August 22, 2016

Urban @ Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur

New European Menu from Chef Sharusmizal Salleh & Culinary Team

There are restaurants that leave an unforgettable and lasting impression in our dining scene and Urban Restaurant is one of them. Located in Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur, the modern and eclectic European restaurant has been serving fine dishes with very affordable pricing for a while.

The restaurant’s ambiance reflects a modern Aussie inspired dining venue that splashes with vibrant colors throughout the décor. There are sectioned areas for casual bar dining as well as main dining area and private section for private or special functions.

Urban is rather humble despite the exquisite fine dining menu it serves. For gourmands who have had a taste of Urban’s menu through the years, they will attest that Chef Sharusmizal Salleh and his award winning culinary team has served some of the finest European dishes in the city. The team of talented chefs have been making headlines in several international as well as local culinary competition through their intensive and creative training of producing European fine dining menu couple injected with local ingredients.

No longer a stranger to Urban, I have personally dined on their new menus several times over the years. Each menu showcases a unique gastronomical theme encompassing clever fusion of East meets West through local ingredients and flavors together with premium ingredients and French techniques. Back for another showcase of Chef Sharusmizal’s latest menu that focuses on fine European classic dishes, diners are in for another new journey of flavors.

The menu option is pretty simple. Opt for a la carte and the Appetizers are priced at RM55 nett each, Main Course RM95 nett each, Gourmet Specials RM165 nett each and Dessert RM45 nett each. If you choose the set meal, these are definitely value-for-money as a 3-Course Set Dinner is priced at RM150 nett and includes an Appetizer, a Main Course and a Dessert of your choice from the a la carte menu. The Gourmet Special Set Dinner is priced at RM210 nett for Amuse Bouche, Appetizer, Gourmet Special and Dessert. There is also a 7-Course Degustation Menu priced at RM250 nett.

From the appetizer menu, we feasted on plenty of land and sea treasures. We love how versatile the menu is and it even offers diners vegetarian option. Starting off the list is a lavish Foie Gras, pan seared and served with celeriac vanilla mousseline, glazed peach, yoghurt passion fruit crisp and truffle Sauce. Unctuously decadent with velvety texture, the foie gras melts-in-mouth heavenly. The truffle sauce compliments the liver well while the charred peach added a touch of fruity sweetness.

The Smoked Farm Quail was a masterpiece at sight. Stuffed Quail Roulade is paired with braised miso daikon, sour lychee and toasted brioche topped with quail egg benedict. Finished with truffle vinaigrette and Cabernet Sauvignon with raisins and infused lavender sauce, the dish is sublime in every bite. The quail is super tender and moist and the stuffing of mushrooms gave the quail an earthy note. The quail egg with its molten egg yolk added more luxurious note to the quail. This is one of our many favorite dishes that evening.

Oyster lovers will swoon at the Oyster Veloute. A dish of aphrodisiac molluscs, it was pure oyster heaven. French oyster velouté was gorgeously velvety with every spoonful evoking luscious briny flavor that will send your neurons into a delicious frenzy.

Served with a deep fried panko breadcrumb oyster, golden crispy egg mollet and crowned with caviar, it’s so good that I nearly wanted to tell the chef I needed more than just one fried oyster. Just for a bit of fun, a smoked Salmon Rillette sandwich was served on the side although I didn’t think it needed that.

Element of the Sea paid tribute to sea. The long platter of appetizers is worth an order as there are four hot and cold bites of seafood.

Starting with Hamachi Sashimi, fresh yellowtail topped with brunoised of vegetables proved that the simplest and freshest ingredients are just as good as it is. A squeeze of calamansi lime woke up the natural sweet and creamy flavor of the fish. Moving on to a twirl of cold Inaniwa Udon paired with tiny cubes of yuzu jelly and salty smoked Spanish black caviar had oodles of flavor. The chilled udon has such a good bite and contrasted so well with the crunch of the briny caviar.

Then there’s unique Saba Ballotine stuffed with Spanish piquillo peppers served with Ambarella fruit emulsion. The rich flavored fish is stuffed with sweet and soft peppers, lending just the right balance of savory with sweet. A fruity tartness of the emulsion lighten the richness of the fish. Ending with a crispy Relish King Crab bundle of seaweed enveloping a layer of bean curd with a filling of king crab. What a plate of flavors and textures!

The next dish of Diver Sea Scallop has a large plump hazelnut crusted scallop paired with butternut coulis, gazpacho saffron vegetable, salmon rillettes club sandwich and finished with fennel emulsion. Sounds complicated but they do worked well together in flavors. The scallop was cooked just right and I enjoyed the nutty crumbs contrasted with the scallop.

Another dish with scallop is the Arborio Rice. Reading off the menu, the dish has grilled squid, diver sea scallop, sauté Girolles mushrooms and black truffle. The risotto rice was certainly the highlight on the plate. Cooked to beautiful al dente, it was creamy, it was flavorful, it was just right. I actually considered the seafood and mushrooms as bonus on this plate as I would have been really happy just enjoying the risotto. Love the dish!

