It was an intense night, but joyful too: the night when the whole nation anxiously followed the epic badminton match between Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and Lin Dan of China during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. To some, it was just a semi-final round, but to Malaysians, the match between these two equally great players carried greater meaning: hope, redemption and lifelong rivalry.

Rather than being caught in suspense alone, I decided to watch that match with friends over dinner and be ‘anxious together’. For that purpose, we chose the Limoncello-Svago Bistro & Lounge, an Italian-inspired bistro and lounge located on the external ground floor corner of Suria KLCC facing the park and fountains. Since it was Friday evening, the place was already crowded with patrons enjoying their cocktails or mocktails by the time we arrived, making it a bit of a challenge to secure seats. It was easy to see why this double-storey restaurant makes an ideal social hub especially on nights like this because it boasts casual spaces fit for patrons coming in with friends and families, and the air is always filled with conversations if not live soulful jazz music. People love the energy here; it’s lively, chic yet unpretentious.

On top of that, this is also the place where patrons should abandon their diet and savour a combination of simple homemade dishes and a flavourful unique cuisine that is a blend of Asian and Italian. We first had the Antipasti Platter (RM41.35/RM56.30) for our pre-match meal, which consisted of bite-sized appetisers comprising crispy calamari, homemade meatballs topped with tomato puree, chicken wings and smoked salmon, ideal for warming up the conversation. It then followed by the thinly crisp wood-fired Capricciosa pizza (RM37.10) that was so good that after only a bite of this crusty, light and tasty flatbread, we knew that the chef was about to hit us with some real deal dishes.

And boy, we were right. The next dish we ordered, Extra Spicy Al Amatriciana (RM34.90) was absolutely tasty! The light pasta was cooked with beef bacon bits, roasted vegetables along with olive oil and bird’s eye chilli for that Asian kick. Meanwhile, a friend of mine ordered Mushroom Barley Risotto (RM34.95), an interesting and healthy twist on the classic Italian risotto made with chewy pearl barley, mixed mushrooms and truffle oil. The chef definitely deserved credit for reducing the guilt, but not the pleasure.

Other main courses that we ordered that night were Norwegian Salmon (RM45.60), Chicken Cotoletta (RM52.00), Black Angus Sirloin (RM62.70) and Herbs Marinated Lamb Chop (RM73.35), all juicy and satiating. I definitely recommend the succulent lamb with spicy potato wedges and buttered vegetables anytime; it was toothsome at first bite, melt-in-your mouth as it went. After such a hearty meal, we had room for just one dessert: the brownies, which proved to be pure decadence.

Afterwards, we were ready for the match that pushed us to the edge of our seats. We moved to Svago upstairs – a cosy gentleman club-style lounge with bronze ceiling and classy low metallic dipped lights – to get away from the madding crowd and concentrate on the match. Besides, Svago has a range of killer beverages for us to indulge.

Between sips and badminton chatter, I couldn’t help but noticing how beautiful the view of the KLCC fountains were from where I was sitting, making me felt that I didn’t mind to have more nights like this, which was a night of experiencing great food, ambience and service, as well as appreciating each other’s company. The night was well-spent, indeed. Oh, did I mention that Lee Chong Wei eventually won the match in the end? That made the night even sweeter than expected…

Limoncello-Svago Bistro & Lounge opens daily from 10.00 a.m. until midnight.

Limoncello-Svago Bistro & Lounge
Kuala Lumpur City Center
Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6 03 2163 0188

[Pictures credit to Shahrul Nizan & ABEL n ABEL]

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