House & Co. @ BSC
House & Co. @ BSC
It was a typical Friday night. Bangsar Shopping Center (BSC) was abuzz with young and old alike enjoying the start to the weekend. It was not the first time I would be venturing up to the 3rd floor of the West Wing, but it was the first time I would be eating at House & Co.
Owner Pauline Liu explained to us that HOUSE & Co was created for our customers to experience a gracious dining experience, albeit a casual one.
Somewhere smart , secure and “cool” to chill out. All furniture and home accessories are personally sourced by Pauline herself.
I asked the obvious chicken and the egg question. “Which came first, the furniture store, or the restaurant?”
Pauline laughed and told us the story of House & Co. It started as a simple home furnishing store in 1995. That store was called the House Shop and it occupied a 1700 sq feet shop lot at Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru. In 2001, it moved to BSC and rebranded as HOUSE & Co. The café started April 2002 with a very simple menu and a capacity for only 24 pax. Due to increasing popularity, seating capacity was broadened to 48 pax to accommodate the demand.
BSC as we know it today is the result of a massive refurbishment, and keeping up with the times, House & Co also had its own facelift, complete with water feature.
Today, the restaurant has a seating capacity for 100 and is open throughout the day.
Their menu has expanded from just local food to salads, sandwiches, pastas, steaks and fish, be it for lunch or dinner.
At House & Co, the inspiration for their food is simple. Pauline tells us that to her, a mouthful of good food should be orgasmic, and completely intoxicating. With that in mind, dishes were designed with no limitations.
“We gathered food recipes from our grandmothers, mothers, friends, and even foes, tested them, ate them, reformulated them and hence the dishes on our menu. From the Nasi Lemak to the Pan Seared Cod Fish”.
But the most important fact is that the food has to be genuine. NoMSG and artificial flavours are used, and only fresh and quality produce employed in every dish. Another interesting thing to note is that House & Co practices preparation methods that optimize health, by discarding skins and excess oil.
I liked the look of the menu. Printed on soft material, it had charm, and class at the same time. If you’re up for snacks, nibble on familiar favourites like Top Hat ( Kuih Pai Tee) or Fried Sui Kow. Yin (Red Breakfast Producer), Alvin (Photographer) and I sat down with Dinesh (BRDB), ready for anything they would serve at us.
I loved the descriptions in the menu. I mean, I really wanted to try the Mushroom Soup when I read that ‘it looks and tastes more exciting than it sounds). Buttons, portabellos, oysters … mysterious fungi patiently cooked till their wonderful aromas and tastes delight your palate’.
Even if Pauline hadn’t explained to us the emphasis they place on ingredients, it was obvious from both the menu and the salads we tried that a great deal of energy went into sourcing fresh, quality ingredients. It was also obvious that immense care also went into preparation and presentation.
Pear, Avocado + Pecan (RM23)
Fruity pear, creamy avocado, crunchy candied pecans and arugula all tossed in a mustard vinaigrette and Grana Padano. A beautifully crisp, sweet and savoury salad, with crunchy leaves and juicy pears.
Grape, Brocolli + Pine Nuts + Beef Bacon(RM 19)
This was a wonderful combination of different textures. Crunchy grapes, very-good-for-you broccoli steamed just right, brusque butter head lettuce, little slices of meaty beef bacon, chewy golden raisins and toasted pine nuts. All tossed in very light mayonnaise. Taking healthy to a whole new tasty level.
From the pasta section, Pauline recommends the THE HARLOT – Pasta + Shrimp. “It’s based on the original Italian Puttanesca, which literally means harlot,” she explained. “We’ve just modified it a little.”
‘Tasty shrimps basking on top of your choice of spaghetti or penne tossed in a rich sauce of fresh and sun dried tomatoes, olives, capers, and spiced with anchovies, chilies and masses of basil, parsley and sage’.
“You must come back and try it another day, ok?” said Pauline. “Oh yes”, I replied. With that description, and those ingredients, I didn’t need much convincing.
I’d heard a great deal about House & Co’s Nasi Lemak. Coconut rice with beef rendang, chicken rendang or sotong in spicy peanut sauce accompanied by hard boiled egg, ikan bilis, kang kong, cucumber, kacang and sambal. “Another day,” I told myself. We already had a mountain of food piling up in front of us.
From the local section, we did manage to try the Nyonya Curry Laksa (RM 21).
A generous portion of noodles of your choice, piled high with chicken, fish cake rolls, tau pok, egg, a shrimp and bean sprouts.
The creamy coconut gravy was delicious and fragrant, with whiffs of lemon grass, ginger and kaffir lime to complete the dish.
DINNER MENU (Available 7.00 pm – 9.30 pm)
PAN SEARED COD FISH (RM 49)
Lightly salted fillet of Cod (200g) pan seared with lemon butter and served on white rice tossed with cilantro, with salad and a parmesan crisp.
Truly delicate, and what was surprising that the rice itself was very tasty, with a hint of sweetness. The accompanying salad was unusual, with diced strawberries and peppery cress leaves. It was brilliant, an uncomplicated combination of ingredients before.
Udang Gala on Crispy Noodles (RM65)
Ahh. Freshwater Prawn. And a lot of it! Piles of crispy egg noodles drenched with rich eggy gravy, with shrimp, scallions and young ginger, topped off with a huge prawn, claws and all!
The presentation style creates very dramatic effect, and the taste of the succulent, white flesh and rich orange roe totally satisfies.
You can choose to add cooking wine, or else it will be excluded by default.
Grilled Tenderloin Steak -Greg Norman, Australian Chilled and Grain Fed Beef (RM 69)
Grilled to your choice of “done-ness”, this 200g of super tenderloin will satiate you with divine morsels of very tasty beef. Pauline tells us that they don’t do much with seasoning the beef, as the natural taste and juices are more than enough.
Done to a perfect medium, I highly recommend this dish for meat lovers. Choose from mushroom or black pepper gravy, or keep it simple with herbed butter.
BEEF HOR FUN (RM39)
This dish is composed of 150 g of tender beef fillet, stir fried with young ginger slices, spring onions. What’s unusual here is that the ‘Hor Fun’ is actually flat sheets of ‘Cheong Fun’!
More surface area in every bite, smothered in and thick, delicious eggy gravy. One of the best Beef Hor Fun’s I’ve tried in my time, and what a giant portion!
And with that, we’d exhausted the dinner menu at House & Co. Don’t get me wrong, even though it’s only four additional items, they are ones you don’t want to miss out on. For dessert, walk on over to the cake display to choose something sinfully delicious.
We shared a slice of moist, rich, Peanut Butter & Banana Cake.
Oh, it was divine! The Peanut butter was whipped smooth, and layered with cool, sweet, sliced bananas, and a dense, dark crumbly base. It was like little bites of velvet caressing my tongue.
We said our goodbyes to Pauline, and promised to go back for more.
House & Co stays true to its mantra. It offers orgasmic, and completely intoxicating food, with no limitations. Truly a hidden gem, and the one to watch at BSC.
*Thanks to Pauline and the Team at House & Co for an amazing meal! And to Dinesh for organizing.
*Special thanks to Alvin (www.damienphotography.com ) for the beautiful photos.
ALL THIS WEEK, TUNE IN FROM ELEVEN2THREE TO WIN RM100 VOUCHERS TO HOUSE & CO. AT BSC! THE BIG RED FOOD REVIEW WITH ME ALY, ONLY ON RED FM, TODAY’S BEST MUSIC!
104.9 IN THE KLANG VALLEY.
T6, 101 & 102, 3rd Floor
West Wing, BSC
Phone: 03 2094 4393