Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dinner At TA Resort & Spa

TA Resort & Spa (TARS) used to be known as Tanjung Aru Beach Hotel, back in the days when it first opened and Hub and I had our wedding reception. Of all the hotels in KK, western tourists love this hotel the best. It is more cosy and natural (less concrete with a beach of its own and the Tanjung Aru beach nearby) than its closest contender, the Sutera hotels of Magellan and Pan Pacific. I do feel the difference everytime I step out onto their beachside walkway. I am told repeatedly that TARS' service and hospitality are incomparable.

Last Saturday was my umpteenth birthday and I decided to check out Peppino at TARS since its re-vamp. When you get to my age, there's no longer a need for candlelight dinners and playing footsie under the table. I decided that from now on I will always bring my mom along when I celebrate my birthday because she went through hell giving birth to me at home.

Ma & moi.


(Btw, my bro Clive and his wife Lena welcomed their first child, a son, at 9.08 pm last night--10/11/08--in Singapore, after 8 years of marriage. Thank you God! Bring out the ice wine!)

TARS has a sister hotel in Pantai Dalit, where the Coast Restaurant I blogged about last month is. After the disappointing dinner at Coast, I needed to check out Peppino to see if there's a general decline in TARS' food quality. I am happy to report a "No". However, be prepared to wait at least 40 minutes for your food (not including the 10 minutes for your table). Still, the friendly and knowledgeable waiter made it more bearable. The funny thing was he was very attentive and very courteous until the end when he asked if the food was okay and I told him what I thought of the steak. He muttered that he'll tell the chef and scurried away, never to return. I wonder if the chef shot the messenger.

Assortment of (free) freshly baked bread.

You have to request for the pesto sauce. Thumbs up for all these: the pesto was fresh and full of herbal scent, the butter was extremely smooth and the bread tasted fresh from the oven. We were the typical free-loading Asians, filling ourselves up with 4 rounds of the bread.

Wey's osso bucco with saffron risotto.

I thought the portion was pitiful, since for RM89++/US$25++ I could cook a pot of this, but Wey loved it, especially when he found at the end that there were loads of buttery marrow inside the bone:

All gone.

"Mom, which part of the lamb is this? Can you buy some soon?"

Sauteed cod (forgot the fancy description on the menu), RM85++/US$24++

Mom enjoyed it although Wey said he prefers cod cooked in Chinese restaurants--more tender and flavorful.

Veal chop with an herb crust, RM78++/US$22, and a ramekin of baked mozzarella.

I thoroughly enjoyed my thick (albeit it being not so flavorful, since it was veal) chop although I wished it was slightly less done. I had asked for medium rare, not medium. The fresh sun-dried tomatoes were sweet and tangy, very refreshing.


Mushroom and duck ragout risotto, RM48++/US$14++

Yi said her choice was clearly the best among all our orders, and I have to agree although I thought the risotto could be better with more olive oil and cream/cheese. The duck ragout was surprisingly pleasant without a strong ducky flavor.

Australian rib eye steak, RM128++/US$45++.

The asparagus & leeks and tiny potatoes on the side were separate orders of RM12/US$3.40 each that Hub had to order because his RM128 steak came naked with just a sprig of rosemary, parsley and thyme! Even if the potatoes and asparagus came with the steak, I' d still stay away from this order. Look at that. Have you seen rib eye that color, like it was ham? And to me, any good satisfying steak must be at least 2.5 cm thick, juicy and tender with lots of flavor and grilled or charred with burnt bits of caramelised meat and juices. But this rib eye was less than 2cm thick, dry and flavorless. It wasn't tough or exactly tender, just chewable. It wasn't worth eating even if it only costs RM20! Aiyayaya.

Yi and Wey knew I wouldn't eat any bakery cakes and so they surprised me with something they had driven around town to find: wild jungle durians. Quite a unique birthday 'cake', don't you think so?



Anonymous said...

Dear Terri,

I hope its not too late to wish you a very happy birthday! :) I enjoy reading your blog very much and stop by nearly every day.

Best wishes,

Rei said...

Hi Terri, Happy Birthday! You shared the same birthday as my sis, that makes our birthday 10 days apart. Haha! Coincidentally, I didn't have a cake for my birthday. Guess what, I had durians instead too! :D

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday Terri! Nevermind the candles, just dig in! ;)

ganache-ganache said...

Hey, I was there for dinner last Tue, invited by a friend & I had the Wagyu Striploin & oh yes, the steak arrived so naked, I had to order asparagus as I think it's more worth it than potatoes at the same price of RM12/portion !! I seldom order cakes when I'm out in KK, my friend ordered the dessert platter & it sucks, I remember in May we went there for hubby's birthday celebration, they gave hubby a little cake, no one touched the cake !
However, the most enjoyable part was the Louis Bernard French wine that my friend treated us to that night !

Heather said...

happy birthday aunty terri!!!!

you still look 23. dunno how you do it!

hugs and love,

LilyAnette said...

