Date of Visit: May 25 2013
Marini’s On 57 is the highest restaurant/ bar/ lounge in Malaysia located at Petronas Tower 3 (this is the new addition to the famous twin towers). The first time I was in Marini’s was for a drink during Happy Hour, I was seated in the lounge area in stuffy chesterfield chairs with a room of bankers. It was also raining…
A simpleton’s guess of the origin of the name Marini’s on 57 would simply be being transported to a restaurant on level 57 presumably operated by an Italian chef surnamed Marini! The entrance to Marini’s was unimpressive even though it has its own roped off section with attendants. Heady aroma of scented candles created an Balinesque/ Thai ambiance and tacky gold polyester fabrics to hide the ceramic tiled walls made it to look like a changing-room. As I was transported up to the restaurant in a service lift, I can’t help but feel the ‘private’ lobby and ‘private’ lift is an after-thought and was the service area for Petronas Tower 3 originally.
Anyway, since I have guests from overseas, I can’t think of a more impressive address than the Petronas Tower.
It was amazing to see the Twin Towers at such close proximity and for the towers to turn pink at sunset was quite breath-taking.
First stop: Pre-dinner drinks at the bar. What I have learnt in Asia is to order cocktails for pre-dinner drinks. Mixologists are pretty good. Anyway wine at $78 a glass, is too expensive for a few sips. The bar area filled up quickly with snap-happy tourists/ expats/ some locals. My drink was the aptly named 57 on Sour, which was tangy and very thirst quenching with the right amount of alchohol to start my merriment.
Honestly, I did not bring a high expectation to dinner. I was expecting the usual rustic Italian fare of tomatoes and pasta. However, dinner was a pleasant suprise.
The first to arrrive at the table after menus were distributed were the complimentary breads for the table which were very good. I especially like the lavash with a garlic.
The whipped butter came wrapped like lollies.
The restaurant was full. Seems to me alcohol is a strong point here as there is another huge bar for the restaurant stocked with liquors. As usual, it rained. However, in KL, the rain pours with gusto encouraged by flashes of lightnings. Gazing up to see the towering twin towers above pelted by water hitting the glass panels were rather exciting. We also saw 2 rounds of mini fire-works shows near the KL Tower, making the experience pretty spectacular.
The wine we ordered for the table was a Tuscan Ruffino: 2010 Chinati (sic) Classico DOCG, “Aziano”. The menu although peppered with spelling errors was spot on with the descriptions of the wine which had notes of wild cherries, hint of spice and aromatic herbs ($230).
Suprisingly, there was no amuse bouche and my entree of Grilled cucumber, tarragon, raw cuttlefish, snail marinated sea salt and squid ink dressing ($88) arrived soon after. Since KL is very hot, I ordered the cucumber hoping that the cucumber might cool me down. I can’t remember whether it was actually a grilled cucumber or a chilled cucumber but it was good nonetheless. I think the cucumber topped with raw tangy cuttlefish tangy paired well with the refreshing cucumber. The extra almonds on top added extra crunch, but the squid ink was cakey and tasteless.
The most interesting dish of all was the 20-10-8 Giardino di Insalata ($88) which has a Heston Blumenthal‘s play here. Was there really 20 varieties of garden vegetables, 10 dressings, 8 perfumes and soil? The waiter confirmed that it has. The salad dressing came in 10 pippetes, and a choice of 8 edible perfume to choose from. The ‘soil’ was particularly interesting too – made of dehydrated olive tapenade or perhaps soy beans? I have no idea, perhaps next time, I will order this one.
A peek at my other guest’s entree was this huge mozzarella ball accompanied by 3 varieties of tomatoes.
When the Mains arrived, we were all interested to see how the gold-leaf is presented in Risotto in onion and beef consomme, 24-carat gold-leaf, 32-month maturation parmiggano reggiano P.D.O and aged balsamic ($118) How generous to give a whole sheet of gold leaf instead of flakes! If I remember my history, Cleopatra ate gold-leaf to preserve her youth since it has anti-aging properties. So dig in!
My Main on the other hand had a rather boring presentation and not photogenic… it was a Roasted Pigeon Leg confit at 62 degree and medium rare pigeon breast, endive brancia, peach and polenta ($218). I have never had pigeon confit before, however I remembered the deliciously BBQ pigeon in Shatin, Hong Kong which my granny will often take me to eat when I was little. The pigeon breast was juicy and tender, but the confits were tiny,overcooked, dry and hard. The gravy was nice though, very prune-y and I was given a couple of truffles shavings.
Service while attentive, was very sketchy. We had a long intermission while waiting for desserts to arrive.
Suddenly, a group of people stood up to form a line at the passage way to the toilet. It was rather odd, so we all looked. It was the former King of Malaysia (called ‘Agung’ in Malay) and his wife together with their entourage of youngsters heading to the toilet! Very interesting to see the whole table to accompany the King to the toilet… So one of the mystery to the tight security in the KLCC area cracked – Malaysian royalties visit there often.
Each table was served a complimentary fairy floss. It was a treat since it’s been a long time since I had tasted one. A bit of Luna Park nostalgia here…*sigh*… Due to the humidity, we had to eat fast since it deflated rather quickly. it was very sweet and I got a ‘burn’
The Desserts were a wonderful success. Everyone was happy – except for one who received the wrong order and had to wait 15 minutes for his chocolate fondant to arrive. 70% Pure Valrhona melted chocolate, vanilla gelato ($44).
I was wise to share my dessert of Chocolate Sphere with Bon Bon team Lollypop and Hazelnut mousse ($48). It utterly rocketed me to sugar heaven! The gold-flaked shell of the chocolate sphere was thick and had to be melted by hot chocolate. Inside the sphere, was thick dense hazelnut mousse and some sponge cake. A side of chocolate pop and mashmallow to dip in the chocolate
To end dinner, we had our coffees and complimentary Petit Fours. We could not possibly eat anymore, but I tried the choc wedge dusted in gold flakes out of curiosity, it was filled with condensed milk and tasted alright.
If I am to dine at Marini’s again, I will perhaps only order from the Entrees and Desserts section, skipping the very mediore (and expensive) Mains.
Being a Lamborghini Club, the bar and lounge area certainly liven up after 10pm, with a mix of people, mostly non-local middle-aged patrons dancing the night away to laser lights and tunes spinned by DJs. I was told that Marini recently hosted a Lamborghini function which entered the Guiness Book of Records – not sure about the accuracy, but in KL if you want to see grand posh cars (Lamborghinis, Bentleys, aston Martins, etc) – check out the valet parking at Pavilion Mall during the weekends!