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  • Press Release

Fiery tales

by The Star Newspaper: STARLIFESTLE, Saturday 4 May 2024, by Abirami Durai

THERE are few restaurants in Kuala Lumpur that are truly beautiful. There are eateries to which you could apply the adjectives ‘sophisticated’ or ‘charming’ but none that are so incandescent in their aesthetic appeal, that a loss of breath is a legitimate reaction.

Enter Asador V, a labour of love from seasoned F&B entrepreneurs, husband and wife team Leon Gee and Tessy Tai who also run famed steakhouse Vantador as well as porcine-centric eatery Naughty Babe Dirty Duck.

With Asador V, Gee employed his considerable skills towards utilising an entire fourth floor space at Menara Hap Seng 3, which he has now transformed into one of those most visually breath-taking eateries in the Klang Valley.

“Initially we were looking for an old bungalow to convert into an Asado grill restaurant. We didn’t want to go into shopping malls because there are so many restrictions. Someone brought us to this place and the first question we asked is, ‘Do you allow open fires?’ and they said, ‘No problem’. So we immediately decided on this space because it’s a very premium location and we liked the high ceilings,” says Gee.

The eatery took two years to conceptualise, four months to renovate and RM5mil in total to put together. And the proof is in the pudding – Asador V is a truly gorgeous, expansive restaurant with an indoor and outdoor eating area that clocks in at 11,000 square feet.

One of the key features of the restaurant is its impressive high ceilings, upon which three opulent crystal chandeliers hang astride. Each of these sparkly bronze whoppers weighs 200 kilos and is studded with Egyptian crystals.

On one end of the eatery is another unique architectural feature – a bottle installation project that starts off vertical and ends up with a sloped top. The installation holds 500 recycled whisky bottles that weigh 1.1 kilo each!

Upstairs, Gee’s penchant for antiques is on full display with a collection that includes old typewriters, stereo units, gramophones and even an early progenitor to the modern calculator.

Central to the eatery’s culinary charm is the large open kitchen that houses four asado grills – Argentinian concoctions that are essentially open fire charcoal grills that feature metal frames next to slow-burning fires.

Much like sister restaurant Vantador, Asador V also boasts a custom-made dry-ager where different cuts of beef are dry-aged in-house.

“Most people don’t want to dry-age beef, because when you age the meat, you lose about 20% of the volume of the meat,” says Gee.

There’s plenty of fire-fuelled offerings to whet the appetite at Asador, especially if you’re here for dinner and you would do well to start with something unusual in the form of the Burnt Leek & Mussel (RM78) which features charred Australian leek, fresh Spanish mussels, smoked clam volute, gremolata and grated fresh truffle.

The leek is large and has a charred outer surface that gives way to tender, smooth innards. The smokiness of the leek is pervasive – in a very pleasant way – and this charred sensation undulates on the tongue. The mussels meanwhile add a touch of brininess to the meal while the truffles offer quiet opulence and extravagance.

Up next, try the Bone Marrow (RM138) which showcases baked Rubia Gallega bone marrow, Avruga caviar, fresh truffle and toast ciabatta. You could also amp up the glam factor by adding three pieces of charred mussels (RM60) to your meal.

The bone marrow is decadence personified. It’s the gastronomic equivalent of feeling like a king or queen for the day, because it emits such a sense of nirvanic pleasure that it is as though you are above everyone else in the world. The bone marrow itself is unctuous with bovine undertones and this goodness can be spooned onto the toasted ciabatta in indulgent scoops or carefully calibrated portions – depending on your appetite. Either way, it makes for a stupendously good meal opener.

Move on to bigger things with the Lobster Paella (RM220) which is made up of half a Canadian lobster, seafood arborio rice, white wine, confit garlic aioli and chives allium. The lobster is perfectly cooked and boasts fat, fluffy meat while the seafood arborio rice has a slight crust and char that then segues into tender kernels of rice awash in aquatic flavours. It is a very addictive iteration of paella that will leave an indelible impression.

One of the key points of differentiation between Vantador and Asador V is the fact that Asador now includes a whole host of asado grilled seafood options, from live lobster to turbot, octopus and cuttlefish, to name a few.

From these options, definitely look at indulging in the Cuttlefish (RM110) which features charred cuttlefish, parsnip puree, burnt lime, green oil and seafood jus. The star of the show here is the cuttlefish which has a lovely smoke and blister burns on the skin which segue into springy, bouncy squid flesh. The only downside is the slightly uneven cook on the cephalopod, which means some parts of the cuttlefish are slightly overcooked and a tad rubbery while other sections are perfectly limber and pliant.

Head on over to the main stage – where the real, true heart and soul of Asador V lies: the dry-aged steak. Opt for the dry-aged wagyu bone in ribeye (RM100 per 100 grams) which is sprinkled with Anana salt stalactite (a rare, prized Spanish salt) and sit back and enjoy a gastronomic odyssey of discovery.

This is beef that has a lovely char and outer crust on the surface and yet is supremely tender and melt-in-the-mouth on the inside with pockets of fat adding a silken quality to the meat. There is so much carnivorous goodness to enjoy here and you would do well to pace yourself and savour it slowly so as to extract every last bit of joy from each morsel.

End your meal on a euphoric high with the Dry Aged Burnt Cheesecake (RM45), which features the unusual addition of dry-aged beef fat which is then used to make a dry-aged butter which goes into the cheesecake. This is accentuated by digestive biscuits, white chocolate Chantilly and a creamy cheesy interior.

This is a burnt cheesecake that is in a class of its own. It is sumptuously indulgent and creamy and the beef fat gives it a slight umami undertone, which is oh-so good. It’s the sort of sweet treat that you simply won’t be able to tear yourself away from – no matter how hard you try to will your mind to believe that one slice is more than enough.

A meal at Asador V delivers on the promise of a good time – from the aesthetically pleasing interior design and architecture to the food on offer. It’s no small feat to have all these elements come together successfully but this new restaurant has shown that it can be done. And done well.

Asador VUnit 3A-1 & 3A2

4th floor, Menara Hap Seng 3

Jalan P Ramlee

50250 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 012 260 6882

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