Kuala Lumpur’s coolest hotspot Maristar is set to light up the city’s dining and nightlife scene when Malaysia reopens its borders to international visitors on the 1st of April 2022. Ong Chin Huat visits this new caviar seafood bar and lounge and speaks with the founder of The Marini’s Group, Cavaliere Modesto Marini, about what Maristar offers in KL’s burgeoning F&B scene.
Having closed its borders since March 2020, the news that Malaysia will fully reopen its borders and welcome back international travellers on the 1st of April 2022 must be music to the ears of those in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
With 98 per cent of Malaysia’s adult population fully vaccinated and more than half receiving their booster shots, the country will transition to its endemic phase and fully vaccinated travellers can enjoy quarantine-free travel to Malaysia. One of the first places to visit and have a bite to eat or chill out and drink must be the coolest hotspot in the heart of town, the Maristar, located at the newly refreshed Starhill retail and dining mall in the heart of KL’s bustling shopping and entertainment belt, Bukit Bintang.
It’s the latest addition in The Marini’s Group F&B and entertainment portfolio, which includes Marble 8, M Marini Grand Caffè and Terrazza, MariGin Gin Bar and the award-winning Marini’s on 57, whom many consider the most iconic rooftop bar and restaurant in Malaysia’s capital city.
Occupying 730 square meters, this caviar and seafood bar and lounge are divided into three sections. The ground floor has both indoor and alfresco seating areas and a bar, the middle floor with a video wall, and an upper floor for guests who prefer a little privacy. There are also private dining rooms with sound bars and attached bathrooms.
Plush and luxurious, Maristar combines the best of both worlds – it’s a chic spot during the daytime for ladies who wish to stop by for lunch or tea with friends in-between shopping jaunts, and it transforms itself into a hip bar and lounge when the sun goes down, making it an ideal place to catch up with business associates or clients for cocktails after work.
Being a seafood and caviar lounge, Maristar specialises in delectable marine edibles. Visitors can expect the freshest oysters, lobsters, caviar, squid, mussels, prawns, scallops, fish fillets, ocean trout tartar, and Carpaccio Hamachi served in mouth-watering seafood towers and platters and accompanied with special sauces including house spice blends. And as it bears the Italian hallmark from its owner Modesto Marini, dishes such as Angel Hair Pasta with Maine lobster tail and bottarga, Pappardelle pasta with sage butter and sliced black truffles and Pizza Napolitano also feature prominently on the menu.
Oyster fans can savour premium oysters such as Gallagher, Fine de Claire, Irish Premium, Tragheanna Bay, Sydney Rock and Bruny Island oysters. As for caviar, Maristar offers Beluga Siberian and Osetra caviar from Marini’s Premium Caviar Selection, sourced from renowned Italian brands that produce sustainable caviar in their own fish farms.
If turf is more to your liking than surf, Maristar offers succulent meat dishes such as Wagyu Tenderloins and Tomahawk Steaks, as well as boneless lamb shanks accompanied by sautéed vegetables and truffle mashed potatoes.
Tea time is presented with pride at Maristar too, where a sumptuous afternoon tea menu allows guests to indulge in fine pastries, cakes and savouries while sipping Prosecco or a cup of Earl Grey.
Luxurious Magazine speaks with Cavaliere Modesto Marini (above), the founder of The Marini’s Group, about his newest venture.
Luxurious Magazine: How did the idea for Maristar come about?
Modesto Marini: The idea was to create a premium food and entertainment outlet that would complement the luxury brands of The Starhill, including high-end brands such as Tom Ford, Philipp Plein, Balmain and the like.
When we were approached to work with the YTL Group on creating a premium venue where visitors to Starhill would be able to dine and chill the night away, we jumped at the opportunity, knowing that Bukit Bintang is the hub of fashion and entertainment in KL city. That’s how Maristar came about. The name is an amalgamation of “Marini” and “Starhill”.
LM: What sets Maristar apart from the others?
Modesto: Maristar is quite unique and unlike any of the other establishments in the group. The design allows us to bring something else to the table. The lounge comprises three sections – the ground floor has indoor and alfresco seating areas and a bar, a middle floor with a massive video wall that becomes a focal point for fashion, and then there is the upper floor for guests who prefer a little more privacy.
LM: How do you plan to combine food and fashion at Maristar?
Modesto: Being a caviar seafood bar and fashion lounge lets us showcase our food in a new way, and it also gives us the opportunity to work with other reputable brands to introduce new dining experiences for guests. At Maristar, food, fashion and passion can come together in many different ways.
LM: Can you describe the mood & ambience you hope to achieve at Maristar?
Modesto: I would say our interior is elegant and plush with a touch of chic. In some ways, Maristar has something in common with the other The Marini’s Group establishments in the sense that the ambience changes with the flow of the day. We are a perfect space for a chill but elegant dining experience from lunch to dinner, and then we raise the vibes for those who want to stay on and while the night away with a bottle of bubbly.
Our window walls and narrow skylight strips allow natural light to flood in during the day to highlight the light-coloured décor and contrasting wood panels. The ambience changes as the sun goes down, and Maristar’s final evening look is chic, warm, and sassy.
LM: Tell us about the food at Maristar. What can we expect and name a few of your favourite dishes!
Modesto: We pride ourselves on being a caviar seafood bar, and guests can expect to indulge in succulent premium oysters, decadent caviar, lobsters and Italian cuisine, among other things. Seafood lovers should definitely try our chilled Seafood Tower, which comes with a delightful combination of prawns, Hamachi carpaccio, oysters and scallops, with lobster as an add-on option.
For Italian dishes, we have Mezzi Paccheri with radicchio and blue cheese, which is usually hard to come by outside Italy, and if you’re looking to savour some caviar, we have Beluga Siberian and Osetra caviar from the Marini’s Premium Caviar Selection.
LM: What do you think Maristar adds to the KL dining & entertainment scene?
Modesto: We are grateful to be able to set up our establishment at The Starhill, and it’s an exciting opportunity for us to make our presence felt in the Bukit Bintang area. Bukit Bintang area has always been the heart of the city centre, and it’s definitely been a dining hotspot known to serve some of the best local and global cuisine – we hope to be able to serve up some of the best seafood delights and authentic Italian dishes to guests. We hope to share our food and passion with everyone, whether they are foodies, fashionistas, or gastronomes.
For further information on Maristar, please visit https://marinisgroup.com/maristar/.
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