Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tim Ho Wan Malaysia @ Mid Valley

One of Kuala Lumpur's most breathlessly anticipated new restaurants this month is ready to launch: Hong Kong's Tim Ho Wan brings its famed 'Michelin-star dim sum' to its first Malaysian branch in Mid Valley's Boulevard beginning Friday, November 28. 

 
Thanks to the Tim Ho Wan team for this preview of the outlet, which replaces Italian eatery Blu Med on the boulevard. This foray into Malaysia is part of the brand's exuberant expansion since last year, with offshoots spreading across Singapore, Hanoi, Manila & Taipei; outposts in Sydney & Melbourne will unfurl next year.


 
Much of HK dim sum maestro Mak Kwai Pui's Mongkok-origin menu is offered here - the highly deified 'Big Four Heavenly Kings' repertoire includes princely portions of the signature baked buns with a mildly crisp exterior, its insides concealing sweet-savoury BBQ pork. RM10.80 for three pieces; thousands will likely be sold each week in KL. It's a satisfactory snack.


 Pan-fried carrot cake, a relatively low-grease rendition, textured with morsels of pork (RM9.80 for three pieces). Tim Ho Wan's main challenge might be managing expectations; there will be plenty of people who'll insist on telling you, "not as nice as the ones I had in Hong Kong," or others who'll complain it's overrated. They're not necessarily wrong, but they are wrong-spirited.


The two other 'Heavenly Kings' - considered a primer to Tim Ho Wan - comprise smooth vermicelli rolls stuffed with pork liver (RM10.80 for three pieces) & steamed egg cakes (RM7.80) which everyone calls fluffy for a fine reason - that's what they are; plus, they feature pleasurably natural-tasting nuances of eggy flavour.


But this is our favourite item at Tim Ho Wan - this is what we loved the most, the gem of the menu: Congee that's been blended with salted egg yolk, so each creamy spoonful is rich & tastes drop-dead fantastic, tinged with bits of salted egg, century egg & pork (RM9.80). This is what we'd line up for.


 
If a dim sum meal is meant to be all about comfort food with flavours that transport us back to our happiest around-the-table memories with family & friends, then the rice with fried egg & tender beef might do the trick (RM10.80). Uncomplicated virtue.


 
 
The stand-outs from the steamed selection are probably the two items that are listed last: Flavoursome Teochew-style dumplings & spinach dumplings with shrimp. The stand-outs overall at this restaurant might be its staff members, who work with a cordial grace & calm efficiency despite the crowd's demands, serving everything swiftly & clearing plates promptly.


 

 
Fussy palates will voice scant joy over the siu mai (RM10.80 for four), har kao (RM11.80 for four), beef balls with bean curd skin (RM7.80 for three) & bean curd skin rolls with pork & shrimp (RM8.80), but fussy isn't equivalent to discerning. While these recipes might not pack the strongest punch, they're consistent with the well-thought-out flavour profiles of the food here.


 
 
Fried fare: Spring rolls with egg white & wasabi prawn dumplings. Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong has long milked its renown for being 'the world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant,' noted for long lines of patient patrons waiting outside its outlets; expect a similar situation in KL well into 2015.


 
Lotus leaf glutinous rice (RM12.80). Dim sum here is reputedly made to order - not pre-steamed & reheated. And there were no tell-tale symptoms of thirst after we enjoyed this lunch.


 
Tim Ho Wan's dessert list is short &, well, sweet: Choose chilled osmanthus cakes (RM6.80 for three) or mango sago pomelo (RM6.90); either should prove a prudent option. All in all, we're happy Tim Ho Wan has opened in KL; it might be more of a curiosity-satisfying destination for most customers right now, but we hope it'll eventually settle into becoming a reliable one too.


 
 
Tim Ho Wan Kuala Lumpur
27G, The Boulevard, Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur. Outlet opens at 11am daily, queue could begin well before then.

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for October-December 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. 
This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.cld.bz/2014D 
This link expires Dec. 31, 2014. Please check the newest blog entries after that for fresh links.

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 (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
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Sausages to sambal. Muffins to marshmallows. Peanut butter to mango chutney. Cornflake ice cream to honey aloe yogurt. Lavender-laced lemonades to lychee-&-guava juices.
Eat Drink KL: Small Businesses, Huge Flavours is the first eBook to help customers navigate the diversity of independent F&B entrepreneurs who bake & boil in their own kitchens, offering some of Malaysia's finest, most fascinating food products.
This resource will be continuously updated with new listings: www.eatdrinkkl.publ.com/businesses 
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

Roost & Jaslyn Cakes @ Telawi, Bangsar

Danish chef Albert Frantzen, his Taiwanese partner Tung Wei & Malaysian friend Priscilla rule the roost at this new restaurant, replacing F By Buffalo Kitchens this week with a 'farm-to-fork' philosophy that's propelling some of Telawi's tastiest triumphs.


