KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – With the unveiling of Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur, YTL Corporation adds another gem to its extensive hotel portfolio, and Francophiles in this town have good reason to celebrate. The opening of this boutique hotel also heralds the arrival of a smart new French restaurant to the city’s food scene – Brasserie 25. The restaurant is a mix of contemporary and stylish interiors, and the cuisine is distinctly Gallic. To our delight, it is gastronomically decadent in ways that only the French know best.
A tight menu greets but almost every dish we can associate with good French food makes a cameo. The lineup is a stellar ensemble of Parisian and provincial French favourites. Brasserie 25 does make an effort to banish the notion that French cuisine is uppity and unfulfilling.
In fact, the food here is served in generous portions with a more relaxed bistro-style of plating. The service and space, however, still exudes the signature luxury synonymous with all of YTL’s properties.
One good example of the the tidy presentation is in this handsome but simple serving of Escargots (RM40, USD8.98). Plating is straightforward of these classic, Burgundy molluscs baked in garlic and butter. Nevertheless, the simplicity of the plate suggests that the spotlight is left to shine on the dish’s flavour.
We did enjoy a warm and silky round of Camembert. Cheese in any form always ranks highly in our books but Camembert, baked and garnished with a mince of fragrant black truffle, is pretty close to heaven on a plate. There is something about cheese, when warmed, that melts the heart. So if this is your thing, start your meal with this Camembert Roti Au Four (RM40, USD8.98).
If cheese speaks to your heart, imagine what a slice of foie gras can do to your day. If ever a food existed that could stop traffic, we feel that it is foie gras. Simply titled Terrine (RM40, USD9.88), this sliver of creamy, goose liver paté is deceptively petite in size but is full in flavour – even a small portion smeared on crusty bread is mind-blowing. A vein of fig jam adds some tart and fruity balance to the buttery meatiness of this decadent terrine.
Our choice of main was something we believe will become a Brasserie 25 signature. Joue de Boeuf Braisée (RM120, USD26.95) is braised beef cheeks in a red wine reduction but this was beef like we’ve never had before.
The dish was served with a standard dinner knife – no serrated knife in sight – which left us confused as beef is usually carved but when we dug into our first cheek and found that it cut like room temperature butter, we completely grasped the knife issue.
In the mouth, this beef was one of the creamiest, softest, and most flavoursome meat known to us. It was so tender you could probably cut it with a dull spoon; before it melts in the mouth.
Flabbergasted, we demanded to speak to the chef and strong arm him into sharing the secret to this divine cut of bovine. Turns out that days go into the preparation of this dish.
From marinating to reducing to braising – the process is an epic exercise in culinary patience according to Sous Chef, Mohd Nizam Hassan.
As we made our way into the bed of silky mash and pool of gravy that accompanied the beef, time stood still for a moment. It is all orchestrated so beautifully – the duo of tender beef cheeks, the smoothest mash and moat of perfect gravy, and the textural accent of al dente carrots and crunchy pearl onions. There is no doubt we will come back for this dish. It’s pricey by regular bistro standards but the price tag is justified by its remarkably good quality.
One of the statement features at Brasserie 25 is the open kitchen concept that plays out a magical theatre of chefs at work. There is something about an exposed kitchen that gives us peace of mind for the standard of food preparation. Brasserie 25 is a restaurant that has nothing to hide but everything to show.
In addition to the enviably swank kitchen is an equally dashing dining floor featuring plenty of neat brickwork set against dark wood furniture. A wall’s length of large windows opens the room fully to a flood of natural light.
Couples and smaller groups are well catered for too with an abundance of booth seating and alcove areas that have been formed by well-placed arches and partition walls. What results is an open but warm space that would be perfect for business lunches during the day, but with options for more intimate dinners after dusk.
We love a good background story and it appears that this newly-minted restaurant is not without its history. The Hotel Stripes that the restaurant is housed in was built on the site of the first offices of the YTL Corporation. So, the area has a sentimental place in the heart of YTL founder, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri (Dr.) Yeoh Tiong Lay and his family.
The Jalan Kamunting location is also a heartbeat away from Bukit Bintang City Centre, tapping into the pulse of the city’s local heritage. Famed local coffee shop, Yut Kee, is a neighbour at the end of the street. Old shop houses stand flanked by curated new developments. It’s a promising area that lies on the verge of gentrification and will attractively mix an old Malaysia with the new.
We also love a good bit of food history and one of the dishes on the menu is a nostalgic replica of YTL Executive Director, Dato’ Mark Yeoh‘s childhood favourite of chicken and rice. The Fricassée de Poulet a L’Ancienne (RM60, USD13.47) is a creamy chicken served with button mushrooms and basmati rice.
This dish was one of Dato’ Yeoh’s favourite boarding school dinners and he completely approves of Brasserie 25’s version. We can only think that with the quality of food here, that Dato’ Yeoh must have attended a gourmand’s school.
In true French fashion, the food at Brasserie 25 is for people who live to eat. That is us, and we’ll be back.
- Indulgent French comfort food that is minimalist in presentation but well-executed and full of flavour
- The relaxed but classy ambience
- The attentive and informed five-star service
- The quaint heritage location and quietude of the surrounding streets
- At time of publishing, there is nothing that we know of to skip yet. Our experience at the restaurant has been outstanding to date.
Pork-Free, Serves Alcohol.
Lunch and dinner menus are the same.
An Afternoon Tea set of local savouries with a free-flow of French sweets is available from 3pm to 6pm. Call the Brasserie for more details or bookings.
Tel:+60 3-2038 0000
Image without watermarking is courtesy of YTL Hotels.
The Binge were guests of Brasserie 25, but that has no bearing on the opinions expressed here.