Thursday, 17 July 2014

Ben's @ Suria KLCC

Part of the BIG Group by Benjamin Yong (Founder and Group Chief Eating Officer), Ben's @ Suria KLCC believes in building relationships through food via their tagline "To Eat is to Love".  

Ben's unique decor is modelled after a dream-like home (with a breathtaking view of the KLCC park and fountain) to depict a cosy and welcoming environment.
Ben's menu concentrates on international cuisine, ranging from delicious nibbles and refreshing salads to modern interpretation of east-meets-west mains and luscious desserts.  Whatever it is that tickles your fancy, there's plenty of choices for everyone to enjoy.

While waiting for your food to arrive, they have a stack of cards that you can use as conversational pieces (if you need when you're on your awkward first date!).  These 2 cards caught my attention:

1) If you had to spend the rest of your life eating the food of one country, which one would it be?  It's obvious, home is where the heart (oops, I mean stomach) is!

2)  Would you rather lose your sense of taste and smell or lose all of your hair?  I guess you know what my answer to that would be!
We started our meal with an order from the Nibbles Section of Crispy Onion Rings (with aioli) @ RM13.
The battered onion rings were fried till crunchy but a tad greasy.  It was ok though I've had better fried onion rings than this before.
Another starter for sharing was the Belgian Fries (with andalouse sauce) @ RM12.  I ordered this out of curiosity wondering what fries from Belgium (instead of from France) would look like but it turned out to be just criss cross fries.  The fries were soft in the middle and crisp on the outside.  It was decent.
As for the sauce, what the heck is andalouse sauce?  Well, it seems it's a Belgian sauce consisting of mayonnaise, tomato paste, bell peppers and lemon juice (and sometimes mustard).  It's vaguely similar to Thousand Island dressing.  I didn't care much for the sauce as it has this pungent taste (which I've been describing as some kind of weird metallic my previous post on Fougasse).  [#Note: I think I've finally found what this pungent taste that I despise so's probably mustard (which is used in the preparation of a lot of sauces, though not all, as an emulsifier).]
Our main dish order was the Golden Soft Shell Crab Spaghettini (with curry leaves and bird's eye chilli) @ RM28.  The soft shell crab was fresh and a pretty good sized crab I might add.  But what won me over was the spaghettini that was cooked just right in a creamy sauce enhanced with the flavour of curry leaves and the heat provided by the bird's eye chillies.  The fragrance of the fried curry leaves and the spiciness of the bird's eye chilies infused with the creamy sauce to delicious effect.
I had wanted to order the Asian-style duck confit salad with pomelo, lychee, cucumber and pineapple but it was not available that night.  So, I went with the Crispy Soft Shell Crab Salad (with green papaya in a spicy lime dressing) @ RM28 instead as my main dish (yup, it was a 'soft shell crab overload' night).  The soft shell crab was dipped in egg batter and deep fried till slightly (but not overly) crispy.  The resulting frizzy delight sat on top a bunch of shredded green papaya, sliced onions, long beans and dried shrimps.  It was dressed in a sourish lime sauce but I didn't detect any spiciness in the dressing.  The shredded green papaya (unfortunately) was not crunchy to the bite (but a bit limp) probably because it was drowning in lime juice or dressed too early (and left sitting for a while) in my opinion.

You'll find the drinks in 2 separate menus, one is called Ben's Nice and the other, Ben's Naughty (how cute...and I'm sure you know which is the non-alcoholic one and which is the alcoholic one, right?).
We thought we'd deviate from our usual fresh fruit juices (for once) but it would be a choice we'd soon regret.  This is the Lemon Lime Bitters @ RM10 which contained a bit of alcohol (as told to us by the server) and probably the reason why it had a slight bitterness to it (should have known better coz it was part of the drink's name...duh!).
The Lychee Lime @ RM11, which looked pretty (by the way), I thought would be a lychee and lime combo but when I took a sip, I detected a hint of mint in it (and you know how much I dislike mint)...luckily there wasn't much mint (unlike the Delicious Iced Tea).  My son didn't like the taste of mint either, so I had to finish his drink too.  [#Note: I wished that the drinks would come with a more detailed description of what it's made up of so that we know exactly what we're ordering.]
My Personal Opinion
First and foremost, I hate m & m's (not the chocolate candies) but mint and mustard!!  But, I can't fault the restaurant for my own personal dislikes.
Overall, the food was decent enough although it didn't leave a profound first impression on me (maybe because I didn't order the 'right' dishes).  After all, Ben's was voted Best New Restaurant in 2011 by Time Out KL.  Having tried one pasta which turned out well, I believe their other pastas will be equally pleasant.  I'm also intrigued by their salad menu which is quite different from the norm (or at least they're not a bunch of lettuce thrown together to call a salad).

You can't help but make comparisons of Ben's menu to Delicious, and rightly so, coz it was (after all) Benjamin's former 'baby' (but sold and now 100% owned by E & O Group).  Their western mains are a bit pricey but all other stuff, you can get for under RM30 (which is affordably priced for an establishment like this).
Would I come back? try the other salads and pastas (and stick to the drinks I know)!

Ben's @ Suria KLCC
Lot 140 1st Floor Suria KLCC
Jalan Ampang
50088 Kuala Lumpur


  1. I seldom go klcc now but I have eaten at other Ben's eateries at Publika.

    1. Ya, the Big Group has many eateries and outlets, that's why they are.....BIG!


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