Wine & Dine on Porky Goodness!
Wine lovers will be pleased to know that there is a newbie in town for affordable wine and dine. Hoopla Lounge, located in the popular hangout area of Desa Sri Hartamas, is the sister restaurant of ChapterOne Bar + Bistro.
I can think of plenty of reasons why Hoopla is going to be a popular hotspot to come. Located in a strategic location, Hoopla offers all its diners free valet parking. Yes, just hand your keys to the valet and head on upstairs to the lounge. Parking in that area can be a tough feat but with free valet offered by Hoopla, hanging out at the lounge is now made easier.
The moment one walks into Hoopla, you know that you’re in for a good time. The décor is dim and yet posh. Dark décor are brought to life with bold and colorful art pieces on the wall. A beautiful bar, a wine cellar, high back lounge chairs and low tables, spaciousness that offers privacy, these are definite reasons to visit Hoopla too.
Hoopla prides on offering a solid list of wines and currently have over 100 wines on their list. More wines are already in plan to be added to the current list, added owner Ernest C. An ardent wine lover himself, he believes that wines should be affordable so everyone can enjoy them. That evening, we enjoyed St Martin Reserve Merlot and Chardonnay from France. Though I am normally a white lover, I really enjoyed the red Merlot. The medium-bodied red has a refreshing acidity with smooth tannins.
One cannot certainly survive on wine alone! Here’s another delicious reason and a porky one indeed. Hoopla shares the menu with ChapterOne and there’s plenty of tempting dishes from local favorites to international dishes to keep everyone pretty happy indeed.
There’s plenty of snacks to go with wine or beer and one must-have bar snack is Hoopla’s Chicken Wings (RM22). Glorious crispy wings and drumettes well-marinated in Asian inspired flavors are so good, we happily dig in with our fingers. Served alongside house made chili sauce, the chicken wings are deliciously addictive as the moreish and salty flavor hit all the right spot together with the spicy kick-ass chili sauce.
Another house specialty is a simple one but goes great with wines. Lady Fingers (RM6) are lightly parboiled and dressed in Mentsuyu, garlic oil and sesame oil. Clean and delicate flavors coupled with the unique lady fingers texture makes a light appetizer to go with wines.
The next few dishes comes from the Connor’s special menu. First up, a Cracklin’ Chicken Karaage (RM38). Homing in on classic Japanese crispy fried chicken, this version has chicken marinated in Connor’s stout, fried crispy and drizzled with a creamy sweet and spicy sauce. Another great and delicious bar food and this dish comes with a glass of Connor’s stout.
Mains are next and from the same Connor’s menu, the Conner’s BBQ Chicken Thigh (RM40) was a crowd pleaser. A whole chicken Maryland roasted and basted with an unctuous sweet and sticky Connor’s infused BBQ sauce has such comforting flavors that one can savor often. It has such a down-to-earth flavor that makes the chook a treat to enjoy. Served with roasted potato wedges and another spicy and tangy chili sauce, we hope this dish stays on the regular menu. This dish also comes with a glass of Connor’s stout.
Porky goodness is up next and the Connor’s Rib Slab (RM85) wowed our crowd. The pork ribs are given a 48-hours marinade of Connor’s stout porter. Then it’s slow roasted till tender with on-going basting to create a sublime sticky and sweet BBQ glaze. The glaze caramelized and gave the ribs a luscious sheen of deliciousness with crisp edges. The ribs are so tender and moist. We enjoyed how the ribs still has a good bite too. Guess what? The porky ribs comes with 2 glasses of Connor’s stout porter in case one thinks that it’s not Connor’s enough!
The evening got even better when the Crispy Pork Knuckle (RM77) was placed in front of us. This mega platter of a gargantuan pork knuckle served with sausages, potato, crunchy veggies and three sauces had everyone flashing their cameras in paying homage to the hog simply because it looked amazing.
Full blast crispy, crunchy, salty and porky goodness, the pork knuckle had everyone going back for seconds. What makes this pork knuckle even more memorable was the sauces. There was a tangy brown sauce, a super spicy and sour sauce with herbs and a regular brown gravy. The pork knuckle richness was well-balanced up with all the sauces, especially the spicy one and makes it easy on the palate with that adrenalin and addictive heat from the sauce. Love the robust flavor of the sausages and the crunchy sticks of veggies does make the dish less sinful. Great platter for sharing and went so well with our red St Martin Reserve…
Despite all the meaty goodness, there was this amazing Pan Fried Seabass (RM31) too. The seabass was cooked so well, crispy skin with firm and moist flesh. The skin had lots of flavors from spices and the lightly pickled onion salad really gave a zesty zing to the fish. A squeeze of lemon added more flavors too. Served with creamy potato salad, I really adored the fish and would certainly order this again.
Hoopla also has a list of local favorites such as Char Kway Teow, Tomyam Meehoon, Hokkien Mee, Mee Goreng and more. We opted for their Hokkien Mee (RM19), a plate of lardy infused braised dark fat noodles fried with cabbage and pork. The noodles are decent and has a good oomph of that rich and aromatic flavors associated with Hokkien noodles. I heard from another diner that the Mee Goreng was even better. Looks like I need to head back there for the Mee Goreng.
The evening was certainly fun and fill with lots of laughter and food. And since everyone was in full merriment, we ended up also enjoying the only dessert available on the menu, Chocolate Brownies (RM15). Now the portion seen here is actually 3 portions as there were quite a few of us sharing it. A decadent dark and rich way to end the evening.
And there you have it, all the reasons to head on over to Hoopla! Affordable wines, scrumptious menu filled with porky goodness, beautiful lounge made for hanging out and free valet parking, it’s a lethal and irresistible venue to relax and unwind at the end of the day. Olé for Hoopla!
First Floor, 72-1 Jalan 27/70A,
Desa Sri Hartamas,
50480 Kuala Lumpur