Gastro Bar By Burgeon is the result of a dramatic overhaul, replacing PJ's Ribs At The Burgeon, which launched in June 2015 & earned plaudits for its excellent smoked meat. Despite securing more than two months of brisk business, the restaurant's founders, Seth & Ray, surprisingly chose to close Ribs at the end of August, determining that they wanted to open a different kind of establishment - Gastro Bar, a remarkably ambitious & resoundingly distinctive venue that's being unveiled this month.
The place is totally refurbished, transformed into an edgier setting with an upbeat soundtrack. Similarly, the menu has been 100 percent revamped, in pursuit of the polished sophistication of modern small-plates bars from London to Sydney. For devotees of egg-filled brunches, Gastro Bar serves mature-minded interpretations for dinner - All Day, beautifully assembled with a quail's egg, caramelised orange & buttered baby spinach on a masala hash brown with miso & yuzu hollandaise (RM28), & The Egg, with a poached egg, beetroot & orange reduction, crispy pancetta, truffle oil & balsamic reduction (RM22).
Seth & Ray are consummate F&B perfectionists - they tested some 200 recipes, whittling them down to 12 top temptations. The food is unique; Gastro Bar may be the Klang Valley's only outlet that serves beef tartare in this striking fashion, with succulent blobs of chopped Black Angus tenderloin & sun-dried tomatoes on herbed toasted baguette slices with confit yolks of quail eggs to be consumed with the final mouthful of raw beef (RM68). New Zealand lamb chops also get a memorable culinary makeover, presented with walnut-&-cranberry sauce in more of the lovely tableware that Gastro Bar meticulously selected for each entree, prepared with a splash of tequila & the fiery zing of jalapeno sauce to round out the flavours (RM58).
Most of these elaborate recipes showcase a rich, robust punch; lovers of liver might revel in the Foie Garden, a show-stopper of seared duck foie gras with Armagnac & peach sauce & mushrooms on chocolate soil (RM88), & the Northern Pate, a ravishingly creamy pork liver pate infused with Mandarin Liqueur, to be spread with spiced onion chutney on rye (RM32). These offerings underscore why Gastro Bar deserves our respect - it lavishes an intense attention to detail on its repertoire.
The menu puts its own spin on two Malaysian classics, satay & ikan bakar, the first constructed with carefully chosen cuts of coveted pork cheeks, a potent indulgence pleasurably crowned with pecan sauce & bourbon (RM38), the latter with tender grilled stingray coated in sweet coconut flakes, with a textured, truffled black pepper & caper sauce for a spicy kick (RM48).
These two represent the lighter nuances of Gastro Bar's oeuvre - Mushroom Medallions, an earthy medley of king oyster mushrooms with curried parsnips, pumpkin puree & Brussels sprouts (RM28) & Imperial Prawn, a crisp spring roll stuffed not only with the eponymous crustacean but also morsels of century egg, cushioned with rocket leaves, subtly invigorating ginger & poppy seeds (RM32). Portions here are predominantly tapas-sized, so plan on ordering three to five servings per person.
There are only two desserts, but both take up the challenge of expanding the Klang Valley's culinary vocabulary - the mushroom cake is irresistibly unconventional, a mild-flavoured creation laced with shiitake mushrooms, complemented by rosemary gel & walnuts, plus a warm coconut-&-white-chocolate sauce (RM28), while the poached pears come cloaked in crumbs of banana & parsley, partnered with an admirable apple-chardonnay ice cream & shards of meringue (RM38).
The cocktail list is also nearly all-new, but bartender Shu Mei remains at the helm; she & her team sprinkle their magic touch on playfully imaginative concoctions. Numerous highlights expertly merge complex elements from East & West - Genesis (R42; rhubarb liqueur, gin, sarsaparilla, yuzu, cilantro), Win Liao Lor (RM38; orange liqueur, vodka, pink guava, lemongrass), Nutcracker (RM42; matcha, milk, cream, bourbon whiskey), Ruby Woo (RM38; gin, hot sauce, rose, raspberry, ginger ale), Porcelain Rose (RM38; tequila, tamarind, mango, mint, blood orange, ginger flower), Fairy's Advocate (RM48; absinthe, rum, rambutan, ginger, lime), The Carnival (RM42; rum, tequila, chocolate, coffee liqueur, milk soda, bourbon popcorn ice cream) & Strawberry Cheesecake (RM48; cheese-infused whiskey, Scotch whiskey, oolong tea, strawberry, yoghurt).
Thoughtful gestures abound at Gastro Bar from start to finish; the restaurant has reserved a row of complimentary street-side parking spaces for its patrons, so feel free to drive here. And when you finally leave, there may be a small bag of sweet goodies to bring home with you. Service sparkles, spearheaded by new maitre d' Brian. Thanks to Gastro Bar for having us.
Gastro Bar, By Burgeon
8 & 10, Jalan BM 1/2, Taman Bukit Mayang Emas, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03-7497-5373
Mon-Thurs: 5pm--12am; Fri-Sat: 5pm-1am, Sun & Public Holidays, closed. Note: No slippers & shorts for men
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