Fried Chicken & Champagne @ MONTE’S, Bangsar Shopping Centre

The next time you have a reason to celebrate and are not sure how to celebrate it – well, let’s keep it simple, shall we? How about just some scrumptious fried chicken and champagne? It’s really not as incongruous as you may think! Look, almost everyone loves fried chicken, right? That’s such a universal love, no? It’s comfort food and when done well, it’s da bomb!

A bucket of amazing love!

The folks at Monte’s in Bangsar Shopping Centre has got it just right. Using only the juiciest parts of the chicken – thighs and drumsticks only, their fried chicken here is served nicely propped up in a bucket. Coated in a light batter brimming with secret spices, the crispy golden skin is irresistible, trust me. Beneath that, juicy tender meat, just the way how good fried chicken should be!

Of course we had the Cheesy Wedges too!

And to accompany this delightful fried chicken meal – none other than some sparkling Moët champagne! I can’t even begin to tell you how good that chilled champagne tasted. It’s a perfect combo, fried chicken and champagne, I tell you.

Oh you can also choose to have either some salad or cheesy wedges to go with the chicken and champagne set.  There are 2 sets for you to choose from, depending on the size and appetite of your party:

VIP Chicks Package @ RM568+
1 bottle Moët et Chandon
1 bucket Monte’s Fried Chicken (12pcs)
Salad or Cheesy Wedges

or

VVIP Party Package @ RM888+
2 bottles Moët et Chandon
1 supersize bucket Monte’s Fried Chicken (18pcs)
Salad or Cheesy Wedges

You can also order just the fried chicken on its own, without opting for the champagne – I mean, if it’s a small celebration, hehe! 3 pieces Fried Chicken go for RM18.

Monte’s at BSC has been around for more than 10 years and is very popular in the neighbourhood. For such a long-serving establishment, there are quite a number of signature dishes that have been on the menu since day 1.

 

Fresh Oxtail Soup

The thick and savoury Fresh Oxtail Soup (RM23) is one of their top dishes and I can understand why. The soup is amazing, served piping hot and with well-balanced robust flavours. Eaten with some crusty bread, it makes an immensely satisfying meal on its own.

Escargots baked in garlic & chablis sauce

Then there’s Monte’s signature escargots baked in creamy chablis and garlic sauce to tantalise your taste buds. At RM28 for half dozen, this traditional French starter is sure to please.

Recently the culinary team at Monte’s has come up with some new dishes to add more variety to the dining experience here. Just take a look at these…

Corned Beef Scotch Egg

Corned Beef Scotch Egg (RM28+) with salad and gravy

Slow braised Beef Tendons with fettuccini and melted cheese! (RM38+)

Cheesebomb Fish Burger in tumeric cream and French fries (RM35)

Waffle Beef Burger with Cheese Wedges (RM38)

As for desserts, do check out their cakes of the day and if you see these two cakes available, grab some! At RM18 a slice, I totally loved the Salted Caramel Cake – my favourite!

Nutella Chocolate Cake 

Salted Caramel Cake

It’s always advisable to go with hungry stomachs as portions are hearty and because everything looks good, there’s a tendency to over-order too.  Now, here’s to the next celebration in Monte’s!

 

MONTE’S Bistro
Lot 112 Level 1 West Wing
Bangsar Shopping Centre
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2094-1112
www.montesrestaurant.com.my

DANCING FISH, Bangsar Shopping Centre

The last time I dined at Dancing Fish was when they first opened, some 5 years ago. As one of the few restaurants around town serving good Indonesian fares, they have been doing well. And in fact, the restaurant just bagged the “Rising Star” Platinum Business Award 2016 bestowed by the SME Association of Malaysia. That’s a testament of the restaurant’s unique local expertise on the verge of making their global presence in the near future.

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Certainly, Dancing Fish has been maintaining its standards and quality, as I discovered in a recent dinner there. There has not been many changes to their menu as they obviously believe in doing (and continuing to do) what they do best. After all, their success has always been from the food they serve and only some new tweaks are done to present some refreshed options.

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Emping with Sambal Terasi – slightly bitter crackers made from Melinjo nuts

After munching on some crispy emping crackers, I had some Chicken Satay which were delightfully tender with smokey bits from the charred edges. The Belimbing Ikan Masin served with it was a refreshing combo of crunchy tangy starfruits, fresh herbs and vegetables with a light sweet-sour dressing.

