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Manhattan Steak House,
Block B05,
Plaza Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7874 8088
Business hours: Mondays to Fridays
(noon to 3.00pm and 6.00pm to 11pm)
and Saturdays (6.00pm to 11pm)
Closed on Sundays.
Pork-free.

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WALKING into the Manhattan Steak House with its chic modern furnishing and tall lighting features resembling skyscrapers, it is easy to assume that it was an American establishment.

Speaking to marketing manager Pepe Halsti, 38, it came as a surprise that the restaurant actually had its roots in Finland and even more surprising when he said that it was founded by his father-in-law, a Malaysian Indian.

“We currently have four outlets in Finland and this is our first one in Malaysia,” said Halsti.

EFE52B22F108478B9E9AD45FBB31C897Cosy: The interior and the furniture in the Manhattan Steak House is designed by the same architect who designed their first restaurant in Finland.

His wife Evi Kate Devandara, 26, said her father was from Johor and worked in an oil palm plantation.

“He wanted to see the world so he jumped on a container ship and worked in the machine room. He went to many different countries and picked up many languages. That’s also where the food influence came from,” she said.

Her father then settled in Stockholm, Sweden and worked with a company that operates a cruise to and from Helsinki, and met her mother at a hotel lobby there.

“They opened their first restaurant when I was a year old, and I remember growing up in the restaurant where my dad would be cooking and mum would be running the restaurant,” recalled Evi.

The name Manhattan came about because her parents went there and fell in love with the place.

“It’s a melting pot with a lot of cultures. If you love food, Manhattan has everything,” she said.

She helped around the restaurant with chores like washing the dishes or standing at the cashier and became a restaurant manager when she was 16 years old.

“After high school, there was a burning feeling in me to join the business and that’s what I did,” said Evi.

She had been to Malaysia several times and had always wanted to come back to Asia so when her father decided to open his first restaurant in Malaysia, she came with her husband to start up and run the outlet.

The three-storey restaurant facing the lake in Plaza Kelana Jaya had a modern interior with granite floors and Evi said even the furniture was designed by the same architect who designed their first restaurant in 1986.

Halsti said they used good quality ingredients to prepare their food and would use as many local ingredients as they could.

“The main items on our menu has been around for many years and customers still keep coming back for it. We have to approve anything before it goes out to the customers,” he said.

Evi said they wanted better quality of meats so their chilled beef was imported from Australia.

Besides the variety of steaks, they also had “something for everyone” including vegetarian dishes, pasta, soups, duck, chicken and fish.

The Central Park Mesculin Salad recommended by Halsti and Evi was a delightful serving of crisp greens with orange segments tossed with an orange walnut vinaigrette and can be ordered with grilled prawns, grilled chicken, smoked salmon and grilled beef.

The Wall Street tenderloin steak was flavourful and served with a foie gras and mushroom ragout.

The Fettucine Carbonara was also satisfying to the palate, cooked with asparagus, beef bacon and mushrooms, folded in a creamy sauce.

Dessert was a homemade panna cotta made with fresh mango pieces in it and topped with fresh fruits.

“We also do our own desserts instead of sourcing it from other places so that we know exactly what goes into it,” said Halsti.

Besides the variety of steaks, they also had “something for everyone” including vegetarian dishes, pasta, soups, duck, chicken and fish.

Steak prices range from RM59 to RM118 while the starters and soups start from RM12.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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