Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ossoto Spa - A place to chill out, hang out with friends

Finally, I made it here despite the many vain attempts to make it here together. I finally came here with my 8 friends, BFF.

Is it safe to say this is my spa session? My first massage was in Cambodia. Ok, I did experience spa at Aster Springs when I won a free voucher sometime ago but the pimple poking step has caused me some small scars. When my BFF Jocelyn Coco first invited me to Ossoto spa, I misunderstood and thought that like most spas, it must be pretty expensive here, probably at least more than RM 100 per session.

One day, I went to accompany Jocelyn Leong at Pappa Rich Bangsar because she was accompanying another friend who was having a meeting and she showed me a video about Ossoto Spa. As they say, Audio and Visual is all it takes to convince a person and the video succeeded in doing that to me. It costs about RM 68 for ladies but on weekdays, I was told that if we enter after 12 am and go out at 12 pm the next day, there is 20% discount. Then the next problem was agreeing with a date that fits Jocelyn since she would be going back to Penang in December 2013 and I am working so I can only go on weekdays as Jocelyn wanted to enjoy the 20% discount. I was thinking either 26 or 27  or 20 December since I was on leave on those days but Jocelyn would still be in Penang. I thought maybe I can go with a male friend but he told me that it is better we go in a big group which I later discover why. It was because male and female spa  is separated, well obviously since we are not sufficiently dressed. 

Anyway, suddenly on 21 December 2013, Saturday evening, Jocelyn, as usual, spontaneously asked me to join her usual gang and her family to Ossoto spa at night. They would be going there for dinner but I could only join them after my Snow White international musical ends at Sunway Lagoon amphitheatre. To make things worse, there was a very heavy downpour so my worried mother kept on pestering me to cancel the spa plan and persuaded me by saying that she would accompany me another time. I persuaded my parents in vain to follow me to the spa since Jocelyn's parents would be going and they would have companions. 

I reached late, at about 11.45 pm. To my surprise, the place was just located at Wisma Mirama which sounded familiar to me initially. When I reached there, I realized why it is so familiar because it was located opposite IDFR which I had my internship for two months before my graduation! Thankfully, I found a parking right in front of the entrance. 

When the lift opened, the place was very festive with Christmas decorations. Naturally, with the contemporary and classic decor, I did not hesitate to have some shooting sessions with the help of the staff there even before I went in to meet my friends!

I came here bringing a big paper bag of toiletries, change of clothes and lingerie but it seems that all these are provided here even to the extend of disposable bra and panties so that we shy Malaysians do not need to soak in the jacuzzi naked. It is not Malaysian culture to soak nude in the spa like the Chinese or the Japanese or Koreans. Women are given a set of disposable bra and panties and also pink checks shorts and shirt that looks like a pajamas. So we are basically wearing pajamas the whole day! 
The first Changing Room. We were given individual lockers which can only be unlocked using our red heart shaped bracelets and also the staff's bracelets. The Burmese and local staff is on call 24 hours everywhere at our service.  

Jocelyn and I at the main dining hall

I met Jocelyn at the main dining room where there was 24 hours buffet. I was quite famished but the food at supper time was just so-so probably because it was leftovers from dinner. Courtesy of Jocelyn's mum's recommendation, the puddings and also the best winner would be the chrysanthemum with wolfberry and also longan jelly which was super cooling for the hot Malaysian weather. 

We then watched latest movies such as Red 2 movie at the luxurious Gold Class cinema minus the massage chairs. The massage came at a price, not by machine but manually by China women. My friends had foot massage for RM 58 while I saw some having pedicure in the dark with a table light to help the pedicurist. I wish I have more money to spare but I watched my finances because being inside would make one forget the time, day and light, after all, most of us were wearing bath robes. I just tried the cheapest massage which is the hand and shoulder massage for RM 38 for 30 minutes and the masseuse kept begging for tips at the end of it. 

