Monday, November 17, 2014

Underground Societe @ Bandar Sunway

From Solaris Dutamas' Coffee Societe to Bandar Sunway's Garage 51, brothers Kar Wai & Kar Heng have consistently been near the forefront of the Klang Valley's cafe fraternity for nearly three years, working hard to push the envelope a bit further with each of their outlets. Their latest labour of love - Underground Societe - opens this week, a short stroll from Garage 51, representing a natural evolution of their brand & a forward-thinking peek at what the future might hold for Malaysian cafe fans.

 In terms of aesthetics, Underground Societe is a triumph - tangibly tasteful & commandingly comfortable. But what's more important are its ideas about the maturing requirements of its customers: What happens after you've walked into & out of a hundred cafes, many of them slowly but steadily becoming a hyper-caffeinated blur through the years? Where do you go once you've devoured dozens of Big Breakfasts & had your fill of fried eggs with sausages, mushrooms & hash browns?

With that in mind, Underground Societe's key attraction is a menu that's heavily & hearteningly weighted toward new recipes. Our favourites here are the tasting platters (more of them, please), built for sharing & sampling, each between RM20 & RM26.

 Avocado admirers will likely adore these ravishingly ripe, creamy-soft slices, crowned with toppings like Jamaican-inspired pineapple salsa, mashed egg, feta cheese, as well as prawns, couscous & fish roe, every one a distinctive, delicate delight.

 For a photogenic pleasure, order the yellowfin tuna tartare, mixed with avocados again, along with highland tomatoes, bedecked with escargot shells that have been emptied out & stuffed with scrambled eggs & salmon roe.

 Scoring strongly with savoury-sweet, meaty-grainy nuances, the oft-abused smoked duck breast finally finds a fulfilling partnership with hillocks of couscous, kitchen-made orange marmalade, roasted beetroot, pumpkin, broccoli & raisins.

 It's also pretty easy to recommend Underground Societe's soups - roasted highland pumpkin with cream & pimento toast ...

 ... & a convincingly textured, Egyptian-inspired green pea broth (RM16) that reflects a thoughtful kind of love for real food.

Brunch fare (available 11am-6pm daily) enjoys a makeover - Underground Societe's interpretation of Eggs Benedict comes with slipper lobster & roasted pumpkin. One thing we'd change about this might be the generically doughy muffins; some customers might also hesitate at the sight of the RM28 price tag, especially since the serving isn't huge.

 Still, we appreciate Underground Societe's enjoyable attempts at complexity & creativity for these dishes, best illustrated by the juicily grilled Atlantic salmon with German-style spaetzle, thyme-boiled quail eggs, asparagus & hollandaise sauce (RM26).

Ultimately, Underground Societe isn't perfect (no place is, after all), but its flaws make it no less fascinating. We might not completely love this pizza, topped with Cajun-spiced chicken, poached egg, Caesar salad & mozzarella cheese, mainly because the crust is too thick, but we like the potential & promise of this place. It's a step in the right direction, encouragingly influenced by its friendly founders' passion for Melbourne's cafes.

The healthiest option on the brunch selection: Soaked oat groats with julienne applies, strawberries, apple compote & honey (RM18). Note that Underground Societe serves a different menu during dinnertime - mint-crusted NZ lamb rack, pastas & more.

 The cafe's signature dessert is the Underground Grenade (RM26), essentially a boozy Bombe Alaska, best shared by two.

 Flambeed meringue, indulgently rich, blanketing mint chocolate chip ice cream, for a nice finish to this meal.

 A fair number of KL cafes - more than two dozen - do offer imaginative recipes these days, but few are able to serve alcohol. Underground Societe bucks that terrible trend, catering to the vino-loving crowd - wine really does make everything better, & it helps to super-charge the energy at a eatery. Chilean Merlot & Sauvignon Blanc start at RM18 per glass here; for exuberantly special occasions, a bottle of Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial clocks in at RM480. 

 Still, most of Underground Societe's customers might stick to coffee - order the best-of-two-worlds Black & White (RM15) - cleanse your palate with sparkling water, sip the espresso, then have the water once more before savouring the piccolo latte.

 Nitro cold-brew coffee on tap (RM15) might taste a bit like beer, but it's totally OK for teetotalers ...

 ... though the Underground Coffee cocktail (RM26) isn't, laced with vodka & Bailey's. All in all, the ambition showcased at Underground Societe earns a measure of respect - with plenty of positive vibes & a sparkling service team, it's worth visiting, & it makes us look forward to whatever Kar Wai & Kar Heng might come up with next.

