Ten28ight Boutique Cafe

This is a place I've been to on a number of occasions for really good Nonya food that tastes as home cooked as it comes in KL. If it weren't for Groupon I wouldn't have discovered it a couple of years ago, and I've yet to have a bad experience where the food is concerned. The only problem I have had is that everytime I go there, they don't seem to have sambal pork. This is beyond disappointing as sambal and pork are my two favourite things! Put them together and there's magic happening!

This cafe is tucked away in a relatively discreet location (even though it is very clearly visible from the highway, with it's lovely red shade), along the same row as True Fitness in Desa Sri Hartamas. You have undoubtedly seen it while driving past, but never really gave it a second glance because it really is impossible to guess that the treasures to be found within are well worth the adventure of locating parking in the area.

I should have, but didn't, take pictures of the interior and exterior (noted for future purposes), but the interior is very charmingly done up. It has a very quaint feel to it as it has outdoor furniture and faux grass to make it feel like you're dining on a lawn. The environment really is very inviting and relaxing.

I went with one other person, so we didn't order too extensive a variety...just 3 dishes and a slice of cake for dessert. The dishes here definitely run smaller than the average restaurant, but that's because they don't skimp on quality ingredients through the aid of MSG or other preservatives. Most of their sauces are made in house to ensure freshness and quality, and this is the reason why I never get sambal pork!

Without further ado:


[Ten28ight - Buttermilk Pork]

This has to be my favourite dish of the night. It's usually made with fish or chicken in most places in KL, but this is exceptionally good even with a comparison of just the sauces. It's more or less a blend of buttermilk, chilli, curry leaves and a few other spices and it is a must have if you are paying this place a visit. So, so awesome! 


[Ten28ight - Stir Fried Kailan with Garlic]

The vegetables were extremely fresh, and the gravy perfectly seasoned with that wonderful toasted garlic flavour that makes the world a better place. This isn't an exceptional dish, but it's as well executed as vegetables get.


[Ten28ight - Soya Sauce Pork]

This was supposed to be "taw yew bak" (Which is one of their specialities, and I've had it before and wanted more!), but they were out of something or other for it, so they made a pork trotter dish with lean pork meat instead for us. It's definitely satisfying comfort food, but pales in comparison to the buttermilk pork. Still, definitely worth an order if the taw yew bak isn't available. The meat was tender and fell clean off the bone. It had soaked up enough flavour to coat the cuts in the lovely dark sauce while still leaving the flesh clean and fresh tasting. Lovely!

And then of course, my favourite Vanilla Mille Crepe in KL:


[Ten28ight - Vanilla Mille Crepe]

Better than Food Foundry? Infinitely! Why? Not just because the layer of icing sugar over the top is omitted, but because the cream tastes less manufactured and much more...creamy...for lack of a better word. So delicious! It's not as dense as most badly manufactured mille crepes (Ochado comes to mind), with its light and airy texture that makes polishing it off a breeze. 

Now, all these years I thought that the orange thing on top was merely an inedible garnish. Apparently I have been sorely mistaken! It's a boysenberry, i.e. edible! How do I know this? The owner was around today and  expressed her horror that most people think it isn't edible and leave it out, a fact of which am guilty. So, I ate it and it was interesting. I've never tried a boysenberry prior to this. It has a slightly bitter, tangy taste to it that is definitely an interesting contrast to cut through the cake. It's worth trying if for no other reason than to experiment. She was also nice enough to bring us an extra berry for my dining companion:


[Ten28ight - Boysenberry enveloped in its leaves]


[Ten28ight - Boysenberry unveiled!]

Did you notice her nails? I did! Love the colour!

Ahem.

So, it was a lovely evening. The food was so worth the issue with parking and there is no doubt that I'll do more reviews on the place. I've always loved the food, and the quality hasn't slipped over the years. Happiness. Our meal including 2 plates of rice and 2 glasses of water cost us just over RM50. At present, they still accept the RedCard which provides customers with 30% on kitchen items (i.e. excluding desserts, drinks, etc.). The damage at the end of it all was just over RM40. I'd say it's definitely worth it! 

