[Romantic Dining Spots]
Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur along Jalan Sultan Ismail/ Jalan Raja Chulan in the city’s “golden triangle” has been a mainstay 5-star hotel for many years now, and is still very popular as a business hotel especially for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. Unknown to many though, the hotel has a modern European cuisine restaurant named Urban tucked away behind the Sports Bar, which serves up modern European dishes with an Asian influence. The new menu was specially crafted by Chef Buoy and his culinary team, presenting a dining option that is very unlike the other offerings at the hotel.
The restaurant is currently running a few set menus namely; Lunch Express 59 – a three (3) course lunch menu priced at RM59.00nett, and three (3) different dinner sets to suit different budgets.
- 3 Course Dinner – RM150 nett (Appetizer / Main Course / Dessert)
- Gourmet Special 3 Course Dinner – RM210 nett (Appetizer / Gourmet Special Main Course / Dessert)
- 7 Course Degustation (prior booking required)
There’s also the a la carte menu however we decided to try one 3 Course Dinner set and one Gourmet Special 3 Course Dinner set, the only difference being that you get to choose a main from the Gourmet Specials Mains if you selected the latter set. The dinner sets provide way more value for money than ordering piecemeal/ a la carte actually, therefore unless you’re a really small eater and only want a main I’d highly suggest that you take a set.
Celeriac Vanilla Mousseline, Glazed Peach, Yogurt Passion Fruit Crisp & Truffle Sauce
If there’s one dish that I really love it would have to be grilled foie gras and this one was cooked to perfection! What was even better is that it was made more luxurious with the addition of a truffle sauce while the mousse, peach and berries added some sweetness and piquancy to balance out the rich earthy flavours of the foie gras which can be quite overwhelming (but not to me!) for beginners. If you know how to eat foie gras for goodness sake order this winning appetiser!
Prawn & Black Mussel, Peruvian White Asparagus, Baby Leek, Fuji Apple & Celery Salad, Warm Potato Dressing
This was a really pretty dish which tasted good too! Less heavy than the foie gras but nevertheless still flavourful with lighter and refreshing flavours. Pair this one with a nice glass of white wine!
Diver Sea Scallops
Hazelnut crusted, butternut coulis, gazpacho saffron vegetable dressing, salmon rillette club sandwich and fennel emulsion
The chef was being generous and gave us a third appetiser which was served in a square-ish Petri dish. This was quite an elegant appetiser which combined many different tastes and textures all into a somewhat “experimental” dish (well it was served in a Petri dish after all) which was cool yet intriguing! I gave up trying to discern the individual flavours and just enjoyed the mix altogether which is pretty much the way it’s meant to be eaten anyway. (Us snobby media like to dissect everything much to the chagrin of chefs I’m sure ha ha!)
Crispy Duck Breast (from the normal mains selection)
Crusted with Jordan Almonds, Beef Bacon Crème Caramel, Sauteed Savoy Cabbage, Red Cherry Jus
Yes a creme caramel (which is a dessert) with the main course. But you know what? It worked! The sweet, savoury and rich flavours went well to balance the earth flavours of the duck breast which had a lovely crispy outer layer of almonds. This one had a nice combination of tastes and textures especially when you factor in the Savoy cabbage which has a distinct savoury taste. The red cherry jus was a nice touch to add a hint of sweetness to the dish.
Roasted Venison Loin (Gourmet Specials Main Course)
On Red Cabbage, Orange Segment, Pumpkin Puree, Red Current Jus, Milky Foam
Beautifully pink centre cooked to perfection (I do so hate it when restaurants overcook my proteins). Tender, juicy and flavourful – great for those who know how to appreciate the earthy flavours of venison. The accompanying ingredients did their part to add a balance of flavour preventing the protein from being too overwhelming on the palate. This one would go so well with a full-bodied red wine.
The chef was extra generous and decided to give us three (3) different desserts to try (instead of two). I’m not much of a dessert person however my dining partner for the evening really enjoyed the desserts!
Homemade Apple Tart
Creamy Almond Puree, Cinnamon Gelato, Apple Chip
Manjari 75% Semi Freddo
Dark Chocolate, Caramel Pop Corn Ice Cream
DECADENT but very addictive! If there’s one dessert that I love it has to be anything with dark chocolate especially a high quality dark chocolate like Manjari by renowned Valrhona.
Hazelnut Pate A Choux
Caramelized Nuts, hazelnut Maison Cream, Cranberry Puree
I must say that I was quite impressed with my meal at Urban. The chef employed some modern cooking techniques and was not shy to incorporate non-traditional flavours to the dishes. The pricing is pretty reasonable too and the best part is that you can bring over your own wine to enjoy with your meal without being charged a corkage fee.
While the premium dining scene in Kuala Lumpur has been stagnant for a while no thanks to the faltering economy, having a restaurant like Urban which serves semi-fine dining fare in a nice romantic atmosphere and most importantly – at reasonable prices certainly does add a welcome breath of fresh air into the F&B scene. I honestly never thought I’d ever be having a romantic modern European meal in a business hotel like Hotel Istana but I was quite happy to be proven wrong.
Urban Modern European Restaurant is located at:
Ground Floor, Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur,
73, Jalan Raja Chulan,
50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Telephone: 603 2141 9988
Lunch (12:00 noon to 2.30 pm),
Dinner (6:30 pm to 10:30 pm).
*On Saturday, Urban is open for dinner only. It is closed on Sunday and Public Holidays