Monday, August 30, 2010

Bibo, Bibire, Bibi, Bibitus. Bibitus, Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL.

(no pork served)

Interior of Bibitus

No, I have not gone mad. All the words are the root verbs of to drink in Latin. Hence Imbibe, Bibatious and Bibacity (as opposed to Babe in the City) are all etymologically derived from Bibi. Housed within the Frangipani restaurant is Bibitus which actually a wine retail shop that serves only lunch. Those who are familiar with Frangipani's severe and almost intimidating Neo-Grecian interior with a reflecting pool inside will be surprised with the more spartan but very welcoming interior of Bibitus.

There are 3 normal dining tables and 2 high tables with high chairs making reservations highly recommended. I am doubtful that they allow seating in the main Frangipani dining area even if it is filled up.

Patrons who buy wine from Bibitus will not be charged corkage if it is consumed within it's premises. Drinkers at Frangipani will be charged RM 50. Although the range of Artisanal French wines is not extensive it is still fairly interesting, especially the ones from Rhone.

Creamy Mushroom served on Brioche Toast

There is a choice of 3 starters, mains and dessert. Bearing in mind that this is only their lunch menu, the choices are safe and rather pedestrian to facilitate faster turnover time. Nothing that would launch a foodie into the stratosphere. There are some rather innovative twists to the food and despite the apparent playing down of French influences of it's elder sister Frangipani, it was cleverly made up for by some Asian touches as a recurring theme.

Smoked Duck Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing

Among all the starters we had, the one that displayed the French roots of Bibitus would be The Creamy Mushroom on Brioche Toast. The Brioche was richly buttered and the mushrooms caressed lovingly in creamy sauce. The ensemble was a worthy homage to the beautiful earthy savouriness of the mushrooms. The Smoked Duck Salad was drizzled with some slightly tart lemon ginger dressing. Besides the usual salad vegetables, capers were tossed with the salad and added a touch of finesse. The Leek Potato soup was slightly watery but exuded lively flavours and the crispy duck bacon were like little savoury croutons that dotted the surface which added exuberance to the soup.

Pan fried Sirloin Steak with Chips, Salad and Garlic Butter

The mains fared less well, as they tried to hard to prove it's worth in salt. My Chicken Escalope was buttery soft but came doused with cringe inducing salty Creamy Sauce. Even the Potatoes were extra salty and felt like they have been marinated in brine before roasting. The saltiness did not flatter the beautiful texture of both the potatoes and chicken. The Teriyaki Style snapper was less salty, probably tempered down by the sweetish Teriyaki Sauce. The best dish would have to be the Pan Fried Sirloin Steak which remained moist and succulent despite being pan fried. It was served with regular chips and not the multivaried double fried pommes frites. The melting slab of Garlic Butter on top of the steak was deliciously aromatic and suspiciously oriental.

Diners who are watching their Sodium intake would do better to order the dishes unsalted and DIY.

Creamy Chicken Escalope with Roast Potatoes and Mushroom.

Desserts were delightfully indulgent despite the Chocolate Mousse that was served at the wrong temperature rendering the consistency to be less airy/foamy but hard. It tasted much better after letting it thaw for a short while. The Creme Brulee had a beautiful burnt flavour to it despite it's firmness and the surprise of the day would be the Spiced Coconut Pudding.

Creme Brulee

The Coconut pudding came in brown, and tasted a bit jarring at the first bite as if something had gone horribly wrong, but once the palate was enveloped with the heady aroma Cinnamon, Cloves or maybe Star Anise (?), it became a heady concoction. Never cloying with balanced sweetness this beautiful pudding was both seductive and confidently arrogant, like a beautiful brown Princess from the Spice Islands. It was mesmerizing. One whinny grouse is that both the Creme Brulee and the beautiful Coconut Pudding were served in stainless steel bowls. I am sure there are more attractive ways to serve their dessert.

Random shots of Bibitus with one of the beautiful reflection pool of Frangipani during the day.

This little charming wine shop/bar cum restaurant is a welcome addition to the lunch scene in Central KL. Despite the heavy handedness with salt in the mains which is easily correctable, it has a rather attractive, down to earth menu. Lunch is priced at RM 55++. Other venues with the same price range would be Nerovivo which (I heard) has a great antipasti selection but comes with the inconvenience of a buffet set up. Lafite's 3 courses lunch costs RM78++ comes with more imaginative dishes, and would be posted here as soon as I go back there again for dinner.

