Friday, April 20, 2018

O Petit Paris @ Taman Tun Dr Ismail

TTDI bids bienvenue to this new French boulangerie, which beckons customers with baguettes, brioches and bouchée à la reine. Expect a full-fledged Gallic encounter here; O Petit Paris' friendly founder Zac hails from France's northern city of Lille, while chef Pascal comes from Annecy in the south.

Begin with the bouchée à la reine, layered puff pastry filled with chicken sausage, onions and mushroom cream, alongside a simple salad with crunchy, house-made croutons, for a quintessentially French starter with satisfying textures (RM24).

Beyond baked fare prepared with French flour (and French flair), O Petit Paris offers bistro-style hot meals and patisserie sweet pleasures. Le Lafayette is a burger to bookmark - the tender beef patty is blanketed with onion confit and creamy raclette cheese for a distinctively flavourful creation (RM25). 

Don't leave without having a religieuse experience - choux pastries stuffed with achingly soft creme patisserie, coated in chocolate ganache (RM14), paired with French-roasted Cafes Richard coffee, with the soothing sounds of Les Deux Guitares and Pour Ne Pas Vivre Seul flowing from the speakers, the perfect soundtrack for a Malaysian in Paris.

O Petit Paris TTDI
12 Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. 
Open Mon-Fri, 8am-9pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-8pm.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Burnin' Pit @ Desa Sri Hartamas

The wait was worth it: After many months of ardent anticipation, Burnin' Pit is finally firing up its grills, bringing sultry Texas-style barbecue to the heart of Hartamas, smoked and sliced in a suave space that's raring to fan the flames of our appetites.

This is merely a teaser of Burnin' Pit's current test run, but it's clear that the restaurant means serious business when it comes to low-and-slow barbecue. The highlight is the premium wagyu brisket, cooked for no fewer than 14 hours, initially over a base of rubberwood, then with the wood of Pahang-cultivated tropical fruit trees, including jackfruit, mango and rambutan trees.

Seasoned simply with kosher salt to let the beef shine, the result is meat made for passionate carnivores, with a clean but memorably resonant richness of flavour that lingers pleasurably on the palate, sumptuously fleshy to the bite, satisfyingly tender to the chew. It'll be no problem polishing off a full plate of this top-notch protein; kudos to Burnin' Pit's founding chef Kok Fung and his team for blazing a fresh trail with their expert execution.

While the Japanese beef is the probable standout (seasonal price; currently RM80 per 100 grams), there's plenty of smoked meat to go around the table. The soft-launch selection also showcases halal-certified BBQ Aussie beef brisket (RM20 for 100 grams), beef ribs (RM30 for 100 grams) and pulled lamb (RM21 for 100 grams). House-blended Peach BBQ and Gula Melaka sauces complement the meat without being overpowering.

Burnin' Pit also puts a local spin on some of its signatures, so in addition to Jamaican jerk chicken, you'll find Malaysian percik-inspired chicken too, plus a brisket fried rice that should be mighty tempting. 

House-made sausages are also available, alongside meaty burgers, sliders and hot dogs, as well as hearty-sounding sides that span mac-and-cheese to corn with coconut milk and plantain chips with pulled lamb, plus sweet treats like beignets and chocolate Oreo sundaes. We'll be back for those.

A cosy den upstairs, lit with bulbs encased in whiskey bottles, complete with a faux fireplace, beckons customers for drinks after dinner, with an alfresco terrace that overlooks the neighbourhood. 

Burnin' Pit
24, Jalan 24/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Open daily; BBQ available 11am-2pm, 6pm till sold out. The rest of the menu is available all day long.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Skive @ Bangsar

If you ever plan to reward yourself with a much-deserved three-hour weekday lunch, Skive is the route to take. 

Bangsar’s newest restaurant brings a human touch and honest character to contemporary comfort food, conceived primarily through the culinary skills of Malaysian husband-and-wife team Jon (a Swiss-trained chef whose love for cooking sprouted from his family in Penang) and Wen Huey (a former British-based surgeon who swapped the operating table for pastry ovens). Skive's a bright and cheerful space, staffed by a warm team that strives to see customers leave with a spring in their step and sheer satisfaction in their stomachs.

Skive’s name might evoke mischievous sentiments, but the food here is more cheeky pleasure than guilty over-indulgence. Upon entering, patrons are welcomed with a counter of freshly baked temptations and a chiller of house-churned ice cream that both illustrate an imaginative streak. 

If you allow yourself only one carbolicious treat this week, make it the highly memorable Vadai Soda Bread, blending Indian and Irish sensibilities, beautifully tasty and textured, delicately but distinctively laced with lentils and curry leaves. Enjoy it warm, terrific for a high tea session, better than any scone we’ve had this past year. It might sound like a novelty, but one bite is enough to assure us that we’re in the hands of a capable kitchen.

Skive’s ice cream also ought to be the hottest thing on Telawi - check out what the restaurant calls its ‘breakfast ice cream,’ in the flavour of soybean with caramelised yew tiao and a subtle spike of ginger, capturing the essence of its traditional tau foo fah inspiration and transforming it into a palate-tickling ice cream with a twist of cruller bits. 

Basil sorbet is also executed with flair, flush with naturally invigorating nuances, even for those of us who seldom adore sorbet. If you see the durian avocado ice cream available, get it quickly - we procrastinated too long and another customer swooped in and purchased the entire tub (if that person is reading this, we hate you). 

There’s much more on the menu - this is a full-fledged eatery for an entire meal, be it brunch, lunch or dinner. Start with slices of jerk-marinated salmon slathered over crisp German-inspired dark bread - doubly a delight, a fine change from typical smoked fish and French-style sourdough, bringing together seafood's lusciousness with the dense earthiness of rye in perfect proportions with swirls of avocado puree and salsa for an ensemble that gives open sandwiches a great name (RM19.90).

Reconfiguring familiar flavours into playful pleasures, Skive turns Tex-Mex into Thai-Mex: Sourdough tortillas (yep, also made on site) come plumped up with pulled duck curry, lychee and mint for a messy but successfully mouthwatering marvel of cross-cultural tacos (RM22). Even an innocent-looking beef burger takes on Southeast Asian dimensions - the thick, house-ground patty is jazzed up with the uplift of lemongrass, rounded out with sriracha mayo (RM34).

Skive ensures there's something for everyone, spanning inspirations from East, West and a few places in between. Grandma's Thai Laksa is a fragrantly heartwarming recipe handed down by chef Jon's mom (RM25), the herb-crusted NZ lamb rack with parsley risotto and beetroot-walnut puree supplies a thoughtful balance of carnivorous and vegetarian components (RM62), and the ayam berempah spatchcock is some of the most lip-smacking chicken you'll find in this zip code, impeccably crisp-skinned, succulent and rich with flavour, served with spiced rice, sweet corn and three dip-worthy Malaysian sauces (RM58).

Cakes galore are available, but the lovely lemon chia was made for us, no question about it. For customers seeking bottled nostalgia, Malacca-made Long Chan-brand beverages are your best bet (try the Ais Krim Soda to transport your taste buds back to the eighties); for others who understandably crave more potent relief, a small selection of wine can be spotted.

All in all, Skive provides a shameless excuse to ditch the office and rustle up a few over-worked colleagues for an afternoon of gossip and gluttony. Plus, if you ask politely, chef Jon might even croon a line or two of Josh Groban for you at the table. 

Ground Floor, Telawi Square, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. 
Open Mon-Fri, 9am-9pm; Sat-Sun, 7am-9pm.

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