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Chicken Satay with Belimbing Ikan Masin

 

The star of the restaurant was of course, its Dancing Fish. Known as “Nila Goreng”, the crispily deep-fried red tilapia is usually served with Sambal Terasi and Kicap – the popular regular version. I had that and it tasted just like it did 5 years ago, every part of the fish being super crunchy and totally edible – bones, fins and all!

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Dancing Fish with Sambal Terasi & Kicap

Then I tried the Dancing Fish with a new twist – served with Sambal Tempoyak. Now, fermented durian is of course an acquired taste – you either love it or hate it. When made into a sambal by adding chillies and lime, it’s totally another level of “acquired taste”! Let’s just say I definitely prefer the original version with the sambal terasi and kicap.

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Dancing Fish with Sambal Tempoyak

 

Besides Dancing Fish, I enjoyed the Ikan Seabass Bakar with Sambal Cobek Merah, which I was told, was just introduced recently in the menu. The grilled seabass was smothered in a fragrant red sambal paste which called for lots of rice. Check out their Nasi Kuning Berempah also – it’s amazing.

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Ikan Seabass Bakar with Sambal Cobek Merah

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Nasi Kuning Berempah

The dinner called for some of their other popular dishes. The Gulai Pucuk Paku – jungle ferns cooked with coconut milk and tumeric remained a firm favourite with me.

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So were the Buntut Goreng Enak – chunks of Australian oxtail, marinated and braised in aromatic herbs and spices which were then barbecued over charcoal fire to intensify the flavours. These had to be eaten with their special vinaigrette chilly spicy sambal for full satisfaction!

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Buntut Goreng Enak

 

I tried their spicy version – the Buntut Spicy Chilli Herbs Belado and found it to be equally appetizing.

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Buntut Spicy Chilli Herbs Belado

Udang Masam Kedondong – fresh bouncy prawns cooked in an asam and kedondong gravy… very addictive!

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Udang Masam Kedondong

Bebek Goreng Bali with Sweetcorn Kerabu – marinated with special mix of Bali herbs and spices for 24 hours and deep-fried till crispy. I found this to be a bit dry though.

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Bebek Goreng Bali with Sweetcorn Kerabu

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I’ve always enjoyed desserts at Dancing Fish – could never choose which was my favourite of the Trio of Lemongrass Jelly with Pop Pops, Mango Lolo and Cendol Coconut Ice-cream – had them all!

Dancing Fish is still the restaurant to head to whenever cravings for Indonesian food emerge.

 

DANCING FISH
Lot T120-122 3rd Floor
Bangsar Shopping Centre
Bukit Bandaraya
Jalan Maarof
59000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2095-6663
Open daily 11.30am till 10.00pm

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RUYI & LYN’S 1ST ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION UNVEILS ITS NEW MENU

How time flies – I can’t believe that it has been a year when I first stepped into Ruyi & Lyn and was blown away by Chef James Ho’s iconic miniature nasi lemak and Hainanese chicken rice. Read about my review of that first meal I had in Ruyi & Lyn here. Those miniature sushi of nasi lemak, chicken rice and mango sticky rice have since become social media stars.  So did their subsequent dim sum items, which caused another ravenous furore in the media – check those out here.

Fast forward one year and we were recently invited to join the 1st Anniversary celebration at Ruyi & Lyn. At the celebratory dinner, Chef James Ho & Team introduced some of his new culinary creations. Here’s a peek at those new dishes, which by now would be available on their menu.

 

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Pan-seared Foie Gras with Japanese Miso & Radish
A touch of Japanese indulgence with miso sauce and a nicely braised piece of daikon!

 

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Hotate Steak – Pan-seared Scallop with Lemon Citrus Sauce
The velvety smooth texture of this Hokkaido scallop was given a refreshing boost with the trangy citrus sauce. A clear favourite always!

 

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Bambi – minced lamb served with mantou
The strong flavours of the lamb with a creamy sauce  went well with the sesame-studded fried mantou

 

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Soft Shell Crab with Green Mangoes & Bonito Flakes
Crunchy soft shell crab given a touch of Thai and Japanese

 

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Chicken Chop with Truffle Mushroom Rice
A whole new way of eating chicken chop – with crispy rice puffs scented with truffle!

 

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Lemongrass Jelly with Yuzu Sorbet
A perfect end to any meal – fragrant jelly and tantalizing yuzu, always irresistible with me!

 

The above are just some of the new dishes from Chef James Ho. With his penchant for injecting daring new ideas into traditional recipes, it’s exciting to see the rest of the repertoire from this talented chef.

