Eat Drink KL: September 2023

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Beca Tea, Damansara Uptown

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It's always golden hour inside Damansara Uptown's gleaming new cavern of cha, where tea temptations transform into everything from nitro-charged tea to cha-kigori.

Beca Tea is founded by a Malaysian family that has traded in tea from their Chinatown store since the early 1930s. At Beca, tea is steeped in the family's five-generation expertise, with an experimental edge that beckons patrons to "sip the future."

Blending and brewing with a meticulous eye for details and a visionary sense of imagination, Beca's beverages span highlights like the Squash Supreme that layers tea with oven-roasted butternut squash, oat milk, balsamic vinegar and grass jelly.  For milk tea fans, try the lapsang souchong coconut pure milk tea.

Nitro Jasmine Tea (RM13.90) harnesses jasmine plucked under moonlight for a fine floral fragrance, free of added sugar, artificial syrups and colourings. Even the Teh Tarik (RM5.50) is exemplary, its pristine black tea flavour nurtured through compression technology.

Beca's maiden setting in Damansara Uptown is mainly geared for grab-and-go orders, but it's a striking space to explore, lined with lovely tea-dyed textiles. 

Fun fact: Beca's name refers to the trishaw that the family's late patriarch rode nearly a century ago, pedalling and peddling his tea through the streets of colonial-era KL.

Beca Tea
61, Jalan SS 21/1a, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Yoyogi Hikiniku, Damansara Uptown

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Damansara Uptown’s new Yogoyi Hikiniku brings a pork-free PJ perspective to the Tokyo-inspired hikiniku to kome (minced meat and rice) movement that’s creeping through the Klang Valley.

House-ground, binchotan charcoal-grilled Australian beef hambagu patties crown a comforting choice of Japanese koshihikari short-grain rice or ramen noodles handmade with flour from Kagawa prefecture, topped with a raw egg, fried egg or onsen tamago. 

Bowls come in teishoku sets with soup, vegetables and pickles, starting at RM23.80 for a single-patty serving. Rice and noodles are refillable, while the patties can be enhanced with yuzu kosho, mentaiko, black pepper or curry sauce. 

Fresh and hot, these 90-gram patties are the star of the show at this friendly space - thick, tender and textured with lightly seasoned flavours. Complete your beefy meal with a steak skewer, succulent and savoury.

Yoyogi Hikiniku
34, Jalan SS 21/58, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Liserra Coffee, Taman Tun Dr Ismail

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TTDI's latest cafe is a calm, comfy refuge for cool coffee mocktails crafted by a cheerful crew. The Monaco is melodiously laced with fruity-floral notes of mango, white peach, rosemary and osmanthus.

Food and a wider selection of beverages will be available next week, including sourdough specialities.

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Liserra Coffee
14A, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Kikyo at The Troika brings a premium Japanese warayaki experience to KL, serving straw-fired Miyabi beef & more


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Japan's ancient culinary art of warayaki comes blazingly alive at Kikyo in The Troika, KL's remarkable first restaurant powered by classic straw roasted cooking, rooted in tradition and reinterpreted with sophistication.

Dinner is a theatrical spectacle of ferocious flames and flair. An award-wining Japanese chef commands the stage in the open kitchen, dramatically searing and smoking top-tier A5 Miyabi wagyu beef to supreme succulence in a memorable multi-course meal.

All the action immerses guests under a giant, gleaming lantern-like structure that serves as Kikyo's focal point and functional ventilation, transforming this into one of the most striking venues in the city centre.

If you're seeking a novel experience, Kikyo will ignite your imagination, infusing robust flavours and intensifying rich textures through cooking with high heat that soars past 900 degrees Celsius over rice straw fires. 







Step into Kikyo and be spirited into a sleek, golden-hued sanctuary, instantly impressive with elegant embellishments, scarcely a short stroll from Suria KLCC.


Every move by Kikyo's chefs can be closely observed by customers, giving an intimate glimpse into a rarely seen Japanese gastronomic genre that hails from Kochi Prefecture.

The warayaki technique centres on fast, fierce fires that leave meat beautifully browned on the outside, marvellously moist and tender inside. Smoke seeps subtly into the produce, resulting in a distinct taste and aroma.

Fun fact: Kikyo imports its rice straw from Japan to ensure clean, clear burning. Patrons can sniff the straw and even bring a few stalks home.

