Saturday, May 28, 2016

Huckleberry After Dark @ Plaza Damansara

For those of us whose appetites rise when the sun sets, Huckleberry After Dark is a beacon of light that could become a sleeper hit, shifting gears from a cheery daytime cafe into a somewhat edgier hangout with a suave funkiness - the menu is completely different at night, focusing on the sort of casual American soul grub that a roving LA food truck might serve up.

By day, the crowds throng Huckleberry Food & Fare for freshly baked loaves & brunch munchies; by night, Huckleberry After Dark's kitchen swaps salt beef sandwiches & poached egg pastas for the likes of Tex-Mex specialities, while sustaining a special sense of flair & wit. Start with the Wholly Guacamole, available not only in the familiar original chunky recipe (RM13.90) but also as a Wack Guac that's spiked with pickled ginger for a pleasurable zing (RM14.50). And of course, there are tacos; choose from battered fish with slaw, jalapenos & pico de gallo (RM19.90) or BBQ beef with coriander & sour cream (RM21.90).

Hot dogs & burgers are another highlight - Huckleberry's house-made brioche buns form a fabulous foundation for these treats, with a beautifully crisp, buttery fluffiness that threatens to steal the spotlight from the sausages with a succulent snap & the patties with a meaty bite. A cornucopia of choices turns this section into a real variety show: The Dawgs come with toppings that range from classic yellow mustard, ketchup & diced raw onions to more unconventional combos like a comfortingly thick, savoury chili con carne with American cheese & sour cream (which is what we enjoyed), mac & cheese with cream & cilantro, or guacamole with pico de gallo & crushed tortilla chips (RM19.90-RM26.90, including fries). And boy, there are burgers - in the battle between chicken & beef, the former wins; the buttermilk chicken thigh is a deep-fried behemoth of dripping juices (RM20.90) that the leaner & less tender Beast Mode beef burger can't surmount, despite intriguing toppings of barbacoa pulled beef, duck bacon & root beer BBQ sauce that crown the patty constructed with three cuts of beef (RM26.90).

Huckleberry After Dark is made for hearty gluttony - abandon all hope of calorie-counting when confronted with pizzas like 'Another One Bites The Crust' (RM32.90), with chicken sausage, mushrooms, mozzarella, egg & house-made tomato sauce blanketing a distinctive sourdough base. By the time we finished the chicken & waffles (RM24.90; with the waffles also produced here at Huckleberry), there was no chance we could still devour the desserts (for the record, the churros with Nutella & crushed Oreos, as well as the skillet chocolate pudding with marshmallows & butter biscuits, both sound totally tempting).

We also ended up drinking far more than expected, but the blame rests in the ultra-cool, super-stocked bar. Check out the French-made Fair Quinoa Vodka (RM16 a shot; produced with quinoa from the Andean mountains, it goes down smoothly like a dream, with a warming depth), Haitian Clairin Casimir rum (RM20) & Sri Lankan Colombo gin (RM18), which taste terrific on their own & would also be brilliant bases for cocktails. And if you're a devotee of handcrafted cocktails, it's well worth dropping by to down delicious mixes like No Church In The Wild Lemonada (RM25.90; house-made nutmeg mace liquor, limoncello, Ceylon tea, lemon juice, sugar), Basil Grande (RM27.90; own-made vanilla & cardamom vodka, forest berry puree, basil, black pepper, soda), Minion Juice (RM24.90; house-made banana rum, pandan syrup, coconut water), The Pick Me Up (RM31.90; cognac, spice) & Charlie's Fix (RM31.90; rum, maple). But in line with the theme here of subversively wicked fun, what we loved the most were the excellent liquor-laced milkshakes (RM23.90) - Summertime (gin, coconut ice cream, fresh lime, mint), Canna Butter Kisses (vodka, frangelico, peanut butter, strawberry jam, peanut butter biscuits) & A$AP Rocky Road (bourbon, vanilla & salted caramel ice cream, own-made rocky road brownie, toasted marshmallows, salted caramel sauce) make the greyingly mature among us feel very much young at heart again. Many thanks to the fine Huckleberry team for having us.

Huckleberry After Dark
2G & 4G, Jalan Medan Setia 2, Plaza Damansara, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. 
Open 530pm till late, except Mondays. Tel: 010-960-0498 for reservations

The Eat Drink KL mobile app is now available, connecting restaurants & customers to promote a positive spirit of community.
Every restaurant on this app rewards users with a 6 percent discount, instantly & conveniently, everyday, all day long. 
In return, users share photos of their experiences at these eateries, creating a new community of restaurant lovers.
For every transaction, at least RM0.10 will be channelled to a charity of the month.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings, F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter may be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, with 100 recommended restaurants for April-June 2016. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://issuu.com/eatdrinkkl/docs/ebook

Buckle your seatbelts: Eat Drink KL is partnering with Uber to take restaurant lovers on new adventures across KL & Selangor!
If you haven't used Uber yet, it's time to begin! For new users, just follow the steps below to redeem free rides:
1. Download the Uber app from the App Store, Play Store or Windows Store - and register your Uber account.
2. Apply the code EATDRINKKL as your first promotional code & you'll receive 2 Free Rides worth RM30 each.
3. Request a ride through the app and ride for free to any destination (with two ride values of up to RM30 each).
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my

Friday, May 27, 2016

Kirin Ichiban x Ginza Tenkuni @ The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur

Fans of Japanese gastronomic adventures are in for an uncommon treat, courtesy of this collaboration that combines the elegant pleasures of popular beer Kirin Ichiban with the exemplary techniques of tempura specialist Ginza Tenkuni, taking place at The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur until June 12. Both the Kirin Brewery & Tokyo-origin Ginza Tenkuni have an eminent history dating back over a century to the 1880s, so this is one meal where patrons are in the hands of artful & assured experts.

