Kuala Lumpur - The "New" Coliseum at Plaza33
Couldn't resist going to Coliseum KL's first-ever branch after 92 years in business. The newer Coliseum in the posh Plaza33 building in Petaling Jaya is a far cry from the historic original in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Batu Road) - lighter, brighter and bustling with eager customers checking out not just perhaps the newest eating spot in town, but also an upgraded, supposedly more up-to-date of an old KL dining institution.
My first impression: the new Coliseum is clean, and looked pretty swish with its new furniture. It chose to replicate the original's large coat-and-hat racks, white-tablecloth-covered tables, and ceiling fans. The dark wood-framed chairs were comfortable, the lights were bright, crockery and cutlery (exact replicas of the original) shiny & new.
The service was prompt, efficient and courteous. There *were* some rumblings in the food blogosphere when thenew Coliseum first opened 2 weeks ago about rude, nonchalant, young service staff. No evidence of that this evening. The staff were indeed *young*, but they smiled, they chatted and they made me & my dining companions feel very welcome indeed - so much so that one of my friends who wasn't in a very good mood when we first arrived at the restaurant was so impressed by the whol experience, she was happily humming away a tune in the car as we drove out of Plaza33. Well, kudos to Coliseum's management for acting so fast on public feedback and ensure this drastic transformation in service.
What we had this evening:
- Baked crab. Despite being told by a friend that the "new" Coliseum serves a better version of the baked crab, I was rather disappointed to find that it was actually *exactly* the same as the one I just had at the original Coliseum a mere 3 days ago (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/865224). I can "accept" dry, bland baked crab at the old Coliseum because I (like many other folks) was there to experience a bit of Malayan history, *not* for the quality of cooking there.
- Deep-fried prawns: Very fresh, crunchy prawns, but the idea that I'm eating yet another deep-fried item was *not* very appealing. Still, it was a traditional (Hainanese-inspired) repast which harked back to simpler era, when we had less sophisticated tastes.
- Hainanese chicken chop with fries: battered, deep-fried, then smothered with a piquant sweet-sour sauce replete with onions and peas, Hainanese-style. Served with a side of chips. Gawd, I used to like that when I was a kid. It's still good here, but I've rather outgrown this retro-Malayan dish.
- Fish-and-chips: Coliseum's rendition used breadcrumbs, rather than the beer-batter type which I preferred. Still, it was very well-done - golden-crisp on the outside, moist on the inside.
- Sizzling rib-eye steak, served with the trimmings. An exact replica (taste-wise) of the one I had at the original a few days back - that's what I call quality control.
Unit PG-02, Ground Floor, Plaza33
1, Jalan Kemajuan
46100 Petaling Jaya
One thing I missed at the new Coliseum is that the legendary sizzling steak is no longer prepared tableside as they still practice at the old Coliseum. Instead, the finishing touches were done in a corner under one of those large exhaust vents. Why?!!
Sizzling the steak tableside *was* what set Coliseum apart from other steakhouses in KL. And they just removed that at this new spot?!
Not doing the sizzling part by the customer's table takes away much of the charm we associate with Coliseum. I'm surprised that the new Coliseum changed that. I also notice that the young waiter in the photo uses a large pot to pour the gravy onto the hot plates. This is unlike the old Coliseum where each steak is prepared individually. 'New' does not equate 'better', in my opinion.