Marco Modern Cafe represents one of 1 Utama's most pleasant surprises, going beyond what might be expected of a mall-based restaurant. Named for the son of its founders Daren & Alice, the cafe also pays tribute to concepts of adventure epitomised by Marco Polo, whose travels paved the path for great cross-border discoveries about cuisine. Marco skillfully weaves together inspirations from across Europe & Asia for a culinary tapestry of distinctive dishes with ambition & artistry.
The kitchen's secret weapon might be its beautifully presented sous-vide chicken & salmon recipes. We love the roulade of whole chicken thigh (RM26.80), paired with thoughtfully selected nuts & seasonal vegetables (in this case, walnuts & Brussels sprouts) - the flesh is deliciously tender, delicately encased in crisp skin, yielding a pure & clean flavour, enhanced with a well-balanced jus gras that captures the essence of the fowl. For an even meatier bite, the airline chicken breast (RM26.80; featuring a boneless breast with the drumette attached) also comes recommended, with each chunky slice painstakingly prepared to banish impressions of dried-out chicken. We're fans of the fish too - the salmon steak manages to remain irreproachably moist while conveying a light, crunchy skin (RM34.80). Credit goes to Daren, whose years of experience behind the scenes of F&B, both in KL & abroad, have made him a perceptive judge of making the best of technique-driven produce.
Marco's menu is extensive enough to ensure there's something for everyone, whether you're a shopper craving a casual lunch or you've come to 1 Utama specially for a leisurely dinner at Marco. Burgers are popular here - the classic cheeseburger (RM26.80) is constructed with quality ingredients including a house-ground beef patty (smash-cooked for savoury dynamics), cheddar & fry sauce in a fresh & fluffy sesame bun, while the encouragingly hearty soft-shell crab burger is the latest entry in a menu that also spans many fusion-style pastas, most notably several infused with East Asian-inflected components such as Japanese squid ink, shimeji mushrooms, shoyu & tobiko - inventive variations include a bolognese topped with an onsen egg.
Desserts are also aplenty, from French toasts to fondants, cheese or chocolate souffles to puddings & pancakes. Our choice is the flan de caramelo (RM13.80) - lusciously eggy, caramel-coated custard that reminds Daren of his boyhood, served with satisfyingly smooth house-made strawberry ice cream; the combination produces a lovely finish to the meal, washed down with intriguing & invigorating chilled drinks like the Cucumber Cooler (made textured with pickled cucumber & cucumber jelly) & soaked-sorbet 'Limanade' with zesty dimensions (RM14.80 each). Many thanks to Marco Modern Cafe for having us here.
Marco Modern Cafe
G146, Ground Floor, 1 Utama Shopping Centre (Old Wing), Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Daily, 11am-10pm. Tel: 03-7731-8923