If you’re an avid foodie, chances are you’ll adore talking to The Bowling Club’s group executive chef Terence Logan Lopez. Lopez is the chef behind other popular Kuala Lumpur eateries like Bait and Wurst and is a font of knowledge on food. The man can chat animatedly about everything from the gluten content in local flour to the eating patterns of Malaysian diners.
At The Bowling Club, opened a few months ago, Lopez has devised a fun, casual menu that pays homage to classic comfort food. “We wanted to be a bit more playful but not too adventurous,” he says.
On the egg front especially, Lopez is something of an “eggspert”. “I’m an egg person,” he agrees, as he points out various offerings that make use of eggs.
Lopez is also a good listener and takes customers’ feedback very, very seriously. In fact, unlike many other eateries, much of the menu is derived directly from customer requests.
“People might say, ‘This should be sweeter’ or ‘Can you make something to go with beer?’ and I will come in and try to balance it. A lot of items on the menu are purely based on customers’ feedback,” he says.
The menu is composed of options that cross the East-West divide like tom yum, chicken 65, pizzas, pastas and burgers. While there is a clear effort to satisfy customer demands on all counts, the restaurant doesn’t compromise on quality and makes many items from scratch, including sausages and pastas (like spaghetti and ravioli) as well as other interesting things like smoked duck.
To begin a meal here, try some of the breakfast bruschettas, which are available from 10am to 2pm.
“We find that not everyone is into heavy breakfasts, so we thought of just making something simple that is easy to cook and offers variety,” says Lopez.
There is a host of bruschettas on offer, like the roasted beef pastrami (RM16.90), which features tender slices of silken beef atop crusty bread. The foie gras pate and onion compote (RM15.90) is another winner made up of earthy foie gras pate juxtaposed against a sweet onion compote in what proves to be a truly pleasurable marriage of flavours. Perhaps the only blot in the bruschetta brotherhood is the sauteed wild mushrooms with truffle butter (RM16.90). While it sounds divine in theory, the reality is that the truffle butter is extraneous in this amalgamation, and proves to be one component too many.
Next up, try the grilled Caesar salad (RM26) which features charred Romaine lettuce, homemade Caesar dressing, crispy smoked duck bits, grated parmesan cheese, a poached egg and garlic crostini. This is a really nice take on the classic Caesar salad, buoyed by the smoked duck bits, which stand in nicely for bacon. The poached egg offers a lovely, velvety touch to the meal and the Caesar dressing is spot-on.
Then there is the king prawn tom yum noodles (RM39) a lunch special made up of bihun, galangal broth, grilled freshwater prawns, fish, green mussels and mushrooms. The tom yum is probably not the best you’re likely to have eaten, but it’s a good rendition of this classic meal, with sour notes floating throughout and a quiet hint of spice. The grilled prawns and fish are an especially nice touch, as they give the soup added character.
What is definitely the star offering on The Bowling Club’s menu is the paella Valencia (RM66), a best-seller at Bait that has been duplicated here, to great acclaim. The paella, which is made with bomba rice, has been cooked extremely well – the rice kernels don’t stick together and the soccarat (the crispy rice at the bottom, which is the mark of a well-made paella) offer lovely crunchy bites. The seafood in this meal is both plentiful and extremely fresh, so satisfaction is guaranteed on every front here, and you can expect to ooh and aah appreciatively with every mouthful.
If you’re after something lighter, have a go at the aglio olio seafood (RM39) which offers freshly-made spaghetti that is limbre with a firm bite against a backdrop of aquatic treasures like squid and prawns. It’s a simple, homely meal that endeavours to satisfy without leaving diners overly full.
End your meal on a hedonistic note with the crazy-good sizzling s’mores (RM25), which is composed of baked marshmallows, peanut biscuit, hot chocolate cake and melted Nutella. Trust me, it is as decadent as it sounds on paper. The s’mores are fabulous – a slight crust on the outside yields to a petal-soft inside and you’ll be able to mop up each s’more with the peanut, chocolate cake and Nutella layered on the base of the plate. This is a sinful sweet treat that delivers so much euphoric bliss that even your limbs will slacken with every mouthful.
Making simple comfort food may not sound like a tall order, but you’d be surprised by how many eateries get the tone, timbre, flavour and texture of each meal so completely wrong. At The Bowling Club, each item that comes out of the kitchen is treated with the respect that it deserves, so even though as Lopez attests – the menu isn’t a particularly ambitious one – it is executed with care.
Ground Floor, Intermark Mall,
348 Jalan Tun Razak
Tel: 03-2181 1268
Open daily: 11am to 1am