Thursday, 28 June 2018

Curious Kitchen @ Tropicana Avenue

We were curious enough to try Curious Kitchen @ Tropicana Avenue where Iberico pork features prominently on the menu.  But since the place was so new (with barely any reviews on it) and not knowing what the menu was like (or, more specifically, what the prices were like), we decided to go elsewhere instead (to Lavo to be exact) only to find it closed for a private event when we arrived.  Ish....why didn't they announce it on their Facebook page?  In this day and age, when information is a mere click away, this is not acceptable.  Oh well, their loss.

And that's how we ended up back at Curious Kitchen since we were already in the area.  Straight up, it was interesting to note that the place is broken up into two separate spaces (with a third lot that's due to open later).  I'm not into their 'disconnected' ambience though.

One lot (the one above) is air-conditioned with tables and bar seating (but the bar seats doesn't surround a bar though, it looked more like a live cooking station!) while the other lot is what they term as alfresco though I wouldn't consider it a proper open air space since it had a roof over it and was covered on all three sides with glass wall panels (that can be opened up, of course)...haha! ;D

We didn't manage to secure a table at the air-conditioned lot as they were fully booked.  From the way the tables were set up, it looked like they were booked for one (maybe two) very large group gathering that evening.

We had to take a table in the so-called alfresco space which had the advantage of being at the heart of where the action is (ie. the live, open space kitchen) but also the disadvantage of having your meal in hot surroundings.  I can't even imagine how the kitchen crew can stand the heat and cook in such hot conditions. O_o  I guess this is a case where the term "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" can be applied literally! :D

As we were early and waiting for a friend and her family to show up...and the kitchen wasn't busy yet, the chefs obliged my friend with a photo.  

That's the charcoal-and-oak-fired grill...ready to flame your meats to sumptuous perfection! ^_~

As soon as our orders were made, we received two complimentary servings of fried anchovies to nibble on while we wait for our food to arrive.  By the way, this Fried Anchovies (RM8) with peanuts, Thai basil, shallots, cili padi and lime is available on the menu for order too.  We enjoyed the fresh taste of the nuts but the anchovies weren't of the best quality as they were a little hard.

From their Starters & Soups menu, we began with the East West Garlic Prawns @ RM32 featuring pan-seared prawns doused in a East West garlic sauce with spicy notes served with well toasted, crispy ciabatta bread. There were four good-sized, totally fresh prawns that were firm to the bite.  The sauce was like an intensely flavoured prawn bisque, with rich crustacean undertones, which you'd want to mop up every last bit of with the toasted bread slices.

Next, I ordered the Gazpacho @ RM15, a cold soup that's rarely seen on many menus here.  Blended with a mix of fresh garden vegetables and fruits, topped with jamon, egg bits and crispy croutons, the cold soup was a perfect choice taking into consideration the hot surroundings.  Besides, it tasted really good and was superbly refreshing if you're looking to start with something light. ^.^  Other more common classic alternatives include the onion or mushroom soup.

The Fried Chicken Wings (from the Bar Bites menu) @ RM20 featured five deep fried, fragrant chicken wings marinated with 5-spice powder.  The chicken wings arrived piping hot and absolutely crisp around the edges coupled with great flavours too.  This certainly makes it to my list of favourite chicken wings I've eaten this year. ^o^

For our mains, we started with the Iberico Chops @ RM70 (180g) as our first pick.  All mains are served with truffle mash, grilled red bell pepper and a fresh rocket salad.  All the Iberico pork dishes are recommended to be cooked to medium doneness as it results in the best flavour and texture.

The Iberico chops were served with romesco sauce, a nut and red bell pepper-based sauce, that was tasty enough.  The chops, with a decent amount of fat and cooked to medium, came still pink in the centre and was particularly tender.  Looks like my quest to find a tender pork chop has finally proved fruitful.

Next up was our order of Iberico Top Loin @ RM77 (200g) served with a green sauce which I thought was some kind of pesto sauce initially (it turned out to be wasabi!) >_<  You can go for the Iberico Tenderloin (RM55 for 200g) if you prefer a leaner cut.

The loin was both tender and juicy, even more tender than the chops.  It came with a nice sear on the outside though the meat of this one wasn't cooked as pink.  The mash, with a drizzle of truffle oil, was pretty smooth and fluffy.

We also had the Iberico Ribs (Half Slab) @ RM98 (about 6 - 7 ribs) served with their house-made special Bourbon BBQ sauce.  The ribs were subtly seasoned with salt and black pepper to allow the flavour of the meat to shine.  I certainly enjoyed the taste (though some with robust tastebuds might want a bit more seasoning).

My friend thought the ribs were a bit lean (they were fine by me) and missing some of those juicy fatty bits that she likes.  I wasn't loving the Bourbon BBQ sauce as I found it to be a tad sweet and it didn't have any alcohol (Bourbon) taste.  Luckily, I didn't need any was good on its own. ^.^

If you're not into their speciality of Iberico pork, your choices may be limited (for now) as they only have one beef (Grain Fed Australian Wagyu Tenderloin, RM198 for 250g) and one chicken dish on the menu.  We ordered the Grilled Chicken Leg @ RM29.

Though the meat was tender with a slightly sweetish glaze, it was pretty standard fare and the least outstanding dish of the night for me.  It was lacking the smoky flavour that I hoped for.  Though the menu said it was to be complemented by a hot and spicy Thai BBQ sauce, we got the same sweetish Bourbon BBQ sauce from the earlier ribs dish.

