If there is one pressing matter that has dominated talk among the food-minded coterie of late, it would be: Have you tried the new Gordon Ramsay restaurant yet? Yes, it is still shiny and newly opened at Sunway Resort, the main hotel in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur. Yes, tables for dinner are notoriously impossible to get (fully booked till February 2023, according to sources). And, yes — the answer to the most pertinent query — it is pricey. With inflation hitting the grocery baskets of the average Malaysian hard, it seems a little extravagant to fork out RM130 for a starter of aged steak tartare or RM290 for a slice of Beef Wellington for mains but, having experienced it personally, the quality and flavours are all present and the ambience is really rather nice.
Of course, those who have dined at the London outpost of Mr Ramsay’s Savoy Grill will be quick to compare prices: the two aforementioned dishes would set them back only £21 (RM112) and £55 respectively. At press time, a return economy class ticket on the national carrier costs just shy of RM7,000. So, if it is a taste of the UK you are after, it is best to just bite the bullet and hand over the credit card.
The Sunway Resort dining room is also Ramsay’s inaugural restaurant in Malaysia and the first Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill outside of the UK. Its recent opening coincided with the extensive renovation and refurbishment of the hotel. Just a short stroll from the entrance, you cannot help but catch a glimpse of the massive black-and-white portrait of the celebrity chef almost beckoning you to enter. The front half of the restaurant is dedicated to a lounge-like setting and a gorgeous bar with floor-to-ceiling windows while the interiors house the main dining space as well as three private rooms — perfect for serious business talk or sealing deals. Glittering chandeliers abound and the entire restaurant seats up to 150 guests at a time. Be sure to admire the monochrome works of familiar British icons, taken by celebrated pixmen Terry O’Neill and Arthur Steel, adorning the walls. On our visit, we spotted Swinging London goddesses Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy; and fans of popular culture would not fail to recognise Mick Jagger and Sean Connery.
Lest we forget we are actually in Malaysia, the culinary team has thoughtfully provided a local touch in the form of a Hibiscus Mojito (RM65), made using rum, mint, fresh lime and homemade hibiscus syrup. There is also a selection of homemade lemonades and iced teas (all RM25 each) for those who wish to keep things kosher.
The menu is relatively similar to what you would find at the Savoy Grill, although there are a few Hell’s Kitchen (named for the reality show and part of the Gordon Ramsay food empire, with outlets mostly found in the US) inclusions, such as the Mac & Cheese (RM50) and Angus beef burger (RM120). Iconic starters to try would be the Heritage Tomatoes (RM85) with burrata, the Arnold Bennett twice-baked soufflé (RM100) featuring smoked haddock and aged cheddar and, of course, the steak tartare. Literary enthusiasts should opt for the soufflé, naturally, seeing that the Savoy chefs originally created a very famous omelette in the English writer’s honour after he completed his last and longest novel, Imperial Palace, while staying there.
For mains, nothing is as theatrical or redolent of old-world dining rooms than the Classic Beef Wellington, served guéridon-style. It is also interesting to note that Ramsay himself, having grown up on the dish, never fails to order it should it be featured on any menu, be it in the middle of Milan, Paris or New York. And certainly Sunway’s Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill’s version is faultless — perfect beef tenderloin lovingly encased in puff pastry interspersed with layers of duxelles, accompanied by pomme purée, red wine jus and a green salad. Alas, at RM290 a slice, you’d best not come ravenous.
The other star dish to order would be the Dover Sole Grenobloise (RM315), which comes lightly anointed with caper sauce, croutons and beurre noisette. There is also a charcoal grill that serves up an array of A-list proteins, all 42-day dry-aged beef, such as Angus Rib Eye (RM280/300g), Wagyu Tenderloin Steak (RM315/200g) and a Tomahawk steak that serves two (RM1,999/1.5kg). All grilled items come with Café de Paris butter and a side salad. You may also choose to luxe up any dish (or impress your dinner date) with additional seasonal black truffle shavings — RM85 for about five grams.
Sadly, there was nary a sticky toffee pudding in sight when it came to dessert, although the classic Apple Tarte Tatin (RM125, serves two) does not disappoint. The only grouse was the meagre serving of vanilla ice cream, although the friendly staff are more than happy to bring you another scoop or two if you ask. For memories of boarding school or summery weekends, there is also the Strawberry Trifle (RM60), a soporific melange of strawberry puree, pistachio sponge and vanilla custard.
Naturally, such a meal deserves something equally exciting to match, and the restaurant, to its great credit, offers an impressive wine list. Even if you do not feel like getting a bottle, the list of wines by the glass is stellar, with choices for sparkling, rosé, white and red, including a reserve Albarino from Bodega Garzon (owned by Argentine billionaire Alejandro Bulgheroni) in Uruguay (RM58/150ml and RM250/750ml) and fail-safe rosé Whispering Angel by Chateau d’Esclans, which is owned by Sacha Lichine, hailed as the undisputed King of Rosé (RM90/150ml and RM425/750ml). If you are feeling swish, check out the Premium Pour list, which offers Chateaux Smith Haut Lafitte, Cos d’Estournel and Margaux’s third wine, among many others, by the glass. Also, if you have always hankered to try the famous high-altitude red wine Ao Yun from Yunnan — the LVMH Group’s ambitious winemaking project set in an incredibly remote part of southwestern China — here is your chance. It is priced at RM388 a glass, or RM2,188 for a bottle.
Lobby level, Sunway Resort, Persiaran Lagoon, Bandar Sunway, Selangor. Daily, noon-3pm; 6-10.30pm. For reservations, call 03 7492 8000 or email [email protected].
This article first appeared on July 25, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.