April 6, 2012

Urban, Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur: A New Feast Awaits Your Sight and Taste!

A New Journey of Gastronomic Menu has begun at Urban, Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur!
*Extra long post with loads of food pics! J

Modern eclectic fusion with a French touch is Urban’s forte. Helmed by Chef Sharusmizal and his team, the culinary wizards of Urban, Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur, has created a brand new feast in their tantalizing menu, cranking out delectable cravings for its signature three and four-course dinners. Dedicated to serve quality food, this new menu allows guests to sample dishes that are prepared with the freshest ingredients and finest recipes.

Urban is an ideal “chill-out” venue in the centre of this bustling cosmopolitan city – it is a contemporary western restaurant with an informal yet relaxing ambience. The Urban décor concept is of fashionably chic design within an ambience of sheer comfort and casual surrounding that displays three different seating styles in a Zen-styled open setting. In essence, Urban resembles a culinary theatre, complete with a well-stocked wine-bar featuring over 300 international labels. Urban is ideal for presentations, launches and cosy gatherings with a comfortable capacity of 90 people for social or private get-togethers. It also serves vegetarian dishes for one to order.

‘I believe that cooking from the heart, to be passionate and humble while injecting creative cooking styles and ingredients in the food, is the way to respect the cuisine and the diners’ quoted Chef Sharusmizal.

Born native in Kuala Lumpur, Chef Sharusmizal bin hj Mohammed Salleh started his career at the very basic level of a steward before working his way up to one of today’s most creative and undiscovered culinary wizard in the gastronomical industry! As the saying goes, ‘A Journey of a Thousand Miles begins with a Single Step!’, Chef Sharusmizal was given his first step by an Executive Chef from France, who was impressed by his passion for the industry, gave Chef Sharusmizal the opportunity to work his way up in his kitchen in France. Trained under several renowned Michelin stars chefs in Nantes, Nice and Bristol throughout the years, Chef Sharusmizal was also responsible for a pre-opening of a French gastronomic fine dining restaurant in Bali that was awarded the best new fine dining restaurant in Indonesia. Leading Urban as ‘Chef de Cuisine’, Urban was awarded as one of Malaysia’s Best Restaurant for its exceptional cuisine and service by Malaysia Tatler in 2011!

I had high expectations for Urban after the last two visits here and here. Excited at the thoughts of a new Fusion-Asian cuisine using French techniques, I was thrilled when I read the new menu. Ordering was the toughest decision that night!

Bread is one of my weaknesses… especially really good bread. All bread served at Urban is made by the chef and his team. Glad to see a familiar sight in the form of Puri, I happily indulged in the light fluffy bread with the house signature Chicken Liver Pate and the Herb and Sundried Tomato Butters.

Olive Bread served with Olive Oil and Sundried Tomato Dip was a new addition and was very well received by us that night. It was quite difficult for me to stop reaching out for more bread and dip!

We were served three very different amuse-bouches that night. Popcorn and Cumin was simply too adorable to be eaten. Served in paper cones, the crispy nuggets of corn were spiced up with cumin and curry leaves.

The second amuse-bouche was a Prawn, Papaya and Coconut Salad. Reminiscence of a Thai papaya salad, poached prawn was paired with a kerabu composition of julienned green papaya, coconut flesh, lemongrass, mint and laksa leaves, ginger torch, peanut and more. Sweet, sour and savory, the amuse-bouche was a pleasant teaser of Chef Sharusmizal’s artistry.

Our third amuse-bouche showcased an interesting combination through Foie Gras Gyoza Dumpling with Coffee Sauce. The name sounds complex but the combination works really well together. I tasted the heavenly foie gras in the dumpling while the coffee sauce tasted more like Hoisin with a subtle hint of coffee in the backend.


An Urban signature, the Urban Quattro Signature Dish showcased a four piece tasting plate of Foie Gras, Salmon, Prawn Risotto and Duck Breast!

Pan seared with a rich and creamy bite, the Foie Gras was complimented by brunoise of mango and pear chutney. The balance of sweet, savory and fruity flavors contrasted beautifully against the rich goose liver. I also adored the crunchy textures of the pear with the soft silky foie gras. Salmon cured and sprinkled with spices and seaweed, the luscious omega rich fish was salty and robust on the tongue.

