Jazzy Double Date Dinner @ The Venue, Pavilion

If you haven’t already heard, recently, there’s this new place in town called The Venue that everyone has been raving about. They’re not just another wine and dine place that are a dime a dozen all over Pavilion. This place promises really good food complemented by the widest array of specially tailored cocktails and a different live band every week. So if you’re a big fan of good food accompanied by equally good live music, then this is the place for you.

I’m not usually one of those who would immediately flock to a place just because everyone else is telling me to, but this place seriously sounded like something worth checking out. A colourful list of the most prominent musicians from all over the world has graced their stage and a couple of other food bloggers have also given them exemplary reviews on their palatable offerings. With a resume like that, it was an immediate green-light go on my end when the invitation came for a small food tasting session specially for a small handful of selected bloggers.

I was already thoroughly impressed the moment I walked into the place. It was tastefully furnished with wooden tables and cream-coloured cushioned chairs that matched their hardwood flooring. Purple was easily discernible as the main colour theme of the place from the underlights illuminating the place in a romantic glow. My favourite part? A sprawling hell of a bar that makes up an entire wall of the restaurant. The many different colours spilling from the variety of bottles made for the most picturesque welcome.

It was the sort of place you’ll want to bring your that special someone on your very first date to, you know? They had all the works — the candlelight bathing everything on the table in a warm lambent glow, the extremely polite waiters who speak to you in a sophisticated kind of hushed whisper, this musky perfume-y scent in the air that will remind of you this very date even after 3 years into the relationship… Just sayin’.

Since the Ninja Rabbit and I are way over the whole first date thing by a long mile, a quiet double date it was for the occasion.

Hello my favouritest person in the world =)

Have you met Don and Zana? =D (“Look Ma, I’m on the Internet!” LOL Sorry inside joke).

We got front row seats to this band from France that was playing that night, a jazz trio called the Remy Panossian TRIO that was on an Asian leg of their tour. We were super lucky because that night happened to be their last night in KL after which they were headed for Singapore. We wouldn’t know it yet, but their skills were so God-like, I’ve never harboured more respect for what the simple piano can do.

Our view from where we were going to be served dinner. Yep, it was those kinda places. Where it’s all fancy and you’ll feel like swirling your glass of wine while twirling your imaginary moustache if you don’t have one.

To get us warmed up, we were served this Strawberry Martini that comes with fresh strawberry bits in it and dark chocolate shaving.

I was most pleasantly surprised at my first sip. It wasn’t coyly sweet like I had expected it to be. It had a refreshingly tangy burst on first contact, which then quickly melds into a bitter centre before the end is saved just in the nick of time by the creamy and only slightly sweet chocolate. Plus it had real strawberry bits! Who doesn’t like strawberry bits??

The Ninja Rabbit made it his mission to try out every flavour they had that night lol. Says it made him feel like James Bond everytime he asks for one. Shaken, not stirred, you know? HAHAHA.

Our first starter of the night took on an oriental influence. I didn’t mind the deep-fried Crispy Prawn Wrapped in Wanton Noodles one bit. Prawns are only my most favourite seafood in the world.

The play on the different textures was genius. The wanton noodles were delightfully crispy, kinda like a surprise welcome crunch before you get to the springy prawn it is wrapped around in. The Ninja Rabbit had the foresight to squeeze the wedge of lime it came with over the prawns so it had the right amounts of tartness to counter the rather heavy sea smell some people find unpleasant. To me, you can never go wrong with prawns so naturally I have no complains whatsoever.

For those of you who might not fancy seafood all that much (SACRILEGE!!), they also have something on the safer side of things. We got to try their Chicken Meatball Skewers that comes topped with some special tomato based pasta sauce.

At first bite, everyone thought they were beefballs. You know that’s some good chicken when people can mistake it for the usually more fragrant beef haha. The gravy kept every mouthful from being too dry as the meat was rather tough from the frying, although nothing too hard to handle. They had it marinated and spiced very well so every bite was flavourful, but I thought they could have skimmed on the breadcrumbs, which texture was quite apparent. What saved the day was the lotus root chips that came as garnishing on the side. Everyone unanimously agreed they were highly addictive – light and crunchy, the sort of snack you just can’t stop after your first bite LOL. They should really consider serving that as tidbits to go with drinks.

First entree was the house specialty Spaghetti Alla Zingerella, a completely vegetarian pasta dish that packs quite a punch.

