Tuesday, December 31, 2013


*pic taken at Harajuku, Tokyo*

Friends asked me to sum up my 2013 in a word. I was speechless. I couldn't. But as alwiz it had been a smashing one. Well we must alwiz make our own lives as interesting as it is right? So knowing Monkey, I lurve to EAT....anyhow we do EAT everyday don't we??? hahahaha....I only believe in eating the right food and not waste calories..well if u gonna put some form of calories into your body it better be worth it. Otherwise don't bother.

Since I couldn't sum them up in a word or a pic, I would just do a summary of the most memorable events of 2013....in Notti Monkey's notti life :P

I started the Resolutions 2013 baking and cooking project. The aim was to cook something new each week but looks like I failed, in terms of the timeline. Didn't really have much time to but if u love to see wat's been produced in my kitchen....here is the compilations *click*

it has never been easy buying birthday pressie for the love of ur life, so Monkey bought JS a flying experience :)))) despite the fear of heights and flying, I did enjoy it more so the Birthday Boy
*read about it here*

Sexay Back Maggie's Hens Nite was a success and she was so sporting enuff to play this role as a nurse. Bahahahaha. Oh don't worry she still loves us very very much. Read about it *here*

Demure Lucie and Boonie who photo-bombed us
Then Monkey flew to Switzerland for work. It was only bearable with this group of fun and crazy colleagues around....otherwise I would have refused to go.

Lovely Ju, Superman Gregoire and their lady boss Marie. I didn't have a pic of Hyper Katharina though. As u can see we do nothing but hold glasses after glasses of champagnes all day...
*rolls eyes*
yeah yeah that's wat we do only...

Romanian Andrei alwiz insist we have more than one drink.
If all the men in Romania are this good looking I am goin to work there. Boss would u please transfer me to Romania? :D heeeeeeeeeee

Directly from Switzerland, Monkey choo-choo off in the TGV train to Paris and have coffee with BCBG Amy. We celebrated her birthday in Paris alongside the W's boys.
Both BCBG Amy and Notti Monkey really shopped till drop and maxed out our credit cardsSSSSsssssss. Hahahahaha

Then the love of my life Mr JS decided that he wanna be better looking than Romanian boys and flew to Paris to see Monkey. In this pic, he's so tanned from golf and almost comparable with the black man at the back...hohohohohohoho. Nvm I like tanned men :))))

The hobbits were in Saint Emillon France!!! *click here to read*
from Paris we zoomed to the Wine Capital of the world - Bordeaux. It was our very premier visit, despite being wine enthusiasts.

Think we visited Burgundy and Champagne much more...bahahahaha. Even Barbaresco, Italy...or Jerez, Spain. Funny we've visited everything and JS recently concluded his visit to Suntory Yamazaki Distilery in Kyoto *read bout it here*

Monkey and her favourite Celine Trapeze :)))))))))

and then as usual....Monkey shopped way way too much in Paris
:P come to think of it...6 luggage bags are our usual modus operandi...nothing abnormal. :D hehehehe. 4 pieces check-ins and 2 pcs of hand carry luggage. In fact for business class we are allowed 2x each person onto the plane...but I'm just too lazy to lug too many bags on board.
Once home, another surprise awaits....my birthday pressie!!!!!!!
:)))))))))))) Miss Poot Poot Poot is really a cute nippy car for work/city.

in less than 24 hours after we touched down from Paris, it's the big day for Shy Chatwin and Sexay Back Maggie....we had so much of fun and it was the Wedding of the Year!!!!
*click here to read*
now, we'll be busy planning the next one for Devigaga :)))))))

Then JS hosted a belated birthday partay for Monkey.....and he opened a bottle of KRUG d'Ambonnay. The most RAREST of all the KRUGS. Walled up in the small 0.68 hectare of land since 1766, it was more than a treat. *Read about the dinner here*

Then the other highlight was Macarons!!! and it was a success!!! all thanks to Hot Mama Thevi...oh no I have yet to blog bout this masterclass conducted at my home :P they looked so pretty already on my first attempt :))))

Then I made other flavours like LIME???? :P

My favourite has got to be Chocolat Macaron....oh yummmssssss. Each attempt makes 72 Macarons to the horror of JS and in the end it was to the horror of his office. Because his entire department had to swallow my Macarons everyday for one week!!!!!

