Ipoh is not known for its western fine dining and the few that are flourishing here can be counted on one hand.
One that has stood the test of time is Indulgence Restaurant, the grand old mansion with its ample parking space, its eclectic decor, whimsical lamps and wall hangings.
With a change in ownership and the hiatus brought about by the long pandemic, the “new” Indulgence under the leadership of Simon Lee who started Citrus Wine and Dine more than 17 years ago, is now revving up to serve Ipoh’s diners for both lunch and dinner.
Simon, who is now the proprietor and Chef at Indulgence, needs no introduction to the ‘ladies who lunch’ or the evening diners. I have written about Simon’s culinary skills on many occasions with the latest (2018) naming Citrus as one of Ipoh’s ‘enduring’ restaurants. Citrus continues to be run by Erica Kok who is doing a superlative job. (pls see links below)
Simon has an impressive culinary history having worked his way up at the Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore from 1994 to 2004. A year’s posting to Regent Auckland in 2005 saw him winning a Gold with Excellence in a food competition in New Zealand. He also represented Singapore as part of the National Team for the World Food Competition in Basel in 1998 where the Singapore team was the 1st runner up.
I have always enjoyed Simon’s food and I was taken aback when I happened to hear a casual lament recently from someone who wished that Simon would be more creative with his menu at Indulgence.
In Simon’s defense though, I’d personally prefer consistent quality on the tongue than deal with over-reaching creativity that sacrifices the palate.
And on the various occasions when I’ve been dining in Indulgence since Simon was at the helm, this consistent quality was always eminently present.
Creativity is definitely not absent in Simon’s repertoire. For a Chef who has mastered the fine art of molecular cuisine which I had the pleasure of tasting during his time at Citrus, we as his fans just need to give him time to spread his wings at Indulgence.
On a recent visit to Indulgence recently a few of us shared some of the new items on the menu.
The Teriyaki Australian beef steak was sliced, served with broccoli florets, carrots, Daikon (Japanese pickled radish) surrounding a bowl of fragrant Japanese rice, topped with an onsen egg and sesame seeds. The beef slices were very tender and spooned with the rice coated by the egg yolk, it was a mouthful of umami. The sesame seeds added crunch. RM52 ( for non meat eaters, they also have a salmon version)
One of my favourite appetizers here is the Cherry wood-smoked Scallop with seaweed salad. I’ve had this on previous occasions and hence did not order on this occasion. Three large scallops sit on a plate with a glass lid through which cold cherry wood smoke is infused. The result is a just-barely-cooked scallop imbued with smoky flavor, permeating the bed of red seaweed on which each sits. The seaweed brings more of the sea freshness to the dish, creating a plateful of umami. Available for pre-order only
Next we had Conchiglie with King Prawns and Mentaiko sauce. Three humongous king prawns nestling amidst a bed of perfectly al dente shell pasta. The accompanying Mentaiko sauce was thick and creamy, taking my heart to Mediterranean shores and nostalgic memories of Japan. Mentaiko is a Japanese delicacy of whole roe sacs of Alaskan pollack/cod, which are cured with salt and marinated in various seasonings and spices, a taste that my palate occasionally hankers. RM55
The Truffle & Mushroom Pizza was my special request. At Indulgence, the crust is wafer thin, the toppings ambrosial, with fresh mushrooms enhanced with the heady aroma of real truffles, and topped with mozzarella. I can eat the whole pizza by myself… but I am being greedy. RM42
Simon recommended we taste his new Lamb Burger “Moroccan” Style. Far from the usual MacD, this was a hearty lamb patty, juicy, despite two of my lunch companions requesting for almost ‘well-done’; topped with cheese, onion jam, and served with fries. The homemade lamb patty’s Moroccan spices came through, the burger juicy, the melted cheese lending a moist addition, onion jam lending a sweet piquancy and the bun was soft, squishy and crispy on the outside. All you would ever ask in a burger and if you eat lamb. I am sure though that Simon would do one in beef if you requested. RM52
For Dessert we had a pear and cranberry crumble (not on the menu). This was served with a mango and orange coulis, mixture of berries, vanilla ice cream, edible flowers and perfect fro my taste buds, (meaning not sweet). The secret to a good crumble is to be crispy and this was. RM16
For drinks, one my young teetotaler companions had the Luscious Lips (orange, banana & strawberry) which she said had a nice sour kick and complemented the food. RM16
Another had the Passion I Know, a balance of passion fruit & mango, with one not overpowering the other, a balance of sweet and sour. RM20
I of course had a glass of wine!
Other items up Simon’s sleeves which I’ve had on other occasions are the New Zealand Lamb Ribs—Frenched and served with grilled Mediterranean vegetables, roasted potatoes, and apple mint chutney. This is one of my favorite dishes here. RM80.
Another favourite of mine is the Fish & Chips (not served) crispy tempura batter coating Halibut, served with triple fried fries, mesclun mix, and a homemade garlic remoulade. RM49
Contact Details :
Simon Lee, Proprietor
14, Jalan Raja Dihilir, 30350 Ipoh, Perak
Tel : 05 255 7051
Business Hours : 11.30am – 10pm, Wednesday – Sunday