Lobster done five ways – grilled, steamed, in a roll, with noodles or in fresh tomato and chilli sauce. There, I just listed the entire food menu of Pince & Pints KL, the latest lobster joint to hit Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur – and I didn’t even have to look at my notes.
For a newbie restaurant, this “limited-choice, take it or leave it” attitude is pretty gutsy.
“We are only kidding ourselves when we look through pages of menu at restaurants that we frequent, as we end up ordering the same thing like we always do,” says Pince & Pints co-owner Datuk Hafez Mohamed.
“Many of us are creatures of habit, and that plays well for Pince & Pints. Our patrons’ minds are already made up before they enter the restaurant.”
You would think that lack of options would discourage anyone from entering the premises, since we live in a food heaven and are spoilt rotten for choice.
But no. People apparently have no qualms about being told that they only have five items to choose from and no one has complained ... so far.
Although, in this case, those dining at Pince & Pints KL can consider themselves lucky as the original outlet in Singapore only has four items on the menu.
“The Chilli Lobster with Mantou is very much a Singaporean chilli crab-style dish, so we insisted on an exclusive dish for the Malaysian outlet. We argued that the lobster noodles would do really well here, and that’s how we managed to get that fifth dish,” he adds.
On top of getting their own signature dish, the Malaysian partners were also adamant about getting a creative licence to style the interior to their own liking.
“Pince & Pints Singapore is very casual and looks like a diner with its red seats and what not. We didn’t want to copy the look. We want each of the Pince & Pints outlets in Malaysia to have its own decor and characteristics. Here it looks like a trendy and proper upmarket restaurant,” says Hafez.
The restaurant opened its first Malaysian franchise in October and sees a steady stream of customers every day. They are closed for lunch during weekdays because no one wants to rush through a lobster dish during their lunch break.
However, business gets really busy during dinner service and Hafez advises patrons to make reservations to avoid disappointment. There are three seatings at 5.30-7.30pm, 7.30-9.30pm and 9.30-11.30pm.
“We will hold tables for 15-20 minutes per reservation. If it’s a no-show within that time period, then the table will be opened to our walk-in customers. Latecomers will have to wait for available space in the next seating,” says Hafez.
One of the top dishes at Pince & Pints is the exclusive Lobster Noodles, which is recommended for two to three patrons.
Inspired by the lobster noodles at London’s Mandarin Kitchen, this dish is similar to Sang Har Mein (freshwater prawn noodles). The aromatic smell is welcoming, and the bright red carapace shields all the good stuff underneath. The springy noodles and thick gravy, seasoned with copious amounts of ginger and spring onion, tastes even better when mixed with the homemade chilli oil.
And the lobster? So sweet and succulent that you cannot believe it ever was on a 20-hour journey from Massachusetts in the United States.
“We import 1,000 lobsters every week and store them in a conducive environment at a warehouse in Puchong before they are delivered in prime condition to the restaurant,” he says.
Pince & Pints is dedicated to working with lobster fisheries that practise sustainable fishing methods. These fisheries must adhere to four fishing rules and regulations – female lobsters bearing eggs must be released; a minimum of 8.2cm carapace measurements to allow juvenile lobsters the chance to mature and reproduce; a maximum of 12.7cm carapace measurements to protect the large, healthy breeding stock; and all harvesting must be done by trap with escape vents for undersized lobsters.
And to avoid any “their lobster is bigger than mine” drama, the owners ensure that each dish uses one whole live wild-caught lobster of approximately 600g. Each lobster yields about 120g-140g of sweet and succulent flesh, and is presented in all its glory in the New England-style Lobster Roll. The flesh of an entire lobster is marinated in homemade mayonnaise and sprinkled with a generous amount of chives. It is then stuffed into two butter-fried buns that honestly, taste so good on their own. Served with salad, fries and garlic aioli, this is definitely a must-have dish. It can also be ordered to go.
“Just call the restaurant to place your orders. We will prepare it and you can come, pay, and collect your Lobster Roll.”
At Pince & Pints, the uncomplicated menu comes with uncomplicated price tags – each food item is priced at RM158.
“Every dish has approximately the same amount of lobster, so it is only right to price the dishes equally. This way, we avoid any complications,” says Hafez.
The Whole Lobster dishes are served either steamed in salt water or grilled. Seasoned with just salt and pepper, the butterflied lobster is grilled on charcoal fire to give a slight burnt flavour (see top image).
“We grill it for about 7 to 8 minutes. Anyway, we aim to serve every dish within 10 minutes after the order comes in,” explains Hafez.
The lobster is exceptionally good on its own although one can make the mistake of dipping it in the herbed butter that comes alongside fries and salad. That butter is for the fries, mind you.
The lobster peels easily off the shell, an indication that the meat is super fresh.
“At Pince & Pints, you can expect to taste lobsters of the freshest and most premium quality. We believe that it doesn’t take a master chef to make good lobster dishes, rather it takes a great lobster to make one.”
Pince & Pints KL
32-G, Jalan Telawi 5
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2201 3233
Open Monday to Friday (5.30-11pm); Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays (11.30am-11pm)
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