Eat Drink KL: October 2020

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Chica Bonita, Publika

Hola, Publika: With Coco playing on the TV and sugar skulls and colourful La Catrina portraits on the wall, KL's new Mexican restaurant has launched in time for the Nov. 2 Day of the Dead holiday. Fun fact: Chica Bonita is the sister outlet of Penang's Holy Guacamole restaurant.

Tacos and burritos abound. You can order individual tacos (in a choice of crispy or soft corn tortillas) to sample a wider variety. Meat-and-flavour-packed highlights include the Pulled Beef Barbacoa (RM13; with eight-hour slow-cooked brisket, buoyed with onions, coriander and lettuce) and Pato (RM15; smooth smoked duck with zesty mojo sauce, pineapple salsa and cabbage).

Balance that with a fresh-to-order vegetarian burrito, nicely stuffed with spiced pumpkin, grilled mushroom asada, guacamole and pico de gallo salsa, reasonably lively-tasting enough to do justice to Mexican traditions (RM25).

Chica Bonita's menu is extensive. Mexican tlayuda isn't often seen in KL, but you'll find the southwestern Oaxaca state's equivalent of pizza here - 12-inch tortillas topped with possibilities like prawns and squid with refried beans and cheese, a worthwhile order for folks seeking something a little different (RM44).

Can't leave a true-blue Mexican joint without getting a bit (or a lot) tipsy. Sip on cocktails like the Lomo Paloma (RM30; premium tequila with grapefruit soda and lime juice, rimmed with Mexico's tajin chile pepper seasoning) and Coronarita (RM60; a Margarita mixed with Mexico's pale lager for big, big gulps).

Chica Bonita
Lot 34, Level G2, Block C5, Publika Shopping Gallery, Solaris Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 1030am-10pm.

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Friday, October 30, 2020

Wú Cafe Gallery, Kota Damansara

Wú is an empty canvas of a cafe, crafted by the founders of Kota Damansara's Mobius Academy of arts and design. It's grey and gritty, stark and spartan, the harsh rawness of its concrete and exposed brick walls tempered by leafy plants and a welcoming crew. While Wú is meant to mainly serve Mobius' students, providing a space for them to work on projects and exhibit their work, it's destined to also attract admirers of aesthetically distinctive cafes.

Wú's soft launch is slated for 1 November, kicking off with basic coffee and cakes, with a fuller menu once circumstances in the Klang Valley improve. Refresh yourself with the Dirty Latte, a cool, clean-tasting quencher.

Wú Cafe Gallery
38-2, Jalan PJU 5/11, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 
Open Wednesday-Monday, 10am-6pm.

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Aperture, Taman Tun Dr Ismail

With a plant adoption corner filled with Sansevieria and Ehrenbergii succulents, Aperture should snap into focus for fans of flora. Bring home a plant with a minimum purchase of a pot of tea or donate a plant-of-the-month and receive a pot of tea.

The kitchen cultivates a crowd-pleasing potpourri - a brunch of brioche stuffed with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and sliced onions, a brioche-based makeover for a lox bagel (RM23; add RM5 for avocado) to lunch and dinner of pad thai with plump prawns (RM21). But our favourite order is the house-baked pineapple tart (RM5), with buttery-moist pastry blanketing beautifully rich-tasting, textured jam.

Aperture TTDI
12A, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur. Open Thursday-Tuesday, 10am-10pm. Tel: 03-7733-1556

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Ammas Homemade: Indian Family Cooking for Delivery

Home cook Harwin Kaur has been passionate about the kitchen since she was seven, learning her first recipes from her maternal grandmother, who hailed from India's eastern port city of Visakhapatnam. Two years ago, Harwin began selling cornflakes-based spiced chivda snacks; now, she's taking the next step by offering deliveries of meals made in her own home in Semenyih, all lovingly based on how her grandmother prepared them.

We had the opportunity to sample some of Harwin's specialities this month. If you love the peerlessly aromatic richness of classic Indian fare, you'll enjoy her Chicken Kadai Masala, comprising chunks of chicken in a creamy gravy of home-ground spices, onions, capsicum and cashew nut paste - as earthy and nutty as it sounds, with a gentle but generous sense of spice, encapsulating the essence of time-honoured cooking traditions (RM20).

Patience is part of Harwin's process: Her Mysore Mutton is slow-cooked for three hours, turning out terrifically tender and full-bodied in flavour, tinged with tomatoes and onions, topped with cashews, perfect for patrons who relish robust recipes (RM45).

When you try Harwin's food, you'll taste her family's heritage: Bina’s Butter Prawns is beloved by her Aunt Bina, a staple for their household gatherings. Six sizeable prawns, tossed in butter with ginger, garlic, curry leaves and bird's eye chillies, their fragrant punchiness complementing the fresh crustaceans beautifully (RM45 for 500 grams).

Of course, vegetarians are well taken care of: Amma's Brinjal Pachadi is, as its name suggests, Harwin's grandmother's pride - oven-roasted brinjal in a thickly textured mash, sauteed with ginger, garlic, and onions, delectable enough to eat on its own but delicious in its regular role as a side dish (RM10). Also elevating this meal is Sambar, another familiar South Indian favourite, the lightly tangy stew of lentils and veggies that'll instantly perk up the palate (RM10).

