The 19th Hole

Le Meri­dien’s Gas­tro Sen­tral is the per­fect set­ting to un­wind.

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - Contents 01/18 - BY DAVID BOW­DEN

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.

GAS­TRO BAR

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.

GAS­TRO DIN­ING

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.

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