The Bangkung Row has been heating up this month, thanks to the entry of two Italian eateries that take their business seriously _ first, Madisons, spearheaded by an Australian chef, and now, Midi 57, whose kitchen is energized by an Italian.
Run by the folks behind Bangsar Shopping Center's Le Midi Mediterranean restaurant, Midi 57 takes over the corner lot previously occupied by D'Ceilo. Like Madisons, it's a pork-loving outlet.
Midi 57 features a relaxed feel that works for both romantic dates and family dinners; kick back, put yourselves in the hands of the friendly service team and enjoy some rustic bread, served with rosemary olive oil within a minute or two of placing your order.
The single-page soft-launch menu contains no real surprises, but customers craving simple Italian fare would probably have no problem with this leaf-loaded salad of herb-roasted piglet with tomatoes (RM27++).
Spaghetti carbonara (RM30++), brimming with bacon and black pepper, enhanced with an egg-and-parmesan sauce. Other pastas here include the familiar vongole, pesto and aglio olio varieties, alongside house-made fettuccine, tagliolini and ravioli with pork ragout and what-not.
Midi 57's Campagnola wood-fire pizza (RM33++) is well-executed enough, topped with plenty of pork sausages, a sunny-side-up egg, tomatoes, mushrooms and mozzarella. If it's pizza with panache and pasta with a porky punch that you want, Midi 57 might be worth considering.
With a nice red to pair with the food, the minutes turn into hours before we can notice.
Needing more to munch, we walked over to Madisons, where the crowd was easing up at 10pm.
Madisons' fritto misto (RM27++) comes in a snack-sized serving that's much easier to manage compared to most other Italian restaurants' sharing-for-two battered seafood platters.
Slow-cooked pork belly croquettes (RM20++), moist, meaty and marvelous with corn puree.
A nice surprise: complimentary sous-vide OP rib-eye. Unfortunately, we couldn't really do justice to this humongous portion of brawny beefiness, since we were too stuffed by now.
Madisons' cocktails are less extensive than Leonardo's next door, but the classics are present.
From Mojitos to Margaritas, everything's fairly priced and fairly potent.
Comparisons between Madisons and Midi 57 might not be warranted; both are different enough to thrive on the same street, though we hope Midi 57 will install more powerful air-conditioning (the temperature seems a little too warm) and perhaps add more adventure into its menu.
Midi 57 and Madisons,
Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.