didn’t taste the sweet potato in this one at all, but Xinaday gulped it down and said she really like how much it tasted like sweet potato (???!!!?) LOL maybe my palette isn’t cut out for food tasting if I’m missing notes like these but hey ho!

The series will be here till 15 April 2018 so you have about a month to try these ultra violet beauties.  
You should try it if..

  • You’re a fan of sweet potato
  • You love purple/ pastel colours
  • You don’t like desserts that are too sweet
  • You love bingsu and want to try something new
  • You’re in One Utama or Mid Valley and you want somewhere to sit down, charge your phone and relax
  • You want to introduce Korean desserts to a your elder relatives
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Minding Money Tip
If you want to try the desserts, but you’re watching your wallet, here’s my Caffe Bene Minding Money tip for you: go on Wednesdays! Depending on the hour you go, you’re entitled to different discounts for different items from the menu.

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Thanks to..
Caffe Bene and the Butterfly Project for the fun party! I took home a fun goodie bag with gifts from MAISON de gigi, JUICY Fresh Juice Bar and Caffe Bene Premix Coffee.

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Special shoutout for this tube of Barbeque Flavoured Popcorn! Best prepackaged popcorn I’ve ever had! I honestly had good intentions about bringing some to work to share but it was so good, my family (okay, mostly me) finished it in less than a day. If you find it, it’s a must try! I hardly ever enjoy savoury snacks but this was a 10/10.

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Anyway, it should go without saying that all the views here are my own and no one is forcing me to say nice things about them. If I’ve said nice things, it’s because I mean it.

See you next time!


Marco Creative Cuisine, 1U - “7 courses” for under RM100

Sunday, February 4, 2018

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C’mon guys, you know me well enough by now to know that I’m an absolute sucker for set deals because it’s generally less money for more value. So it was a no brainer that when I heard of a place that was serving a “7 course” set menu fine dining style for under RM100, I had to pay a visit.

Marco Creative Cuisine

My experience at Marco was in May 2017, back when its set menu was going for RM78+ per person. I went with my mom as a little treat and it was a fun experience eating together for over an hour. It’s gone up to RM98+ since then so chances are, the bill will come up to slightly over a hundred for the set which despite the raise, really won’t do much to knock off its position as an affordable fine dining venue.


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I should note that it’s fairly casual as a venue so you won’t be going there for the fancy atmosphere. For starters, it’s located in a mall where most are casually dressed and there isn’t a clear dress code. As in many Malaysian restaurants, you’ll find all sorts - the fancily dressed couple celebrating their anniversary, the family in their matching polo tees, the sulky preteen in the sweatpants and T-shirt, etc. So make of that what you will. 

Tell me about the food..

Allow me to take you through this course by course.


- Appetizer -


We kick things off with the appetizer, the chef’s choice of a savoury eclair. topped with aubergine caviar, green chili pesto and tomato confit. The pastry was more dense than I would’ve liked, but just the right amount of savoury to satisfy. 


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- Soup -


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For soup, you get an option between these three. We opted for the french onion soup and truffled mushroom soup.


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French onion soup with french toast


I enjoyed this a lot! Melted cheese topped the soup which made a hearty dish even richer. The fresh toast was delicious and buttery. If it sounds indulgent, it’s because it was.


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My mom opted for the truffled mushroom soup, described as a plant-based creamy mushroom soup infused with truffle oil. Gotta admit I didn’t taste the truffle but assuming the plant referred to was the mushrooms, it was a solid mushroom soup and we drank every drop.


- Entrée -


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For our entrée, surprise surprise, I opted for the savoury ice cream salad. This was really fun to eat because you know you’re having a salad, but your brain tricks you into thinking its dessert. It’s brilliant, especially for those who aren’t conventionally healthy food lovers.


The ice cream wasn’t weird either because I was half expecting frozen dressing. It tasted mild and salty, but not overwhelmingly so. Dishes like these give Marco its middle name and I wouldn’t mind having salad and ice cream more often.


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When we visited, the menu offered chicken liver parfait with bread and apple chips. It doesn’t seem to be part of the menu anymore but for posterity, I will note here that the first few bites were delicious. However, liver has a very strong flavour, and we left it mostly untouched after we ran out of bread to mop it up with.


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- Main -


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My choice of main was the duck breast, which was perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious! They served it a little differently when I had it, and was described as “sous vide pan seared Pekin duck breast with orange puree, roasted beetroot and Valrhona Dark Chocolate”. They’ve changed it up a bit now, calling it the Smoked Duck Breast as seen above, but if they’ve cooked it as perfectly as they did before, I’m sure it’s still delicious.


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Best duck breast I’ve ever had.


My mom opted for the salmon, which when we had it, was described as “Atlantic salmon with squid ink hollandaise, garnished with pickled beetroot and green chile pesto”.  It’s now the Salmon with Green Chili Pesto. It was good then, and if they’re using the same green chili pesto in the appetizer, it should still be good now.


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- Desserts -


We’re at my favourite part of a meal - desserts! Honestly, I haven’t found a single fine dining restaurant that serves better dessert than restaurants that specialise only in desserts. But restaurants can’t get away without serving it either!


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Here, we got the crème brûlée which was yummy but not the best I’ve had. It could’ve been creamier and its crust could’ve been thinner, but it was decent nonetheless. However, it was a while since I’ve been there so maybe they’ve improved since then? Still a good choice for dessert, I reckon.


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When we were there, we opted for the Raspberry Decadence, a raspberry cheesecake with passion fruit gel and ice cream. It’s since been removed from the menu, which is just as well, because I remember it tasting pretty meh. They’ve replaced it with something called the Texture of Chocolate, which sounds amazing! But I’ll have to pay another visit to give it a try.


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- Palate cleanser  and drinks -


If you’ve been counting you’ll see that we’re at 5 courses and at the end of the meal. I was a little doubtful about calling this a 7 course menu (hence the inverted commas above) because here, the palate cleanser and drinks are considered a course each. This isn’t typical so in effect, it’s really a 5 course menu.


- Palate cleanser -


In the UK, I found that the water I drank had a bit of a metallic tinge (because I usually ordered tap water to save money LOL) so rather than help clear the taste of the previous course, it just left a iron-like taste on my tongue. That’s where palate cleansers come in!


The first time I had a palate cleanser, I had no clue why I was being served sorbet in between courses. Like whaat? I didn’t order this? Fortunately, I had more initiated friends which explained that it was akin to a refresh button between courses to make sure that you get to fully appreciate the flavours of each.


The waiters at Marcos are trained to explain your dish to you so rest assured, you’d get the appropriate introduction.


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Velvety Matcha-Lime Shooter.


The palate cleanser was served between the entrée and the main.


Not much to say about the drinks, but I suppose it’s nice to not have to pay extra.


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You should try it if…

  • You want to take your partner on a nice, yet affordable meal
  • You appreciate creativity in your food
  • You want to try fine dining for the first time
  • You want to treat your parents to something nice, but don’t want them to feel overwhelmed in an overly fancy restaurant
  • You enjoy taking your time with your meal
  • You’ve been there once before the menu change and wondering if it’s worth a revisit


You can make a reservation here 24 hours in advance from their website.


Minding Money Tip


Wish I knew this before I went, but booking through offpeak.com gives you a 15% discount on certain hours and days. You could even book through offpeak.com if you want to pay a visit on the same day as your booking which you can’t do on the website.


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You can click on the pic above or check it out here.


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Marco Creative Cuisine

Lot G146, Ground floor (Old Wing)

1Utama Shopping Centre

47800

Petaling Jaya 


Opening Hours: 

Daily

11am-9:30pm

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