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Friday, 21 November 2014

Red Lobster @ The Intermark

This American chain of restaurants is well known for bringing some of the highest quality, freshest seafood to their restaurants in many countries.  

With a pledge to bring the sea to our table and a tagline that says "we sea food differently", we should be in for a treat.
 
Ever since they arrived at our shores in late Sept (the first to open in South East Asia), I've been wanting to try Red Lobster @ The Intermark.  But, I've heard and seen many negative reviews of this place.  It's been close to 2 months now since they opened and, hopefully, they've ironed out their opening hiccups.
 
I have read that there were queues and (sometimes) the waiting period could be as long as 1 hour, but nothing of that sort happened when we were there on a Saturday evening.  In fact, I was taken aback by the sheer no. of wait staff that 'greeted' us at the entrance.
 
Once we were seated and placed our orders, we were served with their supposedly famous crumbly-cheesy-buttery-fresh-off-the-oven Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  I would say, taste wise, it's somewhere between a muffin (or scone) and a biscuit.  The interior had a crumbly cake-like texture while the exterior had a crunchy biscuit-like texture.  There was just a hint of savouriness (from the cheese) but maybe not as buttery as some would have liked.  I don't know why this biscuit didn't quite catch on here.....and I'm usually not that into biscuits or cookies...but this I liked (surprisingly)!
 
I ordered the Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimps @ RM22.90 (for 6 pcs) as our starter (for sharing).  These comprised of fairly large shrimps that are coated in their signature batter and then tossed in coconut flakes and fried till golden brown.  The shrimps were fresh and crunchy, and the coconut coating lent a sweet aroma and taste to the shrimps.

It was served with a piƱa colada sauce (as a dipping) which had the combined taste of coconut cream and pineapple juice.  [#Tip: It's similar to a cocktail by the same name except without the rum :D]  It had sweetness (from the coconut cream) and was slightly tangy (from the pineapple juice) but I think the fried shrimps didn't need any sauce, it was good just on its own.  We enjoyed this starter very much.

The choice for our first main was the Grilled Salmon @ RM42.90 served with baked potato and roasted vegetables.

The salmon had a nice grilled flavour but the portion of fish was on the thin side, so it was a bit overcooked to what we would normally prefer.
 
The sides of a baked potato was ok but the roasted vegetables (made up of carrots, red bell pepper, squash, cucumber and onions) were a bit bland (not roasted enough).
 
And then, of course, you can't come to the Red Lobster and not order their lobsters, right?  You'd notice that their live lobsters on their menu are based on seasonal prices.  An enquiry revealed that the Maine Lobsters were selling at RM27/100g while the Rock Lobsters (from Malaysia) cost RM45/100g and those from Australia were retailing at RM56/100g.  [#Tip: From the few times that I've eaten live lobsters, I know that a decent sized lobster should weigh at least 800g (anything smaller wouldn't be worth eating).]  Wow, wow, wow...at these current prices, it would translate to about RM216 for the cheapest lobster...they're definitely not cheap!! :'(  Those rock lobsters would set you back at least RM350.  They're certainly way off my budget...even the cheapest ones!!  The ones I've eaten before cost me about RM150 (then) and, sadly, that's the max I would pay for one.  Well, if I can't afford one, I might as well get a pic of those darn lobsters!! :D

So, with live lobsters out of the question, I had to decide between a grilled maine lobster tail, skewered shrimps and wild-caught sea scallops (with rice pilaf) @ RM99.90 or Grilled Sirloin & Maine Lobster Tail @ RM109.90 which is a centre-cut sirloin with peppercorn seasoning and a grilled maine lobster tail.  I went for the latter.
 
The sirloin was decent, both in cut and taste.  Although I prefer my steak doneness to be medium rare, I asked for it to be cooked to medium as I didn't know how good their steaks were (since they're not a full fledged steakhouse).  A look at the pink centre and you know it's cooked right as requested.
 
The lobster tail was seasoned right and cooked well (with some nice grill marks).  Some of the negative reviews I've seen on this ranged from scrawny to burnt to over salted...well, nothing like that happened to us.  Although the lobster tail may be on the smaller side, we have to be realistic based on the price we paid.  At RM109.90, I feel the portion size is acceptable + we also get a pc of steak.

Let me show you the lobster meat...up close and personal!! :=)  Is that delicious-looking or what??
 
It was served with (reasonable tasting) mashed potatoes and the same roasted vegetables (as the previous dish).

