Tuesday, October 16, 2018

CITTA Mall: New Restaurants Roundup

By Aiman Azri

CITTA Mall has become one of our favourite malls in Petaling Jaya to explore this year, with a bevy of new cafes and restaurants with intriguing offerings. From Malaysian chicken chop with a French-style cheese flourish to pork-free Chinese steamboat that packs a flavourful punch, modern Thai fare with playful twists to one-of-a-kind LEGO-inspired cakes, these venues leave a definite, distinctive impression.

Union Roastery



Union Roastery debuts with a surprising sense of innovation and imagination, serving unique specialities in a calm, cosy and colourful setting. 


The cafe's repertoire is extensive - start with warm, hearty meals created by chef Kai and his team. Kai has honed his craft over the years in Singapore and the U.S., so he brings a border-hopping touch to his recipes - the Grandma Chicken Chop might sound traditionally local, but it's made extra-memorable with a creamy, stretchy topping of aligot, the French blend of cheese with mashed potatoes, a tasty companion for the chicken that's crunchy to the bite, succulent to the chew (RM19.90).

Crowd-pleasers such as pastas, burgers and sandwiches also showcase engaging elements: Since the cafe roasts its own coffee beans, it's fitting that it offers an Espresso Pasta, with a subtle sauce laced with coffee beans cultivated in India and Rwanda, bringing a gentle depth to the spaghetti with mushrooms and bell peppers (RM21.90).

To combat hunger pangs, you won't go wrong with the Shredded Beef Burger, featuring 24-hour braised Australian beef brisket in house-baked charcoal buns (RM22.90), and the Toast a Lamb Sandwich, with hints of mirin that channel Japanese inspirations, rounded out with a runny-yolked sunny-side-up that partners perfectly with the tender meat and thick, fluffy bread (RM25.90).

Desserts prove no less delightful; for a plated pleasure, check out the Chocolate Heaven, a chocolate devotee's fantasy come true, featuring premium chocolate ice cream in choux pastry with chocolate pearls, brownie slices and fruits (RM23.90).

Union Roastery is also home to the Le Clairé patisserie, where pastry chef Frennee offers numerous temptations for the young at heart. Super Mario Bros fans might fall head-over-heels for the Mario cake series, which comprises five vibrant flavours such as caramel chocolate banana, chocolate coffee or milk chocolate passion fruit at RM17.90 each.

Le Clairé takes pride in its fresh, cream-stuffed choux pastries, which can be brought home for the entire family to enjoy at RM37.90 for a package of six pieces. Other original creations are also available, including painstakingly intricate, customisable choux pastry towers. This is the first retail outlet for Le Clairé, originally inspired by French croquembouche pastries, after having served online customers for the past three years.

 

Beverages receive equal attention and care - while coffee is a cornerstone of the selection (with beans roasted on site, brought in from across the globe, from Africa to Indonesia and Vietnam), signature concoctions are also worth experiencing. The Rose Chocolate makes its hot dark chocolate florally aromatic with rose syrup (RM12.90), while the Union is a refreshing fusion of shaken espresso with spice syrup and cold milk (RM14.90) and the Wildberry Sourplum will perk up your morning, afternoon or night with a medley of soda water, wild berry syrup and sour plum juice (RM15.90).

Lava Steamboat


CITTA Mall is the first launching pad for Lava Steamboat, a new brand that tackles steamboat with halal aspirations in a striking space with a sense of East Asian mystique.

Lava Steamboat's founders have more than two decades of F&B experience, so customers can rest assured of the quality of premium ingredients across a sweeping selection of some 50 steamboat items, such as the Australian Premium Beef Ribeye (RM53; served in a theatrical swirl of mist), the Tender Beef (RM20; a house blend of beef) and the Cheese Beef Meat Balls (RM19). Dunk them for a few seconds in the steamboat and savour their clean-tasting lusciousness.


Other options that we sampled include the Lava Fresh-Made Tiger Prawn Meat Paste (RM23), Hong Kong Kai Lan (RM6) and Famous Bean Curd Roll (RM16), alongside Lava Steamboat's own-produced complimentary, confidently textured sambal belacan.

Lava Steamboat's strength rests not only in these impeccably top-flight ingredients, but the well-balanced richness of its soup base. The Lava Chicken White Soup is a clear broth that lets the meat, seafood and vegetables speak sweetly for themselves (RM15), while the Signature Tom Yam Soup is suitably spicy and tangy but not overpoweringly so (RM20). Order the Ying Yang for two soups of your choice for RM25.

