73, Jalan Raja Chulan,
Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2141 9988
Business hours: noon to 2.30pm,
6.30 to 10.30pm.

SO HERE we were at this contemporary Western outfit at Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur and minutes after we sat down, a basketful of aromatic puri, hot off the wok was placed before us.

Puri for bread in a Western styled restaurant? Surely, they were joking, I thought to myself. And where was the curry to go with the Indian bread?

The curry was a no show, just butter to slap on the crunchy fried bread hence it was a case of buttered puri to start off the meal.

General manager Praba Menon said puri was the dish put out to welcome guests to the restaurant.

“Instead of serving bread, we serve our guests hot puri as it is a nice difference,” he said.

Nevertheless, as soon as the appetisers we had ordered rolled out, a loaf of freshly baked chocolate raisin bread found its way among the dishes.

87EBAFC85E114F0F91E0D67C2AE03F74Maestro in the kitchen: Hotel Istana executive sous chef Alfithri Shah Albakri dishes out wonderful contemporary dishes at Urban.

Despite its laid-back allure, Urban will surprise diners with its lavish and extensive Western fare that can be described as simply appetising.

Here, there are many appetisers and main courses you will find that appeals to you, even if you are a vegetarian.

I personally had a liking for at least four dishes on the menu when I dined there recently, not counting the desserts!

These were the Quail wrapped with Beef Strips, Braised Le Puy Lentil, Petit Salad and Red Grape Jus; Bay Scallops served with Creamy Tagliatelle Leek Fondue and Chervil Nage; Slow Cooked Duck Leg with Mashed Potato, Black Morels and Orange Cinnamon Jus and Braised Lamb Shank in Tomato Lemon Stew on Olive Cous Cous.

What’s interesting about the menu is there is no need to glance back and forth to check the price as each dish, depending on the category they fall under, carry the same price tag.

E2075A6814CC4792BCA70E31098B7580Perfect picture: The Seared Tuna with Tapenade, Soft Boiled Egg, Kalamata Olives and Tomato Chutney is not too heavy to begin with.

The prices, marked on the right of the menu are a big help in estimating how much dinner would cost at the end of the night.

All appetisers are priced at RM45 nett, main courses are tagged at RM85 nett while gourmet specials go for RM148 nett. If you decide to have dessert, the mouthwatering specials are priced at RM35 nett.

Executive sous chef Alfithri Shah Albakri’s delightful appetisers like Foie Gras served with Exotic Fruit Chutney, Birgrade Sauce, Golden Mango Sorbet; Tiger Prawns served with Root Vegetable, Coriander Dressing and Garden Herbs; Filo Tartlet with Olive Tapenade, Basil Pesto, Saute Vegetables and Roots Chip; Sake Cured Salmon served with Avocado Mash, Creme Fraiche and Tomato Basil Sherbet will thrill any tastebud.

44733D678B6A4203873F708B96781BCCTasty crustacean: The Oven Baked Lobster flavoured with Mustard and Brandy served with Truffle Mash is Hotel Istana’s Gourmet Special.

Diners who enjoy seafood for their main course will be delighted to try Black Cod confit with Sauteed Spinach, Rice Crackers and Soy Ginger Orange Sauce; Salmon Fillet on Mushroom Barley Risotto, Clam Fricassee and Ratatouille Jus; Roasted Barramundi Fillet served with Kailan and Star Anise Sauce; Oven Baked Lobster flavoured with Mustard and Brandy served with Truffle Mash; and Baked Salmon, King Prawn, Scallops, Baby Lobster and Mussels with Sherry Butter Sauce.

There are also attractive poultry and meat options such as Lamb Loin with Vanilla, Date Compote, Cheese Ravioli, Rosti and Fresh Thyme Sauce; Grain Fed Tenderloin on Cheesy Potato, Roasted Tomato Cherry Vine and Au Jus; Wagyu Strip Loin Steak served with Russet Potato ‘Millefeuile’ and Jus; Grain Fed Short Ribs Fall-Off-The-Bone paired with a Tasty Gravy and Creamy Potatoes.

Of course, ordering ala carte items off the menu can burn a hole in the pocket if you order too much so the advice is to stick to the recently introduced set dinner menus.

Menon said the restaurant’s previous menu was a lot more meat-oriented but the revamped version now offered a wider selection of ingredients and dishes.

D5E76C66D40341A3B063BF2727CF237EMediterranean flavour: The Braised Lamb Shank in Tomato Lemon Stew on Olive Cous Cous is rich in flavour and lovely with fluffy cous cous.

“We introduced our set dinner menus such as the Urban Dinner and Gourmet Dinner so diners could enjoy our appetisers, main courses and desserts at an affordable price,” he said.

The Urban Dinner meal features an appetiser, main course and dessert for RM135nett while the Gourmet Dinner meal with an appetiser, gourmet special and dessert is priced for RM175 nett.

The distinct difference between the two menus is that the latter offers a smacking choice of main course ingredients like lobster, grain fed short ribs, wagyu strip loin and seafood platter (salmon, scallops, baby lobster and mussels).

Urban’s desserts are a talented work of art and a chef’s desire to plate out the perfect dessert.

In closing our chapter at Urban, we ended with Chocolate Lava Gateaux served with Chocolate Ice Cream; Caramelised Mango with Puff Pastry and Passion Fruit Sorbet; Strawberry Millefeuille with Vanilla Custard and Strawberry Black Pepper Coulis; Souffle with Berries served with Maple Ice-Cream and Lime Caramel Choc & Biscuit Strudel; and Fresh Berries served with Hot Lime Choc.

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

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