Friday, July 31, 2015

Manmaru Robatayaki & Bar @ Atria Shopping Gallery

Our best bet for Japanese gastronomy at Damansara Jaya's revamped Atria Shopping Gallery is Manmaru, thanks to the inventive flair & inspiring artistry of Executive Chef Danny Leow, a passionate craftsman who's sharpened his skills at some of Kuala Lumpur's most respected Japanese establishments of the past 15 years, including Ozeki Tokyo, Yuzu & Sagano.

Manmaru gives its chef free rein to unleash his imagination through an extensive a la carte menu, omakase sets & frequent specials such as this platter that evokes a kaleidoscopic garden flowing with fresh produce from both underwater & on land. It's a visual stunner, beautiful enough to exhibit in a food show, but also a pleasure for the palate, with a centrepiece of sea urchin over silken soft fresh 'yuba' bean curd sheets, surrounded by eel & octopus tentacles mingling with edible flowers & edamame.

Sashimi is immaculately presented too, with Chef Danny sometimes attempting to surprise customers; the raw seafood often comes in bowls, but on other occasions, it may be spread out on a wooden boat that takes up much of the table length-wise. A serving of seven varieties clocks in at RM210 - fleshy cuts, sumptuous to the bite, with fresh shipments Tuesdays & Fridays.

For a unique treat, we love the Wagyu Roll (RM68), a hefty chunk of sushi rice that's not only draped with a luscious coat of chilled Wagyu beef on the outside but also stuffed with warmly tender cooked morsels of beef within. A triumph in every way - of taste, texture & even temperature - that warrants hall-of-fame accolades at Manmaru.

One of the aspects we admire about Manmaru's food is how the dynamics of its recipes are punchy but simultaneously & skilfully nuanced - traits well-represented by this salmon & ikura mille-feuille, made crisp with a boost of sakura ebi (RM45).

With 'robatayaki' as part of this restaurant's full name, it's worth also sampling the grilled skewers here - a protein-powered 'moriawase' selection (RM68) might feature everything from chicken wings, skin & gizzard to salmon, scallops & smoked duck.

Served with a flourish as well: Parchment-baked snapper layered with seaweed, cheese, beef bacon & herbs, fusing elements from the Land of the Rising Sun with border-skipping influences. Takes about 20 minutes to prepare - worth the wait (RM58).

Wrap up with savoury carb comfort: Go luxe with stir-fried udon deliciously laced with a little foie gras & a lot of seafood (RM38) or creamy-crispy seafood croquette (RM22) - or end with basic fried rice, expertly executed. And there's still more on the menu to try - unagi karaage (RM40), prawn balls with spicy mango puree (RM28) & stingray with Japanese curry (RM32).

The top temptation for dessert is the coconut ice cream (RM18) - compelling in form, this is the Klang Valley's most ravishing-looking coconut ice cream. It's a delight, with its delicate flavour bolstered by the topping of delectably chewy dried pumpkin.

Manmaru's bar is absolutely worth hitting too, with creative contemporary concoctions like the signature Smoked & Plum Galaxy (RM39; combining the fruity powers of plum & peach) & the Hokkaido Spice Bee (RM32; a witty beverage fuelled by honey whiskey). Many thanks to the Manmaru team for being fine hosts for this fab lunch.

Manmaru Robatayaki & Bar
G-26, Atria Shopping Gallery, Damansara Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 03-7733-1038

The Eat Drink KL mobile app is now available, connecting restaurants & customers to promote a positive spirit of community.
Every restaurant on this app rewards users with a 6 percent discount, instantly & conveniently, everyday, all day long. 
In return, users share photos of their experiences at these eateries, creating a new community of restaurant lovers.
For every transaction, at least RM0.20 will be channelled to a charity of the month.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings, F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, with 100 recommended restaurants for May-August 2015. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.cld.bz/2015 

Buckle your seatbelts: Eat Drink KL is partnering with Uber to take restaurant lovers on new adventures across KL & Selangor!
If you haven't used Uber yet, it's time to begin! For new users, just follow the steps below to redeem free rides:
1. Download the Uber app from the App Store, Play Store or Windows Store - and register your Uber account.
2. Apply the code EATDRINKKL as your first promotional code & you'll receive 2 Free Rides worth RM30 each.
3. Request a ride through the app and ride for free to any destination (with two ride values of up to RM30 each).

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Asian-Inspired Menu @ DC Restaurant, Taman Tun Dr Ismail


When Chef Darren Chin travelled to Thailand recently & closed his outlet for a week, he found inspiration for a menu that weaves together Restaurant DC's most valuable virtues. Course by course, these offerings - available until August 2 - furnish revelatory insights into how a consummate chef elevates a meal by combining capable confidence with creative charisma.