In the cinema, we can recline our seats 180 degrees here so many people actually fall asleep here, us included. Like a Gold Class GSC cinema, we were served any drink we like, cold or hot beverages which ranges from coffee (all types) such as latte, cappucino, espresso, normal coffee, mocha and a range of tea such as peppermint, jasmine, Earl Grey, green tea and etc. I chose the Signature Hot Chocolate since it is quite late at 1 am. The movie was quite boring but I could not fall asleep probably because I was fired up with excitement from seeing all the activity around me that I was yet to try. Later, I had a hot milk which was special because it was not like normal milk in Malaysia which has a terrible taste. I am not a fan of milk. 

Then at 3am, Jocelyn and me went for fish spa in the female area. There is no fish spa for male and wonder why the difference especially since men have to pay more, RM 88 per person. 

At 4 am, Ryan was hungry and I accompanied him to eat a big packet of Nasi Lemak Bungkus and 3 sticks of fried fishballs and sausages. I wonder how guys have high metabolism and never get fat from eating so much the whole day, at every meal. I am green with envy. I only drank a warm cup of water because I was not used to having supper and cannot go to bed if I am too full. In addition, I will feel guilty going to sleep with a heavy stomach as it is unhealthy to do so. 

When I finally woke up at 11.30 am, my normal waking up time on weekends, since lunch was not ready and there is not many tasty food from breakfast, I went to take a nice hot shower under the gigantic rain showerheads in semi-transparent shower rooms. Then since lunch is not ready yet, I had a hot mocha at the cafe outside the cinema. 
The love shaped foam is so beautifully done like those at heftily priced high class coffee shops where a cup of coffee cost at least RM 15. 
LUNCH TIME with BFF and the Gang : 

The tang yuen is not nice. Probably because I do not favour these much so not fair to judge. 
Very cute fried tempura for tea time

After lunch, we had tea at the ladies only saloon. I ordered my favourite Berry Tea which was amazing whereas Jocelyn drank her favourite Jasmine tea. We were chit-chatting about which pedicure I should do. Jocelyn suggested Christmas designs. We also read the latest female lifestyle magazines. 

After that, we went to Sauna but apparently it was not hot enough and thereby not effective enough so Jocelyn wanted to go to the super hot more effective Steam Room. It was my first time experiencing both as I never like hot environment much. There was even ice-cream sticks to be eaten at the tables al-fresco in the female spa. There were some finger snacks like sandwiches and fried snacks. In the Steam room, we met some new friends who were younger or around our age. Then, all of us six new friends went to the jacuzzi. Only 6 people are allowed in the jacuzzi each time but the water was not hot enough and the water pumps not strong enough but the Ossoto girls said we could not adjust them  and that it is automatic. 
Female Spa room. Notice the fish spa behind?

Clear Ramen Soup for tea time. Very soothing to the soul. We customized it by asking for clams, and filament sticks additions which were for the tom yam bihun soup.

Festive cheer at every floor

I love the stairway made warmer with the  Xmas decor
I love the interior design

When I related the experience to my father, he said he wanted to visit this place in future with me. He was drawn by the buffet and tasty coffee and cinema. Every Ossoto visitor definitely makes a comeback! 

Angels and Demons

It sounds odd that I have just begun reading the Da Vincci Code - a novel widely read the world over. I bought my book at The Big Bad Wolf sale. Anyway, coincidentally, AXN is showing the movie, Angels and Demons which is based on the same novel, featuring Robert Langdon as the main character! I just found out after my supper appointment with my friend was canceled due to the sudden rain.

So there goes my plan to write my article about Myanmar, again procrastinated due to a movie! I have been procrastinating for so many days every since Christmas eve and ever since I came back from Myanmar on 20 December 2013!

I wonder why I feel nauseous. Is it because of too much cooking for the day? I thought cooking is supposed to be therapeutic? Now I begin to understand why my mother who like to bake a lot of cookies and cakes and then send it to New Life church for sale and the charity. Mum used to bake cakes for my neighbour's son, Ryan till his mother was too embarassed and told her that their culture is not to receive gifts or food. Mum was a bit upset when she said that but I tried to reassure mum that it is probably because the neighbour was too embarassed to keep on receiving gifts and does not want to cultivate this culture in her son who is only 5 years old.

