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Restaurant Cilantro

Cilantro

Restaurant, $$$$, French, Kuala Lumpur City Centre
One of KL’s most respected culinary institutions because of its renowned chef and his epic culinary creations, beautiful setting and second to none wine list.
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  • ReservationYes
  • Private RoomYes
  • Accept Credit CardYes
  • Dress CodeSmart Casual
  • Bring Your Own BottleNo
  • BuffetNo
  • Car ValetNo

Review

SETTING

Cilantro is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most respected culinary institutions where everything combines to make for a wonderful dining journey. This includes the setting which incorporates subtle but adequate lighting, comfortable table and semi-circular bench seating and a downstairs bar. The bar doesn’t appear to be used that much these days with most patrons heading directly to their table for a pre-dinner aperitif.

FOOD

Premium imported produce feature extensively on the compact menu of about ten appetisers and mains and half a dozen desserts plus cheeses. Chef Takashi Kimura and his creative team further divide this into signature and seasonal dishes, with the latter based upon what is in-season. Freshly baked breads including a signature brioche are served and replenished upon request except for the buttery brioche which is a one-off treat. Before the appetisers arrive, an amuse bouche of raw fish and fresh herbs is served on a spoon. During the meal, other treats like octopus and capsicum ice cream fondue also appear.

Start with a salad gourmand which has very little to do with greens and vegetables but rather a selection of foie gras, lobster and duck. The individual ingredients are cooked to perfection and then combined with French beans, radicchio, shaved truffle and mushrooms. Scallops with a spear of asparagus and girolles (golden chanterelles mushrooms) is another superb appetiser on offer.

An enticing main course selection is the Wagyu Rossini served with Périgueux. This juicy slice of fillet steak is seared, topped with a portion of plump foie gras and served with a rich black truffle sauce. The saltbush lamb is presented with minimalist preparation and plating, having a ratatuouille accompaniment in the form of a zucchini flower rather than eggplant, which most diners would associate with the dish.

Desserts include warm chocolate with Bentong ginger ice cream and pisang emas bavarois with gula Melaka meringue. Others include truffle honey ice cream with Roquefort and walnuts and a selection of French cheeses.

DRINKS

Wine is taken very seriously in Cilantro, with a dedicated and experienced French sommelier Guillaume Villien curating an impressive wine list from grand cru wines to those to satisfy the tastebuds of mere mortals. There is an extensive selection of still table wines, sparkling, dessert and fortified wines. Wine by the bottle is popular although there are several by the glass for those who want to pair specific dishes with wines and don’t want to buy a bottle for each course. Wines by the glass include an Elderton chardonnay, Weinrieder Grüner Veltliner from Austria’s Weinviertel region and also a late harvest Beerenauslese dessert wine from this prestigious Austrian estate located north of Vienna.

SERVICE

The service here is professional and helpful but also friendly and relaxed. Service is an essential part of the Cilantro experience and it could easily be stiff and proper but fortunately the management has found that happy balance between professionalism and familiarity. Diners are basically left to their own devices and only disturbed when need be and this appears to be exactly what patrons want here.

PRICE

Cilantro is not for those on a budget and no one is going to escape for under RM500 and there are several menus on offer. For those who want to discover why Cilantro is held in such high regard by KL foodies, Friday lunch is the most economical way of finding out. The four-course set lunch is just RM200 nett per diner and there is no corkage charge on wines, for Friday lunch only.

Evening menus start at RM428 nett for the three-course Discover Menu and RM518 nett for the Cilantro four-course menu (an extra appetiser is selected from the menu). That is just the start as premium items such as caviar, abalone, lobster and Wagyu have a surcharge ranging from RM80 to RM120. Dishes can be ordered individually and priced at RM188 for appetisers, RM288 and desserts at RM58. Wine by the glass ranges from RM50 to RM66.

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