Champagne and Sunday Roast is best with a fey friend, with side servings of fashion and gossip.
G110, Ground Floor
Bangsar Shopping Centre
Jalan Maarof, Bangsar
Tel: (03) 2095 8098
Countess C personifies effervescence. It’s as if a “positive aura” army marches alongside her, in tune with her every movement, every day.
She also knows everyone, so whenever we arrange to meet, I have to be patient while she, without fail, stops to chat with all those who clamour to draw from her ebullient vibes. So, arriving at The Pressroom, I order a glass of Torres Vina Brava Rosado (RM20) and settle down to wait for the Countess to sweep in.
Twenty minutes later, as if on cue, I hear her first before I see her.
A loud, tinkly “Hellooo”, like champagne bubbling over, greets the owner and a waiter at the Anglo-French Brasserie.
“My God! Did you see all the people we know here?” she gasps, swooping down to kiss me on both cheeks. “Everyone is in Bangsar Shopping Centre!”
The always fashionable Countess has donned a strapless, floral dress and mile-high wedges. But what steals her show that afternoon is the shapely yet structured Fendi Silvana tote. In colour-blocked canary and cobalt (not even available in Malaysia then!), it hangs oh-so-chic on her slender arm. I hate her already — and I’ve yet to hear about her recent Milan and London visits.
Did I mention she’s skinny, too? And that she can really eat?
Regally, in between gossiping about who we have bumped into, she summons the waiter over to our table. Although we are only ordering a RM28 glass each, she persuades him to open a bottle of Cavas Hill Champagne.
The circling ceiling fans reduce the searing afternoon heat, while the dark wooden furniture, vaulted ceiling and a gorgeous chandelier out on the terrace add a luxuriant feel to the ambience, especially since it is not teeming with other diners, unlike other restaurants lining the boulevard of this fabulously refurbished location.
Veal is unavailable, so I opt for the Roast Carve Lamb Leg (RM45, without dessert) from the utterly delectable Sunday Roast Menu. It is a sight to behold: steamy strips of moist lamb on a bed of roasted vegetables, topped by a pair of insouciant Yorkshire Puddings.
With every mouthful, I simply want more. The meat — requested to be “slightly more than” medium — is sublimely tender, with the edges beautifully browned. Without smothering the natural flavour of the lamb in mushroom sauce, the meat’s simple succulence stands out.
The roasted broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, French beans and mushrooms tossed in herbs are excellent. Crunchy and tender in turns, they perfectly complement the roast.
And the Yorkshire Puddings? The best I’ve had outside of Yorkshire. This staple of the Sunday Roast was traditionally served to fill up diners, as the batter cooked in meat dripping was cheaper than meat and vegetables. But the ones at this restaurant deserve their own spot on the menu — light and soft fluffy puds with generous dollops of gravy.
It is not difficult to be a vegan, proclaims the Countess, she of the 21st-century, non-dairy type, albeit one who still loves her leather. She asks for no cheese or anchovies in her Mediterranean Pizza (RM29, standard). Instead, on top of the marinated tomatoes and grilled zucchini, she cajoles the waiter to add spinach and fresh basil.
However, the first attempt fails to please, and the Countess courteously sends back the mistakenly mozzarella-ed pizza. The second time around, it is as she desired, thin-crusted with the tomatoes tangy.
“But the crust could have been crispier,” she judges. As a side dish, she orders the Sautéed Spinach (RM12) without garlic (which I taste tentatively), along with a RM10 serving of Roasted Vegetables.
We decide to forego the desserts. I did say she was a thin chick, didn’t I? Instead, we have a Long Black (RM7) each and spend a few more hours simply catching up. You see, the Countess is another talent who has drained away from us. She works in fashion in that neighbouring country, as well as overseeing the brand here. So, whenever she’s in town, we have plenty to talk about.
Surprisingly, food is not usually high on our list of priorities, but this time around, we are pleasantly distracted by the selection of classic French cuisine. With or without the Countess, I must return if only to try the Fillet of Beef with Foie Gras and Creamy Spinach (RM120), Lobster Risotto with Saffron and Seafood Provencal (RM53) and Barramundi Fillet with Bisque Sauce and Fresh Asparagus (RM38), as recommended by our intrepid KL food bloggers.
But, do adept photos and a greedy disposition an online food reviewer make? They were raving about how “yummy” these dishes were but not in many words.
For the Countess and me, the cuisine counts more with conversation, and so we enjoy yet another round of tete-a-tete, even if I am covertly reviewing the restaurant. And the staff gains extra points for fulfilling the Countess’ every whim, including soya milk (which they do not have, but take the trouble to obtain).
As always, it is another mad, decadent afternoon with the Countess, full of fizz and buzz. I leave for home with not a little of her positive aura about me, and a good lunch inside me.
Lady Gasak fears the very thin line she treads between vanity and gluttony.