As long as Ante has been open, it has been one of my favourite restaurants - a praise I bestow upon few establishments. Over the years, there have been a few revisions to the menu. In October 2017 came a new round of dishes in their expansive menu. Some dishes were intriguing, some completely took my breath away. One of the major changes to the menu is that Ante now has a whole new set of side dishes to accompany their superstars - the pork steaks. Here are some of the highlights from the new menu, from starters to desserts:
For salads, I was pleasantly surprised to see a total revamp. Out of the three new salads, my favourite is the watermelon and pickled radish salad (RM15), which is a light and refreshing starter to whet your appetite for the meaty goodness that Ante’s mains brings. The ricotta cheese is a nice touch, going perfectly with the watermelon cubes.
A new starter on the menu that I would totally vouch for is their new iberico baby ribs (RM68). I wish I had a better description for it, but these baby back ribs oozed the same sinfulness a meal at KFC would. I don’t know how Ante has pulled off that feat, but these ribs were so moreish I couldn’t get enough of it. This is a dish that left me rather speechless, knowing once again that Ante had knocked it out of the park with their inventiveness.
The crispy skin miso pork belly (RM21), a revised version of it, comes with a lot more crackle, a crucial element of great pork belly dishes. Comparing this rendition to the older one, this one definitely has more depth to its flavour with the glaze carrying just a hint of that distinct yuzu kosho taste.
As mentioned earlier, one of the most distinct changes to Ante's menu is the introduction of new side dishes to pair with their porky mains.
Something I’m confident everyone will enjoy is Ante’s pork crackling basmati rice (RM12). This lard-laden dish is one that many will want a whole helping of and since it is a side dish, it is an easy portion for one to finish. Ante takes a classic Chinese dish, puts its magic touch to it and produces what I can only refer to as a masterpiece.
A new side that comes with the steaks and mains is the cauliflower and cannellini beans (RM12). This is a safe option for a side, with the familiarity of the roasted cauliflower paired with the cannellini beans. You really can't go wrong with this!
Another side worth trying is the creamy polenta. If you didn't know better, you would think the creamy, buttery mix is mashed potato. But don't be fooled, the cornmeal dish is so smooth and pairs easily with any of the steaks.
A new contender to the already outstanding menu of mains is their sweet and spicy glazed ribs (RM49), which is aptly named so for its tangy flavour. The ribs were cooked perfectly, its meat falling off the bone with a little nudge. It is an interesting twist to the usual ribs we find elsewhere (which tends to be cloyingly sweet and overpowered by sauce). This rendition offers its diner a nice experience of being able to taste a balanced ratio of meat to sauce.
A couple of new players to the game are Ante's chicken and fish dishes. Yes, for those who come to Ante and do not eat pork, there are two options for you to choose from. The chicken (RM38), which used to be a breast cut, now features half a spring chicken, roasted and served with mushrooms. Ante proves its versatility by acing this dish as well as the fish.
Uncommon in western restaurants, Ante serves its fish whole. The fish is seasonal and is locally sourced. The wild-caught white fish (RM59) turned out to be everyone's favourite non-pork dish out of the two - to no surprise. The fish was well-seasoned and cooked perfectly. Not too overcooked that it would be dry and definitely not undercooked. It is a nice change from the typical salmon and quite the eye-catching dish too.
One of the first things we noticed about the desserts is that all four generally belong to the same colour scheme. With four different "centerpieces", each dessert is then decorated with fresh berries, giving the overall aesthetics of the desserts a purplish hue. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing. We loved each of the desserts.
The poached pear (RM24) is a classic French dessert and a pretty bold move for Ante to include it in their list of desserts. According to Shaun, one of the owners of Ante, the point of the new dessert menu is to showcase the level of sophistication its chefs have to achieve in order to execute them well. And they have surely done that.
The baked cheese cake (RM22) is another dish that requires much care and attention. Though the cheese cake we tried that evening was a little on the crumbly side, I could see the potential of what it could be if it were just a little smoother.
The white chocolate ganache (RM24) was a hit with everyone. Most of us took more than one bite of this dessert. This is a dessert that elevates Ante to a whole new level of dining I didn't think was possible.
The homemade waffles (RM19) though easy in theory, is often hard to execute. But Ante blows us away yet again with their ability to be versatile, juggling so many polarising dishes at once and still hitting the mark on almost every single dish.
A2-G1-09 (facing the main road, next to Bestari's), Solaris Dutamas (Publika). Open Sun - Thurs from 11AM-10PM Friday and Saturday from 11AM-11PM
ANTE One Utama
Lot F364, One Utama Shopping Centre, New Wing, First Floor, Rainforest, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya Open daily from 10AM-10PM