Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Going Full, Monte's

There are certain places I have never written about, just because I go there so regularly, that it totally escapes my mind to blog about it. One such place is Monte's in BSC, which has been there forever, and my family and I HAVE been going there forever as well. At least once or twice a month for our normal Sunday family dinners.

So, when Dinesh of BRDB (Bandaraya Development Bhd) invited me to Monte's, part of BRDB's campaign to expose (hmm, the words campaign and expose always reek of scandal in political terms) the F&B outlets in Bangsar Shopping Centre, I was more than delighted to accept. Afterall, being the creature of habit that I am, I ALWAYS eat the same thing whenever I am there, ie, the Oxtail Soup and the Grilled Halibut. This was the opportunity to sample other stuff on the menu! Fellow co-floggers included Fratmustard of Qguides, Aly of RedFM and ROKH of Tham Jiak.

To be honest, I think dining experiences are definitely enhanced by the company as well. And when alcohol is served, so much the better.

Over the months I've known her, I am amazed at Aly's ability to tuck away beer the way a marathon runner drinks 100plus after a 42km run. And the best part is, I wonder where it all goes. She's slim as a supermodel, and she doesnt go wee wee as often as I do, were I to drink that amount of beer. She da man!

The self explanatory menu.

Juicy Scallops, pan seared, on a bed of sweet potato mash. Not overcooked, and seared just right.



Escargots always remind me of that classic scene from Pretty Woman, where Julia Roberts lets the snail fly from her pincers. Alas, we needed no such skills, as the snail can quite easily be dug out using that surgical like fork. Baked in a lovely gratin-ish/garlicky sauce, this is a must if you are an escargot lover.

Chef's dream salad. Lovely crunchy prawns, in a light yet satisfying olive oil vinaigrette, and pieces of eggplant (which were my favourite), with a hint of pesto. Oh, I have no pictures of it, but we were also served the most awesome garlic bread. Delicious baguette topped with a generous garlic butter that just melts in the mouth.

Their classic oxtail soup. Always hearty, always good. The tail is slow boiled till it is tender and falling off the bone. I always have this whenever I eat at Monte's. It goes really well with the buns they usually serve (but we had garlic bread instead this time).

Pumpkin and Carrot soup. This is actually our kids' favourite item. Thick, wholesome and bursting with pumpkinny flavour. Also, blended to an extremely smooth consistency.

Prawn and Fish Combo. Didnt really get to try this dish, but if the other prawn dish below is anything to go by, then it should be pretty good. The prawns here are generally rather fresh, and the texture remains intact, unlike some that disintergrate.

Rib Eye steak. Good old fashion steak, served with potato wedges and vegetables. I love this dish for its traditional-ness and simplicity. Too often in this day and age, food has evolved so much that it is sometimes unrecognizable. And I guess that is what brings us back to Montes regularly. It IS good comfort food.

Another comfort food type dish... Spaghetti marinara. The naming of dishes is simple, so you are not left tongue tied trying to pronounce some exotic name. Substantial dish, and definitely enough on its own for one.

Now, this dish sent me flying back into nostalgia, when Chicken A La King with buttered rice was a regular item on menus. This is called Mushroom Chicken, but it is more or less like my childhood memory of chicken ala king. For less than RM20, apparently this is one of the most popular dishes, esp at lunch time.

Pan Seared Cod. As usual, by this time we were so stuffed. Now, I can say this with a clear conscience, the fish is monte's is almost always very fresh. They do have pretty good QC here. There have been times when they would not serve us the halibut because it wasnt up to standard.

Grilled Prawns. More prawnography. (phrase taken from GFAD). According to Aly, this was better than the other one above.

8 Hour Lamb. Now, this picture does not do the dish justice, (all my meat shots leave a lot to be desired), but the lamby was succulent, tender and really quite lovely if you are a lamb fan.
Incidentally, we were joined by the lovely and gregarious Susan Lee, owner of Monte's, and also an old friend of mine. Thanks so much for having us, Susan. This lady is really one of my idols. Savvy businesslady, mother, soon to be grandmother, wife, quite the superwoman she is.

Bread and Butter Pudding. I have to admit, I was thinking, aiyo, so much bread, when I first saw it... but actually it is very nice. I love the crusty bits...and the lovely vanilla aroma.

Apple Pie, which was nice and tart. Served warm, with a dollop of ice cream.

Tropical Carrot Cake. Not bad, a bit different from the usual, very moist, with a substantial layer of cream cheese topping.

Their best selling Hershey chocolate cake. I found this a bit too sweet for my liking, but the cake uses real Hersheys.. (as opposed to fake ones), and is rich and moist. Go for it if you have a sweet tooth.

Writing about Montes for me is like writing about my weekly trips to my inlaws. I love the fact that the food has remained consistent and unpretentious over the years, and VERY reasonably priced. The fact that it was packed on Saturday night, (and Sundays too) is testimony to the "value for money" credo that I often attach to the place. It might not be food that make you go OOH and AAAHHH, but it is comfort food, and good quality comfort food, at good prices. And this is why Monte's has survived all these years, when many others have come and gone!

Thanks Dinesh, for inviting all of us! And thanks Susan, for being the ever gracious host.


