Date of Visit: July 2 2013
The KL property market had a soft-landing back in late 2000. I was not suprised when Malaysian property developers kicked off their sales launches in Hong Kong since there are many Malaysian expats living in Hong Kong. High-end properties in KL are very much cheaper compared to Hong Kong, and it was envisaged that most Malaysian expats would be looking to retire back home in Malaysia where the cost of living is lower. In a nutshell, that was how Troika came into my radar. I went to its launch at Mandarin Oriental to see the Norman Foster design, unfortunately the wasted spaces and dead corners did not excite. There was no mention of sky-dining at all.
Now what excited me about AMCE was its sharp interior from the same designer who did the clever interior for Melur & Thyme (my lunch experience here). Since my associates and I were in the vicinity with 2 hours to kill before our next appointment, we dropped in for a coffee and a quick bite.
Incidentally, in Greek, ‘Amce’ means ‘the best’. At the moment, AMCE is the best cafe in the prestigious KLCC condominium area, simply because it is the only cafe – unless one wants to trek across the KLCC Park to the Convention Center or to Suria KLCC on the other end.
What drew me to the design was its functionality in using natural lights, circulation and ease of assembly (and dismantling since it is in a residential block). Central to the design is the service booth which functions as reception, drinks and sometimes buffet display area. One’s experience begins from one’s entry through the heavy brass doors, being led by service through the double-volume atrium lined by light weight I-beam structures with over hanging pseudo-street style lamps which gave a feel of instant retro-industrial ‘oomph’.
Mirrors are suspended on the ceiling affixed on steel girdles for added drama. Oxidised mirrors also lined the length of the wall. One would certainly enjoy a surreal experience with soft lights bouncing off the ceilings and wall under dim lightings. When dinner service comes around, the tinkling soft background music would perhaps make a romantic experience a well.
There are little touches of details noted throughout the bistro. I especially liked the details in the light bulbs and custom-made tables with plumbing pipes for legs. The colour palette is muted with dusty pink banquette, grey steel, natural coloured timbers and white/ patterned tiles.
The cleverness of the designer is further displayed at the end of the bistro, where one can find a Mondrian-esque decorative art on the brick wall using only the chasing of plumbing pipes.
Between participating in chit-chats with my associates and appreciating the bistro fit-outs, I had a cup of tea (Cherry Marzipan which smelt very good and something different to my usual order of Mint tea) whilst my associates enjoyed their hot coffees.
My quick bite was Japanese Scrambled Egg Salad with Miso Mayo (RM29) which sounded interesting but tasted very average. It was slightly overdone with rubbery texture. However, this is an easy DIY if I were to recreate at home.
Recipe for Le Chica’s Japonaise a la Scrambled Egg Salad
Pick up a pre-packed mixed salad (whichever that takes your fancy) from the supermarket
Scramble 2 eggs (my preference is to crack 2 eggs into the pan with a tablespoon of cream and give it a quick whirl)
Mix a tablespoon of mayo with a teaspoon of miso paste for dressing
Other interesting bites from the menu which I can attempt at home from looking at the ingredients listed on the menu are:
Mango Yoghurt Chilled Gazpacho (RM21) – an easy-peasy blizz for my Vitamix using fresh mango, lemon, yoghurt, seasoned with white wine vinegar, decorated with a sprinkling of shallots and a touch of tomato salsa.
Strawberry Pomelo & Rocket Salad (RM21) – which one of my associates had. My DIY at home would be a quick assembly of rocket salad, some slices of red radish, strawberries, pomelo, citrus segments with a touch of balsamic vinaigrette.
Service busied themselves with setting up for the lunch but still kept an eye on us in case we needed service.
Personally, a dining experience is never complete without a tour to the restrooms. There are 3 stalls of unisex toilet, each fitted with a timber door with vintagey opaque glass. Overall, it looked retro and perhaps a hand-pulled flush toilet would complete the vintage feel.
If you are residing nearby, no doubt you would have been there many times and might had even made AMCE one of your locals. For a visitor to the area, just drop in for a cuppa to soak the ambience.