Monday, July 31, 2017

Roti Xpress @ Hartamas Shopping Centre

Nasi lemak-inspired novelties continue to thrive in KL: The new Roti Xpress offers a lemak-inspired interpretation of roti bakar, with the thick toast topped with a punchy, well-balanced spread of spicy-sweet sambal, ikan bilis, hard-boiled egg, cucumber & coconut flakes (RM5.90). If you prefer rice instead of bread, the classic fragrant nasi lemak is available too, but served conveniently in an on-the-move cup for a satisfactory meal on its own (RM5.90).

Roti Xpress
K08, Hartamas Shopping Centre, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Kuala Lumpur.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Other Half @ TTDI, Taman Tun Dr Ismail

Poised to become one of KL's most popular brunch destinations for this second half of 2017, The Other Half heralds a homecoming for its co-founder Eugene Lee, who returns to Malaysia after a stint as barista at Melbourne's Operator25 cafe, bringing back a few new friends with him, including Brazilian chef Guilherme Hayama, infusing a multinational perspective to the menu here.

The Other Half has admirable ambitions, aiming to make customers feel content & complete, sensing that they've found their other half here. In terms of looks, it's easy to fall in lust with the setting & the food in equal measure, both supplying the vibrant, vivid stuff that Instagram-model dreams are made of. Service is warm, articulated by more than sufficient smiles.

Eggs might be essential to every brunch menu, but it's easy to fall into a rut of big-breakfast cliches in KL. The Other Half circumvents that risk by putting major twists on each familiar favourite - baked eggs come concealed beneath puff pastry, cushioned with smoked cannellini beans, complemented by chilli-garlic toast (RM26), omelettes take on the creaminess of Japanese tamagoyaki, blanketed by (deep breath!) crispy vermicelli, shimeji mushrooms, bean sprouts, cured sea bass sashimi, confit cherry tomatoes, Japanese cucumber, Japanese mayo & miso dressing, for textures galore (RM24), & poached eggs are perched on sweet potato rosti, wrapped around achingly tender slow-cooked ox cheek rendang, soaked in lemongrass hollandaise sauce (RM31).

Guilherme's South & Central American heritage comes alive here, accentuating The Other Half's distinctiveness. You'll find everything from Peruvian-inspired ceviche (RM19) to a possible reinterpretation of the Brazilian bobo de camarao, a rich prawn curry with cassava & coconut milk (RM29) & classic Mexican taquitos, featuring deep-fried rolled-up tortillas, packed with chili con carne & topped with guacamole (RM19).

Expect to hear more in the weeks to come about The Other Half's Risotto Lemak, the latest playful take on nasi lemak, featuring sweet sambal risotto with a poached egg, crispy chicken drummette, fresh cucumbers & peanut biscotti, for a flamboyant swirl of flavour & fragrance that genuinely evokes Malaysia's national dish (RM29). Other imaginatively executed curiosities include mashed cauliflower fritters with lentils, rocket leaves, yogurt, tofu & ginger curd, red radish & poached egg (RM26; a little bit Greek, a little bit Indian - or not) & pan-fried sous vide barramundi with smoked pumpkin puree, prawn oil, hard-boiled egg yolk wonton & avocado-wasabi mousse (RM35), as meticulously elaborate an ensemble as any we could realistically envision in a KL cafe.

Even desserts & drinks showcase a surplus of pizzazz: Try all three of the sugar-high temptations - tempura coffee ice cream, potently punctuated with salted caramel sauce & crispy peanut candy (RM28), matcha hot cakes with delicate pandan chantilly cream, lychee jam & almond crumbs (RM26) & crunchy coconut waffles with mango 'spaghetti,' fresh mango, passion fruit sorbet & white chocolate ganache (RM28), bolstered by a flagship iced tea (RM15; oolong rose tea, honey, basil seeds), signature spritzer (RM15; cold brew coffee, unconventionally coupled with lychees, maple syrup, tonic water, mint leaves & micro-herbs), matcha latte made lusciously nectarous with independently sourced kaya (RM13) & Tanzanian filter coffee.

The Other Half Cafe
Unit 2-1, Level Two, Greens Terrace, The Greens, Jalan Wan Kadir 3, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.
Mon-Fri, 730am-530pm, Sat-Sun, 9am-530pm. Tel: 03-2771-6221

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Hitsumabushi @ Tokyo

If you spot an unagi specialist restaurant in Tokyo, head in for a hearty helping of hitsumabushi, a more elaborate version of unadon - the centrepiece is a grilled eel fillet over warm rice that's meant to be portioned into four servings. Consume the first serving plain to savour the comfort-food simplicity of eel & rice; then mix the second serving with spring onions & wasabi for extra uplift. The third serving is poured over with a clear soup, ochazuke-style. The fourth serving? Eat it the way you like best.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Bottle Haus @ Telawi, Bangsar

Bangsar's welcoming new watering hole is a sanctuary of spirits, its shelves spilling with Cognac, whisky, gin, vodka & more. Grab a bottle of South African Pinotage or India pale ale, pay at the counter & enjoy your beverage with light bites that may comprise salmon with cream cheese, smoked duck or chicken skewers (the menu was a work in progress when we visited).

Bottlehaus
34, Jalan Telawi 5, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 017-239-6015

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