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Chef Yamasaki Kenichiro is Kikyo's main maestro. Beef is steeped in his blood, as he first apprenticed under his uncle to manage a wagyu farm in Miyazaki Prefecture, where he gained a profound appreciation for the production of wagyu beef. 

At the age of 19, chef Yamazaki travelled to Paris where he worked at the legendary Michelin-starred Taillevent, initiating him into the world of fine dining. He has since spearheaded kitchens in Osaka, Singapore and Bangkok, earning the title of Wagyu Master Chef awarded by the Brazilian government for his role in promoting wagyu beef in São Paulo.

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Kikyo's brigade also includes Chef Hidenori Taguri, who harnesses more than 25 years of experience across the globe in the fields of yakiniku, yakitori and more, and Chef Yoshinori Matsubara, who sharpened his skills in Kyoto and relishes recipes that reflect the seasons.

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While warayaki originated in Kochi as a way to prepare fish, Kikyo focuses on meat - specifically A5 Miyabi beef from grass-fed cows that graze on pristine Japanese mountainsides. Barely a handful of establishments in Malaysia serve this much-coveted beef, boasting a more nuanced marbling and even deeper flavour than other wagyu beef.

Patrons have exquisite omakase-style menus to select from, such as Kou (RM798), an 11-course extravaganza that kicks off with an amuse bouche of European-inflected tomato soup with Japanese-influenced ingredients.

The chilled soup, akin to gazpacho, is warmed within with prawns, Japanese tomatoes and seaweed, cloaked in kombu foam, for a mouthwatering medley of tanginess and brininess.

The Chef’s Special Arrangement spotlights seasonal ingredients - as autumn descends in Japan, it's time for tamagoyaki, served in the shell with layers of egg, uni and lobster sauce, blanketed with wasabi cream and caviar. Scoop up from the bottom to savour everything in blissful bites - fluffy egg, soft sea urchin, sumptuous sauce, punctuated with luxurious roe.

A Cold Dish reveals a duet of Japanese oyster and ikura, garlanded with a sauce of shungiku chrysanthemum greens. The plump, silky-smooth oyster is a surprise, channelling the faint floral scent of cherry blossoms, complemented by the gently grassy bitterness of the sauce, with ikura for popping bursts of oceanic indulgence.

The Warayaki Sashimi showcases tuna in two forms - lean akami and fatty ootoro - thickly sliced for the ultimate tenderness.

This is not the typical tuna - Kikyo has cherry wood-smoked the fish, enveloping it with a sensuous sultriness, turning raw seafood even more irresistible with extraordinary umami.

The Wanmono is the opening salvo for our exploration of A5 Miyabi beef - this striploin cut takes inspiration from shabu-shabu slicing, served chilled to illustrate its purity of flavour, rolled with a nicely nutty sesame sauce, charcoal olive oil, leek, pistachios and seaweed. A captivating contemporary concoction that broadens the horizons of classic Japanese cuisine. 

Each course flows thoughtfully into the next - the Shiizakana is a standout, slenderly slicing two-month dry-aged Miyabi wagyu rump, seizing our attention with its decadent depth of juiciness. It's served like a slider, dressed in sabayon egg yolk sauce in a fresh-baked brioche.

Mango sorbet surfaces as a rejuvenating palate cleanser, resetting our taste buds with a nectarously ripe, cooling liveliness.

The heartiest, most soulful courses emerge next. 

The Warayaki Grill is a masterwork of Miyabi tenderloin, dry-aged for up to three days, served like a steak with mushroom sauce and celery puree. The beef conveys concentrated complexities of flavour, bolstered by the earthiness of mushrooms, buoyed by the herbaceousness of celery for a brilliantly balanced ensemble. The pinnacle of beef, embodying the essence of excellent meat, treated with care and respect, precision and prowess.

The Donabe Rice is a rice bowl to remember - Japanese rice with Kenkori egg marinated with house-blended shoyu, finished with full-bodied A5 Miyabi wagyu rump slices. Crack the egg, mix it with the rice, enjoy with the glorious beef, comforting with a confident char.

Dessert is delectable - Kikyo's modern rendition of Japanese sweet potato cake, creamy with a naturally soothing sweetness, laced lightly with caramel sauce.

Petit fours close out this compelling feast with premium, pleasurable matcha ganache, complete with a cookie and meringue for merry munching.

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Private room facilities are also available at Kikyo, magnificent for milestone celebrations.

Lot G-3, The Troika, Persiaran KLCC, 50490 Kuala Lumpur. 
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 6pm-10:30pm. Tel: 012-799-7751