Saturday, November 25, 2017

BAIT REELS YOU IN AT THE INTERMARK







Sangria is always a good idea. Especially after battling rush hour traffic. Two carafes of the boozy drink boosted our spirits as we sat down to a much anticipated dinner at Bait. Sibling outlet to the one in Bangsar, this new outpost is already reeling diners in...the place was humming with a palpable sense of conviviality the weeknight of our visit.
 
Executive Chef Logan Terence Lopez promised us a feast and proceeded to exceed his side of the bargain. Living up to Bait’s core focus that is fresh seafood, Chef Logan opened his showcase with a sumptuous selection of imported Oysters from Ireland and France. 
 
Freshly shucked and served on half shells, the molluscs were meaty and slippery succulent, teasing our palate with delicate nuances of the sea. We savoured some au naturel and slurped others up with a dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Hot on their heels came a succession of tapas-style Small Plates that would please Captain Jack Sparrow. Our dining party were hard pressed to choose our faves but we fell hook, line and sinker for the dark-as-night Cuttlefish (RM30 nett) braised in squid ink gravy with pan-fried polenta. The textural contrasts of this unique ensemble raised them a cut above the rest.
Stuffed with paella & cheese, the bright, robust flavours and myriad of textures of Baby Squid (RM28 nett) in paprika sauce conjured up cheery images of sunny Spain.
Eggplant Maghmour (RM16 nett) - Lebanese moussaka enlivened with smoked tomato ragout and mashed chickpea proffered complicit appeal with Garlic Melba Toast (RM10 nett). Smeared with garlic cream, grated nutmeg and chilli flakes, the crunchy slices hit the spot for us. 
Another feeding frenzy followed when servings of Soft Cheese Bruschetta (RM15 nett) with cherry tomato coulis, mozzarella & basil,  Patatas Brava (RM22 nett) with spicy tomato pesto and sautéed beef chorizo and  Prawn Mango Salad (RM26 nett) featuring watercress, grilled prawns, Indian mango & honey mustard dressing appeared at our table.
Miraculously, we managed to put away the delicious Stuffed Lamb (RM30 nett) in roasted sweet peppers, blue cheese sauce and balsamic glaze too. Who could withstand such irresistible accents of smoky sweetness, rich savouriness and muted tanginess in one go? 
 
For me, the prized catch at Bait has to be the Baked Sole (RM79 nett). The flatfish's natural sea-sweetness proved good quality ingredients rarely need superfluous "dressing" but anointed with  garlic, chilli & Spanish parsley, it was sublime. The supporting cast of cherrystone clams floated our boat further.
 
Despite my valiant attempt, I couldn't take to the sourish Wild Mushroom Soup (RM25). My palate just refused to accept the unwelcome presence of carrot, celery & tomato in the earthy broth topped with cheese espuma.
Gastronomic salvation appeared in the form of Fettucini Squid Ink (RM62 nett) with baby squid ragout, smoked pepper and bottarga. Never mind the ebony-black mess - the pasta tasted so lush and silky, we lapped everything up instantly.
After such highs, the Grilled Perch Souvlaki (RM48 nett) with roasted pepper, tomato gravy and coriander dip was underwhelming. It was artistically presented and deserved a chance to be sampled under normal circumstances.
For the office crowd, Bait dangles great value lunch deals to draw them through the door. Starting from RM29 nett, options include Perch Fillet Fish & Chips to the moreish Set Lunch of Jumbo Prawn Curry Laksa (RM49 nett) consisting of gluten-free rice noodles, spiced Nyonya curry and fresh vegetables or Wagyu Beef Steak (120g) Sandwich with melted raclette cheese, sautéed mushroom and dill pickles. The set lunch includes appetiser or soup of the day and coffee/tea/soft drink. 
For reservations, call BAIT INTERMARK, tel: 03-2181 1268. Address: Lot G-19, Ground Floor, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, KL. Biz hours: Daily from 11am to 11pm

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