Werner’s on Changkat
50, Changkat Bukit Bintang
Tel: 03-2142 5670
Fax: 03-2145 1375
Facebook: werner’s on changkat
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun5.00pm to 3.00am
The Lady and her Lord go Italian on Changkat Bukit Bintang.
LONG before Changkat Bukit Bintang became the trendy street that it is now, I used to while away afternoons cocooned with friends in the then deliciously decadent Long Island Ice Tea House, sipping long, tall glasses of its namesake drink.
Last Sunday, returning to my old stomping ground, I saw that the transformed Changkat, with its innumerable new bars and restaurants, is no less fascinating. Despite the spruced-up frontages, the street still keeps its history.
We settled upon Werner’s on Changkat, on the corner of Jalan Nagasari. Housed in a 1940 building, it woos wandering tourists and locals alike. Thirsty after roaming, we ordered a Caipirinha and a Lychee Martini (RM28 each). The Lord expected but didn’t quite get the Brazilian experience he somehow craved, although he claimed it stemmed his thirst but did not quite quench it.
The Lord then indulged in his customary dithering over the menu, pondering the merits of French, Italian and Spanish cheeses with pumpernickel, grapes, crackers, walnuts and dried apricots, the starter special. Then, declaring he needed a “nourishing soup” to slake his still nagging thirst, he scoured the three soups on offer.
At last, we started with the complementary soft and light home-made foccaccia bread, followed by Insalata Caprese (RM33) with an equally light touch of tomatoes, mozzarella slices and cucumber brushed with basil leaves and dusted but not drowning in olive oil.
Taste buds enlivened, we took the Myanmar waiter’s recommendation of Seafood Cataplana (RM50, for half portion). This simple, rustic meal is one of Portugal’s national dishes.
Cooked in a Moorish influenced cataplana domed dish, the seafood – lobster, clams, mussels, prawns and squid – was cooked in a light broth that included white wine, garlic and onions. Potatoes, zucchini, mushroom and thick slices of chicken chorizo held the dish together. Full of flavour, the slightly spicy broth went perfectly well with the accompanying side serving of butter and herb rice.
The slow-cooked nourishing broth satisfied at one go the Lord’s thirst and his somewhat eccentric wish for “good, solid peasant fare”. For me, the dish was hearty and delicious, a light flavourful cross between stew and curry.
Conversation from an adjoining table became more audible as we focused on the feast before us. A curly-haired, kurta-clad Australian was holding court, dishing out nuggets of business knowledge to the attentive Asian pair drinking with him.
“You mean, this is still going on?” I nudged the Lord to listen in.
Dismissing with a snort my interest in eavesdropping, he proceeded with his Linguine with Werner’s Favourite (RM36), their signature sauce. I generally avoid pasta, but as usual I found myself forking linguine from the Lord’s plate, incurring a darting look of disapproval.
Smoked duck, chilli, basil, shallots and white truffle oil equals very, very tasty. The duck, roasted just right, was neither overpowering nor too spicy despite dried chillies slices wrapped around the pasta.
“I’m not a duck fan,” the Lord said, but conceded that this was the tastiest pasta he’d had in a long time.” And the tangy chilly taste certainly rounded off the marvellous dish nicely.
To top off the meal, we chose from the limited Dolce list. II Werner Speciale (RM22.50) consisting of fresh strawberries in mango sauce with chocolate mousse and wild raspberry sorbet for the Lord. Reluctant to let me taste it, he watched dolefully as I took spoonful after spoonful. This burst of sweetness and freshness was the perfect ending to an evening meal. Until the Lord motioned towards my as-yet-untouched afters.
“Err… what about your dessert?”
Mine was Gelato di Casa (RM12) – two scoops of Chocolate and Pistachio homemade ice-cream. Not only was it better value than our previous choice and absolutely divine, it did the trick of reminding me of dreamy days at The Long Island Ice Tea House.
Prices at Werner’s are not low, but the dining experience, apart from trying to understand the waiters’ English, was memorable. But the friendly staff’s service was exemplary. They answered all our questions, were eager to recommend dishes and even took us on a tour of the upstairs bar and terrace.
Clearly more decadent days are yet to be enjoyed on Changkat Bukit Bintang.