Urban’s signature appetiser Element of the Sea by Chef de Cuisine Sharusmizal bin Mohamed Salleh reminds me of Malaysia-born, Australia-based chef Cheong Liew’s famed Dances of the Sea, a ground-breaking quartet of Mod Oz appetisers as opposed to Chef Sharusmizal’s contemporary European creations.
Our maiden visit to Urban was heralded by two molecular gastronomy-type amuse bouches: freshly shucked Oysters topped with Seaweed & multi-colour ‘pearls’, and spoonfuls of spherical pumpkin purée that look deceptively like egg yolks.
Weightier in substance and taste is Arborio Rice with Grilled Squid and Diver Sea Scallop. The creamy, slightly nutty grains prove ideal to amplify the lushness of the sautéed girolle (chanterelle mushrooms) and tranches of black truffle.
Another main to reel landlubbers in is the speciality of Red Mullet. Paired with butter poached tiger prawn, the delicate fish sweetness tastes stellar amidst tomato beurre blanc sauce, silky mash potato, crustacean powder, salted cod croquette, jumbo asparagus and confit tomato.
To liven up the trad side of sautéed Savoy cabbage, the chef springs a delightful curveball into the equation by proffering a savoury beef bacon-flavoured crème caramel in place of the requisite starch or carb.
Dessert options are worth savouring too and should rightly pique the interest of the sweet-toothed. I’m partial to Thousand Layer (RM45 nett) – a prettily stacked creation of crisp, paper-thin mille feuille layered with colourful mandarin orange cream and exotic fruits. An ethereal but almost guilt-free meal ender.
Weekdays also see Urban as a quick lunch refuge for the white collar crowd in the city. The Weekday Lunch Express (RM59 nett) pulls them in with a choice of Chinese fusion, Western or Japanese set. For the Chinese fusion and Western set, diners can select an appetiser to go with a main and a dessert. Those who opt for the latter have two different bento boxes to choose from.
For reservations, call URBAN restaurant, tel: 03-2141 9988. Address: Lobby Level, Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 73, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur. www.hotelistana.com.my