Eat Drink KL: July 2021

Saturday, July 31, 2021

iCrust, OUG

OUG's bright new bakery-cafe rises and shines with sourdough loaves, croissants and kouign-amann, crafted in miniature portions that'll be convenient for smaller households, with bread in fun flavours like rum with dried longan, extra virgin olive oil with olives, and truffle oil with almonds.

The loaves can be consumed by two persons in a single sitting - prices feel relatively wallet-friendly. The rum with longan is sweet (RM9). olive oil with olives is laced with savoury-briny bits (RM7); truffle oil with almonds is subtly earthy-nutty (RM8).

The flavours are mild-mannered and understated, so for more satisfying results, pair the bread with iCrust's house-made, preservative-free kaya, thoroughly traditional-tasting, creamy and textured.

Pastries like croissants and kouign-amann also come in small sizes but prove substantially dense (RM3.80 for both together).

iCrust Cafe & Bakery

30, Jalan Lazat 2, Taman Bukit Indah, 58200 Kuala Lumpur. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-8pm. Tel: 016-734-1516

Friday, July 30, 2021

Fizzsoles: Creamy Chicken Resoles

Fizzsoles' risoles take inspiration from the Indonesian street snack - its signature Creamy Chicken Resoles feature crunchy-fried, crepe-like skins, gloriously golden-brown with a light, thin breading, stuffed with chicken, cubed carrots and potatoes, terrific for a treat at any time of the day. RM15 for six savoury pieces, delivered with cili padi and sweet chilli sauce.

Fizzsoles by The Flour Whisperer
WhatsApp 017-395-1120

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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Popo Thunder Tea, Petaling Jaya

Three months old now, Popo Thunder Tea tackles the wholesome Hakka classic of lei cha, beloved long before contemporary rice bowls came into fashion. 

Served out of a PJ kopitiam, the lei cha is alluringly aromatic, rich with tea leaves and herbs blended into a thick, comforting soup that brims with fresh-tasting goodness. Pour it over chewy-nutty brown rice, rounded out with a multi-textured medley of various veggies, tofu, onions and peanuts - plus fried dried prawns that furnish a tasty touch of brininess to garnish the green earthiness of the lei cha (RM11).

Popo Thunder Tea
29, Jalan 2/32, Seksyen 2 Petaling Jaya, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Open Monday-Saturday, 9am-2pm. WhatsApp: 012-840-3048

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Bubur Nasi Kakya

If you relish spicy rice porridge, Bubur Nasi Kakya's signature special, the Set Bubur Combo (RM10), should titillate your taste buds, with sambal tumis that dominates the bowl, mingling with kicap manis, sesame oil and white pepper for plenty of punch. You get textures galore in each generously loaded spoonful, with the gooey-soft bubur flooded with (deep breath!) minced chicken, groundnuts, anchovies, salted egg, kangkung belacan, salted radish, fried shallots and begedil.

For basic bubur that channels old-school rustic simplicity, the Set Bubur Kampung (RM7) gets extra umami mainly from dried fried fish and anchovies for briny crispness, rounded out by salted egg, salted radish, kangkung belacan and kacang tanah.

Bubur Nasi Kakya
Delivers Monday-Friday from Sri Putramas 1, Jalan, off Jalan Kuching, 51200 Kuala Lumpur.
WhatsApp 012-685-8584 

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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Laksa Lok: Sarawak Laksa Deliveries

If you like a rich, complex broth for your Sarawak Laksa, you might love Laksa Lok, which reputedly relies on a family recipe handed down through generations of homemakers. It's a beautifully balanced bowl, with the broth's creaminess buoyed by clean-tasting prawns, chicken, omelette, beansprouts and bee hoon, spiced with thick sambal and zesty with lime, all adhering to Kuching-strong authenticity (RM15).

Laksa Lok
Tel: 019-905-3200

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Soleil & Grand Imperial: Modern European Meets Modern Chinese Degustation Menu

What happens when a Belgian chef who thrives on contemporary European cuisine collaborates with a Malaysian peer who has made his mark in fine Chinese restaurants?

KL is no stranger to East-meets-West endeavours, but Soleil offered a rare experience with this recent event that showcased two chefs at the top of their craft. 

For two exclusive evenings in April 2021, Soleil's head chef Evert Onderbeke shared his kitchen in Damansara City Mall with chef Chew Yow Chuen, who has steered the Grand Imperial Group's menus since 2008.

The result: An eight-course degustation dinner that brought out the best in both men, their teams and their produce, leaping from abalone to Alaskan king crab, with perfect wine pairings for pure culinary magic.

Note: Soleil currently remains open for deliveries and takeouts, offering everything from steak dinners to house-made ice cream to exceptional wines.

