Pictures by Gisele Soo
SeeFoon makes merry in a marble manor
When your family is in the marble business, it’s natural that all your decor highlights would be in marble. But when your floors, table tops, bathroom basins and a whole flight of stairs are in large slabs of marble, then you know that this restaurant is a “no-expense spared” venture, funded by people with deep pockets.
I pass by Tambun road often, on my way to the Echo office and have noticed this well decorated facade of a bungalow set back from the main road with the name Grove Diner emblazoned across the front. Intrigued, I have promised myself to check it out but was put off by friends’ negative feedback.
Until recently, after MCO when I was determined to help the restaurants that were languishing and decided to give Grove Diner a go. First of all, I was put off by the name Diner which is more suited to a downtown shopfront with banquet seating and quick fast food items.
Not in this luxurious space though, with marble everywhere.
But of course, a well decorated restaurant does not guarantee satisfied diners. It’s the quality of food that counts and where and how well the Chef was trained.
Well I was in luck.
Proprietors Andrew Koo and wife Sharon Chew had just hired a new Chef who had been there only for two months. Trained in western cuisine and having worked in Singapore for more than 8 years, the Chef is turning out superlative dishes, delicate and in fine dining fashion, each dish beautifully curated and plated.
We started with the Tagliatelle Alfredo, cooked the way I like it, al dente, and each strand coated with creamy Alfredo sauce owing more to egg than cream. Velvety smooth, the pieces of bacon adding texture and umami, a real delight. RM33.
Next came the Chilean Cod, crusted with chopped walnut, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper. This is their signature dish; a lightly roasted piece of cod, the skin crisped and crusted, and served with Peas Puree and sauteed vegetables. The cod which is hard to come by, was flaky, done to the right degree, and had a smooth mouthfeel, contrasting nicely with the crispy crust. RM98.
Another signature dish followed, this time the Lamb Rack, a tender and juicy rack of lamb from New Zealand, again crusted with a similar mix as the cod, cooked medium well and good to the last bite as I nibbled the bone. Done a’la sous vide (constant temperature immersion) the lamb was amazingly tender, served with Provencal vegetables and lamb jus. RM79.
The last main course for the four of us was the Chicken Roulade. This was chicken thigh with spinach stuffing, served with carrot puree and a black pepper sauce. Now I usually find chicken dishes on menus quite boring as it is so ubiquitous, but here in Grove Diner I found the Chicken Roulade utterly irresistible. It was tender and juicy, owing probably to its sous vide beginnings. RM35.
Naturally we had to have dessert. The piece de resistance was the Tiramisu, homemade by Andrew’s mother who is an avid baker, followed by the Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcake.
The Tiramisu was outstanding. With a base of biscuits and nuts, Madeleine biscuits and sponge cake soaked in coffee and coffee liquor, and mascarpone cheese in between the layers, topped with cocoa powder, the whole confection is worth the trip just to have this on its own for tea or coffee. RM28.
And if Tiramisu is not to your taste, check out the Hokkaido Chiffon Cupcake with orange peel, almonds, and cheese filling. Soft, smooth and delectable, RM5.
There are two private rooms in Grove Diner seating 12 and 14 people respectively. An event hall upstairs can fit up to 30 people for functions complete with a sound system and projector.
The whole restaurant is a showcase in marble with pottery and crockery made of marble for sale dotted around the restaurant. This is all local marble from the Perak Hills around Simpang Pulai where their marble factory is located.
Grove Diner, the new Fine Dining Venue.
*Grove Diner is not Pork Free.
144, Jalan Tambun, Kem Rejimen Askar Melayu Diraja Tambun, 31400 Ipoh, Perak.
Closed on Mondays
BYO corkage charges:
RM20 for wine, RM40+ for hard liquor
Delivery only available for desserts
Check out The Foodie’s Guide to Ipoh’s Best Eats 2 for more Ipoh eats recommended by SeeFoon, available for purchase at a special discounted price now! Message us on Facebook for inquiries and orders!