[Non-halal] Have you tried Hakka lei cha pasta? San Lou Pasta Bar 叁楼 is a hidden gem in Kelana Jaya serving handmade pasta with Chinese cooking influences.
We found out about this place thanks to the wonderful recommendation by Eat Lokal.
San Lou Pasta Bar 叁楼 in Kelana Jaya
Located on the third floor of Menara Infiniti in Kelana Jaya, this humble pasta bar operates in a small space with only four tables available inside the restaurant.
Dining here can be a personable experience as San Lou 叁楼 is only operated by a couple – chef Stephen who cooks, and Jessica who manages the front of the house.
Given the limited tables, reservations are highly recommended especially on the weekends.
Although we did not make any reservations, Jessica was kind enough to open a table for us outside for alfresco dining. Thankfully, the weather was quite cool that evening, so we didn’t mind it at all.
Lovely service at San Lou Pasta Bar 叁楼
Jessica was one of the most personable and hospitable people we’ve encountered for dinner service.
We really enjoyed her detailed explanations of every dish, and how she went out of her way to make us (and other diners) feel comfortable.
San Lou serves homemade pasta with Chinese influence
With over 10 years of experience in the industry, Chef Stephen has cut his teeth by working in Basilico and Manhattan Bar in Singapore.
Stephen makes his own pasta here – which includes the tagliatelle which is used for three dishes.
The specialty pasta served here with an Asian twist are the Hakka Lei Cha, Chilli Crab, and Earl Grey Smoke Soba.
However, Stephen also does classic Italian dishes such as the Tuscan Pork Jowl (Bucatini tossed with pulled pork jowl and grated 24-month Grana Padana) and Carbonara (tagliatelle tossed with raw egg yolks, and accentuated with Pencetta).
Starting off well with the Eggplant Parmigiana
San Lou offers a decent selection of antipasti – but we settled on the Naughty Eggplant Parmigiana (RM20).
This dish is an interesting take on the classic Italian Parmigiana as they are served as balls (reminding us of arancini) with eggplant, basil, and cheese wrapped in panko skin.
These were done very well as the panko skin was crispy, and the eggplant was cooked to a lovely soft texture, with a nice umami hit from the Grand Padano Cheese. The marinara sauce just had the right amount of tanginess.
Lei Cha pasta is lovely
The Hakka Lei Cha (RM25) pasta here was a highlight for us. It is sort of an Asian take on Italian pesto, if we may say so.
First, the handmade tagliatelle was cooked perfectly for a nice al-dente texture.
The lei cha gravy was really fragrant with just the right amount of minty bite, and crunchiness from the nuts. The gravy is complimented by the soft tanginess of sun-dried tomatoes and preserved radish (choy poh), with bits of fried tofu for extra texture.
This was a fusion dish made well – as it really exemplifies the nuances of authentic Hakka lei cha through an Italian pasta dish.
As for the Chilli Crab pasta (RM35), we liked that chef Stephen did not just toss some pasta in instant Chilli Crab sauce and call it a day.
Instead, the gravy was very nuanced as it was made from scratch – with the right balance of sweetness and savouriness you’ll associate with the classic seafood dish. The soft-shell crab that came with it had a good crunch and we liked the addition of mantou on the plate.
Ming did find the gravy a bit too rich at first – and we really appreciated that Stephen was able to adjust the flavours to suit our palate.
We love small businesses like San Lou Pasta Bar, and we can see Stephen go far given his ingenuity in crafting such interesting dishes, and Jessica’s amazing hospitality. We’ll return for the Carbonara and Tuscan Pork Jowl next.
San Lou Pasta Bar
Address: No. 3-3, Menara Infiniti, Jalan SS 6/3a, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Hours: 4.30 pm-10.30 pm (Closed on Wednesday)
Phone: 011-1092 0938
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