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Bon Ton Restaurant
No. 8 Jalan Conlay
Kuala Lumpur 50450, Malaysia
Mon~Sat 12pm to 12am
Holidays 6pm to 12am
Sun open for private events only
Billing itself as a “resort home in the heart of the city… simple yet stylish, a fine yet affordable place to wine, dine and entertain”, the Bon Ton Restaurant served just that very purpose for an informal dinner that I had with some external business partners and colleagues in Malaysia’s capital city. After spending too many hours in meetings rooms and hotels, it was nice to get out and stretch our legs with an energizing walk to this establishment, located not too far from the famed KLCC.
Bon Ton does have a decent premise, with its mix of “old & new, east & west”, quite fitting for this city with a huge ethnic mosaic and growing influence in the region thus drawing in visitors from across Asia and other parts of the world alike. The menu itself followed this trend, with both contemporary and traditional takes on Asian and Western dishes, and a wine list (not overly extensive) that relied more on the New World (much to the delight of two of our dining companions from Australia). Various set courses could be had, but all of us opted to go with a starter and main course, which quite frankly was filling and more than enough for me. I had decided to go with a not overly challenging Roasted Eggplant & Potato Soup, to get my appetite going. Hard to screw that up and they didn’t so as I was engrossed in the coversation and taking my share of a few bottles of wine, I was off to a good start, albeit it was not a completely social occasion so some of the joy of dining was not there for me.
Scanning the room after we’d been there for about 15-20 minutes, it was then that I realized that this Thursday night (around 7:30pm-8:00pm) was not going to be a busy night for the restaurant as I only saw two other tables of two that were taken up (our party of seven was seated at a longer rectangular table in the middle of the floor). Later on though, a larger group than ours of about twelve came in and were seated at a similar style of table to ours a few feet behind us. No other guests came in during the three or so hours we were there.
Returning to my main, I elected to stick with my quest to eat as much seafood as I could on this Asia journey, and chose the very bountiful Seafood Platter. It was comprised of gratinated fish fillet, sweet “Japanese” baby octopus, tumeric scallops, steamed mussels with ginger sauce, grilled prawns, dragon fruit salad, and parsley rice, all arranged on a single round plate. I recall that the scallops were nice and plump and well cooked and seasoned, the baby octopus was just too sweet for my tastes in some kind of honey-like glaze, the mussles a bit tiny and too dried out, fish fillet just average, as were the prawns. So essentially one for five in terms of the seafood items satisfying my craving on this night, which did not bode well for my thoughts on this place. If not for the glasses of nicely chilled white wine I was consuming, I don’t think I would have been in such a good mood. The others at my table had gone more for the meats on the menu, such as some roasted chicken and barbequed rack of lamb. I didn’t hear any complaints from them, so afterwards was thinking I should have gone the same route. Only one fellow had room for dessert, I think it was some kind of biscuits, ice cream and berry sauce. He polished it off nicely, so must have been satisfied.
Overall, the room fit with our needs on that night, a relaxed mood where there was no pressure to leave after two hours, attentive service with the wine (of which we had many bottles), and a nice end to a busy work day. I think any busier place would have just added to the continuation of us having to be mentally “on”, whereas on this night it was just fine to be in a quieter, less busy restaurant. With four nations being represented at the table, the varied menu seemed to work for everyone, though it resulted in a more Western skew in terms of choices for most. So obviously not the best scenario for dining, when you are in such a diverse and interesting food culture such as Malaysia, but this was the hand that was drawn for this particular occasion, with this group, and on this night. For those with similar conditions to work with, Bon Ton might work for you, but otherwise I would make a call and go to a more truly Malaysian food experience if you find your way to Kuala Lumpur.