Life for Beginners (LFB): Hey monkey, how’s it going?
Me: Hi Kenny, I’m good. Hope you’re feeling better today. It was a pity you guys couldn’t make it for McCutie’s awesome surprise birthday party yesterday
LFB: I’m so sorry, was really down with a bad fever and I didn’t want to spread the germs to you good looking people. Anyway to make up for it, the Devil and I were thinking of treating you both to dinner.
Me: Oh, sure. Let’s do it on McCutie’s actual birthday since it’s just a couple days away. Where are you guys thinking of?
LFB: il Lido of course. After all, judging from recent events, it’s already the place to go for birthdays celebrations this year. And since I missed out on the last party, let’s do a mini surprise for this dinner?
Me: That sounds like a good idea.
LFB: Leave it to me and I’ll make the arrangements.
Il Lido Hostess: Hello, this is il Lido. How can I help you sir?
LFB: I would like to make dinner reservations for 4-pax this coming Tuesday.
Hostess: Certainly, sir.
LFB: Can I also make a special request?
Hostess: Of course, sir.
LFB: We’re actually celebrating a friend’s birthday and we would need your help with the surprise. I will arrive earlier with another friend and we’ll hide out at the roof-top lounge. The birthday friend will arrive slightly later with another friend thinking that it’ll just be a dinner for two. Please seat them in a table set for two and hand them a menu as per usual. We’ll then make our way down to surprise the birthday one by bringing out a plate of your fabulous bread or something like that. Then, right at the end of the meal, could you please arrange to bring out a surprise birthday cake? Did you catch everything I just said?
Hostess: I think you lost me at birthday celebration. Can you please repeat it again?
LFB: Sighs. I will arrive earlier….
[I was told the conversation went on for the next 30-mins]
Hostess: Good evening, sir. Do you have any reservations?
Me: Yes, it’s under alilfatmonkey for two.
Hostess: OH! ALILFATMONKEYYYY *eyeing her colleague in an overzealous way and pointing on the booking book with my name penciled next to LFB’s* Right this way and watch your steps, sir.
Me: Thank you.
Hostess: This is your waiter, Mr. Blur.
Me: Thank you.
Mr. Blur Waiter: Good evening Mr. Life For Beginners!
Me: Excuse me? I’m alilfatmonkey *giving dagger stares at waiter*
Mr. Blur Waiter: Oh, my apologies. Please have a seat. Would you like me to stow your bag away in the compartment?
Me: No, I’m good. I can place it right here on the extra chair.
Mr. Blur Waiter: *looking at me strangely* But sir, you do know there’s another two people joining you, right?
I rest my case. This waiter was beyond help. The concept of surprise doesn’t exist in his vocabulary. Lucky for us, McCutie didn’t put two and two together despite hearing everything the waiter said. The surprise happened a couple of moments later. We managed a “What are you guys doing here?” and a shocked face from McC’s. But still, the waiter didn’t have to stress us all out by accidentally blurting the surprise out a few times over. I expected more from him especially after being instructed over the phone for over half-an-hour and going through a dry run with LFB some 20-minutes before we arrived.
Surprise blunders aside, dinner started off with some of the best bread slices in town dipped in olive oil and balsamic. McCutie was too shy to ask for some butter and ate up the bread as is. Mr. Blur Waiter returned with a list of the day’s specials. He recommended that we begin our meal with an interestingly named dish, Orange Roasted Pork Belly with Scallop and Sea Urchin Sauce and a Rucolo Salad. Two huge chunk of pork belly with crispy skin and paired with a sublime sauce greeted us as we dig into the first appetizer. We absolutely loved the idea of having a fine Italian restaurant serving pork in KL. The salad was almost like a simplified pear version of a Waldorf salad topped with crunchy chopped walnuts. The pecorino cheese shavings used were really tasty too.
While we shared the appetizers, we ordered individual portions as our mains. Life for Beginners and the Devil both ordered pappardelle dishes for themselves. The Devil was so in love with the Goose Liver, Duck Confit and Truffle Sauce from the birthday that he couldn’t resist ordering it again. LFB opted for the day’s special, Pappardelle with Wild Boar Ragoût. Here’s where the story of the evening gets funnier. A few steps away from serving the two pasta dishes in his hands to our table, Mr. Blur Waiter was seen examining them at close range for a good minute or so, as if a magical neon sign would just pop up telling him which was which! While we thought it was a funny sight, we felt it wasn’t a very convincing sight for a restaurant of this stature. Granted, the pastas did look similar in terms of colour and shine, we would expect the staff here to be better trained.
The blur one continued to make more petty mistakes when he recommended McCutie the Pork Chop with Apricot Sauce, only to serve the dish and call it Pork Chop with Orange Sauce. At this point, I was fairly over his haziness and started indulging into my decadent plate of Sardinian Roasted Suckling Pig with Plum Sauce. Do not be fooled by these three small square pieces or start asking where the whole pig was. This dish alone was enough to put a wide smile back on my face and forget all about the blur waiter. The acoustic of crunching its crispy skin between my teeth made me happy, while my heart melted along with its tender meat and thin layer of fat in my mouth. I also love the tiny cranberries and caramelized onion that balanced off the richness of the dish.
Speaking of sweet bits, we decided to share the desserts. For one, the earlier dishes were filling up our tummies and secondly, I got McCutie a box of macarons from Natalie’s Gourmet Studio instead of a regular birthday cake. We complimented these lovely multi-coloured and flavoured treats with the Combinazine di Creme Catalane, a tasting plate of four Creme Brule flavours – Vanilla, Coffee, Pistachio and Strawberry; and the gorgeous Vanilla Pannacotta with Cinnamon Caramel and Fresh Berries.
Mr. Blur Waiter: I’m sorry for the long wait, but our kitchen is very tied up at this point. Your desserts will be out shortly.
Me: It’s ok. We ordered some coffee as well. Could you serve that first while we wait?
Mr. Blur Waiter: *looking at me strangely* But sir, you do know there’s a surprise coming before coffee, right?
Me & LFB: Sighs!
P/S: Look out for my second review, il Lido, Part 2: Feasting Like the Italians Do, that’s coming up in the next few posts.
Lot 183, Jalan Mayang, Off Jalan Yap Kwan Seng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2161 2291
Opening for Lunch: Monday – Friday 12-2.30pm; Dinner: Monday – Saturday 6.30-10.30pm; Bar: Monday – Saturday 5pm – 1am.