We visit Bait, Telawi Bangsar, too see about some Seafood Tapas and fine wines..
I remember, back in the day, when the bars and barmen of Telawi Bangsar used to be busier than fish peddlers in Lent. These days, it’s a different kettle of fish all together, and the same area has had a new lease of life, with exciting new restaurants springing up all over place.
One such place is Bait, on Telawi 3.
Fish & chips – beer-battered John Dory’s
Bait started a brisk business sometime end of last year, and just by the look of the crowd on a weekday night, things are going well for this restaurant. Many trendy folk can be spotted having drinks and unwinding here, after office hours, before progressing to dinner. I suppose you could say, that all the fish came to his net rather nicely, when owner Colin Chung opened Bait in Bangsar.
The restaurant itself has a contemporary feel to it, with the odd vintage item that will have you looking twice at its unusual but well thought out deco. A fisherman boat’s double pulley hangs from the bar area, just to add a quirky, authentic vibe to the place. The bar up front serves classy varieties of vodka, glasses of chilled bubbly, icy cold cider served in champagne flutes, as well as many exquisite wines.
Seafood tapas is also a big highlight at Bait. Don’t miss having the small plates of white bait, tender stuffed squid, lager steamed mussels and soft shell crabs to start off the night with, before moving on the the mains.
One of the highlights for me was the White bait though a bit heavy on the sprinkled season salt. These tiny, immature, silvery members of the herring group that are typically deep-fried and served, go fantastically well with beer or white wine. The ones at Bait are coated in a delicious batter, fried until crisp and served golden-brown. Tiny black eyes stare back at you and they really remind me of larger, longer and whiter version of anchovies. Taste wise, the white bate is delicate and just salt and pepper will suffice to enhance its sublime flavour. And what should you pair this with? Well I actually love the Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2010 which I had the pleasure of trying that night.
The Greywacke sauvignon has a softer finish than most New Zealand sauvignon blancs, and, to me, a terrific ripe, rounded texture. There’s none of the sourness or grassiness of certain Marlboroughs. I don’t really like aggressive sauvignon that grabs you by the nose and drags you in. I definitely lean towards these creamy and subtle flavours when I am enjoying my seafood tapas, and something as delicate as the white bait. Unsurprisingly, the wines aren’t cheap or found everywhere. Quite right, too. Mass market would just spoil it.
It is a good idea to put in lots of repeat orders of the Tapas during your visit to Bait. Every good seafood tapas restaurant has its obligatory squid dish, but Bait composes its excellent version as one that’s stuffed with with a decadent filling that’s just too good for words. A must have if you are visiting the restaurant.
Steamed clams with bacon, garlic, thyme & white wine
When it comes to clams there are only two camps. You either really really love them or you really really hate them. As for me I love clams – always have, always will. There was nothing I liked more than eating steaming clams with the family, when I was growing up, and I remember how we would slurp the savory broth till the lost drop. We would collect all the empty shells, wash them, and store them in a secret box as our treasure. Those were the good old days.
And there is no point complicating things – just steamed clams in butter, garlic, white wine, and finish it off with some chopped thyme and bacon bits.. ah bliss! The ones at Bait did not disappoint – succulent and fresh, and drenched in sauce, I was a kid once more, drinking up every last drop.
soft-shell crab with cucumber, orange wedges & chili mayo
Crispy and flaky soft shell crab with a soft and tender, roe filled center – what’s there to fault when it’s served with a nice zesty orange sauce? Not much.
Lager-steamed mussels with mustard, chorizo slices & oregano
Couldn’t really taste the lager in this but I guess it was used in the cooking. The mussels were modest in size and a little over cooked on this occasion.
The seafood pasta was not my favourite of the night. Pasta was cooked al dente but the mince crab meat lacked punch.
Moving on to the reds, another great wine we tried that night was the approachable, easy going and versatile, Johnny Q, Cabernet Sauvignon. Johnny Q is John Quarisa, the winemaker, and he’s been around the traps making wine for some of the biggest Aussie names. It was no surprise then when we were told that this wine had picked up many golds before, at International Wine Shows. It’s pretty clear these guys know what they’re doing when it comes to banging out high class, value for money Aussie reds. Big, full bodied South Australian Cabernet. Great value for money.
Fish & chips – beer-battered John Dory’s .. I like my fish and chips drenched in vinegar, what about you?
Finally, every good seafood restaurant should at least do a decent fish and chips. Bait’s signature Beer Battered Fish & Chips is reminiscent of what you’ll find at English gastropubs except the chips were a bit of a let down. They were soggy and anorexic. The batter though, was crispy with only a smidgen of oil, while the slivers of snowy dory flesh were deliciously moist. Though their side of peas were a little on the dry side, the overall dish was still mighty pleasing.
Bait – a great experience, and highly recommended for good, value for money seafood tapas and seafood.
For the wines, contact: Gough Chong,
Geovinum Sdn Bhd,
A-G-07, Merchant Square, No.1 Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1,
PJU3, 47400 Petaling Jaya,
Email: gough [at] geovinum [dot] com
Tel: +6012 2191 197; +603 7883 0688 Add:
Bait Restaurant @ Bangsar,
65, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru,
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