Thursday, December 25, 2014

Opium: Cocktails & Food @ Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL

Ideally located within the trendy lifestyle and entertainment hub of Changkat Bukit Bintang, Opium offers patrons with one-of-its-kind dining experience that outshines the rest along the street. Designed with an oriental Shanghainese theme, the eatery promises to take you a trip down the memory lane as you admire the vintage charm while savoring Asian fusion cuisine with modern Western influence.

The name, "Opium" plays a great role in reflecting the China history by itself, therefore the restaurant is built in the style of a traditional Chinese shophouse that relives the glamour of mid-18th century of Shanghai with nostalgic music playing at the background.

The attention to detail in decorations at Opium is purely amazing, especially when the thoughtfulness is evident in little things such as the crockery and a wide array of opium pipes and inhalers which I have not seen before!

Opium is semi-open air with dining sections divided into private room, dining sections and al fresco. Every angle and corner here are picture-worthy, thus I am not surprised that the restaurant is a popular venue for wedding photoshoots too.


SIGNATURE HOUSE COCKTAILS
With a house mixologist and bar as well, Opium is inevitably a great place to chill and unwind any night. Interestingly, beers are served in pots and bowls, whereas wines are served in ceramic glasses of assorted shapes and sizes. The electrifying array of cocktails at Opium are named after the significant people or event in ancient China history, such as Peking Man, The Forbidden City, and Shanghailander.

Empress Dowager @ RM32.00

To begin with, we take a sip of icy cold Empress Dowager which is spiked with rum, apricot syrup, Angostura bitters and lime juice. True to its name, it is a very lady-like drink that tastes sweet on the brim but eventually becomes dry on the palate.

Black Dragon @ RM32.00

The amazing presentation of cocktails here is so unique that you probably wouldn't be able to see it elsewhere. Served on a pot of dry ice, Black Dragon is a intoxicating concoction of blended whisky, Benedictine, homemade orange bitters and fresh lemon juice that keeps you going for more.

TWISTED CLASSICS
Ti-Lung Bramble @ RM32.00

Drinking cocktails have never been so exciting until I meet the twisted classic cocktails at Opium. Beautifully presented in ceramic pot and a wooden gold tray, the cocktails are brilliantly paired with groundnuts and wasabi peas. How can you resist this sweet concoction of gin, lemon juice, dragon fruit and creme de cassis?

Concubine's Batida @ RM28.00

Concubine's Batida tastes very familiar to me as I am a fan of fruit-infused Brazilian caipirinhas. The taste of pineapple-infused cachaca gives a distinctive cachaca taste plus the refreshing flavour of lime juice.

Other alcoholic drinks include draft beers, house wines (White and Red) as well as spirits.

OPIUM SPECIAL MOCKTAILS
Mango Assam Boi @ RM15.00

For non-alcoholic drinkers, there is no reason to fret, because you can still enjoy the sweet pleasures of unique mocktails. Similarly, Opium has reinvented its range of special mocktails with added Asian touch in it. 

Salted Preserved Lime @ RM12.00

Served with pudina leaves, the salted preserved lime (咸金桔) is another best-selling mocktail because of its salty, fragrant ingredient with a hint of sweetness. Definitely a great thirst quencher before we begin our gastronomical adventure of the evening.

Other beverages: Fresh juices, coffees, soft drinks, Teh Tarik, oriental teas in pot

APPETIZERS
Opium Scallop (2 pieces) @ RM12.00

For the starter, we have a new item on the menu-- Steamed scallops with soy sauce and garlic oil. Sitting elegantly on the half shell, the scallop beautifully retains the rich taste of its succulent white flesh, and is an excellent pick-me-up if you are looking for something healthy and light to nibble on. 

Fighting Cock Wings (3 pairs) @ RM18.00

Chef Teo, a Portuguese-Peranakan also recommends us the only alcoholic and non-Halal snack at Opium-- 3 pairs of chicken wings well-marinated with Bourbon whiskey. The sweet spicy chicken wings receive an extra kick of spiciness when dipped into Hoisin sauce with Habanero peppers.

