Friday, June 3, 2016

2016 New Menu: Thirdwave @ Bangsar South

Every year, around this time, there's cause for thankful celebration, as Bangsar South's Thirdwave unveils an annual revamp of its menu, introducing a new batch of recipes that its team has worked on for months - a ritual we've come to anticipate eagerly, it feels like Christmas in June. Starting this weekend, you'll find about a dozen fresh entries to Thirdwave's food selection, reflecting the inspiration of Malaysian fruit orchards, Italian trattorias, Sichuan hot pot parlours & more. As a bonus, Thirdwave is offering a 10 percent introductory discount off these unique new dishes this Saturday & Sunday (June 4-5).

Thirdwave's reinterpretations of Scotch eggs have always been crowd favourites, & its latest incarnation should be no exception - the Magic Taro Egg (RM26++) comes coated in yam, served with enoki & dried shrimp tempura, encircled by a moat of mussels & macaroni in truffled cream. This is comfort food that we'll remember for a long time, something we'd want to keep coming back for on the hard days, with gentle flavours centred on what feels like the love child of a Scotch egg with the taro puff of dim sum restaurants. Crisp, lightly creamy; dreamy deliciousness that had us polishing off everything on the plate.

Two renditions of shakshuka will take the limelight - we like both very much, with a slight edge to the Green (RM28+), which brings to mind Thai flavours, with a warm egg in spinach curry sauce, lemongrass, kaffir lime, rustic chicken sausage & chilli butter. The Red (RM26+) is more conventionally familiar, but it's exemplary in execution, with a moderately spiced red sauce that's not too tangy, plus a Yemeni-style green chilli zhoug sauce, textured chicken sausage & tender roasted peppers. Both come with a whole pita bread baked right here at Thirdwave, fresh, fluffy & fully capable of soaking up the shakshuka's sauces.

This next one may be an acquired taste, but nangka devotees should adore it - Jackie's Bao (RM21+) is a steamed mantao-type charcoal bun, bulging with a luscious mix of marinated chicken thigh, grilled jackfruit, jackfruit tempura, pickled chillies, crushed peanut soil, fried shallots & kitchen-made chilli sauce, a combination that's full-bodied in its sweet-savoury flavours.

We tried these recipes while Thirdwave was in the final stages of fine-tuning; some elements have since evolved ahead of the final versions - when it goes public this weekend, the remarkably ravishing Golden Salmon Bell (RM33), a masterwork of plating that's well worth capturing for social media, will still emerge with a massive salmon ball that customers can slice open to reveal a molten mozzarella centre, spilling over a line of crunchy quinoa & grilled sourdough salad, glazed carrots, shaved fennel & passionfruit chilli gel, but the topping of Thirdwave's own-made burrata cheese will be replaced with a poached egg.

If you're searching for a dose of distinctiveness, order the duck confit (rich & meaty) coupled with a challenging ice cream that tastes like egg yolks mixed with beef bacon; some of us will like the ice cream, others absolutely won't - the flavour of egg yolk is dominant, with a real infusion of beef bacon in the essence of the ice cream. It's admirably ambitious, certainly something to talk about; the finalised version will surface with a savoury waffle, Waldorf salad & maple sauce to balance things out (RM35+).

Another one-of-a-kind creation, the Mala Chicken (RM25+) has a lot going on in one serving: Fried chicken strips & burnt cornbread, cushioned with two nutty sauces separately taking control of each side of the plate - a Sichuan peppercorn peanut sauce & a sweetish chestnut-walnut puree. It's like an amalgamation of southern American soul food (fried chicken & cornbread) & southwest Chinese flavours (Sichuan fieriness that may numb your tongue, depending on your spice tolerance).

We're pretty pleased with vegetarian-friendly risotto, wet-textured & filled with crunchy bits of kale, zucchini flower & cucumber blossom fritters (RM23), tasting like springtime in Italy. There's one more savoury offering that we missed, but it sounds supremely promising: Sabich, an Israeli sandwich (RM19+) - Thirdwave's take features sous-vide chicken breast meat wrapped with garlicky hummus, cooked egg & fried aubergines in a pita pocket, served with tzatziki sauce & a lentil salad.

Desserts: The chief attraction might be the house-made ice cream sandwiches - you can opt for a single serving of each sandwich (RM10/RM12 each; 7 cm in diameter) or have all four in a tasting flight (RM32 for the complete set; 5 cm per sandwich). The flavours are also imaginatively & meticulously thought out: Share these with your friends & debate which one's your favourite - pandan kaya & burnt caramel ice cream in matcha sable; banana & praline ice cream with biscoff crumbs in charcoal sable; lavender honey & blueberry ice cream in lemon sable; or dark chocolate & rose ice cream with choc sable.

This final new plated sweetheart is one we happily endorse: The Banana Dreamboat (RM22+), a 21st-century reworking of the classic childhood ice cream & banana dessert. House-made vanilla bean & milk chocolate ice cream, artfully arranged with strawberry caviar to complete the Neapolitan triumvirate, plus perfectly ripe banana brulee, a gorgeous pandan sponge & peanut soil. One of our favourite desserts of 2016 from one of our favourite KL cafes; thanks to Thirdwave for this preview of yet another exceptional new menu launch - Malaysian-made cafe fare that pushes the envelope in a captivating direction.

Unit 1-11, Level 1, Nexus, Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur. 
Sun-Thurs, 10am-1030pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-12am. Tel: 03-2242-2126

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  1. The new menu is distinctive alright...certainly not the usual cafe food but not sure how duck confit and ice cream will work together though. But I'd be happy to set sail on my kind of boat...the Banana Dreamboat! ;D

    1. Contact.ewew: i'm not quite convinced either about duck confit and ice cream, but it'll be interesting to hear what others feel, ya :D i wasn't initially expecting to love the banana dreamboat, but it was dreamy indeed! :)

  2. AnonymousJune 03, 2016

    Good that they change the menu regularly and not serve the same old things till kingdom come.

    1. Suituapui: heh, i'm already looking forward to what they might come up with in 2017! :D

  3. The Scotch eggs & Banana Dreamboat sound good to me. I'm curious about the taste of the egg yolk ice cream, hehe.

    1. CK: i think you'll enjoy both the eggs and the banana dreamboat. not sure about the egg yolk ice cream, but it's cool how the cafe now makes its own ice cream :D

  4. Everything looks so unique! This maybe can lead me to my virgin visit to Thirdwave, who knows LOL

    1. Choi Yen: i'd definitely recommending making your first visit here with an open mind! :)