Squid Skewers and Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon
Spoilt for Choice at Barbecue Garden, Kuala Lumpur
Words by Han Sen HauPhotos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)
So we stand in front of Barbecue Garden’s entrance that could’ve easily been mistaken for a Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios, what with the minimalistic yet imposing framed doorway flanked by two lamps in the shape of torches, strips of yellow-and-black barricade tapes lining the steps leading to the doorway, and tropical foliage… Lots and lots of tropical foliage in pots, around pillars, and over our heads. With thunderclouds heralding an incoming storm, we pray no raptors lurk behind these strategically positioned potted palms.
Barbecue Garden, KL Life CentreTrue enough, it starts pouring hard soon after. For a restaurant that capitalises on the al-fresco experience, it is comforting to know that a majority of the open areas can be quickly covered up with tarpaulins, shielding us from the rain. A highly responsive staff helps as well, and pretty soon, we are comfortably perusing through menus while lounging on remarkably sturdy furniture embellished with green and orange tiles.
Rooftop GardenThe menu is expansive, but not intimidatingly so, and we are positively delighted with the option to pick and choose individual skewers. The place is great for large parties and the fact that it’s a barbecue means everyone would be paying attention to the food on the grill instead of their smartphones. On that note, might we add that it’s a deviously clever scheme to have patrons cook their own meal—who’s to blame for that overcooked beef?
We begin with an understated Iced Tropical Tea (RM6) which is a refreshing start to the evening, touted the most popular drink amongst guests and understandably so. We also sample a couple of smoothies: the tangy Tropical Garden that’s a concoction of pineapple, mango, passion fruit, and orange along with the Garden Smoothie, a mellow blend of banana, strawberry, orange, and honey (RM8 each). Despite being a sucker for anything with bananas and strawberries, I prefer the former for its stimulating flavour, though would’ve appreciated a larger straw due to the drink’s density.
Lots of Refreshing DrinksFood comes quickly and it isn’t long before we struggle to keep everything on the table. The Fresh Spring Rolls with Shrimp and Pork (RM4 per roll) are irresistible, especially after dipping them in the accompanying fish sauce. A homage to the restaurant’s Vietnamese heritage, the simple spring rolls serve as a light start to a heavy evening.
Fresh Spring Rolls with Shrimp and PorkIt’s a little hard to distinguish between the Cheese and Bacon Small Skewers (RM8) and the Grilled Beef with Cheese (from the a la carte menu; RM16) as they taste very similar, albeit identifiable visually. Both are extremely soft and tender, though the former has a pleasant crunch to it at each bite. The onions wrapped inside seal in the flavours beautifully and they’re both also prepared at just the right size as to leave me wanting more.
Cheese and Bacon Small SkewersAs much as I enjoy experimenting with different herbs in my own cooking, I’ve never been a fan of rosemary so I was initially a little apprehensive towards the Grilled Australian Lamb Chops with Rosemary Marinade (RM9 per chop). To my surprise, the overwhelming pungent fragrance I’ve always associated with the herb could only be detected in traces and actually perfumes the meat ever so subtly, thus improving its flavour. Definitely a thumbs up for this one.
Ready for the GrillAmidst the different meats on offer, two items top my list of favourites: the Grilled Chicken with Lemon Leaf Skewers and the Grilled Fresh Squid on Skewer (RM4 per skewer). Sometimes, the tastiest meat isn’t inundated with herbs and spices, nor do they necessarily need to be marinated overnight to elicit suppressed flavours. Sometimes, it is simply discovering a single ingredient that is the perfect complement to the meat that a ravishing discovery is made. This can be said of the Grilled Chicken with Lemon Leaf Skewers, a triumph in its simplicity as the chicken pieces greedily absorbs the wonderfully aromatic leaves. Similarly, the Grilled Fresh Squid on Skewer is absolutely divine in its freshness and is perfect on its own.
Various Skewers on the GrillAs the evening progresses, we find ourselves happily trapped in our own little spot as the rain showed no sign of stopping. In fact, the dining experience improves with the deluge, in my opinion, considering how our faces glimmered a faint crimson over the simmering heat emanating from the grill, which, might I add, is swapped for a clean grill regularly by attentive waiters.
More Meat Ready for the GrillEven though Barbecue Garden primarily targets a carnivorous clientele, herbivores will be happy to know that the restaurant also offers a large selection of delectable vegetarian dishes such as Grilled Eggplant Vietnamese Style (RM6) and, I cannot believe I’m actually recommending this, Garlic Fried Rice (RM5). In all of my culinary adventures, I would never have considered ordering a run-of-the-mill, familiar comfort such as garlic fried rice, but the one served at our table that evening definitely deserves special mention. Bearing in mind we’ve been bombarding our stomachs with an assortment of food, the sudden introduction of the fried rice is strangely appetising, and we proceed to empty the bowl with gusto.
Grilled Eggplant Vietnamese StyleGarlic Fried RiceOne of the Vegetarian Options – Sauteed Bok ChoyThe prize of Best Dressed Dish goes to Steamed Prawns with Coconut Juice (RM25), where fresh prawns are arranged seductively around a sliced open coconut, in which we recommend first taking out all of the prawns from the coconut, then immersing each prawn individually in the juice to gratify the palate.
Steamed Prawns with Coconut JuiceWe conclude the evening by indulging ourselves with Grilled Banana with Coconut Sauce (RM4 per banana). Bananas will be bananas but we are unanimous in our opinions that they’re unquestionably addictive when paired with the unique sauce—an incredible mixture of coconut, garlic, cream and peanuts. Even having deciphered its components, its flavour still remains a mystery, which perfectly epitomizes our undying fixation for the unknown.
Grilled Banana and Coconut Sauce
Having opened its doors only quite recently, Barbecue Garden is commendable for dishing out consistently quality food and providing attentive service. If their standards remain, we see no reason why not to return to some of the delightfully unconventional flavours we’ve smacked our lips over.
Deer with 5 SpicesReason to visit: Lovely location; great for groups; Grilled Chicken with Lemon Leaf Skewers; Steamed Prawns with Coconut Juice (for the visual appeal); Grilled Banana with Coconut Sauce.
Barbecue GardenLevel 3 (Rooftop), Bangunan Life Centre,20 Jalan Sultan Ismail,50250, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.+6 03 2181 8226www.barbecuegarden.myOpen 11am – 2pm; 5pm – Midnight Non-Halal
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Food Blog by: THe Yum List