Good vibe happening at Vantage Bay

As the development of Vantage Bay at Jalan Ibrahim Sultan is gradually taking shape in Johor Baru, I’m pleasantly surprised to discover The Vibe at Vantage Bay.
Brunch 2 Wine is an outlet in The Vibe at Vantage Bay
I often drive along this coastal route and for some time, I only saw a walled-in development site.  But I recently had the privilege of a peek inside The Vibe, one of city’s newest integrated dining and entertainment destinations.

A smooth drive along the Inner Ring Road takes me to the T-junction with a view of the Johor Straits ahead.  While waiting for the traffic lights to change, I spot the striped towers of Senoko Power Station in Sembawang, on the opposite shore in Singapore.

I turn left, heading to Vantage Bay where Brunch 2 Wine is located within The Vibe, for a lunch experience.  Brunch 2 Wine first opened in Taman Molek and is hosting this event to introduce its relocation and presence in the city now.

A section of Brunch 2 Wine in The Vibe at Vantage Bay
I drive slowly as I approach the entrance to Vantage Bay and follow the signs to the carpark behind the building.  

When I step into the new building, I take a moment to admire the landscaped gardens and water features that creates a cool and welcoming ambience, and also to get my bearings.

I realise that it’s an integrated destination where the fine dining restaurant, Brunch 2 Wine, is situated adjacent to Bottle & Glass, the seafood bar.  

An alfresco area with a lawn is designed between these two outlets, dotted with high tables and bar-stools and a small stage is set up at one end of the lawn for live entertainment shows.

Resisting the temptation to explore further, I quickly head towards the double glass doors that mark the entrance to Brunch 2 Wine.  “Later,” I tell myself as I make a mental note to take a tour of the property after the meal.

A serving of Carpaccio of Totoro Brown Tuna starter
The doors open to a wide and well-appointed dining hall and I’m ushered to my seat at a long banquet table.  I wave “Hello” to familiar media friends who are already seated there.

The piped-in jazzy saxophone music is doing its job in soothing frazzled nerves and I must declare that the wrap-around feel of my chair, upholstered in a luxurious brocade fabric, is oh so comfortable!

While waiting for more arrivals, I review our lunch menu printed on a sheet of paper, in anticipation what we will be eating for a starter, main course and dessert. 

Curious about the food here, I ask the waiter for the restaurant’s menu for a peek at the items they serve ala carte. 

The shiny cutlery, starched table linen, glittering chandeliers and vintage looking lampshades in the wall sconces, all work together to spell fine dining in an elegant ambience.
Chocolate Tart dessert
The floor to ceiling glass walls are welcoming in natural light by day so when the sun goes down, I’m sure the mood with the muted lights against a backdrop of dark skies (in air-conditioned comfort!) will be absolutely mesmerising.

When the waiter hands me the restaurant menu, it feels heavy in my hands.  As I turn crisp dark pages with cream coloured cards (printed menus) mounted in slots at four cut-out corners, I’m instantly reminded of classic, old-fashioned photo albums.  The only things missing are the black-and-white photographs and the opaque sheets that separate each page!

I see the first lunch course being served at the other end of the table and I’m more than ready to sample the culinary creations of Chef Kelvin Lee, who comes with the prestigious reputation of culinary experience from three different, Michelin Star restaurants in France.

Bottle & Glass is a seafood bar in The Vibe
Chef Kelvin, a Malaysian from Kuala Lumpur, brings his vast experience with Le Jardin Des Sens in Montpellier and Michel Bra in Laguiole as well as San Marco at the Lighthouse, Fullerton Hotel, Singapore, to create a range of exciting menus at Brunch 2 Wine.

If the plating and presentation are anything to go by, the starter serving of Carpaccio of Totoro Brown Tuna drizzled with olive salsa and aromatic vegetables, is quite an impressive start.