 

RUYI & LYN
4th Floor Annexe
Bangsar Shopping Centre
Jalan Maarof
59000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2083-0288
*Pork-free

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RENDEZ-VOUS BANGSAR – NEW MENU BY CHEF BENJAMIN REILHES

Rendez-Vous in Bangsar appeals to just about everyone looking for a casual French meal in a laid-back atmosphere. Their menu offers a good selection of typical traditional French dishes and to enjoy a meal here won’t bust your wallet either. Owners Arnaud Chappert and Florian Nigen (who also ruled the kitchen) ensure that their customers get to dine on affordable authentic French cuisine in a relaxed and charmingly rustic ambience. Check out my earlier review here.

chef benjamin

Chef Benjamin Reilhes

Now there’s a new chef on board, the dashing Chef Benjamin Reilhes who has brought with him some fresh new elements to the menu. Well trained from Toulouse and Paris, Chef Benjamin’s refreshing touches are a welcome breath on Rendez-Vous’ repertoire. There are modern and pretty touches to the food presentation, reflecting a fun and modern style, typical of stylish bistro dining. We revisited the restaurant recently to check-out what’s new and appealing there.

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Amuse bouche: a dainty mushroom tartlet

Where diners get to choose from set meals and a la carte items on the menu, come Sunday, there’s now brunch available. At RM69++ per pax, diners get to have starters of either a basket of Viennoiserie and bread served with butter and jam or Starters Assortments – and these are usually selected from the list of favourites on the menu and dependent on what’s fresh and available for the day.

bread

After this, there’s the Main Course (choose a Seafood of the Day or Meat of the Day) and last but not least, Dessert!

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A typical plank platter comprises traditional French pork liver pâté, a medallion of candied tuna decorated with a dollop of cauliflower puree and of course some cheese as well…

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Traditional French Pork Liver Pâté with mushrooms

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Baked Egg with toasted bread sticks

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For the mains, if you are game for meat, the Grilled Ribeye is excellent…

ribeye

ribeye1

 

For seafood fans, the “Filet de loup de mer” – Seabass fillet with creamy carrot puree, avruga caviar and citrus vinaigrette is a popular choice.

seabass

 

Light eaters would love the “Soupe de poissons” which is something new on the a la carte and set menus. It’s a hearty fish soup served and poured at table side, made so flavourful with Rouille sauce and confit vegetables tartare.

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Soupe de poissons

From the Desserts list, what’s new and hits with us are the “Tarte au citron meringue” and “Paris Brest”. The former is a dreamy concoction of hard and soft meringue adorning a crumbly lemon tart. It’s a beautiful balance of sharp tangy flavours and buttery pastry, bound together by the sweet eggy meringue.

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Tarte au citron meringue

“Paris Brest” is the latest addition to the dessert menu by Chef Benjamin. The cute dainty choux pastries stuffed with hazelnut custard make a very pretty presentation and they taste just as good.

paris brest

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Paris Brest

At Rendez-Vous, families with kids would be pleased to note that there’s also a Sunday Brunch menu specially made for kids at only RM32++ per pax featuring food items and portions suitable for the little ones.

To keep the kids happy and occupied, there are even game sets available upstairs in their “Upstage Lounge”. Apart from hosting kids during Sunday Brunch, the spacious venue is great for live music and even standup comedy shows. With a stage set up, this space has been graced by quite a number of international and many local talents like Steve Allison, Kavin Jay, Papi Zak and Prakash Daniel. The venue is also available for booking of private events.

UPSTAIRS Collage

So, whether it’s a family dinner, a private romantic date for two, a Sunday Brunch with the brood, a fun night out with the gang or a private party, Rendez-Vous has it all for you.

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RENDEZ-VOUS
100 Lorong Maarof
59000 Bangsar
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2202-0206

Website: www.rendez-vous.com.my
Rendez-Vous opens daily, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am
Upstage opens Mon, Thurs-Sun in the evenings – check their Facebook Page for the latest shows info

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BOBO Kuala Lumpur – latest intimate speakeasy venue in Bangsar!

