Restaurant Discovery #10: Metal Box @ Empire Damansara

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“People think they can open a fancy, cool looking restaurant, serves below average food and charge us ridiculous amount of money for it and call it a good business” was what my dad said after we left Metal Box for my sister’s birthday dinner last week.  And I have to agree.

Metal Box is a new trendy eatery that is located at a new mall/office space in Damansara. When you walk in, you get the whole industrial, minimal but cool deco going on. It was a saturday night and I was expecting a full house since I have heard raving reviews about this place. It was not as busy as I was expecting.

The menu was small but still ambitious serving mostly western food. There were only 5 pasta dishes, 5 mains and the rest were appetisers and side dishes. Even that, on a saturday night at around 8pm,  a couple of the main dishes were “unavailable”. Nothing annoys me more when I’m all set to order and the waiter says what I wanted is currently unavailable. I would’ve appreciated a little heads up before I look at the menu and made up my mind what I wanted so I wouldn’t be disappointed.

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I wanted the Steak A La Minute and much to my annoyance, it was unavailable. So instead I opted for the Smokey Chiken Pesto (RM18.90). The portion was tiny. It was literally pasta with pesto sauce and smoke chicken. Nothing else. The pesto sauce was runny and and lack basil flavour. There was definitely more pine nuts than basil leaves in the pesto. The sauce was so runny it did not stick to the pasta so I had to ask for extra parmesan cheese. The pasta was al dente but lack seasoning. However, the smoke chicken was slightly salty so I’m guessing that is why they didn’t season the rest of the dish. I was expecting something more than just a green pasta with chicken. At least some mushrooms.

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My parents ordered the Orange Swimmer (RM33.90) even though my mum actually wanted their My Last Barn which is a half spring chicken but that was also unavailable. The Orange Swimmer was described as “pan-seared marinated salmon steak paired with tempura avocado and gnocchi, dressed in homemade vierge sauce & red wine glaze”. Firstly, as you can see from the picture, it is not a salmon steak. More like half a salmon steak. It is tiny for the price which explains my dad’s statement in the beginning. Tempura avocado is too out of the box that it did not work. Avocado is creamy in texture and taste. To fry it, made it soggier and the taste was not right. Gnocchi was too soft it melts in your mouth without any bite to it and the vierge sauce with red wine glaze was overwhelmingly bitter. Non of the ingredients on the plate work well together. It was too ambitious and too much going on in a plate.

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Vegetarian Aglio Olio (RM15.90) was what my sister’s boyfriend ordered. I get that Aglio Olio means garlic and oil, but there were too many roughly chopped garlic that you will end up biting a big piece of garlic with every mouthful of pasta. The bell peppers that was in the pasta over powered the whole dish. All you could taste was the bell peppers until you take a bite of the garlic. Other than that it was decent.

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My sister’s friend also joined us for dinner that night and ordered the Beef Ragout Pasta (RM18.90). On the menu it wrote “signature” on the side of the dish so I was expecting a lot when I had a taste of this dish. The sauce was again too runny it did not stick to the pasta. The Australian striploin was a waste of good piece of meat as it was so dry that it actually tasted like it had a chicken liver texture. The mushroom added an extra umph of flavour to the sauce but there was nothing special about it for it to be their signature dish.

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The birthday girl ordered the Seafood Marinara (RM24.90) and was happy when she saw the size of the prawn that was on the dish. 2 pieces of prawns and 3 tempura calamari to me does not scream seafood. There should be more creatures of the sea on that plate for that price. The marinara sauce was average. It could do a few more minutes on the stove to intensify the tomato flavour but other than that the tomato sauce was decent.

We were thinking of ordering dessert but after everyone being not very impressed with their mains, we decided to skip dessert and make our way home.

Ambience: 6 out of 10
Food: 3 out of 10
Service: 7 out of 10
Price: $$

Metal Box Restaurant & Cafe
G12, Empire Damansara,
Damansara Perdana,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

 

Good luck!

Love,
A

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Cafe Discovery #9: Lapis @ Wangsa Maju

Day 99: Lapis @ Wangsa Maju

My family and I went to Lapis cafe today for dinner. Lapis means layers in Malay. I was told that the menu was rather limited and that it is a cafe not a restaurant. The decor is very “hipsteresque” which I like. Very modern and cute. Definitely an instagramable spot.

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The menu only had 10 main dishes, a couple of sides and kids food and a few drinks. Very limited. They also do daily specials and today, it was “pulled” lamb sandwich (RM 18.00). Of course I ordered that as my main dish. Service was quick and it arrived rather fast. They buttered up a cut of french bread and had a few thinly sliced lettuce and a generous amount of shredded lamb meat in between the bread. It came with chips, garlic aioli and a runny chilli vinaigrette. The chips were decent. Really thick cut, soft on the inside chips. Garlic aioli I found really garlicky and the runny chilli vinaigrette was strange. It had a really strong vinegar smell and taste. I don’t know whether to have that with the lamb sandwich or the chips. It definitely didn’t go with the sandwich. Neither was it any better with the chips. The lamb sandwich was dry. There was nothing interesting about it. The lamb smells and it had no taste. It would’ve help if it had a barbecue sauce or caramelised onion or even pickles to help give it taste and not leave it so dry.

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My sister ordered the Creamy Fusilli (RM16.00) which was basically fusilli in a bowl of mushroom soup.  It was literally just garlic, onion, cream, thyme and a few slices of button mushroom. It was well seasoned and the sauce was nice. The sauce was just too runny to be a pasta sauce. Runnier than a bowl of mushroom soup. Some parmesan cheese would’ve help to thicken the sauce and make it stick to the pasta.The fusilli was over cooked – you don’t have to chew it anymore, it just melts in your mouth. Since the sauce was too runny, the fusilli ended up tasteless and tasted separate from the sauce. It was a disappointment really.

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Usually cafes like this, they concentrate on their coffee and desserts. Since I don’t drink coffee, I had to try their dessert. I ordered the carrot cake and it was a tiny portion. It definitely was an awesome slice of cake. The creme cheese frosting was smooth and not too salty. The frosting and cake ratio was perfect. The carrot cake was moist and it was not over powered by the spices. Walnut was in the cake too and it added texture. It was beautiful.

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My sister ordered a banana flavoured whoopie pie (RM2.50). I’ve never tried a whoopie pie before. But I know it’s traditionally a tiny sponge cake with icing in between. Their whoopie pie was dense probably because of the banana flavour. I’m not too sure. It was nice and moist and not too sweet. I can taste a little bit of nuts in the cake, probably walnuts. It was decent but the carrot cake was definitely a winner.

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The service was fast and waiters were all attentive to the customers. However, I was pretty concern when I saw all the waiters with long hair, men and women, not tying their hair serving customers with food. I don’t think thats proper. Thats just my opinion. Lapis is a nice cafe for when you want to grab a quick bite or to catch up with friends over coffee and cake. It is a really pretty cafe. I adore the decor.

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Ambiance: 7 out of 10
Food: 5 out 10
Service: 6 out of 10
Price: $$

Cafe Lapis
No.3, Jalan Wangsa Delima 1A
Seksyen 5 Wangsa Maju
53300 Kuala Lumpur
Tel:  03-4141 8297

Good luck!

Love,
A