Monday, November 14, 2011

La Vie En Rose & PH Pastry House

A Tale of Two Houses: two very different restaurants _ La Vie En Rose & PH Pastry House _ opened this month, sharing one similarity: both were transformed from residential bungalows into beautiful eateries that could become firm favorites for KL's foodies.

Let's kick off with La Vie En Rose; an abandoned location for 15 years at Jalan Raja Chulan, this is now an immensely charming outlet where strains of Edith Piaf's signature song waft across the romantic alfresco setting in the evening.

La Vie En Rose joins the ranks of French restaurants like Le Bouchon, Cafe Cafe & Ma Maison, dishing out delicious traditional fare cooked by Toulouse-born chef Jean Michel Fraisse.

Complimentary bread with duck rillettes. Fraisse is no stranger to KL; he landed here in the 1990s, eventually founding the French Culinary School in Asia & spearheading eateries like Cuisine Studio & Urban Picnic.

Pate en croute with sweet & sour pearl onions, red cabbage, mustard seeds & blackcurrant chutney (RM22++). Artisan bread is painstakingly baked on the premises, while many other premium ingredients are imported, but prices are far from crippling; a three-course dinner without wine should cost below RM150.

Musketeers' salad: duck confit (with smoked duck bacon), sauteed mushrooms & violet dressing (RM28++). La Vie En Rose's menu is a tribute to time-honored recipes, some of which Fraisse learned from his mother; this is the type of hearty, no-nonsense nosh that we envision when we watch a movie like Ratatouille.

Chicken Marengo, a recipe favored by Napoleon Bonaparte _ grain-fed free-range chicken, sauteed with yabbies & tarragon-flavored tomato concassee (RM58++). Our only complaint about La Vie En Rose: while driving here, we had to make a perilously sharp turn up a hill (slightly past a Shell gas station, before the St Andrew's Presbyterian Church). The restaurant recommends that customers park across the road in an open-air lot instead.

Tea-smoked Muscovy duck breast with warm organic green lentils (RM58++). Notice a pattern in this post? We prioritized poultry for our orders, but there was no tiresome feeling of deja vu, since each recipe was uniquely enjoyable in its own fashion.

Wishful drinking: beer served in champagne glasses. But it's no regular booze; reputedly the first beer created to pair with food, Estrella Damm Inedit is the brainchild of Damm brew masters & Ferran Adria, Juli Soler & El Bulli's sommeliers' team (RM120++ for 750ml).

La Vie En Rose currently opens for dinner, Tuesdays through Sundays, with last orders at 10:30 p.m., and for brunch on Sundays. It also sells everything from olive oil to pasta machines. We have faith that it'll prove itself to be one of 2011's best new restaurants.

OK, next up: here's a look at PH Pastry House, a former family residence at Imbi that's cultivating a chic, contemporary bakery-cafe vibe.

PH Pastry's trump card might be macarons; by the end of November, this outlet _ run by a trio of Malaysian entrepreneurs _ promises to introduce funky flavors of savory macarons, such as foie gras, black & white truffle, extra virgin olive oil & smoked salmon with dill.

In the meantime, try the "Guilty Confession" Sarawak pepper macaron, comprising salted caramel, apricot ganache, sea salt & pepper _ sweetly sticky, with a subtly spicy aftertaste. It costs a hefty RM7.90, but PH offers cheaper varieties (rose, green tea, dark choc) for RM3.90.

Pumpkin soup (RM9++). PH Pastry's business hours will please many customers; breakfast starts at 7 a.m. daily, with the outlet remaining open through 10 p.m. Last orders are at 9 p.m.

Pasta Puttanesca, with smoked salmon, egg, anchovies, tomatoes & capers (RM13.90++). PH Pastry's food is fair, considering the prices; the manager says the menu is a work in progress, but expect to see everything from pizzas to poached cod fish here in the months ahead.

All in all, PH Pastry has potential. Let's put it this way: have dinner at La Vie En Rose, but for a casual breakfast or lunch, PH Pastry might prove perfect.

Best bets for beverages at PH Pastry: milkshakes, coffee & affogato.

At PH Pastry, beer is available, but not wine, for now.

La Vie En Rose,
39, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2078-3883

PH PastryHouse,
54, Jalan Utara, Off Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2141-2208

32 comments:

  1. the milkshake looks so sinful!

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  2. They. Have. Weissbier! With pastries!

