More than four months after first opening, Sitka has finally embarked on serving dinners that rank among KL's most carefully crafted - only twice a week, Fridays & Saturdays, featuring recipes that reflect a commitment to raising the bar for what restaurants can offer. Freshly installed, starkly forested wallpaper forms a beautiful backdrop for evenings of edible enchantment.
Many thanks to Jenifer & the Sitka team for this preview of what patrons can expect starting this Friday: Dinner will begin with lovely bread that we tore into with gusto, paired with butter (on a bed of black sesame seeds) that might seem magically softer than expected. The secret? It's whipped with beef fat. No need to spread it on the bread; simply use it as a divinely airy dip.
The concise menu's first section comprises up to three types of snacks: We like the linseed cracker (or flaxseed, if you prefer) - brittle-textured & nutty-tasting - crowned with creamy drops of avocado mousse & a crispy, nutrition-packed kale leaf. Sure, it's entirely gone in two or three mouthfuls, but it'll whet the appetite for more. RM17.
Alternatively, there's fried chicken with coconut cream, pressed pineapples & pickled cucumbers (RM20). It's an intriguing ensemble, with delicate nuances that compel you to concentrate on what you're tasting, but the chicken was the weakest link: a bit too little meat, too much nondescript batter. Still worth sampling though.
'Small plates' follow: Tender mackerel with almond creme fraiche, almond crumble, baby choy sum, gooseberries & dashi broth make for a remarkable combination that illustrates how hard Sitka works to source its ingredients - occasionally, you might even find the restaurant's co-owner at a port before dawn, waiting for the seafaring boats to return with their catch. This might prove more satisfying if the fish weren't cooked fully through, but that's a matter of preference.
For a protein-powered plate, try the raw smoked beef, which provides a pleasurably savoury chew, partnered with pickled yolk, radish & other accompaniments (RM50). It's something of a fun riff on steak tartare.
'Large plates' include luscious sea bass, magnificently moist, with dill, buttermilk & brassica veggies (RM60). This dish seems to define Sitka's ethos: Who needs Norwegian salmon when there's equal enjoyment to be found in Malaysian fish at its finest?
Wherever there's duck, count us in: Sitka's is served with temptingly pink flesh & a depraved layer of fat over a thick sauce tinged dark crimson with cherry & red wine, complemented by purple cabbage, fermented black bean & a fried bean curd roll stuffed with pulled confit of duck that instantaneously seizes the spotlight from everything else. RM65.
But what will haunt our memory the most is dessert, specifically the award-worthy white chocolate panna cotta, indelibly smooth & irrepressibly light, its comforting sweetness matched surprisingly & serendipitously by this garland of wood sorrel & Thai basil. RM30; if you eat only one thing for dinner at Sitka, make it this show-stopping sacrament of sumptuousness.
The beetroot sorbet - with malt crisp & bitter chocolate as a counterpoint - is also elegantly delicious in its own right. RM30.
Aussie wine starts at RM25 by the glass; all in all, dinners here seem to nimbly straddle the balance between being intimate & casual, though the cost of an evening's meal will understandably & easily surpass that for Sitka's lunch salads, baos & tacos.
The menu will evolve, with more mouthwatering marvels expected to emerge in the months ahead. Sweetbread with basmati, sichuan pepper & ginger? Sounds like the biggest of winners.
Sitka Restaurant @ Jalan Batai, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur
Email for reservations: email@example.com
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