The menu makes perceptive use of ingredients in unexpected forms, seamlessly incorporating produce from our region with techniques from Europe & beyond. Beef tendon is turned into a puffy chicharrone strip - with the light crispness of pork rinds - becoming a base for a gooey cream of sour-dough rye from TTDI's nearby German bakery, spiced with Hungarian paprika. It's an amuse with a delicate allure, coupled with a punchy mouthful of ocean trout on toasted rice, a tribute to the Isan larb salad.

DC masters the artistry of creating recipes that are both accessible & challenging - this is food that's instinctively enjoyable but nonetheless contains rewarding subtleties. The Irish oyster is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser, its plump, poached perfection crowned with leek foam & cucumber-belimbing salad - a pairing that speaks of both the salty sea & the verdant land. Also whetting the appetite for more: Sabah soft-shell crab coated in charcoal tempura, partnered with sweet basil hollandaise, & 18-hour spiced lamb loin, a standard-bearer for the precise cooking of top-drawer meat, with carrot-cumin veloute & charred confit baby carrot.

The most satisfying dishes provoke both love & lust - reactions that bubbled while we had the kampung egg, its poached yolk cushioned with cauliflower cream, their earthiness emphasised by truffles, white asparagus, pumpkin seed oil & milk tuile with nigella seeds. Might all sound very complicated (much like love), but it's undeniable in its sheer forcefulness (potently like lust).

At this point, difficult decisions must be made, as customers are coaxed into choosing a main entree. While the rouelle of spinach-wrapped spiny lobster & scallop with jellied lobster consomme is in some ways more intriguing & unique (think of it as a textured, fleshy seafood dim sum reinterpreted by a Francophile), we preferred the carnivore-baiting masterwork of the AOP Anjou French pigeon, itself a rarity in KL, slow-roasted to irreproachable succulence, its red-blooded flavour bolstered by the truest of companions - crusted sweetbread, shaved black truffles, celeriac puree & tender mushrooms with Perigueux sauce.

It's seafood versus meat again for the main, & while it boils down to personal penchants, the ocean triumphs for us this time. Hokkaido scallops with Pulau Ketam razor clams, enveloped in seafood emulsion & invigorated with mizuna leaves, confit garlic & watercress almond puree, are commanding enough that we'll recall them for much longer than the 14-spiced Black Angus fillet with garlic cream, baked bok choy, walnut pesto & jus - more than competent but maybe not the most compelling.

Dessert jolts us into the awareness that throughout this menu, DC peppers sly touches of Southeast Asia in the food, often without us recognising them. But the local flourish is unmistakable for the flowery-fruity lychee parfait (a nod to Chiang Mai) stuffed with caramel cashew & tamarind, teamed with rose sorbet - a fitting finish to a meal that's like an eye-opening journey. And through it all, it's a menu that reflects the personality & character of its chef, in a meaningful & passionate manner.

More than ever, DC's wine has become the ideal complement for its food, with personally curated vintages that are justifiably the pride of this restaurant. The seven-course tasting menu above is RM368+ for food alone, but for a complete experience, add the necessary for wine pairing. Beautifully nuanced wines, thoughtfully & elegantly matched from the outset to conclusion.

All the appreciated accoutrements of dinner at DC remain intact, from a free flow of fresh, crusty bread by KL-based French master bakers with Pamplie unpasteurised truffle butter to French & Italian cheeses from the trolley for patrons who prefer to forego dessert. And while this Asian-inspired selection wraps up its official stint this weekend, we suspect its style & substance will continue to echo in this restaurant's menu for months to come - it'll be fun to watch. Many thanks to DC for having us here.

DC Restaurant by Darren Chin
44 Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. 
Open Wed-Sun, 7pm-1130pm. Reservations essential: 03-7731-0502

The Eat Drink KL mobile app is now available, connecting restaurants & customers to promote a positive spirit of community.
Every restaurant on this app rewards users with a 6 percent discount, instantly & conveniently, everyday, all day long. 
In return, users share photos of their experiences at these eateries, creating a new community of restaurant lovers.
For every transaction, at least RM0.20 will be channelled to a charity of the month.

Stay up to date: The Eat Drink KL newsletter is sent by email to subscribers every Monday; it's the Klang Valley's foremost weekly round-up of new restaurant openings, F&B promotions & other tasty tidbits.
Subscribe to Eat Drink KL Weekly for free via this following link: 
Note to subscribers on Gmail: The newsletter will be in the Promotions folder of your inbox.

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, with 100 recommended restaurants for May-August 2015. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.cld.bz/2015 

Buckle your seatbelts: Eat Drink KL is partnering with Uber to take restaurant lovers on new adventures across KL & Selangor!
If you haven't used Uber yet, it's time to begin! For new users, just follow the steps below to redeem free rides:
1. Download the Uber app from the App Store, Play Store or Windows Store - and register your Uber account.
2. Apply the code EATDRINKKL as your first promotional code & you'll receive 2 Free Rides worth RM30 each.
3. Request a ride through the app and ride for free to any destination (with two ride values of up to RM30 each).