"French comfort food"
Being half French I am always on the lookout for anything that resembles the type of food you would find there. Most French restaurants that open here however tend to border on being fine dining, or they at least attempt to place themselves at that level when the food clearly does not live up to the standards. Bistro dining is what I miss the most, simple fuss free food that is just delicious. Steak frites, a croque monsier, salads and pastries, these are the comfort foods I crave when I think about French delicacies.
The two month old T Fourty Two is part of the BIG Group that has recently taken over the Bangsar scene with Plan b. their edgy coffee bar, and the soon to open Ben’s General Food Store, which will specialise in wood fire oven pizzas and artisanal bread. They also own the funky furniture and design store Sunday’s in Bangsar Village 2.
There is another T Fourty Two in Empire Shopping Mall in Subang but the concept there is slightly different. “In that one we didn’t build our own kitchen so we were limited with the type of food we could put on the menu. In this Bangsar location we were able to make the kitchen to our own specifications which is why we are able to serve a wider range of food here,” the manager, Jeffrey explains. More »
"Fresh and delicious comfort food!"
“Comida” in Spanish means food and was started by former FlyFM DJ Basil Joseph and his partner Sindi together with friend and chef Sufiz Allatif. Comida is the brainchild of Basil, a food enthusiast who dreamed of owning a successful chain of restaurants. Deciding that the entertainment world had offered him possibly all it could, he began calculating and planning the birth of this homely eatery. Of course, behind every successful man is a woman. Sindi, relaxed and unwavering, proved to be the backbone of his vision, and brought all knowledge of experience and organization into the mix.
The dream transformed into reality and the need for a Master Chef was at hand. Enter Sufiz, the cool, street styled cook with ambitions of becoming a celebrity chef ala Marco Pierre and Jamie Oliver. He enthusiastically accepted the offer without a second thought and immediately the wheels of culinary excellence began turning.
“Great restaurants may start out following a trend, but Comida offers food at its best, using familiar recipes that aren't too pretentious,” says Basil. The walls are toned with Comida’s colours, which unexpectedly becomes the perfect backdrop to highlight local art by Eddie Lim. More »
"Salty, pink ribbons of goodness..."
Established in 2005, El Cerdo is the place one goes to for all things porcine. Owner Werner Kuhn and executive chef David Caral really showcase their love for this versatile meat by going to great lengths themselves in their tantalizing menu. Sourcing most of their meat from Europe, it appears in many incarnations by way of cold cut platters, pastas, sausages, and their robust mains section. In fact, it was so pork-filled that one can’t help but sillily expect it to be on their dessert menu as well (it isn’t). I’ve always loved El Cerdo, having been here for my birthday earlier this year. I had their infamous roasted suckling pig then, of which they go through at least 100 a week.
The restaurant itself is dimly lit, with many knick-knacks and artwork of the curly-tailed animal. It is cozy and welcoming, which is probably why everyone from Japanese businessmen to large families to romantic couples are there with wide smiles. I look around the restaurant and hear “Happy Birthday” being sung at another table, the first of many that night. I am told later that their record is 23 birthdays in 2 hours!
In a moment, the complimentary soup arrives. Mushroom soup served in little cups with chunky bits of ham that give it just that little savoury something. The basket of crusty bread with peppers that is on standby throughout the night is tasty, but is unfortunately a touch cold. Dishes from their tapas menu arrive soon after: bombas, pincho moruno and Serrano and Iberico ham. The bombas are mashed potato balls filled with pork and deep fried with a wonderfully crispy crust. The dollop of tomato cream and aioli on top is a tangy tasty touch. Pincho moruno, or grilled pork on skewers, is served with a not-too-spicy oil. Chewy and tender at the same time, the flavor of the meat really shines in this simple offering.
Then it is time for ham. Oh, ham. Sweet, salty, fatty slivers of Serrano and Iberico ham served on tomato bread. The Serrano is a little subtle in taste and texture, having just the right amount of salty kick. The Iberico, my favorite ham, is literally brilliant, fat glistening under the lights. From the slight bite of the ham to melt-in-the-mouth fat, I would have been happy with just that the entire night.
But oh, there are mains on the way! The marinated pork shoulder steak is my dinner companion’s favorite dish of the night. Served with a chunky mashed potato and mild mustard, it is topped with fried finely julienned leeks, paprika dusting the rim of the plate. Getting a bit of everything in one bite, I see why she loves the dish: the interaction of all the different textures is great, and the steak is grilled just right. Oven roasted Iberico spare ribs is served next with pineapple salsa in roman tomato cups. The marinade melds with the fat as it is roasted, which gives it a sensational crust. The spicy-savoriness of it goes well with the sweet pineapple salsa. Finger bowls are given to us during this course and we happily oblige and dive in, licking our fingers now and then. More »
"Perfectly executed macarons"
Nathalie is not a trained chef, but rather a talented Frenchwoman who knows her way around the kitchen. The caliber of her dishes show years of experience coupled with a sense of culinary intuition and passion. The menu changes monthly to showcase her range of delightful creations and everything is made fresh in house.
The décor here is very industrial with a lot of greys and steel. The inside houses high tables with bar stools and cool hanging features such as a whisk chandelier. Macarons seem to be a prominent theme here with the service staff donning a print of macarons on their aprons.
Once we’ve placed our orders a little basket of mini baguette rolls are set down on our table. They are fresh and absolutely delicious with the homemade salted butter. We also ordered a few of their drink concoctions, a vegetable cocktail, fresh pineapple juice and a virgin apple mojito. The vegetable cocktail is bright purple and I can see immediately that it’s a mix of beetroot and once I tasted it I also detect celery and maybe a hint of carrot. It’s refreshing and I love knowing that it’s good for me too! I didn’t get a taste of the mojito but it looked good sparkling with flecks of bright green mint floating around.
