Rising up with a rebel yell, this new venue tucked on a Petaling Jaya back-lane seeks to subvert expectations of what a suburban cafe in the Klang Valley might serve, spotlighting mainly South American flavours on small plates & sharing platters.
Classic Rebel's cooking is chock-full of lively, uplifting dimensions; expect several essentials of the Latin American repertoire, including escabeche - well-rounded, vibrantly balanced seafood preparations of prawns with fennel, black fungus & tiger's milk citrus marinade (RM20) & red snapper with pickled salsa, avocado cream & lime juice (RM20). Also recommended for whetting the appetite: Dips that run the cross-border gamut, from Middle Eastern baba ghanoush, creamy with artichokes & roasted eggplant (RM13), to Mexican guacamole, rich with avocadoes, onions, tomato, cilantro & extra virgin olive oil (RM18).
From fowl to fish, there's no absence of attractions: The roast chicken packs a tangy-smoky punch with its robust orange-chipotle marinade (RM45), while the salmon more than holds its own on the other end of the flavour spectrum, transformed into tender & fresh-textured gravlax with beautifully understated subtleties, partnered with soft & sweet plantain fritters for a surprisingly successful coupling, finished with fennel, sour cream & dill (RM28). Thumbs up too for the tamarind-glazed beef short ribs, caveman-worthy in their chunky-fleshed primal succulence, complemented by cranberry-orange chutney (RM75).
Side dishes showcase confident, contemporary flourishes - the mushroom 'pizza' is a deconstructed display of crispy-creamy earthiness, fuelled memorably by grilled mixed mushrooms with mushroom puree, phyllo pastry, parmesan, tomatoes & thyme (RM18). Burnt vegetables also bring on the heat - leeks come matched with prawns, spring onions & croutons in seaweed butter (RM25), while cauliflower mingles with almond chile relish & yoghurt (RM15). Alcohol is not available, but tasty mocktails supply some solace. All in all, this place is off to a solid start - expect to hear more about Classic Rebel in the months ahead.
Classic Rebel PJ
7 Lorong Universiti B, Section 16, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Formerly Roast & Grind Cafe.
Currently open for dinner on most evenings. Call 03-7932-4524
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