The ambiance is highly conducive for conversation and the very civilized lunch crowd there rendered the conversational background to a murmur. Music was some modern chansons and light classical and I thought Debussy's "Devant le ciel d'ete, tiede et calme" being sung to a beautiful piano accompaniment makes a beautiful lunch companion. My lunch company was to convivial for me to remember the music correctly.

We were seated near the reception counter and I nearly jumped out of my skin when the phone rang because the ringing tone of the restaurant's phone at the counter was much too loud. Perhaps a good cordless phone would probably benefit both the customer and the serving staff.

Something that requires special mention would be the serving staff. There was only one on duty the day we went for lunch and he did an admirable job. He puts any window operating system to shame as he redefined the term multitasking. He remained efficient, calm, amiable and enthusiastic despite playing the role of waiter, receptionist and wine retail staff. Furthermore, he also received some goods for the kitchen at the same time he was serving lunch to 3 tables.

If this short post has inspired you to take up Latin (a very dead language but extremely useful if you want to sound like a posh snoot, and extremely invaluable if interested in Roman History and Philosophy) I have dug up a few selections for you. "Wheelock's Latin" is the authoritative text for college students doing Latin. The answer book to the exercises are sold separately. A beautiful primary reader would be MacMillian's "Beginning Latin Poetry Reader", with poetry by Ovid and Seneca. A different approach to learning Latin which in my opinion is fairly innovative would be the Latin via Ovid series which teaches the language by using texts from Ovid. Lazy bums who want to take a short cut will love "Latin for all occasions" which has a very useful list of rib tickling insults and curses.

Bibitus at Frangipani
25, Changkat Bukit Bintang
50200 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: + 60 3 21 44 30 01

Lunches 12 noon to 2.30PM. Closed on Mondays.


boo_licious said...

I reckon they brined the chook so it'll be tender, as that's one of the methods they all teach in cooking school. Yes, I must give my hats off to the waiter as he did everything so well. Hope his bosses give him a raise after they read this.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

of course the steak was moist, look at the huge chunk of butter on top!

J said...

Bibi waht and waht? *lost*
(Hmmmm... so far havent even come close to mastering Mandarin+Cantonese... would it be folly to try learning Latin now?)

fatboybakes said...

"as they tried to hard to prove it's worth in salt"

you know hor, i really really love your writing style. mushrooms caressed in really should be writing a regular food column in a good publication, like NY times.

Unknown said...

you missed out one... "Bieber". Seems lots of ladies wanna get some of that lately... Kim Kardashian included.

Babe_KL said...

hahaha Babe in the City - KL reporting in. such a nice place and with great service but the food....hmmm

thule a.k.a leo said...

Wah! Another place to go if you run out of idea on where to eat lunch!

Ciki said...

Bibacity (as opposed to Babe in the City) ?!! ROARRR .. funny la.... !!! siao :P

Any to set the record straight .. NO, this post has NOT inspired me to take up Latin because I would sound ridiculous spewing such an ancient language deck out in only the current-est, sex in the city-esque outfit and bling.

Thank u but No :P

gr8 post! ur shots are so good u monster.. i HATE U!!!

hyl57 said...

fully agree with fatboybakes's suggestion about you writing a regular food column. have a thought about it.

Thailand Club said...

Never read Android blog in the middle of a day in the office or couldn't do a meal within minutes, as it will just make us hungry! Very hungry!

Paranoid Android said...

@boo: LOL. Let's hope he gets a raise.

@Joe: It was moist allright.

@J: Drats. And I was about to teach you Thai.

@FBB: Surely you jest.

@Frat: LOLOL! Now, Why didn't I think of that? Bieber!!!

@babe: :p Hope you didn't mind the pun!

@Thule: We still have not sat down properly for a meal together yet.

@Cikay: You are a naughty munkey!

@Hyl57: LOL. YOu are in cahoots with FBB!

@TC: Are you back? Missed your Bangkok posts!

in the sea said...

I agreed that reading your blog is very devil. I'm now getting hungry. Your photos did deliver the job!

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