July 3, 2018
It's fair to have soaring expectations of Horizon Grill: Set on the sky-high perch of the 58th floor, this is one of KL's loftiest restaurants, with a starry view that even eagles would envy. Its menu is masterminded by local chef de cuisine Daniel Wong (who honed his craft in Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore) and supervised by Austrian executive chef Alexander Waschl (whose work in Malaysia has consistently impressed us for nearly a decade). And of course, we'd count on nothing short of a stirring experience from the flagship establishment of the Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur, freshly and finally unveiled this month.
As the sun sets on the Horizon, so to speak, the venue is garlanded in a gentle, golden glitter and glow, with the kitchen firing up its Santa Maria oak pit grill, loaded with a bed of white charcoal, the source of its signature steak specialities. Take a table comfortably indoors or be seated alfresco on the terrace, then place yourself at ease as venue manager Surya Prakash and his warmly professional team shepherd you through a meal to relish and an evening to remember. Horizon Grill is meant to be a fuss-free space that'll function equally well for both celebratory occasions or a casual night out.
Start with a serving of Fine de Claire oysters for that appetite-whetting balance of salty and sweet, while also slicing through soft rolls prepared by Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur's resident French pastry chef Fodil Baghal, fragrantly laced with lavender and garlic, partnered with pesto made every morning, thick and textured with shallots, cilantro, chillies and olive oil.
The wine list was extensive enough that we relied purely on Prakash for a recommendation, a classic southern French blend, sufficiently structured to sustain us through the climactic meat courses to come.
Several other curtain-raisers showcase the sense of skilled imagination that has become the hallmark of the Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur's chefs. Prawn cocktails are completely reinterpreted here, displaying a distinctive Asian inspiration with a pillowy cushion of bonito-spiked egg custard, blanketed with tender crustacean flesh, morsels of avocado, cucumber, organic tomatoes and mango wasabi mayo, for a comforting, palate-pampering opener (RM68).
Fans of foie might like the liver terrine, turned into a fluffy mousse, encased in the tang of a passion fruit yellow jelly coating, complemented by a crushed candied hazelnut crust and edible flowers, with a side of butternut brioche soldiers to complete this elaborate ensemble (RM120).
Even a potentially simple sweet corn veloute secures special treatment, potently conveying the corn's punchiest nuances, assertively accompanied by pickled purple beetroot slices, with a much-welcome bowl of piment-scented gruyere gougeres to round out the soup-and-pastry synergy.
By this point, we're ready and raring for the beef - the restaurant's repertoire encompasses two categories: Fullblood wagyu from Japan's southwestern Kyushu island and pasture-fed cattle that graze in Australia's southeastern Goulburn Valley. We chose Horizon's piece de resistance, the wagyu rib eye, seriously succulent, fabulously flavourful, excellently executed. It's a steak that commands attention with its rich, robust intensity of both taste and texture (RM420 for 250 grams), best paired with bordelaise sauce (RM18), with pureed beads of parsley and kalamata olives to bring extra vibrance to both plate and palate.
Other steak possibilities commence from RM158 for an oyster-blade butcher's cut and RM180 for a 28-day wet-aged sirloin. Courses can be bolstered by accoutrements such as seared foie gras, grilled river prawns or blue swimmer crab cakes, buoyed by sauces that span spicy chimichurri to coriander Roquefort Societe cheese, dijon teriyaki to Sarawak peppercorn.
Even if you're not a beef-eater, there's positively something for you here, from poached cod fish with baby clams to fire-roasted village chicken with baby potatoes. If you relish recipes loaded with lots of dynamics, try the Bultarra Saltbush lamb, bred in the Aussie Outback, offered here in the form of rack marinated in molasses and cumin, yielding ultra-juicy mouthfuls punctuated with enhancements of pumpkin puree, tomato tapenade, eggplant caviar and mint jelly (RM168), or the perfectly al dente, pleasurably house-made fettuccine, saturated with 36-hour-stewed duck ragout, deepened with Cognac and orange, showered with the combined pungency of Parmesan and Pecorino (RM68; serving shown is a half-portion).
Finish with flamboyant flair, with another steakhouse staple that's been vibrantly reconfigured here - baked Alaska, flambeed with black pepper liquor for fiery theatrics, with shades of strawberries and lychee vividly lingering in its flavour profile (RM32).
All in all, the meticulous attention to detail makes Horizon Grill a worthwhile entry into the Klang Valley's dining landscape, dishing out temptations that strive effectively to thrill the taste buds. Many thanks to Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur for having us.
Level 58, Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur.
Private rooms available. Open daily for breakfast, 630am-1030am; lunch, 12pm-3pm; dinner, 630pm-1030pm. Tel: 603-2113-1821