It’s a tough time for businesses right now, particularly those in the food and beverage industry globally. Closer to home, local restaurants are badly affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that enforced since 18 March 2020, restaurateurs are expecting darker and dismal clouds ahead.
So, if there ever was a time for us to support local businesses, it is now. Of course, there are plenty of options to choose, but one of my current favourite homegrown eateries is Blonde, brought by the same folks behind the well-loved Serai Group. The restaurant has been a hit from the first day it opened back in September 2019, serving its well-groomed clienteles with a carefully curated selection of flavoursome food.
I have fond memories of this restrained-yet-aesthetically-beautiful, well-lit corner at the foot of a boutique development called The Republik in posh Damansara Heights. The restaurant’s enormous windows add light and warmth to the main dining space. For a more private and intimate dining experience, Blonde provides another dimly-lit space hidden further inside. Every fine detail is meticulously thought after from its gorgeous entrance, pastel pink along with white scheme tones, and lush potted plants to sophisticated tableware. You see, Blonde is loyally sticking to its concept through and through. Perhaps, this is the result of individuals with years under their belt, exceptional sense of taste and one shared vision to galvanise them all.
These people also invested some serious talent in the kitchen, led by the Group Chef of Serai Group, Najib Hamid, and backed by Sous Chef, Sakhawi, who possesses experience and acumen spanning over a decade in the Malaysian food & beverage industry. The level of service delivered by the restaurant’s team of friendly and well-drilled staff earns praises. In fact, during my last visit a couple of days before the MCO kicked in, I noticed that regulars were already addressed by their names, a hallmark of incredible hospitality.
The menu, on the other hand, doesn’t shy away from interesting East-meets-West fusion, or more specifically, “progressive Australian cuisine, with a refined local twist.” The food is true to the palate and beautiful on the plate, as in the case of the spring-felt Portobello salad (MYR35) that is piled up together with shimeji, Swiss Brown, king oyster, abundant greens and edible flowers dressed in hazelnut basil pesto. This is surely a clever vegetable dish that is impossible to stop eating, which might even convert lachanophobes into fans.
Next, the oh-so-comforting squid ink spaghetti (MYR39) is another elegant option, served with Hokkaido scallop, Blue Swimmer crabmeat, heirloom tomatoes, ikura and seaweed. However, for the ultimate show-stopper, do go for Blonde’s mouth-wateringly orgasmic barbecued chilli lamb kebab (MYR55), which I chewed on so slowly to make sure that each bite lasted forever. The plump and tender meat, bathed in the sweet and spicy marinade then grilled to perfection, goes well with the accompanying fluffy Royal Persian Jewelled rice, chilled cucumbers, pomegranates and spiced yoghurt. The lamb kebab is a complete, homely dish that highlights the interplay of texture – genius!
Dessert-wise, options are kept simple. One should consider ordering Blonde’s deconstructed Pavlova for two (MYR45), served tableside by staff from a trolley of ingredients. On lucky days, you might even be served by the chef himself. It’s a fun experience, and the sweet treat comes in a generous portion of soft, pillowy meringue, colourful fruits and edible flowers. Top it off with a summer-y signature drink such as the sweet, sour-ish Assementa (MYR25), and you’re good to go.
I hope you’re making notes because, after the end of MCO, we should all realise never to take simple pleasures like the act of dining out for granted any more. The joyful camaraderie, the warm chats, the deliberate thought process of deciding on a meal from a menu, and that excitement when it finally arrives on the table, all add up to what makes life more enriching.
So, when the time is right, do go out and enjoy good food to make you feel whole again, and Blonde KL is the ideal place to start.
Vegetarian-friendly: Yes, with a scattering of choices.
Cost: Roughly around MYR70 per head.
Address: G.03A, The Republik, Jalan Medan Setia, Bukit Damansara
Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
This article is featured on Gaya Travel Magazine Issue 15.1. Read the magazine HERE.