A few days ago I was invited to join a food tasting session organized by IntegratedPR for California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) at KLCC. I was really flattered and surprised by the invitation, as the others on list were real journalist from major local newspapers and magazines.
Anyway, who would say no to free food tasting in a nice restaurant!
The food tasting session is aimed at introducing as well as promoting the eight new dishes in the CPK menu. Among the eight new dishes, there are two salads, three pizzas, three pastas and a dessert. Miso Salad was featured first – a salad that has Shredded Napa cabbage with fresh avocado, julienne cucumbers, daikon, edamame, carrots, red cabbage, green onions, cilantro, crispy rice noodles and crispy wontons tossed in a Miso dressing.
Two additional ingredients – chilled-grilled chicken and grilled shrimp can be added to the salad at RM22 and RM14 respectively. I fully recommend adding the grilled shrimp to the salad, as they tasted awesome together. And the crispy rice noodles and wontons gave the salad even more “biting” texture. Miso Salad was one of the dishes I liked most that day, which came as a total surprise. It was just a nice, tasty salad!
Although the salad (and other foods) could feel pretty expensive by looking at the menu alone, be assured it’s well worth the money spent for the huge serving size. Since CPK is a US based restaurant, the serving size is bigger compared to those served locally. As you can see in the photo, the salad is more than enough to be shared among three people!
Next up was Mediterranean Salad, a chilled salad of cucumbers, red onions, fresh tomatoes and Greek olives tossed with crisp Romaine leaves and lemon-herb vinaigrette, served on a bed of hummus. It is topped with Feta cheese (cheese made with ewe’s and goat’s milk), sun-dried tomatoes and California Pizza Kitchen’s own homemade Tzatziki sauce. Pita bread is also served alongside.
Some of the ingredients in the salad are very new to me. For example the hummus is actually a dip made from cooked, mashed chickpeas then blended with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Hummus is also known as one of the oldest known prepared food, popular throughout the Middle Eastern world. It was certainly a great idea by California Pizza Kitchen to incorporate so many fresh and colorful ingredients in creating this dish.
For me, the Mediterranean Salad felt like a really healthy dish, obvious from the amount of greens used. I didn’t eat much of the salad because I wanted to save space for the pizzas and pastas later lol. Like the Miso Salad, you can also opt for additional ingredients like grilled rosemary chicken breast @ RM10, sauteed salmon @ RM14.50 and grilled shrimp @ RM14.
The Works Pizza uses sweet Italian chicken and beef sausage, beef pepperoni, sauteed mushrooms, Mozarella cheese, mild onions, green peppers, black olives and CPK’s own tomato sauce.
It was cheesy delicious, with the crust also topped with cheese strips. The black olives have most of their bitterness removed and have a meat like texture.
The Works Pizza is priced @ RM34.
The Sicilian Pizza @ RM32 is made using a spicy marinara sauce with sweet Italian beef and chicken sausage, spicy turkey salami, julienne beef salami, Fortina, Mozarella and parmesan cheeses. Topped with fresh oregano and basil.
If you didn’t know, Fortina is an Italian cheese made using cow’s milk. I myself just realized that after researching on the Internet. This food tasting session really opened my taste buds to various foreign foods, especially cheese.
Personally, the Sicilian Pizza was a bit saltish due to the cheese and salami (cured and dried sausages) being used. Food always tastes best when served hot, which is why CPK’s pizzas are served on warm plates.
In CPK, thin crust pizza can be ordered as Neopolitan Pizza. Among the three new pizzas being introduced, Sicilian Pizza is the only pizza that comes in Neopolitan style.
If possible, I always choose thin crust pizza over the normal ones for the extra crunchiness. And for a mere RM2 you can have the normal pizzas served Neopolitan-Style.
CPK’s Italian Tomato & Basil pizza @ RM26 uses imported Italian tomatoes, Mozzaralis cheese and their own tomato sauce, then topped with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
Among all, this is known as the one with the most cheese if I am not mistaken. If you like lots of cheese in your pizza, this is one of the must tries! If you feel that the pizzas in CPK is a bit pricey, there’s a reason to it.
