Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Urban @ Hotel Istana KL

Gosh! I just realised my last visit to Urban has been this long! I guess that it's time to revisit Urban and see if this place still lives up to my expectation. It's not the most popular dining outlet in town but my friends and I liked the privacy here.

We ordered from the degustation menu and it solves my problem of thinking what to eat!

Breads are always a very important starter at any fine dining restaurant. Urban serves a very unique soft bread that is dark brown in colour and it goes very well with the olive oil or even the pesto. Then for the butter selection, they had 2 very interesting flavours - curry butter and parsley butter. Both tasted equally good which surprises my own palate.

Kumamoto Oysters done in 2 different styles as amuse bouche. Love both styles.

We started with a bottle of Chateau d'Armailhac 2006 from Pauillac. This is perhaps the least well known Bordeaux property in the Rothschild portfolio. Did you also know that the tending of the vineyards and making the wine is down to the team at Mouton Rothschild? This wine has a very dense ruby colour and it's best decantered 30 mins to 1 hour before drinking. The nose has a very earthy, fruity and leafty edge to it and on the palate, it's full-bodied, dry and tannic but tight and slightly off. We had a feeling that there's something wrong with this bottle that night as this is not our first bottle of d'Armailhac and it's not supposed to taste like that.

The 2nd bottle we had was a Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere 2006 from Pessac-Leognan. This bottle of red has a very beautiful nose of fruit, concentrated sweetness with a smoky character. On the palate, it has soft chewy tannins, plush and sweet but lacking in some acidity and less impressive compared to the nose.

This is a tuna rolled in seaweed and served on a spoonful of spaghetti. I liked the contrasting textures of the semi raw tuna with crispy seaweed edges while the spaghetti balances the taste of the meat.

The entree is a slow roasted Roma tomato salad with extra virgin olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, Kalamata olive powder and ginger mozarella ice-cream. At first I thought it's pretty weird to serve ice-cream with an entree but it blends in very well because it's a mozarella ice-cream and not a sweet-based ice-cream. Very interesting but ice-cream melts too fast.

Another entree would be the Creamy Seafood with Saffron Tagliatelle Pasta which I really like because of the rich and thick creamy sauce but it's not over the top due to the addition of lemon juice. However, the lemon juice was too much and it overwhelmed the dish and we did provide feedback to the chef about this. Otherwise, this is really delicious!

Grilled Black Angus Sirloin with roasted parsnip, Nasu Dengaku, Glazed shallot and red wine jus.I had mine at medium-rare and it turned out to be wonderful. The meat was juicy and there's the smoky flavours from the grill and taking it without any sauce is the way to go. This place used to serve the USDA Prime beef for a certain time period and I just missed it!

Dessert was a Creamy Vanilla Malibu Fennel parfait with glazed pineapple and mango sorbet.It's really out of the norm because I've not tried any ice-cream with fennel seeds before. It's really interesting to try an ice-cream made with spices and then paired with a mango sorbet and sweet glazed pineapple. It's not my kind of dessert but at least I am adventurous enough to try.

It was so nice of a friend to bring along this Dalmore 28 year-old Stillman's Dram. It's a very rare find because this bottling by Whyte & Mackay which has been discontinued. This is a very dynamic and lively whisky with sherry notes, orange marmalade, briny and with hints of spice. It's very well-balanced and I like this very much.

Then, another friend brought delightful Chocolate Whisky Truffles from Grandjean Freres where each of these truffle is handmade and brought in freshly from Switzerland. The packaging itself is already very impressive though simple and each of these fine whisky truffles are individually boxed. Guess how much for a box of 10 pieces?!! It costs a staggering RM188. Having said that, if price is not a matter, then this chocolate is worth the try and many more tries after that!

I don't know how much is the degustation menu we had that night but the appetizers are RM 50 nett per dish, the mains are RM90 nett per dish and the desserts are RM40 nett per dish. There are also 2 different set dinners available with an appetiser, main course and dessert (comes with tea or coffee) for RM145 nett and RM185 nett. This place is really worth visiting as well for its stellar dishes and service.

Lobby Level, East Wing,
Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur
73, Jalan Raja Chulan,
50200 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2141 9988 ext: 3691

Business Hours: Opens Mon - Fri from 12m - 2.30pm for carvery lunch and 6.30pm - 10pm for dinner. Saturdays open for dinner only. Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.


suituapui said...

Great presentation.

Sean said...

gosh, you're right, this restaurant really does deserve more attention from foodies. any place that serves saffron pasta gets a vote from me! and wow, ginger mozzarella ice cream, that's something i'd wanna try. my last visit to urban was in 2009 ... too long ago, since i think there would have been many changes in the chef since then =)

eiling lim said...

STP: yeah!

Sean: And I wonder what took me so long to revisit this place. I'm surprised that the food is good and creative and the service was great too.

missyblurkit said...

Dalmore! That is one good scotch there! Will probably retire to bed tonight with one shot...its too hidden in my "hic" collection. Hehehe

Will be at Urban tonight after a long break from it. My last memory of it was wowzers...somehow this old hotel has much good stuff under its belt.

timing said...

Mozarella Ice Cream? ... come to think of it, I've never had any savoury ice creams before, can't even really imagine how it would taste like.

ulric said...

Wow...ginger mozzy ice-cream...quite unique wor =)

Was the tuna rolled in seaweed and served on a spoonful of spaghetti a starter?...

foongpc said...

Those choc whisky truffles look yummy!!

Food Dreams said...

I love this place!! such a hidden gem.. the dishes here are just so bold and delicious...

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