The Dining Room, Carcosa Seri Negara
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To say the setting of Carcosa Seri Negara’s The Dining Room is impressive would be redundant in its blatancy. This isn’t an everyday option. It’s not even a monthly option. That would degrade the Carcosa. It is, in grandeur and in menu, a special restaurant for special occasions.
Open for lunch and dinner service, The Dining Room offers a wide choice of fine French-inspired a la carte dishes and set menus. The latter lunch option lets diners choose between two elegantly prepared, precisely presented dishes for each of the three courses plus tea or coffee to round off the meal.
To start, I opted for the roasted assortment of vegetables. The thinly sliced seasonal greens (and reds, and yellows) were lightly sauced in a balsamic dressing that thankfully didn’t dominate the dish as it so often can. Following this light introduction to The Dining Room’s cuisine, I chose the braised oxtail ‘Parmentier’ with carrots and asparagus, on the sole principal that my guest beat me to ordering the red snapper fillet. Nevertheless, I was intrigued to discover how my oxtail would arrive. Presented in its own bowl on the side of the plate, the parmentier tasted similar to a shepherd’s pie and was incredibly tasty. The oxtail was brilliantly braised, the carrots and asparagus crisp yet comforting in their flavour. In fact, the dish had a very homely feel to it and my snapper envy (it was also excellent so I’m told) was entirely quashed.
Amid all the excitement with the dessert I’m afraid I’ve forgotten exactly how it was described but the words: ‘spiced bread’, ‘yoghurt ice cream’ and ‘mango’ were enough to lift this, for me, towering above the cheese platter enjoyed by my guest. And the initial suspicions were duly confirmed as the layered, trifle-like dessert arrived, surrounded by deliciously fresh cubes of mango and topped with a satisfying spear of chocolate. Magnificent.
Following a fantastic meal, the one criticism I can file of The Dining Room relates to its atmosphere and ambience. As one of three occupied tables for (in all fairness, a weekday) lunch, the ambience was that of stiff vacancy — something I’m sure is tamed at busier hours of business but something that can spell an uncomfortable meal for diners. For a special night or lunch out though, The Dining Room is pretty close to culinary bliss.
The sadness that, with the closing of the Carcosa, by the time this magazine has finished its shelflife, The Dining Room will be no more should be balanced by the fact that at least this majestic French restaurant got the chance to be acclaimed before closing. Ian Johnston
The Dining Room was shortlisted in the Best Fine Dining Restaurant and Best French Restaurant categories of the Time Out KL Food Awards 2009. Our food awards are 100% voted for by the people of KL. This way, we guarantee that popularity and consistent performance is rewarded.