Being from Ipoh, I have been to Indulgence a lot, both the old place since 1996 I think. The first few years were splendid, maybe the menu was not as extensive. The owner chef Julie Song works with passion, and never shies away from meshing different ingredients to heighten the senses. It literally was like dining at a close friend's home. Somehow, the menu got a bit adventurous and for a few years it was always a hit and miss with some of the dishes. I have been reading plenty of food bloggers on Indulgence, most were not positive. You's have to wonder at the power of the food bloggers, if they were, Indulgence would have closed shop years ago!
Too many will always say how expensive it was in the end - just because its in Ipoh does not mean everything will be cheap people, that is such a stupid line of thought. We all know that there are great hawker food in Ipoh, Indulgence is gourmet food. I think its time to set things right.
Indulgence is defined both as the act of gratifying desire and as foolish or senseless behaviour. There is a little of each when we pamper ourselves with food. Food indulgence is a form of sensual pleasure. For a moment we break out of our imposed rules of eating to measure and give in to gut desire. Anything forbidden or restricted, anything considered unhealthy, anything costly and rarely available - too much of a good thing is an indulgence.
People who travel from KL, Singapore and Penang to Indulgence arrive with heightened expectations. I have to say not all dishes work perfectly, but over the last two years, I have been back a lot more often as the standards are being maintained very well. There is more cohesion and the service staff were excellent. I always check out the board special as Julie has set great standards in getting in some great imports - the oysters (esp the Kumamotos) and trout were top notch.
Ipoh is a small town but the last dozen of times I was back at Indulgence, it was always nearly full - good crowds for breakfasts, lunches, tea time and of course, dinners. I suspect most of the crowd are from Ipoh. After a while, we all came to an understanding of the good food being served, but more importantly, we know how to order. The food is basically Italian and very modern Australian - yea, not many would agree that there is a modern Australian cuisine but its basically fresh produce from the Asian Pacific region and not being shy to incorporate Asian spices and herbs, coupled with the Aussie penchant for grilling and salads with a zing.
Ok, here is what you should consider ordering:
- the complimentary bread with the salted Bridel butter, always amazing
- the Belgian mussels with white wine
- the smoked duck
- the ahi tuna on brioche
- the baked cheese and mushroom bruschetta
- any of the salads with smoke duck
- the Oba pasta
- SILK (order and be surprised)
- the chicken lasagne
- the mango and passion fruit trifle
- the strawberries with chocolate
- the black and white (go order and be amazed)
- the rhubarb cheese cake
- the Granny apple cheesecake
- the fudgy brownie
Always get the ice lemon tea (its a simple thing yet done refreshingly well) or coffee, or their ice coffee, its done with Farm House milk, cannot get any better.
The wine list is not extensive but superb selections - yes, here is where you can get the Dona Bernarda 2006 for RM189.
A lot of food bloggers complain about the service. I must say it was bad a few years back but I have noticed a marked improvement over the last year and a half. As in any establishments, things always click better once you know one or two of the wait staff, or the chef. I think Julie knows and have read many of the negative comments - but hey, its always nearly packed - so somebody is doing something right which outweighs the negatives, I mean its been going for more than 14 years!!! Its not for a lack of choice, there's Citrus and Brewster. Its never going to be a cheap place to dine. So go with an open mind and RM100 pp, and judge for yourselves. It seems there are two types of people after they dined there, they either love it or hate it. I love the place.
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11th April 2010,
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