Chicken Satay (6 sticks) @ RM18.00

The deliciously-spiced grilled chicken satay is always a huge hit with any crowd at almost all hours. I usually prefer boneless and skinless chicken thigh meat that makes the satay more succulent, moist and tender. And I am glad that Opium has done it perfectly the way I love it. Best savored with tangy sweet peanut sauce, cucumber, onion and rice cake.

SALAD
Fern Leaf Salad with Grilled Prawns @ RM24.00

Another noteworthy dish for sharing is the wild fern leaves (Pucuk Paku) salad injected with local flavours as I notice the generous application of sambal, ginger flower, shallots and coconut flakes. Enhanced by a zing of lime and subtle nutty flavour brought to live by a burst of hemp oil, the salad is less earthy in flavour and definitely tempts your palate!

MAIN DISHES
Angus Rendang with Lotus Leaf Bun @ RM38.00

Another evident harmonization of Eastern and Western flavours can be seen from the Wagyu beef rendang served in a hot pot and kept warm throughout meal with direct flame from beneath. The tender chunks of aromatic beef is a well-thought through dish as it imparts all the flavours and aromas of local spices without overwhelming the senses.

Cod Fish in Curry Sauce with Poppy Seed Rice @ RM38.00

To my delight, Opium's curry hits all the right notes. Chunks of crispy cod are well-suffused into coconut curry gravy which gives a richer and thicker consistency than elsewhere, all thanks to a higher ratio of coconut milk. Nevertheless, the curry is nicely done without overpowering the eggplant and beans.

Opium Fried Rice @ RM28.00

Hungry explorers may also indulge in this new dish on the menu-- A well-cooked, flavour-packed and interesting combination that wows the diners just by its presentation. Loaded with fried anchovies and minced chicken, the black color of the fried rice comes from generous application of squid ink.

Crowning the dish is the crispy and light soft shell crabs sitting on slices of papadom. The crustacean is well-complemented with the rest of the ingredients such as soft boiled egg, cucumber and chilli paste. Overall, the unique marriage of tastes is able to tickle all the 5 senses, so enticing that I would revisit for more!

DESSERTS
Cheesy Banana Fritters @ RM18.00

As sweet notes to end off the meal, we have the special version of Opium's interpreted banana fritters which is breaded with aged cheddar cheese. I'm surprised that the homemade banana ice cream is loaded with chunky frozen banana in it. What a perfect combination of ice cream and real fruit on a sprinkle of coconut flesh!

Special Opium Ice Glass @ RM18.00

If you're craving for some local flavours, here's a beautiful rendition of the famous Ice Kacang. Here it is presented with a tall glass with layers of colorful condiments-- From Gula Melaka and grass jelly at the bottom, followed by mung bean paste, coconut milk and corn forming the middle layer, to having shaved iced, water chestnut, basil seeds, peanuts and coconut ice cream as the topping.

Definitely a colorful dessert that never fails to whet the appetite!

Verdict:
1. An amazing dinner at Opium KL and we are truly blown away by every single detail of the restaurant, cocktails, food and dessert.
2. I appreciate the usage of top-notch quality ingredients in each and every dish such as Wagyu beef rendang, chicken thigh satay and expensive alcohols for the cocktails.
3. I think that one of the great things about a restaurant is not only the delicious food but also its ability to build a story and bring back memories. Love the thoughtful names for each drinks and elaborated decorations that tells the story about old Shanghai.
4. Recommended dishes? Well, I couldn't decide. In fact, all of them are signature items and highly recommended for both locals and foreign diners alike! 

Opium
50, Changkat Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur.
Contact: 603-2142 5670
Website: www.opiumkl.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/opiumkl
Instagram: www.instagram.com/opiumkualalumpur
Business Hours:
Sunday - Thursday : 4pm – 1am
Friday - Saturday : 4pm – 2am

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