When Ed Soo and his partners decided to add another F&B outlet into their stronghold in Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar, the question of naming it became a “headache”. Ed’s suggestion to name it “Bobo” was initially met with an iron wall from the others and long story short, somehow “Bobo” managed to get its way. It’s a catchy and easily remembered name and very often, people tend to ask “Just who or what is Bobo?”

bobo sofa

Yeah, so who or what is Bobo? Scroll down and you’ll find out… :-)

Anyway, what I love about Bobo’s decor is the art pieces that take pride of place on almost every wall. And there’s a story behind every piece. If you happen to bump into Ed there, he’d be happy to tell you about every one of those stories!

deco

Besides the art pieces, Bobo is outfitted in warm elegant earthy tones, from the wood-clad floor to the table linen and comfortable contemporary chairs. Its menu is not extensive with just enough selections to be not boring. The items listed were mainly modern European dishes with more focus on starters. There were larger portions ones meant for sharing too, like these 3 items…

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Foie Gras Pate (RM45) with cranberry sauce & onion marmalade

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Polenta Fries (RM24) served with lemon truffle aioli as a dip

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Charcuterie & Cheese Board (RM39) – a platter of chorizo de pavo, salchicon de pavo, cecina de vacuno, manchego, mahon and rock melon

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When is a salad not a salad? When it’s the Bobo’s “Caesar Salad” (RM28)!It’s a fun and playful representation of the usual Caesar Salad. It’s essentially a mound of Parmesan mousse atop a crusty crouton base, with shreds of romaine lettuce and anchovies. The cheese mousse was very tasty – it’s easy to enjoy it after getting over the initial surprise over its appearance.

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Arancini

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Arancini (RM28) saffron scented risotto balls stuffed with buffalo mozzarella & tomato coulis. This is more for risotto lovers as I’m not partial to this and found it rather bland for my taste.

Fresh Irish Oysters (RM38) with caviar and lemon scented olive oil – can never go wrong with fresh sweet oysters, especially Irish ones.

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Fresh Irish Oysters

Salmon Crudo (RM34) with ikura, lemon curd and horseradish creme – another winner for me!

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Salmon Crudo

Now on to the mains…

Herb-crusted Rack of Lamb (RM75) with grilled asparagus and Dauphinoise potatoes – perfectly grilled with pink moist centres.

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Herb-crusted Rack of Lamb

Crisp Paupiette of Barramundi (RM75) with braised leek and red wine sauce – encased in a thin popiah skin, the barramundi fillet remained achingly juicy and the red wine sauce did justice to it.

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Crisp Paupiette of Barramundi

Moules Mariniere (RM58) – fresh Australian mussels in white wine with crusty baguette. A firm favourite with me, this French classic didn’t disappoint.

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Moules Mariniere

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Spaghetti ala Bobo (RM42) mixed seafood agile olio – for those who just want simple comfort food, this would do very well.

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Spaghetti a la Bobo

As much as people come to Bobo KL to dine, it’s the after-dinner session that has now become a growing attraction. So bring your glass of wine and head towards the “secret” door which leads you to the speakeasy piano lounge one level above.

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More art pieces adorn the walls there and the piano lounge exudes a private intimate feel. Dark heavy drapes, small round tables and hanging bulbs from the high ceiling all contribute to a cosy and elegantly clandestine atmosphere – what a lovely place for an evening out.

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piano lounge

The piano lounge is fitted and padded well acoustically so the sound system is superb. Much thought and care have been poured into this setup, from the professionally curated decor to the exciting line-up of well-known guest artistes.

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On regular nights (apart from Mondays), well-known jazz pianist & singer David Gomes will be at the Bobo Grand Piano belting out golden classics from 9.30pm onwards (no cover charge). Guest artistes will be making special appearances on a regular basis. Watch out for the impromptu Movie Nites there too!

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Cover charges are applicable for the special guest artistes’ performance, in-house diners get a 50% off. For the upcoming Valentine’s Day celebration, Sean Ghazi and West End singer Stephanie Reese will be performing on 12-14 February 2016.

Do check their Facebook Page for the latest updates and more information.
BOBO KUALA LUMPUR
65-1 Jalan Bangkung
Bangsar
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2092-5002

bobo

Hello, I’m Bobo!

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PORTOFINO @ Lucky Garden, Bangsar: authentic Italian fares

Owned and managed by two true-blue Italians, Portofino has been quietly delighting lovers of authentic Italian fares in Bangsar. Named after a popular seaside town in Italy, Portofino occupies a corner lot (which used to be Pizza Hut for 15 years) in the quieter side of Bangsar – Lucky Garden. Italian Chef Keli rules the kitchen while Luca ensures the front of house runs smoothly.

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It had always been Chef Keli’s dream to own and run a restaurant in a tropical country and Malaysia was a natural choice once he experienced this country. Both Keli and Luca love living in the tropics and they have been very happy doing this since setting up Portofino almost two years ago.

