It is obvious that the owners of The Gastro Project (a new addition to Section 17 PJ just behind the famed Bistro a Table) love their movies, as the walls are adorned with portraits of great movie stars and there’s a dedicated area with a large screen where they will play movies while diners order food off the menu and just sit back to enjoy.
One might wonder about the name, as Gastro pubs aren’t so common in Malaysia yet (suddenly missing Newmarket Hotel in Melbourne), but this was definitely inspired by the owners’ experience of such places in England, having spent a period of time as a family in the country.
A bunch of media and bloggers were invited for this review and we were first ushered to the first floor to experience their signature cocktails: “AC Martini” and “Hmmmm…” along with some bite-sized delights.
No, it does not stand for air-conditioner, but a very classic dessert Apple Crumble. The burnt sugar on the apple slice was a nice touch, and the martini has a good kick, but alas I tend to stay away from cocktails for the hidden calories. Highly recommended though if you are into sweet cocktails. On the same note, same goes for “Hmmmm…”, a concoction of fresh strawberries, brown sugar, midori, dark rum and almonds.
Full size of the tart is also available, but this little morsel is delicious with the caramelised mushrooms and onions, both savoury and sweet. The surprising polenta base provided a nice crunch.
They do a variety of very interesting pizzas and I love this one with squid and prawns on their special garlic pesto with Parmesan and a little bit of chili padi. Great depth of flavours with a nice kick.
This was also a clever fusion, with spicy chicken perratal topped with cucumber raita, chillies and paneer. Moreish.
A welcome speech was made while we guzzle down our choice of poison, and then we were all ushered to the dining area for the real deal! Not wasting anytime, the first dish was presented and it looked as beautiful as it sounds.
I think this was the culprit for my salad craving. Here we have some mixed salad leaves, pomegranate, slices of avocado and pine nuts in a Japanese inspired sesame dressing. At first I thought they were going to just use the creamy sesame dressing we commonly see, but this was way lighter yet no less aromatic. I wonder how they did that. Meanwhile, I will buy my bottle of Kewpie Sesame dressing to curb my craving.
I have been to Grant Burge Winery in Barossa Valley and loved everything I tasted (probably because I was already tipsy by then) but this was crisp and suitably dry. Too easy to drink.
A familiar scent lingered in the air, a little sweet, a little…. deep fried? And this gloriousness was bestowed upon us.
That’s when we know this next dish is going to be good and it surely didn’t disappoint.
Price tag is a little heavy on this one but boy was it worth it! To see that gigantic prawn resting in this spicy creamy looking broth is too much to bear. Where do I even start? Ah… the man tau. Whoever came up with the idea of deep frying bread is a genius. Dipping in that sauce. Buttery, creamy, spicy with a hint of the curry spices and the aromatic curry leaves. The prawn was sweet and succulent and I’ll admit I kinda sucked on the shell a bit too long (is that gross? I don’t care). Please give me the recipe already!
By the way, you might have figured out already there’s a bit of fusion in everything. The good kind, I’ll say.
This didn’t exactly wow me (hard to follow the previous dish, I’ll give them that). The lamb was stewed with carrot and apricot, masking the gamey taste. The couscous was well… just couscous.
Dubbed as their one of their signature dishes, this was done well with al-dente pasta, bits of crab meat (a bit too little in this portion to appreciate fully), and the familiar aromatics of garlic, parsley and chili flakes. Tasty.
The Angus steak seemed to be the crowd favourite. It’s hard not to like it, especially with that gorgeous honey pumpkin mash. They were generous with the BBQ sauce, but it unfortunately overwhelmed the flavours a little. I’m sure you can ask for the sauce to be served on the side (like what Sally always does in “When Harry Met Sally”)
I was glad that they served the 3 dishes as tasting portions or I’d be stuffed to the brim. To help refresh our palate for dessert, they have thoughtfully brought out a sour and sweet lime, mint, and peach “sorbet”. Although can you call it a sorbet when you can drink it?
Nevertheless it did what it had to do. And we were ready for desserts!
A trifle is created with layers of fresh cream, custard, strawberries (or other fruits) and some sort of coulis (strawberry, in this case). It’s not my favourite dessert so this was just ok. Maybe a tinge of citrus would help me like it more.
Dark chocolate, that looks promising. The rum cocoa sauce was rich, and the centre was suitably bittersweet. Decadent indeed. Chocolate lovers must order this.
So apparently, the Pannacotta was just as tipsy as I was. The addition of cardomom was interesting and I’ll say this was my favourite dessert for the night, although the coulis was a little bit too sweet to tell what’s in it exactly.
I still want the recipe for the buttercream sauce. *hint hint* In all seriousness, the owners have definitely put a lot of thoughts into their new venture and I can see it becoming a popular neighbourhood hangout. At the risk of sounding terribly cliche, there’s something for everyone here when it comes to food and drinks, and movie buffs will definitely feel at home (check out their facebook page for the movie line up).
The Gastro Project
Jalan 17/56, Petaling Jaya (just behind Bistro a Table)
Tel no: 03 79316465
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TheGastroProject
Opens Mondays to Thursdays 11am to 11pm, Fridays from 11am til Midnight and Sat/Sun/PH 11am to 1am.
More photos at http://www.facebook.com/myhotbloggers