Located at L6 of Pavilion Mall in Kuala Lumpur, Calia’s offering is as fusion as it can be of Japanese & western culinary. The use & mix of ingredients are innovative but sometimes it’s a hit and miss. Minimalist ambience & services are attentive.
When it was suggested to try out Calia for lunch, the idea was well received and immediately acted upon. 50% of the tables can be reserved via online (yeay!) while the remaining is for walk-in. You will be greeted at the entrance, with the retail section on your right & the kitchen on your left with a small transparent window a short walk before you reach the dining area.
We tried a few dishes (with direct description from their menu) and the verdict is as follows:
Starters & Mains
Sake Butter Clams (sake marinated clams cooked in fragrant dashi butter) (7/10)
Use of sake is light as the broth taste is a little more profound. However, the taste of broth is not too thick. Portion is small. Best to have it while still hot.
Aburi Salmon Bowl (Flamed seared salmon topped with ikura & secret Calia sauce) (8/10)
We ordered the salmon medium done, right choice! The salmon mixed with the white rice is basic but delicious. Like ratatouille, eating your basic comfort food prepared by loved ones.
Nasi Lemak Donburi Bowl (coconut flavoured Japanese rice, chicken karaage, Japanese anchovy sambal & 63⁰ egg) (5/10)
Coconut fragrant was muted. Karaage was adequate, not crispy enough. Rice was also slightly soggy. Sambal is the sweet-type of sambal. Perhaps I am a little bit more traditional when it comes to the taste for our legendary nasi lemak, the combination didn’t click for me.
Truffle Chicken Bowl (French free range chicken, truffle teriyaki sauce, yuzu kosho) (7/10)
There is a surprising hint of herbal taste (at least to me), very light teriyaki taste, did not really taste the yuzu kosho sauce. BUT somehow the mixture of ingredients resulted in a scrumptious dish. Love this.
Ochazuke Salmon Bowl (Norwegian pan-fried salmon with a light dashi tea broth) (6/10)
Was looking forward to try this after watching Midnight Diner’s 3 ladies known as the “Ochazuke’s 3 Sisters” who always order ochazuke with different types of fish. The dashi tea broth is very light & salty. It goes well with the rice & shredded salmon. Somehow the dish permeates the dreaded fishy smell, especially after a while from first serving. A good try but will probably not repeat this.
Australian Full Blood Wagyu Sirloin 7+ (air flown Australian full blood wagyu, sliced sirloin with truffle salt & kizami wasabi) (9/10)
I only had a small slice to share, and heavenly… The meat was ordered medium. Tender & well marinated. I didn’t even try the wasabi. It was good on its own.
Desserts & Drinks
Matcha Lava Lava (rich enticing chocolate lava cake with oozing warm matcha ganache) (9/10)
This dessert requires a 25 minutes wait. After arriving, we waited a little before cutting into the cake, and the “lava” of green ganache oozes out – exactly what I imagine a great lava cake will be. Heavenly! It is sweet, the taste of matcha blended in with the chocolate cake. Love this!
Matcha latte & Hojicha latte (9/10)
The matcha and hojicha taste are quite heavy, and it is precisely because of this the flavour carries the drinks’ specialty. Noted that there is a bit of powdery taste near the end of cup that is slightly bitter. Maybe I didn’t stir adequately. I love both drinks, blending well the different taste.
There is still one signature dish ie Calia Wagyu Bowl of which I have not tried. Search review on the signature dish did not come back highly recommended, which resulted in our hesitation & decision to skip the dish. Maybe next time.
All the “bowls” are quite big in portion, I could not finish them on my own. Would recommend to order to share if you are a small eater. And one more peculiar thing – the food obviously taste better when immediately served, but if you waited a little longer before eating, I noticed the taste deteriorated quite fast. So stop playing with the phone & have it immediately when served.
Price is not exorbitantly high given the name & hype. There are delivery and take-away options on their website (search calia kuala lumpur delivery), which are very useful with the CMCO (Conditional Movement Control Order).
Final verdict – a nice setting for lunch or dinner with a small crowd. For the price tag – give it a try but don’t expect traditional taste. Go for an experience to flex your taste buds and decide which fusion dish suits your preference the best.
^ Food preferences are very personal, and these are my own personal preferences & views.