I have always wondered what type of place this ‘Foundry’ is supposed to be. Is it a Goods Dept type of mall? Some sort of a creative and edgy thinking space for the hipster youth? We discovered later that the storage-like building not only housed some of the flagship stores of happening local brands, it is also the location of the recently founded Wilshire. The name connotes with the renowned Wilshire restaurant in Santa Monica, famous for its fabulous patio and new urban cuisine. And so we decided to spend lunch there, eager to find out whether this Wilshire is related to the one in Cali.
As it turns out, Wilshire is not in any way part of the Wilshire in the States. The kind hostess we spoke to explained to us that the owner was simply inspired by the restaurants in the Wilshire area in Central Los Angeles. Probably inspired enough to decide to use the exact same name for his (or her) own restaurant concept. This restaurant is located at the front side of the building and in much contrast to the industrial feel of the Foundry, Wilshire is an oasis of dark elegance and quirky chic: Black wooden chairs and sofas with mirror details everywhere and mosaic tiles with embroidered rose motifs on the floor. A perfect place for quiet and stylish, yet understated meetings over breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I am not sure whether it is ‘new urban cuisine’ or not, but there is a lot of fried rice and noodle dishes on the lunch menu. One of the house specials is the garlic noodles and that is the only dish we picked from the lunch section. The rest of our order was selected from their bigger and way more interesting dinner menu. We shared a tasty Korean Tacos appetizer and continued with braised pork belly, thick beef tongue and the earlier mentioned garlic noodles with shrimps. There are many ways of describing and concluding how pleasant the food was, but let us cut straight to the chase and begin with “okay this is really nice”.
The Korean style marinated beef in the soft taco shells were nicely seasoned and proportioned. Overall, it was a nice appetizer. The pork belly was simple in appearance yet gorgeous in taste and texture. The dish was served with rice and this is where it felt slightly off. The rice was simply too dry. We immediately thought that maybe the rice would better complement the dish if it were of different kind; a Japanese rice maybe? I had a bit of an issue with the garlic noodles because it could have been a bit more al dente and less wet. There was nothing wrong with the taste, in fact the taste of Wilshire’s garlic noodles reminded us of the famous Thanh Long’s garlic noodles. The thinner slices of the beef tongue felt a bit overcooked. But we did not have any issue with the thicker slices. They were perfectly cooked. This, of course, brought to light the inconsistency of the dish that ruined what would otherwise be a perfect plate
For dessert aficionados, Wilshire is absolutely a wonderful place to be. We did not care whether we had any verbal interactions with other human beings after this lunch and went for the durian soufflé and flaming valrhona chocolate molten cake. The soufflé was one of those creations you wished you could recreate at your own kitchen but simply can’t after the 87th attempt. It had the right fluff and the durian had a creamy soft touch to its distinct flavor. The valrhona should have been flamed in front of us, but the waiters did not care or did not know, so we poured the bourbon over the cake ourselves. Again, a wonderful play between the molten texture and the chocolate taste, drenched in feisty bourbon.
We still are unclear about the type of cuisine at Wilshire, but the chef recommended dishes are worthy of its recommendations. I would absolutely give the other recommended menus a try in my next visit. Some refinements on the finishing should be in order, because it is such a shame to have the taste of a great dish slightly ruined because of it being overcooked. Hopefully it will get better once the chef is installed because currently the kitchen is being run by an executive chef who also happens to be one of the owners. And for that, I would like to shoutout my kudos for establishment owners who ‘get down and dirty’ to make sure the output is in accordance with their vision.
Details we like
– The ceiling chimes are demure ornaments during the day, but light up the whole place in warm atmospheric light during the night.
– Fresh flowers and properly regulated airconditioning.
Details we do not like
– No fresh cutlery after the starters and no flaming of our molten. Not sure whether the staff was being unattentive or simply unaware
– Great breakfast menu but it opens at 11am
Reviewers: Misty Dian & Yuventius Nicky