Pandas aren't Publika's sole peculiarity right now - out in The Square, a two-level shipping container cafe called Bxie Blonde might not share the 1,600 papier-mache bears' high profile, but it's also providing a photogenic prescription of cutesy charm.
Linger beside Bxie Blonde's shaded bar, bordered by upcycled container walls, or better still, climb the steps to an alfresco section for a fresh perspective of Publika. On a cool & calm evening, this makes for a pleasant setting for drinks & dinner.
For food, Bxie Blonde boasts a few intriguing enticements, like salmon cakes - crispy on the outside, juicy-fleshy within - tinged with kaffir lime leaves & teamed with sriracha hot sauce (more, please). RM17++.
Sandwiches surface with a choice of Korean-influenced grilled lamb marinated with gochujang (RM26++) or Cajun-inspired beef steak with caramelised onions (RM28++). Both come with fairly tender meat in fluffy buns but could feature fuller flavours.
Prices seem 20 percent steeper than expected, especially since Bxie Blonde's portions could be characterised as light. Or have we reached the point when a simple sandwich with a bit of beef & lotus chips is all RM28++ can buy us? Say it ain't so!
The menu isn't wide, but that's reasonable, considering the kitchen can't be big. Spaghetti bolognese (RM25++) & mushroom pesto lasagne (RM25++) are available too; we figure Bxie Blonde will work on more inventive pastas in the months to come.
Pandan lamingtons with kaya & salted caramel dips prove tasty but remain too pricey for RM16++ (!!!). Coffee's constructed with single-origin Sumatran Mandheling beans - espressos clock in at RM7++, lattes at RM11++ (plus RM1++ for soy milk).
Phew, there's alcohol. 'The Eixbox' (RM28++) is kinda fun - let the bartender know what kind of cocktail you like (fruity? strong) & choose your base (gin? tequila), & he'll whip up something to your preference. Wine (RM22++) & prosecco (RM35++ - ouch) are offered by the glass, but you'll probably find them at better value elsewhere in Publika.
All in all, Bxie Blonde has potential, with sparks of imagination that can be translated into a more convincing culinary concept. Fun fact: The next Bxie Blonde is expected to be at the Mall of Medini, outside Legoland, with another perhaps in Langkawi.
The Square, Publika, Kuala Lumpur. Open 11am-11pm.
Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for October-December 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter.
This link expires Jan. 24, 2015. Please check the newest blog entries after that for fresh links.
Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link:
Eat Drink KL: Small Businesses, Huge Flavours is the first eBook to help customers navigate the diversity of independent F&B entrepreneurs who bake & boil in their own kitchens, offering some of Malaysia's finest, most fascinating food products.