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With huge letterings emblazoning its name on the building, it’s hard to miss Portofino. It is both welcoming as a family restaurant as well as a hip place to chill out as the bar is pretty well stocked. The restaurant occupies two floors – the upper level is very spacious and perfect for private functions with a capacity for 80 diners there.

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While we sat down and chatted with Keli and Luca, an appetizer – Bruschetta al Salmone (RM20) was served. Slices of Norwegian smoked salmon curling enticingly on homemade bread make a good appetizer any day.

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Chef Keli believes that house-made pasta is the best and for this reason, all pasta (except for penne which requires a machine to churn out) in Portofino are made fresh in the restaurant. There is a vast difference of course in the texture and taste of freshly-made pasta compared to the commercially-produced dry pastas. The fresh pastas, made from special imported flour, have a soft bouncy texture that’s deliciously yielding to the bite.

Most of Chef Keli’s dishes are cooked with his own specially concocted fish stock which is made from boiling for hours prawn heads and red snapper with vegetables like carrots, tomatoes and celery.

Spaghetti Portofino

Spaghetti Portofino

We liked their house special, Spaghetti Portofino (RM38) – house-made spaghetti saute’ed with prawns, squids, mussels, clams, scallops seasoned with garlic, chilli, basil, olive oil and simmered with house-made fish stock. The local seafood used here were all selected and bought by Keli and Luca at the wet market in Taman Tun Dr Ismail every other day. These guys are so meticulous about their ingredients that they personally buy them from the wet market.

Seafood Ravioli

Seafood Ravioli

For the Seafood Ravioli (RM36), we enjoyed the house-made ravioli filled with fresh lobster meat and fish served in a rich lobster bisque. There’s so much umami sweetness in this dish that we almost wanted to order a second helping.

Tagliatelle Bolognese

Tagliatelle Bolognese

We took the pasta party further with Chef Keli’s Tagliatelle Bolognese Sauce (RM30) with minced beef. It’s hearty comforting food for sure – a plate of this will make the world right in many ways!

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Penne with Pesto Sauce

As Chef Keli wanted me to taste his house-made pesto, we had the Penne al Pesto Capesante (RM34) which was served with fresh local scallops. The penne was store-bought but its nondescript state was boosted by Keli’s pesto – a traditional sauce made with fresh basil, walnuts, garlic, parmesan and extra virgin olive oil. The aroma was intoxicating.

Risotto with Prawns & Curry Spices

Risotto with Prawns & Curry Spices

Although I’m not a fan of risotto, Chef Keli’s Risotto with Prawns & Curry Spices (RM36) had me enjoying this unabashedly. It must be the fresh prawn curry spices and apples which lifted this risotto dish out of the ordinary.

From pastas and risotto, we moved on to sample Chef Keli’s handmade pizzas. Spotting calzone on the menu, we had to have the Half Moon Calzone Pizza (RM36). A huge puffy calzone made its way to our table and when it’s sliced, hot creamy cheesy tomato sauce, turkey ham and mushrooms spilled out tangling with stringy mozzarella. It was something that had to be devoured immediately, with great gusto too!

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Then we had a regular pizza – Pizza Boscaiola (RM36) topped with tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, rocket salad, parmigiano reggiano and mozzarella. This is one pizza you can have at any time of the day and it would be satisfying no matter what.

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Pizza Boscaiola

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We tried a meat item too, the Roasted Lamb (RM48) – marinated with fresh herbs, slow-roasted, served with olives and mashed potato. The thick hearty sauce gave it a warm rustic feel – it felt and tasted like a traditional family dish.

Roasted Lamb

Roasted Lamb

Although not an Italian dessert by origin, Portofino’s Chocolate Salami (RM12) – made with biscuits, cocoa powder and served with Ingles cream is immensely popular. Painstakingly executed, this photogenic dessert was very good and addictive.

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Chocolate Salami

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On the other hand, I found the Tiramisu (RM16) – made with coffee, almond liquer combined with mascarpone cheese was rather tame. Personally, I prefer tiramisu with more vigour (read: boozy)!

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Tiramisu

Portofino is a good venue to head to if you are looking for some authentic home-style Italian fares. In a saturated frenetic dining scene like Bangsar, this place is a refreshing change from the madness of the central commercial areas.

 

PORTOFINO
Ristorante Italiano
No.1 Persiaran Ara Kiri
Lucky Garden
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2094-8490
Operating hours: 11am to 11pm daily
*Pork-free

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