Mellow KL

Mellow Wine & Dining Room-Natural Wine Bar KL

Mellow Wine & Dining Room – Natural Wine Bar KL

Words: Stephen Reid
Photos: Han Sen Hau

From the creators of Superfine KL, dynamic duo Larry, Kenix and partners have launched a new natural wine bar, Mellow Wine & Dining Room, that is sure to make a splash in KL. Opening their doors on 1st December, they invited customers into a space that was inspired by the cafe scene of 1920s Paris. As you step inside, you are greeted by a cosy, elegant atmosphere with warm wood, soft colours, and gentle lighting. Andy and Clarissa, the friendly staff, showed us to our table, where we enjoyed the view of the impressive communal dining table in the centre of the room. The table, made from a massive butcher block balanced on large smooth wooden cubes, was a masterpiece of local craftsmanship by Backley. It would be the perfect spot for a larger group, a shared meal or a wine-tasting event. 

The restaurant showcases its natural wines on a wall of backlit wooden shelves, adding to the cosy atmosphere. The bottles glow softly, inviting guests to taste their flavours. A colourful Tiffany-style lamp adds a touch of elegance to the bar at the back of the room, where solid wooden stools with plush velvet cushions in cream and teal await the customers. The floor is tiled with cream and terracotta, complementing the overall design of the place. 

Natural Wine Bar Seventeen Mall Section 17 PJ
Mellow Wine & Dining Room Entrance
Natural Wine Bar Seventeen Mall Section 17 PJ
Natural Wine Bar & Restaurant PJ
Natural Wine Bar Seventeen Mall Section 17 PJ
Inside Seventeen Mall Section 17

Mellow KL Natural Wine List

What if wine could speak for itself without any human interference? That’s the idea behind natural wines, the wines that are made with the least possible manipulation in the vineyard and the cellar. They are the purest expression of the grapes, the soil, the climate, and the yeasts that ferment them, all grown organically or biodynamically.

They are the wines that respect the environment, the health, and the taste of the drinkers and have won the hearts of many wine enthusiasts and critics in the last few years. They are the wines that surprise and delight with their variety of styles, from red to white, rosé to sparkling, orange to amber, and their diversity of flavours, aromas, and textures. They are not just a trend but a revolution that defies the wine industry’s conventions and expectations and honours the winemakers’ diversity and creativity.

Natural wines can be a daunting territory for even the most experienced wine lovers, who may need some guidance to find a wine that matches their preferences. At Mellow KL, they understand that buying a whole bottle of natural wine you have not tried before can be risky, especially if you do not like it. That’s why Mellow offers a unique option: taste before you pay. You can taste the selected wines (they change weekly so there’s always something new), and if you like it, you can commit to the glass or bottle. If not, try something else and continue. That way, you can explore their selection of natural wines without worrying about wasting money or wine. 

As today was our first visit, we opted to sample the three house wines available by the glass. These options will change from time to time as they hope to spotlight different wines and wineries.

We started with a glass of Vorgeschmac white wine (RM 36 per glass, RM 216 per bottle) from Martin and Anna Arndorfer, a young couple making natural wines in the Kamptal region of Austria. This wine is a blend of Grüner Veltliner and Reisling and is considered a great introduction to the Arndorfer style. It was slightly effervescent and had a bright, fruity nose with a crisp mineral and saline finish.  

Mellow KL
Vorgeschmac – Mellow KL

Next, we tried the Schlehe Amber Wine (RM 37 per glass, RM 222 per bottle), another creation of the Austrian duo Martin and Anna Arndorfer. This wine is a complex blend of 85% Grüner Veltliner, 10% Chardonnay and 5% Neuberger grapes, grown with organic and biodynamic practices. The grapes are hand-picked and left to ferment in their skins for up to a month, using only natural yeasts. The wine is bottled without fining or filtering, giving it a rich amber hue. It has aromas of peach, plum, apricot, and citrus, but it also has a funky edge from the skin contact. It might appeal more to those who have developed a taste for natural wines, although Monica and I didn’t find its bittersweet aftertaste quite to our liking. 

Mellow KL
Schlehe Amber Wine

We ended our wine tasting with a Trebbiolo 2021 Vino Rosso (RM 39 per glass, RM 228 per bottle), a natural wine from La Stoppa winery in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. This wine blended 60% Barbera and 40% Bonarda grapes, giving it a fruity and refreshing taste. We enjoyed its notes of cherry and raspberry and its medium body and long finish with a hint of bitterness. It was a versatile wine that could pair well with any food or be enjoyed on its own. It had a dark ruby colour, as it was bottled without fining or filtering. We liked it best when it was slightly chilled, at around 16°C. This was probably our favourite of the three wines we sampled. 

