The brand-new TR Fire Grill in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is just the third in the world – and the first outside the United States, with its predecessors in Winter Park, Florida and Waikiki, Hawaii.
A sister brand to the Tony Roma’s dining chain – which is known for its hearty, rib-centric menu – TR Firegrill seems to have a greater emphasis on wholesome, made-from-scratch dishes with a seasonal bent. But expect hearty portions too, good for sharing by smaller eaters.
The kitchen smokes its own meat and vegetables – and jalapeno vodka! – over hickory chips, all sauces (right up to the ketchup) are made in-house, and some of the cocktails available are oak-aged in small barrels in the restaurant.
The restaurant emphasises that it uses only beef raised with no antibiotics, hormones or GMOs.
It’s all about American casual dining with overtones as polished as its brass light fixtures and gleaming wood.
The menu riffs on classic American comfort food. Think classic egg rolls filled with prime rib, tacos stuffed with sliced rib-eye and a spicy Korean-inspired sauce, or pizza turned into a dip. It echoes the menus at the other TR Fire Grills, with a few tweaks, and no pork served here.
We started with that last one – the Oven Baked Pizza Dip (RM25). Slices of beef pepperoni swam in a thick, rich tomato base, crowned with a melting mix of Parmesan, buffalo mozzarella and creamy ricotta. For dipping: slices of the house-baked garlic foccacia. A very likeable appetiser, but a very filling one – so best if shared.
The Roasted Chicken and Avocado Flatbread (RM27) was more delicate, and could be ordered for a main for one, or for sharing bites. The thin, crisp flatbread was topped with shredded roasted chicken and creamy avocado, tangy artichoke aioli, roasted tomatoes and caramelised onions.
I think the salad selection here is commendable, letting each carefully-constructed salad shine rather than just rendering it an afterthought. You can add chicken (for RM6) or salmon (RM35) to any salad.
The Harvest Salad (RM29) is a bountiful pick, brimming with roasted squash, grilled corn kernels, smoked asparagus, avocado, roasted tomatoes, chunky focaccia croutons and a sprinkling of Parmesan.
This mound of veggie appeal is fenced in by large, battered ladies’ fingers and topped with a tangy-sweet onion vinaigrette. Pretty much covering all the flavour and texture bases, this salad would definitely be a repeat order for me.
Zoodles – or crunchy zucchini noodles – are increasingly popular in restaurants with a healthy eating focus. At TR Fire Grill, you can have them with seared scallops or salmon (each RM59).
The Salmon & Zoodles was served with a nicely nutty pistachio Romesco sauce, and asparagus, red peppers, green apple and feta – a piquant, fresh-tasting combination. The doneness of the salmon and zoodles was on point – the salmon just-seared and still translucent in the middle, and the zoodles lightly-blanched so that they were pliable but crunchy.
Chicken & Waffles (RM36) was another hit. This soul food favourite is a classic, and TR Fire Grill puts a spin on it by pairing the flavourful, crunchy-battered fried chicken with a fat, crispy Cheddar and chicken bacon dust waffle. The substantial stack is meant to be doused in agave syrup, which has a subtle sweetness.
The Smokehouse Board (RM79) paled in comparison though. While the lamb chop was juicy and nicely-complemented by the agave and plum sauce, the grilled chicken breast and the chicken sausage were both dry, as were the jalapeno potato tots – and these balls of potato were also under-seasoned.
A little Chocolate Mayhem (RM26 for the small, RM46 for the large) made things look up again. A platter of chocolate everything, the central star was a chocolate cake, its cratered top holding a pool of coconut caramel sauce threatening sweet spillage at any moment.
Around this: a scoop each of coffee and chocolate ice creams, tall swirls of chocolate mousse, chunks of Snickers and dark chocolate-coated espresso beans. It’s a show-stopping dessert.
The drinks menu displays creative flair as well, especially in the distinctive Ginger-Curry Milkshake (RM17).
With a pronounced ginger flavour and a more subtle spirit of curry, it’s topped with bits of sweet candied ginger.
It may sound a little out there, but that fire-and-ice thing it has going on really works!
A welcome addition showcasing a slightly different take on soul food, TR Fire Grill is great for those looking for hearty meals with a bit of creativity.
TR Fire Grill Kuala Lumpur
Level 6, Pavilion KL
168, Jalan Bukit Bintang
Tel: 03-2110 0944
Open 10am to 11pm, daily