Seafood seduction on heritage street


Pan-seared scallops with a side of spicy papaya salad and sun-dried tomato pate.

RIGHT in the heart of Kuala Lumpur lies a secluded enclave with several niche restaurants in a century-old colonial building that promises a night of indulgence away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Old Malaya restaurant street not only offers the chance to enjoy a quiet night with friends and family, its picturesque setting with the majestic KL Tower as a backdrop explains its charm.

It is advisable, if you have never been to Old Malaya, to take a slow walk and find a place that suits your mood and style.

At the end of the street is Pier 12 Seafood Tavern with Pampas Group executive head chef Ravindran N curating dishes that make merry on your taste buds.

Black Noodle Laksa served in a flavourful curry-based broth with squid ink pasta, salmon, prawns, vegetables and spicy tomato jam will leave you in awe.Black Noodle Laksa served in a flavourful curry-based broth with squid ink pasta, salmon, prawns, vegetables and spicy tomato jam will leave you in awe.

To get us acquainted with Pier 12’s seafood fare, Ravindran lightly pan-seared chunky scallops and paired these with spicy papaya salad and sun-dried tomato pate (priced at RM42).

The pate add layers of flavour to the briny, sweet molluscs.

Aesthetics play an important role in heightening one’s dining experience, hence the use of seashells, carrying the scallops, on a bed of Himalayan salt. A lovely start to dinner indeed!

The Ebi Gyoza Dumplings (RM28) is a serving of five prawn dumplings with ponzu sauce and chilli oil dip.

Miso cod, asparagus and sweet potato mash. — Photos: SHAARI CHEMAT/The StarMiso cod, asparagus and sweet potato mash. — Photos: SHAARI CHEMAT/The Star

This is unlike any other gyoza I have tried as plump prawns fill the dumpling.

Among the appetisers is Calamari Fritters (RM36) with a side of remoulade.We were recommended Gambas Ajilo (RM38) another signature appetiser.

Ravindran, who has 30 years experience in F&B, bathes tiger prawns in olive oil and adds garlic, dried chilli and salt to make quite an impression on the taste buds. This comes with two slices of focaccia bread.

Pampas Group communications director Nanthini K. Theva suggested we try the Black Noodle Laksa (RM58) from the main course items.

Gambas Ajilo. (Inset) Ravindran, the brains behind culinary delights at Pier 12.Gambas Ajilo. (Inset) Ravindran, the brains behind culinary delights at Pier 12.

Borrowing an idea from the unique Johor laksa which uses spaghetti instead of noodles, Ravindran created Pier 12’s version with squid ink pasta.

Seafood treasures in the thick curry-based broth include salmon fillet, prawns, vegetables and spicy tomato jam.

The side of eggplant sambal is for those who want to twist up the flavours a little more, although I felt the Black Noodle Laksa captures one’s attention as it is.

At Pier 12, a crab and lobster concierge service is available for those who do not want to get their hands dirty.At Pier 12, a crab and lobster concierge service is available for those who do not want to get their hands dirty.

Ravindran said seafood stock and coconut milk were essentials for the broth.

“Everything is prepared at the central kitchen so we can maintain consistency in our sauces, soups and pastes.

“As a seafood restaurant, we want to introduce variety in taste so there are some Western-style dishes and those with Asian flavours.

“This is why some dishes have chilli, picked onions or papaya, lemongrass, galangal, daun kesum and kaffir lime leaf.

If cod fish is a favourite, then the Miso Cod (RM128) may charm your palate. The silky, soft fish is marinated with miso for two days and grilled to reveal beautiful caramelised flavours.

Grilled asparagus, an addictive sweet potato mash, pickled onions and lemon wedge complete this dish.

The highlight of dinner has to be either a crab or lobster dish.

If you are like me and not too keen on cracking crab or lobster shell, then this is the place for you.

Nanthini said the restaurant had a crab and lobster concierge service with floor executives (waiters) for the job.

Having learned that we could sit back and keep our hands clean, we watched as the waiters split the lobster with ease for our dining convenience.

The Grilled Lobster (RM38/100g) is a handsome 600g Boston lobster, grilled to perfection and drenched in aromatic garlic butter and chilli-based sauce.

For this dish, mantou is served on the side.

Pier 12 also has tempting desserts such as Creme Brulee (RM20), Sago Gula Melaka (RM20), Bread and Butter Pudding (RM24) and Chocolate Indulgence (RM20).

Nanthini said Pier 12’s upper deck was popular for private events, weddings, corporate functions and themed parties.

Finding a parking spot may be challenging here so either opt for ehailing service or hand over your keys to the car jockeys.

PIER 12 SEAFOOD TAVERN, Lot 12, Old Malaya, Lorong Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2078 5548). Business hours: 5pm to 1am daily.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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