Stay Young & Cook Happy! Best wishes.

Nessie @ bakingequalslove said...

Happy belated birthday for sat! The meal looks fabulous and I hope you got spoilt rotten that day!! We are birthday buddies...mine was on Sunday :) I promise promise to send you pics of the durian snowballs next time I yum cha...hopefully very soon! :)

Anonymous said...

wishing you many more moments of joy, love and happiness and many more years of celebrating!!
i enjoy reading your blog daily!
And my oldest daughter is also an architect!!
sidenote: isn't the new member to the family's date 11/11/08..not 10/11/08?

ekeng said...

Happy Birthday Terri.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

jasmine: hi, thanx, n do keep in touch.

rei: thanx.just show tt serious durian lovers eat durians instead of cakes on their bdays :))

johnathan: :) at my age, it's too troublesome to have all the candles so number candles r much more convenient. thanx:)

ganache: but how was the wagyu??was it worth the RM190++? btw, is ur husband an architect? i was telling a friend to order her architect FIL's bday cake frm u n she thinks she knows who u are married to.

daisyfused: now now tt would make me even younger than u?? really 'tai kua jang le'! wey doesn't know how old i am n when yi asked he said 38 or 39?? yi said tt just shows why he flunked maths.

hey, wish i'm going to shanghai with ur mom. but smone has to re-sit exams, so i need to stay back.u continue to work in shaghai so i can come visit ok.i love the food, hate the ppl (so rude n brusque) n d shopping's quite good on miao ming lu, shanxi lu etc.

lily: ok, i'll do both but it's getting harder to do ur 1st advice. :)

nessie: happy birthday to u! :( no i didn't get spoilt. i was hankering for a cartier tank n smbody gave me flowers instead. bummer.

carol: thanx for those good wishes :) where do u live? shd we get together with our daughters one day soon? clive & lena were hoping baby (at this moment they r thinking of the name 'cyril' but i'm like why would anyone name their kid after a box of breakfast bran??) would come on 11/11 but he popped out b4 tt.

continue visiting n keep me company with ur comments!

ekeng: hey thanx. i saw oliver last sat :)

muffinman: have u popped yet??boy or girl??

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Terri. The dinner was pricey, especially the naked steak.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

wat a "cake"...hahahah..wild durians, look very very different, is it more pungent?

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Ah Wan Chan

Anonymous said...

Nion2 looks good! and Wey has grown!!!

Anonymous said...

"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to Terri, happy birthday to her!"

Daily Reader

Precious Pea said...

Terri!!! Happy Belated Birthday!!! I didn't know otherwise I would have called to wish you. Your birthday durian 'cake' very special, your kids are sooo sweet. :)

wmw said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

TeaLady said...

Happy Birthday, Terri! Not a day over 29, right???? Glad you enjoyed your day. LOVE the b'day cake.

ganache-ganache said...

It shld be better than your hub's ribeye, at least it was well charred !! Oh no my husband is nt an architect, he's in his family business, what's yr fren's name maybe I know her since she knows my hubby ?

Shan said...

Dearest Terri,
Happy happy happy birthday! Many happy returns and here's to more excellent foodie posts by the best foodie in KK!

Denise ^ ChickyEGG said...

hA! Happy Burp-day !
hey, ur lumix really good! I took some pic in front of the giant pink lilies too! but all came out weird! with some illusion effect! i hate ! anyways, At least hotels under Shangri'la group are well-maintained.......

terri@adailyobsession said...

linda: it sure was a rip off :(

joe: wild durians r better than hybrid durians! their flavor is more complex-some taste of peanut butter, some of toasted durians etc. only thing is they are thin-fleshed. hard to come by. plus expensive. search for duirians under my categories "What's that?" to see a red durian, very unusual.

daedae: hi, how have u been? how r the houses, hope the subprime thing didn't hit ur corner. how r the girls, n bob? send me some pics!

daily reader: thanx, nice singing.

pp: thanx, the kids r sweet, they are :)

ganache: her name's catherine. i think she got the wrong person.

shan: wow, thanx!! so time u vote for hungerhunger shan.won't hurt..

denise: problem with new cam is tt u need a lot of tinkering. i'm sure in time u'll take excellent pics; yi said ur pics have already improved heaps.

Anonymous said...

I have pix of the family on my facebook. ask Yi to show you - she ma frenz ; }
she's looking gooood. maann! nice to have her home ya?

Anonymous said...

Hi Terri,

happy Birthday!!! What a coincidence, I celebrated my birthday last Saturday, too, although my b. was in October.
How come you look so gorgeous! And slim!!! You cook so delicious food, sometimes very oily, but you stay so slender.
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Lily from Germany

triShie said...

sorry, i know this is late....
and wat a feast you had!!
love the touch of the durian "cake"...

Agnes @ rB said...

oh!!! Happy Belated Birthday!!! Its been a while since I read your blog

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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