Throughout this fortnight, Ginza Tenkuni's new outpost at The St. Regis is hosting lunch & dinner omakase experiences that spotlight an innovative Kirin Ichiban-inspired menu. Course by course, each selection is conceived for harmonious couplings of food & beer, curated through fresh seasonal produce. The opening salvo illustrates how Kirin Ichiban can enhance flavours & textures in a manner that remains true to Japanese culinary principles - there's abalone that's been stewed in Kirin Ichiban for 48 hours for a heightened sweetness, alongside edamame kakiage fried in fluffy Kirin Ichiban batter, plus chi ayu (freshwater baby sweetfish), tamagoyaki (rolled omelette) & yamamomo (bayberry), each keeping the palate invigorated for the next bite.

Every choice of fish & meat is meticulously considered - for example, the fugu tataki (briefly seared pufferfish) emerges with a spicy-sour garnishing that's meant to leave a lingering sensation when matched with Kirin Ichiban. On the sashimi platter, the crisp beer with its bright finish plays its part by slicing through the fattiness of the chutoro while preserving the pure nuances of the hiramasa, cleansing the taste buds with a light carbonation after each round. It helps that our glasses of beer are continuously replenished before they're ever empty - Kirin Ichiban & Miyazaki beef make for a richly commanding pairing, with the ravishingly marbled meat also bolstered by condiments comprising broccoli puree salt, plum salt & mustard seed sauce.

The most eagerly anticipated courses arrive next: Ginza Tenkuni is KL's first restaurant that specialises in tempura omakase, led by executive chef Satoshi Uehara, tempura chef Kenichi Ishikawa & a team whose hospitality shone throughout our visit. For the Kirin Ichiban collaboration, customers can expect top-flight cuts of seafood alternating with vegetables, airily battered with a superior blend of sesame & corn oil in accordance to the generations-old Edo-period heritage, cooked & served at the outlet's exquisite Hinoki cypress counter, to be dipped in salt with lemon or fragrant house-made tentsuyu with grated radish.

From the juicy, ocean-savoury crunch of kuruma ebi (imperial prawns) to the firm moistness of pike conger, the rejuvenating perkiness of Japanese ginger to the succulence of pen shell clams, the harvest-fresh sweetness of young corn to the best-of-land-&-sea shiso-wrapped bigfin reef squid, the chunky eggplant to the sweet-fleshed garfish to the luscious asparagus, each piece is ideally finished with a sip of Kirin Ichiban - a 100 percent malt beer that's known for its 'First Press' brewing method that yields a clean, smooth zestiness - to reveal distinctive flavour profiles that bring out the best in both the food & beverage. Some of us easily enjoyed five (or was it six) glasses of Kirin Ichiban per person by the end of this more than two-hour dinner.

 Ensuring that everyone leaves satiated, the menu wraps up with Inaniwa udon, another Edo-era classic, with Ginza Tenkuni's signature kakiage of shrimp & Japanese parsley, plus a dipping sauce whose dimensions of umami hold up well against the now-familiar dynamics of Kirin Ichiban. Dessert surfaces in the shape of Japanese fruits - monumentally gorgeous melon, grapes & berries - & a parting shot of Kirin Ichiban, this time transformed into an effervescent jelly, complete with beer foam. The omakase experience is priced at RM1,200; reservations seem essential, since the counter seats only a dozen or so patrons (though up to eight private rooms are also available). Many thanks to Kirin Ichiban & Ginza Tenkuni for having us here.

Kirin Ichiban x Ginza Tenkuni
Ginza Tenkuni, Level 3A, The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, Kuala Lumpur Sentral. 
Open Tuesday-Sunday, lunch & dinner. Tel: 03-2727-6688

The Eat Drink KL mobile app is now available, connecting restaurants & customers to promote a positive spirit of community.
Every restaurant on this app rewards users with a 6 percent discount, instantly & conveniently, everyday, all day long. 
In return, users share photos of their experiences at these eateries, creating a new community of restaurant lovers.
For every transaction, at least RM0.10 will be channelled to a charity of the month.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings, F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter may be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, with 100 recommended restaurants for April-June 2016. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://issuu.com/eatdrinkkl/docs/ebook

Buckle your seatbelts: Eat Drink KL is partnering with Uber to take restaurant lovers on new adventures across KL & Selangor!
If you haven't used Uber yet, it's time to begin! For new users, just follow the steps below to redeem free rides:
1. Download the Uber app from the App Store, Play Store or Windows Store - and register your Uber account.
2. Apply the code EATDRINKKL as your first promotional code & you'll receive 2 Free Rides worth RM30 each.
3. Request a ride through the app and ride for free to any destination (with two ride values of up to RM30 each).
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my