Indulgence
An Elevated Dining Experience
Grace Lim 
Sky Avenue offers visitors a chance to partake in culinary delights from all over the world
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At 1,700m above sea level, Sky Avenue is quite simply a mall in the clouds. As we await with bated breath for the 20th Century Fox World theme park to be completed, Sky Avenue offers visitors a chance to partake in culinary delights from all over the world.

Opened last year, the venue boasts about 50 dining outlets, all carefully chosen to entice the increasingly sophisticated Malaysian palates. The current number is still expanding as Sky Avenue actually sees a new outlet opening every week. We made a trip up recently and came away with a few favourites.

 

Burger & Lobster

You really can’t tell where the line ends for the queue to enter this incredibly popular restaurant from the UK. From a humble beginning as a small Irish pub in 2011, Burger & Lobster has since come a long way to open its very first Asian outlet here. Dishing out premium 650g -700g lobsters from Nova Scotia and burgers made from 100% Australian beef with no fillers, the restaurant comfortably seats 150 diners.

Subtlety is not on the menu here as the entrance is decorated with large aquariums of live lobsters as well as other lobster paraphernalia. A wall is decorated with 104 traditional lobster crates, replicas of the ones used to haul in the catch in Canada. Plush booths, dim lighting and bar seats create a cosy and tavern-like atmosphere; it is not hard to imagine off-duty fishermen relaxing here after a long hard day at sea.

The Chilli Lobster

Must try: The Chilli Lobster and the Original Burger. The Chilli Lobster comes with a delectable chilli sauce modelled after the flavours of the Asian chilli crab dish. It is so delicious that you wouldn’t be able to stop from scooping up every drop with the Burger & Lobster’s signature brioche. And when it comes to the burgers, nothing beats the Original, a hearty morsel with tasty meat patties in between custom-baked sesame seed brioche bun with a side of potato chips. These are comfort food at their best!

Al fresco dining at Cafés Richard

Cafés Richard

This is a café so unique that even the French have not been able to visit in their home country. In France, the name exists only as a coffee roaster, the beans supplied to restaurants, bistros and cafés in the chic Saint-Germain-des-Pres and the historical Grands Boulevards. The outlet In Sky Avenue is actually its very first café.

Revel in a classy Parisian-style atmosphere and the taste of superb coffee. All the elements of a typical French café are present. Think brass rails, mosaic floor, cloth awnings, raffia wicker chairs, colourful posters and 19th century pendant lamps.

Naturally, there is a wide selection of brews, including the French press, chemex, siphon and cold drip. Cafés Richard collection of beans come from some of the world’s top producers such the Ethiopian Moka Yirgacheffe, the Costa Rica Tarrazu, the Sumatra ‘Orang Utan’ (where part of the proceeds go towards helping the endangered orang utans in Indonesia), and the rare Jamaican Blue Mountain. All 14 local baristas were personally trained by Cafés Richard’s Master Roaster Michael McCauley to master not only the art of coffee-making, but also equipping them with in-depth knowledge of the coffee beans.

Must try: The Le Festin Parisian High Tea set is served in a chic white box of drawers filled with sweet and savoury French classics. Sink your teeth into butterscotch éclair, strawberry mille-feuille, crème brulee, crab and avocado salad, and escargot, among others.  There is a choice of coffee, tea or chocolate beverage but if you are feeling fancy, ask for a glass of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial Rose NV.

La Fiesta

When translated from Spanish, La Fiesta means “party”, and we couldn’t agree more. This rustic haven is touted to be “a little piece of Barcelona”, robust and flavourful. Indeed, the restaurant is designed to mimic a traditional Catalan eatery style, with tiled arches, earthy palettes and muted lighting.

There is a wide selection of tapas, paella and cheeses. Wash them down with a bottle of Cava. Vegetarian options are also available.

Nevertheless, the Iberico pork takes centrestage. The pigs are a rare breed found only in Spain in the Iberican Peninsula. They are prized for the heavily-marbled meat, which are turned into the famed Iberico ham.

La Fiesta serves the Jamon Iberico ham, touted to be the best of all Iberico hams, sourced from Joselito, whose hams are also supplied to world-famous Spanish culinary experts Ferran Andria, Juan Mari Arzak and Andoni Luis Aduritz. The ham is sliced paper thin and best eaten with the homemade bread.

Must try: The Black Seafood paella. The squid ink infused bomba rice is slow-cooked in a seafood broth of prawns and cuttlefish. Complement the dish with a hearty jug of flaming sangria – the bartender will set it ablaze to add a touch of smokiness to the fruity wine punch.

 

Motorino

Motorino is hailed by the New York Times as the best authentic Neapolitan Italian pizza restaurant in the Big Apple. Although Motorino has opened branches in Hong Kong. Manila and Singapore, this is its first outlet in Malaysia.

And it arrives with a bang – the pizzeria measures 4,000 sqf in size complete with an elaborate façade of gold bordered Italian windows. Two wood ovens are imported from Naples, one of which can be viewed through a wide window. Oar-shaped paddles traditionally made from a single piece of wood are used, making for an exciting scene.

The menu is crafted by owner Mathieu Palombino, a Belgian-Italian chef. There are 10 signature toppings including Marinara, Magherita, Meatball and Calabrese.

Must try: For the adventurous foodie, order the Lamb Sausage Calzone and you will be treated to a piping hot pocket of eggplant, lamb sausage, mozzarella, oregano, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. For something more traditional but with a local twist, ask for the egg, beef bacon and chilli pizza. Drizzle it with homemade chilli oil for best results.

 

Malaysian Food Street

If you are craving for a typical Malaysian breakfast, the Malaysian Food Street is the place to head to. Located at the top floor of Sky Avenue, this sprawling food court is composed of over 20 famous food stalls divided according to their original locations – Kuching, Melaka, Ipoh, Penang, Little India and Petaling Street. Among the familiar names are Kee Hiong Bak Kut Teh, Sri Paandi Curry House, Loong Kee Hokkien Mee and Kajang Satay Rono.

The stalls are designed to evoke the nostalgic Seventies, from the colourful arches found in Brickfields to the Jalan Petaling signage and stickers advertising rooms for rent plastered all over the pillars and walls.

Must try: Brave the queue at the Hainan Express for a serving of authentic Hainanese toast and half-boiled eggs with a steaming cup of coffee. Then spice things up with a banana leaf rice set from Sri Paandi Curry House.



This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 258.