Prawn Risotto had a juicy prawn sitting neatly on risotto. The dark brown sauce was savory and rich while the risotto had a creamy bite to it. The final four of the course was Duck Breast slices covered in a nutty and fruity sauce. A little sweet, the duck slices were delicious with the bits of textured sauce.

The dish of Pan Fried Escalope Foie Gras with Caramelized Dark Grapes and Port Jus is exceptional… rich yet not heavy at all! A generous piece of goose liver seared and dressed with dark sweet sauce tainted with grapes and port was the epitome of perfection in my opinion. If there is one thing done exceptionally well at Urban, it’s definitely the foie gras!

Sake Cured Salmon with Avocado Mash, Crème Fraiche and Tomato Basil Sorbet evoked a sense of déjà vu! Immensely popular in the old menu, this was roped into the new menu due to popular request by customers. Gentle, luscious and savory described the dish while the intense tomato sorbet wowed me again.

Homemade Potato Gnocchi with Beech Mushroom, Olive Parmesan and Thyme Butter Sauce was a golden sight! Tender potato gnocchi were swimming in a golden pool of butter sauce with sauté mushrooms for silky rich and earthy flavors.

A fellow foodie loves his prawns! Opting for Wok Fried King Prawns with Garlic Chips, Thyme and Cold Soba Noodle was a no-brainer for him. A big king prawn fried with garlic chips summed up the sweet juicy crustacean with a garlic bite. Chilled soba noodles dashed with seaweed flakes and Japanese chili seasoning was a tad too salty according to him. Thyme, micro greens and cherry tomato completed the dish.

Another fellow foodie had the Napoleon of Portobello Mushroom and Turnip with Ginger Soy Mirin Sauce. I had a bite and sank my teeth into a juicy thick soft piece of the earthy portobello mushroom with its juices bursting in my mouth. Despite the non-existence of meat, I enjoyed this very much! Soft braised turnip was sweet and savory, exuding a sense of comfort in the dish.

Pennoni Giganti Pasta with Spicy Crushed Tomato, Artichoke and Smoked Duck seemed a little heavy for an appetizer but pasta lovers would not mind! The portion was huge and everyone that savored the dish gave thumbs up on the pasta. The sauce of rustic tomatoes with small cubed smoked duck was marvelous and addictive. Flavors were just spot on while textures were complimentary. Pasta for an appetizer… why not? J

My choice of Spicy King Crab Cake, Asian Coleslaw Salad and Chili Jam Marmalade portrayed a more Asian influenced creation. Artistically presented in a long rectangle platter, the two discs of crab cakes had flaky crab meat jazzed up with spices and citrus. Served with colorful and crunchy coleslaw flavored with zesty citrus and herbs, it lightened up the crab cakes very well. An innocent quenelle of dark marmalade brought a kick-up bite of spiciness to the overall dish.

A powerful head start of the meal is finished off with a palate cleanser in the form of a Jackfruit Sorbet. We were bravely told by the chef that he made this sorbet in the evening before we arrive! Through the many visits I had at Urban, Chef Sharusmizal’s sorbets features local fruits for a Malaysian touch. Sweet and scented with jackfruit, the sorbet was just refreshing and aromatic. The sorbet was so good, a fellow foodie wanted a whole tub of this!


A list of fifteen choices, my pick was the Angus Rib eye with Truffle Mash, Tempura Vegetables and Olive Thyme Sauce. Taking center stage was a juicy piece of fairly thick rib eye cooked to medium. Portion is huge for a small eater.

Crowning the succulent steak is lightly fried tempura vegetables and truffle scented mash potato, lending some carbs and vegetables to the meat. The herb sauce was quite mild so that one can taste the meat flavors in its glory. I am seriously still drooling over this as I am writing the post!

Marinated Chicken Breast with Balsamic Shallots, Kumara Mash and Cream Tarragon Sauce sounds anything but boring! A huge breast of chook was nicely grilled and luscious up with a creamy white sauce scented with tarragon herb. Kumara or sweet potato mash is sweet, almost creamy and smooth in accompaniment of the chicken while balsamic glazed whole shallots liven up the dish. A safe but scrumptious dish for those who prefer poultry!

