Apollo Dining, Bangsar
February 4, 2020
Aphrodite herself might be charmed by Apollo Dining, rustic with rammed-earth pillars and counters, elegant with a leathery-leafed kelat nenasi tree rising to ceiling height.
The restaurant promises intriguing perspectives - it's co-founded by a Malaysian who found inspiration in Milan, run by a Serbian manager, with a kitchen spearheaded by a Cuban-born chef who has called Southeast Asia home in recent years.
Among the Olympians, Apollo represented light, music and health, each evident on a recent Sunday morning at his eponymous eatery, with sunshine streaming in from the skylight while Gregory Porter crooned from the speakers and nourishing temptations flowed out to the tables.
Apollo Dining is in its soft-launch stage, but there's more than enough on the modern-minded menu for a hearty meal. The risotto is rich with ingredients, turmeric-tinged for unmistakable Asian flavours, each spiced spoonful layered with tender duck meat, earthy-juicy mushrooms and goji berries, scattered with cheese to bring it back home to Italy (RM38).
Curry and rendang sauces respectively put a Malaysian spin on the braised beef short ribs, their caveman-worthy fleshiness buoyed by lively watercress (RM88), and the cauliflower, chunky-crunchy in a duet of roasted and lightly batter-fried preparations (RM22). Bubur chacha ice cream makes for a fun, soothingly sweet finish with more local flourishes (RM13).
While Apollo Dining's bar menu hadn't been finalised when we visited, the excellent team is capable of crafting a confident Aperol Spritz, Champagne-fizzy Mimosa, or Gin and Tonic. For teetotalers, flat whites rely on Neapolitan-roasted coffee beans.
A bar upstairs is also set to launch in the weeks ahead, with a concept and physical set-up that'll be novel to KL, concealing its bartenders nearly completely from customers.
28, Jalan Kemuja, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Open Tues-Sun, 11am till late (kitchen closes 3pm-6pm). Tel: 03-2201-7565
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