Leornado’s Dining Room & Wine Loft, Jalan Bangkung
Leornado’s Dining Room & Wine Loft
An Eclectic Selection of Global Dishes
It was a cloudy Wednesday evening when I ventured into the residential area off Jalan Maarof. Turning on to Jalan Bangkung, I drove up the hill for about 30 seconds then spotted the row of shophouses to my left. Parking is limited, but I managed to squeeze myself in a spot right outside the restaurant.
Leonardo’s Dining Room & Loft is a new addition to the line-up of those who own Cava and Opus (in that stretch) and Moxie (Damansara Heights). Since it opened its doors exactly 1 year ago, the Bangsar locals have quite taken to it.
I walked up the narrow staircase and was greeted by smiling staff, who showed me to our table.
I looked around and took in the exposed brick walls, crisp white table cloths, impeccable setting and warm lighting. Half the restaurant was outdoors, separated by sliding glass doors. The space was beautiful, and intimate, and cozy.
Terry (Red FM Drive) arrived and we glanced through the existing menu that has the image of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
“This is strange! Look, you’ve got Grilled Black Angus Ribeye, Rack of Lamb then… Bak Kut Teh!” We laughed, spotting a Hokkien Mee tucked under the list of pastas.
Peter Yew is the man who manages all the outlets. It’s not and easy task, he tells me, to split his time from one place to the other.
“We’re open from Happy Hour at 5pm right up until 1 am. And we serve supper,” he adds. The aim is to keep customers happy, providing a casual setting with great service and great food that is available until late. “The kind of clientele that we get don’t want to be looking for food at midnight. They don’t want to sit by the roadside and eat. That’s why we have dishes like BKT and Hokkien Mee. It’s late at night, you want something warm before hitting the sack, and you can have that in a pleasant atmosphere.”
Known for their extensive selection of wines, Peter recommends we start with a sweet, sparkling wine. We had an Australian Wine, the Wolf Blass Muscato, 2008.
Terry was still engrossed in the menu and pipes up “Who’s Ranjit?”, referring to the dish Ranjit’s Pasta in the menu.
“Ahh…” replied Peter with a smile. “Ranjit is one of the owners. He makes this pasta, with garlic, mushrooms, bacon and, get this… chili padi!” “That sounds delicious!” I gushed. “It is!” he exclaims.”He tried it on his friends, they loved it. He tried it on us, we loved it. And it’s one of the most popular dishes on the menu, after the Bak Kut Teh.”
That evening, we were to taste dishes from the new menu. Chef Victor Chow is in charge andhe joined the team 7 months ago, leaving his own fine dining catering business. Trained in Classical French Cuisine, he has experience in several high end restaurants in the Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. He was friendly, pleasant, and funny and had a youthfulness about him that far belied his age and experience.
He trotted off to the kitchen and a few minutes later we were served our first and second course.
Food to be shared… But it’s so good you might regret doing so.
Sauteed Live Black Mussels, Belgian Style with White Wine, Parsley and Light Cream
This was served with Garlic butter-toasted Baguette slices and it was an immediate hit! The sauce was skillfully made, thin and light, yet very tasty. The sautéed onions to add texture and flavour, while the mussels were incredibly fresh!
As we had been warned by the heading in the menu, I think Terry and I did regret the fact we had to share it.
Pizza with Italian Marinated Anchovies, Cured Lemon & Capers
All Leornado’s unique rectangular pizzas are made in the dimensions of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Golden Ratio of 1.618. The base was thin and crispy, with a smooth tomato paste, salty anchovies and piquant capers.
The food at Leonardo’s captures the spirit of the great man it is named after. It’s inventive, it’s clever, and it’s open to interpretation. It’s not strictly Italian and Chef Victor calls not fusion, but rather “Progressive Cuisine”.
There is no limit to what can be included in the menu. If it tastes good, it’ll be added in!
Starters, Salads and Soups…to tickle your palate
Chef Vic’s Wedge Salad with Crispy Serrano Ham, Smoked Pimiento & Spanish Picon Blue Dressing
This was an interesting dish. We tried to figure out what it meant to have a ‘Wedge Salad’ and ended up just scratching our heads. It turned out to be a traditional American dish of Iceberg Lettuce, actually cut into a wedge and served.
Soaked in a mild and creamy cheese dressing with a hint of smokiness from the capsicum, it was crunchy and went well with the crispy Serrano Ham. “You’re just too lazy to cut it, so you make us do the work!” joked Terry accusingly.
Chicken Liver & Bacon Pate with Spiced Orange Peel Marmalade and Grilled Herb Foccacia Crisp
Another winner, the pate was smooth, with a salty bacon and rich liver taste. It was addictive, and nicely balanced out by the sweet, bitter orange marmalade.
Melange of Forest Mushroom in a Chicken & Chardonnay broth, fragranced with Basil Pesto Cream
I liked the sliced mushrooms in it. The broth was delicious, woody and aromatic. Creamy yet not too filling.
A surprise was thrown in – Kentucky Fried Frog. Finger sucking good!
Despite the fact we talked about skinning, cutting and preparation methods of the frogs, we all carried on eating unfazed and finish the snack sized pieces in minutes. A dish that would go well with beer.
Peter ordered a bottle of Trio Cabernet Savignion, Chile.
A heavier wine to go with our mains.
Mains. To sink your teeth in, and go mmm…
Cioppino – Fish & Shellfish stewed in Tomato Broth, served with Foccacia Bread
A traditional Italian stew made from fish stock and served with a fish, mussels and clams. The thick and chunky tomato sauce perfect to mop up with the freshly baked bread.
Oolong Tea-smoked Rack of Lamb with Mango Mint Chutney, Baked Bacon-Potato Cake & Red Wine jus
It is first smoked with Oolong Tea, then marinated in reduced tea and sugar, overnight to achieve a dense flavour.
This lamb was a perfectly cooked medium. Pink on the inside, and caramelized on the outside.
We were pretty full by this point, so Peter cancelled the Four Cheese Carbonara with Premium Parmesan, Cheddar, Mozarella & Blue. Instead, he asked Chef Victor to prepare us something lighter and we ended up with:
Baked Cod in tomato saffron broth
In addition to the generous portion of cod, Chef Victor slips in a few Venus clams, mushrooms and bok choy.
We adjourned upstairs to the Wine Loft for dessert of Tiramisu.
Chef Victor’s latest creation, the Chocolate Souffle Pudding was simply divine.
A thick, dark river of chocolate flowed forth and dripped down the side of the espresso cup. Deliciously light, it was like eating chocolate air!
We relaxed in the informal loft, sipping our after dinner drinks.
With high ceilings and a book collection by the balcony, it was so comfortable that I could see myself chilling out with friends, enjoying a glass of wine or a Hooegarden, and filling up with tummy with some supper before leaving.
I loved the food, I loved the atmosphere, and I loved the friendly service. Whether you sit inside our outside, upstairs or downstairs, whether you want a full on 3 course meal or a mere nibble on snack, Leornado’s has something for everyone. I like this “Progressive Cuisine”, and I especially liked the fact it is served until 1 am!
It truly was an eclectic selection of global cuisine, and they stayed true to their motto: “If it tastes good, put it on the menu!”
A big thank you to Peter and Chef Victor for making our evening so spectacular (and filling!).
Leonardo’s Dining Room & Wine Loft
61-1 & 61-2, Jalan Bangkung, Bukit Bandaraya, 59100 Kuala Lumpur
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Call : (603) 2096 2226
Fax : (603) 2096 1126