Also available are four sides, all priced @ RM8, that you can order to accompany your mains starting with Ratatouille, a coarse vegetable stew topped with melted cheese.  Decent enough.

The second option was the Sauteed Mushrooms whick were cooked down with some caramelised onions. Always a crowd-pleasing side.

The third, the Sweet Potato Fries were nice and crisp but I'd prefer them to be cut slightly thicker in order to enjoy the soft texture of the sweet potatoes.  The fourth and final side was the Truffled Mash, the same ones you get served with all the mains.

And for families with children, you'll be happy to know that kids under 12 years old eat for free (limited to one order per child).  They can choose from Linguine Carbonara with Iberico pork, cream and truffle oil...

.....or the Linguine Bolognese with Iberico pork which tasted even better.  We were given three portions (since there were 3 kids in our midst) and each portion was substantial enough to feed a child.  But if that's insufficient, or the adults would like one too, they can have it at RM16 a serving.

There are three selections for dessert and we ordered two.  The first was the Chocolate Mousse @ RM16 with a nut crumble and cream.  The decadent chocolate was intensely rich and chocolaty.  Stunningly luscious, it hit our sweet spot (you need to order this if you're fan of anything chocolaty). ^o^

For our second dessert, we tucked into the Lemon Meringue Pie @ RM20.  This was just as successful as the chocolate mousse.  Loved the tangy lemon custard filling against the lightly torched and fluffy meringue with the tart raspberries and blueberries compote.  The third option available is the common Creme Brulee.

The drink selection that we opted for were fruit juices (with five flavours from the Smooshie brand) @ RM15 a bottle.  A friend had a glass of their house red (Merlot) @ RM26.

Enroute to the washroom, these lovely beauties were seen hanging in an enclosed glass partition...mmm, Jamon Iberico Marcial Plata! ;P  You can savour this with their Cold Board (full board for RM80 and half board for RM40) with cheeses, salted nuts and ciabatta bread.

And oh, did I mention that I love their cutlery and tableware too.

The gold-coloured cutlery reminded me of the ones from Mighty Monster....but these ones were a class above the rest as they went one step further to imprint the name of the restaurant on them.

Even the wine glasses were printed with the restaurant's name.  Can you see it? ^_~

I just love the simplicity of their plates and bowls, glossy white porcelain contrasted against a distinctive dark blue rim...simple yet elegant :)

My Personal Opinion

Though their menu is Iberico pork-focussed, their other dishes proved pretty successful too which I found myself enjoying even more.  All in all, their Iberico-centred dishes were satisfying and if Iberico pork is your preferred choice of meat, then you may want to check this place out.

May I suggest that you start with the immensely refreshing gazpacho, share some finger-lickin' good chicken wings and Iberico ribs with your dining companion and finish on a sweet note with the chocolate mousse on your own....hihihi! ^o^

Service was super attentive and proactive as they had more than enough servers on hand, so plates got changed, water got refilled, eaten dishes got cleared, all without the need to even raise a hand.

When it comes to my preferred dining space, I'd like to sit at the section where the open kitchen is but wished the section was air-conditioned (for a more comfortable dining experience).  That said, the food speaks louder than the humid surroundings and disconnected lots...haha! ;)

So, has Curious Kitchen piqued your curiosity enough?  Well, there's only one way to find out.

Curious Kitchen
P-02-01 2nd Floor Tropicana Avenue
12 Persiaran Tropicana
47410 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 010-666 1048


  1. Mmm...everything looks good to me, right down to the desserts. After having tasted Iberico pork, I want more and this looks like the place to go for lots of it. I hope to make my way there soon hee..hee...

    1. I'm glad I've aroused your curiosity...hehe! ;) And yes, Iberico pork is the way to go (I think you had your first taste at 2nd Flr?). After having tasted Iberico pork, it's difficult to look at normal pork the same way again...wakakakakaka! :D

  2. Thanks for the look inside a newbie.

    1. Well, you're welcome. It's not often I can say that I beat The Yum List to a newbie...hihihi! ;) I'm sure you'll be there shortly to review this place too :)

  3. wheeeee ... looks like you now have your place to recommend for iberico and for pork chops in general. yeah, i think some customers wish they could do equal justice to chicken, beef, etc, but i guess pork is their forte ;)

    1. If we want tender pork chops, it has to be Iberico...heheh! I hope they will 'grow' to offer some good beef and chicken dishes in the future. ;-)

  4. I must visit this place that has got interesting concept & decor. I need to be there to observe the whole unique restaurant. We are always attracted when there are good pork ribs by fancy restaurants in town. This Iberico Ribs is really tempting.

    1. When it comes to pork, I'm only interested in Iberico pork...hehe! ;) Hope you enjoy the food and the unique concept of the restaurant.

  5. I had Gazpacho once at Acme Bar & Coffee but not really like it as I prefer HOT soup :P
    I'm a chicken wing lover and those chicken wings looked really inviting even under the dim lighting, hehe ^__^
    Pork with pinkish centre, I thought pork must cook till fully cooked? @_@
    Parents with small kid(s) will be glad to know that kid eat for free, LOL
    I like those gold cutlery too, but it's not cheap if they are original design as my friend told me it's "branded" =.="

    1. The fact that the cutlery is gold coloured already tells me that it's expensive.
      Nowadays, more chefs are serving pork slightly pink. You can eat pinkish pork, it all depends on the cut. More people nowadays are starting to accept pink pork. If it's fresh and a good cut like Iberico pork, it's safe to eat and I have no qualms eating it with a pinkish centre.


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