Many thanks to Ammas Homemade for feeding us. To order, please contact 012-546-6009

Ammas Homemade:

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Big Tree Bakery, TTDI: New Menu

From brownies to brunch: TTDI's Big Tree Bakery Cafe has carved a reputation for reliable baked treats since early 2019, but its kitchen is now ready to whip up warm cooking with a few twists for a complete meal. Start with creamy pasta, finish with cream puffs at this cheerful and cosy neighbourhood cafe.

If eggs help you kick off your day on a bright note, bookmark the BT Benedict with Smoked Salmon (RM28), a distinctive recipe compared to the conventional Eggs Benedict. The poached egg is sandwiched in a buttery croissant that's lightly torched to order, till it's extra crisp to the bite - a terrific textural contrast to the luscious egg, which drips into delicious smoked salmon and capers, with house-made chipotle mayo for a spike of spice. On the side, the chef’s choice salad makes for a balanced brunch; ours featured a buoyant medley of fresh rocket leaves, coral lettuce, romaine, pickled onions, croutons and cherry tomatoes in a zesty pomegranate dressing.

Pasta pleasure: Big Tree puts plenty of zing into its takes on Italian classics - the Spaghetti Aglio Olio with Smoked Salmon is tossed with capers for extra tang versus typical versions, rounding out an aromatic ensemble of garlic, chilli flakes, cherry tomatoes, shimeji mushrooms and parmesan (RM24), while the BT Mac & Cheese with Maple Beef Bacon is the ultimate gooey indulgence, loaded with melted mozzarella and cheddar with milk, cream and crisp panko breadcrumbs to complement the sweet-savoury beef bacon (RM22). By the time you read this, Big Tree Bakery will also offer Truffle Mac & Cheese, for patrons who want more earthy umami in their tummy.

There's plenty more to satiate the appetite, from the BT Big Breakfast with maple beef bacon to the BT Grilled Cheese sandwich, but if you're looking for something lighter and simpler but still nourishing, try the Pumpkin Soup, naturally sweet, served piping-hot, with a touch of cream and slices of garlic oregano toast on the side (RM12).

Time for dessert: Big Tree Bakery is known for temptations galore, including Belgian Waffles with a bit of a caramelised crunch, bolstered with blueberries, strawberries and the can't-fail combo of vanilla ice cream with maple syrup (RM15).

Big Tree Bakery's regulars are well-acquainted with an array of cakes and pastries. The ever-popular Basque Burnt Cheesecake is an irresistible highlight, indelibly soft and creamy - we nearly licked it off the plate (RM16). The Dark Chocolate Banana Loaf is for folks who prefer a firmer dessert, crusty on the outside with delectable dark chocolate fudge and house-made chocolate crumbs (RM9).

Big Tree Bakery's cupcakes are also great for nibbling on your own or gifting (RM14 for two or RM38 for six), with a total of 10 rotating flavours. We can't decide which we love best - the Nutella Red Velvet and the Ferrero Rocher are probably tops, but the Salted Caramel and the Chocolate Cheesecake (with salted caramel filling) come very close. Creative Malaysian-inspired cupcake flavours are well-represented too, from the Teh Tarik (vanilla with teh tarik custard) to the Pandan Gula Melaka (pandan base with gula Melaka custard, topped with desiccated coconut and gula Melaka bits).

For weekend escapades, be sure to check out the Cream Puffs, with a filling of fluffy diplomat cream folded in with salted caramel, concealed within choux pastry (RM9). Two exclusive cream puff flavours are available on Friday and Saturday, including the likes of Milo and Lotus Biscoff.

For drinks, Big Tree Bakery is debuting its Potter-inspired Butter Beer, rich in butterscotch and caramel, like a soda with a frothy, milky top - certainly magical for kids of all ages (RM16). The cafe also serves a quenching selection of mocktails, like the berry-esque BT Sangria (RM24; with wild berries, Ringo sparkling juice and mint leaves) and the fruity-fresh BT Sunburst (RM24; pomegranate and berry syrup with sparkling juice and mint leaves). 

Of course, coffee is available too, with the Latte as the standard-bearer (RM12). Big Tree Bakery’s house blend is a dark roast of beans from Guatemala, Vietnam and Laos, for caffeine fans who prefer coffee that has a bitter kick but less of an acidic punch.

Cold-pressed juices from Jussu Juice are available for a wholesome beverage to balance out the dessert decadence (RM12 each). We went with a mix of apple, spinach, passion fruit and kale, as reviving as a springtime morning.

Chilling out here is a relaxing affair, especially for art lovers. Near the entrance is currently an exhibit by local artist Haron Mokhtar, an alumnus of the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, like Big Tree Bakery's founder. The cafe's name is a nod to the institution's renowned rain tree.

All in all, Big Tree Bakery is a cool choice for customers who appreciate some playful imagination in their cafe fare. These offerings are also available on delivery services like Foodpanda and Oddle. You can also order via Whatsapp - all the links are available on the bio of Big Tree Bakery Cafe’s Instagram page at @bigtreebakerykl.

Many thanks to Big Tree Bakery for having us here.

Big Tree Bakery

32, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 2, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-7pm. Tel: 019-977-8233

Online Orders on Oddle:





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