Eat Drink KL: Daikanyama Meets Simply Mel's @ Changkat Bukit Bintang

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Daikanyama Meets Simply Mel's @ Changkat Bukit Bintang

Culinary worlds collide at Daikanyama, where a menu that's likely never been seen at any other Japanese restaurant on earth will be launched next week.

Inspired by the soul food served at Simply Mel's, Daikanyama's maverick team has latched the inimitable nuances of Malaccan Portuguese cuisine onto favorites of the Japanese cookbook, creating a new canon of boldly original oddities. Thanks to Daikanyama's Shahril for this preview.

Looks like regular agedashi tofu, but slice open the golden cube & a center of cincaluk spills out. What might otherwise taste pleasant but predictable mutates into a firestorm of fermented flavors that pack a pinkish punch by no means shrimp-sized.

No culture clash: Daikanyama strives for balance, so even though the salted kurau fish pickle remains pugnaciously savory in this rice-paper harumaki roll, it's harmoniously tempered by a creamy potato salad, oba leaves & carrots.

Chicken pongteh hand rolls, with a little sambal, making use of Simply Mel's own pongteh recipe. Talk about a vote of endorsement: Simply Mel's exacting chef Melba Nunis herself has sampled these creations at Daikanyama & enjoyed them.

Ginger-garnished Devil's Curry chicken, yakitori-style, spicy enough to make tongues tingle, with a sweet-sour edge that'll encourage taste buds to tango.

The final member of the fab five that'll be served on this three-month experimental menu starting July 1: Braised sehbak chicken, aromatic with star anise & cinnamon, wrapped in tofu skin & lettuce with chili & soba sauces.

Can't wait till next week? There's no reason not to head to Daikanyama even now, since there's a current Hawaiian-honed promotion through this Sunday.

We're a long way from Honolulu, but the invigorating crunch of these cucumber wraps, stuffed with salmon, onions & togarashi spices, makes us feel like heading to the beach for a luau & munching on these for snacks.

Maguro Poke, a reinterpretation of the classic tuna tartar. In its gastronomic globetrotting, Daikanyama has previously also tackled everything from Hong Kong fusion (teriyaki lo mai kai & century egg chawanmushi) to Indian (soft-shell-crab briyani temaki), Thai (tom yam wraps) & Mexican (salmon tataki quesadillas) & more.

"Wafu Loco Moco," comfort cuisine that'd be universally beloved, a crisp rice cake crowned with Daikanyama's house-made hamburger patty & a sunny-side-up.

Not all spam is undesirable, not when it's chicken luncheon meat bundled in a roll with mango, cucumber & kampyo.

Battered prawns & asparagus, for dipping into tangy pineapple mayo. Addictive.

Two more for the road: Believe it or not, Daikanyama manages to maintain a full a la carte menu besides its seasonal selections, complete with crowd-pleasing choices like seared salmon with truffle oil (RM34 before taxes).

Sake Bomb Maki: Salmon, soft-shell crab & avocado (RM30).

Cielo Dolci's now-renowned gelato is also available here, in the Daikanyama-suitable flavors of wasabi, green tea & black sesame, drizzled with both caramel & shoyu.

Fun beers & fearlessly concocted cocktails complement Daikanyama's fare very nicely.

42, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Open daily starting 5:30pm