D'Italiane Kitchen at Jaya 33 is one of our favourite places to go for a nice, disappointment-free dinner. On weeknights when we're craving some hearty pasta or soup, we make a beeline for D'Italiane to fulfill that craving. We've come to expect nothing but good food from them, and so when we heard that they had branched out into local & fusion fare in the form of D'Cuisine in neighbouring Plaza 33, we were pretty excited.
|Slotted spoons hanging over the bar|
D'Cuisine is quite hidden beneath an escalator, and you won't spot it from the main road, unlike the more-famous Coliseum. In fact, we've dined here on two occasions and both times we spotted people being put off by the queue at Coliseum and instead end up coming over to D'Cuisine.
I really like D'Cuisine's vibe and its earthy grey, brown & black theme. It's comfy and peaceful (for now because I guess it's still fairly new?) yet slightly quirky in its decor - think low hanging lampshades, bicycle wheels on the walls, dangling ladles and slotted spoons over the bar and asymmetrical shelves. In the daytime, you get a nice mix of natural sunlight and romantic yellow bulb light.
|Multiple plug points available along the booth seats|
The food at D'Cuisine is billed as a fusion experience, and the menu does describe some types of food that we'd never imagine being put together in the same sentence! For example, instead of just normal fried calamari, D'Cuisine offers a Caramelized Orange Calamari (RM 18) which are deep fried squid bits coated with orange-infused caramel. I give them 10 points for presentation; the partially sliced open orange contrasts nicely with the brown fried squid. Taste-wise, the flavor of orange was quite mild, but if eaten with a bit of the orange rind layered on top the orange flavor obviously becomes much more apparent. It's also got a nice spicy kick to it too! The portion size is nothing great, probably just enough for 2 or 3.
Since we were here for lunch, I skipped past the heavier meats and settled for the Kaffir Lime Fish & Chips (RM 27) (told you nothing is simple here =P). The fish itself, a garoupa fillet, was just OK in my books. I only gathered the taste of kaffir lime from the batter, and it wasn't too strong or overpowering. One little peeve though - they don't serve tartar sauce! This fish and chips is served with their own tangy side dip that's on the watery side and very citrusy. I would have loved to have some plain old tartar sauce at least, but other than that found this to be an interesting creation.
The disappointment for the day came in the form of this Thai Stir Fried Chicken Noodles (RM 18). It was supposed to be fried in fish sauce with chicken and mushroom, but there was definitely more mushroom than chicken in there! While the Western food at D'Cuisine is adventurous and pushes boundaries, we felt this attempt at Thai noodles was very boring, with a flavor that bordered on bland. Give this a miss and try other things instead.
With our tastebuds having already been tested with all these new fusion flavours at D'Cuisine, we thought we might as well put it to the test one last time, with one of the most interesting desserts on the menu - Molten Salted Egg Pudding with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (RM 19)!
Just think, instead of the normal chocolate molten / volcano cake with a runny centre, put runny salted egg instead! Queer you might think, but not in the slightest when eaten on a plate! An absolute sin for weight-watchers; we don't want to think about the calories in this. But taste-wise it was very nice , pairing well with their homemade vanilla ice-cream, albeit in a totally different way compared to chocolate. The boring traditional boy in me would still prefer a normal chocolate fondant with ice cream.
On our second visit, we went at night (so you'll see darker pictures LOL) but we found that the staff seemed bit disoriented somehow. They didn't have a lot of the dishes we wanted especially in the appetizers so we finally settled on this Salted Eggs Soft Shell Crab Legs & White Bait (RM 22).
The Mustard & Herb Crusted Baked Chicken (RM 25) was quite good albeit being a bit oily. It wasn't a big piece of meat, but it was a deboned thigh portion, which meant it was nicely juicy. The mustard & herb crust had a nice umami flavour to it, but got a bit overpowering halfway through. I didn't quite like that the mash potatoes weren't finely mashed, but that's a very personal preference.
Wendy had a simple Nyonya Chicken Curry Platter (RM 18). Nothing much to shout about this one except that it felt very home-cooked. Though the menu mentioned this as being served with prawn floss, there was none and the staff didn't seem sure when we asked either.
As always, we are overcome by temptation for dessert at D'Cuisine. Sadly, the one Wendy had been lusting for (some coconut ice cream with sticky rice) was not available that night either, so we settled for Caramelized Banana with Screwpine Infusion (RM 15) - pan fried bananas caramelized with brown sugar, cinnamon pandan juice. Yes, a real mouthful to say out loud, but a real sweet treat when eaten!
Everything about this is sweet, from the banana to the slight crunch of the brown sugar from the caramelization, to the cinnamon. There is a lovely fragrant, local hint with the screwpine too. Unless you have no issues with overly sweet food, don't attempt this because its pretty sweet towards the end.
After 2 visits here, we're think D'Cuisine has the potential to catch on in the near future. Though mains can be a bit hit & miss, but desserts are great and we love the ambiance. Outside D'Cuisine is an outdoor lounge area called Ketch-up, which will soon be open as well. So before business goes through the roof, take the chance to try out this lesser-known gem before word gets out and the crowds swarm in!
*For our full set of d'Cuisine pictures, do visit our Facebook album here.
Ground Floor, Plaza 33
Jalan Semangat, Section 13
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs, 11am-3pm & 6pm-11pm; Fri-Sun, 11am-11pm