The 19th Hole
Le Meridien’s Gastro Sentral is the perfect setting to unwind.
Le Meridien's Gastro Sentral is the place to unwind after a hard day's work.
Sometimes, we overlook the five-star hotel in favour of freestanding bars and restaurants but 19th Hole recently dropped by Gastro Sentral just off the lobby entrance to Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur and was very pleasantly surprised at the gastronomique delights and bountiful bar offerings served in contemporary and comfortable surroundings.
The restaurant bar impresses because of its location (just 30 minutes from KLIA for those entertaining overseas guests), excellent and professional service and assistance and, some great treats prepared by both the kitchen and bar teams.
The outlet has a very high ceiling with several discrete sections including a bar with stools and high tables, the main dining section and a large wooden slab table at the
entrance within a wine cellar which is ideal for seating up to eight patrons.
High leather stools line the bar with an impressive array of liquor and beer taps for Carlsberg, Asahi Super Dry, Hoegaarden and Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc draught beers which are served here.
This section of the outlet comes under the control of Nisa who runs a tight bar and knows a thing or two about shaking a great cocktail. These cocktails tend towards the classic end of the spectrum without too much tricking up and depend upon the combination of premium liquor and quality ingredients appropriately shaken together.
Whisky Sour is a popular cocktail as is the Cosmopolitan while others to sample include the Lychee Martini, Evergreen (Midori, apple liqueur, vodka and fresh green apple), Espresso Martini and Mojitos.
The Cosmopolitan stands out for its combination of
vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice to offer a sweet but refreshing tropical cocktail.
There is also an excellent selection of wines and craft beers are destined to surface on the beverage menu in the not too distant future.
Chef Sazli is the Chef de Cuisine overseeing Gastro Sentral plus several other outlets in the hotel. His team prepares and cooks all dishes behind showcase windows. A selection of petit plates or tapas will tempt those who are at Gastro Sentral with the main focus being on drinking. More substantive meals are provided for diners.
Tapas are served from 5pm till late and include croquetas of crumbed and fried potato served with a tangy rendang gravy and topped with chicken floss. Other good finger food is the tartine of Waldorf salad and sliced juicy tandoori chicken served on baguette chunks.
All diners are presented with tasting servings of complimentary potato soup and signature olive and rosemary bread.
Move onto a very tasty dish of KL Smokehouse fishery salmon served with a 60o poached egg. Chef Sazli tracked down a local supplier who smokes the salmon here in Kuala Lumpur and which the chef then dresses up with dill, horseradish, capers, red onions and Dijon Béarnaise sauce.
Steak lovers will find it hard to pass the steak ‘on board’ which is a cut of perfectly produced (Australian) and cooked sirloin steak accompanied by truffle fries, mushroom salad and herb jus with the steak topped with a slab of garlic-paprika butter.
The kitchen saves its real creative flair for the avocado burger. A whole avocado is skinned and de-seeded and then carefully cut in half. Fresh crab flesh is mixed with a little mayonnaise and then skilfully spooned into the empty seed cavity to create the ‘meat’ in the ‘burger’. Sesame seeds are then sprinkled on the top half of the avocado and sweet mango cubes are placed on the plate. A tangy sriracha aioli drizzle adds an essential spiciness to make it even more palatable to local diners.
While the pricing is higher than your average bar, the quality of the produce served here more than compensates for paying a little extra. Happy hours Carlsberg pints are priced at RM65 (two pints) with nuts and nibbles provided so this is a fair price considering the prestigious surroundings.
Gastro Sentral offers fivestar comfort and luxury, a stylish and classy ambiance, large-screen sports action, food with flair and some very impressive classic cocktails. This is a place to impress and be impressed and well worth considering for your next business drinks or meal. All menu pricing is nett.