THERE is always expectation to meet when a restaurant undergoes a transformation and reopens for business.
The discerning eyes of patrons looking with exactness for changes in the interior, and their expectant palate searching for a difference in taste when indulging in dishes on the improved menu.
My friends and I were no different when we walked into Mezze following its recent renovation.
At first glance, the Mezze Bistro on the ground floor looked somewhat unchanged with familiar hues on the walls and its bar busy with the regular clientele.
Then the wine room, a new addition in the dining area, comes into view.
Well stocked with flavours from all over the world, there are more choices for wine lovers.
The buzz is upstairs.
Making our way up the narrow staircase, we walk into a room bustling with activity.
The new look, here, takes this neighbourhood bistro to the next level.
A huge bar with seating on the side occupies a prime spot in the lounge.
Wooden floors with soft lighting overhead gives the room its cosiness but the attraction here is in the surprises mixology director James Estes creates.
Drinks have interesting names like Japanese Dream, Las Ramblas, Sake It to Me, Art is Hard, Geisha Martini and Penicillin.
These drinks immediately awaken the senses after a sip or two.
Some may come across as too strong so ladies, do listen to Estes when he says it is not for you.
The whiskey selection remains impressive with a sake section added in, a reflection of Mezze’s new collaboration with Fincch Sushi Bar next door.
Now, customers at the lounge have the option of ordering from the kitchen downstairs as well as Japanese selections from Fincch.
As it was a little smokey upstairs, we opted for dinner downstairs.
The menu has a list of new and improved tapas options that begs a taste.
It is hard to peel your eyes away from the Beef and Bacon Marmalade (RM28) entry as its ingredients are reminiscent of breakfast.
With smokey and sweet beef pastrami alongside streaky bacon bits served on Huckleberry sourdough, this dish will put a smile on your face.
The verdict? Simply outstanding.
A highly recommended dish is the Josperized Aubergine with Sour Cream and Pomegranate (RM36) of charred aubergine with chilli yoghurt, feta cheese and puffed quinoa.
The aubergine is cooked in a josper grill cum oven that gives the vegetable its delightful charred flavour.
Paired with the tanginess of sour cream and sweet pomegranate seeds, the combination offers a burst of flavours.
The Charcoal Grilled Korean Chicken Thigh (RM28) with tender chicken thigh pieces is marinated with Korean chilli flakes and served with pickled green chilli.
This dish is ideal for those who want bites with their drinks.
A taste of Salmon and Mango Ceviche is not to be missed if you like something light and refreshing.
The Thai-style Grilled Fish with Mango Salad (RM54) is laden with spices.
Marinated with local Asian spices and grilled to perfection, the fish goes well with Thai mango salad, creating a lasting impression on the taste buds.
The Sticky Pork (RM54) with tamarind BBQ sauce, apple, buttermilk, pickled shallot, and toasted cashew nuts did not bowl me over but I am told, it has its fans.
The Roast Piglet, which was a Chinese New Year special, is now a mainstay on the menu by popular demand.
Marinated with French Mustard, the skin has a molasses crunch while the meat is juicy and tender.
The other show stealer is the French Rib-eye Charolais beef from France.
Priced at RM98 per 100gm, this grass fed meat is chunky, succulent and grilled to your preferred choice.
This savoury and mouthwatering goodness comes with French fries, salad and brown sauce.
We also delighted in some Japanese food from Fincch.
The Crispy Noodle with Sticky Sauce, sashimi platter and dragon roll convinced us that a return visit to the new kid on the block is a must.
After indulging in a bit too much at dinner, we opted for a few cocktails before having dessert.
Mezze’s Crepes Suzette (RM26), Huckleberry Burnt Cheese Cake (RM18) and Panna Cotta (RM20) are treats that do not disappoint.
Out of the three, the popular burnt cheesecake won the dessert battle hands down.
Mezze Wine Bar & Bistro, 132, Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2095 0122). Business hours: 4pm to 1am (Monday to Thursday), noon to 1am (Friday and Saturday).
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement of StarMetro.