BLONDE at Republik in Damansara Heights is the latest addition to the Serai Group, said to serve “fine comfort food” with hints of Asian flavours. It has been quite the rage on social media, to a point Jien insisted we gave it a shot.
I was admittedly hesitant.
Especially after my below average dining experiences with the group over the last few years. But doing what I do, it is something I need to try to “live to tell the tale”. So we went on a Monday night with my team members only to discover my theory about the place is proven right.
The Umami Crusted Chilled Watermelon Salad (RM38) comes with blue swimmer crab, Kyuri cucumber, ikura, ice leaf and avocado in yuzu dressing. This is probably the most memorable of the items I tried at Blonde. There’s a bit of sweet, savoury, tangy and umami notes in each bite – and I like how ice leaf is used to give crunch to the overall dish.
The 300grams Angus Strip Loin (RM138) sounded amazing from the menu description, but it was at the end of the day, a piece of good meat that lacked char from the grill. Granted the steak was juicy and tender enough, but I couldn’t help but notice the lack of crust around the edges.
Again, if you’re craving steak, it is a decent option but definitely not an option that warrants hoo-haaing about. The potatoes cooked in duck fat fared better in my opinion – crisp around the edges with plenty of flavour from the rendered fat.
My colleague ordered the squid ink spaghetti with Hokkaido scallop (RM39); a clever choice seeing how this pairing worked well. I reckon the chef’s forte leans towards Asian elements, judging from how he pairs Japanese ingredients with Italian elements.
The combination of ikura and chilli oil livens up the flavour of this pasta, while the scallops are cooked just right to retain its bouncy texture. Possibly the best main dish we sampled that night. If you’re new to Blonde, I suggest you order this to stay on the safe side.
The same couldn’t be said about Blonde’s Linguine Pesto Carbonara (RM32) which combines chicken bits, Swiss mushroom and shimeji mushroom in creamy basil flavoured sauce. I picked up a bit of spices in the mix – which I was unable to guess but it tasted like a cross of curry leaves and salted egg yolk. To sum it up in the most plebian way possible, it tasted like “hamtan (salted egg) chicken pasta” more than a pesto carbonara. It was also cloying to finish alone – so it’s best to share if you’re planning to order this.
I really want to like the beef burger, made using grain-fed beef. This was cooked to my preferred doneness – medium rare, and topped with American cheese, caramelized onions, smoky mayo and maple beef bacon. A combination that deemed too heavy as I could only taste the sweetness from the maple syrup rather than the natural flavour of the beef patty.
Good quality burger I’ll admit, but flavours need work as it’s too one-dimensional overall. The hand cut fries are dusted with (I think) kombu powder. There’s a spicy sauce in between the burger and fries, which has similar notes to the chilli jam of the steak. I feel if they tone down the sweetness of the bacon, this burger would hit home run.
Non-beef eaters can opt for the Umami Dusted Fried Chicken Burger (RM38) – a generous assemblage of fried chicken, kale slaw, avocado, pickled onion and a sunny side up on top. The sweet potato fries on the side was soggy so there was almost no crunch in each bite. That said, I still find the combination for this burger more exciting compared to the beef burger.
The Beef Salami Pizza (RM40) is good for sharing. You get slices of salami, beef bacon, ground beef brisket and beef sausage on a base of spicy tomato jam with caramelised onions and mozzarella on top. I find this decent, though this might be tad spicy for some. Also, this shares a similar base to the steak and also beef burger, which I find repetitive.
The Chef’s Deconstructed Pavlova for 2 (RM45) should only be ordered if you’re into tableside service. This showmanship of whipped cream, meringue pieces, figs, strawberries, blueberries and passionfruit was disappointing when it comes to taste. I wouldn’t recommend this at all, unless you’re looking to create IG content.
If you’re planning to stay hydrated throughout the meal, filtered water is chargeable at RM7 per bottle. So drink carefully. Our bill came up to almost RM550 for the above, inclusive of a cup of decent flat white (RM12).
Jien plans to go back for their breakfast offering as he’s a fan of brunch items. If you ask me, I think I’ll draw the line here. ;)
Food: 5.5/10 (pork-free)
Verdict: Average at best, for the price they are charging. Nice interior though.
Jalan Medan Setia,
50490 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2011 6070
Business hours: 10am till 10pm