As the Cheddar Bay Biscuits are complimentary, feel free to ask for additional helpings if you like...and since I do 'like', I asked for just an additional one but they gave me another 2 (which came piping hot this time...even better!).  So, I ate 3 all-in as it wouldn't be nice not to finish it since I asked for more (I had to summon all my strength to down the last one).

Our drinks were:
 
Lipton Iced Tea @ RM8.90
Fresh Watermelon @ RM9.90
 
Although I wished I could have eaten the live lobsters, on hindsight, I was glad I didn't.  Reason: The table next to ours ordered a live lobster and when it arrived, I saw that it was presented whole (ie. the entire lobster was intact).  I'm not sure if that was steamed or roasted (the 2 styles of cooking choice here).  That meant the server had to crack open the lobster for you (at table side) and I saw him handling it for like 10 mins (with gloves on, of course).  He had to detach the head from the tail, cut the tail open, crack the pincers and scoop out all the flesh.  That is not how I would want to eat my lobster, let alone let someone 'man' handle it for me (even with gloves).  I would have preferred if it was cut open in half to get some nice sear marks and smoky flavour on it, and served immediately (while still reasonably hot).  Plus, after paying so much for it, I think I need to 'suck the hell out' of that lobster head and shell (sorry, it's a Chinese thing)...no, no, don't take it away....or at least let me see if there's any remote possibility that there may still be some flesh left in there!! :D :D :D

My Personal Opinion
 
My dining experience turned out rather well at Red Lobster, with no complaints on the service, now that they've gotten their opening jitters out of the way.  Overall, the food is decent (with room for improvement) but wasn't as bad as some of the negative comments out there and certainly didn't deserve the kind of 'bashing' it received.
 
Prices here tip the higher end of the scale but I think it's reasonable when you can get a lobster tail + some other stuff at around RM100.
 
If I do revisit, I'm definitely sticking to the 'crustacean' route...and more Coconut Shrimps and Cheddar Bay Biscuits, please!

Red Lobster Restaurant
Lot G-17 Intermark Mall
The Intermark
348 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2181 4855
 

18 comments:

  1. Ah... so it is okay to go now. Don't worry, not many people go for the fresh lobsters anyway, even Stateside, lobster tail is plenty good!
    I think their main problem is, most Malaysians are not used to the flavors that Red Lobster do, not to mention their price. I think sooner or later they will have to introduce localized options.

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    1. I guess it's always 'safer' to visit after they've been opened for a while. Ya, with live lobsters costing so much, lobster tail is good enough....for the majority of us!

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  2. Ya...I was wondering why you went to a lobster place and had sirloin. I guess their specialty would be the crustaceans. Pricey, I'm sure - those things do not come cheap...nor do they come easy, not where I am. I think I can live without them and settle for things more affordable...for the likes of me. :(

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    1. Yeah, their speciality (other than lobsters) would be their crabs and prawns. I do agree that their live lobster prices are out of reach for the average Malaysian, so enjoying this would probably be limited to special occasions or 'once in a blue moon' ;)

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  3. I am not too crazy about seafood or lobster for that matter. This place is out of my league hah..hah... and for those prices, the portions looks rather small to me. But if you enjoy lobster and the other offerings, I guess it is worth a second or third visit :)

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    1. They do have other more affordable options if live lobsters are out of your league....they are out of mine too :(

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  4. yay! sounds like your experience here was relatively positive :) hopefully they're taking close note of customer feedback :D

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    1. Yes, it was :) Better to visit after they've settled down, I guess.

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  5. Are the lobster tails frozen ones?

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    1. I don't think so since they're a lobster place. I'm sure they get regular supplies of lobster. Maybe not as fresh as the live ones.

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  6. Live lobsters are out of my reach too. Have you eaten lobsters at lobsterman SS2 PJ?

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    1. No, I have not. Is it good.....and cheap? :D

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  7. We tried their dessert too. Hubby really liked the cheesecake.

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    1. Oh, you did. I was too stuffed to have any dessert.

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  8. seems rather reasonable to me! nice lobster. guess there are fresh not frozen.

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    1. Yes, the lobster tails were quite nice and reasonable in price too.

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  9. I think we stuck to the lobster dishes so we were happy with what came out while a lot of people ate chicken or something else, which isn't their forte. It's a lobster/seafood restaurant with a great grill (saw you ordered the steak too, bet it'll be good, since they do good burgers but a steak would put me into a post lunch coma).

    I went to the one in quill though, didn't even know it was open till we were there, originally wanted to eat Korean. :)

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    1. It's a lobster place in the first place, so it would be wise to stick to what they know and do best! Others who ate chicken (or salmon, in this case) probably wouldn't be too pleased ;D

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