All the ingredients used to prepare the pizzas in CPK are imported from the US. So, there’s no compromise on the quality and you are guaranteed to taste the pizzas just like how they are supposed to be.
Pastas were served after we tasted the pizzas. The first pasta I tried was Chicken Marsala – using thinly pounded chicken breast sauteed with fresh mushrooms and grilled asparagus in a marsala wine sauce, and served with linguini pasta.
It should be noted that some of the pastas served in CPK are non-halal because of they contain alcohol. It was the first time I tasted alcohol in pasta and I thought it complimented the dish pretty well.
It helped to lighten up the dish, as well as adding some aroma and introduce a slight sweetness into it. However, I found the chicken breast to be quite normal only.
Chicken Piccata @ RM30 also contains alcohol. It uses pounded chicken breast just like Chicken Marsala, but sauteed in a creamy lemon-caper sauce. And spaghetinni pasta is used instead.
I preferred the linguini pasta used in the previous dish – Chicken Marsala more compared to spaghetinni pasta, I don’t really know why. But good thing that the chicken breast in Chicken Piccata is tastier, thanks to the lemon-caper sauce which gave the chicken breast a zesty and more appetizing taste.
The last pasta we tried was a Pan Sauteed Salmon pasta. The salmon being used is actually Atlantic salmon, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and pan sauteed. The dish is accompanied with fresh grilled asparagus and spaghettini pasta in a creamy lemon-caper sauce @ RM32.
If you knew my blog long enough, you’d know that I actually had a phobia towards salmon after a bad food poisoning I had a few years ago. After that, I can’t even stand the smell or taste of salmon, as it would bring back the bad memories.
So, to be honest I was quite hesitant to try salmon again. Surprisingly, my taste buds did not reject the salmon and I even managed to eat quite a huge chunk out of it too!
The key of preparing any good food is to use the freshest ingredients possible. And I am sure CPK has managed to do this with the Pan Sauteed Salmon pasta, it has been a while since I actually enjoyed salmon. This was also the last main course to try. After this dessert was served.
First dessert to arrive was this dense dark red colored Red Velvet Cake. It was a three layered moist cake frosted with vanilla bean, cream cheese and while chocolate curls. Like the pizza ingredients, the cakes served in CPK are also imported!
I am really amazed by the length of CPK would go to ensure the customers can taste the original and authentic cakes. Hence, the price of RM20 per slice is justified.
Red Velvet Cake is a type of rich and sweet cake, with the dark red color coming from the red food coloring. Hmm, I found it to be a little too sweet for my liking.
Chocolate Souffle Cake @ RM19 was the dessert I enjoyed most among all. It is a Belgian chocolate souffle cake served warm with CPK’s triple-thick hot fudge on vanilla bean sauce. Then a big scoop of ice cream is served on top of it. Words cannot describe the awesomeness, it was just too freaking delicious!
For the other food tasters, CPK’s Tiramisu was their favorite for the dessert. CPK’s version of tiramisu @ RM20 contains sweet Italian cream cheese and marsala custard between layers of espresso and rum-laced lady fingers topped with shaved bitter-sweet chocolate.
I bet the look itself is already killing enough to drive any tiramisu lovers crazy, lol.
Special thanks to Mr.Ronny Izwan (left), the restaurant manager for the wonderful experience and explaining the specialties of the new dishes to us. He is seen here busy and helping the staff getting the food out from the kitchen.
This is the trademark item in all CPK restaurants – the imported hearth open flame oven, which bakes the pizza in approximately three minutes. The unconventional oven is able to seal in the flavor of ingredients and imparting a smokey taste. The intense heat couple with short cooking time also preserves the natural, fresh flavors and characters of the toppings.
California Pizza Kitchen is located atSuria KLCC
Lot No. 140 Level 1
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
The opening hours are from 11:30am – 11:00pm daily. Do come early if you are dining in for lunch as the restaurant can get full pretty fast approaching lunch hour.
Don’t miss the delicious pizzas!