Venison is a very lean meat and extra care is required to ensure a tender bite. Farm Venison Loin with Poached Pear, Chestnut Puree, and Cherries Jus displayed a hint of exoticness to the overall dish. Tender medium cooked venison loin slices goes really well with the sweet and sour cherry jus. Nutty flavors oozed from the chestnut puree while the orange poached pear added an adorable touch to the meat. Blackberries, gooseberry and cherries dressed up the presentation of the dish.

Duck lovers, make sure to check this out! Taking on the infamous French Duck l’ Orange, Chef Sharusmizal was inspired to create Seared Duck Breast with Orange Glazed Daikon and Tonkatsu Sauce. Ingeniously fusion with a Japanese sauce, plump duck breast slices were juicy and pink. The sweet and sour glazed daikon was united with the duck through Tonkatsu sauce made from apple juice, tomato puree and mustard. Niblets of corn brought sweetness and brightness to the dish. Simply sumptuous!!

Sole Meunière is a classic French dish featuring sole dredged in flour and pan-fried in the French’s favorite ingredient, butter! Urban’s Sole Fish Meunière with Herb Potato and Citron Confit exuded mild and gentle flavors with the richness of butter. Pommes Olivettes or simply a type of French cut potato perfumed with herbs and preserved citrus added another dimension to the fish.

Sliced Beef Tenderloin with Slow Cooked Hand Cut Fries, Marjoram and Shallot Sauce sounds amazing from the get go! Look at the sight of the gorgeous medium sliced beef and expect beefy flavors dressed with an aromatic marjoram and shallot sauce. Thick cuts of potato and purple sweet potato brought colors and carbs to the meat while lightly dressed greens provided some vitamins. Hearty, bold and magnificent sumed up the dish!

A fellow foodie had doubts about Risotto with Forest Mushroom, Garden Peas and Hokkaido Scallops when ordering but was glad he did as the dish was spectacular! So superb, he was hesitant in sharing the risotto cooked to al dente. I had a bite of the luscious buttery risotto and wanted more. The rich sensation of butter is highly recognized in the creamy short grain rice. Paired with seared juicy sweet scallops, mushrooms and peas, the rice is lethally addictive. Stamping my approval for this scrumptious dish… J

The main course offers plenty of other choices from grass fed veal rack to quail and lamb loin. Seafood dishes are plenty from St. Peter’s fish and Red Mullet to Tiger prawns. Decisions are hard when everything from the menu reads like poetry!


There are four Gourmet Specials and we got to savored them all that night! Starting from a bright Oven Baked Lobster with Hint Tandoori Spice, Harissa Potato and Pilaf Rice, where lobster meat are cut up and marinated with tandoori spices and baked. The crustacean meat was tender and moist while the distinctive flavors of the Indian spice sang on high notes. Harissa potato and rice pilaf never stood out since the lobster stole the show!

Wagyu, one of the ultimate beef for every beef connoisseurs, made its presence in Wagyu Strip Loin Steak with Russet Potato Millefeuille and Jus at Urban. Imagination of a melt-in-the-mouth tender beef marbled with its own tasty fats doesn’t even cut the cake here. You have to taste this fabulous piece of beef to get the full satisfaction of what a piece of wagyu does to carnivores like me!

Flavors are juicy, succulent, tasty and almost buttery. Served in its own jus, the wagyu was a top favorite for everyone that night. It just felt perfect on its own natural flavors, so much so, that I would hog this whole piece to myself for selfish purposes!

For a seafood expedition, check out Baked Salmon, King Prawn, Scallop, Baby Lobster and Mussel with Ginger Beurre Blanc Sauce. Grilled seafood is served with a luscious French beurre blanc sauce so silky smooth and hinted with ginger and citrus. I like the emulsified butter sauce a lot as the richness is not over cloying and goes very well with seafood.

Seafood Papillote with Vegetable and Shallot Reduction Sauce showcased seafood baked in a parchment package. Papillote is the French word for parchment so in this case, prawns, mussels, fish and clams are neatly wrapped and steam baked in its own juices. Gentle aroma and flavors burst into the air as soon as the package was open and we happily dug in.


Although the food is fabulous, make sure to save room for some sweets! It’s definitely worth the space… wink!

Another popular conversation piece from the previous menu is also available and that is the Lime Caramel Chocolate with Biscuit Strudel, Fresh Berries and Hot Lime Chocolate.