Ten28ight Boutique Cafe
10, Ground Floor Crystal Villa 2, Desa Sri Hartamas 22B/70A
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat - 12nn-8pm
[Ten28ight is along the same row as True Fitness, Hartamas]
Kitchen Experiments: Marinara and Hummus Pizza Toasts


[Marinara/Hummus Pizza Toasts]

[Excuse the horrifying pictures. This was not a planned segment, but I got excited while making these and decided that maybe it would be a fun addition to the blog.]

As most awesome things are rooted in serendipity, so was this! This was purely a product of greed and leftovers, and it inspired greed and scarcely any leftovers. Win!

Backstory time: 
On the 16th of May (I only remember the date because it was my brother's birthday), I made pizza from scratch, and therefore made a marinara sauce to top it. Naturally, there was a bit of the sauce leftover, and this is a terribly unfocused shot thereof:


[Marinara Sauce]

Then, last night I felt like eating black bean hummus, so I made some (Also a terribly unfocused shot):


[Black Bean Hummus]

You may be wondering why black bean hummus in place of the regular stuff, and you would be wrong to wonder such a thing. This is so much more awesome than chickpea hummus! I saw it on the Food Network, "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" if I'm not wrong, where it was featured as part of a Gouda grilled cheese sandwich, and I trawled the internet for the recipe which was well worth it. I'll do a post on making the hummus another time, even though all you need to do is dump the ingredients into a food processor and blitz it into submission. But it's fun to take photos, so don't argue.

Anyway, yes. Black bean hummus is the way to go. It is the hummus of the future! It is the hummus to rule them all!

The other reason this came into fruition is because 6 store-bought English muffins were lying there, ready to expire tomorrow. Therefore, it had to be done you see. 

So I sliced the muffins in half (There were 3 regular muffins and 3 wholemeal muffins; the wholemeal muffins were purely the result of a misunderstanding) and lathered the marinara sauce and hummus over them in no particular order (Separate muffins, mind you! I cannot vouch for how this would taste should the sauces be added together):


[English Muffins with Marinara Sauce/Black Bean Hummus]

Then, you just follow your natural instincts: Smother them in cheese:


[Mixture of Mozzarella and Emmenthal Cheeses]


[Pizza Toasts Ready for the Oven]

The oven was preheated to 180C and they were baked for 15 minutes on the top shelf to get these:


[Pizza Toasts Straight from the Oven]

Pictures don't do these justice. Trust me! They're well worth the effort, or lack thereof, required to make them. Plus, they're actually reasonably healthy. They would average about 250kcal per slice I would think. Based on the calculations of half an English muffin (66kcal), a palm full of cheese (roughly 120kcal - probably less), 1 tbs of homemade sauce (roughly 50-80kcal, depending on the sauce) it equates to around 250kcal. Not bad at all for something this yum. 

Make it at home, even if you're going to use the store bought stuff! Also, I have made regular chickpea hummus pizza before and it turned out pretty well, so there is no reason you can't replace the black bean hummus with it if you aren't feeling adventurous. 

In summary:-

Ingredients:
English Muffin (White/Wholemeal)
Black Bean Hummus/Chickpea Hummus
Marinara Sauce
Cheese (Of your preference)

Directions:
Assemble
Bake at 180C for 15 minutes on top shelf
The Face Shop's Nail Polish (Part 1)


A few weeks ago, back when my current phase of nail polish acquisition kicked in, after leaving Sephora depressed at not having purchased any Ciate paint pots despite lusting after them to the extent of painting my right hand with five shades of pink, I walked past The Face Shop where they were having a 1-for-1 sale on polish! My issue is that when I exercise self-control in one store, I tend to run amok in the next. By running amok, I mean that I left with this:


[The Face Shop's Polishes]

In my defence, the prices made these purchases perfectly rational. At RM5.90 for 2 bottles (except that on the extreme right), I'm actually surprised I didn't get more. It's possible that I quite regret it. But just look at the colours! I love them! But, as the title suggests, I won't be reviewing them all today. There must be tales for other times. 

Now, because The Face Shop doesn't specialise in nail polish, as their name suggests (at least I assume that is not their primary target market), they don't give their polishes names. They are merely referred to by a product code beginning with an abbreviation for the colour scale. 