Finally I taught my Roomies Shell Shell and Nee Lee to bake Macarons...it didn't look as pretty then...shows that I am NOT READY to teach yet...BAHAHAHAHAHA.

From Macarons to KRUG Champagnes...
It was also a very memorable dinner hosted by Olivier Krug himself the 6th generation of the KRUG family. :))))

Bag of the year - Chanel Boy :))))
It must have been my lucky day bcoz apart from the Krug private dinner....JS found a Chanel Boy in Galuchat skin at Ngee Ann city.....our hands were already full with paperbags and shopping loots. He insisted on going in *he saw that same bag on the hands of the mannequin much earlier*.

Monkey insisted we need to rush off to shower and prep up for Krug dinner and we were running late. Plus there was a queue outside Chanel. He was much stronger and insisted we go and queue. HELLO!!! MR JS doesn't queue for anything :P

so in less than 8 minutes, that bag was MINE :)))))))))))))

and during the Hari Raya break, we had so many postponed and relocation trips...
from Bhutan to Kathmandu to Maldives and finally to Bangkok...bahahaha due to the weather it's impossible to fly and see Mount Everest, and Kathmandu would be too wet and the sky would be too gloomy for photography...while Maldives will have too much of rain -_-"
Anyhow Bangkok is alwiz my favourite destination *click*

2013 also gave me many many beach holidays...this one was in Shangrila Dalit Bay Resort...it's good to have a balance of city trips and laid back trips :)))))))

the following week after Sabah, we headed to Taipei, Taiwan....it was our first trip. And yes I am way way way and far too behind all my postings...have yet to finish blogging about Taipei.
*click here*

It was also in Taipei that I had a very memorable chat with a friend. She moved me to tears of her determinations and will to live and to fight for her life :)))) At the end of the nite, I wanted to be a better person and be more responsible of myself :)))) Thank you and I wish you well alwiz :)))

weeks after Taiwan, we head of to East again....JAPAN!!!! and spent almost a month there. I simply Love LOVE LOVE this trip, it was the highlight of the year :))))
had a close encounter with a Tiger in Ueno Zoo, Tokyo...phewwww
suffered and jolted awake from a 7.3 magnitude earthquake early in the morning. It was too strong but no worries both of us were fine and JS slept through the earthquake...PIG!!!

brought my hobbits to Disneysea Tokyo
everyone had a great time except JS

then off to another beach holiday in Phuket with my girlfriends. We painted the town Pink and Red everynite. :))))) Our best picnic had to be Rawai Beach *click here to read*
and finally back to KL and celebrated Christmas with the W's = William & Wilbur. On Christmas Day we were in Ipoh for a full slam 5 days of Food Suicide with the Adelaide, Melbourne and Singapore gang...this I have yet to find time to blog...bahahahaha.

So 2013 had been a grand slam...and I am sure 2014 would be a blast as well. Now let me concentrate and re-plan some of our itinerary for Japan in 2 weeks time :))))

I hope all of you had a memorable 2013 and are working and looking forward to 2014. Remember, your life is as interesting as you made it. :))))))


Monday, December 30, 2013

Les Creations de Narisawa, Tokyo *2 Michelin Stars*

Les Creations de Narisawa - the creation of Narisawa
helmed and owned by Mr. Yoshihiro Narisawa, this establishment is pretty young as compared to most of the Michelin starred restaurants in the world. Started in 2003 and earned its very first star in 2008, this young and rising star has already charted itself in the culinary map.

Reservations here is a nightmare so do book early....we booked in advance and there was only a date available. yeah outta the 25 days given to the restaurant, we only managed to secure a table for dinner for two on the very last evening before we depart from Tokyo.

I almost had to kneel and beg to be accepted into their reservation list.
Later we found out it's easier if we have got connection *which we now have* and to call in and book directly with its Maitre'D
Getting to the establishment isn't that difficult but locating it at nite along this quiet luxe street will need some thorough observation. As usual Monkey got the hotel concierge to print the map, and to call the restaurant to finalise my attendance....-_-" yeah if u do not call back 2 days before you come, your table will be gone to the next lucky couple. Damn....

Concierge: "Do u have a reservation?"
Monkey: "Yes of coz!!!"
Concierge: "It's not easy to locate it madame, let me print some pictures of its main entrance."

yeah in Japan hotel concierge is alwiz that helpful. Everything anything, just ask.

