A restaurant with real character _ the food is executed with flair, while the service team is confident & cheery, but what people might love the most about Ril's @ The Warehouse is its evocative, hidden-secret setting: a Chinatown shop-house molded into a soaring space that marries old-world elegance with industrial edginess. This is one of 2011's best new outlets.
Brilliant bread rolls _ fresh, fragrant & filled with caramelized onions, we believe. Accompanied by soft, smooth butter that's super-simple to spread. Our only fear: these are so dense & heavy, customers could end up stuffed before the main gastronomic event.
Gemas Gold bone-in rib steak _ much heftier than it looks in this photo. There's no mention of Wagyu, Kobe or 1824 on Ril's menu, though on the bright side, that eases the pressure on our wallets. The chef's recommendation on this recent evening was Gemas beef, which comes from cattle sourced from Australia but reared in Negri Sembilan.
A 750-gram behemoth for two. Ril's menu describes it well: "cooked at the most intense heat to create a seared black crust with melting, medium-rare meat within." We'll add that it oozes with bold, concentrated flavor. No sauces required, though garlic jus is the house specialty.
Apple crumble _ one fine, hot mess, matched with The Last Polka's gula melaka ice cream & a luxurious hibiscus jam. Creativity is crucial to Ril's recipes: the menu might seem littered with familiar fare (tuna tartare, chicken casserole, sticky toffee pudding), but what elevates everything is impeccable preparation & the use of wild-card accompaniments.
Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec, Mendoza, 2007.
For earlier entry on Ril's crazysexycool cocktails: September 29.
Ril's only opens in the evening, unlike The Warehouse's cafe downstairs, but it boasts a bar with happy hours starting at 5 p.m. Two-for-one cocktails & free steak sandwiches before 7 p.m.
Still a calm refuge for now, since Ril's only began operations this week, but that could change.
Finally, who is Ril? That would be Khairil Ibrahim. And what about the rest of the food here? Well, another entry awaits, without a doubt.
The Warehouse Gallery & Cafe,
Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, Kuala Lumpur.