Sunday, June 19, 2016

Antara Restaurant @ Raja Chulan

Chef Isadora Chai's second restaurant isn't what some might expect. Five years after first bringing modern French flair to PJ with Bistro a Table, Isadora has stretched out into the city centre, taking up two floors of a nearly century-old restored building on Raja Chulan. Antara Restaurant is an exquisite space with profoundly personal touches - its terrace & walkway remind Isadora of her late father's home in Teluk Anson, & her selection of furnishing & a batik-print menu was carefully considered, culminating in a one-of-a-kind centrepiece upstairs of 50 portraits of Tunku Abdul Rahman that reward close contemplation. But while Antara's charm & character seem decidedly steeped in nostalgia, with Saloma & Sheila Majid echoing through the halls, it nonetheless stirs to life as a fresh, vital venue, turning the past into prelude for a restaurant that speaks to the present.

Expect a culinary tapestry of traditional Malaysian, woven with whiffs of French, mirroring the fare that Isadora makes at home for family & friends. Commence with a communal feast of plump popiah that you'll roll yourself at the table, evoking the spirit of preparing & eating food in your grandparents' kitchen. This popiah party (RM48) features a top-flight wrapping skin, fillings & condiments, from French beans with dried scallops to the juiciest jicama & the crunchiest croutons - elaborately fun & fulfilling.

Many recipes in Antara's oeuvre reflect a respect for time-honoured local flavours, artfully balancing the generations-old heritage of Malaysian cuisine with modern gastronomy's ever-expanding palette. Sarawak laksa is crowned with marron for a princely flourish (RM78), while retaining the robust dynamics & dimensions of a Kuching-proud rendition, bolstered by belacan brought into KL from Sarawak. That same belacan packs a punch in some other Antara offerings, including assam chicken wings (RM25) & a deluxe Mee Siam with supremely substantial chunks of delectable, crispy-tender soft-shell crab (RM36).

For customers craving the unconventional chow that has become Isadora's hallmark, it's all here too - delicate pie tee with shaved foie gras & anago (RM27), mantao with luscious foie gras & mango chutney (RM55), toasted chapati with goat's curd & an addictive curried mussel cream (RM22), alongside desserts like hazelnut roti jala with dulce de leche anglaise (RM25) & a 'terribly alcoholic' creme de menthe cendol with kahlua sago pearls that harks back to one of Bistro a Table's degustation dinners three years ago (RM36). This is a risk-taking menu, free of MSG & easy shortcuts, executed with no-nonsense craftsmanship by sterling teams that toil effectively both by the table & behind the scenes to deliver a memorable experience.

Antara Restaurant
Old Malaya, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur. 
Currently open for dinner, Mon-Sat. Will open for lunch & dinner daily eventually. Tel: 03-2078-8881



This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.

The Eat Drink KL mobile app is now available, connecting restaurants & customers to promote a positive spirit of community.
Every restaurant on this app rewards users with a 6 percent discount, instantly & conveniently, everyday, all day long. 
In return, users share photos of their experiences at these eateries, creating a new community of restaurant lovers.
For every transaction, at least RM0.10 will be channelled to a charity of the month.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings, F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter may be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, with 100 recommended restaurants for April-June 2016. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://issuu.com/eatdrinkkl/docs/ebook

Buckle your seatbelts: Eat Drink KL is partnering with Uber to take restaurant lovers on new adventures across KL & Selangor!
If you haven't used Uber yet, it's time to begin! For new users, just follow the steps below to redeem free rides:
1. Download the Uber app from the App Store, Play Store or Windows Store - and register your Uber account.
2. Apply the code EATDRINKKL as your first promotional code & you'll receive 2 Free Rides worth RM30 each.
3. Request a ride through the app and ride for free to any destination (with two ride values of up to RM30 each).
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my

17 comments:

  1. Antara apa? Anyir dan Jakarta, Sheila Majid? LOL!!! Those activists wouldn't be too happy with this place...and me, being old and old fashioned - I think I'd rather stick to my nyonya style pai tee. The case looks really good, I must say, very well made - thin, must be really crispy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...and I'd stick to my own nyonya-style popiah too. :P

      Delete
    2. Suituapui: heh, the name more of describes the cuisine - in between malaysian & french, but leaning heavily more toward malaysian :) the pie tee shell does feel like it has that traditional light airy crisp, you're right! :D

      Delete
    3. Suituapui: it's been a long time since i wrapped my own popiah, so this was fun! :)

      Delete
  2. So it's basically high end local food with some western twist.. I do hope that the taste justifies the price charged, as I'd seen that it's quite premium.. Sarawak laksa for RM78? Wow

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leo: i think the ingredients and other factors necessitate the prices ... that's a whole crayfish in that sarawak laksa, for example, and four very large chunks of really good-quality soft-shell crab in that mee siam :)

      Delete
  3. Wah, what a decadent bowl of Sarawak laksa....with a crayfish thrown in...and foie gras in pie tee....woohoo! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Contact.ewew: it definitely is decadent ... and it'll be interesting to see what other dishes they'll create in the months to come! :)

      Delete
  4. I like the idea of wrapping up the popiah myself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phong Hong: yeah, you can choose your own proportions for the ingredients! ;)

      Delete
  5. That is some pretty interesting concept, foie gras certainly makes everything better. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. KY: ya - and foie gras plus unagi makes it doubly better :D

      Delete
  6. What a gorgeous space~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Choi Yen: glad you like it! :)

      Delete
  7. What a waste of an evening with some very close friends...found the food preparation to be so passé and pretentious...corkage of rm50 p bottle and only to be served with poor stemware!! Left in a hurry,adjourned to somewhere else...what I found more unpleasant than the food,was to be told by the waiting staff was that the restaurant is owned by a celebrity chef...even after dining at many rated places(including El Buli,twice),never have I ever experienced anything like it..Enough!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks for the introduction eatdrinkkl. I had a great steak and my wife has a fantastic pasta dish.
    Heard the cny yee sang was good and it really was yummy. We also had starter and dessert. Haven't tried the rest yet, but looking forward to try the rest very soon.

    ReplyDelete