Mellow KL
Trebbiolo 2021 Vino Rosso

Food Menu 

We started our meal with a stand-out dish, Milk Fish (RM 38), a delicate and refreshing dish showcasing the local ‘milkfish’ known as bangus ibaya and bolu, a common fish in Southeast Asia. Milkfish is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. The fish was cured with mirin and wakame, a type of seaweed that added a briny and umami flavour and sliced into thin pieces of sashimi. The sashimi was drizzled with coconut milk, resulting in a creamy and sweet sauce that balanced the saltiness of the wakame. The dish was also garnished with basil oil, a fragrant and herbal dressing that enhanced the freshness of the fish, and pickled grapes, a tangy and crunchy element that added a burst of sweetness and acidity. Flower petals and micro herbs decorated the dish, adding beauty and flavour to the elegant presentation. The fish melted in our mouths, expertly cured and arranged in a stunning visual display. It was a delight for both our eyes and our palates.

Natural Wine Bar Seventeen Mall Section 17 PJ
Milk Fish – Wine Bar & Restaurant Seventeen Mall, Section 17

We followed this with Mushroom Risotto (RM 45), a wholesome, hearty and satisfying dish that looks simple but is easy to get wrong. No worries here, as Chef Larry cooked for us a dish featuring the earthy flavours of mushrooms, grana padano cheese, and truffle pate, which he showcased in a beautiful ceramic bowl that he says is a pain to stack, but was a pleasure to look at, putting me in mind of similar crockery used at Ottolenghi’s restaurant Nopi in London. The rice was soft and creamy, the mushrooms were tender and tasty, the peas were crunchy and colourful, and the cheese was melty and tangy. The rice was cooked to a perfect al dente texture. The truffle pate added a decadent and aromatic touch that elevated the dish to a gourmet level yet was balanced and didn’t overpower the dish.     

Mellow KL
Mushroom Risotto – Mellow Wine & Dining Room

You should beware of the next dish we sampled: it’s dangerously delicious and hard to resist. Jay Rayner, the food writer and critic, has a podcast called “Last Suppers’ where he asks you to describe your ideal last meal; he explores what your final feast says about you. What would you choose? I now know I would include Chef Larry’s Crisp Eggplant (RM 25) stir-fried in fish-fragrant sauce, a dish that blew me away from the first bite. It’s a simple but sublime dish of eggplant slices dipped in a light batter and fried to a golden crisp. Then, they were tossed in a fiery and tangy sauce that has nothing to do with fish but everything to do with flavour. It’s a classic Sichuanese sauce that mimics the taste of fermented fish sauce, using garlic, ginger, scallions, sugar, vinegar, chilli bean paste, and Sichuan peppercorns. The sauce hit all the right notes: sweet, sour, salty, and numbing. The eggplant soaked up the sauce and became melt-in-your-mouth soft while keeping some crunch on the outside. A Vegan dish that everyone will enjoy. 

Natural Wine Bar Seventeen Mall Section 17 PJ
Crisp Eggplant

If you are looking for a vegetarian option that is both satisfying and flavourful, try the Charred Market Vege (RM 30) at Mellow. This dish featured a variety of fresh vegetables, such as zucchini, butternut squash, and baby corn, charred to perfection and served with a rich brown butter sauce. The charred vegetables had a smoky and caramelised taste that contrasted nicely with the nutty and creamy butter. The dish was served with a beetroot and red wine vinegar coulis that added a tangy and earthy note as well as a splash of vibrant red colour. However, Monica perhaps already in a Christmas frame of mind, could have sworn that she could taste cranberry rather than beetroot!

Natural Wine Bar Seventeen Mall Section 17 PJ
Charred Market Vege – Natural Wine Bar PJ

We had a pleasant surprise when the Sous Chef of Mellow, Rowena, who was behind many of the delicious dishes we tasted today, came out of the kitchen to greet us warmly. Chef Larry told us the secret of their speedy service: hours of meticulous preparation of fresh ingredients before the restaurant opens. He said that the French term for this process is mise en place, which means “everything in its place”. Making food look and taste this good whilst appearing so calm and carefree brought to my mind the image of a swan gliding with an apparent lack of effort across a lake whilst unseen, underneath, furious paddling is taking place. Back to the kitchen, therefore, for Rowena, as we had a few more stops on our culinary expedition. 

