Preview: Pince & Pints KL @ Telawi, Bangsar

October 4, 2015

From 32 Duxton Road to 32 Telawi Street, bringing a taste of Maine & Massachusetts to Malaysia: Singapore's Pince & Pints - one of the city-state's biggest F&B smashes of the past year - is counting on a new legion of lobster lovers to claw their way to its first foreign spin-off in Kuala Lumpur, a Singaporean-Malaysian collaboration that's poised to launch this week in Bangsar.

P&P has earned a reputation in SG for attracting dinnertime queues that stretch for over an hour, partly because no bookings are accepted. That may not be an issue at its KL branch, which begins taking reservations Monday, Oct 5, for service starting Friday, Oct 9. But since this Telawi outpost is only a 55-seater, with a beautifully polished setting, it could still easily fill up fast.

As far as food goes, Pince & Pints is devoted to the wild-caught lobsters of the North American Atlantic coast, flown directly twice a week from Maine & Boston, MA (as well as Canada) to P&P's own holding warehouse in Malaysia, kept in cool-temperature sea tanks to help them reach the table retaining the sort of freshness that evokes the lobster shacks of Cape Cod. The outlet expects to bring in nearly 5,000 lobsters a month, which would equal the estimates for P&P Singapore's imports.

P&P offers no more than five ways of enjoying your 600-gram live lobster - the sharp focus underscores its Singaporean founders' appreciation for the elegant simplicity of London's Burger & Lobster chain. Every dish here is priced at RM158++, which will pinch the wallet but remains a reasonable conversion of the S$58 that patrons pay in Singapore. The star is the New England-style Lobster Roll, showcasing tender steamed chunks of a whole lobster, including the claw meat, marinated in mayo, showered with chopped chives & stuffed in a butter-fried bun, served with a salad, fries & garlic aioli. Ocean-sweet flavours in the roll, with a bounty of textures to bite into. Carb enthusiasts, take note: The fluffy-soft bun & fries are fabulous.

The classic whole lobster with herbed butter sauce is a show-stopper too. Customers can choose from two preparations: Steamed with salt water & olive oil, it's a sacrament of succulence, with moist but firm meat that slides straight out of the shell. But surprisingly, we prefer the grilled rendition, which supplies a subtly smoky chew that's just as juicy. It's worth noting that P&P is serious about sustainability, importing from sources that abide by rigorous rules on lobster size, trapping & harvesting.

Pince & Pints in Singapore is well-regarded for its Chilli Lobster, an adaptation of the country's revered chilli crabs, with a rich sauce customised for the lobster, blended with roma tomatoes, chillies, lemongrass, garlic & egg, made to be soaked up with fried mantou buns. But while that's available here in all its creamy glory, it's nice that Pince & Pints KL also promises another Asian creation exclusive to Bangsar: Lobster noodles, featuring shell-on flesh lusciously wok-fried with scallions & ginger & laid atop egg noodles in a savoury gravy partnered with sliced chillies on the side. Portions here are generously for the gluttonous.

The second component of P&P - the beverages - is as meticulously conceived as the first. Top-notch cocktails are offered in categories of sour-centric, bitter, dry & sweet - a sheer joy across the board, with ravishingly tuned flavours & fragrances, costing RM28-RM56. Temptations include the Klang Valley Blazer (bourbon, chilli cinnamon liquor, agave, nectar, fresh lemon, sea salt), Highway Run Into The Midnight Sun (gin, vodka, fresh lime, cilantro, sugar), 500 Days Of Summer (gin, lemon, lime, mint, house-made melon soda), Bee's Knees (gin, house-made manuka honey syrup, lemon), The Entrapment (gin, aperol, white vermouth, lemon), Bittersweet Symphony (bourbon, punt e mes, amaretto, agave nectar, coffee), Power, Pleasure, Pain (bourbon, cognac, sweet vermouth, bitters) & Maple Pisco Sour (pisco, fresh lemon, maple syrup, sea salt, bitters).

The wine list is impressively thought-out & thoroughly distinctive too, with boutique vintages predominantly from France, plus a smattering of Spain & California. Whites & reds start from RM32 per glass, RM133 per carafe & RM192 per bottle, topping out at RM390 per bottle. The two we had paired really well with the lobsters, but even if you're not up for a feast of crustaceans, the cocktails & wine here make this venue a worthwhile stop for some drinks. Many thanks to Pince & Pints for having us here.

Pince & Pints Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
32, Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. 
Mon-Sun 530pm-1130pm; Sat-Sun, 1130am-1130pm. Last order for kitchen, 1015pm. Tel: 603-2201-3233

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