Welcome to Isthmus Kuala Lumpur. Situated at Northpoint Mid Valley, this is the Malaysian branch of the very same establishment in Melbourne, Isthmus of Kra. Opened less than 2 months ago, this Thai-fusion restaurant is slowing attracting a clientele for themselves. Popular amongst the corporate and media clients to host their functions, the restaurant comes across as a big fuse of elements in its deco and also in its food. Like it’s name, which I was told derived from a great bridge in Thailand, the restaurant’s food bridges the gap between the east & west creating a unique fusion menu which is still undeniably Asian – but with a twist!
Inside Isthmus, a delightful balance in its deco is a plesant treat
The bar, which cuts right tru’ the middle of the restaurant, may seem as the main divider but interestingly it is also the very element that holds the interior all together
To be honest, I was slightly unimpressed with the bad service from a certain waitress who couldn’t even tell me a decent lie.
Me: What in this Summer Sunshine mocktail?
Dumb Waitress: It’s our secret recipe, but its nice
Me: (sounding rather bitchy) What do you mean your secret recipe? It’s a drink for Gawd’s sake. Do you have Colonel Sanders working behind the bar with 11 special herbs and spices? I guess not, so why don’t you walk your slow saggy ass over to the bar and tell me what juice is in there. Thank You!
Ok I wish I replied in that manner but thankfully, the floor manager was smart enough to change that bimbo of a waitress with a cute waiter who was attentive to our every demand and made sure we were happy guest from then on. From then on the evening was much much better. Talk about good service.
Isthmus Kuala Lumpur’s ‘slightly’ pretentious slogan is ‘The art of food’ is anything but. This is one restaurant where substance does backs up their words. Each dish is exquisitely presented, with careful consideration of colour and proportion, and the mouth is just as well catered for as the eyes. Have a look;
The WOW Starters Platter consist of:
a. Stolich Oyster Shot: an explosive mixture of tabassco, ‘chicken-rice-tasting’ chili sauce and a shot of vodka
b. Salmon Gravlax: Herbal cured salmon sashimi placed in a rose formation on top of a bed of snow pea sprout, thinly sliced cucumber and wasabi-mustard. Simply delightful even if you are not used to raw fish
c. Lentil As Anything: Lentil croquettes which comes with a sweet, spicy and very sour sauce – with a hint of grilled capsicum.
d. Lotus Blue Dumpling: Pretty looking deep blue coloured steamed dumpling filled with minced chicken with garlic. Gives a whole new meaning to Dim Sum. However the skin’s a little too thick.
e. Simply Avacado: Fried springroll filled with eggplant and avacado and served in a coriander & avacado pesto sauce. Not my favourite but nevertheless good.
Mango & Jicama Salad
Isthmus’ version of our local rojak with Thai mangoes, Jicama (sengkuang), tofu pok, cucumber and chicken slices and sme snow pea tossed in a sesame and miso bean dressing (and a hint of prawn paste Ken suggested). Perhaps to cater to Malaysian’s palette, it would have been simply wonderful if the salad weren’t drenched with too much of the dressing. Perhaps next time you could ask for the dressing on the side.
Price: RM 18.00
Crab Pyramid Sata
Good things does come in small packages. I personally find this dish a delight. Fresh crab and fish meat is stacked together with some herbs into a mini pyramid parcel. The pattie is then steamed first and then lightly fried is topped with a Thai chilli sauce. Taste very similar to an otak-otak, only it’s fried.
Price: RM 22.00
Rating: 4/5 (the sauce could be a little less sour)
Din-Ku Duck with Soba
We decided to try their signature dish, a 1/4 grilled duck tasting very similar to Peking Duck is served on top of a bed of warm green tea soba and a portobello mushroom accompanied with a sweet tasting juniper berry (kei-chi) and plum sauce
Price: RM 39.00
Poached Nashi Pear & a Cuppa
As a finale to a good meal, we orderd the Poached Nashi Pear in Gula Melaka and red winde reduction and served with black sesame ice cream. Complimented with a cup of hot choc and latte, this was indeed a sweet finale.
Price: RM 15.00
Apart from a crappy waiteress in the start, on a whole Isthmus is an affordable and enjoyable fine dining experience which I wouldn’t mind coming back with my friends and family in the future. Great ambience, unpretentious interior, nice food and just forgive the untrainned new staff members and you’ll be on your way to a good meal.