Mellow KL
Sous ChefRowena & Chef Larry – Mellow Wine & Dining Room

Although listed on the menu as Grilled Sole (RM 68), with a capers cream sauce and pickled cauliflower today, Chef Larry had replaced the sole with barracuda, and I was pleasantly surprised by the change. The barracuda was a more substantial and satisfying fish; its firm white meaty flesh paired well with the zesty sauce and the crunchy pickled cauliflower, pickled red onions, confit garlic sliced tomatoes and pickled Enoki mushrooms. 

Natural Wine Bar Seventeen Mall Section 17 PJ
Grilled Barracuda

To mop up some of the delicious sauces remaining from our previous dishes, we ordered Fresh flatbread with Zaatar (RM 18 V). The flatbread is made from Neopolitan dough, which undergoes a 48-hour fermentation process to achieve a light and airy texture with a crispy crust. The dough was then topped with zaatar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that consists of thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. Zaatar adds a burst of flavour and aroma to the flatbread, making it irresistible. It’s served with freshly made aioli, which has a rich, smooth texture, a bright, tangy flavour and a pungent aromatic smell. Unlike some restaurants that use garlic mayonnaise as a cheap substitute for aioli, this one is authentic and delicious. 

Natural Wine Bar Seventeen Mall Section 17 PJ
Fresh flatbread with Zaatar- Mellow Wine & Dining Room

Appearing at our table next was a delightful little pile of Arancini (RM 30), a vegetarian delight that filled our mouths with joy. These scrumptious rice balls were infused with shitake mushrooms, giving them a deep and earthy taste. They were coated with panko crumbs, which made them crispy on the outside and golden brown after frying. To spice things up, they came with pickled Calabrian chilli, a fiery and zesty sauce that balanced the smooth and mild rice balls. Perfect as a smaller snack with a glass of wine or as part of a shared small plate experience. 

Mellow KL
Arancini

Chef Larry thought we might require a lighter plate next, so he prepared a mouthwatering Charred Tomato Salad (RM 30) featuring baby salad leaves and a simple vinaigrette dressing for us. The charring process concentrated the sweetness of the tomatoes, adding a slightly bitter note balanced by the vinaigrette’s sharp acidity. The result was a burst of flavour that cleansed our palates for our final dish.

Mellow KL
Charred Tomato Salad

We tried the Iberico Pork Collar (RM 55), which was influenced by Thai cuisine, for our last dish. This dish featured a succulent and tender cut of pork collar, a premium part of the pig rich in flavour and marbling. The pork collar was perfectly grilled, with a crispy crust and a juicy interior. The dish was served with pesto diavola, a spicy and aromatic sauce made with basil, chilli, garlic, and cheese. The pesto added a kick of heat and a touch of creaminess to the pork. The dish also came with confit garlic and pickled red onion, which contrasted sweetness and acidity to balance the richness of the pork and the pesto. The confit garlic was soft and mellow, while the pickled red onion was crunchy and tangy. 

Natural Wine Bar Seventeen Mall Section 17 PJ
Iberico Pork Collar

Mellow Wine & Dining Room Review 

Natural wines are a new territory for me, but I felt well-guided by the staff at Mellow Wine & Dining Room, who were eager to share their expertise and passion. I appreciated the option to return an opened bottle of wine if it didn’t match my taste and only pay for a glass. This gave me the freedom to explore and discover new flavours in the natural wine movement. Mellow is a place to enjoy natural wines and a destination for mouthwatering food that will make you come back for more. I think Chef Larry and Kenix have another hit on their hands. 

Reasons to visit Mellow Wine & Dining Room – Natural Wine Bar in PJ: If you’re looking for reasons to visit Mellow, look no further than the Crisp Eggplant! It’s phenomenal; just try it and thank me later. Monica and I also loved the Milkfish, an elegant, mouthwatering and beautiful plate of food. We were delighted to learn that it is also the dish Chef Larry is most proud of on his menu. And rightly so. Not to mention the solid selection of natural wines and the chance to try them before committing to a full bottle.

Natural Wine Bar Seventeen Mall Section 17 PJ
Mellow Wine & Dining Room – Natural Wine Bar Food Menu

Mellow Wine & Dining Room – Natural Wine Bar & Restaurant PJ
L1-06A Seventeen Mall
Jalan 17/38, Seksyen 18
Petaling Jaya Selangor
@mellow.kl
+6016 260 1701

Mellow Wine & Dining Room Opening Hours
Daily: 3 pm – 11 pm

Find more on the wine scene in Kuala Lumpur here and stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in KL’s food and beverage scene here and here.

2 Comments

  1. I like white but they say red is good for health.

  2. Nice salad 😀

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