[The Face Shop's PK102, PK101 (We can safely assume that "PK" stands for "pink")]

Once again, let's not discuss my artistic acumen. Let us instead focus on the colours themselves.


[The Face Shop's PK101 - 2 Coats]

This colour is absolutely gorgeous! It has to be the pink in my possession that I adore the most! It is definitely more of a berry pink with purplish/bluish undertones to it and I think it complements my skin tone rather well. As for the formula, at RM2.95, I wouldn't really complain if it was streaky or flawed, but it wasn't! The consistency and texture of it is excellent and it went on smoothly enough for me to safely state that any imperfections in the manicure are solely due to my lack of coordination. I really am quite in love with this shade.


[The Face Shop's PK102 - 2 Coats]

This is more of a cotton candy/bubblegum pink and while it is a very pretty colour, I don't think it suits my skin tone/personality at all. The consistency of this polish, unlike PK101, leaves much to be desired. The streaking and lack of opacity are clearer in this picture:


[The Face Shop's PK102 - 2 Coats]

I do not like this shade as much as I thought I would. It's entirely possible that this is due to the fact that PK101 looks so much better on me. Perhaps I would like this more in a series of brights on my fingernails. I shall test this theory out. As for whether one should purchase this, why not? It's an extremely inexpensive option for anyone who is looking for this shade. I'd say go for it! Do it! Do it!


In some strange way, these two complement each other, no? Perhaps using PK101 on a French tip over PK102 might work in a nicer way?

All these polishes were purchased at The Face Shop in Paradigm Mall in April 2013.

Afternoon Tea at Nosh, Bangsar


[Afternoon Tea for Two at Nosh]

Nosh has been on my to do list since it opened late last year, but I just hadn't gotten round to it. Then, they introduced afternoon tea on weekends, and I had problems resisting, but I still didn't get round to it. Then, I won a RM100 voucher for doing a survey:


So I finally went (what better incentive is there?).

Let me digress for a moment. I have a rather extreme penchant for afternoon tea, and it seems like an insatiable desire. I have tried so many different offerings in KL, and have been disappointed on numerous occasions. The worst, by far, has to be the disappointment that Starhill Tea Gallery brought for numerous reasons. Firstly, I have a specific tea buddy, and for some reason both of us got the timings for their tea wrong on at least three occasions (I have learned the hard way that it is from 3-5 pm). Secondly, their accompaniments to their tea (which is stellar) were rather lacklustre, and I simply cannot get over the fact that they sweeten their clotted cream. Seriously, who does that? When you are already serving scones with clotted cream and jam, what would possess you to add sugar to your clotted cream? The chef must be depraved indeed. I will NEVER go back there for afternoon tea. I won't even dignify their tea set with a post of its own.

Now, back to the actual post.

Since Nosh only serves afternoon tea on weekends, there wasn't even a question as to when I would pop up there, and they were unbelievably nice when I claimed the voucher by letting me work around the reservation-for-use rule. It was appreciated.

I was joined by two friends, and they barely managed to take their seats before I informed them that we were having afternoon tea, and whatever they wanted was secondary. It's a good thing that their weekend menu is limited to brunch items till 3 pm and tea from 3-6 pm, with the option of side orders. I fully approve of this as it allowed me to get my way! Muahahaha

As it was already past 3 and I hadn't had any coffee, I went against my own less-than-sturdy principles and ordered a latte instead of tea for tea time:


[Latte]

Nosh uses Illy coffee, so the standard for a decent cup is definitely present. The milk was perfectly steamed, and the latte art pretty. I can't complain about the coffee...It was as Illy should be. The cookie provided with it (instead of the traditional biscotti) was quite lovely and buttery. It's definitely a cookie I would be happy to buy a tin of.

As for the tea set itself, it serves two and thus comes with a choice of coffee or a pot of tea for each person. They don't serve teas outside the usual range of English Breakfast, etc. so one of them order a pot of that and the other a pot of lemongrass tisane. The teapots are so pretty:


[Lemongrass Tisane]

As for the edible portion of the tea set, I was pleasantly surprised. It runs at RM52 which is definitely one of the more reasonable options around KL and definitely not because they're skimping on quality. Let's look at it one tier at a time:


[The Savouries]

The savoury tier (traditionally right at the bottom, so that you work your way up to the richest of the lot), contained two chicken salad sandwiches on wholemeal bread, with greens (rocket if I recall right), crusts cut off, and two slices of thinly sliced baguette with a thick slice of tomato and melted cheese with herbs. Both were extremely well balanced and quite delicious.


