Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On The Table @ Solaris Dutamas

Mother's Day was coming up and we were racking our brains on where to take my grandma for makan. She's big on ambiance for special occasions and of course, food must be good too. At my sister's suggestion, we decided to try On The Table at Solaris Dutamas.

The restaurant is headed by Chef Riz Redz aka anak Chef Wan aka that Masterchef Malaysia judge wearing the ridiculous cravat. Not that he was in that day, maybe out celebrating Mother's Day. With such a BNC (Big Name Chef) the restaurant oughta be really, really, really good right?


It started off well, with two complimentary amuse bouche; cream of pea soup and teriyaki wild mushrooms. Apparently it's a "teaser" for their ever rotating menu. The soup tastes home made and the mushrooms had a nice bite.

Heard good reviews about the Cappuccino of Wild Mushrooms Soup (RM23) and yes, it is justified. It has a wonderful presentation and again, the soup tastes home made and served with a generous portion of meaty sautéed mushrooms. However, the taste of the foam was a little too subtle to me and so was the truffle oil.

The biggest disappointment came from the main courses. TJ had the Redz Heat BLT (RM23) while K opted for the highly recommended RFC (RM38).

note the offensive turkey jerky
between the onions and bacon
Like all gourmet burgers, the Redz Heat was monstrously thick with juicy patty, beef bacon, turkey bacon, melted cheese, caramelized onions, tomato and salad. It looked good on paper and in the flesh but it was so difficult to eat

The turkey bacon, served as a large slice, was very chewy and impossible to cut with a knife and and hard to bite off as well. Therefore you won't be able to taste all the components together. Ended up eating as a separate piece, which was a salty turkey jerky. The caramelized onions were nice but I would've like more than just a spoonful as there wasn't enough to make an impact.

The RFC came with 3 pieces of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and a small salad. The biggest problem was everything tasted underseasoned. The chicken was crispy and juicy, the mashed potatoes smooth and creamy, but ultimately lacked salt. The salad, which was pickled, was not to our liking either as it was too vinegary for our tastebuds.
(apologies for the lack of photo for this dish, there's a html bug)

Dessert was the saving grace. We opted for the Chef's Dessert plate (RM45) which consists of a duo of creme brulee (choc & vanilla), panna cotta topped with dragon fruit and hot chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream. The chocolate fondant was fresh and hot from the oven albeit (intentionally?) on the gooey-er side, but I've had fondants just as good and with a bigger portion for roughly the same price at Yogitree, Gardens.

In short - Good service, lovely atmosphere but the food's pricey and sadly, the mains don't impress.

On The Table
 Mon - Sat: 11:00-15:00, 18:00-23:00
A4-UG 1-08, Solaris Dutamas,
Jalan Dutamas 1,
50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
03-6207 9966

Price Range - $$$

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Al Dente @ Precint 1, Putrajaya

Galleria has opened with very little fanfare. I honestly thought it was just another office block until one night, while driving by, saw that they had some sad buntings outside the building saying so-and-so shops/ restaurants were open.

Right at the front of the building is Al Dente, a restaurant affiliated to Pullman hotel that offers Italian and Malaysian cuisine. Warning - the prices reflect its affiliation to the hotel.

The menu looks pretty interesting; there's italian, there's Malaysian, and then there's the fusion for the adventurous. Spaghetti with peas and coconut cream? Pizza with sambal and quail eggs? Alas, we weren't feeling terribly adventurous that day, perhaps another time.

Fresh garlic bread, breadsticks and dips
The meal began with complimentary starters - yay! Who doesn't like free food, right? Crispy breadsticks and fresh herb and garlic bread with an array of dips. The fresh bread, actually more like plain pizza base, was a delight as it was fluffy and warm. Dips were olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sambal, curry mayonaise and coarsely crushed black olives in oil.

We tried the curry mayonaise with slight trepidation as it sounded kinda gross. But it was a surprising hit with us, mildly zesty but creamy with a slightly cheesy tang. The sambal was also another favorite, more savory than sweet and not too oily, which is how TJ prefers it.

Prawn Risotto

K had the Prawn Risotto (RM22) while TJ opted for the slightly less adventurous Spaghetti Bolognaise (RM22) instead. They didn't skimp on the prawns and the texture of the risotto was nice but a big letdown was the asparagus. K expected the asparagus to be crunchy. Alas, there were a few that were too chewy. It was impossible to eat them. Some might say, "Aiyaaah, a few asparagus only maaa. No big deal." No big deal if it's a roadside warung but for a hotel restaurant, unforgivable!

Spaghetti Bolognaise

TJ doesn't usually order Spaghetti Bolognaise in restaurants as she has impossibly high standards after a lifetime of being spoiled with her mom's cooking. Alas, mom's overseas and unable to make the spaghetti and TJ would rather not mati kempunan. Verdict - pretty good. The pasta, ironically, was not al dente but the tomato sauce was thick with browned ground beef. Still can't beat mom's cooking.

Ginger Creme Brulee
We were pretty excited for dessert as they have Ginger Creme Brulee (RM12), which was an intriguing combination for TJ the ginger lover. Sadly it didn't quite match our expectations. The custard was smooth and creamy but the ginger was too subtle, almost non-existent. But the biggest letdown was the lack of hard sugar top, which was either too thin or not under the flame long enough. What's a creme brulee without that hard layer to crack open? A disappointing end to an otherwise promising meal.

In short - Pricey but comes with excellent service in a tastefully simple modern environment, overall good food though a rather disappointing dessert.

Al Dente
Galleria Putrajaya (Next to KBS Building)
Ground Floor
Precint 4, Putrajaya
Opening hours 10am til 4PM (so come for lunch or tea)
Price - $$-$$$