Hot Lime Chocolate is brought to the table to pour onto the dome of chocolate!

A pool of oblivion mess is the aftermath and diners can dig into the luscious chocolate caramel with crushed bits of strudel and fresh berries. A dessert meant for sharing and let’s not forgets the conversation piece! J

Lemon Curd with Almond Tart Shell and Mascarpone Cream featured a wedge of pretty tart covered with meringue and a quenelle of sweet mascarpone cream. Sour and sweet, the tart is quite zesty while the rich mascarpone cream tones down the citrus.

A sweet and pastel pink dessert of Raspberry Bavarois with Sesame Tuile and Sapodilla Sorbet made me smile at sight! Basically a Bavarois is a Bavarian or thickened cream set into a mould with gelatin. The version here is flavored with raspberry to give it a fruity and slightly sour taste. Served with sapodilla or ciku sorbet, the thickened cream is surprisingly light and creamy. A truly unique combination of international and local fruits!

Apple Crumble with Madagascan Vanilla Ice Cream, Peanut and Almond Crumble is certainly a mouthful but rest assured, the taste is comforting and sweet. Yes, I am sure the list of ingredients is long but everything seems to meld together like a symphony of harmony. Sweet, creamy, nutty and contrasting textures are the few words to describe the apple crumble.

I am glad that Chocolate Lava, Parfait and Bitter Chocolate Tart with Coconut Ice Cream were served the last! Taking top spot in the popularity stakes on the dessert list, the various medley of cocoa is an art by itself.

As the warm cocoa lava oozed out from the cake, all forks were at site waiting to dive into the heavenly aphrodisiac. Chocolate lava cake had a good balance of taste as it was not overly sweet and I tasted dark and deep cocoa flavors. Parfait mirrored a chocolate mousse while the bitter chocolate tart provided a rich bitter cocoa taste. Loved the coconut ice cream as the icy sensation elevated the palette of chocolates into oblivion of pleasures! Such a happy ending… J

Chef Sharusmizal has outdone himself again. Unbounded by traditions, the man fused his creations with local ingredients and French techniques. The new menu is made up of complex ingredients both international and local but flavors united harmoniously. The creations are presented like artwork… almost too beautiful to be eaten. Urban is certainly the place to discover a feast of eclectic creations where the sky is the limit!

Stripping the menu apart, the Innovative Appetisers are RM50nett per dish, the Main Courses are RM90nett per dish, the Gourmet Specials are RM158nett per dish and the Desserts are RM40nett per dish. However, as a three-Course Dinner you get an unbelievable RM145nett per person, or if you prefer the Four-Course Gourmet Special – RM185nett per person! All topped off with coffee or tea and special homemade bread.

For reservations call 03-2141 9988 ext 3691 or urban@hotelistana.com.my

Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur
Lobby Level, East Wing
73, Jalan Raja Chulan,
50200 Kuala Lumpur
For Reservations: +603 2141 9988 ext: 3691
Email: urban@hotelistana.com.my

*Thanks to Pat and the team for the fabulous evening!


  1. Can I....can I.....can I steal all your photo?

  2. My eyes are over the desserts! All look so yummy ;-)

    1. oh yes! but then again, most of the dishes are superb.. ;)

  3. See the dessert quite tempting one!

    1. Yes but not only desserts, the other dishes are also fabulous!

  4. The presentation looks beautiful. I want some of those desserts.

    1. I guess dessert is a popular choice! I think every dish as a lovely artistic presentation... =)

  5. WAHH.. it was indeed a aristocratic meall!! MMMMMM~~~especially the lava cake.. needless so say....><

    1. hehehe... yes.. that meal was simply unforgetable! ;)

  6. Really beautiful photos. I think this place is worth trying when we have something to celebrate next. ;)

    1. thanks! yes, you shld as the set dinner is worth the value! :0)

  7. aww why must all of the food look so heavenly good! I'm eyeing on the hokkaido scallop, so fresh it looks!

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    1. I agree... I just couldnt decide what I like best that night! ;)

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  9. Love your food photography style ....Nice work.
    I loved the Istana food so much. I also ate at Nahm , Gaggan and Waku Ghin during my trip....Urban was far more enjoyable.
    I would go back tomorrow , top marks for chef Sharu and the team....Nice guy.
    Love your blog by the way , ill be back for more ;-)