There was no plan A when we ventured out for dinner on that Saturday evening. Plan B was suggested by Crystal and we went along. It is actually a small chain of chic cafes and restaurants around the Klang Valley. They have outlets in Mid-valley, Bangsar Village, Paradigm Mall, 1Utama and the Publika in Solaris Dutamas.
1U is nearest to our home, and that was where we headed to. Plan B in 1Utama is located inside the Isetan Departmental Store, in what they call the Eat Paradise on the first floor.
It was a small place, tucked in a corner of the Eat Paradise. The ambiance was somewhat busy and noisy. But they had comfortable seats and a partitioned area that could still be conducive for a relaxing meal.
I don't know where they prepared the food. I did not see a kitchen - just a large counter from where our dishes apparently emerged.
The menu had an interesting message - "When life gives you lemon, make lemonade". This proverbial phrase is apparently used to encourage optimism in the face of adversity and misfortune. However, when it is on the front cover of the menu, I take it to mean - whatever that is in the menu, eat it.
But the menu was really not that bad. In fact, it offered quite a wide and interesting selections. It had good breakfast and brunch options, snacks, soups, salads, burgers & sandwiches, pastas, pastries and desserts, and wide ranging drinks including coffees and teas, and even wines, liquors and sakes. The selections were repeated in this large display board.
We started our meal sharing this duck confit & orange salad. It was an Asian-Western fusion dish and it was delicious. It had slices of duck meat in watercress, onion, orange segments, pumpkin seeds in a orange maple syrup. It is not often we see watercress used in salads. Perhaps it is not a suitable vegetable. But in this duck confit, it tasted very good indeed.
Next, we had the spicy crabmeat linguine. Another fusion preparation. The pasta was scented with lemon grass and kaffir lime, and tossed with tomato and garlic in a spiced prawn oil. And the portion of crabmeat was generous. It was another most credible fare. The linguine was nicely al dente. The tangy and spicy flavour was very much to our taste.
I particularly liked this Asian soft-shell crab spaghettini. The fine spaghetti was cooked in a rich creamy butter sauce. In it was chilli padi, crispy fried curry leaves and sprinkling of chilli flakes. It was served with a huge portion of spicy deep fried soft-shell crab. The crab blended superbly with the pasta. Again, the pasta was nicely al dente. It was a simple yet delicious preparation.
The teriyaki salmon fillet was served with a small potion of cold soba in a light soy sauce and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. It was very pleasantly presented. The salmon was wonderfully done - crispy yet succulent inside. The soy sauce blended the fish and noodles elegantly. The flavour was subtle and mild, and yet so delicious. Credit to the chef for the innovation.
We had this side order of fried calamari (squid) to supplement our dishes - not that the dishes needed anything extra. The serving was big. It arrived piping hot (where is the kitchen?). The squid was very fresh and it was not overdone as to be rubbery. It was served with a slice of lemon and a mayo dip.
It was only 3 of us. And we ate all that, with more to come. Dessert was apple pie and ice cream. Fortunately is wasn't a very large serving and we managed it.
I had my usual long black to complete a most satisfying meal.
With a Plan B like this, who needs A? But the plan was not exactly cheap. The total damage was more than 200 bucks. The next time we come across small inconspicuous eateries like this - especially those with funny names - we shouldn't under-estimate them. They can be really big in taste as well as in prices.