Saturday, October 18, 2014

Restaurant DC By Darren Chin @ TTDI

Three more days until DC Restaurant - one of 2014's most confident new outlets - is formally unveiled on Oct. 21; many thanks to chef-founder Darren Chin, his right-hand man Kim, Scots stalwart Sam & the rest of DC's hard-working team for this preview dinner of what their restaurant hopes to convey to customers.
Earlier introduction to DC Restaurant: October 13.

Housekeeping notes first: DC Restaurant will initially operate only its first floor beginning next week, with dinner commencing from 7:30pm (except Mondays). Prix fixe menus might cost RM280 per person; advance reservations of at least 48 hours are required to ensure DC manages to secure everything that's needed to ensure an enjoyable experience from start to finish.

The hall has a minimalist feel - it's warm, welcoming & woodsy, intimate enough that hardly twenty-plus guests can be seated each evening. At least one burning mystery can be resolved now: The restaurant's unofficial logo - reflected in the shape of the ceiling's lighting structures within & signboard emblems outside - refers to Darren's passe in the kitchen.

DC's food is infused with character & personality. When even the bread & butter prove so satisfying, you know you're likely in safe hands for the remainder of the night. DC Restaurant's baker Jo does a sterling job with the caraway-tinged ciabatta, foccacia & sourdough with five cereals, paired with million-calorie dollops of unctuous, unpasteurised Pamplie French butter.

It takes a long time to type out 'charcoal rice crisp with eggplant caviar, anchovy cream, fraises des bois (wild strawberry) confiture & baby coriander,' but only a second to pop this amuse bouche into your mouth & another second or two to recognise & relish its varied, crunchy-creamy textures & nuanced, sweet-savoury flavours.

A similar theme is reassuringly woven throughout DC's menu - the emphasis on technique & balance, both mastered & tamed in this yam puff laced with guinea fowl confit, accompanied by kitchen-made hollandaise sauce & Korean chilli pepper for a tinge of heat. There's a surprising complexity of flavours when you bite into the puff - the ideal illustration of how a small morsel can supply massive pleasure.

Darren is French-trained, & while his menu incorporates the foundation of his learning & experience, this isn't a French restaurant - it might be better described as experimental or progressive, with many Southeast Asian elements. Darren's wife is Thai, & her inspiration shines in her husband's interpretation of beef tartare, prepared through the prism of Thailand's northeastern Isaan heritage with coriander oil, garlic & Thai basil, topped with & bitter sorbet.

Dinner at DC might take a little longer than usual, since there are so many courses in the seemingly never-ending set menu, but the time flies by effortlessly, thanks to temptations like these cold soba noodles with Boston lobster claws, lobster shell, baby oyster leaves & salicorne, plus a side salad of iced daikon strips with tonka bean vinaigrette.

DC's focus on fresh produce - best exemplified through the bounty of the ocean & the harvest of the land - seizes the spotlight in this 'seafood medley,' with Pulau Ketam pomfret a la meuniere from MySeafoodMart, slipper lobster from Mersing in Johor & clams with watercress puree & zucchini.

Note that DC's menu is expected to be an ever-evolving one; what's available this week might not necessarily be spotted the following week. Guests so far have had the chance to feast on slow-roasted guinea fowl with pomme puree & glazed carrots ...

... but customers later this month might find, say, veal sweetbreads or aboriginal-reared chicken on their plates.

Choice of cheese: Fans will have a field day here, though the key to select one wisely.

Our recommendation: Ask Sam what's the stinkiest. With great pungency comes great fulfilment. The cheese is served with Turkish figs braised in red wine & mesclun salad.

Good things come in threes, as proven by DC's trio of sweets to cap this meal - from a ravishing pistachio creme brulee with soy milk, black jelly, hazelnut tuille & green tea ...

 ... to chocolate fondant that's the height of comfort food, capable of healing a broken heart ...

... to soft, smooth kachai ginger ice cream - pure in taste, delicate in texture - with baby coriander, again underscoring DC's pivot toward ingredients from our region.

We start our evening with cold hibiscus tea; we end our night with hot tea infused with herbs from the restaurant's own garden.

A compact range of better beers is available, including Belgian, British & Spanish varieties.

In vino veritas - In DC Restaurant we trust. And that's probably the truth.

But what about DC Restaurant's street-level section? It'll open soon too, supplying an action-packed setting where the mysteries of cooking are laid bare, where the chef might fillet a fish & strip the meat off a whole lamb right in front of you.

Restaurant DC by Darren Chin @ TTDI
44 Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
Open initially only for dinner. Reservations: Contact Darren at 012-223-2991

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  1. The bread and butter....mmmmm! :) It's nice to see butter, as some restaurants use margarine, which I can't stand. The cheese assortment looks really nice!

    1. Linda: true, the butter here is probably the height of decadence as far as how butter can taste :D and i would have loved to try a bit of all that cheese too! :)

  2. Hhhahah at the last pic! :P
    We thought it was rather cute too.

    It took us 4 hours to finish our meal but yes, time flies by pretty quickly.

    I hope to see Restaurant DC to be able to come up to Jaan's standards ..

    1. Rebecca: heheh, i didn't notice it until my friend pointed it out :) i think we ended up leaving the restaurant at 1230am :D

  3. Place looks clinically clean, love it like that - can stand some of the messes people come out with in the name of creativity! Top class presentation...and the stuff he dishes out sure have that wow factor! Awesome! You treat me to dinner here if I hop over to KL, can? Wink! Wink! LOL!!!

    1. Suituapui: heh, it's clean but not sterile, not in the bad/unimaginative sense, true :) and yup, dinner here sounds good the next time you're in kl, if you have the time ... i think you'd love it! :D

  4. Definitely visiting this place for my birthday next month :) (Hubby pls take note)

    Food looks really good, for the prix fixe menu, roughly how many courses are there? Or does it vary depending on wht ingredients they use/get? Cheers.

    1. Baby Sumo: i think you and hubby will have a wonderful time ... something to definitely look forward to! :D
      for the prix fixe, i think you'd probably get around 10 small courses, but it's up to the chef, i guess. every evening, he'll tweak what he's serving, and i think the menu next month would be almost completely different from what customers have this month :)

  5. Love the cold soba noodles, the yam puff laced with guinea fowl confit and the katchai ginger ice cream...slow-roasted guinea fowl sounds delish too =)

    1. Ulric: so many highlights, dunno which one to choose as my favourite, heheh (though i must say, i enjoyed dessert more than i usually do!) :D

  6. Classy, charcoal crisp sounds interesting! Very creative dishes too.

    1. Ken: yeah, that charcoal crisp thingy is excellent for whetting the appetite, and an ideal introduction to dining here :)

  7. Another restaurant I need to save up for, money not enough leh! :P

    1. CK: heheh, maybe if you're back during a birthday celebration, can consider coming here! :D