We've fallen hook, line & sinker for seafood specialist Bait, which surfaced this week in Telawi, becoming a big fish in Bangsar's pond of palate-pleasuring practitioners.
Seared tiger prawns, sliced mangoes & coriander leaves, a sweetly succulent salad (RM24++) that's far from shrimp-sized for flavor. We'd be delighted to discover prawns like these lurking behind every rock, no matter what their proverbial agenda might be.
We hesitated about ordering the soft-shell crab with cucumber, orange wedges & chili mayo (RM23++). But who knew a recipe that sounds so run-of-the-mill could taste so remarkable? Mighty meaty crustaceans, complemented creatively with citric pulpiness.
Happy as a clam: Steamed little-neck ones (RM16++) with bacon, garlic, thyme & white wine.
Deep-fried baby calamari with salted egg, black pepper & lime tarragon aioli (RM25+). Crisply addictive, but some Chinese eateries still do this better.
For beer buffs: Lager-steamed mussels with mustard, chorizo slices & oregano (RM25++).
Finally, we wade into fishier waters: thumbs up for the butter-poached salmon (RM30++), though it might be an acquired taste, the aqua-equivalent of steak prepared rare.
Fish & chips (RM24++). Mixed emotions here; the beer-battered John Dory's brilliant, with fragrant steam flowing freely from the flaky fish as we crack open the crunchy exterior, but the shoestring fries leave about as much impression as an amoeba in a lake.
Not totally lovin' it: Pan-seared barramundi (RM30++), moisture-challenged, but it gets by with a little help from its friends: corn kernels, parsley mashed potatoes & baby carrots.
There might be plenty of fish in the sea, but Bait only offers four for now: this one might be the consensus favorite _ rock cod with sauteed button mushrooms, baby spinach, potato cubes & brown shrimp.
Peanut Butter Alert! Bait features no desserts, but customers can take a two-minute stroll to Milk And Butter, where the sweets list occupies a place of pride on the menu.
Main entry on Milk And Butter: December 26.
Peanut butter ice cream with chocolate waffle & bananas. We might not swim the deepest ocean for this, but we'd certainly attempt a not-too-shallow pool.
Back to Bait for booze: no fewer than five Campari-based cocktails & six Pimm's ones are available. Try the Old Pal (a pleasurably potent mix of Campari, Wild Turkey whiskey, vermouth) & Pimm's Deuce (Pimm's No. 1, orange juice, cranberry juice, orange wheel, strawberries).
Organic wine: Emiliana Sauvignon Blanc & Merlot, both Chilean. Wine addicts, note there's an impressive range here priced at below RM100 per bottle.
Housekeeping notes: Bait currently opens only for dinner, but will serve lunch eventually. It replaces the now-closed Madam Kwan's, sandwiched between El Meson
& The Smokehouse
Bait is a smallish restaurant, so be wise & make reservations.
Last but not least: The black-attired service team here ranks among Bangsar's best. Thank you for taking the extra effort, in terms of smiles, attentiveness & genuine consideration.
65, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur.