Moussandra, Mediterranean Cuisine, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Moussandra, Mediterranean Cuisine, Publika
Words by Suji Dehart
Photos by The Yum List
Moussandra has been a fixture in the dining scene in Kuala Lumpur since 1996. Until two years ago, it was located in the city center, but now is located in Solaris Dutamas, near Publika mall. An unpretentious simplicity is what strikes you when you enter, as well as the friendly charm of the maître d’. The decor is eclectic and colorful, reminiscent of family-style restaurants that dot the coast of southern Spain. There is no outdoor seating, but the doors are wide and let in good natural light.
We start with a few of the many selections for tapas (mezze), which are reasonably priced between RM10 and RM36. The Chicken Liver Pâté (RM17) is delicious; it is smooth and creamy, with a subtle herb-laden flavor. It completely avoids the slippery texture that so many pâtés fall prey to, and the crispy baguette slices that accompany this dish are the perfect match. A real treat.
Chicken Liver Pâté
If you’ve ordered the pâté, then do also get the Gambas (RM20), the shrimp in olive oil and garlic sauce, because then you can use the lovely baguette from the pâté to continue to dip in the rich and buttery sauce after you’ve devoured the tender shrimp that are cooked to perfection.
For a surprising burst of flavors and textures, try the Beef Bacon with Dates (RM15). Wow! Savory and sweet, creamy and crunchy (from the almond embedded in the date) all at once, this is the one selection from the tapas menu that you won’t want to bypass. An interesting note: all the food on the menu is pork free and alcohol free (except for the rum raisin ice-cream, which we’ll tell you all about in a little bit).
Beef Bacon with Dates
And for a dish that is not an appetizer but not a full meal, try one of the pizzas. The Primavera (RM28), minus the anchovies, is a delightful vegetarian option. Speaking of which, the owner tells us that a full vegetarian menu will be coming to Moussandra in January! The pizza primavera’s highlight was the light and crispy crust – just delightful! The eggplant, capsicum and spinach with a pesto drizzle on top made this a superb choice for a light vegetarian meal.
Pizza Primavera minus the Anchovies
The Lamb Moussaka (personal size RM30, family size RM46) is a heart-warming and delicious main course. The cheese is browned on top to perfection, covering a combo of mildly flavored and very tender ground lamb, chunks of potato, and generous seasonings. This dish comes in two sizes; the small size would be a fine share between two diners, while the large would be best when sharing among a group.
If you are still in the mood for comfort food, then the Paella Valencia (RM45) is the dish for you! Served in a real paella pan, and overflowing with prawns, clams, chicken sausage, red capsicum and peas in real wide-grain spanish rice, this is as close to the real thing as you will get in KL. The flavors in this dish are blended into a satisfying meld – not too rich but still packed with tastiness. A good squeeze of lemon on top and you’re in Spanish bliss.
I hope you have saved room for dessert, because the two we tried were fabulous. The Crème Brûlée (RM12) is rich and creamy and the portion is dainty enough that you can manage even if you’ve eaten a hearty dinner. The caramelized sugar, endearing in the shape of a heart, is wafer-thin, crunchy and delicate. Sensational.
And then, there is the Rum-Raisin Ice-Cream (RM8) we mentioned earlier. The owner’s favorite, he brings rum from abroad to soak the raisins that are choc-a-block in this fabulous dessert. The ice-cream is thick and creamy, with real vanilla. This is a winner. Other special dessert choices are Affogato and Tiramisu.
Rum and Raisin Ice Cream
The drink selection is solid. The Orange Juice has a splash of mango juice in it, which gives it a sweetness that is unexpected but refreshing. The Iced Lemon Tea is also refreshing and not overly sweet. White sangria, while on the menu, is not available, and the red, while absent of fruit pieces, is nicely chilled and perfectly acceptable, with strong hints of pineapple. Sangria is sold by the glass (RM19), the half-jug (RM60) and a full jug (RM90).
Orange Juice and Ice Lemon Tea
A nice touch on the drinks menu is the smaller bottles of wine, both red (Merlot) and White (Marquis D’Alban Sauvignon Blanc). These each hold two glasses of wine, which makes them affordable yet tasty at RM36 per bottle. Tempranillo and Chardonnay are sold by the bottle.
Mini Bottle of Wine
Moussandra is the perfect place to come with a group so that you can order several of the tapas, try a few of the main dish selections and still have room for the delicious desserts. Do note that the dishes are made to order, so you won’t want to choose this restaurant for the “grab a bite before the movies” dinner. Better to plan a slow, relaxing meal and make a toast to friendship or family, conversation, and good eating.
Reasons to visit: good value comfort food; Beef Bacon with Dates; Chicken Liver Pâté; Primavera Pizza: Lamb Moussaka; affordable wine.
Mediterranean and Tapas Restaurant
A1-1-8 Solaris Dutamas
1 Jalan Dutamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 6206 4999