We were greeted by Nathan (the branch manager and "hangover expert") and Janet (the "one leg kick" wonder) and a brief introductory to the restaurant and menu was done.
twenty.one has extensive menu and they thrive on European with Asian twist (or fusion to sum it all up) food. If you felt like you prefer ala-carte, you can still order the individual items on the menu at the stipulated prices.
In short, they are not hard up. twenty.one lives by their name of being "laid back chic" and that is exactly the purpose of the menu and selection.
tomato soup, mediterranean style with basil pesto & crispy squidThe tomato soup with basil pesto was wonderful to the palate. It offers good tanginess and the sourness associated with tomato puree. This is not the usual fare where they are made from canned puree. There are chunkiness and "wholesome"ness on the taste bud. The Basil pesto adds to the life of the tomato soup. The crispy squid was light to the bite and nicely done (not rubbery that is).
Chicken salad, spiced with papaya & sesame
The next starter was expected (of the taste). The chicken were cut into bite size and sauteed with lightly spiced papaya and sesame. It was OK for me only.
Grilled tiger prawn salad with rocket, red radish and chutneyThis starter grabbed my attention the most. The presentation made me hungry. The rocket salad looked alive simmered in the olive oil dressing and the two grilled tiger prawn looked like it will jump out of the plate. Unfortunately, as there were four of us, myself and another reviewer could only "taste" the prawn from the description of the lucky two that managed to sink their teeth in it. "Springy fresh" and "nice to to the bite" was the feedback and i have no doubt these slightly medium tiger prawn lives up to it's name.
With the starter done. We were ready for the main meal. But there was absolutely no rush to go through the food as twenty.one tables+terrace offers a great view of KL City from one side of the outlet. In fact, the view from this outlet and from Changkat remains as a rave to the many customers that dined or chilled out at twenty.one
KL City Centre on a clear night with no haze or cloudThe mains came soon after and in order to reduce wastage (twenty.one is a big advocacy of reducing carbon footprint), we opted to share all the food served.
Lamb, dangerously tender with mustard and wasabi mash, tomato raitaI don't usually order lamb when i eat out. They are mostly fats and bones and unless they serve me the meaty part, i am not convinced. the infamous smell of mutton too could be a turn off for some. HOWEVER, this main blew me away and dangerously tender is an understatement. The meat was so well marinated and seasoned, the pieces carefully selected and the meat separates so ever dangerously easily in your mouth that we actually did not have enough of this. The fusion of mustard and wasabi on the mash potato was something new. With the right amount, it gives the subtle wasabi feel and mustard pungent-ness goes really well with the lamb. Got to be my favourite for the review!
Chicken keel, wrapped in beef bacon, sous vide &seasonal vegetableWith little fat interlaced between the meat fiber, chicken keel is really tricky to be cooked. Cooked too long it will dry the meat inside out resulting in sandpaper like texture that will choke you. twenty.one chicken keel are done sous vide. This meant the method of cooking will effectively preserves the juiciness and tenderness of the chicken keel while cooking it fully. I have read and seen how sous vide are done in (cook) book and television, it was my first time tasting it. I must say the meat lived up to the method of cooking's name. Tender. Juicy. Wet. it was then lightly grilled for the effect and the beef bacon was a good compliment to the keel meat. Thumbs up!
Sea bass, pan crisped with linguini pasta, green apple salsa & turkey hamThe pasta was perfectly el-dente. The green apple salsa with tomato base goes really well with the bits of turkey ham. The sea bass was crisped to almost perfection (we took too long to eat it lah). Really nice as the portion was relatively bigger compared to the other two mains and it was deliciously good!
twenty.one do not just serve food obviously. Their selection of cocktail, mocktail, wine, liquor and beer are pretty extensive. While i do not drink, the other three reviewer did requested for some special concoction and everyone had a good time sipping (or scooping, yes, scooping liquor!) them. It should be noted that the bartender recently won 5th in an international cocktail competition in Trinidad & Tobago. Well done!
l-r : Puppy Luv (apple liquor), Cucumber Sandwich (colorful fruits in martini!) and Popcorn Martini (scoop all the way!)
With the main washed down with the drinks above, it was time for the (anticipated) desserts. Everyone believes that there will always be room for these evil and i am not one to say no to anything sweet (got to put in more running mileage then!)
Lush velvet cake with lemon mousse & pineapple sauce
Another first for myself. I have read about these cakes and how people are raving about them. I have never tasted them before. While yesterday's version was slightly "brown", twenty.one promises perfect velvet this weekend. The cake tasted like butter cake. I was impressed with how well the mousse and pineapple sauce added "zing" to the cake. The piece of chocolate wafer ended up in my tummy too. :)
Lemon & caramel tart with mini meringue, strawberry salad
This one woke me up. The lemon was intense and set my saliva racing even before i close my mouth to savour it. Perhaps it was the anticipation. The meringue sweetness pacified the sourness a bit and you are ready to go for more.
Mango puree, drizzled with white & dark chocolate foam
I love chocolate, dark chocolate especially. I love mango too. This dessert was a good combination of sweetness, bitterness and milkiness without being overwhelmingly strong. It balanced themselves pretty well. I only wish that the mango puree was topped up to at least half of the cup. It should and will then bring the main star of this dessert out - the mango. Can be improved and it was taken note of by the host.
The portion from the food was actually adequate for normal appetite. As a comparison, there were four hungry reviewers plus the host. we were served three full 3 courses meal and it was adequate for us. While the portion of the starters which be a bit small, the main were adequate and the dessert portion was just nice without being overwhelming on the palate and tummy. Wash it down with some mock tail or cocktail, it completes the experience.
For myself personally, i would go for the value for money 3 course and settle for the tomato soup (starter), lamb (main) and velvet cake (dessert). If you are there with family to celebrate Mother's Day, opting for everything on the special menu might make more sense so that everyone could taste the full range that was on promotion.
This Mother's Day Special runs only on this weekend (May 7 and May 8, 2011) and reservation is highly recommended to avoid disappointment of not securing a table (with a view) or two. The promotions runs at both outlet, offering the same delectable menu and they could be contacted at the addresses and phone number below for inquiries or reservation purposes. Open for both Lunch (12 noon onwards) and Dinner!
20-1, Changkat Bukit Bintang
Tel : +603 2142 0021
T1, Level 3, Bangsar Shopping Centre
Tel: +603 2287 0021
twenty.one outlets are brainchild of Dan and Richy and they started the business back about four years ago as DR.Bar. Having won at least two HORECA awards (that's Hotel/Restaurant/Cafe if you wonder what that is) and mentions in the local TimeOut KL and Juice magazine certainly hold volume for a humble four years old establishment. You can also find them in Facebook here and here or follow them on twitter @twentyone_tweet.
You might be able to find their inhouse magazine aptly called twenty.one tales+tonic which has many articles worth reading through. The are distributed at the outlets and placed at selected spot around Klang Valley.