Monday, 31 March 2014

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Midi 57 Chefs


Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining

Words by Kristin Cosgrove
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)

Two-time Michelin starred chef Andrea Alimenti has only been in KL a little more than a month, and already he’s burning up the blogosphere with hot reviews for his new menu items at Le Midi, fine Italian and French Restaurant in Bangsar Shopping Complex. Having had a wonderful experience there ourselves, we were led by curiosity to also check out Le Midi’s more casual sister down the street, Midi 57, whose kitchen is also run by Alimenti.

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Midi 57, Taman Bandaraya
Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Midi 57
Midi 57 has a welcoming, casual vibe, and takes advantage of its position on the end of the shop lot with al fresco seating out front and on the side. White table clothes flap gently in the breeze while the fans overhead help circulate the air. A wood fired oven is tucked toward the back, and tables surround the brick bar. Yellow and red accent walls lend a bright, friendly air.

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Wood Fired Oven
“I like working at restaurants and trying to take them to the next level,” remarks Alimenti. He has clearly wasted no time in making his mark at Midi 57. He believes in sourcing local ingredients when possible and makes the pasta, breads, and even the yeast in-house. New menu items have been added and old ones reworked, and Alimenti has even more goals. “Soon I hope to be able to cure my own meats and will definitely be serving our house-made gelato.”

We begin with an exceedingly refreshing tropical fruit punch as well as a Strawberry Daiquiri with Bacardi white rum, Cointreau, lime, and agave syrup (RM19). The slushiness is just the thing for a warm afternoon. 

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Strawberry Daiquiri, Tropical Fruit Punch
Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Iced Coffee
Alimenti serves up a plate of tapas, the clear favorite being the chopped honey melon with prosciutto.  The combination of salty meat and sweet melon is divine.  

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Appetizers
As we delve into the bar food I’m surprised to find there are differing batters for the fried food. One often finds fried food to all have the same “fry” taste, but not here! Red wine and rosemary batter is used for the Chicken Fingers (RM 18). The chicken is ridiculously tender – these aren’t your kids’ chicken strips – and the batter is light and not at all greasy. The house-made dipping sauce is tangy and punches the taste buds in all the right spots.

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Chicken Fingers 
Mussels and Prawns in Beer Batter (RM18) have the yeasty kick of beer and the Deep Fried Calamari (RM18) is floured with a humble mixture of cornstarch, flour and water. I find the best part about this dish to be the fried bok choy. The bitterness of the green and the grit of the batter is the perfect match for an ice-cold beer.

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Deep Fried Calamari 
Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Mussels and Prawns in Beer Batter
Hear this, friends: if you order nothing else at Midi 57, let it be the Carbonara. Real bacon, so rare in most KL Italian establishments, is the key to this unbelievably rich and creamy dish, says Alimenti. The sauce is amazing because the base is a mixture of bacon fat, wine, egg yolks and a dash of cream.  Crowning the dish is a crumble of crispy bacon pieces. 

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Carbonara
Making excellent use of the wood fired grill, Chef Alimenti has added several “Pot Plate” dishes to the menu. We try them all! Well, nearly. The vegetarian option, Eggplant Parmesan (RM20) has Monica’s full attention. Being the rosemary fiend that I am, I love the Chicken with Black Olives, Mushroom and Rosemary Sauce (RM 25). Dining companion Caning declares the meaty Lasagna (RM28) as “unreal” and we all seem to agree that the Lamb Leg (RM25) braised in Guinness beer sauce is something we’d order again. Pork Belly with Apple was also an intriguing choice and I vow to try it on my next visit. Each pot plate has an aromatic and smoky touch from the brick oven that I adore. It’s so earthy and hearty, truly comfort food.

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Eggplant Parmesan
Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Lamb Leg
Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Chicken with Black Olives, Mushroom and Rosemary Sauce
Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Lasagne
Not to be ignored, a healthy sized Double Decker Pizza sits on the edge of the table, taunting us with its colorful greens and hooey-gooey cheese. I’m stuffed, but can’t resist. The homemade crust is the perfect ratio of chewy and crisp, hunks of garlic hide between thick layers of cheese along with artichoke, ham, mozzarella, and mushrooms. Pick five toppings for RM39, a great value. 

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Double Decker Pizza
A bar wouldn’t be a bar without a good burger, and Midi 57 doesn’t disappoint. The slow cooked pork burger is firm with a good flavor, sandwiched by a homemade bun, also cooked in the wood fired oven. 

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Pork Burger
One thing you should know about Chef Alimenti – he loves chocolate! And he is equally adept at creating mouth-watering desserts as he is fine main dishes. There is usually only one dessert on the menu on any given day besides ice cream, but you can bet that whatever it is, you’ll love it.  

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Italian Dessert
We try the ginger and chocolate ganache which I soon dub as “the best thing I’ve ever eaten. No, seriously.” Alimenti divulges his secrets: spicy apple syrup, ginger, chocolate and cream. This, friends, is a chocolate lover’s paradise. It is so rich and creamy and thick it resembles fudge – only better! - and the flavor of the ginger with the chocolate is so good we simply can’t stop eating. 

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Ginger and Chocolate Ganache
The white chocolate and sponge cake with mango inside is also interesting, as it includes a cola sauce with blueberries. The cola flavor really lends a depth of taste and adds interest to this tantalizing dessert.

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
White Chocolate Sponge
For those who like liquid dessert, I would suggest a B-57, a tasty twist on the traditional B-52. This is a gorgeous layering of Absinth, Coffee Liquor and Baileys as delicious as it is pretty.  

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
B-57 - Coffee Liqueur, Baileys, Absinthe
We also try a digestive, Liquore Strega Giusseppe Elaberti Benevento, a completely natural product distilled from 70 herbs and spices from around the globe. When sipped, the flavor hits our mouth in every corner, and then disappears without a trace. If you’ve never tried it, definitely give it a go.

Midi 57, Casual Italian Dining, Taman Bandaraya
Love Potion - Liquore Strega Giusseppe Elaberti Benevento
Reason to Visit: Michelin starred chef; casual dining al fresco; chocolate and ginger ganache; fried foods with a difference; good value pizza; locally sourced ingredients and homemade breads and pastas.

Midi 57
57 Jalan Bangkung, (Off Jalan Maarof) 
Bukit Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6 03 2095 1381
Open daily: 11:00 am - 12:00 am
Non-halal


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5 comments:

  1. Oooo...pork burger! Just had one at an Italian place here - what a coincidence. In my blogpost today...

    Casual dining! I like that...a lot! Some places so classy, scared even to walk in...and I hate dressing up nicely and all the etiquette - take the joy out of the eating. Best places where one can be oneself and feel at home.

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    Replies
    1. Food sure looks droolworthy! Slurpsssss!!!!

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  2. that eggplant dish looked great, i love the wide variety of drinks they serve there too.

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  3. those starters and desserts look divine ... what a beautiful presentation for the ginger and chocolate ganache ... it might merit hall-of-fame status! :)

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  4. Hmm... tempura and calamari :)
    Hmm hmmm lamb shank! :)
    Absinthe? I've only tried once - my heart was like burning!

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