    And a two-for-one punch review. Someone's on a roll this week, and it's only Monday! Well-done! :D

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  3. So where's the best place to park if I wanna go to La Vie En Rose? :P

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  4. ... and okay, I'm actually at the Pastry House now. It's nice and sunny and I get the Melbourne vibe... so odd to see fresh macarons coming out of the kitchen before 9am though. :)

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  5. how did u manage to eat so many dishes? howwww!

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  6. Did I just missed u at ph? (: la vie en rose sounds interesting!! Weird dat I always go dinner at this area but never notice de place (:

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  7. @AugustDiners: Wait, did you mean Sean or me? I'm still here. In fact, live-blogging from pH Pastry House now: http://lifeforbeginners.com/liveblog-phpastryhouse/

    Anyone joining me? :D

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  8. Wow the La Vie En Rose is indeed a charming place to be. Didn't know that there's a hidden gem along that road?!!

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  9. Michelle: with lotsa whipped cream on top! it could almost be a full-blown dessert instead of a mere beverage :D
    Kenny: aiyo, you succeeded in leaving three comments before i even managed to crawl out of bed! over-achiever much? and how you can coherently compose such lucid thoughts for live-blogging at the crack of dawn is beyond me! =)

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  10. Baby sumo: oh, for now, we have to park at the top of a slope just beside the restaurant, but it can only accommodate less than 10 cars. worst comes to worst, can also park in an open-air lot across the road :D
    KY: heheh, practice makes perfect (but it also makes a bulging waistline!) =)

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  11. Augustdiners: hopefully we'll bump into each other at PH or La Vie En Rose someday! but yeah, both outlets are quite easy to miss, unless you're looking out for them :D
    Eiling: yeah, la vie en rose was actually supposed to open a week ago, but they had to settle some license issues with DBKL. i think you might enjoy the place! :D

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  12. Lucid live blogging, did you say? Well, maybe it's cos I wake up before midday unlike some folks I know... *ahem*

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  13. Kenny: if you ever get turned into a vampire, you'd be a pretty lousy one, considering your preferred waking hours. you'd probably end up whining all the time about how you never get to see the sunlight anymore :D

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  14. I'd rather die and see the sunlight one more time... :D

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  15. Kenny: see what i mean. terrible vampire. a self-respecting blood-sucker would just adapt and learn to love the moonlight (and the inimitable flavor of warm, fresh hemoglobin) :D

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  16. True also lah. Less of what you said and more of I could just experience sunlight via videos and films. Not quite the same thing but okay also what. :P

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  17. Kenny: i notice you conveniently sidestepped the 'drinking blood' matter. that's the most crucial part of being a vampire. yummy :D

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  18. Drinking blood? Not that bad lah. Tastes like iron, right? :P

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  19. Kenny: i've tasted human blood before! i slapped dead a blood-filled mosquito and then ate it. not sure whether it was my blood or someone else's though. it tasted like, errmm, a bloody mary without the booze & tabasco sauce :D

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  20. I.e. A virgin Mary lah. Uhm, considering the source... :P

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  21. kenny: virgin sacrifices are what the gods demand, after all :P

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  22. Supposedly. No evidence of such demand though.

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  23. The tea smoked Muscovy duck breast looks delightfully pink! Reckon its super juicy too. *drool*

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  24. Kenny: sediakan payung sebelum hujan! get a virgin ready in case you need to sacrifice one :P
    Missyblurkit: yeah, for duck breast, it's definitely more succulent than usual. and yup, perfectly cooked! :D

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  25. Thanks for sharing. Will try PH, already had lunch at La vie en Rose. Great blog.

    Cheers, Tram Claudel

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  26. Tram: thanks! glad you enjoyed la vie en rose =)

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  27. Through rose tinted glasses and all that jazz.. will be checking it out soon;)

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  28. Ciki: heheh, i hope you have a fab evening here! :D

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  29. Hi Sean.. got breads at PH? Stupid question but I dont see any here.. jz wan to be sure be4 i head over.. :)

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  30. Rebecca: oh yeps, there's bread, though the selection is not too wide for now compared to other bakeries. they'll expand it later :D

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  31. Hi Sean,

    How about their wine list? Good selection of Bordeaux Gran Cru class?

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  32. Paolo: oops, sorry, it's been a bit too long since my last visit here, so i can't recall the wine selection anymore =)

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