True enuff, it wasn't easy to locate the restaurant....situated at its own courtyard off the main street. If u miss its huge minimalistic signage on the street, u would have just walked past.

the show-piece on the table. JS was so infatuated by it, he took so many shots

Narisawa started after Chef Narisawa himself realised most of his clientele and followers were from Tokyo. In fact his very first establishment La Napoule was at Odarawara. Odawara is about 35 minutes away via the bullet train Shinkanzen. We were there a few weeks earlier to catch our hilly choo choo train to Hakone, a mountainous highland resort with the view of Mount Fuji.

So after operating for 7 years, Narisawa-San moved to Tokyo :))))
good move!!!!!
Today Narisawa is Asia's No.1 restaurant and World no. 20

his philosophy is to enjoy the nature and to create cuisine from seasonal ingredients, in its most natural form as possible. Injected with his creativity, techniques and philosophy, Chef Narisawa brings happiness and life into the hearts of each and every diner.

So in the month of November, being Autumn...his theme was Evolve with the Forest.
We were so eager to be part of the 25 seaters restaurant to enjoy his creation.

the menu was explained by their well trained staff. We got either the French guy or the Aussie guy from Melbourne coz the rest can't really speak english, except their sommelier/maitre'd.

Perhaps it's time for us to pick up japanese because the interpretation and emotion involved can only be spoken and explained in japanese, including all those Sushi MasterChefs.

Bread of the Forest
First, our bread was plated on top of this special tableware with candle at the bottom. We were then brought through that this piece of chestnut bread is undergoing "proving" to rise enough before it can be baked.....so silly Monkey watched this beautiful bread rises slowly for the next 20 minutes.

"LOOK!!!! it's alive!!! it's rising!!!"
JS -_-"
"of coz it's alive, there's yeast innit.......sigh..."

a very typical Japanese table setup - with a pair of hashi *chopsticks*
and I found it so much easier to eat with chopsticks esp with bite size food that needing picking up here n there.

Where's my bread????

First course - Essence of the forest and Satoyama scenery
wahhhh this is too pretty to eat!!!!

the main star was the fried burdock root to resemble the tree trunk. While the black powder was carbonised pulp from soy and green powder were green tea.

Pairing this beautiful creation from the forest was natural spring water served in cedar wood. Wow it's really like consuming forest itself. :)))))))

Sumi - that looked like beautiful volcanic stones

it does look like stone huh? dare to take a bite?

when u sink ur teeth innit...it was so warm and fluffy and soft...and there's something in the middle!!!!

What is tat??? a thick piece of sweet onions. Oh yummsssss
we wanted more of this!!!!!

By then our "bread" has prove and risen. Time to bake it in lava stone that's about 300*C...that's freaking hot...so the Bread of the Forest was baked among plants, shrubs, sticks, leaves....

I couldn't remember how long they took to bake this on the table bcoz we were then too mnesmerised by the next few courses.

Finally it was being served...aaaaaAAAaaaaaaaaaa
so much of sweet chestnuts!!!!

to add more heaven into heaven, a dollop of butter in "moss" form was paired along this bread...
actually the full name of this bread is Bread of the Forest and Moss. Too pretty to eat but my stomach is more powerful than the mind.

creamie butter all dusted in black olives and green chlorophyll .
JS had 3 of the Moss
-_-" shameless~~~~

the chestnut bread was good on its own....bite after bite it's all about sweet seasonal chestnuts.

JS was bz stuffing his face with other bread bcoz the butter was too good. That's y he alwiz got filled up too soon at any dinner. Suckers for bread :P

Next was Okinawa, a consomme soup made from sea eel with lil crispy pork with its skin thrown in, some form of sweet gourd and a fried yam dumpling. The combination of smoky consomme and paired with all these delicate accompaniments were outstanding. There were crispy texture from the pork, the softness of the gourd and fluffiness of yam.

Another dish I think it's too pretty to be eaten - Langoustine from Suruga Bay. JS actually removed all the leaves off the way when this pic was taken.

when it was presented on the table, it looked this pretty!!!!
U know I've tried, to present something like this...but I'm not very good in merchandising all these micro herbs nicely...it's not as easy as placing them anyway u want...it's about perfection, color combos, structure, aesthetic. Sigh maybe that's why I made a really bad merchandiser, pls look at my xmas tree and u'll know.

Slurp!!! all gone!!!! our fat juicy sweet almost raw langoustine.

