Sometimes you get your fill of authentic local cuisine and you hanker for some fusion comfort food just to mix it up a bit and Gastro Sentral at the Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur hits the spot. This newest addition to a line of award winning restaurants has definitely sparkled mylifestylenews during our recent visit in Kuala Lumpur……
Opened in November 2012, Gastro Sentral had stirred the local dining scenes with innovative twists of classic pub and local comfort food. The design and ambience of Gastro Sentral slash bar creates a very semi-formal vibe that encourages you to relax, maybe watch some sports on the television screen, or simply kick back and enjoy their crafted beer or wine as well as some house signature cocktails. The room is incredibly spacious due to the double height ceilings with simple hanging orb lamps. There is also a mix of banquettes, bar tables and stools and normal table set-ups that are generously well apart from each other, so it doesn’t have that crowded vibe of a normal pub. The bar and kitchen face out along one wall and there are floor to ceiling windows to flood the space with some natural light along another wall, with the main open entrance abutting the lobby, so the buzz from the whole lobby environment is there, but not intruding.
The all day menu consists of an array of Continental, Asian and local delights – the fusion element - which makes sense, given that Malaysians are in a melting pot location for cuisines. The menu offers finger food and tapas, providing delicious alternatives to those who enjoy a light meal with a wide range of scrumptious culinary wonders. It also has great headlines to easily draw your attention to sections you might like: PASTA / BEST BITES / HEARTY FARE / REGIONALLY INSPIRED / NEVER MISS BREAKFAST / NIBBLES & BREAD / GASTROMANIA / SOUPS & SALADS / DESSERTS. The ‘keep it simple’ principle always wins our attention in menu design.
We headed to the ‘regionally inspired’ section for our first dish, a Compressed “Satay Spices” Chicken Terrine, with coriander, cucumber, onions and yoghurt salad with chili, ciabatta toasted bread, peanut butter and grape jelly. Sounds quite a mouthful, but on the plate looks a bit more normal and very rustic that served on a cutting board. Despite the moistness of the terrine itself was a little lacking, but all the ingredients were beautifully soft to the touch and very tasty with that hint of satay that was not overpowering. The garlic bread was perfect and the peanut sauce was incredibly rich in flavor and unctuous, being so dense and rich. The presentation for this dish truly reeked upmarket gastro pub food.
Salads are a key ingredient for a good pub menu, so we couldn’t pass on the Caesar Salad with BBQ Chicken, with anchovies and dressing on the side. The chicken was very tender and tasty, the romaine hearts is so crispy and fresh, with the shaved parmesan and brioche bar adding the final touches to the perfect Caesar salad.
The Vongole with chili padi, garlic and angel hair pasta was a nice digression from our previous offerings. The clams were from Sabah and quite sizeable with a good chunk of meat inside and cooked to the level of spiciness just as we had requested. The pasta was spot on too and it never goes wrong with the right amount of garlic and chili used to cook a good vongole and not forgetting fresh juicy clams to boot.
We headed to the meat section for our last two offerings, as we are carnivores at heart. Firstly, the Lamb Spare Ribs, charcoal grilled marinated lamb with a spicy BBQ sauce and deep-fried “pulut” (glutinous rice). The meat is chargrilled to begin with and then cooked for 18 hours ‘sous-vide’ with a final finish in the oven once an order is placed. This was a meat dish oozing so much depth of gamey flavours and cooked to perfection thanks to the sous-vide technique, although that final touch in the oven brings back a crunchier outer texture. The pulut was a pleasant surprise and so enjoyable, plus a good foil for the rich meat and, quite frankly, beat French fries any time.
The Wagyu Beef Cheek with creamy mash, toasted baguette, grilled green asparagus and béarnaise sauce was another well executed and utterly delicious dish from a rich meat perspective. The contrast in cooking style and presentation (think hearty and rustic) with 22 hour braised meat was the jewel in the crown for the tenderness and keeping all the flavours intact for our enjoyment, with the creamy mash a heavenly accompaniment.
Dessert was a long shot after so many good portions of great food, so we decided to share the Orange Caramelized Mousse with home-made vanilla ice cream. Sharing was the key, as it is a very rich sweet offering with a medium-thick ‘sauce’ of caramel. The ice cream was utterly delicious and offset the caramelized mousse beautifully.
Service was attentive, our experience led us to the opinion that it cannot fail to please, as there is a great consistency to the menu and they truly deliver especially for such gastro pub experience. As the small band was not intrusive yet pleasant enough in the background including some live music which was a nice addition to the atmosphere. After all our culinary excursion over past weeks travelling around South East Asia, this was the perfect tonic to get the best of both worlds.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 3.5/5
Food & Beverages: 4.5/5
Value For Money: 4.5/5
Lamb Spare Ribs
2 Jalan Stesen Sentral
Kuala Lumpur Sentral
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +6 03 2263 7888
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.