Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sebastian's Venezuelan Gastro Bar @ Persiaran Ampang

Seven years ago, Venezuelan teenager Sebastian landed in Malaysia on an art scholarship; now 25, he's made KL his home, opening a restaurant this month that showcases soul food from his homeland. Sebastian's is a real hole in the wall in Ampang, with a laid-back, anything-goes vibe - walk in at 7:30pm on a Wednesday night, & the kitchen might not even be open yet, so you'll be left to your own devices for awhile, admiring the artwork on the walls (painted by Sebastian himself) or chatting with one friendly server while the music blasting from the speakers swings from what sounds like dramatic Portuguese-style fado to Men At Work's unmistakeable Down Under. You'll begin to doubt whether the restaurant takes its fare seriously, but once the food finally starts coming (prepared by Sebastian's brother), it becomes clear that this is cooking worth loosening your belt for.

Start with the Venezuelan national dish, pabellon criollo (RM35; a platter of steamed white rice, stewed black beans, savoury shredded beef & sweetly ripe plantain slices, perfect for patrons who favour the produce of rustic kitchens), & order a very tasty side of arepas (RM20 for two pieces of Sebastian's own-made grilled cornmeal flatbread stuffed with chicken & cheese).

Croquettes are also good, crisp to the bite, plump with pulled chicken, topped with a variation of zesty guasacaca green sauce (RM20 for three). We also like the chorizo (RM20 for six pieces), firm but juicy, robust in flavour. If you're not on a diet, check out the cachapa, a traditional thick corn dough pancake blanketed with butter & cheese, or the tequenos, Venezuela's version of cheese sticks - much of the food tastes like it had been cooked in someone's home or at a street-side stall. The only flop was the bland & rubbery octopus with potatoes, but any disappointment was drowned out by rich & smooth Venezuelan rum.

Sebastian's @ Ampang
32 Persiaran Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. In theory, open daily, 7pm till late (kitchen closes 11pm). A drinking crowd comes in at 10pm, & the music gets loud. Tel: 012-250-2465

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12 comments:

  1. We have some Venezuelan friends, but have not tried any Venezuelan cuisine before. Maybe can bring them to this place when they visit us next time. :D

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    1. CK: that sounds like a good idea - am sure the restaurant owner sebastian will be happy to meet venezuelan visitors and feed them with food from their home country :)

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  2. Never had anything South American but I do know they have the most beautiful women in the world. I sure would love to give a try...ummmm...the food , I mean. LOL!!!

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    1. Suituapui: you might be thinking about miss colombia? but yes, i like how south american food really hits the spot when it comes to hearty comfort food ... we could definitely use more specialised south american restaurants in malaysia ;)

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  3. I think this place is more about the booze than the food...hehe! :D Love the skull bottle! Never had Venezuela cuisine but it looks a bit like Spanish, no?

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    1. Contact.ewew: heheh, yeah, the bar component seems to be the most popular part of sebastian's among its customers ;) and that skull bottle sure isn't scaring them off! :) you're right! venezuelan cuisine apparently has quite a bit of european influences, including spanish and italian ;)

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  4. Bland rubbery octopus... how sad :(

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    1. Ciki: skip the octopus ... but try the arepas! :D

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  5. That sotong looks great but was a let down, just goes to show one can't trust photos..

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    1. KY: it looked good when it arrived at the table, but when we started trying to slice it, we knew we were in trouble ;)

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  6. Venezuela food, eh? That's a new one for me. It does look tasty.

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    1. Phong Hong: yep, definitely not something we find a lot in KL ... i wish we could, cos you're right, it's delicious ;)

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