No 14, Jalan Raja Dihilir,
(Jalan Tambun) 30350 Ipoh, Perak.
Tel. 605 2557051

Food type: Modern Eclectic

Food rating: 2/10

Nearest tube: –

Website: Indulgence

(Editor’s note: Please note that the scoring of food in Malaysia is based on a linear scale)

I’m half nodding off while trying to type up my new entry to my blog. No thanks to the much maligned Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), my computer crashed on me when I was half way through typing out my new post yesterday. Not only was I not able to write it up in time, I was deprived of some much needed sleep. Thank you very much Windows XP.

Indulgence claims to be the only fine-dining restaurant in Ipoh. It’s pedigree is huge with the number of awards garnered over the years. Among the accolades, Chef Julie Song was awarded ‘Best Western Cuisine Chef’ 2005/06  and ‘Western Cuisine Restaurant of the Year’ 2007/08 by the Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards. Formerly a small cafe, they have relocated to a more spacious mansion with ample dining space – you can choose to dine al fresco if you wish to. No chance of me doing so though in this sweltering heat. The ground floor is utilized as the restaurant with a boutique hotel located upstairs.

The menu here is lenghty with more than 50 options covering items of breakfast, tea as well as lunch and dinner service. There are large and varied options for starters, pastas, pizzas, meat and fish courses, not withstanding the daily specials (around 10 of them). Desserts were pretty limited with cakes and ice creams the main highlights although there was the occasional cheese course (designed cheese course) and souffle. Also on offer was a set lunch which consisted of a starter, mains and coffee for RM42 (£7) although there was no options for the set lunch. After much deliberation, I settled for the set lunch.

Fennel Soup with Cod Rosette

First up was a Fennel Soup with Cod Rosette – thin slices of raw cod are gently cooked by the hot broth. The soup while pleasant enough was severely under-seasoned to the point that most of the flavours in the soup felt quite mundane. In addition, I felt that too much thyme was used, so much so that the aniseedy flavour of the fennel was completely lost. The cod was of good quality although again could have done with some seasoning. (2/10) Bread served with the soup was freshly baked and had a good crust but sadly was rather chewy. (2/10)

Mushroom Soup

Mom had a mushroom soup which was again under-seasoned and lacking the concentrated punch of wild mushrooms. When I, as a student, can achieve much better results at home, it brings up the question why one should even bother going to a restaurant. (1/10)

Rolled Chicken with Asparagus & Unagi

My mains was Rolled Chicken with Asparagus & Unagi. Here, thigh fillets were stuffed with vegetables before being pan fried and baked. This was topped off with peppers and some pretty decent chicken jus. Here, the execution of the chicken was flawless with moist meat, a crispy skin and peppers which were perfectly cooked. My problem with this dish lies in the over-elaboration of the side garnishes which included mashed potatoes, pthiviers of unagi (grilled fresh water eel) and asparagus with deep fried rice noodles, a side salad and hollandaise. The mashed potatoes was again severely under-seasoned – a repetitive theme in the cooking. For me, the dish seems to lack focus (what is unagi doing on the same plate as chicken) and is trying to achieve too much all at once. (2/10)

Mom had a Pizza which was pretty good in all honesty – a basic cheese and tomato pizza topped with beef pepperoni and turkey ham (urgh… stupid Malaysia, why can’t we have pork in our food instead of bastardizing everything). The crust was wafer thin and crispy with gooey cheese. (5/10)

Chocolate Creme Brulee with  Vanilla Ice Cream and Almond Financier

For desserts, I opted for one of the specials – Chocolate Creme Brulee with Vanilla Ice Cream and Almond Financier. Take a look at the picture above and tell me that the creme brulee doesn’t remind you of a slice of foie gras. In all honesty, the creme brulee was downright awful with a grainy texture and not much of a caramelised layer. Actually scratch that – the caramelised area was next to non-existent. This of course was garnished with the dreaded chopped raw mint leafs (hello grass…) I wish I could tell you that the almond financier was the saving grace but it was hard and chewy. A generous 0/10.

Blueberry Crumble

Dad (who didn’t have lunch) chose to have a Blueberry Crumble topped with Ice cream. I don’t know what the definition of Blueberry Crumble is in Malaysia, but it is certainly not Blueberry cake with crumble on top. Any girl in the UK would know how to make a decent crumble in home economics class. (0/10)

We finished off lunch with a cup of coffee which was excellent. Lunch for (essentially) 2 came up to RM195 (£35) which is very pricey for Malaysian standards although there were many flaws with the cooking techniques and execution. Additionally, with such a large menu, service has been known to bog down to a near standstill during a busy dinner service. Best in Asia? You must be having a laugh!