Roost's setting has seen a facelift in line with its refreshed name & theme; this mural by visiting Danish artist Arthur Tudsborg creates a calming effect that partners perfectly with the welcoming mood of this first-floor outlet. Take the stairs up to one of Bangsar's loveliest, friendliest & most comfortable eateries for a leisurely dinner.


Roost's menu bursts with well-thought-out creations spilling out of Frantzen's open kitchen; most of the produce is locally & responsibly sourced, secured from various Malaysian farms & suppliers, except for the grass-fed Angus beef & the lamb.


 
Start with the applewood-smoked, free-range duck breast with browned butter puree & pomegranates (RM18). A name like Roost indicates that fowl is a cornerstone of the menu; sure enough, there's also duck ragout with hand-cut pappardelle, duck liver pate with tomato jam & duck breast that's been house-cured for a week.

 
 
Roulade of soft-&-smooth, sous-vide chicken breast, skin & paste with polenta & browned onion puree (RM35). Chicken innards also receive their due at Roost - by next week, once the kitchen is in full swing, expect to see a reinterpretation of the Lyonnaise-inspired frisee salad, with confit of chicken heart, liver & gizzard combined with a 63-degree egg (RM22).

 
Breadcrumbed deep-fried frog legs (freshly slaughtered in Roost's kitchen in the morning & served in the evening) with thick, house-made tamarind jam (RM16), a firm favourite of Tung Wei & Priscilla. Flavours here are subtle but nuanced, perhaps part of Frantzen's culinary influence - not intimidatingly intense or overbearingly punchy.


Cocktails, craft beers & wines are also available (we'll explore those in a future entry). For teetotalers, Roleaf tea is also offered. Note that one of the major changes here is that Roost - unlike F By Buffalo Kitchens - is a no-pork restaurant.

Coincidentally, another outlet has opened this week nearby in Telawi - Jaslyn Cakes, a dessert parlour run by Jaslyn Rangson & her partners. In even more of a coincidence, the founders of Roost & Jaslyn Cakes are good friends - Tung Wei used to go to school with Jaslyn's boyfriend.

 If Jaslyn's name rings a bell, it might be because she previously supplied cakes to Bangsar Village's Wondermama. We liked her offerings there, but her sweet treats here seem even better - these are some of the most satisfying desserts in Bangsar.

 Ask for the madeleine, financier, blondie & chocolate chip cookie; Jaslyn, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu London, might have secretly stashed them behind the counter. Each bite is well worth the calories, dense & decadent, fresh-tasting & full-flavoured.

The secret might lie in Jaslyn's use of top-flight ingredients like Lescure butter & Callebout chocolate, combined with her commitment toward making the best desserts she can. The blondies are mixed with caramel shards for extra complexity - a step that makes a delicious difference. Our sole complaint: Jaslyn Cakes is only open 10am-7pm.

 Grapefruit juice with Manuka honey. Need coffee instead? You'll be in luck soon: Brewmen, headed by its barista owner Jeremy, may open a pop-up caffeine bar at Jaslyn Cakes in the near future. Expect to hear much more about both Roost & Jaslyn Cakes in the months ahead.

 Roost KL
First Floor, 69-1, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur
Open for dinner only this week (closed on Friday for private function). From next week onwards, open 1130am-1130pm daily, except Mondays. 
Tel: 03-2201-1710


Jaslyn Cakes
7, Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Across from La Bodega. Open 10am-7pm, except Mondays

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for October-December 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. 
This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.cld.bz/2014D 
This link expires Dec. 31, 2014. Please check the newest blog entries after that for fresh links.

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 (even before they're featured on this blog), 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 will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Sausages to sambal. Muffins to marshmallows. Peanut butter to mango chutney. Cornflake ice cream to honey aloe yogurt. Lavender-laced lemonades to lychee-&-guava juices.
Eat Drink KL: Small Businesses, Huge Flavours is the first eBook to help customers navigate the diversity of independent F&B entrepreneurs who bake & boil in their own kitchens, offering some of Malaysia's finest, most fascinating food products.
This resource will be continuously updated with new listings: www.eatdrinkkl.publ.com/businesses 
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