For that unique Japanese take on Western dishes, check out Bistro Fiore in Plaza Damas
KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — For all the hype and buzz about new and exciting places, there’s something just as exciting in finding a place that’s been around for years that you’ve never heard of.
It’s got all the thrill of experiencing something new for the first time, but with all the lived-in charm and soul that is often missing at a new place.
Bistro Fiore in Plaza Damas holds all that and more within its storied walls, which to the best of my knowledge has served the neighbourhood since 2012 at the very least.
Tucked away in the furthest, deepest corner of Plaza Damas, next to the Mayfair Service Apartments, is a bright yellow sign with multicoloured words.
The cold tofu, grilled peppers and pork belly and cabbage omelette. A great trio of appetisers for sharing.
A few steel chairs and tables are scattered around, with the entrance by the side.
Walk in and you’re greeted warmly by both the lighting and the owner here, who looks as if George Clooney in Ocean’s Eleven and the master from Midnight Diner were one person.
The food here is, in their own words, "Japanese & Italian casual dining" and seeing as how they are only open in the evenings till late, is perfect for after-hours eating as well.
In essence, this is yōshoku, which is the Japanese unique take on classic Western dishes.
A standout appetiser was the cold tofu with baby sardines with wasabi basil sauce (RM15). The bright, green basil sauce heavily resembled pesto, but with a welcome touch of heat from the wasabi.
Al dente pasta is paired with Japanese clams in garlic butter and soy sauce.
You have smooth tofu with bits of baby sardines popping in the mouth, making it a joy with every spoonful.
Another irresistible starter came from the specials board, which changes according to the availability of ingredients.
If you’re seated upstairs like we were, you’ll spot the specials board next to the TV blaring Japanese news.
They were grilled Japanese green chillies (RM18), which were shishito peppers, grilled lightly and topped with bonito flakes, sitting in a light shoyu-based sauce.
Each bite is mild, smoky, slightly sweet and keeps you coming back for more.
Even the mushrooms pasta is given an interesting twist with Japanese yuzu pepper.
Expect unusual pairings for your pasta like anchovy and shredded cabbage.
To round off the starters, we also got the pork belly and cabbage omelette (RM28) which came with generous heaps of bonito flakes and Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise!
Like, seriously, the thing is buried under bonito flakes, it’s like digging for golden nuggets of pork belly and cabbage, and they are well worth the search.
Pastas feature heavily on the menu here, and it pleases me to say that they are by no means traditional.
Interesting combinations are in abundance with the Japanese clams in garlic butter and soy sauce (RM35), anchovy and cabbage (RM29) and mushrooms with Japanese yuzu pepper (RM29) all of which are on the subtle side of taste.
Mentaiko and butter with rice are the stuff of dreams! The best thing to keep you sated for the rest of the night.
What really stood out to me was the perfect al dente texture across all three pasta dishes, and there is also an option for fresh pasta with an addition of RM6 which I’m sure would have been even more toothsome.
To cap off the night, there’s a simple, delicious and comforting dish in steamed rice with mentaiko and butter (RM18).
The cold knob of butter melts all over the steaming hot rice, creating a luxurious, creamy and salty experience with the mentaiko.
The menu here offers far more than what I’ve mentioned, including yōshoku classic dishes like Hamburg steak, omurice and macaroni au gratin.
On weeknights, you will find the place popular with Japanese expatriates familiar with the area, usually there for an after-work meal.
I heavily recommend going around the back of Plaza Damas — the restaurant will be at the first corner you come across from the back entrance.
Look for the small but bright yellow sign at the corner of Plaza Damas.
Mayfair Service Apartment, Plaza Damas, H-0-11, 60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Kuala Lumpur
Open Tuesday to Saturday 6pm-1am, 6pm-12am on Sunday; Closed on Monday
Tel: 03-6211 4811
You can WhatsApp +6011-23541667 to book a table
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