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Monday, July 27, 2015

Basil Pasta House, Kuchai Lama

I would generally avoid ordering any pasta dishes when eating out, due to the fact that we've come up with our own ways to make pasta within the kitchen of our own home. What with YouTube's booming cooking tutorial channels now, we've learned to whip up some of our restaurants favorite for a fraction of the price.

And now that grocery stores have widened their pasta options to more than fussili, elbows, macaroni, and spaghetti, there's a lot to experiment with without having to fork out more than 2 packets worth of pasta in a regular restaurant that taste more like a pile of creamy, starchy goo.

The SO brought me over to one of the smaller cafe-like restaurants which I often overlooked while going around the Kuchai Maju area, although I do remember stopping to survey the place for a moment prior to a hookah double date.

Full house on our second trip.

At the moment, I didn't think much of it. But my opinion changed after reviewing the menu.

Several different types of books worthy of the culinary section of Taylor's Library lines some of the shelves.

Apart from the typical aglio olio and carbonara under the classic pasta section, there's also a house pasta section and some risotto options as well. I did spot some more fancy and contemporary options under the house pasta section like squid ink pasta, and foie gras.

Though slightly crammed, the furnishings and decorations were nice - Tiffany blue walls with white box displays which featured jars of pasta, beans, and various bottles. The style was more like a room decoration rather than the overdone-to-death polished or rustic decoration of many other Western joints.

Cakes and desserts were displayed at the entrance in a chiller display, opposite a small table with a basket containing a stack of papers, on which a sign said "if you're double-parking, please write down your number and place it on your dashboard".

Cappellini wafu pasta - MYR 18.90

I had some trouble picking between the squid ink pasta and a contemporary Japanese-style pasta, but being the same old me, I settled for the Cappellini wafu pasta, which was angelhair pasta in yuzu shoyu sauce with medium-rare seared tuna and hon-shimeji mushrooms.

The thin sauce clung to the angelhair nicely, while the balance of salty shoyu was nicely balanced by the tanginess of the yuzu. The tuna was nicely seared (pink on the inside), though the shimeji could have done with a little more effort.

Parma ham fettuccine - MYR 20.90

The SO had tried the aglio olio earlier in the day (which he said was a huge portion), so he picked up a cream sauce fettuccine pasta with Parmesan and Parma ham. First things first, I haven't seen many normal Western restaurants stock Parma ham, which is already a huge plus there. Next, the portion side was quite big, compared to my more avant garde-ish dish of pasta.

Ice blended kiwi - MYR 7.00; pineapple juice - MYR 6.00.

The beverages didn't disappoint either - I ordered a pineapple juice, while he chose an ice blended kiwi. The kiwi was nice - not like the super diluted and runny stuff you get from some restaurants; but the pineapple juice (that came in a slender jar-like thing) was a tad too sweet.

Mozzarella fritta - MYR 9.90.

We came back after a few weeks for another meal, and seeing that I had not tried their risotto, it was a chance to see if their risotto was as good as their pasta selections. This time I ordered a side dish called mozzarella fritta, which were bacon-wrapped deep fried mozzarella sticks, served with a special sesame sauce and a few delicate lettuce leaves.

Mushroom risotto - MYR 18.90.

Because the risotto was a bit pricier, I opted for just the mushroom risotto, which featured what seemed like white button mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, and stewed/marinated oyster mushrooms, with peas, a good amount of parsley, and grated parmesan.

Overall, it wasn't bad - the grains seem separated, but still maintained a bite to them, while not slopping all over when scooped up with a fork. The parsley and the peas added good flavor to the overall dish, but it wasn't something I'd die to order again any time soon.

Cream & Bacon - MYR 15.90

The SO ordered something the little more economical Cream & Bacon fettucine. A poached egg lay delicately atop the bed of creamy pasta, also sprinkled with Parmesan. I would say delightfully creamy, and the bacon was delightfully chunky, though that might have been a texture misinterpretation on my part.

Citrus passion - MYR 7.00; iced earl grey latte - MYR 9.90.

As for drinks, he ordered a citrus passion, and I opted for an earl grey latte. It was an interesting way of serving a beverage - the juice was frozen into cubes, then served in a glass along with a flask of ice cream soda to pour over. My earl grey latte was heavenly in the earl grey part, but my sweet tooth demanded more sugar.

Pasta for life, indeed. #wifipassword

The ambiance and quality of the pasta was quite worth the pretty large number on the bill, but not on a regular basis. All items are subject to 6% GST.

Location - 8.5 / 10 (relatively accessible, but parking might be a problem unless you're okay with double-parking)
Atmosphere - 8.5 / 10 (soft yellow lighting with spot lights, and Tiffany blue walls...what more can I say?)
Food & beverage quality - 8.5 / 10 (not bad - contemporary selections for less)
Price - 7 / 10 (not typically what I'd prefer to fork out for pasta)
Value for money - 8 / 10
Service - 8 / 10

21, Jalan Kuchai Maju 6,
Off Jalan Kuchai Lama,
58200 Kuala Lumpur.

Photos taken with Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Photos edited with Fotor app

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