Sean said...

i wish i had a restaurant that i could call a regular haunt. but i think i'm afflicted with ADD when it comes to eateries.
have only been to monte's once in my 34 years of existence. vaguely remember being satisfied (though i can't recall what we ate at all), but today is the first time i can honestly say i'm contemplating a return trip (but will avoid sunday evenings, heh).

KY said...

sounds like a pretty good place to visit!

J said...

Love Monte's - definitely one of the best places in town for reasonably priced comfort food. :D

J2Kfm said...

Monte's! Knew about this the other day from neko-hime, who commented about their great stroganoff.

Now I got your confirmation as well. Good.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

i'd really love some durians now.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

a true friend would share his durians. *gasping for air*
*fainting from hunger*

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

i hear that the price of wigs are cheap right now.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

wigs or durians? which would you choose, my fair lady? but the sun doth setteth, and the night is still. despite that, global warming still existeth. i say wigs for you and durians for me.

vialentino said...

love the juicy scallops there....really nice. had a farewell party there before and like their food.

Ciki said...

why is LL having a monologue with herself?! ROFLMAO !

The food at Monte looks great but tell the truth .. i bet the carrot cake not as good as urs right? :P

aly said...

I actually went back for a friend's bday dinner on Sat, and had just the prawns! Not on the menu, but they were happy to just grill as is at RM 14 a prawn. So good! Great writeup, and the beer goes to muh toes!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

A more serious comment here - I used to frequent Monte's in my (much) younger days. It was at Monte's that I had my first taste of ostrich meat. Actually, I haven't been there in years, but I remember vaguely some cocoon shaped lamps. hehe. That was pre-pre-pre BSC renovation. God, I'm ancient.

Dr Tan said...

yo 'uncle', I just ate here less than a week ago man.. talk about coincidential.. I didn't try the oxtail soup though.. :)

PureGlutton said...

Yes, I've had quite a number of meals & gatherings in this place - ages ago! have not been back there for some time now. Good ole comfort food - you are so right.

thule a.k.a leo said...

WEll well well... I don't even know that there's Monte in BSC even though I go there quite a number of times :P where is it hah??

gfad said...

Monte's run by Hainanese ar? They remind me of The Ship/Cable Car Cafe of the olden days.

I always hate ordering fish in restaurants. For some strange reason, I've never been served moist fish. And yet they can serve beef bloody rare.

gfad said...

You IRs have similar characteristics - like terung and whisky, don't like to pamper and spoil the Mrs and always like to order the same things from the same fave restaurant. Oh and hubs also has only 1 sis.. ^_^

qwazymonkey said...

I used to come here to often with my family too when I was much younger. I remember trying escargots here for the first time. Definitely got me hooked on em gratin snails since then. But nowadays I feel like i've betrayed them. When I'm in BSC, Monte's hardly come to mind anymore.

fatboybakes said...

monkey boy, you traitor you! now only go to ladida places like a slice of heaven ah?

GFAD, those are the qualities that are the bedrock in the family, for which every married woman should fall on their knees and thank God for. beware the pampering, flower gift bearing spouse...

fatboybakes said...

thule, its on the first floor, above WIP. it's really comfort food, no pretentiousness.

pure glutton, its a good place for functions actually.

fatboybakes said...

tummy rumble, so did you enjoy it?

thamby, cocoon shaped've already become a butterfly and flown away to cilantros and sages of KL la....i cannot imagine you at such an unpretentious down to earth place.

fatboybakes said...

aly dear, wow, RM14 per prawn is pretty reasonable, considering at all the sanghar places, one prawn is like RM30!

ahmei ah, no la, their carrot cake was gooder.

fatboybakes said...

vialentino, ya, saw your monte's post. pity you couldnt join us.

chis, 4 rubbish comments by lyrical lemongrass.

fatboybakes said...

j2kfm, yup, it has my endorsement.

J, it is hor!

fatboybakes said...

KY, yup, it is a good place to visit. try the halibut.

sean, hmm, probably any restaurant will seem dull to you after the 2nd visit...your palate so sophisticated and discerning. in case you're wondering why i havent invited you for dinner, that's the reason lor...gufffaw....

Julian Si said...

Monte's always struck me as being very "dark" , wonder how you got so much light into your photos ..

Cheers from Abu Dhabi, bro ...

ps. Doh! FLASH right ;-)

Mh said...

oooh...this brings back memories...
Used to play truant from school, and makan there... ok, only once during high school, coz everyone went broke after paying the bill ! Food was great back then...and I'm talking about the 1990s.....

vialentino said...

yeah man ... that night got dylan bday celebration with my family, much time will join u...thanks for the invite.

UnkaLeong said...

Is Meenachi spamming your comments box? Gah! I missed this invite (albeit a little last minute) :P I think I have been to Monte's all of one time. Guess this place warrants a revisit very soon :)

rokh said...

i do have the same problem in the place i eat at too regularly, it didn't cross my mind to share about it. anyway thanks for the invite, i had a great time :D

eatbitemunch said...

I have fond memories of this place. I had many company dinner there and not to mention lunches and birthday dinners. Looks like I need to revisit this place soon.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane :)