Back then, when you think of Changkat Bukit Bintang (or just Changkat for short), the immediate association would be to a very vibrant nightlife and rowdy partying. But today, Changkat has shifted its focus a little more on serving up delicious plates to suit every palate from Western to Asian to fusion cuisine.
Opium KL falls into that last category - though it isn’t completely fusion. I like to think of it as largely Asian with hints of Western influence.
The resto-bar’s setup is reminiscent of the 1920s Shanghai era. Carefully selected oriental pieces adorn the walls and shelves to entice visitors to imagine themselves in a setting fond of yesteryear.
As a resto-bar, Opium KL attracts an equal amount of cocktail enthusiasts as its does diners. Since I’m six months pregnant, I couldn’t taste any of their cocktails but I did get a refreshing start to my meal with an apple, lychee, mint concoction (RM18).
Tim, on the other hand, can still enjoy his alcohol, so he readily lapped up their Zhubajie (RM42). A play on the Journey to the West’s popular pig faced character, the cocktail comes pretty in pink with a handmade rake for you to enjoy your drink. The combination of watermelon, pomegranate, apricot and mango is a delightful mix and was Tim’s favourite of the day.
The next drink is a best-seller at the bar and is often praised for its aesthetic. The Black Dragon (RM44) is a mix of blackberries, creme de cassis, vodka and lemon juice. According to Tim, this was like sipping on an alcoholic Ribena drink. Though it wasn't as strong as the Zhu Bajie, it was a nice accompaniment to the meal we had.
Starting off our meal, we were presented with a generous selection of their starters. Kicking off the scrumptious lunch was a fried chilli squid (RM26). This was easily my favourite dish of the day because the squid was so perfectly cooked and well spiced. Paired with the roasted garlic, we couldn't find fault with it!
Next up, we tried the Lamb Frit Balls (RM26). Similar to little cutlets, these meat-packed balls were juicy and tasty to the very last bite. The spicy mayonnaise is a MUST try with these, as they go together beautifully.
A nice bite-sized side to have is also their soya scallops (RM16 per pc).The scallops are expertly cooked and topped off with the unmistakable Chinese flavour of soy sauce.
We also enjoyed some of their chicken dumplings (RM18). Opium is surprisingly pork-free. I didn't even realise it till we got to this dish. But having said that, the dumplings were still delicious and we enjoyed it.
Next, we sampled the soft shell crab mango salad (RM35). This is a bit more Thai than Chinese, but it was still incredibly well executed. If you're a fan of soft shell crab, this one's for you.
One of the most impressive dishes of the day was the Stream & Steam grilled red emperor (RM130 for 2 pax), which comes with soft shell crab, as well as a hearty seafood broth in a bamboo shoot and two bowls of rice. I believe more than 2 people can easily share this dish as the portion is huge by Asian standards!
Another easy favourite of the day was their curry spaghetti with salmon (RM40). The portion is generous and the salmon is to die for. The curry broth is simply divine and is comparable with any good laksa would there. I didn't even realise we were enjoying spaghetti, because the noodles go so well with the soup. A must-try for curry noodle enthusiasts.
We also got to try some of their "Nasi Addict" (RM45), a play on opium addiction (and our Malaysian love for nasi lemak/nasi kerabu). This dish comes with fried chicken, sambal, anchovies (stir fried with shallots), egg and acar. This is again, a huge portion that 2 can easily share.
If i was dining alone at Opium, I would order this next dish - the signature ulam quinoa with beef rendang, curry and fried squid. Because I enjoyed the fried squid so much, this dish is perfect. The beef rendang is also soft and tender and flavourful. The curry is on point and goes perfectly with the quinoa.
Overall, our meal at Opium was one of decadence and every bite was full of flavour. I would easily recommend this place because of its wide variety and delicious options.
50, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur. Monday to Saturdays, open from 12:30pm-2:30pm; 5pm-1am (last order at 11pm)