Clams and fish, pork burgers and ribs, with a devil curry in between – the bistro fare at 42East will please most palates.
I REMEMBER well the Clam Pot at 42East in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, when I first ate there five months ago. The bistro had some surprisingly good dishes to offer, with the Clam Pot being one of them.
And the Devil Chicken Curry.
We order the clams again on our second visit there – fresh, fat, juicy ones bathed in a delicious stock with lots of onions, garlic and herbs, and finished with white wine. The pot of clams is still served on a wooden board, with garlic bread, and an empty bowl to put the shells in.
After finishing the clams, we soak the bread in the stock. We all love it. I would come back for this again.
The bistro reopened last September, after closing for five months. Though it has a new look, the menu remains the same. Here’s the place to have tapas and snacks from 3pm onwards, and these range from Spicy Hungarian Sausages, Clam Pot and Devil Chicken Curry, to Meatballs in Homemade Tomato Sauce, Malacca Pork Satay and Chicken Wings with Guinness Glaze, among others.
The Devil Chicken Curry was lip-smacking good the last time I was here. The Portuguese Eurasian curry we have this time around has that fiery-red chilli colour, but it’s not as devilishly hot as I had expected, though the curry is fragrant with all the spices, as well as sweetness from shallots and chicken, and a tangy lift from vinegar, one of the ingredients of this curry.
Slices of bread complement the curry, but I find myself longing for some rice to go with it.
A top choice on 42East’s menu is of course the Pork Ribs with Guinness Glaze, mashed potato and sautéed vegetables. You could order a half slab or a full slab. It’s grilled baby back ribs imported from Holland. These are presented on a wooden board, with sweet Guinness sauce, and a large bowl of carrot, broccoli and cauliflower sautéed with butter and garlic. Moist, tender meat falls off the ribs that glisten with the dark Guinness glaze.
I would have preferred it a little less sweet – a sprinkling of salt would have done the trick. The vegetables were crunchy and garlicky, and I enjoyed them very much.
The Pork Burger is also very popular with diners at the bistro. It has a 300g pork patty with gherkins, and layered with tomato, lettuce and a slice of pineapple. It’s drizzled with some mayonnaise and surrounded by chips, for good measure.
It’s a luscious burger, with a flavourful patty, and I like that the pineapple and gherkins give a fruity and then tart balance to it. But I still wish for a more solid sesame bun with this.
The Fettucine Carbonara is so good. A generous portion of smoky bacon, roughly chopped, and just enough cream give lots of oomph to the fettucine which is satisfyingly al dente.
We also have some Hungarian sausages at the start. These chunky sausages spiced with paprika are springy to the bite, with mustard drizzled over them to give an added lift. We also nibble on some spicy crispy bacon, which is perfect with some chilled beer, or a perky lime margarita which this bistro is known for.
We would have had some Malacca Pork Satay with that famous pineapple sauce, but they ran out of it.
We have a choice of chocolate brownies or apple pie for dessert. We choose the apple pie, and it is scrumptious, baked with sliced apple on top and within. It has a cake-like semolina texture, which we all love, and it isn’t sweet.
The restaurant also serves family favourites like Fish and Chips and Meatball Linguine, and junior-size portions of Fried Chicken Chop with black pepper sauce, sautéed vegetables and mashed potato. Also on the menu is a Vegetarian Platter with sautéed mushrooms, cauliflower and sautéed potatoes.
If pork is not your thing, there’s Braised Lamb Shank in Guinness, and surprisingly, an English classic Beef Wellington (roasted beef loin in pastry with mushrooms in cream sauce) which I have not seen on any menu for a long time.