[Scones and Cream Puff]

Here is the only major issue I have with this set: The scones; but it's my problem and not theirs. Scones are one of my favourite things on this planet, but just scones...not fruit scones. Raisins/currants in food really traumatise me unspeakably. And both the scones had raisins/currants in them. I really wish they had an option for plain scones. However, one of the girls with me quite likes raisin scones and she happily polished them off saying the scones were really good and that they currants were barely noticeable. She is trustworthy and I shall take her word for it. I did try the jam and clotted cream and both were suitably lovely. The cream was not sweetened thankfully, and the jam was lightly clumpy, which is the right way! Yum! 

I do need to rave about their cream puffs! SO YUM! The choux pastry was the absolute perfect consistency with a very mild bite to it, while the cream filling was delectably smooth and delicious. I had to restrain myself from eating them both.


[Cakes]

The top layer was so pretty...a sight which translated very well to flavour! While working through the lower tiers, I was eyeing the strawberry shortcake! When I finally got to it, the anticipation paid off. It was truly delicious! The strawberries were very fresh and had that tinge of tartness mingled with their sweetness, the cream was perfectly light and had just the right level of sweetness and the cake was moist and airy. Omg! I actually scanned their menu to check if they sold this as an a la carte item, but it appears that they don't sell anything in the afternoon tea set separately. 

Now, for the chocolate cake. It was nice enough, but not particularly memorable. It, too, wasn't too sweet with a nice creamy ganache and moist layers of cake. It's a good cake, just not the best chocolate cake out there.

Besides fulfilling my afternoon tea fantasies, one of the girls with me ordered something from the brunch menu:


[Eggs]

I was far too excited about the tea set to check what it was called. They looked lovely and smelled so as well. She isn't a fan of things which are too creamy and according to her they were slightly too creamy, but she thought they were good. If you like the eggs they make at hotels, they should be right up your alley. I do love cream. In all its various forms.

Would I return to Nosh? Absolutely! Their dessert menu looks divine and it's something I definitely have to go back to indulge in. So there will assuredly be another post!

Nosh
Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru 
Tel: 03 22013548
Opening Hours: Tue-Thu - 11am-11pm; Fri - 11am-12mn; Sat - 10am-12mn; Sun - 10am-11pm
[Nosh is along the same row as Alexis and right opposite Alliance Bank]

Gryphon Tea


[Gryphon Tea Company - White Gingerlily; Earl Grey Lavender]

Anyone who knows me understands that I have an undying love affair with tea and coffee...a fact which will undoubtedly unfold over the course of this blog. For today, though, let's indulge my love for tea. Mmmm...tea....

So, towards the end of March this year, my father went to visit my aunt in hospital in Singapore, and because he is the best father ever, he stole all her tea and extorted more from the nurses for me. Who could ask for a better father?

He returned with two sachets each of British Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey Lavender and Chamomile. Those sachets are long gone, but I was suitably impressed. I had never tried Gryphon tea prior to this even though I have seen it in a few cafes around KL. 

I am, to a large extent, a creature of habit, but there is this other part of me that really does love trying new things...especially when they are convenient. Now, I'm quite sure that when you saw the picture above, you thought about how pretty the boxes were. If you didn't, go get your eyes checked. You may also need a psychiatrist. Preferably a psychologically-trained optician who can treat you while he checks your glasses out. But, I digress. Not only is the exterior deliciously pretty, the interior packaging is unbelievably beautiful as well. Beautiful and convenient! 

What they have done (there will be pictures later!) is to place silken sachets of loose leaf tea into individual, airtight plastics for freshness. Which also doubles as easy carriage! Which makes me happy! Now, back to my point: I needed tea on the go, and I took the British Breakfast and Earl Grey Lavender with me because the rest of my tea is not travel-friendly.

And I fell in lust! Especially so with the Earl Grey Lavender! Omg! 


