“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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