ben's by BIG

12:02 PM sians 0 Comments

the BIG group has invaded the restaurant scene in malaysia quite extensively with their restaurant selections from ben's independent grocer to botanical on top of the six others in their repertoire. 

taken from their website

i've tried the five out of the eight in BIG family and i've concluded that while their styles are very similar from one after the next, the differences in their menu options at each steer me to pick ben's over the rest. what i love is the restaurant's mantra that resonates with mine:

taken from their website

{to eat is to love}

my first ben's experience was dinner in conjunction of new year's eve at their franchise in pavilion and it made a surprisingly positive impression. the decor mimics the ambiance of a cozy apartment with soft lights and wooden window panels covering one side of the wall. the other wall is adorned by black&white photography depicting people, love, friendships and relationships. each ben's decor is slight different where one might be cozier than the other but revolves around the same theme.

p.s. pictures in this entry are from different visits.

ben's at pavilion {taken from their website}
interior of klcc's ben's
at the tables, there are conversation starters that prompt diners to think of what ifs and ponder about their cooking skills. so if you ever run out of things to talk about, it's a good catalyst to initiate a new topic of conversation.

their menu was an interesting mix of local cuisines to italian, new american and mediterranean to name a few. it was a melting pot of different cultures on a single menu.

frosties & coolers :: watermelon lychee (rm 9.90)

a warm sunny day often calls for a cool, refreshing drink - exactly what this drink fulfilled. slightly sweet, fresh watermelon blended in ice and incorporating the floral notes of lychee which finally ends with the freshness of the mint.

it was just sweet enough but what i liked about it was the fact that the three ingredients fused well together but at the same time, i could still taste the distinct flavors of each. overall, a lovely drink.

nibbles :: crispy fried calamari | with tartare sauce and lemon wedge (rm 16.90)

true to its description, they got everything done right to a T. served freshly fried, the crispy calamari was cooked perfectly without it being chewy which is always a plus in my book. 

slightly oily, the lemon wedge was a needed touch to cut through the oil while the tartare sauce was creamy and slightly tart. 

what struck me for this dish was the spices in the batter of the calamari was reminiscent of murukku. i can't help but to think of the south indian savory snack with each bite as the batter detaches from the calamari ring occasionally. 

 pasta :: beef lasagna | layers of pasta, minced beef bolognese & cheese, baked till golden (rm 18.90)

{mw} had the beef lasagna, which has always been her go-to dish. very cheesy and a huge chunk made out of layers of pasta and beef, it is served with a side of salad. 

from the one bite that i tried, it tasted alright but the sauce lacked the depth that could have brought this dish to life. a dash of salt  and a sprinkle of fresh herbs for another added note to the flavor party.

pasta :: crabmeat linguine puttanesca | robust tomato sauce flavored with anchovies, capers & chili flakes (rm 25.90)

{mw} had dish envy when my order came to our table. i've always loved my seafood and the combination of crabmeat, capers and tomatoes with anchovies just sounded irresistible.

plump, sweet and slightly tart cherry tomatoes crowned the dish while the al dente pasta was coated with the savory, sweet yet tart sauce that ended with a subtle spicy note, which thankfully didn't linger on the tongue. all of that are married with the natural sweetness of the fresh crab meat. 

the occasional bites with capers introduced burst of briny saltiness that echoed the anchovies in the sauce.  the balance of all the flavors orchestrated a symphony, pleasing to the taste buds. however, it was missing one ingredient that makes it puttanesca - black olives which would have lent another dimension of flavor. regardless, this pasta dish was a delight and it became a quick favorite.

my multiple visits to ben's has seen me try other menu items including 
o1. coffees :: latte (rm 7.90)
one of the better ones i've had. a lot better than ones from starbucks but far from rivaling my favorite from espressamente illy. creamy, bitter but lacking that light tart note in the end. 

o2. desserts :: chocolate truffle torte | served with a glass of icy cold milk (rm 11.90)
as i took my first bite, all i could think of was how many BARS of chocolate were melted into cream and made into a cake. decadent doesn't even begin to describe it and rich is an understatement. it was too sweet and the icy cold milk was definitely a must. the glass of milk was far too small for the amount of chocolate the torte forces us to consume.

o3. nibbles :: pandan chicken wing (rm 9.90)
the dish was basically three chicken wings (cut into 2 pieces giving six) and was seasoned a bit too well - basically, salty. the chicken was still moist and the pandan flavor was subtle which was a nice touch.

ben's offers varieties that would work for many and i began to understand its popularity among the masses. a few hits and misses with their food, it is a pleasant, cozy rendezvous for a lovely get together. i have to admit one thing though, my revisits to ben's have yet to beat my first ever experience at this restaurant.

ben's by BIG | locations
6.11.oo & e6.11.oo, 6th floor
pavilion kl shopping mall
168 jalan bukit bintang
55100 kuala lumpur

{yummy-ness | 3.5 forks out of 5 }
{worth trying | crabmeat linguine puttanesca}

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.