A la carte dishes also hit the mark impressively - who would have thought that a halal version of Hokkien Mee could be so satisfying, sizzling on the plate with delicious smokiness, crowned with crispy tofu and plenty of prawns, doing justice to this cherished favourite (RM28). The Lava Sweet And Sour Crab also merits praise, fleshy and fresh, coated in a natural-tasting sauce that's worth licking to the final spoonful (RM60; side of steamed buns at RM2 each).

Desserts and drinks prove somewhat unconventional for a steamboat specialist: Wrap up your meal with the Lava X Haagen-Dazs fondue-and-ice-cream platter, perfect for a feast of communal sharing (RM78.90) and wash everything down with alluring beverages like the dragonfruit-fuelled Lava Red Dragon (RM13), Signature Lava Milk Tea (RM11; an interesting mix of local and Thai tea) and other offerings with both herbal and fruity dimensions, including the Lava Iceberg (RM9) and the Green Big Angel (RM19).


ParaThai 



Contemporary and classic Thai cooking both take centre stage at ParaThai, which has fast become one of CITTA Mall's most popular eateries, still bustling long after lunch hour.

ParaThai offers a few enticing inventions that we haven't seen elsewhere: The Som Tam Thod takes the tried-and-tested green papaya salad and deep-fries it, giving it a batter-like crunch, accentuated by crispy dried shrimp for an additional layer of soulful umami (RM17.80).

The Pla Thod Mieng Kam is even more memorable, combining fried fish with the famous mieng kam salad starter - the cubed fish flesh is mixed with shallots, roasted coconut, lime, chillies, nuts and the other staple ingredients of mieng kam, to be consumed wrapped together in zesty leaves (RM52.70).

Familiar favourites abound across the menu - families and friends can feast on the quintessential sweet-and-sour Tom Yam Seafood, with your choice of red or clear soup, served piping-hot with prawns, squid and fish (RM32.90 for two persons) and Traditional Thai Green Curry Chicken, comparatively creamier than most renditions in KL (RM17.80).

ParaThai's standout beverage is the Tom Yam Coke - it's like having actual tom yam, laced with lemongrass, lime, and cili padi, spiked with the carbonated soft drink; it might be an acquired taste, but it's an adventurous novelty that makes for a pretty fun conversation piece (RM15).

Blokke


With its whimsical LEGO-propelled setting, Blokke is not only one of the most unconventional venues in CITTA Mall, it's also out of the ordinary when you think about themed restaurants throughout the Klang Valley. This is a playground for the palate as well as children and adults alike; brick by brick, it was built with love by its founder Sheahnee, a Malaysian mother of three who hungered for a place where she could spend time with both her friends and her kids.

Families can dine in comfort, with the little ones burning off excess energy at a separate LEGO play area while their parents chat over tables bursting with tasty temptations. While the LEGO sets might be the main attraction here, the kitchen is more than attentive to its work too - so even if you're not a LEGO devotee, it's worth visiting Blokke purely for its food; while it's not a new outlet per se, the cafe was recently refurbished, making this bright and cheerful spot even more spacious.


Big appetites will be richly rewarded at Blokke: The Blokkebuster is the kind of burger that challenges are made of, bristling with two thick house-made beef patties, pineapple rings and caramelised onions, making it a towering treat for burger enthusiasts (RM24.90).

For sharing, the Seafood Pizza comes brimming with both the bounty of the ocean and the land, made naturally sweet not only with shrimp but tomatoes and peppers too (RM24.90), while the Salted Egg Chicken Wings are as addictive as they come, with the crunchy-battered meat bolstered beautifully by the creamy-savoury house-made sauce (RM17.90).

To mix things up a bit, Blokke offers monthly specials like October's Pasta Masak Lemak with Crab, a certain hit for all generations, harmoniously blending Malaysian and Italian inspirations (RM22.90). One recent special that might make it into the permanent menu soon is the Rosemary Chicken, fragrant and flavoursome by every measure for roast chicken.

The beverage list is extensive too - our inner child was definitely appeased by the Kinder-and-Cocoa Milkshake (RM14.90) and the Sirap Selasih Soda (RM10.90).


Blokke is a place not only of play but celebration. Even on a random weekday, you might spot families marking birthdays here - weekends would be even more bustling. For those special occasions, pastry chef Mira has introduced a charmingly winning series of LEGO Mini Cakes, available whole at the counter at RM50 each. If you'd like to swing by, it might be wise to make reservations by calling 03-7831-0877

CITTA Mall
1, Jalan PJU 1a/48, Pusat Perdagangan Dana 1, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

This feature first appeared on eatdrinkkl.com


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