Words: Chris Moore Photos: Monica Tindall
These are about the only words that can justifiably sum up the scene in Pavilion throughout the weekend of October 6th-8th. Imagine walking into Pavilion, a high-end shopping center in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, to the sounds of Bon Jovi or Nirvana reverberating off the walls of Kate Spade, Prada, or Salvatore Ferragamo. Visualize a lively street party occupying a large swath of floor space inside this same high-end retail complex where each passer-by sucks back beer, wine, and a host of other mixed cocktails. Envision Bernard, the manager of Quivo, flipping and spinning bottles of spirit with flare and glee, calamari and prawns being freshly fried in oil, or sangria being poured by the bag full to patrons dancing and singing to the lively tunes. If you can successfully conjure up all of this into a single image, you might come close to the reality of the third anniversary fiesta hosted by Quivo.
Quivo Third Anniversary Fiesta
To celebrate their three years in operation, Quivo took over Pavilion Connection with a three-day party for the ages. Live music filled the air as competitors engaged in a host of eating competitions and chefs and bartenders whipped up a wide variety of delicacies. Food stalls adorned the walkways offering up selections of regularly available menu items such as freshly cooked pasta, paella, and risotto, grilled meats, fried fish and chips, calamari and prawns, a sashimi bar, wood-fired pizzas, and gelato as well as other desserts. Everywhere you turned, the staff was smiling and clearly enjoying their contribution to the success of this event. Whether bussing tables to keep the area clean, serving food and drinks to patrons, or manning one of the many stations, everyone on this night was exuding the happiness and lively spirit that has made Quivo so successful to date.
Drinks at Quivo
With a few different cocktails to choose from, finding the perfect jumping off point wasn’t easy, but something pulled me towards the bloody Mary. Take your traditional cocktail but serve it in a totally non-traditional way: inside of a hollowed out green pepper. Mixed up fresh with the perfect amount of spice and seasoning, the bold and fresh flavours of the tomato juice are accentuated beyond compare with the addition of a small sampling of veal juice.
Coming off of the bold high of the bloody Mary, the sangria was the perfect balance of fresh, fruity, and refreshing. Served ice cold with an abundance of fresh cut fruit such as apples and oranges, the sangria at Quivo is just the right amount of sweet and tart.
The Quivo mojito is a balanced refreshing cocktail, combining the bite of fresh lime juice with the spice of fresh mint. By adding a splash of ginger ale, the mixologists at Quivo gave the drink a nice tingle of bubbles that matched almost perfectly with the liveliness of the party.
After sampling a few of the other offerings, the Quivo margarita is exactly what you’d expect from this classic drink. There is nothing unconventional about it: just a whole lot of fresh lime juice and an immense amount of golden tequila served shaken over a heaping pile of ice. The perfect drink to enjoy again and again.
Food at Quivo
My first culinary sampling of the evening was so good that it was also the fourth and sixth sample I had. There is something mesmerising about watching a chef masterfully slice pearl grouper into perfect portions of sashimi and laying a selection of the fresh fish fanned out over a bed of arugula. The fresh white fish is topped with edible flowers, julienned seaweed, fresh pomegranate seeds, and an insanely delicious sesame dressing – it really comes as no surprise that this incredible dish was a repeat selection.
For those looking for a slab of beef, the grilled Angus strip loin at Quivo is a great choice. The flat top grilled hunk of steak is cooked to tender, juicy perfection and smothered in a rich rosemary and pepper gravy. The sauce is potent, offering a spicy nutty, pepper flavour.
The crab slider is the ideal finger food to consume while standing around sipping on a margarita and listening to a Malaysian band cover belt out “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The sweet, flaked crabmeat patty resting on a bed of spicy arugula, sandwiched between the softest of slider buns is down right glorious.
The fried calamari are coated in one of the lightest and crispiest batters I’ve ever had, and it’s served with an out of this world curry aioli. The nuttiness of the aioli pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the calamari, which should be mentioned, is clearly fresh from the ocean. Fried calamari can easily go wrong, but the dish at Quivo is fantastic. It is clear that there is a lot of pride put into offering the freshest and highest quality of ingredients when sampling this dish.
At Quivo, the ability to fuse flavours and cuisine together is a thing of beauty. Take their lamb paella for example. A traditional Spanish dish offered with the bold Middle Eastern flavours of cinnamon, cloves and cumin and served elegantly in hollowed out coconut shell. Huge chunks of tender, slow cooked lamb pair brilliantly with the most perfect al dente rice. The combination of the fall-apart tenderness of the lamb with the crunch of the rice is spectacular.
The final sampling of the night, aside from a few more margaritas of course, was the green curry chicken risotto. An unconventional approach that blended the bold flavours of Thailand with the soft, fluffy, and creamy cuisine of Italy. Thinking back now, you often eat curry with rice so it makes perfect sense to combine the two concepts, and at Quivo the obscure combination of Thai green curry flavours in a risotto is a brilliant match! I suppose it also helps that the risotto is cooked absolutely perfectly, with the fluffy grains holding together just enough so that they slowly dissipate across the bottom of the dish when left to settle.
Quivo is the type of place that you can go and know exactly what you are going to get – great service, great food that is bursting with flavour, and great drinks that embody the energy of the establishment.
Reasons to visit: the margarita and mojito are fantastic, the paella and risotto are non-conventional but superb, the calamari (enough said); a lively fun environment; and happy, friendly, and incredible service.