Words: Patricia Podorsek Photos: Monica Tindall
With three-story trees, twinkly Santas, and halls draped in lights, stepping into Pavilion at this time of the year is like walking into Christmas Wonderland. It’s no surprise, then, that the fashionable Quivo on Level 3 has crafted a Wonderland menu to meet the spirit of the season. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day only, under “Alice in Wonderland” decorations, you can enjoy a chef’s special 5-course Holiday Wonderland dinner set menu. We stopped in for a preview last week.
Christmas meals around the world often combine fruit with savories, and the starter for the menu falls right in line. We loved the tropical bent of the pan-seared crab cakes served with mango-pineapple salsa and Cajun aioli. The sweetness of the fruit offset the salty richness of the seafood and the cajun spices added zip. To add further dimension to the palate, the entire cake was served on a small array of rocket leaves with a drizzle of pesto dressing. It might seem like a lot happening on one plate, but the combination of flavors simply contributed depth without distraction.
|Pan-seared Crab Cakes|
The second course arrived steaming in a cup, a creamy corn chowder accented with morsels of clam meat and mushrooms. Topping the soup, we found a crusty crostini, spread with an olive-mushroom-and parmesan tapenade perfect for dipping or as a biting of its own. All of Quivo’s homemade soups are served with crostini; their menu standards are creamy mushroom and tomato bisque.
|Creamy Corn Chowder|
To further whet our appetite for the mains, a pizza course was served third, direct from Quivo’s brass encased wood-fired oven. A classy version of the American classic, beef pepperoni was layered on the thin-but-not-too-crispy semolina crust with Milano mozzarella and three colors of capsicum, all garnished with fresh rocket. Paddleboard pizzas are a speciality of the house; guests can enjoy standards like Margherita and grilled veggie pies, as well as more unique variations including “Stromboli Turnover”, a meat’s lover’s option with salami and ham, and “Ocean Catch” for seafood lovers. We sampled the “Greek Kofta” and found the lamb, eggplant, and haloumi combination delicious.
|Chef Retrieving the Pizza from the Wood-Fired Oven|
The kitchen staff at Quivo clearly pay special attention to the quality of the meats they serve. All three of the mains options served up tender and flavorful lamb and beef at the perfect temperature to remain juicy without compromising texture. The first choice for the main courses delivers a Wagyu beef patty on a jalapeno bun topped with a slice of carmelized pineapple and pan-seared foie gras. Foie gras on a burger? To me, this was a little like putting caviar on a hot dog, but I was pleasantly surprised at the way it complemented the beef, especially with the sweetness of the fruit added in.
Nothing captures the luxury of the holidays better than surf-and-turf, and the second option for the main course provides just this touch of class. A grilled cut of beef tenderloin comes seasoned with seven spices and topped with a large grilled prawn flavored with ancho mole sauce. Tender enough to slice easily, the meat practically melted into the herb mushroom sauce and side of asparagus.
|Surf and Turf|
But perhaps our favorite main was the third option, a grilled shank of lamb encrusted with garlic, herbs, and what appeared to be ground pistachios. The extra garlicky brown sauce complemented the earthy flavor of the meat and herbs, and who doesn’t love thin and crispy onion rings on the side?
|Grilled Shank of Lamb|
For dessert, the set menu offers the choice of warm apple pie or a classic yule log cake beautifully festooned with bright macaroons. We sampled the pie, and for me, the best part was definitely the caramel praline ice cream, made in-house and served atop the pie. Caramel and apple go together like goofy teenagers in the worst of times, but adding sugary pralines is like adding rock and roll to their moves. Delicious!
|Warm Apple Pie|
In fact, sweets are something of a specialty at Quivo. The dessert case at the front of the store nearly explodes with such lusciousness as coconut cream pie, extreme double chocolate cake, and “Pick Me Up” tiramisu, all of which could handily take the edge off some competitive Christmas shopping, but our hearts nearly stopped with the arrival of what I’m calling “Chocolate Nirvana on a Plate.” Begin with a sticky brownie made more fudgy with chocolate chips and Oreos. Then cover this with chocolate, caramel, more chocolate, Snickers ice cream and more chocolate still. And did I mention the chocolate? This is truly a chocolate lover’s dream come true, making your tongue ache in the seconds of waiting for the next divine bite.
|Sinful Oreo Brownie – Must order this beauty – bring a girlfriend to share it with|
The Holiday Wonderland Dinner Set Menu prices at RM138++, or RM158++ if you add a cocktail, a mocktail, or some wine. Restaurant manager Bernard Joseph recommended we try a Rosey-Litchi Martini, vodka shaken with litchi juice and colored with a touch of pandan syrup, making it unique among litchi martinis found in KL.
He also brought us a Coronita, one full bottle of Corona served upside down in a Margarita, quite the novelty for those who are Mexican beverage specialists or just extra thirsty.
Delightfully refreshing was the Passion Fruit Iced Tea. Quivo procures all of its teas from partner TWG, whose salon is also a fixture at Pavilion. The super high quality English breakfast tea provides the base here for a drink that is fresh tasting and not overly sweet. This is a must-try for non-drinkers who are looking for depth of flavor not found in typically over-sugary iced teas.
|Passion Fruit Iced Tea|
For a house wine, Quivo pours a Willowglen de Bortoli. We found the chardonnay smooth and crisp with fruity overtones, a very drinkable white. The drinks menu contains a number of red, white and sparkling options, all moderately priced.
|Chardonnay, Willowglen de Bortoli.|
The drinks menu also showcases a creative array of cocktails and other beverages, from banana coladas to Mex-Asia Margaritas. Monica tried a citrus-y Gin Swizzle; Caning a frothy cappuccino made from a house blend of 80% Arabica and 20% Robustus beans, locally roasted. I was enamoured with the names of the martinis and settled for a Spicy Mango Daqiuiri Martini, just a little sweet with a little heat at the end.
|Spicy Mango Daiquiri Martini|
With the fun just getting started, our charming hosts Joerg, Shereen, and Bernard kept the conveyor belt coming from the kitchen till we felt we might burst. The Holiday Wonderland menu is something to look forward to next week, but tasty bits like crab sliders and popcorn shrimp mean guests can keep returning to Quivo long after the holiday season is over.
|Popcorn Shrimp – Oh my!|
|Crab Sliders – Yum – look at those fresh pieces of crab meat|
Happy Christmas, Everyone!
Reasons to visit: Sinful Oreo Brownie with homemade Snickers ice cream, refreshing passion fruit iced tea, tasty wood-fired pizzas, tender and flavorful meats, and the Holiday Wonderland Dinner Set Menu Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
3.09.02, Level 3
+6 03 2141 7711
Open daily 10 am – 2 am