We moved to main course and the first on the line reads Milky Fish on the menu. Known as Bandeng or Bolu, the fish hails from Indonesia. Although milkfish is known to have a lot of bones, this one is bigger in size and has less bones.

The fillet is pan seared till crispy skin and has a firm creamy flesh. When savored with the sidekicks of heart of palm, cockles, prawn, Dubarry cream, ratatouille & turkey jus, the flavors are alive and delicious. From the smoky charred heart of palm to the succulent cockles, sweet and firm king prawn to the velvety Dubarry or cauliflower cream, piquant ratatouille and deep rich jus, the dish has all the elements of savory, sweet, tangy and umami notes.

Sous Vide Lamb Loin was next and the presentation was colorful and elegant. The lamb loin, having gone through the slow cooked method, was beautifully pink with a bright crust of Iranian pistachios. Tender and moist, the lamb didn’t have as much flavor as most lamb would have, maybe it’s because it’s very lean. The saving grace for the lamb was the tasty marjoram jus as well as the sides of Moroccan Bisteeya, vine yellow pearl Chevre tomato cherry tart.

If you enjoy steak, opt for the Grain Fed Rib Eye, cooked to your liking. Mine was medium and you can definitely see how succulent the rib eye was. A very tasty cut as it has a good ratio or lean and fats, the steak is served with potato bacon terrine, roasted baby parsnip and Charon sauce. Love the steak but the Charon sauce was mediocre for me as it was a bernaise sauce with added tomato paste. I personally think the steak alone was already delicious.

Who would have thought that the Sakura Chicken Ballotine would be so scrumptious! The Sakura chicken roulade is stuffed with prawn mousse and seaweed before it’s slowly cooked. The roulade is amazingly moist and tender with a good flavor. When eaten with the earthy sautéed Chanterelle mushrooms and morel olive thyme jus, the chicken tasted even better.

The next two dishes are mains but from the Gourmet Special Menu simply because of the premium ingredients. The first is Herb Crusted Cod, a fish much beloved by many. The looks of the fish already told me the dish is going to be great. The apple green herb crumb on the fish really enhanced the sweetness of the cod. The cod itself was lush, creamy and wondrously gorgeous in flavor and texture. Coupled with the butter poached tiger prawn, caviar and mashed Idaho potato, the dish is really a rock star of the sea. The finishing touches of asparagus and tomato buerre blanc sauce sealed the deal.

The last main from the Gourmet Special Menu is also one of the best dishes of the evening, the Roasted Venison Loin. Venison is such a lean meat and yet, this one is beautifully tender and moreish. The red current jus is gorgeous and robust in deep rich fruitiness, enhancing the venison so well. The venison is also served with braised red cabbage, pumpkin puree, citrusy orange segments and raspberry as well as red currants. A must-order!

Desserts are up next. Choosing one is quite hard as there is a good selection of desserts too. The Manjari 75% Semi Freddo is simply marvelous and truly worthy of every calorie it carries. I have never experience such utterly ravishing dark chocolatey semi freddo like this before. The explosion of chilling sensation on the palate is simply divine. The bittersweet dark chocolate is further enchanted by caramel popcorn ice cream and crunchy popcorns. Must order for all chocolate and non-chocolate lovers!!

White Chocolate Cremeux has a luscious and sweet thick pudding piled with wild berry salad and passion fruit sauce, and served with crispy yoghurt and beet foam. As white chocolate tends to be on the sweeter side, I am enjoying the sharp citrusy tang of the berries and passion fruit on this cremeux.

The Citron Meringue looked rather minimalist. The highlight of the dessert turned out to be the sublime tangy yuzu sorbet with a beautiful citrusy aroma. It is served with some textures of meringue, citrus confit and candied orange skin. Fresh and light ending for a dessert.

Though the Harum Manis Cheese Cake was a solid and delicious cheesecake, the flavor didn’t live up to the earlier trio of fabulous desserts. Nothing to fault but just a light and lovely cheesecake served with a bouquet of berries and sugar tuile.

Urban is great if you want to take a loved one for a romantic celebration or anyone you want to impress. The restaurant is such a hidden gem and for a fine dining experience, the set dinner menu is very affordably priced. Chef Sharusmizal and team has always been a creative them and their menu changes constantly to showcase different seasonal produce and creative inspirations of the culinary world.

3-Course Set Dinner    RM150 nett (Appetizer, Main Course, Dessert)
Gourmet Set Dinner     RM210 nett (Amuse Bouche, Appetizer, Gourmet Special Main Course, Dessert)
7-Course Degustation  RM250 nett (Chef’s Special Menu)

To know more information about this promo, call 03 2141 9988 ext. 3691.

Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Lobby Level, East Wing
73 Jalan Raja Chulan
50200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2141-9988

Business Hours:
Lunch 12:00noon to 2:30pm
Dinner 6:30pm to 10:30pm
On Saturdays, Urban is open for dinner only
Closed on Sundays and public holidays

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