Sunday, March 31, 2013

Touche @ Section 17 & Crave @ Ara Damansara

Cruising into a couple of cafes that opened in the suburbs this year: Touche Pastries at PJ's Section 17 & Crave at Oasis Ara Damansara. 

Touche, a reasonably welcoming hangout, operates on the now-crowded row that also houses The Gastro Project & Little Heritage House.

Warm meals here include sandwiches like a smoked duck one with cucumber & hoisin sauce, evocative of Peking Duck in flavor. 

Scones, croissants, danishes & other archetypal bakery fare are available. Won't revolutionize the industry, but should satisfy the stomach.

The coffee's fair; Butter + Beans nearby is still our current cafe recommendation for Section 17, but Touche's worth a visit too.

Meanwhile, Oasis Ara Damansara's also becoming a should-visit destination; here we shine the spotlight on Crave, a spacious, couch-filled stop for lazy afternoons.

Crave's highlight seems to be the beetroot-blessed beef-&-egg burger. Not bad at all.

Cakes are supplied by Cake Tella's Eddie Tan. Love the Nutella mille crepe, soft & sumptuous.

Crave's own house-made lemon drizzle cupcake is OK, though maybe not memorable.

And of course, caffeine. Crave serves Australia's Toby's Estate coffee.

Touche Pastries & More,
7, Jalan 17/56, Petaling Jaya.
Tel: 03-7932-1121. Mon-Sun, 8am-9pm (or so their FB page says)
Crave @ BG-03, Oasis Square, Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
Tel: 03-7734-3192. Mon-Sat, 830am-630pm

Kokoro Bento, Koibito & Octopus

Checking out three suburban Japanese eateries, kicking off with Kota Kemuning's Kokoro Bento.

Kokoro's menu is fairly wide, featuring simple fare like chicken teriyaki don & niku udon. But since "bento" is in the restaurant's name, we opted for a lunch box of rice with satisfyingly juicy, protein-packed sides of chicken karaage & ebi furai.

Kokoro Bento is a calm hideout, very near residential homes & wide-open fields. No problem spending time here sipping Okinawan ginger tea & lime citrus green tea.

Moving on now to Koibito at Old Klang Road.

Embarking on a salmon spree at Koibito: seaweed-wrapped sushi loaded with luscious fish.

Salmon sashimi, rice & roe, a combination that always works. Always.

Koibito's salmon-topped, salmon-stuffed roll is respectable though not exactly memorable.

Summation: the menu at Koibito features no surprises, but its food & prices seem fair enough.

Finally: Octopus, a family-friendly spot in the Kuchai neighborhood.

Can't visit a restaurant named Octopus without having some octopus sashimi, right?

Can't complain about Octopus' sashimi platter, but can't call it a stunner either.

Wrapping up by nibbling on grilled squid tentacles, a guilty pleasure of ours.

Kokoro Bento,
Jalan Anggerik Vanilla 31/BE, Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam.
Koibito, 
Commerce One, Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur.
Octopus Japanese Restaurant,
28G, Jalan Kuchai Maju, Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

After Werk @ Scott Garden

A watering hole on Old Klang Road that enjoys brisk business even on weeknights.

After Werk's mainly a magnet for after-office guzzlers of beer, but the kitchen deserves praise for keeping its food delicious. The garlic-flavored pork knuckle is as fine as any in town, with all the succulent meat, luscious fat and crunchy skin we need.

Pork belly, crisply braised, with baked beans and mashed potatoes. We can't help slobbering over comfort food at its most sinfully sensational.

Baby back ribs, well-priced at about RM40 for a half-rack. To keep things interesting, After Werk coats the meat with two types of sauces _ barbecue and peach (!).

Smaller bites of pork, simple to nibble but no less satisfying.

And of course, there's a house-made pork burger here. Mouthwatering in all its messiness.

Beer, wine, even a surprisingly nice Sangria, everything's available.

One caveat: a live band kicks in too early at 9pm. Flee then if you value your hearing.

