Thursday, 27 July 2017

Bonfire @ The Starling

A friend suggested Starling Mall for our next gathering, so I looked online to see what our options were. Other than Nicsmann 1940's by Lewre, Red Kettle, The Embassy Cafe and Bonfire, the rest are mostly generic outlets that you can find in other malls.

Since the latter two had better reviews and I found the menu of Bonfire @ The Starling to be the most exciting of the lot, Bonfire was my pick then.

The Bar at the entrance to the restaurant for pre-dinner or post-dinner drinks...or for those who just wanna drink! ;D

The focal point of the restaurant is an eye-catching, colourful and beautifully painted mural which adorns one side of the restaurant's wall.

Wood-fired grilling, baking and roasting is the cornerstone of Bonfire's cooking (just in case you missed this at the other entrance).  The restaurant prides itself with cooking their meat, seafood and poultry in a custom-made wood (and charcoal) fired oven.

By the time we arrived, all the tables (inside) were taken up and those that weren't have already been reserved...what? :P  Although a friend of ours, who got there earlier, managed to secure a table, we later learned that we had to vacate by 8.30pm as it has already been booked by someone else.  We didn't want to have to rush through our dinner, so we had no choice but take a table at the al fresco section of the restaurant which turned out later to be a better option.

Our dinner started with complimentary Pan de Casa (two trays of 4 slices each) which is their house baked bread with dried fruit butter.  The bread was soft, nicely toasted with some grill marks and great eaten with their dried fruit butter.  It's good...order it (at RM8) if it's not on the house! ;)

We started with an order of Soft Shell Crab Pasta @ RM28 for the kids to share.  Please note that the dinner menu differs from the lunch menu although some dishes from the lunch menu are found in the dinner menu and vice versa.

The spaghetti was cooked in a blue swimmer crab jus with cherry tomatoes (I tasted a tiny bit of crab meat in the sauce).  The tomatoey sauce was mildly spicy but pleasurable.  The kids didn't seem to mind the slight heat and lapped it up (I think the adults would too).  The temptingly tasty soft shell crabs (there were two not-too-big ones) were well seasoned and crisp.

Since Bonfire is all about the 'wood-fired oven', a must-order is, of course, their Big Bonfire Platter @ RM175 with a choice of 3 proteins that's recommended for 3 - 4 persons (a choice of 2 proteins suitable for 2 pax costs RM135).  Note that the choices can also be ordered individually.

Our first choice was the Wagyu Skirt Steak (the most expensive on the menu at RM80) served with piquant sauce.  Only when the platter arrived, I realised we weren't asked how we wanted the steak done, so perhaps it was intentional as they cook it in only one way.  I was surprised at how tender the steak was even when it was cooked to medium (by the looks of the steak when it arrived).  I think the high heat, quick searing and the incredible char it achieved, coupled with the expert slicing of the meat against the grain, contributed to its tenderness. ^o^  Not only was it tender, it was flavourful too and I actually prefer to eat it without the sauce.

For our second choice, we went with the Whole Red Snapper (RM65) with sweet basil and coconut buerre blanc sauce.  Holy smokes!  That is one big fish! ^.^  The fish was fresh, the meat firm, delicate and juicy.  It went very well with the fragrant coconut buerre blanc that lent further richness and sweetness to the fish.

Our final choice was the Squid Two Ways (RM65), the latest addition to their wood-fired menu which you can now order as part of their 2 or 3 meat platter.  Holy smokes x 2!  We got two gigantic whole squids, one is simply a charred squid while the other is an otak-otak stuffed squid.  Otak-otak is a Malaysian delicacy of ground fish meat with spices wrapped in banana leaves.  Looking at size of the squids, I was expecting them to be chewy but they weren't.  I chose to eat the tentacles and they were fairly tender.  Loved the otak-otak stuffed red and green chillies too.  The accompanying sauce was the highlight for me with its refreshing and tangy notes.  It was like I was tasting the flavours and freshness of bunga kantan (torch ginger flower), lemongrass, galangal, lime and chillies (at least some of them?).

All 3 choices hit it out of the park but if I were to rank my preference, I'd say I enjoyed the Wagyu Skirt Steak the most followed by the Whole Red Snapper and Otak-Otak Stuffed Squid.  The Big Bonfire Platter was served with a chunk of charred corn, a bulb of roasted garlic, some grilled cherry tomatoes and a refreshing  pineapple slaw of pineapple cubes, thin shreds of cucumber and green papaya.