 [Gryphon - Earl Grey Lavender (20 Sachets)]


[Gryphon - Earl Grey Lavender (Single Sachet - Front)]


[Gryphon - Earl Grey Lavender (Single Sachet - Back)]

Yes! All 20 of the sachets are wrapped as such! Isn't it awesome that they even tell you the temperature to brew it at and what it pairs well with?! You get tea AND an education! It's almost like eating a Kinder Egg!

What you should notice when you pick one of these sachets up is the distinct lack of a smell. This is a fantastic thing because air, temperature, humidity, etc. tend to have an effect on tea, so the lack of smell indicates truly airtight packaging. What you will also notice, is that when you tear this packaging open, the distinct smell of lavender will float out and caress your senses, instantly throwing a veil of calm over you. It has to be one of the best feelings in the world. That is, until you taste it! OMG!

Meet my tea mug:


[Gryphon - Earl Grey Lavender]

Now this is a really big mug. I think it's meant for soup. For a size comparison, here it is next to a full-sized teapot:


What you should conclude from this is that one of these silken sachets is capable of brewing an entire pot of tea...or one mug, if you're me. Why do I brew it this way? I feel like it opens up the flavour of floral teas when brewed in this manner, as opposed to closed up in a teapot. I am well aware that people in Sri Lanka might shank me for this, but too bad. I will beat them with my big, orange mug!

Anyway, I really do wish I could have you just smell the scent of this as it brews. It's like sniffing peace. And when you sip it...*sigh*...absolutely divine. I have yet to encounter a better blend of Earl Grey Lavender. I somehow feel this is going to be a fruitless search. 


[Gryphon - Earl Grey Lavender with Milk]

This has to be my favourite sight in the world. It makes me happy just looking at it.

Now, before you think Gryphon has paid me to spread the word, let's talk about their White Gingerlily. 


[Gryphon - White Gingerlily (20 Sachets)]


[Gryphon - White Gingerlily (Single Sachet - Front)]


[Gryphon - White Gingerlily (Single Sacher - Back)]

Fail. So much fail. I don't even know where to start.

Sadly, this tea came very highly recommended by a barista I know, and I am disappointed. It's a good thing she makes coffee (and very good coffee, I might add). It also saddens me that this is one of those don't-judge-a-book-by-its-cover situations. The packaging is SO pretty that I really wanted, and really tried to like this tea. I don't, and it is unlikely that I ever will.

What exactly is wrong with it? It's white tea. You are not supposed to flavour white tea with all the overpowering flavours they have added to it. It's an abomination. That is, unless you are using sub-par white tea in the first place, which might very well be the case judging from the colour of the brew:


[Gryphon - White Gingerlily]

White tea is just that...It is meant to be a clear, very pale brew. This is not. I don't even think the colour has anything to do with the other additions. It's just a bad brew with too many flavours competing for attention. I really don't like this tea. Instead of being calming, it actually stresses me out whenever I drink it because my tastebuds get truly upset by the concoction.

What about the other two varieties I mentioned - British Breakfast Tea and Chamomile? They definitely get a pass. I wouldn't buy entire boxes of either though, but if you are a fan of either, you definitely should try them. Why wouldn't I buy them? Chamomile is not a tea...it is a lie. I simply do not like it. As for the Breakfast tea, Gryphon's blend has spices in it, which makes it somewhat of a chai, which is an affront to my Indian senses. My family might disown me if I buy chai-esque items instead of making proper Indian tea myself. That said, if I were to buy a spiced tea, this would definitely be it! 

All in all, try the Earl Grey Lavender even if you have to kill someone to get it. It is absolutely worth the jail time. 

Gryphon is a Singaporean company, and so I got the teas from there instead of in KL for purely financially prudent reasons. However, they are available in Ben's Independent Grocer in Publika and they range from RM35-RM42, depending on the variety. 

"Front Cover" Coral Make-Up Kit


[Front Cover - Colours of the Season (RM79)]

So, prior to coming across this on the shelves, I hadn't heard of Front Cover. However, I do spend enough time in Sephora to come across things I really shouldn't, and I definitely shouldn't have popped this open because, really, buying it was inevitable:


[I think it's quite clear that I had already been playing with it prior to taking these photographs!]