The artistic sprinkle of Japanese fish roe among the colourful cubed vegetables, not only creates quite a pretty bouquet but also presents contrasting flavours that pairs perfectly with the carpaccio!

A section of Bottle & Glass in The Vibe
Between the two main courses of slow-cooked John Dory (fish) in olive oil, served with pesto and garden vegetables and Canard de Bresse (duck) served with baby carrots and flavoured with passion fruit juice, my obvious choice is the duck.

Once again, I can’t help noticing how the main course is being presented on an interesting Japanese inspired flatware designed with an uneven surface.

The slices of duck breast are presented in medium-rare doneness, each with a sliver of skin for a delicious burst of fat against the tender lean meat.  Drizzled in passion fruit juice, its tangy taste coolly complements every bite of the breast meat.

My only concern is the uneven surface of the platter.  As I gently slice through the baby carrots, I’m fearful that a segment may zing off my plate and land on another diner!

Thankfully, it’s just my overactive imagination and nothing untoward happened with the baby carrots… except that I happily ate them.

A section of the Wheat & Wit pastry shop in The Vibe
Finally it’s time for dessert.  I’m glad I still have some space left to enjoy the Chocolate Tart topped with a spun sugar sculpture, served on a bed of cookie crumbs and garnished by berries.

The pastry crust cracks to a gentle touch as I cut through the tart and slowly savour each spoonful of warm Belgian chocolate, in an attempt to make it last longer!

As the meal winds down to an end, Chef Kelvin joins us for a chat. 

He briefly outlines how he’s introducing traditional food with modern cooking methods where various techniques are applied and meals are presented with a combination of tastes using natural flavours from fruits and vegetables.

While some items are prepared in recipes that include a dash of alcohol to bring out the flavours, Chef Kelvin assures diners that the serving staff are trained to advise which items in the menu are alcohol-free.

As he speaks passionately about his food, I can see how he’s clearly having fun creating meals using a mix of Japanese ingredients in modern European cuisine and serving it with a touch of artistic elegance.

As more diners are discovering the culinary creations here, Brunch 2 Wine also offers daily set lunch meals priced between RM45++ (3-course) to RM60++ (4-course) per set. 

It’s reassuring to learn that all ingredients are halal-sourced and no pork products are used in the outlets in The Vibe at Vantage Bay.  Speaking of the other outlets, I’m ready to stretch my legs and explore further for a look at what else is happening here. 

I leave Brunch 2 Wine and step across the lawn into Bottle & Glass and discover its vintage décor complete with a long bar.  It’s a seafood bar with indoor and outdoor seating areas as well as karaoke rooms for guests who wish to belt out a few songs!

Across the foyer from Bottle & Glass, I enter another wing which houses Wheat & Wit, a pastry shop and bakery as well as a café for light meals like sandwiches, salads, pasta and all-day breakfasts.

A tall water feature at the entrance to
the Ladies room at The Vibe
A glance at the breads and pastries reveals a range of buns and rolls including their signature croissants filled with molten salted egg and the other, filled with matcha or green tea.

As I make my way to the carpark, I pass the TMC Care Pharmacy and through its glass doors, I spy the pharmacist serving customers. 

My attention is suddenly riveted to the tinkling sound from two tall water features.  And when I approach the cast iron sculptures, I realise that they mark the wide entrance to the common restroom in the building.

I find it rather amusing as I instantly recall the toilet etiquette in Japan where natural sounds are politely disguised by electronic sounds of trickling water!

A great deal is indeed going on at The Vibe and it looks like the only thing left is for more people to discover the interesting vibes here.

As I’m driving out, I can’t help smiling and feeling a deep desire to return for another exciting taste of the dining and entertainment options happening at The Vibe.

The Vibe @ Vantage Bay is at Lot 6376 & 9236, Jalan Ibrahim Sultan, 80300 Johor Baru.  Tel: +607 – 207 1600 (Brunch 2 Wine), +607 – 207 0771 (Bottle & Glass).

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