Your other choices for the 2 or 3 meat platter would be Rack of Lamb (RM75), Pineapple Glazed Beef Short Ribs (RM60) and Mediterranean Baby Spring Chicken (RM42).  If you do your math, you'd see that the platter would have cost RM210 individually, so it makes more sense to order their 3 meat platter for the savings you'll enjoy.  But take note that some of the combos you choose may cost less when ordered a la carte, so make a calculated move! ^_~

We ordered a number of sides to go with our platter of wood-fired goodness.  The first was the Potato Dauphinoise with Creamy Parmesan @ RM18.  Just look at the wonderful charring on the cheese.

This dish of thin slices of potatoes in a mixture of cream, milk and garlic is topped with cheese and then baked.  The potatoes were soft, creamy and cheesy with a layer of tasty, charred delightfulness.  A unanimous favourite of the table (kids included) as the best side dish we had.

Another side was the Charred Corn with Parmesan, Butter & Chives @ RM15 that was juicy with a nice grilled flavour.  But they forgot to mention that there would be a sprinkling of chilli flakes, so it was a bit spicy for the kids but totally fine with the adults.

We finished with the Baked Watermelon & Pomelo Salad with Housemade Vinaigrette @ RM18 to meet our criteria of 'we must at least have some greens' with our meal.

The lively salad was filled with charred watermelon cubes bursting with juices at each bite, juicy pomelo sacs, cherry tomatoes, leafy greens and cheese cubes.  The other sides include Truffled Mash Potatoes (RM16), Chargrilled Miso Eggplant (RM16) and Almond Crusted Crispy Onion Rings (RM13).

For some reason, my friends felt like having red wine that night (I guess it was ladies night ^_~), so we got a bottle of red (Coopers Crossing Shiraz) @ RM95 (RM28 by glass).  Since yours truly don't really drink, I went with a mocktail of Earl Grey & Raspberry Tea Spritzer @ RM16.

This wonderfully citrusy and tangy drink concoction of concentrated brewed earl grey tea, raspberry puree, rosemary (which you can smell and taste), lime juice and soda was utterly refreshing on a warm night...I loved it! ^_^  More so when it came in this wide bordeaux-type wine classy! ^_*

In the end, yours truly did have a glass of red herself too (cheers everyone!).....or was it like half a glass? ;P

My Personal Opinion

Their wood-fired Big Bonfire Platter is the way to go (plus it's really a good deal)....with 6 choices of meat/seafood to choose from, you're bound to find something you like.  Pair that with a choice of 6 sides and you'll have yourself a truly wonderful meal.

But if your eating party is sizeable, best to make reservations ahead of time, lest you end up with al fresco seating which was actually alright except that we had to contend with a smoker (just one) during our meal. But we also got to enjoy 'free' live music from next door (Nicsmann)...hey! ;)  On hindsight, we were glad we were seated at the al fresco area coz, when we left, we walked through the restaurant and felt the ventilation could be better inside (I know it's difficult to do when you're fanning the flames of wood-fired cooking....haha) ;D

Prices may seem high at first glance but we paid around RM100 per adult for a meal (inclusive of a bottle of red) that fed 4 adults and 3 kids to the brim, so I think that was pretty reasonable.  If you're hungry (or greedy) for some succulent charred meat (or seafood), you know where to go when you're in this mall. Bonfire can sure cook up a storm! ^.^

Bonfire Restaurant & Bar
G32 The Starling Mall
Jalan SS21/37 Damansara Utama
47400 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 016-236 9849


  1. ooo, the otak-otak stuffed squid sounds good ... a nice way of malaysian-ising the platter!

    1. A little local influence for fans of otak-otak...yeah! ;)

  2. I haven't walked into this one yet. Well, judging from what you had, I think I would enjoy the meat platter. Since they have for 2 pax, I must get my brother to join me!

    1. I have actually been following PH's foot prints and wondered when she would sit at this Bonfire.

    2. I think you and your brother will have no problem polishing off the 3-meat platter also (if you don't order any sides)....wuahahahaha! ;D

    3. Yes, I'm sure she'd be having a campfire soon at Bonfire....hehe! The Starling Mall is kinda like 'her' mall! ^_*

  3. I could make a meal out of their bread, fruit butter and glass of wine alone ;-)

  4. My famous friend told me to visit this place as it was opened by his friend from Australia. Not sure whether the owner is a local or from OZ. This place has been popular since Day 01 with those who know how to enjoy good BBQ or grilled platters. Now I am tempted to try this wagyu steak after reading a blogger who ate wagyu beef for RM400 in Hokkaido & it could melt inside his mouth!! Kikikiki

    1. This wagyu only 1/5 of the to compare, maybe not so melting lah...kekeke! :D

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you...and thanks for dropping by my blog :)

  6. I was summing up the total price of the meat your ordered to see if the platter worth ordering LOL
    The cheesy topping seem a bit burnt to me, or is it the photo problem?

    1. They took the charring of the cheesy topping right to the edge without it tasting good! ;) Haha, no need to sum up, you must have missed the total price I gave in my blog.


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