Just look at those colours! LOOK!!!! How could I resist?! It has shadows, lippy, nail polish, liner and brushes!

I bought this without testing anything you see above out, because I have a terrible lack of self-control, and I was fully expecting it to be a rather shoddy pack of goodies. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. Except for the terrible brushes, everything is actually quite wonderful!

Let's take a look at the shadows first:


[Front Cover - Sandbank, Coral Reef, Lilac Lagoon]


[Front Cover - Sandbank]

This is a frosty, very light gold shade that works very well as a neutral shade on the lid, to brighten up the inner corners or as a brow highlight. Very subtly pretty.


[Front Cover - Coral Reef]

As this is part of the coral theme, it's a soft neutral bronze-y coral shade.


[Front Cover - Lilac Lagoon]

Clearly, these names are beach-inspired, and even though I'm not a fan of the beach, these colours make the thought of the beach much more pleasant for me. This really is a very pretty lilac in all it's shimmery goodness.

So, I did try them on all together and they went on very smoothly (no thanks to the horrible brushes provided), and they built up colour well. They would definitely work for daily use, should that be your purpose, or the colour can be built upon with darker liner for more enjoyable purposes. 

Now, my skin runs to the combination/oily sector of skin issues so I did have some trouble with their durability. I didn't use a base for these to test this very aspect, and needless to say, I was not pleased. Yes, they are baked shadows, and yes, they need something to hold them in place through the day. It took a grand total of under 3 hours for them to crease and fade into nothingness, which is very sad because when they went on they looked lovely and pigmented. Well, you can't have everything...but you CAN have a good eyeshadow base which will make life less depressing after you have spent that ENTIRE 10 minutes getting your eyeshadow on!

And what about the eye liner?


[Front Cover - Eyeliner in Black (Bottom is the liner smudged using the tip)]

I LOVE! Seriously! It is all smooth and lovely with a sponge tip on the other end which is quite good for smudging the liner (as seen above)! I have no complaints about this, because it truly did last, and thus made me very happy. It may very well be my replacement for the Lancome liner I'm currently using. But we shall see!

And now, on to the very pretty lipsticks!


[Front Cover - Coral Peach; Coral Sand; Coral Cay]

As much as I do love brightly coloured lipstick, I was a little concerned about these being TOO bright due to my skin tone. The fun colours just don't work without making me look mildly prostitute-y. By fun colours, I mean stuff like MAC's "Ravishing", which is touted as one of the loveliest brights around. It absolutely is, just not for me. So when I tried Coral Cay on and found it to be a reasonably sheer shade which could be built up, I was ecstatic!


[Front Cover - Coral Peach]


[Front Cover - Coral Sand]


[Front Cover - Coral Cay]

What's an absolutely boon about these lipsticks is that they aren't drying. They're quite soft and pretty without trying to steal the moisture from your lips. I really am quite in love with them, especially since the rather nude Coral Peach has enough peach undertones to be complementary to my skin tone without making me look and feel like a Chola!

Unfortunately, this is not the case for the blush:


There is actually nothing wrong with the blush per se, it just doesn't work for me because it disappears on my skin:


See! Sad! 

It would, however, be very pretty on someone who is even a shade or two fairer than I am...unless you use the brush they've provided. Just don't.

Finally, we get to one of the most exciting things about this set - The nail polish:


There is no name on the base of the bottle, so I'm just going to call this "The Coral Shade" because it is and I love it! When I initially tried it, it was over a Rimmel base coat, and I thought the consistency was off because it was rather streaky, but this is not true. Rimmel just makes manicure-ruining base coats. So, when I tried it sans a base coat, the texture was decent enough and I had no real issues with it. The colour was true to its bottled colour, and that made me a little too excited over it. I might have problems.


[Front Cover - The Coral Shade - 2 Coats]

The matching shirt was just a coincidence. No, I am not colour blind...I do know it is not the exact shade, but on the same spectrum. Don't nitpick.

I really do love the colours of the season! 

What's also really great about this kit is that it comes with a very extensive make-up brochure on how to utilise everything to its fullest:


All in all, it really is quite good value for money and I have no regrets.