Traffic in KL comes to a standstill, and it takes my dining companion and I ages to get to Pavilion for a review of the Press Room Bistro. We reach a half hour late, cold, hungry and a little annoyed with the traffic and rain, but instantly perk up as we stand outside the Press Room Bistro, located on Pavilion’s walkway (the walkway which leads to the pedestrian bridge connecting Pavilion and KLCC).
Standing on the outside, one will instantly feel the draw to enter the cosy little outlet. Soft lighting illuminates the bar and interior of the bistro giving it a casual, welcoming ambience, while simple wooden tables and chairs add to the no fuss theme. Friendly service staffs greeted us as we lingered outside admiring the view and we were quickly ushered to our hostess for the night, Gastrodome’s PR & Marketing Manager, Shanee Kaveena Singam.
As we took a seat at the back (to get a clear view of the whole Bistro), we were joined by Gastrodome’s Group Sommelier David Stephan. I noticed that the place was reasonably packed with after work crowds enjoying a drink and shoppers stopping by for a quick bite to eat. I was informed by Shanee that it can get fairly packed on the weekends especially with shoppers and tourists.
The Beverage Menu
As we perused the menu, we couldn’t help but admire the long list of beverages on offer. To start with, they have an extensive wine list that is sure to keep any wine connoisseur happy. There are about 10 organic wines, which according to Shanee, will give you less of a hangover the next day.
The wine list is made up of 70% French wine and 30% international wine. If you’re not much of a wine person, play safe and pick from the ones highlighted in red (recommended ones), or David or the service staff will be more than happy to recommend something to go with your meal. Wine is served by the glass or bottle.
The beverage menu also has a good selection of cocktails, beers on tap, bottled beers and ciders, premium house spirits and aperitifs. The new addition to the beverage menu is Little Creatures, bright ale and pale ale, beer from Australia.
For those not interested in alcoholic beverages, the front of the menu offers delicious smoothies, iced teas, soft drinks, Illy café, tea by the pot and bottled water (still and sparkling).
The Food Menu
The food menu is definitely something to get excited about. Breakfast items and sandwiches are available from 9 in the morning till 5.30 in the evening. The a la carte menu contains a mixture of soup, salads, and lasagne among others. The must try, according to Shanee, is the Toasted Poilane and dishes cooked in the Josper Oven (a traditional European closed barbeque which uses only high quality wood for charcoal. You get the great taste of authentic barbeque flavours, indoors!).
Toasted Poilane is actually sourdough bread, and will probably be the most delicious one you have ever tasted. It is best paired with a selection of cheese, cold cuts and pates. It is highly recommended you pick the Mixed Platter, that way you can mix and match the cheese and cold cuts (RM34) or cheese, cold cuts and pate (RM65). Add in an extra RM30 to enjoy two glasses of red or white Paul Jaboulet wine.
The food cooked in the Josper Oven comes out tasting divine! One can choose between fish (RM40-RM42), poultry (RM29-RM45) and meat (RM29-RM250). Each comes with a side dish of your choice, and a generous serving of sauce (mustard, blue cheese, green pepper, béarnaise, porcini mushroom sauce or marchand de vin). If choosing the right combination confuses you, just ask the friendly waiters, who are all well informed on the right pairing to help you out.
What we Ordered
As we settled down in our seats, we happily left the ordering of the food and wine up to the experts, Shanee and David. “You know best”, we told them. They happily obliged and both proceeded to list out the ‘must try’ dishes and wines while my dining companion and I nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, yes, we will try anything”, we replied.
David, the sommelier picked a light white wine to accompany our meal. My companion and I may not be wine experts, but we thoroughly enjoyed our glasses of Weingut Holzer Gruner Veltliner, from Austria (RM170 a bottle). When asked how he chooses which wine pairs best with the food, he replied “you must first drink what you like. Don’t think so much about which wine will match with your meal. Choose the type you like, whether it’s red or white, and then pair it with your meal”.
As we waited for the food to arrive, Shanee proceeded to explain the concept of the Press Room Bistro to us. “We wanted to open a more toned down, down-to-earth version of our sister outlet, the Press Room in Bangsar Shopping Centre. The French bistro concept we have has definitely encouraged everyone to come in and try the food. With the Press Room at Bangsar Shopping Centre, people automatically think that it’s a high class fancy place with expensive dishes. But the Bistro represents a more casual feel, with a more affordable price range”.
“We opened the Bistro last month, September, and since then we’ve had a good mix of clientele walking in; from corporate workers, shoppers and tourists. And the great thing about the Bistro is that one feels comfortable coming here in just shorts and slippers!”
The food soon arrived and we eagerly picked up our cutleries to dig in. First up we had the Mixed Platter (RM65) which is a combination of cheese (Camembert and Reblochon), cold cuts (Turkey Chorizo and Beef Cecina) and pates (Duck Rillettes). The platter was tastily garnished with small bits of apricot, tomato jam and shaved macadamia. This was of course served with the tasty Toasted Poilane. The combination of the sourdough bread with the cheeses and cold cuts is absolutely delicious!
Next up we had a selection of dishes cooked in the Josper Over. First was a serving of Red Tuna (RM44) with the porcini mushroom sauce and a side of ratatouille as the side dish. We also had the 200g beef tenderloin (RM88) which was paired with the marchand de vin sauce and a bowl of mix vegetables. Both the fish and beef were delicious enough to be eaten on its own, without the sauces. The roasted vegetables and ratatouille were absolutely delightful, and we soon polished the bowls clean.
We were also served two lovely dishes from the a la carte menu; the Salad Landaise (RM24) which came with delicious slices of smoked duck breast, duck rillettes and duck gizzard. The star of the evening came in the form of a lasagne, the Lasagne of Mushroom Duxelle (RM35) with white truffle oil. Both David and Shanee assured us that the lasagne was a favourite at the Press Room Bistro. My dining companion and I nodded sceptically. How can one cook lasagne with no meat and expect it to be delicious? One bite was more than enough to prove our theory wrong. The lasagne was unquestionably scrumptious! It wasn’t oozing with cheese and there was no meat spilling out the sides, but looks can be deceiving as we discovered.
The four of us managed to polish off every last bite. The offer of dessert popped up, and although we were stuffed to the brim, we agreed to try one. After all, you can’t leave without having dessert. Shanee ordered us the Classic Tarte Tatin with fresh cream (RM18) which was a sweet temptation after an indulging meal.
“I am full and satisfied,” I said after polishing of my dessert. “Mission accomplished”, Shanee replied with a triumphant smile.
With the plates cleared off, we lingered a few extra minutes, soaking in the atmosphere, while willing ourselves to leave the Bistro. The knowledge that we had an early morning the next day was the final push we needed to leave, reluctantly.
The Press Room Bistro was definitely a pleasant surprise for us, even though we had been to The Press Room in Bangsar Shopping Centre. The vibe was different, more relaxed and less fancy, the background music was a perfect accompaniment to a comforting meal, and the overall ambience can magically put your mind at ease as you sit back and de-stress. Jivani Jeyasingam
The Press Room Bistro is located in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, on the walkway outside the mall. If you are coming from the car park, take the elevators to the third floor and make your way outside.