KL bids bonsoir to its newest French restaurant, helmed by a Malaysian chef who has returned to her homeland after honing her craft in San Sebastian & opened this cosy little space with her Japanese sommelier partner.
We like The Red Herring's ambiance a lot; it's intimate but bright & colourful, casual but elegant with an easy charm (come in the evening, when Sarah McLachlan & Pavarotti flow from the speakers). The team here is young, led by chef Xer-Li Woo, a one-time IT graduate & self-proclaimed introvert who's nonetheless a pleasure to chat with to discover her vision for this place.
Xer-Li is beginning with the basics for The Red Herring's current soft-launch stage; the menu is expected to expand & eventually include recipes rarely seen in KL, but for now, customers can come for Xer-Li's pork terrine, served with cornichons & grain mustard (RM15.90+) ...
... & chicken liver pate with toasted rustic bread (RM15.90+). It's true, there are only two starters on the very compact menu right now, but both boast a kitchen-made feel, priced a bit lower than expected.
Meals here are hearty; pork chops are expertly cooked with garlic & wine for a flavoursome, pinkish tenderness, served with beans & smooth mashed potatoes. Bonus points for the lovely layers of tasty fat. RM32.90+.
Beef bourguignon (RM48.90+) is a hearty highlight too, a thick, savoury rendition brimming with succulent shin meat.
Basque chicken with peppers & pork bacon (RM25.90+), a nice nod to Xer-Li's stint in northern Spain.
The Red Herring's tarte tatin is commendable too, full of soft caramelised apples. RM7.90+, the only dessert for now.
The Red Herring will start serving wine once Xer-Li's partner Maho is in Malaysia. For now, head downstairs to Mercato to buy a bottle first; the corkage fee is RM30+. We think we'll be hearing a fair amount about The Red Herring in the months ahead.
The Red Herring
Block M, Plaza Damas, Jalan Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur.
Currently open for dinner, Tuesday-Friday. Lunch & dinner on Saturday, lunch on Sundays.
Sort of facing Blue Cow Cafe. Take the escalator (or are they stairs) from outside TGI Friday's in Hartamas Shopping Centre; turn left at the top and walk all the way till nearly the end.
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