I’ve had some of my most sumptuous meals out of restaurants, where I least expected to be wow-ed. That’s part of the excitement of expecting nothing, and having your eyes open in amazement at everything. One such place is The Gastro Project.
Japanese Salad – Pomegranate, avocado, onions, toasted pine nuts, fava beans
And when we found out that the current executive Chef, Mohmed Sazali Long (new to the Gastro Project for 2 months now) used to work at Cilantro, we realized why this comfortable spot now offers a subtle spin on most of their dishes, with clean preparations, simple presentations, yet gracious details. Also, a light-handedness in employing sodium, which was a commendable theme, seen throughout his dishes.
a subtle, potato and leek soup – hardly any salt was employed yet it tasted delicious
Pastas, like Spaghetti with Wild mushrooms, or Orecchiette, shells that cradle sauce, sausages & sun dried tomatoes, come al dente, their accompaniments balanced and rich. The highlight for me was the insanely moreish, Fedelini pasta with Porcini and wild mushrooms (oyster, yellow boletus, grey agarics, honey mushrooms/Armillaria, cloud ear fungus, shiitake) balanced, light, low in sodium yet incredibly flavourful – surprising as we never thought that a place like The Gastro Project, located in the suburbs of section 17 might fare so well.
Japanese Salad – Pomegranate, avocado, onions, toasted pine nuts, fava beans – light, balanced and transported me back to the sunny dining hall of Modern Japanese cuisine at Cilantro
Orecchiette – shells that cradle sauce, sausages & sun dried tomatoes, come al dente, their accompaniments balanced and rich.
Lamb Rack with lamb mint jus – medium rare and you could taste the real flavour of the lamb as it wasn’t obliterated by salt
Lamb Rack background.. and the cocktail HMMMMM – Fresh Strawberries, Brown Sugar, Midori, Dark Rum, Almonds.
The cocktails was too sweet for my liking. But they do decent beers on tap as well delicious wines by the glass at the Gastro Project.
Lemon Gingerini – Bombay Gin, Lemon Juice, Ginger Syrup – Interesting ginger based cocktail – could have been stronger though.
Spaghetti Aglio Olio with Bacon and Cili Padi
Compared to the other two pastas this one was a bit of a let down. It lacked something.. herbs perhaps? It was just OK for me.
Barramundi with Hong Kong Kailan and Anchovy Butter – fresh, flaky and delicious – reminded me of something I ate at Sage once..
And for Mother’s Day, which is coming up in May, the menu at The Gastro Project is priced at an affordable RM80++ per person only. It starts off with a Clear Consomme (Chicken or Vegetarian Option). Followed by a choice of Fish, Chicken or Pasta. I loved the Mushroom pasta dish to bits, but the modern spin on the Chicken Parmigiana was delightful too! And oh, the Salmon was equally well cooked and delicious! Not sure how to pick from the main dishes.. but maybe sharing is a good idea.
Oven Baked Salmon Fillet with Orange Buerre Blanc and Sauteed Vegetables – just shy of well done. The salmon was still moist and succulent. Loved the orange sauce that emulsified the salmon fat in each mouthful. Harmoniously balanced.
Parmigiano Cheese Crust Chicken Breast with Sauteed Japanese Mushroom and Supreme Foam.
Time and again, the word balanced and light-handed come to mind. I think Chef’s training in the kitchen of Takashi Kimura stands him in good stead now, and this Parmigiano Cheese Crust Chicken Breast with Sauteed Japanese Mushroom was amazing. Soft, succulent chicken breast, with a subtle wrapping of cheese crust.. a bit of foam for effect. Wow. I loved it.
It has to be said though, that the Gastro Project is no Cilantro, and the price range is of course made more accessible and affordable, and not quiet as high-end. That being said, they work with what they have, and they do it really well.
Light Creamy Fedelini pasta with Porcini and wild mushrooms (oyster, yellow boletus, grey agarics, honey mushrooms/Armillaria, cloud ear fungus, shiitake). Freaking awesome pasta dish – I drank up all the procini and a dozen different wild mushroom flavoured sauce without hesitation, along with the pasta.
Apple Mille Feuille with Ricotta & Passion Fruit Creme Brulee- not a big fan of these two desserts. They were just so-so for me.
Chef Mohmed Sazali Long – Executive Chef talks to us about plans for The Supper Club being in full swing, and already fully booked till May. It offers only approximately 20 seats, upstairs at the Chef’s table, every 2nd and 4th week of the month.Instagram : @agentcikay
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The Gastro Project,
Jalan 17/56, Petaling Jaya
(the other corner of Decanter)
Tue – Sun: 11:00 am – 12:00 am