Chilled wine, fine company and a sumptuous set lunch at Le Midi – what more could one ask for?
Contemporary, colourful and crisp – Le Midi Restaurant in Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur, is all that and more. The dining area is capacious, invitingly laid out with a private dining area, lounge and live music corner, where light and Med-decor wood interplay.
I took a table by the window wall and waited for the arrivals of Lord Restrain and our dear friend, the Princess of Patpong. Our Princess is a hoot, and the Lord adores her, so I reluctantly share her incomparable company with him.
I do keep reminding him, though, that he really needs to find his own friends. She is a top-draw, and we share a passion for anti-ageing products and tools, much to the Lord’s derision.
Oh, and her great grandmother, at the turn of the 20th century, owned the now-infamous neon-lit strip in Bangkok.
Ordering a set lunch usually means either one of two things: being too lazy to think about what to eat or great taste at top value. But our decision, hastened by my insistence, was for both these reasons, as well as the opportunity to try as many dishes as possible.
After all, I had a responsibility to my readers. In any case, my two companions were dithering, busy practising their fractured French.
We were invited to prepare our taste-buds with hot olive ciabatta or plain ciabatta rolls with lashings of mint and eggplant dip. These turned out to be surprisingly smooth, tantalisingly tasting of fennel. The palate-cleaning Amuse Bouche was also complimentary.
Unlike others, the Le Midi Set Lunch (two-course, RM48++ and three-course, RM68++) packs an impressive array of starters, first course, main course and dessert, including homemade Italian lemonade, tea or coffee.
Lord Restrain paid homage to his homeland by picking the Potato Leek Cream Soup as his starter.
“Not too creamy – lovely, lingering taste of potato and leek. Nice and light, just right for lunch,” he pronounced. The Princess, meanwhile, went for Roasted Duck Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing. Though beautifully presented, the duck was a tad tender, and she wished it had been slightly crispier. But the sauce she judged “superb – very fine and fresh”.
I skipped the starter and began with my first course, a most delectable Linguine With Homemade Pesto Sauce that, unfortunately, I could not stop eating. It was exactly how I like it, without too much tart pesto taking over the dish. Just the right amount of pine nuts, too, along with a sprinkling of delicate cheese slivers. Not sharing that.
That’s when I realised we were missing sips of chilled white wine. Our solicitous waiter astutely recommended the Australian Two In The Bush, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (RM28 per glass) which the Princess and I instantly opted for. Chilled, this crisp, light wine with a full lemon flavour was the perfect accompaniment to our meal.
The Lord decided on an Italian Fontana Candida Frascati (RM28 per glass) that was equally smooth and light, with a dry, fruity bouquet making it a worthy partner to pasta and salad.
For the main course, we had Pan-fried Garoupa With Carrots And Asparagus. It looked enticing, but sadly it did not wow us. The fish tasted elastic and a bit overpowering, although the accompanying vegetables were perfect. After our immediate feedback, however, Garoupa was graciously replaced with Cod.
The Ink Seafood Ravioli With Saffron Sauce was a little too creamy for me, but my two companions relished it. Blithely biting off a piece, the Lord perceived more pasta than seafood filling, but the pasta was firm and springy. To this pasta lover, the creamier the better – he promptly polished it off. By the time we arrived at the Spinach Fettuccine With Roasted Eggplant And Tomato Sauce, topped with ricotta, we were on pasta overload. But it looked great, with its generous helpings of fresh tomatoes and eggplant.
The Moroccan Chicken Tagine served with Cous-cous looked very appetising, its texture and colour adding to its exotic appeal and promise. The racy raisin cous cous cooked with chickpeas and olives was grainy, yet tender. However, the chicken was disappointing, tasting slightly dry and chewy.
Full up, yet how can one desert dessert? Catching up over coffee, the two French-speaking fops wanted their Cappucinos (RM12 each), and so from the restaurant’s a la carte menu we chose Crème Brulee scented with Aromatic Provencal Orange Blossom and Almond Parfait dressed with Chocolate Flakes and Amarena Sauce.
“One of my favourite desserts,” the Lord announced to no one in particular, and proceeded to demolish most of it. He gushed about the beautifully soft texture and cracking caramelised sugar. I preferred the not-so-sweet nuttier and crunchier alternative, with gorgeous chocolate rolls and cherries.
This was a true taste of Mediterranean cuisine. We must return, we said, for their Sunday Brunch (RM88 for non-alcoholic, and RM188 with free-flow bubbly and wine per person). The only thing missing at our mid-week meet-up was a view of the Mediterranean Sea, I thought after we left the restaurant.
But that’s no reason not to mosey on down to Le Midi.
Lady Gasak fears the very thin line she treads between vanity and gluttony.