It astounded me quite a bit to learn that no meat whatsoever was involved with the preparation. Despite the absence of any meat, all the flavours that make a good pasta were there — if all vegetarian food tasted as good as this, I wouldn’t mind going on a completely meatless diet. The sauce drew the fragrant notes of the capsicum and mushrooms to complement the sweetness of onions and fresh tomatoes. Sure it has no meat, but it still stands as one of the best pastas I’ve ever tried. This is culinary ingenuity at its best!

Halfway through the pasta, we were distracted momentarily to welcome the Remy Panossian TRIO on stage. First thing we noticed was that the pianist, Remy himself, was one really good-looking guy. I’m talking Ryan Reynolds microwaved together with Bradley Cooper kind of good-looking!

/swoons/

And he speaks with a heavy French accent which only doubled his sex appeal. How can anyone play the piano so well and be so beautiful to look at??

As good-looking as he was, the moment the band played, their music completely overshadowed everything else. I’m not even a fan of Jazz but it got me feeling happy inside. Unlike old school jazz, their sound was more upbeat, more contemporary, something I learned from the Ninja Rabbit later that night that is called P.I. Jazz. Yes, P.I. as in Private Investigator lol.

If you remember those black and white P.I. films from the 50’s the likes of Tin Tin, their tracks take heavily after the theme songs of those era. They’ll make you feel nervous, scared and jittery all at once before transcending into calmness and serenity just as quickly.

And what a bunch of talented musicians they were. They definitely were not your everyday run of the mill musicians. They played with their instruments in a variety of ways not usually seen nor expected. Their drummer abandoned his drumsticks altogether at one point and used a violin bow to work the cymbals. Yes, a violin bow on the drumset. He also pulled out a medley of other funky-looking things, basically anything that he can produce any kind of sound with lol. Watching him alone was tremendously entertaining.You never know what else he is going to use!

Upping the ante, Remy stood up and did something I’ve never seen done to a piano.

He completely abandoned the keys and started plucking the strings behind them =O I never knew the piano could be played like that. Granted I’m not the most musically inclined person around and hence have not been exposed to this scene a lot, but still! Silly Remy, that’s not a guitar or a harp. That’s a piano. You play it by pressing on the keys! Right?

Apparently not LOL. It was amazing.

For a light snack to keep us busy throughout the show, we were served some deep fried Calamari Rings.

Well, to be honest, there isn’t much to say about them rings except that they are what they are LOL. Calamari Rings. They’re squid coated in a floury batter and deep-fried to golden brown perfection. They taste just like any other calamari rings out there.There was nothing exceptionally impressive about this dish.

Neither was there much to rave about with their Boxing Chicken Drummets.

In fact, the meat was tough and difficult to chew probably from being overfried and the slivers of flesh rather bland and tasteless. Did I say the Calamari rings were boring? I’ll still take the squid over the chicken drummets =/

At least our view more than made up for for the drummets I suppose? Hehehe.

The band played a seriously wicked playlist and you could totally see they were having some serious fun while at it.

They were laughing and sending secret signals to one another throughout the show. Really, just watching them play was good enough entertainment. Aahhh, le French ♥

The Pan Fried Sea Bass with Lemon Butter Sauce came out during the band’s half-time break.

It was as wholesome as it sounded. The fish came with a generous amount of vegetables which I really liked (I love my greens) and the lemon butter sauce wasn’t the overtly rich sort that makes you feel sick after two bites. It was light and just buttery enough to add the necessary flavours to the fish that was just simply pan fried without any fancy seasoning. This was something I’d definitely order again the next time I visit. What, I really like fish! =/

For dessert, we got to pick our own flavour of ice cream and I opted for the Strawberry. No regrets there.

I was torn between chocolate or strawberry initially, and I’m so glad I went with strawberry. It had (again) real bits of fruit in it which was like a little nugget of surprise everytime you bite into one. It was soooooooooo good I wanted to cry (I get emotional with ice cream okay?). I really wanted a second scoop but I was too shy to ask, heh.

Ice cream is ♥

We stayed on two hours after dinner was done just for the band. I really hope they make it super big — I’ve not heard music like that anywhere. Then again I’m more into punk rock which doesn’t quite compare…

Couldn’t help but take a photo with them when the opportunity arose hehehe. I can haz picture with really handsome French pianist! =P

And some seriously syok sendiri photos! Hehehe. Because the place was so pretty it would be a shame not to take some small advantage of it.

Did you notice that I cut my hair??? It’s three whole inches shorter!!

Do I have the silliest boyfriend in the world or what LOL.

And the cutest friends who get very excited at the prospect of fries hahaha!

Thank you very nice people of The Venue for the great night. Highlight of my week for sure!

Game Face on now everybody, a new week awaits! Make it count! =)

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