The city of Kuala Lumpur is a cozy kampung (village) populated by over 1.4 million fascinating individuals and with just as many places to worship. But it recently dawned on me that the only place anyone has spoken about going into for a prayer these days, is a restaurant – where single people worship each other over great food and even better wine. I can’t tell for sure if grace was said before these meals, but for their sakes, I hope they did. Relationships and food are like the new religious couple of the century. And sex, of course, makes good desserts after. In short, this entire process is known to many of us as a ‘dinner date‘.
Finding the right place for a dinner date is often just as painful as finding the right person to go on one of these dates with. Singles weed through hundreds of hopeful candidates only to find out that there are only a handful of options worthy of second dates. Ahhhh… this my friends is the bane of single-hood. A particular restaurant scene from the first season of the HBO series, Sex and the City, easily sums these all up.
Miranda: Y’see, this is why I don’t date — the men out there are freaks.
Carrie: Well, that’s completely unfair.
Miranda: I’m sorry, if a man is over 30 and single, there’s something wrong with him. It’s Darwinian — they’re being weeded out from propagating the species.
Carrie: Okay, what about us [single girls over 30]?
Miranda: We’re just choosy. I’m getting more shrimps.
Like restaurants, some of these potential candidates can either freak you out or make you feel just right at home on the first date. Comfort it seems is a highly sort after virtue, followed closely by great communication skills to ensure an entertaining evening. The last thing you’d want is an awkwardly silent date. Suddenly, I can see the appeal of going on a speed date. The concept of being able to dump a bad candidate before the first 10 minutes are up is extremely enticing.
Before I go any further off tangent, lets go back to the topic of finding the right restaurant shall we?
So if dating and dining are parallel in so many ways, would the concept of speed-dating work in the F&B world? Well, about two months back, the good people of Le Meridien KL experimented with the concept and showed off their own culinary version of speed-dining. Along with Cumi & Ciki, KY Speaks, Chaokar Smokes, and Mr&Mrs. Fatboybakes – the few lucky bloggers invited to discover every restaurant in the establishment, all in the course of one evening.
THE OBSERVATORY: Like all dates, the first moments are the most fleeting. Copious amount of drinks and getting to know one another. Social lubricants, these cocktails and champagne were along with a selection of colourful ice-breaking amuse bouche (tomato and strawberry gazpacho served in test tubes, pan seared tuna sashimi and sesame wakame salad, and martini of tomato salsa with mozzarella mousse and pesto). We were also introduced to the new guys on the Le Meridien team.
FAVOLA: Every fable starts with a great “Once upon a time…“. But here, at the hotel’s famed Italian restaurant, it began with a sampling of tomatoes, cheese and bread before the duo of antipasti were served in a yin-yang composition.
From the freddo (cold) selection comes a silky orange-coloured smoked salmon with cold cucumber and macadamia puree. And in a bid to make a lasting first impression, an excellent serving of wild mushroom risotto in clear beef broth and pan seared duck liver sealed it for us.
PRIME: Cattle calling seems to be another specialty of the chef and his entourage of cooks-in-black. Before we sat down for our mains, we were all taken to the private room in the back where beefy hunks of meat were paraded in flesh and blood. It’s no wonder why this famed-award-winning-restaurant is called Prime. Of course, everyone in the room was eying the best piece of meat in the room – the Grade 12 Wagyu.
Ask and you shall be given. It was no doubt indulging. The men on the table ended up getting our hands dirty and licking off the sweet ribs bbq sauce from our fingers. Meat eating is after all a very medieval concept. Washed down with a bloody good red wine. Really, what more can one wish for?
LATEST RECIPE: As the saying goes, there’s always room for dessert. And here in Le Meridien KL, desserts are housed in a huge room called Latest Recipe. All the fair maidens in the swooned as we walked passed the buffet dessert spread. I think their hearts would have stopped a beat when a platter of the prettiest desserts (consisting of honeydew sago shot, carrot cake, lychee tart, choc mousse with citrus jelly, vanilla crème’ brule, and agar agar) landed in front of them. Some even said these were better than sex. Is it just me or women are plainly delusional. For those with a Hansel-Gratel fetish, this is definitely your playground. Teppanyaki ice cream, freshly made belgian waffles, cocktails…c’est la vie.
At the end of the night, it was actually quite hard to say which restaurant made a better impression. But, I’d definitely want to visit PRIME over and over again, perhaps with a real date in tow. It’s unfortunate that this speed-dining concept isn’t something the hotel does regularly. However, guest could enquire with any of their friendly staff if you wish to replicate the same gourmet tour of all their in-house restaurants. I’m sure Le Meridien KL would happily oblige.
A big thank you to Andrew, Damien and Chef Antoine for your kind hospitality.
Dining @ Le Meridien KL
Observatory, Favola, Prime and Latest Recipe
2, Jalan Sentral,
Kuala Lumpur Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur
For Reservations, call the Dining Desk at +603-2263 7434 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org