Anyway, I am a little hungry but kept feeling really full today despite drinking about three cups of Burmese tea and also Cameron Highlands' Strawberry tea.

I love fish soup but I admit I did not cook this. Mum cooked this. 

What's for dinner?

I guess I am in a cooking frenzy today. So I am marinating a chicken drumstick in tea drink, red wine vinegar, Sarawak pepper, soya sauce and lemon. Hopefully, my Tea Grilled Chicken turns out tasty ala Purple Cane? Alright, I am keeping my fingers crossed. Here are some snapshots of the meal :

Preparations : Marinating the chicken with tea

I finally had the Tea Roasted chicken drumstick for supper. The long marination time proved thorough enough to make all the red wine vinegar, lemon, oyster sauce, a mix of sweet, sour and salt combine to result in a an incredible taste in the tender chicken. The small baby tomatoes provided the natural sweetness for the chicken hence a great supper.

I then cooked roasted chicken marinated with lemon, oyster sauce and also black pepper sauce. I then sprinkled slices of mushrooms and also baby tomatoes and chilies. The result is quite alright, but too mild, not much taste, probably because too little sauce was added. I could not put vegetables as garnishing because my friend is carnivorous. So I compensated with two omelettes for him but he was still hungry after the whole meal. 
Grilled Mushroom black pepper and oyster sauce chicken

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Whipping out crazy dishes on lazy Sunday

Yesterday, I took about 2 hours of lunch inclusive of grocery shopping at Giant in Plaza OUG which I have visited for the first time.

The result is what you see today. Since bean sprouts is the cheapest at about RM 0.60 for such a big packet, I figured that I would fry it today. In addition, I always have to pay about RM 7 for bean sprouts at the kopitiam tai chau outside or even at the Chicken Rice Stall or even places like the Chicken Rice Shop. But I cooked it differently in the sense that I cooked it with nice red chillies and lots of garlic and some shredded carrots and also a little oyster sauce that resulted in the slight brownish colour.

Bean Sprouts in the frying

The second dish was a little crazy where I stir fried a small chicken thigh with chilies, garlic, onions and the weird ingredient was ladies' fingers of all things! I cut the ladies fingers into very small slices, that shows the flowers right at the core. I added in some chili paste and chili sauce for the spice in addition to the oyster sauce.

The outcome: A hearty healthy meal. 

After all the cooking, my fingers felt tingly and somehow seems like all the mix of sauces has absorbed into my fingers causing some sort of pain.

Finally, after a very long time of eyeing Elegantology Gallery and Restaurant at Publika, with its exclusivity, I got the golden opportunity to have my first fine dining experience here. It was a Christmas dream come true when I came here with my Nigerian friend on 25 Dec 2013! 

Actually the space was quite small, just enough for like 4 tables inside the dining area where one of the tables is a family table for about 6 pax. The interior was nothing but sophistication. Very romantic and perfect for a couple or Valentine's Day or even a wedding anniversary celebration. All the chairs are coloured a light maroon. The setting is very classical with the classic looking standing lamps. The bar was great and look really elegant. The napkins were a deep maroon and there was full attention given by the attentive waitresses and waiters who were ever ready to snap photos and change the napkins I dropped on the floor, 3 times (I was too embarassed to ask for a 4th change). 

There were very soft buns served to start up the our Christmas Dinner on 25 Dec. There were two small rolls of cheese with red spots which tasted so tasty. I also dipped it in black olive oil and also sandwiched it with chopped tomatoes. I am quite stingy on compliments for bread but this time round I did! 

We were served with a special cocktails that lucky for me, was not too bitter and not overloaded with too much alcohol since I did not like too much alcohol.

The first course was Rudolf's Bites which consisted of Pomelo, Scallion, Home Cooked King Prawn. It was such an amazing fusion, the pomeloes offering the sour taste while the scallions was tasty to go with. 

