When Ante first opened, I had stepped in with high expectations.
They offer PORK in many forms and in a popular commercial area like Publika, which wasn’t a norm back then in 2012.
The menu were peppered with pork burgers, pork chop and well, everything pork that I love.
However, the dining session I had back then had some hits and misses.
As usual I said what I think, which didn’t sit favourably with some.
** You can read about my 2 separate visits HERE and see yourself the difference of what was, and what is now.
I haven’t stepped back since.
After all the Klang Valley F & B scene is dynamic and with new establishments popping up every other day a F & B establishment has to be truly outstanding to warrant return visits.
In recent years, some tried to wow with gorgeous decor, some with unique concepts but the ones that won us over was the ones offering delicious, heartfelt food.
In this competitive landscape, Ante stayed in business for 2 years.
Recently they launched a new menu boasting of artisanal house smoked bacon and house cured salmon which got my attention instantly.
Again, in this landscape of “too many cafes/restaurant serving the same old stuff“, it is worthy to highlight those who takes the effort to step up their game.
On my first visit back after 2 years, we ordered an appetiser of Sweet Belly (RM29) which is similar to our Chinese-style siew yok but with drizzles of soy honey. Frankly, I won’t order this again.
It is good (bottom part was salty for me personally); crackly skin, soft fats and juicy at the lean parts, but it is not something that I would pay RM29 for again.
Moving on, the Ante Burger (RM42) with slow braised pork cheek medallions, gorgonzola cream cheese and pickled onions with the kimchi slaw and straight cut fries was something I truly enjoyed that day.
I love my burgers and while the standard chunky-minced patty will never lose its appeal, I welcome the alternative of these flaky, tender medallions.
And the blue cheese, it was so good!
Blue cheese on burger aren’t new, but here at Ante, they took the trouble to lighten it into a sort of frothy form/cream instead of merely dumping cuts of blue cheese on top like any other burger joint would.
The result is an enjoyable burger with sufficient blue cheese pungency but not overwhelming so. I reckon even non-fans would be able to stomach it.
I approve too of the tangy twist from the pickles and the sweetness from the caramelised onions.
Just a warning here, this is not your usual burger patty so keep expectations in check.
Another main we had was the Pork Diane (RM45), a dish with a large seared pork loin rained with white wine mushroom ragout on top of green pea mash and russet potatoes.
I enjoyed this too, and was glad that the meat is juicy and pink but not undercooked. Of course the portion pleased us, for even sharing among 4 of us, we had difficulty finished this plus the burger.
** Do note however that being a pork loin, one side of this is a thick strip of pure fat.
Based on comments on my FB/FB page and from reading some blogs, I understand that many consider prices at Ante to be on the high side.
But would you rather pay a lower price (not that it is much lower, since mains at most restaurants are RM30 – RM40 thereabouts) for a smaller portion but a mediocrely prepared one?
I rather just pay a higher price and savour my skilfully cooked meal using quality ingredients. Cheaper meals are more often than not, a product of mediocre ingredients.
Besides, we split the bill which came up to about RM160 after taxes. That includes an 1 appetizer, 2 mains and 3 drinks. It works out to be about RM40 per pax.
Not bad isn’t it for a meal at a restaurant in Publika?
Another noteworthy mention is the green pea mash as it is not something you see everyday. I love green pea mash and would rate it higher anytime over potato mash. However I understand that most Malaysians are more inclined for the familiar potato mash.
(** Pardon the terrible image, it was snapped in a hurry as the rest were already tucking in!)
Obviously that meal left a positive impression so when I had to meet an old friend for a quick chat I suggested Ante again.
Now this friend of mine is a foodie as well. And he loves his meat.
He gave full approval of his signature Chargrilled Pork Steak (RM56) with roasted russet potatoes, browned butter truffle sauce and honey glazed rocket and I concurred after taking a bite myself.
My Chargrilled BBQ Ribs (RM52) with kimchi slaw and straight cut fries could be better flavoured in terms of the meat nearer to the bone, that much I admit.
However I still find it acceptable for I’m not a fan of overly sweet, sticky sauce that most restaurants tend to slather on their ribs.
No doubt it is missing the char as well, but I give it brownie points for being a hefty portion (easily 5-6 ribs), the fall-off-the-bone tenderness and for the price.
After hearing so much about their house smoked bacon I had to order the Ante Big Breakfast. For RM39, a complimentary cuppa (choice of latte, cappuccino and another one that I can’t recall) is included.
Since a coffee is usually RM10 or so, that makes this platter RM29, which is decent considering the ingredients and portion.
The 63 degree eggs were perfect, the mushrooms was a tad too big a portion for me but the bacon was meaty and not overly salty, which I would prefer over the commercial bacon anytime.
The pork sausage was so-so to me, but I appreciate the inclusion of guacamole. Again, Ante proven that this isn’t your average big breakfast set.
If you are like me, tired and bored of the same old breakfast sets with cheap hash browns, commercial sausages and bacon plus carelessly sautéed mushrooms, then perhaps this might be the breakfast set to jolt your jaded palate.
My complimentary Iced Latte which was pretty good!
Now I must mention that I could be lucky, for my visit was in October 2015 and the team could have gotten their act together. This menu was launched in August 2015 and previous online reviews condemned the ribs, the burger, the …well, some items.
Frankly I enjoyed my meals on both visits, and no, it wasn’t an invited session and I was a walk-in customer together with a few friends. We ordered, ate and paid for our meals.
Thus I standby my words, and would certainly return again if the opportunity arises. Until I’ve encountered a disappointing meal here myself (though I would avoid the carbonara after reading my FB fans’ comments), I rate Ante a commendable venue for some serious pork-noshing session!
Ante Kitchen & Bar
A2-G1-09, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur.
Open daily, 11am-11pm. Brunch menu only until 4pm daily.
WIFI: Yes, works fine!
Halal: No. Serves alcohol too.
Service: Warm and helpful. Your orders are served to you.
Ambience: Comfortable. Casual.
Outdoor seating: Yes.
Powerpoints for charging: No.
Parking : Publika parking, challenging on weekdays.
Payment: Eat first, then call for bill to pay.