Next a trolley was pushed to serve the next course...
too many things and we love surprises so surprise me please!!!! I am sure it's not ice cream yet right???

ohhhh a piece of squid. Is that simple???
I don't think so....

after much "gastro-science" actions were goin on that lil trolley...I know it won't be just a piece of squid. This theatrical presentation showcased the fisherman grilling his catch of the day...

soon I could see the ashes on top of the squid...the smell was so good, enuff to roll and rumble my stomach all over again.

the fat juicy grilled squid paired so well with this ashes made from hydrogenized olive and lemon. There was some tinge of paprika as well. The taste was really good with a good bite of the squid, prepared with such an amazing texture. One of the best squid I've eaten in Japan so far.

Hence the name of this fish is "Ash" - scene of the seashore.

The wine list here isn't that big but we managed to find some good drinks here :))) The minerality of this wine paired extremely well with all the fresh seafood and creation from the chef.

The kitchen isn't big but the team worked so well together. Sharing space but most importantly sharing the same culinary passion.

Blowfish, Hagi. Served with a small piece of yuzu.
this poisonous fugu fish has got a good flaky texture but isn't on top of my list bcoz the other dishes were so good!!!!

I'm still alive after consuming fugu fish :P
and still as round and FAT

Tilefish with maitake mushrooms and soft shelled turtle essence
I knew there's soft shell crab but turtle???

When the package was opened, the nose surprised us...
the fragrant from the maitake mushrooms. This is almost like a health food bcoz we all know turtles are really beneficial and so are maitake mushrooms, widely used in Japanese and Chinese herbology.

Next was Oyster, Dessert Island
Looking like some witchcraft, I couldn't stop my itchy hands from touching them.

oh wow....a neat looking piece of oyster sitting on its shell

upon further inspection, we noticed the oyster has been prepared and cut into bite sizes. The onions were crunchy and juicy with more micro herbs....such a delight to enjoy oyster this way :))

This pic didn't do justice to this Main Course - Sumi Hida Beef
when it was served, the beef was still grilling on its own piece of charcoal.

look at the marbling...
the doneness of such delicate pinkish color

this was the highlight for me the entire evening
served with more caramelised onions and green japanese chili

this dish confirmed we are not sharing...bahahahahaha

palate cleaner of a Sake Granita served in bamboo

Dessert(s) were crazy.....another highlight for me though I'm not a sweets person. the above was a presentation of Sakekasu, kuzumochi and strawberry. such good combo to end the evening

but wait...there's more dessert...and the above was Chestnut ice creams
and while I was consuming the above...my eyes darted to the huge cart being wheeled towards our direction...


After bringing us through the names and components of each and every petit four....both JS and Monkey were speechless....

Waiter: "So madame, which one would u like?"
"I'm too full right now, but if you would just allow me to wheel this entire cart back to my hotel....."
heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :D

it was an extremely tough decision to choose...coz I wanted to try all but my tummy was so extremely full...so after much pondering, discussion, staring at my tummy action, I've finally chosen these 4.

Haiiiii, life is alwiz about opportunity cost right?

enjoying desserts here at Les Creations de Narisawa is like Inception. One after another. When you thought this is it...u entered into another dream another desserts....
I wished I was still dreaming then so I can swallow the entire cart into my tummy bcoz only things like this can happen while u are dreaming right?

the macarons here have got gradings....hahahahah..this proved to be difficult too.

While busy stuffing my face with all those mini desserts, Monkey already chose the one and only piece of Macaron she wanted - the chocolate rose macaron. See there's evidence...even JS snapped a pic of this finger pointing action.

Monkey: "I want only this...I chup first ok. U can eat the rest."
Somehow I don't know if JS was trying to be farnie or he's testing my love and patience...among the entire row of macarons he could choose..he took the chocolate rose and pop it into his mouth to my horror.

Monkey: "WEIIIII!!!! I said I wanted that one!!!!"
stomped feet, kicked his leg, lips pouting, angry face. I'm not paying for dinner.

JS: "Okie lor...soli lor....I'll ask for another one."
It had been an amazing dining experience here at Narisawa. Will definitely return soon...SOON..SOON!!!!! Highly recommended but reservations in advance is required.

Les Creations de Narisawa

2-6-15, Minami Aoyama,
Minato-ku, Tokyo,
Tel: +81 3 5785 0799