The second course was called 1st Flavour which composed of Fois Gras, Brioche Charcoal, Shallot Marmalade. It was my first time trying Fois Gras (unless you consider the one I had at Volkswagen Launch which was frozen tasty). My friend did not really know how to eat so I finished the last morsel on his behalf in order not to waste food. Somehow mixing it with charcoal piece and also basil leaves resulted in something amazing.

Thirdly, we had a crazily named course called "Gee Whiz, it's Christmas!" which consisted of Granny Smith Scented Pea Puree with Tomato Pearls. The special thing is that the puree was poured by the waitress from the teapot. It was not too smoking hot like conventional soup but it was ok. I definitely love the Tomato Pearls, something that looked like fish roe except that it did not pop. 

Fourth course was Jingle Bell Rock. It consisted of Hokkaido Scallop, Black Olive Dust, Misa Galangal Goong, Homegrown Mustard Crest. The scallop was the fantastic when I cut it and the juice came out showing the succulence of the scallops. The misa sauce that has absorbed into it was also fantastic. 

Suddenly, after that, we were surprised by a complimentary turkey which was so incredible! The turkey was so succulent and especially tasty and sweetened by the cranberry sauce. 

By this time, my friend was saying that there was too much food and he was feeling so full that he only ate one slice of turkey and offered the other half to me! He was like, why is there so much food? But I was enjoying all the courses very much!

After that, we had the fifth course which was Frosty the Snowman that is Cauliflower infused milk based sorbet plum shave. Though I do not like milk, somehow this was quite alright for me, probably because the chef cleverly cooked it with high quality milk that does not have a strong taste. I did not even taste the cauliflower. The sorbet was cold and pleasing to the throat. 

5th Course: Frosty the Snowman
Really snowy
Mr Frosty the Snowman

This was followed by the 6th Course which was White Christmas : Garoupa Under Pressure (Changed to seabass because they ran out of Garoupa) - Soy and ginger broth smoked Moscovy Duck Glutinous Rice Pillaf. The fish was quite soft and when paired with the soy and ginger sauce, the combination was incredible. The glutinous rice was quite soft and fragrant. 

My sixth course was Holly Jolly Christmas which was actually Lamb Wellington, Mushroom Duxelle, Butter Flavoured Brussels Sprouts. I truly love the cute crunchy Brussels Sprouts which was not oily at all. The Lamb was cleverly hidden inside a crust as though it is a lamb kebab pie. The baked potatoes were quite tasty too. I love the sauce which was not as salty as it looks like. 
6th Course: White Christmas (Grilled Seabass) and Holly Jolly Christmas (Lamb)

Then, we were rewarded with pre-dessert where my friend's mouth was open agape as that means more food for the tummy. We had cute gingerbreadman (my first in my entire life) which probably was homemade and not as sweet as I thought. I do not fancy food that is too sweet. We also had something like a marcarpone which I dipped into my Vanilla Gelato dessert. 

My first time eating the cutest Gingerbread man ever. The Gingerbreadman did not manage to run away from my mouth!
Dessert was Here Comes Santa Claus which consisted of Camerelized Tofu Brulee, Vanilla Gelato with Candied Wolfberries on top. It was my first time eating tofu as dessert but somehow when paired with caramel, it was a great combination. The fusion was just great, like a pair made in heaven. My personal favourite was the pink caramel under the Gelato which I initially thought was just a base and not to be eaten.

This place has definitely won my heart inside out and is an awesome romantic place!

The buns were so soft. For bun/bread hater, it has definitely won my heart at first taste. The row of cheese with spots of red were great to go with the buns, together with the chopped tomatoes and also black oilve oil. 
The 1st course: Rudolf's Bites
2nd Course: 1st Flavour

3rd Course: Gee Whiz It's Christmas!

Gee Whiz, It's Christmas!

Gee Whiz, It's Christmas!

4th Course: Jingle Bell Rock

Unique contemporary designer lamp

6th Course: White Christmas

Complimentary Turkey

6th Course: Holly Jolly Christmas

Pre-dessert: GIngerbreadman

7th Course: Dessert: Here Comes Santa

Vanilla Gelato with crispy caramel
 After eating, it is time for some camwhoring: