I’ve always believed that my work life should be kept separate from my personal life, and because of that I’ve rarely spoken about my work on the blog. My friends lead glamorous lives, but mine is office-bound, approximately 12 to 14 hours a day, including some weekends. As a result of more stringent enforcements from authorities and regulatory bodies, my work has become twice as taxing this year. But deep down, in some perverse way, I do like what I do. What it means, however, is that when I sit down to blog, I get distracted by spreadsheets and work emails, and I get so frustrated by the intrusion that I push everything aside.
Life goes on, though, and it’s heartening to see so many food bloggers out there who are enthusiastically reviewing all the new restaurants in town, and I read the blogs, salivating and checking my schedule for my next available time slot to visit. While local food still whets my appetite, and there’s nothing like a plate of Penang chee cheong fun to lift the spirits, I’ve also been eating quite a bit in Singapore and have had the pleasure of dining at db Bistro Moderne (a contemporary French-American restaurant by Daniel Boulud) and Mario Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza. The memory of the smell of freshly baked madeleines at db Bistro Moderne, golden brown, eggy, fluffy and warm, is like a happy drug that inundates the senses. But as far as euphoria goes, I think I may have found the ultimate macaron down south in a tiny shop called Jewel at Orchard Central. The salted egg yolk macaron with black palm salt is heaven.
I still love KL, though. If I want banana leaf rice with crab rasam, I know exactly where to find it. Every other week or so, my friends and I hit La Bodega Lounge at Telawi 2 for food and drinks after work. I like the place because it feels like home. I like the comfortable armchairs and I like the fact that it’s dim enough indoors to hide the fact that my clothes haven’t been ironed. Board games and books are available, and once, I observed a couple of really cute guys playing chess. Be still my beating heart. I have a weakness for men playing chess. I also like the fact that my friend, Bari, manages the place and he always gives me my favourite sofa.
I’ve been eating at La Bodega for several years now, sporadically, and no, I have not always been enthusiastic about it. I used to find the food generic, but I’d eat there anyway because all my friends ate there. And then one day, Bari said, “Hey LL, I’ve got some new items on the menu and I’d like you to try them.” And he fed me and my friends till we could eat no more, then he fed us some more. Understandably, he fed us quite a bit of the good stuff, like the award winning signature cheese burger made with homemade beef patties and melted cheddar cheese. The Pollo Picante (diced chicken and dried chillies in olive oil) is a regular order for me. Once all the meat is eaten, I love to dip bread in the spicy, flavourful oil and slurp it all up, fat be damned. There were several other tapas items, perfect to be shared with friends over sangria or wine, and frankly, despite being still generic, I couldn’t quite fault any of them. A couple of dishes from the regular menu which I thought was quite good – the seafood soup, a tomato based broth chock-a-block full with shellfish and prawns, a hearty dish that absolutely should not be shared, and Pizza Quattro Stagioni, four quarters of different pizza toppings; chicken pepperoni, beef pepperoni, mushrooms and olives. I also enjoyed the Spaghetti Fruti De Mare (alio oglio style seafood pasta) which was cooked to perfection, the thin strands of pasta cooked al dente and the dish bold with the flavours from the seafood.
I was more interested in the new dishes presented that night from the Lounge Fusion Kitchen. These were experimental at the time of trying, and I presume they are now on the regular menu. All the dishes were a departure from the usual La Bodega (Spanish) signature style, and to be honest, a little confusing. Imagine tiger prawns served in a ponzu sauce and topped with enoki mushrooms. Or duck rolls with caramelised onions in a crisp wrap, Chinese style. Tempura fish fingers. Sesame soft shell crabs. All absolutely delicious and faultless. But I can’t quite decide if it fits in with the overall appearance, ambience and theme that La Bodega stands for.
Anyhow, time will tell. To me, La Bodega Lounge will always be that warm inviting place with good drinks, music, food and company. A great formula, for sure.
La Bodega Lounge
Jalan Telawi 2
Tel: 03-2287 3808
Food Blog by: La Bodega, Bangsar