Underground Societe
68 Jalan PJS 11/7, Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. An interesting neighbourhood to place a restaurant like this.
Open daily, 11am-2am (love the late & convenient hours). Tel: 03-5613-3851

A customer at the Shear Madness Hair & Beauty Salon in PJ's Happy Garden has murdered Isabel Fernandez, Malaysia's most famous pianist! But who?!? You and the audience have been watching them come and go, getting their hair washed and cut on-stage at this one-of-a-kind show that will play at the PJ Live Arts in Jaya One, Nov. 26-Dec 7.
"It's basically a live version of Law & Order or CSI," says the show's director, Richard Harding Gardner. "When I first saw Shear Madness at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, I was amazed at just how observant the audience was! Stuff that I had missed, someone, somewhere in the audience pounced on it!"
So it's like Cluedo, plus it's very, very funny. Come and see if you can work out who-dun-it! It's not even the same person every night, so take YOUR turn to play armchair detective, question the cast and catch the culprit.
Tickets can be purchased at www.tix.my or by calling 017-2289-849
For the November 26 premiere, Gardner & Wife Theatre is offering a "Buy Two Tickets for the Price of One" exclusive bargain for customers who type the coupon code EDKL when purchasing your ticket online.
Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for October-December 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. 
This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.cld.bz/2014D 
This link expires Dec. 31, 2014. Please check the newest blog entries after that for fresh links.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings (even before they're featured on this blog), F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Sausages to sambal. Muffins to marshmallows. Peanut butter to mango chutney. Cornflake ice cream to honey aloe yogurt. Lavender-laced lemonades to lychee-&-guava juices.
Eat Drink KL: Small Businesses, Huge Flavours is the first eBook to help customers navigate the diversity of independent F&B entrepreneurs who bake & boil in their own kitchens, offering some of Malaysia's finest, most fascinating food products.
This resource will be continuously updated with new listings: www.eatdrinkkl.publ.com/businesses 
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my

26 comments:

  1. wah, this looks special, the name already win liao, wish to go~ haha~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy walker: hope you get the chance to check it out the next time you're near bandar sunway. yep, great name :)

      Delete
  2. Love the decor of the place...the yellowfin tuna tartare topped with escargot shells looks good...saw their fabs-looking lamb rack from a fren's photo...the Black n White is certainly interesting...Nitro coffee here I come! =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ulric: heheh, a lot of items for you to try here ... the beverage menu is especially wide :)

      Delete
  3. The ambiance is perfect and so is the decor......... now wondering about the price ......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haddock: i think the prices are indicative of things to come in many restaurants in the months ahead. but to be fair, many of the ingredients used in the dishes here (along with other factors) do make the pricing understandable :)

      Delete
  4. Wow, wow and wow, Sean! I think you have outdone yourself this time with this one! Everything looks amazing and tantalizing. I love avocado, and the presentations here of everything is quite amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda: thanks for your kind words ... i loved how the kitchen here seems to love avocado as much as we do! :D

      Delete
  5. The food looks pretty, I like I like! Hmmm but a bit far for us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CK: ya, probably about a 30-minute drive from your home ... but yeah, pretty presentations! :)

      Delete
  6. A place that sells lobster for breakfast sounds like a winner :) Great to see experimentation and creativity - I love those 'snails'!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YouHadYourLunch: yay for luxe brunches :D and yup, it's always very cool to see culinary imagination at work ... those snail shells were a surprise :)

      Delete
  7. Prices are steep no doubt but they did a good job in presentation. I have a soft spot for ice cream and i would go all out for that grenade! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ken: that underground grenade could be deadly delectable :)

      Delete
  8. Name is somewhat unnerving - brings to mind the Ghee Hin & the Hai San. LOL!!! Love the poached eggs - beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suituapui: heheh, yeah, it's a bit of an edgy name :) glad u like the look of the eggs :)

      Delete
  9. The coupon EDKL doesn't seem to work on www.tix.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. t: thanks for the note ... they've checked and it was a temporary glitch. the coupon should work fine now :)

      Delete
  10. The food looking good


    Wilson
    www.placesandfoods.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. What happened to the escargots? Just the empty shells filled with scrambled eggs and salmon roe? I don't want that....I want the juicy snails inside!! :D Am loving the salmon dish also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Contact.ewew: heh, if you're craving escargot, a decent place to get them would be bistro richard at sentul klpac ... RM25 for six :) yup, the salmon tasted fresh and succulent :)

      Delete
  12. Sean..you took very nice food photos! Underground Grenade look special. They put my favorite mint ice cream into it :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melissa: thank you! :) ya, i didn't expect to find mint choc chip ice cream inside. it's actually not my favourite flavour, but it worked well in the combination :)

      Delete
  13. Saw the escargot shells dish and the first thing that came to mind was "Taht's a lot of work.. " LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebecca: heh, probably not for the restaurants though, since I think they can buy the empty shells, heheh. Oh, but for customers, ya, have to scrape out the eggs :)

      Delete