After Werk,
Scott Garden, Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur.
Open in the evenings through late.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Ales & Lagers @ Solaris Dutamas

Hidden on one of Solaris Dutamas' least-traveled backstreets, Ales & Lagers is well worth the search for admirers of boutique beer.

A wide selection is stocked on these shelves; we might not exactly love beer, but we couldn't resist buying a few bottles that intrigued us ...

 ... from a crisp ale brewed with juniper berries for a subtle fruitiness ...

 ... to a honeyed one that bears the unexpected word 'organic' on its label ...

 ... to this Japanese creation mixed with coffee for a cross between espresso & stout that might satiate fans of both coffee & beer.

There's even this one with a potency that approaches that of wine. Almost, anyway. 

Ales & Lagers serves no food, but customers are welcome to bring their own & have a meal here.

Here's our top tip for Publika food-beer pairing: Head first to Ben's Independent Grocer & buy a jar of Huey&Wah marshmallows made with real stout.

These stout marshmallows are commercially available for the first time in KL starting this week, brought in from Penang in limited quantities. Fluffy-pillowy & pleasurably bittersweet; a match made in eat-drink heaven with Ales & Lagers' offerings.

If Huey&Wah's stout marshmallows are sold out, try the passion fruit or strawberry flavors, which could partner perfectly with Ales & Lagers' ciders.
Earlier entry on Huey&Wah marshmallows: March 21.

Beyond marshmallows, there's a wealth of opportunities for what folks can take away from Publika's eateries & bring to Ales & Lagers to enjoy with beer. Perhaps oysters from Shucked in Ben's Independent Grocer or fried rambutan with crab meat from Elegantology Gallery? 



Ales & Lagers (behind EspressoLab),
D1-G4-06, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur.
Mon-Sun, 3pm-10pm.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fahrenheit 600 @ Solaris & iCook @ Sri Hartamas

Pursuing pizzas & pastas: Returning to Fahrenheit 600 at Solaris Dutamas & checking out iCook Italian Gastronomia's new pork-loving branch in Sri Hartamas.

Fahrenheit 600 is finally ready to serve pizzas; the compact selection's fairly priced, charging about RM20 for a nine-inch, square-shaped pizza that two can share.

Encouraging elements: Hand-crafted dough, fresh mozzarella, house-made tomato sauce & a wood-fired brick oven for 600-degree-Fahrenheit baking.

The signature pizza's meat-free, topped with eggplant, feta, onions, garlic & tomato sauce. Satisfyingly flavorsome; Fahrenheit 600's pizzas are the thick-crust variety, offering a fluffy chew.

Other options include the Savoyard Square topped with turkey, potatoes, onions & cream sauce; customers can also create pizzas with their own choice of toppings.
Earlier entry on Fahrenheit 600: March 14, 2013.

A two-minute drive from Fahrenheit 600, iCook has opened its second outlet, branching out from PJ to Hartamas; unlike its 3 Two Square cafe, this Plaza Damas venue serves pork.

Chef Nicola Carradori, formerly of Delucca, remains the enthusiastic engine behind iCook.

Twice-cooked pancetta with braised cannelloni beans & buttered cabbage (RM15+), a meaty starter that's the ideal introduction to this iCook branch.

No-cream, egg-enhanced spaghetti carbonara with Parma ham, savory & non-cloying.

Pork sausage risotto with clams, chili chicken & bell peppers (RM32+), hearteningly hearty.

Tuscan-style beef tripe with grana cheese (RM12+). Squishy, not for the squeamish.

Liquor-lovin', spoon-lickin'-good tiramisu to wrap up a meal that hits most of its marks.

Corkage charge is RM25. iCook opens for dinner this month; lunch service starts soon.
Entry on iCook at 3 Two Square PJ: Oct. 16, 2011.

iCook Italian Gastronomia (closed Mondays)
Plaza Damas 3, Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur.
Same building as Top Brew Coffee, Brew Culture & Anggun Fusion.
Fahrenheit 600 (open daily, below The Red Beanbag, no pork served),
A4-G2-05, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur.