Written with passion by Sylvia Leow
How many ways can you get to KLCC?
By car, by LRT and now, on foot. When someone suggested that I walk to KLCC from Pavilion, I shot back an incredulous look. “Walk…..?” Under the mid-day sun?
It was a thought that I wouldn’t even have entertained, until I discovered the elevated pedestrian walkway linking the Pavilion bridge to Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Reminiscent of the elevated walkways in Hong Kong, the walkway offers a view of the surrounding Bukit Bintang area. I was told that it is apparently air-conditioned, although I couldn’t discern much cool air, the walk was in the relative comfort of a covered walkway. Being sheltered from both the heat and dust made the 20-minute stroll to Suria KLCC (via the tunnel from Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre), not only possible, but quite pleasant.
Reinvigorated by this discovery, I was curious to explore Suria KLCC for food. On many sojourns to this iconic shopping mall, I have often returned to reliable favourites like Madam Kwan’s or Little Penang Kafe. On this occasion – like so many others – these two eateries were teeming with people.
My dining companion and I decided to examine other options on Level 4. On the rather lonely stretch in the corner of
The waiting staff showed us to our table quickly. We were the first party to arrive for an early dinner, so it felt rather unusual to have the whole place to ourselves as well as the attention of the waiter who seemed to watch us like a hawk.
Du Viet’s menu runs several pages covering the customary salad and spring roll appetizers, pho and dry noodles, rice dishes, congee and ala carte meat dishes. The waiter – for all his attentiveness – didn’t offer to recommend any specials.
That didn’t pose a challenge as we already had specific dishes in mind. We ordered the “spring and summer rolls delite” starter. The waiter readily agreed to our request to forego the fried imperial spring roll and to customize our choices to only summer rolls (fresh rice paper rolls) comprising one each of prawns, grilled lemongrass chicken, beef and vegetarian.
For RM23.90, I was expecting some pretty heavy-duty summer rolls.
When it arrived, I wondered whether they had forgotten that the dish was meant to consist of four rolls. On the plate were four miserably tiny rolls, cut neatly in halves and served with two uninviting bowls of peanut sauce and fish sauce. The ingredients were fresh, the sauces were forgettable and the portion size gave me food for thought over the effect of inflation on the cost of ingredients.
For drinks, we had ordered the special homemade lemongrass drink (RM9.90). My prior encounter with lemongrass drinks is that these could be rather sweet to my taste, so I enquired whether there would be any sugar in the drink. Our waiter confidently explained that sugar is served separately. And indeed, the sweetener was served in its own little jug.
By the time we were moving on to our mains, there were probably three or four additional tables filled in the restaurant, leaving me to wonder further whether there was enough turnover on any given day to ensure that ingredients remain fresh. This is an important consideration for a restaurant built on the concept of fresh Vietnamese cuisine.
My dining companion ordered the vegetarian noodle soup (RM19.90) while I had the grilled lemongrass chicken salad (RM23.90) for our mains. With our expectations muted after the starter, we were pleasantly surprised by the more generous servings of our mains.
The pho was served in a large bowl filled almost to the brim with clear soup, lots of noodles, mushroom, tofu, tomato slices and veggies. This was devoured and enjoyed heartily, and so Du Viet may have redeemed itself.
My chicken salad was a pleasing sight, with strips of grilled chicken resting on a bed of crunchy greens. The chicken was still succulent with just the right hint of lemongrass. But the real surprise was the tangy, slightly spicy and extremely appetizing dressing drizzled all over the bed of lettuce. I would have gladly forgone the sorry starter to have this dish instead.
We skipped dessert and when we left, there were still only fewer than a handful tables of diners in the restaurant.
Later that night, my dining companion admitted feeling the after taste of MSG in the soup, yet may have been quite forgiving about the MSG to be willing enough to give Du Viet’s other dishes another shot.
As for me, for RM23.90, I would rather “do” the Nasi Bojari at one of KLCC’s more popular eateries.
Lot 416, Level 4, Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur,
Kuala Lumpur City Center, 50088
Food: 4 / 5
Drinks: 3/ 5
Service: 3 / 5
Ambience: Quiet ambience, perhaps because it is tucked away at one end of the