From the people who brought you Skillet@163 comes Beta KL. The meaning behind the name Beta, which is the honorific for “king” in the Malay language also doubles up as a nod to indicate the second outlet after Skillet@163.
The idea behind Beta KL is to pay homage to local fare with a contemporary twist — something they do very well. The menu is split into four main sections, the North, South, East and Central.
When you walk into Beta KL, you don’t expect to get many local flavours from the place. It oozes sophistication and an international vibe. But don’t be fooled. It does a great job of keeping true to its local roots while playing around with presentation and ingredients.
Our first dish to start off with was their inverted karipap (RM30). We had heard rave reviews about this dish and held high expectations for it. We were blown away by the dish. Though it looks nothing like a curry puff, the potato and curry cream certainly did remind us of the familiar snack.
Each dish here is also served with a bit of a royal spin. The experience at Beta KL is such that if the king himself were to walk in, meals would already be fit for him. For us, dining at Beta KL did leave us feeling regal.
The “fit for a king” addition to the curry puff was the edible gold leaf perched on top of each curry puff.
The next dish was a squid ink sago crisp (RM30). This one is their rendition of the Johor laksa. With laksa aioli, calamansi and shrimp, this starter is a delightful blend of flavours. Each bite is bursting with an intense mixture of savoury and sweet and sour at the same time.
Next, we sampled the Ox Tongue (RM27). We didn’t know what to expect from ox tongue on toast, but this dish blew us away. The ox tongue was tender, coupled with the crunch of the toast, it provided a nice blend of textures in one bite.
The next dish we tried was their take on an ulam. The winged beans (RM27), inspired from the East, is a refreshing dish with an interesting flavour profile that came from the budu aioli. There is a little spicy kick to this dish from the chilli, which we loved and felt that it was appetising enough to prep us for more to come.
The spicy garden (RM32) was another dish that proved to be refreshing and tantalising. The idea behind this salad is that you probably would be able to find the ingredients that make up this salad in a local’s garden. (Although probably not mine, since I lack the green thumb.) I loved the crunch from the jambu, which gave this salad a very “watery” feeling.
Finally, we moved onto mains. We started with a beautifully cooked chicken dish (RM45). The chicken is cooked with Bentong ginger and topped with lotus crisps. The chicken was absolutely tender and packed full of flavour in every bite.
If you’re a fan of scallop, then their scallop dish (RM60) is a must-try. The dish is described to have scallops, kangkung and peanuts. Looking at it, you’re probably wondering, where’s the kangkung? That was our exact question. The kangkung is made into a powder that’s actually generously sprinkled onto the top of the crisp (which is also made out of scallop, btw). It was a highly innovative dish and we were glad to have tasted it.
We were already so blown away at this point. But the dishes that followed continued to impress us. We were served Roti (RM8), which you’re probably scoffing at. But don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Better than any mamak’s roti we’ve ever tried, this roti will totally change your life.
You can have it plain or pair it with a soft shell crab (RM45), which is the restaurant’s take on the famous chilli crab. A king would never have to peel his crab and lose all the goodness of the sauce when doing so. Which is why the dish is served with soft shell crabs instead, giving the consumer the full effect of the sauce throughout.
We also had a duck confit (RM60) as our final main. It was very tender and juicy, though not as outstanding as the other dishes we tried.
For desserts, Beta KL continues to wow us with its execution and expertise in making the simplest foods reimagined into masterpieces. For their bird’s nest dessert (RM80), it is an elaborate show of dry ice giving an air of mystery to the dish. It’s a very light dessert to have and good for two to three to share.
If you’re looking for something a little on the heavier side, we’d recommend trying the Tea (RM38). This chocolate dessert is actually a lovely combination of earl grey tea and caramel with chocolate branches. It is a stunning work of art and it’s also a treat to the palate if you’re a fan of chocolate.
Lastly, we had their Banana (RM38). The dessert is meant to encapsulate the essence of an apom balik. It is served with condensed milk ice cream, peanuts and the crisp itself is the banana. This was easily everyone’s favourite dessert.
Beta KL certainly left us feeling like we had just had a meal fit for a king. It was such an eye opening experience to see how well the different local flavours blended with various forms of preparation and presentation.
It’s definitely a great place for birthdays, events and special occasions. In our opinion, it’s well on its way to becoming the next hotspot in town.