Muugu Garden Bistro, Off Bukit Bintang

March 17, 2014

The hidden bungalow restaurant of Muugu opened this month near Bukit Bintang, promising crowd-pleasing classics in a spacious sanctuary of calm amid the clamour of the city.

If the leafy venue feels strangely familiar, that's because this was Max At iHaus less than five years ago; now, it's run by two Singaporeans & their Malaysian partner, expertly backed by a kitchen crew & service team that comprise polished professionals in their respective fields. It's a friendly place where guests will feel welcome & put at ease.

Many thanks to Leonard at Muugu for hosting this meal, which kicked off with warm olive rolls, fresh, fluffy & flavoursome, fabulous for whetting the appetite.

Muugu specialises in seafood & steaks; these pan-seared scallops crowned with quail eggs & partnered with sweet corn cream & beetroot mousse (RM23) might deservedly prove a favourite for customers.

Mussels, succulent in a savoury, heart-warming white wine broth. At RM19, it illustrates how prices here are pretty fair for Western fare in such a nice venue in downtown KL. Plus, parking's complimentary.

Battered button & oyster mushrooms (RM12), very juicy, served with Muugu's house-made chilli sauce, a richly smooth, pleasantly sweet concoction that's a tasty change from mass-produced sauces.

Moving on to mains: Interesting items include the pesto risotto, fragrantly herbal, topped with a fleshy slab of snapper (RM27).

Capellini aglio olio, gratifyingly garlicky (RM17). Carbonara, bolognese, alfredo & amatriciana are all available too.

Chicken roulade stuffed with ricotta cheese & spinach (RM23), accompanied by lovely mashed potatoes that steal the show.

Aussie air-flown tenderloin (RM55 for 8oz), cooked on a volcanic stone grill.

Tender, meaty beef, well-prepared & well-partnered with luscious ratatouille & creamy black pepper & red wine sauces.

Try the truffle-scented fries too (RM8), also addictive, cut from russet potatoes.

Desserts here are reassuring rather than surprising: Again, everything's capably executed, from the irresistible melt-in-the-mouth tiramisu (RM12) ...

... to the chilled pick-me-up of this strawberry granita (RM9) ...

... to the chocolate lava cake that's creamy but not cloying (RM12). Throughout Muugu's opening month, head here & say "Muugu is sweet!" to receive a free aperitif & dessert.

House-pouring wine clocks in at RM15 per glass. Would be better chilled though.

Ask Ed at Muugu to whip up an ice-cold cocktail (the Metropolitan Martini is worthwhile at RM18) or lattes that come at comfortingly warm temperatures instead of scalding.

All in all, Muugu's a pleasant, fuss-free retreat. Good enough for a leisurely lunch or a relaxed dinner.

Muugu Garden Bistro
32, Jalan Jati, Off Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Lunch & dinner, daily. Tel: 03-2110-3603

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As a separate initiative, the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favorites for January-March 2014 is now online, featuring 100 pretty nice eateries, including more than 20 new entries for this quarter. This eBook of restaurant recommendations is available for free, convenient reading on computers, tablets & smartphones at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favorites-Jan-March-2014 (This link expires March 31, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).