Sunday, September 15, 2019

Kaching Island, Chow Kit

Customers seeking a wholesome, hearty meal at a friendly restaurant might hit the jackpot with Kaching Island's Nasi Lemak Salmon (RM25), pairing Malaysia's de facto national dish with a fish that's a cut above, plus plenty of peanuts, a poached egg, anchovies and sambal for completists.

Kaching Crew's kitchen goes the extra kilometre by serving every customer with complimentary roselle juice spiked with oranges, instead of conventional plain water, for a cooling quencher. There's more: If you order the set lunches, you'll also enjoy a complimentary soup (red cabbage when we visited) and a dessert (chocolate pudding, perhaps?).

There's a bit of a hidden bar upstairs, though customers can also order cocktails to be served downstairs.

The beverage list was a work in progress when we visited, but even typical-sounding potions like the Mai Tai and Mojito (RM25 each) might surface in surprising presentations.

Kaching Island Cafe And Bar
12, Jalan Kamunting, Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 11am-1am. Tel: 012-474-3544

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Sofaer & Co, Myanmar

Nestled in a heritage building in the historical heart of Yangon, Sofaer & Co serves up Burmese specialities like pickled tea leaf salads and coconut chicken noodles, complemented by cool cocktails like the Sanchaung Sophie (Monkey 47 gin with hibiscus cordial and pennywort).

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Luckin Kopi, Panggong Road

Chinatown's latest contemporary kopitiam might occupy a shop-house that's many decades old, but its refurbishment is clearly targeted at social media devotees. Spend some time taking a slew of photos and videos, then replenish those calories over Indomie with an egg and gooey cheese that's heated and melted at the table (RM14.90), washed down with a 'Satu Malaysia' beverage (RM7.90; coffee mixed with Milo and tea).

Luckin Kopi
14, Jalan Panggong, 50000 Kuala Lumpur. Daily 7am-9pm. Tel: 03-2856-2811 or 016-397-6898

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Friday, September 13, 2019

Table9, Bangsar

Table9 has thrived on Telawi for more than two years now, but it remains one of Bangsar's best-kept secrets, a Korean-helmed restaurant with inspirations that leap from Italian pizzas and pastas to Scandinavian open sandwiches. Step into the venue and it's a beautiful retreat from the streets outside, with fresh fruits lining the shelves, dried flowers draped from the ceiling, Matisse artwork on the walls and Oakwood Station jazz on the speakers.

The menu is vibrant and reviving, promising wholesome, well-executed recipes. Table9's founders, Eve and Min, prove that Koreans love more than merely barbecues and other traditional recipes - European-inflected fare is popular in Seoul and beyond too, illustrated by baked eggplant that could even do a Neapolitan trattoria proud, tender and tasty, lusciously layered with mozzarella, chopped sauteed tomatoes, bell peppers and onions, the perfect light lunch for a working weekday (RM16). Alternatively, the quinoa salad also makes for delicious nourishment, giving salads a very good name (RM25 with rosemary-scented chicken breast; RM20 without the chicken).

The latest evolution of Table9 involves the introduction of open sandwiches (RM19.90 for two), with chunky toppings over thick, fruit-laced brown bread. We chose the unconventional guacamole with blueberry jam (a combination that works surprisingly well, with the nectarous sweetness of the berries complementing the ripened butteriness of the avocado) and hummus with sun-dried tomatoes (another triumph, thanks to the house-made hummus - Table9's kitchen makes as many of its own ingredients as possible from scratch). Other open sandwich options range from beef bulgogi with arugula, mayonnaise and sesame seeds to Nutella with bananas and cashew flakes.

Italian influences pepper the selection, with plenty of pasta possibilities - the most unique might be the picante seafood pasta, which relies on Korean chilli oil to bring pleasurably spicy dynamics to the cream sauce, tossed with shrimp, squid and mussels for a moreish marvel, prepared al dente, capable of equalling most of KL's full-fledged Italian eateries (RM31).

We're also fans of Table9's pizzas: If you're sharing a meal, the most intriguing choice is the bulgogi beef pizza, drawing from Eve and Min's culinary heritage for a meaty flourish that's not as sweet as most bulgogi in Malaysia, enabling the flavour of the beef to shine, served on a crust that's supple and not too thin (RM31).

Searching for some of Bangsar's most satisfying Korean chicken wings? Take a table at Table9 and order the cheesy-cheese chicken wings, showered with cheese powder that Even personally brings from South Korea every time she flies home - the cheese is mellow and salty-sweet, furnishing a fun twist to the crisply tender chicken (RM19). If you adore these wings, come on Tuesdays, which is Wing Day at Table9 - wings can be savoured at half-price (RM9 for most of the varieties, RM10 for the Cheesy Cheese) from 11am-11pm with a purchase of any beverage.

Bingsu is the other nod to Korean cuisine, with everything from rose bingsu to cendol bingsu to mango bingsu available - what makes Table9's bingsus additionally special is their serving size, ideal for one person instead of the larger sizes for sharing. Most of the bingsu costs RM15 - try the espresso bingsu, relying on the same locally roasted beans as Table9's house blend for coffee beverages, a blend of Brazilian, Colombian and Indonesian. The bingsu is made with Korean-built equipment, ensuring a smooth, fluffy softness to help temper the espresso while still conveying the pure nuances of caffeine.

If you have space for more dessert, the fondant au chocolat comes recommended too - also painstakingly kitchen-made, like a molten lava cake, hot and gooey in a glass, rich with Malaysia's own Beryl's dark chocolate (RM11.90).

Smoothies and sodas round out our Table9 experience - for cool tropical relief, indulge in the blueberry smoothie (RM13) and strawberry soda (RM13); the first features house-made jam and the second is brimming with Cameron Highland produce, making them wonderfully, naturally textured.

All in all, 9 could indeed be a lucky number for this restaurant, which aspires to be a pillar of the neighbourhood for many, many years to come. Thanks to Table9 for having us here.

21, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 1030am-12am. Tel: 03-2201-1055

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