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Friday, June 10, 2011

Food: Plan b @ Bangsar Village

In life, when everything is going to the dogs, you know it's time to think of Plan B.

Ah-ha! We have a Plan B! least, that's my theory on how the owners came up with this interesting name for a restaurant.. =P

Is it supposed to be a capital B or small b? On napkins its a B, but everywhere else its b. Hmmm..
Plan b is one of the newer eateries in Bangsar. Located inside Bangsar Village 1 just outside the pick-up/drop-off area, This place has seen brisk business since day 1, and hasn't looked like slowing down at all since the first time we came here a few months ago. Back then we hadn't started Drops yet, but we did take pictures of the food, which is why you'll see pictures of what we had the first time and the second time in this post.

(Wendy: Our first visit to Plan b also happened to be 14th February this year. It was where Adam and I ended up for Valentine's Day after I endured the annual long lecture from him how Valentine's Day doesn't mean anything and that he was going to bring me for some hokkien mee on the night. So, anyone who asked me where I was going for V-Day this year got "hokkien mee" as an answer, and with that I got a lot of "oh, you poor girl" looks my way -_-)

To start, I usually like to talk about the overall ambiance of the restaurant. At Plan b, although the place can be packed and noisy with happy diners, many other diners still like to enjoy a glass of wine over dinner, ignoring the noise from around. I find that one of the charms of Plan b, as the place looks simple enough to conduct a reunion gathering with friends, yet at the same time boasts an overall dark environment with strategic spotlights shining on each table, which gives you the feeling like you're all alone in the room and the centre of attention. 

One of the first things you'll notice after sitting down is the notice for girls to "hang on, and take a moment to hook your bag under the table with the under-table hook provided". (Guys are welcome to use too if you have need.) While this is not something very radical, it does show the level of thought given to enhancing the customer service and experience, which I much appreciate. 

Many restaurants try to differentiate themselves in as many ways possible. The menu is one of the first things customers see, so this is one of the biggest areas to have differentiation. At Plan b, the menu is written on pieces of paper clipped onto a wooden board, so it's a little bit like a flip-chart. I must say that although the idea is novel, I'm not a fan of it because over time with heavy use the paper starts to look obviously worn out with dog ears and creases all over it. Since it's just paper, it would be nice if they printed new copies every now and then to replace the old ones.

But anyway, on to the food!

Chicken, Barley & Vegetable soup (RM10) with a swath of cheese floating on top
The appetizers menu at Plan b isn't very extensive. There's a choice of 2 different soups, so we tried both of them. The Chicken, Barley & Vegetable Soup turned out to be a very clear soup with lots of vegetables to munch on. To me it was nice, but not something I would pay RM10 for. Wendy loved this though, and she has this bookmarked as one of her favourite places for soup (ya lah women always tend to like the clear, healthy stuff =p). The bit of grilled cheese floating on top of the soup made a big difference to the flavour though, and we both loved it. It made me feel like the soup was worth having just for the cheese alone, and I wish there was more of it to go with every mouthful of soup!

Wild Mushroom Soup (RM10) topped with several dashes of cream
The other soup that Plan b offers is a Wild Mushroom Soup. Also at RM10, there was lots of little bits of mushroom inside the soup, which, as we mentioned before in our post on Mayfair, is very important to determine what kind of quality you're getting in your soup. Unfortunately we found this dish to be slightly below par, as though there was a some cream spread on top, overall the soup just wasn't creamy enough. It was quite a big bowl, but it was quite diluted and watery. Also there wasn't enough mushroom flavour to make this a great bowl of soup. It was disappointing, especially after starting so promisingly with the Chicken, Barley & Vegetable soup. 

Carbonara (RM 19), spaghettini with turkey ham and sauteed mushrooms engulfed in their classic creamy sauce. As carbonaras go, this one wasn't half bad. The mushrooms were thick and juicy, and there was ample cream sauce, which is good for those who like carbonara wet. Unfortunately I think I've been spoilt too much by other carbonara's at SanBanTo or Mayfair which have very distinct pork flavours. This one was more on the mild side, which fell a bit short of my high expectations.

The first time we went to Plan b, Wendy went straight for the Cheeseburger (RM 23). A simple burger, with beef patty sandwiched between lightly toasted buns together with some onion rings, cheese, and ketchup. A good combination that is hard to go wrong, we found the patty to be juicier than a lot of other joints, which was very good. 

Moroccan Lamb Meatballs pasta (RM 22), in smoky eggplant & tomato sauce. On my first visit there I was feeling adventurous and went for this. I had no idea what in the world Moroccan lamb meatballs were supposed to taste like, so I thought it should be pretty interesting, and I was right! The meatballs had a very unique and distinct flavour, packed with spices. That meant the spaghetti also had a unique tomato flavour base, although I thought it was a bit plain with not enough sauce.

And lastly, this is the Asian-Style Golden Softshell Crab pasta (RM 22) - spaghettini tossed in creamy butter sauce and topped with crispy curry leaves and chilli flakes for that extra oomph.

Honestly out of all the dishes we have tried at Plan b, this is our favourite. I'm a total sucker for all things buttery and  creamy, and the sauce in this pasta tastes nearly exactly like butter prawns or crab that we eat at Chinese restaurants. Mixing it with soft shell crab is pure genius as the crispy texture and meatiness of the crab go perfectly with the pasta. But what's most unique about this is the slightly spicy tinge to the pasta, thanks to the chilli flakes inside. It's not common to find pastas that are actually spicy, but I think chefs should take note of how Plan b does this dish and start creating their own variations!

We don't usually mention the drinks, but the milkshakes here deserve a special mention, because they are just awesome! At about 10 bucks a pop, it's not the cheapest milkshake around, but believe me when I say you are paying for quality. The picture above is the Oreo flavour, and below is the Butterscotch flavour. Their milkshakes are really thick and not icy, which makes them really tasty treats. Ask for a glass of water too though, because it's so thick you're still going to feel thirsty after a glass.

We've yet to give their desserts a try, but if they're as good as the food, then we definitely need to sample their sweet treats as well.

So anyway, next time you're in the Bangsar area and stumped for something to have dinner, give Plan b a thought! There's a lot of talk on Foursquare on how the service is atrocious, but we encountered nothing of the sort the two times we were there. The food is good, prices are reasonable for the locality, and it's a great place to see and be seen. We'll be back here again for sure.. =)

Plan b. | Facebook
G05, Bangsar Village 1,
Jalan Telawi 1, Bangsar Baru,
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2287 2630

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