Ben’s @ Publika

My husband and I recently celebrated our 2nd year anniversary together; and yes it has been 2 years already! Welcoming Sarah to the world was definitely the highlight for both of us and our lives were forever changed as we muddled and fretted over parenthood like any other clueless parent. To celebrate the occasion, we decided to go to Ben’s which is under The Big Group at Publika, Solaris Dutamas.

The owner of The Big Group, Benjamin Yong, has certainly carved a cosy corner for himself in almost every single shopping mall in the Klang Valley with his string of restaurants. I whole-heartedly agree that he is an ambitious restaurateur and Malaysia would benefit greatly from more enterprising people like him. Following his departure from his first baby, the Delicious Group, he has embarked on a grand gastronomic plan to conquer the local food scene with a staggering 16 new restaurants and a Ben’s General Food Store! In fact, at Publika itself he has Journal by Plan B at one corner and Ben’s at the other end while his supermarket is at the floor below. I can only be amazed at the passion he has for restaurants and honestly, he should have a reality show to film all the behind the scenes footage because it would be interesting to see how every single detail is pieced together for new and confused restaurateurs!

Coming back to the restaurant, each Ben’s is designed to reflect the group’s tagline of ‘building relationships through food’. Somehow, it sounds like a tagline from a movie! The colour theme at Ben’s is driven by the colours yellow and black which is predominantly visible throughout the restaurant and even on the waiter’s ties. At the entrance of the restaurant is a waiting area with sunny, yellow walls and white rattan chairs. The main counter bar had yellow lamps shining from above and a black loft staircase that led to nowhere. An interesting design concept, to say the least and one that I wouldn’t mind having.

On each table at the restaurant is a cute collection of small cards with interesting questions that you can share with your fellow diners. I’m sure you have been on dates with someone unfamiliar and sometimes there is an awkward silence that pierces through the air. This is made worse if you are completely un-attracted to the person sitting opposite you! But if you are still trying to test waters, there is no harm in grabbing one of the cards and having a good laugh. Some of the questions on the cards were ‘Which Childhood Snack Holds the Fondest Memory for You and Why?’ and get this, ‘What’s the One Thing about Yourself that You’d Like to Improve On?’ Haha, somehow I don’t think that would be a pleasant conversation piece if you’re dead honest about it and you start exposing your flaws to a shocked and bewildered date.

The menu at Ben’s remains a familiar sight with Western and Italian favourites. I was tempted to try something new such as the pies but in the end I gave in to my craving and settled for the Crispy Duck Confit Spaghettini. This dish rang a familiar bell as it is also featured at Delicious. However, the main difference is that at Ben’s, they served the duck crispy which I’m afraid I prefer the one at Delicious. Nonetheless, I’m sure both dishes were Benjamin’s ideas. The pasta dish was complemented by the robust taste of sun-dried tomatoes, lashings of olive oil and if I’m not mistaken, rocket leaves.

What is duck confit exactly? It is actually a French dish made with the leg of the duck. This involves salt curing a piece of meat and poaching it in its own fat. Ah yes, the wonders of fat. Also, perhaps my two most favourite types of pasta shapes are linguine and spaghettini. I find that angel hair is too thin while fettucine is too broad for me!

My husband’s preferred choice is always steak and so he decided to order the steak frites which is French for fries. The menu described it as a piece of char-grilled striploin with pepper sauce, french fries and green beans. It came with a generous serving of the sauce although it was a tad salty and I liked the fresh and crunchy green beans. The medium-well steak was tender and is a dish worth ordering again. I liked how they presented the fries in a metal basket and paper to soak up the grease.

Although it was the middle of the week, there were plenty of people milling around the restaurant looking for a table. Malaysians never fail to amaze me with their strong appetite for good food at anytime of the week. The service was not too bad at Ben’s and my crispy duck confit was served at lightning speed. I had actually heard about its bad service previously but I was fortunate enough that I did not experience this.

Any girl I know will applaud their wide selection of desserts and as I made a difficult decision to choose only one, I decided to go with their Macadamia Cheese Sundae as I had not seen it at other places. The dessert was sublime and divine with vanilla ice cream, caramel and topped with glazed, macadamia nuts that were nestled with chunks of cheesecake. I had to raise the white flag eventually because I was unable to finish the sinfully, rich dessert! So if you’re ever in Publika, do consider Ben’s for a wholesome meal and tasty desserts.

Ben’s @ Publika
37A & 37B, Level G2, Publika Shopping Gallery
Jalan Dutamas 1, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 6205 2768

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