Starhill's Feast Gallery saw a rare change to its long-stagnant scene this month, welcoming a new Vietnamese restaurant that replaces MyThai.
Too cute to consume? "Chirping Baby Birds" _ fried seafood paste stuffed with quail eggs, featuring pepper seeds for "eyes" and chilies for "beaks." A deliciously well-prepared introduction to Royale Vietnam's sweeping showcase of both classic & contemporary recipes.
Fried yam & squid with crunchy crackers. The food here is pork-free, but chefs from Vietnam ensure there's no lack of complex flavors & fragrances to keep customers contented.
Steamed fish with winter melon. We're so terrible at identifying different types of fish, we can't tell what this is (ermm, tilapia?). Acceptable for RM55++, but not exceptional. Similar to Chinese ginger-laced versions.
Prawns steamed with beer. Two fried dishes & two steamed ones for this late supper (last orders at 12.30 a.m. here), to balance the unhealthy-healthy ratio (OK, not really, but never mind). Fresh, plump prawns, with pleasantly bitter hints of beer.
Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc Rapel Chile 2009. Beer is the only booze that Royale Vietnam offers, but customers can order wine & cocktails from Village Bar next door.
Terrazas Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Mendoza Argentina 2006.
Service is superlative; should a diner clumsily drop his chopsticks on the floor after drinking too much wine (ahem), a watchful waitress will glide over to replace them with no fuss.
Starhill Feast Gallery, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.