It's official: Within three years, Ante Kitchen & Bar has gone from fine to flat-out fabulous - this is the restaurant that now sets the bar for venues in KL that serve Western pork specialities. In recent weeks, Ante has jazzed up its repertoire even further, offering a new brunch menu that's crafted with creative conviction of spectacular standards.
Ordinarily, we avoid Big Breakfasts, but Ante's is constructed with impressive ingredients that complement each other immensely well - immaculately cooked eggs, the chubbiest bratwurst, a trio of shimeiji, button & oyster mushrooms, creamy-fresh guacamole, sourdough toast, & Ante's latest champion attraction: House-cured, hickory-smoked bacon, the result of intensive kitchen R&D, a dynamo of porky magnificence that more than measures up to expectations at 8 millimetres thick. Everything on this must-finish-it-all plate is top-drawer in quality, a deeply fulfilling Big Brekkie. RM39 nett, inclusive of coffee.
Ante's outstanding bacon appears nearly everywhere on the brunch selection; it's the ideal companion for the ravishingly runny poached eggs, oozing with a sensual softness in its centre, enveloped in a lightly crisp deep-fried exterior, bolstered by aioli & honey soy (RM32). You won't even have to wake up excessively early for this - brunch is served 11am through 4pm everyday.
Bacon & beetroot - we love Ante for coming up with this combo; you can have the delectable duo on sourdough toast, twinned with aioli & guacamole, for a memorable open sandwich (RM25), or chopped up & coupled with orecchiette, candied olives, roasted cherry tomatoes & fresh dill (RM25) on a plate of pasta for patrons whose cravings edge closer to lunch than brunch. These nail all the notes that we look for in food, supplying ambitiously orchestrated, skilfully tuned surprises in every course.
But if you're seriously not into bacon, there's still hope - Norwegian salmon, also meticulously cured here in the heart of Solaris Dutamas with thyme & orange peel, yielding an interpretation that's alluringly nuanced in both taste & texture, several notches above middling supermarket & buffet offerings, cushioned with ultra-creamy scrambled eggs on sourdough. RM29.
Ante's admirable attention to detail extends to its all-day menu (11am-11pm) - go for the gnudi & the gnocchi; the former (RM35) is rarely seen in KL, comprising savoury ricotta cheese dumplings (beautifully made at Ante, of course) well-balanced with lemon-butter emulsion, crispy kale, pine nuts & capers, while the latter (RM32) features potato pasta with pesto, spinach ragout, tomatoes & parmesan. Both are excellent enough to earn a berth at any of KL's most recommended Italian eateries.
The rest of the menu showcases stalwarts that are persistently being refined - a much-appreciated hallmark of a restaurant that strives to keep getting better. The signature char-grilled pork steak (RM56) remains intact in its full glory, but we also spied a menu listing for an intriguing burger incarnation built with a slow-braised pork cheek medallion & gorgonzola cream cheese.
In the past, we've given Ante's desserts only polite approval, but this year, the restaurant has created a sublime masterpiece - a sumptuous Valrhona chocolate delice layered with feuilettine; this serving shouldn't be shared, as you may want to devour it wholly on your own. Next to that, Ante's apple crumble, bread & butter pudding, creme brulee & panna cotta stand scant chance for recognition. Coffee & wine still satisfy here; many thanks to Ante for hosting one of our favourite brunches of 2015.
We're really happy to have Ante as one of the recommended restaurants on the Eat Drink KL mobile app. Enjoy a 6 percent discount off your bill when you use this app at Ante Kitchen & Bar, on any day, at any time.
Ante Kitchen & Bar
A2-G1-09, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur. Open daily, 11am-11pm. Tel: 03-6206-3364
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