It was a rather tiresome evening (after the FRIM trail) but I was game for a great time and a good meal with my long-time buddies, Anthony and Azuan. I suggested the Banquet for the reason mentioned above and also the fact that we have already tried Delicious (Bangsar Village 1) and Marmalade. We chose to sit inside the restaurant (the smoking area), not because we intend to smoke, but the awkardness of being watched while we eat in the open (yes, we are a paranoid bunch).
I browsed through the whole menu in a split second (for formality sake) as I have already decided on my main course weeks before tonight's dinner. Yes, it's the infamous Oven Baked Butter Fish wih Honey Mustard Sauce (RM25). Anthony ordered the Mango Salad (RM13) and Penang Prawn Noodle (RM16) while Azuan chose Mee Jawa (RM16).
The Mango Salad arrived after 10 minutes, looking appetising with its bright yellow/green shredded mango flesh. The lime dressing provided an exotic flavour to the salad while the anchovies and peanuts gave extra texture to the dish. I sensed a hint of lemongrass in this dish but couldn't find it in the salad. It was a good starter but personally, I would have preferred a more refined salad, i.e. finer shreds and peanuts.
The generous portion of Mee Jawa was up next. The noodles was cooked just right but the sauce did not taste as good as it looked. It was quite diluted and lacked in the rich taste that Mee Jawa usually exhibits. Perhaps more roasted peanuts in the sauce will do the trick. The overall taste was alright, but I was expecting more from the Banquet, in terms of taste and creativity.
When the Prawn Noodles arrived, I thought it was a bowl of Assam Laksa! But the prawns by the side had convinced me that there was no mistake in the order. The colour of the broth looked amazingly rich. I wished I could say the same about the taste but it was quite bland despite the fragrant prawn oil infusion in the broth. I have tasted some really good Penang prawn noodle before, but this was just average in comparison. Again, I was expecting more from the Banquet.
And finally, the dish that had received raving reviews arrived. By the way, the cooking time for this dish is 20 minutes. The first impression I had was the choice of side dishes. Garden salad with balsamic vinegar was fine but I thought the chickpea and potato salad was a bit of an understatement. Since the mustard sauce is expected to be rich, a good contrasting taste in the side dish would have been fantastic. The fish, on the other hand, came in a huge portion and cooked perfectly well. The honey mustard sauce was expectedly rich/sweet and blended well with the fish. A dash of black pepper would have enhanced the flavour of this dish.
Overall, the dishes were visually appetising but unfortunately, not the taste. The Banquet had shown versatility in terms of menu and their effort for promoting authenticity in local dishes should be applauded but since this is the sister of another well-known establishment (Cafe Cafe) which I have yet to try, I was expecting a cut above some average cafes offering the same dishes. Service was excellent, by the way.
1F-28, Bangsar Village 2,
2, Jalan Telawi Satu,