In the middle of Bukit Bintang, amidst road diggings, construction, messy roads and haphazard road signages, there’s this green plot with manicured lawns and pretty shrubs surrounding a grey glass-fronted bungalow with a bright yellow “M” logo etched on the front wall. The “M” is for Muugu, a recently-opened bistro, bar and grill with a huge garden which is perfect for outdoor events. This used to be Max At iHaus some years back.
When asked what “Muugu” meant, I was told by Leonard (one of the owners) that it didn’t have any particular meaning – they came up with this name as they wanted something easy to remember. That’s a good reason, I must say.
The interior looks spartan, in a chic way. We love the “Grazing Bar” counter with the exposed bricks , black leather chairs paired with black tablecloth-clad tables, several eclectic wall prints and a whole wall hung with clocks. The place is really spacious and some corners have been left quite bare as the owners have not decided what to do with them.
The menu at Muugu is kept short and simple. There are soups, starters, mains, desserts and drinks with several choices under each category. Personally I think it’s good to focus on a few good items rather than to have a big selection of mediocre dishes. Muugu has done well to stick to their focused items.
Warning: these Truffle Fries are darn addictive!
To start off our dinner, we had a basket of focaccia buns to dip in olive oil and vinegar which set our appetites racing. I was thankful when a bowl of freshly-fried Truffle Fries (RM8) made its way to our table together with a bowl of Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup (RM12). The truffle oil lacing the fries was insanely aromatic and pairing this with the wild mushroom soup was like doubling up on mushroom high.
Pan-seared Scallops with Quail Eggs (RM23) were just too pretty to eat. Plump scallops with hats of fried quail eggs sat prettily surrounded by dollops of cheerful sweetcorn cream and a dash of red beetroot puree.
Honey Glazed Chicken Wings (RM15) served with a piquant home-made chilli sauce and a bunch of colourful garden salad can be addictive and we had to restrain ourselves.
Wild Rocket and Pear Salad (RM16) – nothing about this salad can be faulted because it has all my favourites: crisp wild rocket, crunchy sweet pear, crispy walnuts and all tossed with a light tangy dressing and sprinkled with some raisins and shaved cheese. I’ll definitely order this again, and again!
Mussels in White Wine Broth (RM19) – the broth was insanely good, with lots of body from the white wine, suffused with the sweet briny flavours of the mussels. Long after the plump mussels have been devoured, we drained the delicious broth.
Braised Lamb Shank (RM35) served with mash and mixed greens is one of two lamb dishes on the menu. The lamb was tender enough; I wish there was more sauce to go with it though. It wasn’t my favourite mains as I had my eyes and stomach peeled for the steaks.
Muugu does not brand itself as a steak house and they serve only 3 cuts of airflown Australian beef at the moment. We had their Ribeye (RM42) and Tenderloin (RM55) and they certainly did not disappoint. Ordered “medium rare”, both steaks came excellently executed, having been grilled over volcano rocks. Seared a golden hue on the outside, both cuts were beautifully pink and tender inside. The tenderloin was just a wee bit more tender than the ribeye, if any comparison is to be had. The ribeye tasted richer with more fats in it and I actually preferred this to the tenderloin.
Just look at that luscious piece of Ribeye!
Diners can choose their sides from a selection of potatoes (fries, mashed or sautéd), greens (ratatouille or mixed greens) and sauce (creamy black pepper, red wine, brown sauce, mushroom).
Tenderloin – sublimely juicy
For the portion and quality served, Muugu’s pricing of steaks is really reasonable and affordable.
For a lighter choice of mains, go for the Pan-fried Salmon Fillet (RM29) with mixed greens and topped with wasabi mayonnaise sauce. A thick cut of salmon fillet, its skin pan-seared to a golden crisp was propped on a bed of asparagus spears, anchored to a mound of buttery mash. Juicy flakes of pink salmon beneath the crispy skin are always a delight.
If you are a risotto fan, Muugu offers it served with either Mushrooms, Seafood or with Pan-fried Snapper. We had the last one, a Pesto version with a thick slice of nicely seared flavoursome snapper. At RM27, it’s really decent as the risotto was done well and the snapper was very fresh.
I really liked their Pasta Aglio Olio (RM17), lightly saute’ed with olive oil, red chillies and garlic. The spaghetti was nicely al dente, the way I prefer and I like my pasta plain and simple without too much embellishment. There are about 7 choices of accompaniment for pasta on the menu and pasta choices include fettucine, penne, capellini and linguine besides spaghetti.
I seldom go for chicken in a western restaurant but the Oven-roasted Chicken Thigh (RM23) here was surprisingly good. It must be the white wine sauce which the chicken thigh was braised in. Muugu has hit the right notes with this sauce – it seems to work great, not only for mussels but also for chicken.
Presently there are only 4 desserts on the menu: KL Cheesecake (RM12), Tiramisu (RM12), Strawberry Granita (RM9), Chocolate Fondant with vanilla ice cream (RM13). These are pretty average, sufficient to give that sugar hit after a meal.
Strawberry Granita – refreshing!
Chocolate Fondant with vanilla ice cream
What would entice me back to Muugu would be their steaks and those excellent starters. They do serve Value Lunch Sets every day from 12.00pm to 2.30pm. Sets start from RM17 which include a soup or salad, choice of selected mains and a soft drink/coffee/tea.
Mocktails to quench your thirst: Frozen Mango Tea & Frozen Lime Tea
Muugu Garden Bistro & Bar
32 Jalan Jati
Off Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
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