Note: This post had 180 Facebook shares and about 50 likes before our relaunch in March 2012.
There’s a new hole-in-the-wall right in the heart of the city where you can get some good Hungarian food, contemporary favorites and some fabulous European desserts.
Started in August 2011, Chilli Vanilla Cafe is the brainchild of three good friends; Shirley Wong, Salome Sho and Szilvia Pinter. So how did the whole Hungarian thing come about?
Naturally it is so because the Chef, Szilvia Pinter is Hungarian!
Since Chilli Vanilla came highly recommended, I took AUSSIEHOUSEWIFE and COTTONBUDQUEEN there on the first night, and AMERICANGIRL came with me on the 2nd night to try some of their food.
Here’s what we had:-
Something on the Side
On the first night, we started our meal with an order of Frikadelle, which are homemade beef meatballs with Hungarian Paprika, cheese, garlic and herbs that are deep fried to perfection and served with spicy fruit chutney.
This little box of meatballs the size of assorted chocolates oozed out some warm and yummy runny cheese that came from the center. All of us loved it, so it’s something you gotta have. (RM10.90)
BLACK PEPPER CALAMARI
AUSSIEHOUSEWIFE loves calamari and if it’s on the menu, we’ll order it. This is a little different from the Italian or Spanish type, because it has been drizzled with black pepper oil and served with Sumac Mayonnaise. Sumac is a traditional Middle Eastern spice rub that is used in Hungary, where the cuisine have strong Turkish influences. We definitely liked the slightly jazzed up mayonnaise and the calamari was great by local standards. Great value too! (RM 12.90)
This next dish had bits of 4 types of mushrooms that’s been sauteed in garlic butter and herbs. It tasted nice but AUSSIEHOUSEWIFE said it would have been better if the mushrooms were quartered into bite sized pieces instead of thin strips. I agree. The bread that came with the dish was fresh and soft. Mmm. (RM9.90)
Moving to the mains, AUSSIEHOUSEWIFE ordered a Chicken Roulade. I was rather amused that the roulade looked and tasted like a twisted Kiev. This preparation looked and felt very Eastern European, though to be honest I have not had that much experience with the cuisine from that part of the world. The spinach with cheese filling was a nice combination and we all liked it. She tells us that the cold potato salad is definitely very Hungarian. (RM 14.80)
SMOKED DUCK TORTILLA
COTTONBUDQUEEN and I ordered the smoked duck tortilla. This definitely did it for me! I loved the smoked duck bits with melted cheese, sandwiched between these perfectly toasted tortilla wraps. It was just perfect pulling the tortilla off and finding flavorful pieces of duck tucked inside. Mmmm. I also loved the spicy jalapeno zing! (RM17.90)
MOROCCAN-INSPIRED LAMB STEW
Moroccan food nights for me always seem strangely dramatic. The first time I had it, I passed out right at the dinner table (not from the food). Both other times I had it again, they were my farewell parties at two separate Moroccan restaurants in two different cities. On the second night, AMERICANGIRL and I ordered a pot of Moroccan Lamb Stew and for some weird reason, I started to entertain the idea of doing something potentially life-changing that I hadn’t considered before. What do they put in it?
Imagine taking out all the curry, chilly and oil from an Indian lamb curry, and Moroccan lamb stew is what you’re left with. Ingredients-wise, the stew tells a different story. Apricots, sweet potatoes, vegetables, dates and spices go into the stew and it is served with couscous! This is great for two reasons. You get your dosage of heme iron without overstimulating your palate or suffering at the toilet the day after.
The pieces of meat were very tender and the sauce was lovely. Loved it and for the price, it’s fabulous! I heartily recommend it if you want a healthier way to enjoy lamb! (RM 15.90)
Mediterranean Mixed Salad
AMERICANGIRL felt like a salad, and we went for the Meditteranean salad because of the homemade curd cheese. To be honest the salad is ultra healthy-tasting, which is befitting because it is under the label “healthy and hearty.” It is great if you’re watching your waistline but this isn’t as flavorful as salads that are covered in a richer dressing. I liked it specifically because it was very light! (RM 15.90)
Ah trifle! Who amongst you don’t love the wonderful layered dessert of cream, fruit and custard from the U.K.? I know I do! Well your prayers have been answered. The Mango trifle at Chilli Vanilla is lush. It is rich without being overly sweet. Mmmm. Yummy! (RM 8.50)
Even if the tiramisu seems to be lacking structure, it tasted amazing! The only other tiramisu I’ve tasted of this caliber in KK is from Mrs. Chin, and she doesn’t make hers to sell because (according to her) it isn’t commercially viable to use the ingredients she does. Well Szilvia’s tiramisu tastes just as yummy because she uses real cream and non of that trans-whip stuff. You can buy a slice of that heavenly coffee trifle for RM 8.50!
We didn’t get a chance to try everything, but I took some additional photos to show you the desserts they have. Szilvia is famed for making cakes and for several years she’s been baking to order from her home. Now that she has a little place, you can just swing by and have some of her delicious desserts which include Apple Crumble and Brownies!
The space is small, so you can only go in parties of no more than 4 (6 maximum). It’s a casual dining and non-smoking environment (except for that corner table nearest to the entrance). We’ll try to get their contacts soon, but right now just stop by! They are open for lunch and dinner, and their last order is at 9:30pm!
Chilli Vanilla is located on the same row as Little Italy, Ang’s hotel, and El Centro. It faces the Emporium and is located right next to Moonbell Restaurant.
View Western Restaurants in KK in a larger map
There’s nothing much on their Facebook page yet, but here it is:- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chilli-Vanilla-Cafe/147177555364821
If you’ve eaten there, let us know what you think at the comments section below!