Sunday, March 23, 2014

MALIQA'S LATEST MED-LEY

In Persian, maliqa means queen consort. It's also the name of a Mediterranean restaurant tucked away in a quiet nook of Bukit Damansara owned by Syed Salehuddin Wafa (he's one of half of the winning duo in 'The Apartment' reality TV show) and Izzy Ani Arope with several close buddies.
Opened about one and a half years ago, the restaurant has grown from strength-to-strength; a constant magnet for those seeking hearty Turkish, Greek or Italian specialities to satisfy their tastebuds. This is evident from the additional tables in the main dining area and by the owners' admission, the cosy lounge cum dining room upstairs catering is already quite a hit with big dining parties.
The menu has also undergone some changes from our last visit (over a year ago). With a new chef at the helm, we discover some unexpected gems while popular mainstays such as Moussaka (RM23.90) has been retained. I still recall that seamless collusion of cheesy and meaty layers with slightly charred eggplant slices.
On this visit, the curtain-raiser came in the form of Salmon Bruschetta (RM12.90) - toasted baguette slices topped with diced tomato and olives, and smoked salmon. We loved the intermingling of flavours and textures that built up our anticipation of the other dishes to come.
Luckily, the soulfully delicious Seafood Soup (RM10.90) didn't disappoint. Brimming with bright, sunny accents that are synonymous with the Mediterranean coast, we lapped up every spoonful of the tangy, creamy tomato-based broth spiked with paprika amidst succulent mouthfuls of mussel, calamari and fish.
Another deep-sea treasure that kept us riveted was the Baked Mussels & Cheese (RM26.90 half dozen). Served on the half shell and smothered with melted cheese, the tender, chewy mussels bestowed unexpected bursts of subtle sweetness and brininess on the palate from the inclusion of diced red capsicum and black olives.
The 'less is more' approach won the day for the Mushroom Risotto. Although one of the simplest and plainer dishes, we were smitten by the grains' soft, creamy but slightly nutty texture and rich, woody nuances.
A little acidity went a long way in raising the Salmon Steak with Lemon Cream Sauce (RM43.90) to notable heights. Cooked to blush-pink tenderness, the naturally oily fish went like a dream with the accompanying sauce.
Red meat lovers would enjoy Lamb Shank with Tomato Cream Sauce (RM39.90). The mildly gamey meat was suffused with deep-seated flavours and that degree of tenderness that held its own without it disintegrating at the prodding of our forks.
Regular crowd favourites such as Roast Chicken with Mushroom or Black Pepper Sauce (RM23.90), and the Maliqa House Steak (RM46.90) remained in the current menu; samplings of  both instantly reinforced their perennial popularity.
Dessert choices are rather limited. If Apple Crumble (RM8.90) and Tiramisu (RM8.90) don't appeal to you, the only alternative left is ice cream or you could check what is the day's dessert offering. A negligible shortcoming compared to the more than ample main offerings that await you at Maliqa.

Maliqa, 49, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Plaza Damansara, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-2095 0002

1 comment:

Alice Yong said...

UPDATE: THE RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED.