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MED.@Marché-Live, Renaissance Hotel

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Warning: we were invited to review this restaurant and the entire meal was paid for by the house. The following below is our independent view, but you have been warned.

It was many moons ago when I first stepped into Marche with the wild boar, and that was for our dating anniversary. We wanted somewhere romantic with fine food and so my mum suggested Marche as there weren't many fine food restaurants in the scene then. And partly because she has a membership card which entitles card holders to a 50% discount on the bill for two.

Located within the 5* Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel, MED.@Marché-Live is a Mediterranean Restaurant with an elegant setting that features exotic Italian food.

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If you can stand the heat and humidity of Malaysia, there's an al fresco terrace which overlooks...the KL traffic. The tall building is KL tower (a 421m high telecommunications and broadcasting tower).

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Australian Chef Paul Lewis joined the culinary team as the Executive Sous Chef six months ago and has recently crafted a new menu for the restaurant featuring a variety entrees, soups, pizzas, home-made pasta, grilled and wood fired dishes and desserts. Before I go into the food, we started the night with Pisco sour - a South American cocktail containing pisco, lemon/ lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup, and bitters. This was made with Chilean pisco and it was actually more sweet than sour - very smooth and refreshing. A great start.

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A variety of breads (bread sticks, ciabatta and olive bread) served with a deliciously smooth pine nut- aubergine dip and olive oil-balsamic dip. The olive-oil-balsamic dip has bits of roasted pistachio, which I thought was a nice twist.

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Next up, a thin crust pesto pizza with semi-dried tomato and parmesan baked in the wood fired oven. Baked to my liking, the edges were crispy and the middle was soft and chewy. The bread had a charred taste, which I loved.

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Brodetto - a traditional Italian soup made with seafood, garlic, tomato, saffron, tomato and white wine vinegar. The broth was tangy with strong seafoody flavours - very tasty, but unfortunately, the seafood was overcooked.

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Tortellini stuffed with goats cheese, served with thyme, roast pumpkin and balsamic vinegar. The wild boar would hate this as the flavour of the goats cheese filling was pretty strong. Not a huge fan of this as the pasta dough was quite thick (normal for tortellini I guess to hold the filling), and it was quite dry.

Penne with wild mushrooms, truffle and chives. Mushrooms, truffle - YUM; penne - oily. Yes, they seemed like two separate elements that did not blend. I'm not sure penne was the right choice of pasta for this dish. Linguine, angel hair or fettuccine would have been a better choice IMO.

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Papperdelle served with a ragout of beef shin, green pea and oven dried tomato and gremolata. Very tasty, but could use more of that gremolata to lighten up the dish.

Linguine with tiger prawn, scallop, garlic, chili, parsley and tomato. ooo chili? I certainly did not taste that. Overall tasty dish.

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Gnocchi with braised lamb shank, anchovies, olives and pecorino. This was the highlight for me. The gnocchi was light and fluffy unlike the stodgy ones I had in most some restaurants. The sauce was extremely rich and flavourful with tender shredded lamb.

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Chicken piccata with sauteed mushroom (and linguine I think) and asparagus. A pretty straightforward dish, tender, juicy chicken cutlets served with lemon butter sauce.

Ocean trout with basil pesto. An OK dish for me, nothing to rave or rant about.

Balsamic brushed lamb cutlets with caponata, polenta and jus. The best meat dish out of all IMHO. The lamb was really moist, juicy and tender. Well seasoned dish.

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Wood fired Tuscan chicken served with garlic roast potato chips (dense texture which I love and very tasty, if it's not for the calories and the sake of sharing, I would have single-handedly ate every single wedge in view) and balsamic roasted vegetable (there's grapes!).

Grilled Florence steak served with garlic roast potato chips (the more the better) and Panzanella salad. Unlike the humongous bistecca alla fiorentina I had in Florence, the steak was rather tiny. It was grilled rare but the meat was disappointingly tough and dry.

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Cannoli stuffed with ricotta cheese filling (I think). Beautifully presented, the pastry was light and crispy which went really well with the slightly sweet creamy filling.

Apple pudding. A bit dry, not a huge fan.

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Overall, loved the intimate and cozy ambience. The pasta dishes in general were pretty good but the meat dishes were hit and miss for me.

Best bit: the wonderfully light and fluffy gnocchi.
Worst bit: the steak.

Renaissance Kuala Lumpur hotel
2nd floor, west wing
Corner of Jalan Sultan Ismail & Jalan Ampang
Tel: +603 2162 2233
Business hours: 5pm till late
Close on Sundays and Public Holidays

PS. we've been asked by toptable to provide a list of top ten UK restaurants of 2010. Here's the feature page on the site that lists all the bloggers contributing.

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