Chef Chew shot the opening salvo with an elegant assemblage of amuse-bouche. 

Live abalone, plump and firm to the bite, was flanked by salmon roe topped with quail's egg on a beautiful deep-fried beancurd skin 'spoon,' bursting with creamy umami to awaken the palate.

This first course was enhanced by the Escarpment ‘The Edge’ Pinot Gris (Martinborough, 2018), hand-picked by Soleil's chief sommelier to match the abalone's freshness with a light, delicate sweetness. 

Chef Evert followed with his perspective on seafood: A bowl of organic egg custard, concealing Alaskan king crab beneath its chawanmushi lusciousness, beside a spoonful of New Zealand Cloudy Bay clams crowned with salmon roe and agar-like gelee de Sauternes. 

Chef Evert's crab and clam make for a palate-provoking juxtaposition, coming immediately after chef Chew's abalone and roe, conveying two contrasting takes on marine marvels. Chef Evert infused intriguing Japanese touches into his modern European concoctions, while chef Chew presented a Chinese banquet's opulent flourishes.

With this second course, the Selbach Classic Riesling (Mosel, 2018) delivered dry hints of minerality, a bracing foil for the natural brininess of the clams and roe.

With the third course, the bites get bigger, the textures more full-fleshed and the flavours more full-bodied.

Barrelling in with poultry pleasure, chef Chew's whole baby duck drumstick brims with tea-smoked succulence, a playful presentation that will charm fans of fowl. 

For this, Soleil poured out a Clos Marsalette (Pessac-Leognan, 2010) from the Bordeaux area that's known for both red and dry white wines. This white may seem an unconventional choice for duck, but it works well for a wine that's still early in this meal, with hints of grapefruit and a tint of bitter cherries to balance the duck's richness. 

Slipping in next, the Sabahan slipper lobster is an ingredient that Chef Evert is fond of, potently channelling the sea. The crustacean is embraced by an earthy, herbaceous sauce, woven in a complex swirl of chervil, tarragon, parsley and barley, made extra-aromatic with vanilla that helps the lobster pop.

These lovely, intense flavours were married with the Pouilly-Fuissé Vielle Vignes (Chateau Fuisse, 2010), with sufficient body to hold up to the lobster, plus lemony notes with a tinge of vanilla to bridge the gap between dish and drink.

With starters and soups concluded, chef Chew swoops in with the first main course, a Grand Imperial signature of coral trout slow-poached in olive oil at low heat. 

Moist, flaky fish that turns out buoyant and bouncy, this would be strikingly memorable even on its own, but Soleil underscores the moment with the Frédéric Magnien Marsannay Coeur d'Argile 2017, with a light acidity and fleshy fruitiness that bolsters the fish's original flavours and textures. Soleil's Coravin wine preservation system ensures this bottle's life is extended long after this evening is over.

Chef Evert then seamlessly seizes the limelight with rack of lamb, this time slow-cooked over binchotan charcoal, yielding a sultry char surrounded by passionfruit gel, butternut squash and baby milk cabbage. It's a terrific illustration of how chef Evert has mastered the art of melding Asian elements with European techniques, with binchotan representing Japanese traditions and baby milk cabbage being the nai pak choi that personifies Chinese vegetarian cuisine.

The lamb emerges with the night's final wine, the Chateau Le Puy Barthelemy ‘Les Rocs,’ (Francs-Cotes de Bordeaux, 2007), a medium-bodied red from a silky and seductive vintage, with a vibrant acidity that stands firm to the flavours from the white charcoal for the lamb.

The food has been impressive throughout, flowing surprisingly but cohesively from one Chinese-inspired course to the next European-inflected one, while the wines have been equally outstanding in their curation, demonstrating why Soleil is one of KL's best bets for food-and-wine enthusiasts.

Desserts display the duality of this dinner's themes: From Chef Chew, a double-boiled chrysanthemum delight comes with a classic Chinese pancake studded with sesame seeds, while chef Evert sends us off with strawberry mille-feuille, layered with Gariugette strawberries, a springtime French varietal with an intoxicating strawberry scent, rounded out here with strawberry ice cream, of course.

Soleil's special degustation dinners have consistently captivated us, and this was another triumph - throughout challenging times, the restaurant has remained resiliently distinctive in everything it offers, including its steady, sterling series of collaborations. Many thanks to Soleil for having us back.


Lot 13A & 15, Second Floor, DC Mall, Damansara City, Jalan Damanlela, 50490 Kuala Lumpur.
Open Monday-Saturday, 1130am-1130pm; Sunday, 11am-1130pm. Tel: 03-2011-8261

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