It’s An Italian Affair @ The Bistro, Impiana Hotel IpohOctober 4, 2012 | 3,805 views
The Bistro @ Impiana Hotel Ipoh – The all-day dining alternative to The Coffee House; currently running an Italian cuisine promotion
Impiana Hotel Ipoh (formerly known as Casuarina Hotel; the unmistakable landmark hotel of Ipoh back in its heydays) has successfully undergone transformation; coupling refurbishment and renovation works to its rooms and F&B establishments.
Still, the only four-star hotel in Ipoh that actually feels like one, the Impiana group has injected life back to the decades old premise; and still drawing in tourists from all walks of life; including the royal families and ministers.
Fresh breads from the kitchen of The Bistro to perk up the appetite
Throughout the years, I have only grown accustomed to The Coffee House; the designated Halal dining option of the hotel serving daily buffets and various local and international delights. That being said, Impiana has added another feather (or two) to its cap by resurrecting the flagging interest (of yours truly, at least) of dining in hotels in Ipoh; with the welcome of two new outlets; The Bistro & The Deli.
Overlooking the beautifully-landscaped garden and swimming pool of The Impiana, the ambience did manage to evoke a sense of fine dining charm yet without being overly-pompous or pretentious. Contemporary fusion dining would be the magic words here.
The Bistro sits on the lobby level, directly in front of the main entrance to the hotel. From the exterior, you would be forgiven for manifesting assumptions that this is a lounge or a bar more than a diner, as I made the same mistake too.
Clockwise from top left : Carpaccio Dimanzo Alla Moda (Beef Carpaccio) (RM20/USD7), Avocado Tower Timbale (specials, not on menu) Instala Mista Della Casa – Classic Caesar Salad (RM18/USD6) & condiments for the breads.
Amongst the starters served that afternoon, the beef carpaccio stacked upon layers of parmesan cheese and atop a bed of green asparagus puree got me hooked. Steadily combining a combustion of flavours; characterized by a salty mix of beef and parmesan; the ensemble did not only manage to appear pretty when plated, but tantalizing to the palate as well.
The Avocado tower benefited from the buttery and slightly rich slices of avocados stacked upon greens and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, while the Caesar salad was underwhelming when pitted against the other two.
Spicy Seafood Aglio Olio (RM28/USD9) featured a slightly fiery toss of spaghetti in a light olive oil dressing, with bits of garlic, chili flakes and cili padi (bird’s eye chillies). P/S : Apparently, this is a firm choice of the Perak ruler.
Prime Steer Rib Eye (180g) (RM55/USD18) – A carnivorous’ dream come true of a chunk of rib eye flown from Australia; grilled to your liking and dressed in a gravy that complemented the beef well; without being overwhelming. The crispy bits of sweet potato chips on the side were addictive.
Sea bass “Chimichurri” (RM38/USD13) – Pan fried sea bass fillet in a creamy, light white wine sauce and a side of ratatouille.
Artic Cod (160g) (RM52/USD17) – Served with a side of mashed potatoes and grilled greens.
The mains were a bountiful mix of varying degrees of satisfaction; their signature sea bass fillet in a delightfully creamy sauce (Chimichurri style) was much of a crowd-pleaser no less; the fresh fillet rendered very well being lightly pan-fried without losing its moisture. The Artic Cod was good, yet paled in comparison to the former.
For the meat lovers, go for the prime steer of rib eye or fillet of beef, or lamb steak/cutlets from the grill. You can choose from four types of sauces; Hollandaise, garlic butter, black pepper or mushroom. I suggest either of the first two for the fish and the latter options for the red meats. But of course, feel free to explore. They have Scandinavian salmon fillet and King Prawns to be grilled in similar manner too.
Tiramisu (RM12/USD4) & Sicilianna Torta Di Ricotta – Sicilian ricotta cheese cake (RM13/USD4.30)
After what could be a lusciously delicious Italian feast, the desserts literally fell short of expectations. Both the Tiramisu and Cheese Cake were passable, at best. A minor letdown, yet for some, the desserts could make or break a dining establishment. Let’s hope that they will improve on these in the near future.
The Lounge area of The Bistro, with fine wines and cigars to put you in the mood ….
Prices are slightly above average for Ipoh’s standards, with starters running from RM10 – RM20, mains from RM18 onwards to RM58 for the grill meats, and desserts at around RM8 – RM15 per serving. Currently, The Bistro is also running an Italian Affair promotion – 3-course Set Lunch at RM32++ and 3-course Set Dinner at RM48++.
Do take note of the fact that this IS The Impiana Group after all; an award-winning collection of 4-star hotels, resorts and spas in Asia. Hence, expectations should be in place for excellence and consistency in quality regardless of whether you’re a guest at the hotel, or a diner at any of the dining establishments.
THE BISTRO (pork-free) (www)
Impiana Hotel, Ipoh
18 Jalan Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah
30250 Ipoh, Perak
Tel: 605-255 5555
Fax: 605-255 1948
Hours : 12pm – 12am (Tuesdays – Saturdays), 3pm – 12am (Sundays & Mondays)
Google Map extracted from their website.
*This was an invited review extended by The Impiana Hotel Ipoh.