Words by Kirsten Durward
Pictures by the Yum List (Monica Tindall)
For a lighthearted lunch or evening meal with friends, few locations could be more upbeat than the Bens on the terrace at Publika. Soaking up the lively atmosphere we sit outside in the warmth of the afternoon, enjoying the hatter of happy voices, and general upbeat buzz, we’re already enjoying our first pitcher of cocktails, and with this crew, you can be sure there is more to come!
We love the look of the Watermelon Margarita, tall and slim in its pitcher, but more importantly we also love the taste. Cool, refreshing and light, with just a hint of sherbety lime. It’s great value for four glasses, but one each is not quite enough so…
Watermelon MargaritaNext up is Blueberry Lemonade, a cheerful vodka based drink, which tastes smooth, very smooth. Both are excellent choices for a warm afternoon.
Blueberry LemonadeWine is the next choice to complement the food. We stick with the house offerings (RM20++ per glass), which are fine for the price. The Chardonnay Terrazas is a clear fruity white and the Malbec Terrazas a light drinking red.
House WineThe thick cut beef in the Deconstructed Thai Beef Salad with shredded green mango(RM 27++) is a deal chunkier than your regular Thai, so you won’t go hungry and I’d even consider it a sharing dish. We love the deconstructed plating and have fun stirring up juicy bean sprouts, basil leaves, fresh chopped chili crunchy peanuts and more. Mmmm! Mon is cleaning the plate.
Deconstructed Thai Beef SaladOh a big plate of rocket and spinach is displayed in the Burnt Butter Wild Mushroom Salad (RM24++)! I’m so happy to find a salad not featuring a bowlful of lettuce. Roquefort cheese, coriander and truffle oil add subtle flavours to an excellent range of textures with caramelized walnut a sweet treat hidden within.
Burnt Butter Wild Mushroom SaladCaning is famed for his love of meat, but patiently waits for me to try the classic Ben’s Cheeseburger with cheddar slices (RM26++) before sinking his chops around the lion’s share of it. It’s a thick juicy patty coated in cheese with a good slurp of mustardy ketchup on a sesame seed bun.
Ben’s Cheeseburger on Sesame Seed BunWe’ve been enticed to try two locally inspired dishes. The first, Golden Soft Shell Crab Spaghettini (RM24++) is soft shell crab dipped in egg batter deep-fried at high temperature. The ensuing flirty fronds are perched on a large portion of spaghetti coated in chili flakes and oil. We enjoy the chili hit and Monica muses on how this is a favourite amongst her Malaysian friends.
Golden Soft Shell Crab SpaghettiniA huge bowl of Dad’s Curry Laksa (RM25++), certainly more than a single portion, is served, with great chunks of fried tofu floating in the coconut milk soup. The colour is great and it’s chock full of noodles and spiraled greens.
Dad’s Curry LaksaWe’ve been holding off a little for the extensive dessert menu, for none of us are short on a sweet tooth at all! Choosing isn’t easy; it’s just lucky there are four of us. We’re not disappointed with our selection, although we do wonder if we’ve over ordered (again!)
A crunch of almond brittle tops the Banoffee Sundae (RM13++) with plentiful goeey vanilla ice cream slathered in chocolate sauce and stuffed with banana, walnuts and crumbly buttery shortbread. It’s hard for my spoon to stop digging.
Banoffee SundaeWe love it when pud manages to be both sticky and light. The Sticky Date Pudding (RM14++) has oodles of sauce and melting vanilla ice cream. Not oversweet, we see why it’s a recommended dish.
Sticky Date PuddingA precarious tower of caramel and macadamia brittle dribbles over a decent sized slice of Macadamia Caramel Cheesecake (RM15++). The texture is light and creamy to taste.
Macadamia Caramel CheesecakeServed warm and round, Caning’s so happy with the moist and light Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing (RM13++) that he declares he wants to eat dessert here every day!
Carrot CakeBen’s offers a 5pm – 8pm Happy Hour called 1, 2, Free! The third drink is free. This applies to the house wine, draught Guinness and Heineken and a range of spirits by measure.
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon BlancReason to visit: Buzzy atmosphere; hearty portions; value for money; Watermelon Margarita; Deconstructed Thai Salad.
Ben’sLot 37A and 37B, Level G2No. 1 Jalan Dutamas 1Solaris Dutamas, Publika50480 Kuala Lumpur+6 03 6205 2768thebiggroup.co/bens/Operation Hours:
Sunday – Thursday:11:00am – 12:00am11:00pm: Kitchen last order11:30pm: Bar last order11:00am – 1:00am12:00am: Kitchen last order12:30am: Bar last order Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holiday:
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Food Blog by: THe Yum List