Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Brasserie Enfin @ Oasis Ara Damansara

Storming the Bastille of Oasis Ara Damansara, Brasserie Enfin heralds a full-fledged French revolution in this neighborhood, liberating patrons from the tyranny of second-rate escargot.

 We have so few French restaurants in the Klang Valley, so there's cause for celebration whenever one finally opens; Brasserie Enfin's elegantly understated, occupying a first-floor space overlooking the Oasis Piazza's fountains.

 The menu's extensive; some specialties might require advance ordering (24-hour brine-prepared whole duck, vinegar-sauteed rabbit, herb-roasted Dorper lamb leg with anchovies), but thankfully, not this bright-orange Mimolette cheese salad (RM12++).

 Brasserie Enfin is a relatively affordable French restaurant: This classic "oeufs en cocotte," beautiful baked eggs with shrimp, cream & croutons, costs only RM10++.

 Red-wine-poached duck egg (RM10++). Devilishly creamy, the Holy Grail for yolk enthusiasts; cholesterol can't get better than this.

 Beouf bourguignon (RM48++), slow-braised shin topped with beef bacon lardon, since this is a no-pork outlet. Note that reservations are fervently encouraged; the restaurant imposes a limit on the number of walk-in customers each evening.

Seeking flavor-soaked steak? Brasserie Enfin's 180-gram grilled Wagyu flat iron steak (RM98++), a sacrament of supreme succulence, fits that bill perfectly.

 Don't miss the restaurant's own-made macarons (RM5++ each), which come in fun flavors like elderberry, apple with green tea, rose with elderflower, dark chocolate with chili & white chocolate with cardamom.

 Macaron platters are served with a side of chocolate, caramel & basil flower meant to be eaten in a sweeping flourish. Brasserie Enfin's philosophy: nothing on the plate is simply decorative; every component delivers a delicious purpose.

 Drink to the brasserie's health: Wine starts at RM16++ by the glass, RM70++ by the bottle.

Brasserie Enfin has ambitious plans: By next year, another Enfin may open in KL's city center, housed with an Italian eatery & a champagne bar. This is one brand to watch.

Brasserie Enfin,
Lot R-07, 1st Floor, Central Piazza, Oasis Square, Ara Damansara.
Tel: 03-7832-2969
Open for dinner, except Mondays. Located above Bad Boy Cooks.

Lids & Finch @ Damansara Heights

The kind of easygoing cafe that every office-monopolized enclave requires, where frazzled workers can retreat, eat well & recharge.

Between 8am & 11am, breakfast is served, the likes of French toast with bananas & butterscotch or poached & scrambled eggs with bread.

Through 3pm, customers can have heartier meals, like egg-watercress sandwiches in multi-grain bread or pesto fettuccine with spinach, peas & parmesan cheese.

 All day long, house-baked desserts remain available. Real orange juice is used to make this lovely cake layered with orange curd & cream cheese (RM12+).

Coffee cake with butter cream (RM12+), fresh & flavorsome.

Red Velvet Cake. Moist & dense, the kind of texture that's worth the calories.

Much, much more on the counter, from cupcakes to carrot cakes ...

... pine au chocolat to blueberry muffins ...

... to cookies, croissants, brownies, fruit puffs & more.

Save space for a decadent affogato with Forty Licks' salted caramel ice cream.

No ordinary Coke float; instead of plain ol' vanilla ice cream, this one contains Forty Licks' beautiful roasted white chocolate with lavender ice cream.

The catch: Lids & Finch currently opens weekdays only through 6pm. But it's fun to flutter here for breakfast, lunch or tea to beat the workweek blues.

And for what it's worth, Lids & Finch sure is a beautiful-looking cafe. Nice work on that.

Note: Lids & Finch closes earlier, at 4pm, throughout Ramadan.

Lids & Finch Cafe,
Ground Floor, Menara I&P 2, Jalan Dungun, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2011-8600

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Miss Ellie Tea House @ Taman Melawati

Its calm facade might make Miss Ellie Tea House look like a charming Cameron Highlands cafe, but mercifully, this hidden gem is only a half-hour from KL's center, nestled on a suburban street where parking's aplenty in Taman Melawati.

Family-run & fabulously friendly, Miss Ellie Tea House is a spot we'd recommend unreservedly for weekend brunches & brief getaways from the city.

Can't call it an English tea without scones: pastry chef extraordinaire Justin Wong offers not only the regular plain ones, but also rich chocolate varieties.

Creme brulee might seem like a cliche, but here's one of KL's best, made with real vanilla pods instead of essence, for luxurious flavor & fragrance.

Gooey goodness: Waistline-wrecking salted caramel choc fudge cupcakes.

Passion fruit tart, beautifully balanced somewhere between sweetness &, well, tartness.

Strawberry & white chocolate tart, delivering creamy-crispy mouthfuls of bliss.

Other freshly baked treats here include flour-free orange poppy-seed cakes, red velvets, cranberry crumble cookies, cinnamon-dusted financiers & blueberry muffins.

The likes of Darjeeling Early Grey, Assam Blend & Irish Breakfast populate the tea selection.

Medium-roast pure Arabica coffee, crafted in KL, ground to order & served in a French press.

Hot meals are available, simple but satisfying-sounding fare like bangers & mash, beef casserole & chicken parmigiana.

Miss Ellie Tea House opens 10am-7pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays.


Miss Ellie Tea House,
7 Jalan H3, Taman Melawati, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-4162-0113

Monday, July 29, 2013

Houston Grill & It's A Grind @ Cyberjaya

Checking out a couple of Cyberjaya's intriguing newbies: Houston Grill & It's A Grind.

First, Houston Grill, one of Cyberjaya's increasing number of restaurants with an upmarket vibe, with a menu that comprises everything from beef ribs to gnocchi to lobster.

We headed here for the brunch selection, which features the likes of fried eggs with Hollandaise sauce & sausages (RM22 before taxes) ...

... & chunky French toast comprising both a 'regular' rendition dipped in honey-cinnamon egg batter & served with turkey ham & beef bacon ...

... as well as a more unorthodox version (RM20) that features ciabatta slices baked with Parmesan cheese & thyme, topped with tapenade & dressed with a honey-lemon vinaigrette.

Finding wine in Cyberjaya is a needle-in-haystack struggle. But voila, here's the needle.

Houston Grill employs a professional barista, so rest assured, the coffee's worthwhile.

Need more caffeine? Here's where the cutely named It's A Grind comes in.

Comfy & spacious, the kind of coffee house where we could spend hours working on our laptops. For what it's worth, Cyberjaya's It's A Grind is the first foreign outpost of a California-based brand.

The coffee here might sound commercialized, but the varieties are fun, spanning Madagascar vanilla lattes to white chocolate caffe mochas.

We skipped the ice-blended beverages, though we love their names, which include Java Rush, the peanut butter-laced Funky Monkey & Nutty Cookie Gnar Gnar.

Spiced chai tea lattes & peach yogurt smoothies are available for coffee-shunning customers.

It's A Grind appears to use Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee to fulfill its environmental & social responsibility policies. Beans come from Central & South America.

Cool headlines ...

... with a sly but not-exactly-subtle humor that makes us smile.

Houston Grill @ Cyberjaya

Houston Grill,
Century Square, Jalan Teknokrat 3, Cyberjaya.
Tel: 03-8320-9889
Open daily, 1130am-11pm

It's A Grind,
G03, Prima 11, Blok 3545, Jalan Teknokrat 6, Cyberjaya.
Tel: 03-8311-9488
Open daily, morning through midnight.