For appetizers we decided to go with the beef Carpaccio and the eggplant three ways. The beef is a lovely bright red and it is topped with a gorgeous salad of shaved fennel and Parmesan and edible flowers. Almost too pretty to eat. The beef is melt in the mouth tender and the greens give it freshness.
The eggplant dish is really interesting as it is prepared in three ways showcasing this earthy vegetable at its best. The first is chopped eggplant mixed with sundried tomato on a slice of toast with a thin piece of tuna sashimi on top. This is tangy and full of flavour. The second preparation is out of this world with an eggplant sorbet. At first bite it’s a little confusing as you’d expect a sorbet to be sweet but after a few more tastes you warm up to the idea and it’s really very good. The third is a jelly topped with a mousse, both containing eggplant. This was my favourite with the bouncy jelly and the earthy creamy mousse. More »
"Crispy outside, oozing with goey cheese inside"
From the outside, the restaurant is nothing much to look at, it looks like a small café, even slightly run down. Inside it is simply decorated, with cosy lighting. It’s very empty tonight; only 2 other tables are occupied, so we pretty much have the restaurant to ourselves. The owner himself is ushering us in and we’re all excited and chatty, we’re here to celebrate a friend’s birthday so we’re ravenous and looking forward to some good food.
Everything on the menu sounds quite fancy, for starters there’s fresh garden salad “Mimosa”, Escargot a la Suisse, and somebody at our table is insisting we go for the Cheese ‘Malakow’ and the Raclette, so we order those two to share. The Cheese Malakow is described on the menu as “deep fried swiss cheese” and the Raclette is “hot slices of swiss cheese” so I can’t really tell what we’re going to get.
When it arrives, you can definitely tell the difference. The ‘Malakow’ are deep fried cheese puffs, crispy on the outside and oozing with deliciously gooey cheese on the inside. There are 4 pieces and the puffs are quite large, so this is a pretty good starter to share, but a little pricey, around RM20 a plate.
The Raclette is a plate of melted cheese, literally, served with a side of pickles and boiled potatoes. The taste of the cheese is a bit too strong for my liking, and leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouth. I’ve heard that the steak here is really good, so I go for the sirloin steak with mushroom sauce. They have some interesting sauces here, like the Mussel Herb sauce, which another friend orders. We’re also having the grilled chicken with pasta and mushrooms, and the dory fish with green pepper butter sauce.
Yes, Jalan Bankung is definitely the better side of Bangsar -it’s quiet, houses some really good restaurants and parking is no problem at all. Here, you’ll find Cava, a Spanish themed restaurant that is small and private, yet has a family appeal too. We’re here on a Tuesday night, and it’s full- with couples, groups of friends, even families with young kids. But it still feels very romantic and cozy- the people at Cava definitely know a thing or two about ambience.
Cava was named after the Spanish geographic origin of wine, Cava- where sparkling wine is produced using a method similar to champagne- meaning everything certainly is sweet and bubbly at Cava. Cava also means, “cellar” in Catalan, and to live up to its name, Cava boasts an extensive list of fine wines and champagnes. The menu here is also influenced by Catalonian style cuisine, and Cava is well known for its Tapas and Paella, not to mention its fresh and invigorating Sangria and wine cocktails.
And so tonight we are here to feast, and we start with a few glasses of Sangria to keep us festive. Unlike your conventional Sangria, the way they do it at Cava makes you forget there is even alcohol in it at all. Very dangerous but also very, very good! Next we go for some Tapas, first is the Prawn Ala Marinera -juicy, succulent prawns slow cooked in white wine, butter, garlic and parsley. This is so delicious you might not want to share, so be prepared to order seconds!
Next was the Spanish Lamb Boulette, lamb meatballs infused with herbs, served with a minty pepper sauce. This sauce was a little stroke of genius, as it gave the lamb a nice peppery flavour but with hints of mint. Personally I am not a big fan of lamb but this dish was so good it got me hooked. More »
"The raspberry wasabi white chocolate heart had me at hello"
I had every intention of ordering as many chocolaty delights as my tummy would fill but those plans were slightly derailed when I saw the recession busting price of the high tea menu. It seemed almost too good to be true at RM35 (weekend price) for two with goodies such as cake, homemade chocolate ganache, fine tea biscuits, freshly baked scones, mini sandwiches and a choice of coffee or tea. The menu described it as ‘a true experience of Swiss high tea culture’ and I was eager to partake!
As we placed our order, the server led us to the glass casing holding gorgeous sculpted chocolates in exotic flavours. With so many to choose from it's almost impossible to decide on just three. We eventually settled on the raspberry wasabi, coconut curry and Szechuan pepper as they seemed like the most intriguing flavour pairings not to mention they looked like lovely little treasures.
Next we picked a slice of cake and decided to go with the Tropikana, a rich chocolate cake with fruit within the layers. In addition to the high tea menu we also ordered the chocolate chicken satay on the side as it’s one of the dishes I initially came here for.
Once we’re back at our table I dived for the raspberry wasabi ganache. Its pretty white chocolate exterior in the shape of a heart had me at hello. Once I took a bite, raspberry filled my senses and just as I was about to say that I couldn’t taste the wasabi it hit the back of my throat in a light punch. The coconut curry had a creamier texture but I had a bit of trouble picking out the distinct flavours and in the end it just tasted like very smooth creamy chocolate. The Szechuan pepper was interesting and the little hints of spicy pepper added an edge to the rich chocolate. The pepper doesn’t overpower but rather plays beautifully on the tongue simultaneously with the chocolate. All of this is lovely with a piping hot cup of aromatic coffee.