Sunday, December 28, 2014

Drift Dining @ 38 Bidara, Jalan Bedara

A slice of Sydney surfaces in KL: Four Australians with wide experience in the restaurant business have combined forces to spearhead Drift, where modern Aussie cooking shines in a relaxed & inviting setting. It's poised to be a place to watch in 2015.

Drift Dining & Bar opens this week at 38 Bidara Condominium off Jalan Nagasari, pretty near Changkat Bukit Bintang. It's a familiar spot for KL's long-time foodies - this was formerly Chiaroscuro, once one of the city's most reliable Italian restaurants.

For now, the restaurant opens only in the evening, but there are also plans for an adjoining space - nicknamed 'Ebb & Flow' - that'll host a providore where customers can grab sandwiches, smoked meat, cheese & wine during the daytime. There's also a speakeasy-style lounge hidden behind the bar, where mural portraits inspired by Chaplin & Hepburn stare out from the walls.

 
Sydney-born chef Angus Harrison helms the kitchen here, the latest move in a career that has taken him from Tetsuya's in Sydney to Luke Mangan's Salt tapas in Seminyak, Bali. The menu is still being fine-tuned, but expect a focus on local produce with influences from across the globe. Asian flavours take centre stage for these Manila clams (RM35++), briny & nourishingly juicy, steamed with soy sauce, garlic & ginger & served piping-hot for rainy-night comfort.

 
Guests are encouraged to drift from course to course, sharing wine & conversation while grazing on platters of baby back pork ribs (RM35++), ravishingly marinated to full flavour & slow-braised to supreme succulence, soaked in savoury yakiniku sauce, then crowned with a crisp fennel-&-apple salad. Easily our favourite Drift dish so far.

 
The char-grilled pork chop (RM35++) is a little less memorable, suffering from comparisons to the ultimate sticky-sweet Chinese char siu found elsewhere in the city. This may appeal to folks who prefer their meat lean & mean. It showcases Thai touches, with pickled baby mango, cucumber & nam prik sauce that's too mild & not fiery enough for Malaysian taste buds.

Moroccan-spiced crunchy cauliflower, made creamy with saffron yoghurt & supplied with a sweet spark from rum-soaked raisins (RM25++). Drift's founders are hands-on with their new outlet - you'll find most of them here each evening, with restaurant CEO Robert Gilliland & manager Ric Patterson chatting with customers to ensure everyone has a satisfactory time.

There's only one dessert on the menu, but it's a triumph - cinnamon-spiced Spanish doughnuts, a.k.a. churros, nicely straddling the line between dense & fluffy, served with dulce de leche & kitchen-made strawberry jam, both thick & tasty without being cloying. At RM19++, it illustrates how prices at Drift are mercifully not too intimidating.

We haven't forgotten the fourth member of Drift's Australian collaboration, the fairest of them all, sommelier Donna Freeman, who directs Drift's diversely international wine list. Expect thoughtfully curated vintages by both the bottle & the glass, with Australian, French, Californian, Spanish, Italian & Argentinian varieties ranging between RM19++ & RM36++ for the latter.

 
Lots of fun cocktails too, from the Blueberry Muffin Martini with cake crumbs lining the rim (RM32++; Absolut, blueberry jam, creme de cassis, lime) to the Espresso Martini (RM32++; vodka, kahlua, double espresso, maple syrup). Expect to hear much more about Drift in the months to come.

 
Drift Dining & Bar
38 Bidara, Jalan Bedara, Off Jalan Nagasari, Kuala Lumpur. Behind Istana Hotel.
Open 5pm till late, Monday-Saturday (kitchen opens 6:30pm). Website: www.driftdining.com

This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.

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

18 comments:

  1. Too porky for me haha, but i'd go for the churros :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ken: oh yeah, you're not a pork fan ... but no worries, i'm betting you'd definitely enjoy the churros! :)

      Delete
  2. The food there looks tempting- XD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy walker: definitely alluring :D

      Delete
  3. I do like pork, especially ribs and roast pork, and the dishes here look succulent. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda: oh yes, the pork ribs here were among the tastiest i've tried this year :D

      Delete
  4. The pork ribs and clam soup both look good. But the char siew is a bit too lean to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CK: heheh, ya, it's not really supposed to be char siew, but our first thought when we saw it and tasted it was that we prefer the succulence of char siew :)

      Delete
  5. I could eat that whole bowl of clams!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Baby Sumo: heheh, ya, i think it's very possible, since that was a delicious clam recipe :D

      Delete
  6. Nice touch of the crisp fennel-&-apple salad on top of the baby back pork ribs...shud cut through the richness of the pork and add more flavours...love the looks of the heartwarming soupy Manila clams =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ulric: yeah, i kinda messed up on the pics here by setting the wrong shutter speed and not noticing it at all until i was downloading the photos, but phew, luckily there were salvageable photos where you could still see the fennel salad :) you're right, the salad did complement the ribs nicely, and the broth for the clams was perfectly flavoursome :)

      Delete
  7. Wow the cocktails sound delish! Perhaps a bit more food menu tweaking is needed to ensure the dishes meet malaysian tastes...but it sounds promising.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YouHadYourLunch: it's a good place for drinks altogether! :) and yeah, the chef just got in and he's still breaking in the kitchen with his team, but for an early start, this is super-promising, and we'll be happy to see what's on the menu once he comfortably hits his stride :)

      Delete
  8. Oh? What happened to the Italian place? Those Manila clams sure look really good! And the ribs and the pork chop too. The latter looks like char siew in the pic. Anything porky, I'm in! LOL!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suituapui: the italian place managed to survive for several years, but sadly, it's been closed for a few years now. glad you like the look of the food at this new spot! :)

      Delete
  9. Those baby back pork ribs and churros are calling out to me :D!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Contact.ewew: don't ignore their cries!!! :)

      Delete