Tuesday, July 29, 2014

the kitchen table restaurant : brunch edition

it was slightly over half a year ago when i met marcus and mei wan, the brilliant food minds behind the kitchen table supper club & bakery who hosted a memorable supper club dinner at a discreet location in mont kiara.

six months later on one sunday morning, i was sitting in a quaint restaurant, enjoying a similar affability and ambiance that i remembered. for proud co-owners of the kitchen table restaurant & bakery, marcus and mei wan, it was their passion and dream of opening a restaurant coming into fruition. 

both the chef and baker were completely in their element as former was expediting at the open kitchen while the staff was putting together the sunday brunch menu dishes and the latter was brewing lattes and cappuccinos at the front counter where her vibrant baked goods flaunted themselves in the glass display.

the quaint restaurant was styled in modern minimalist accented by industrial chic details of the white-washed brick walls echoed by the arrangement of white tiles at the counters. several vintage industrial lamps and spotlights fills the dining space which was contrasted and complimented by the warmth of the wooden floors, tables and chairs . it was a classic theme - clean and simple but at the same time cozy as the sunday morning sunlight streamed in through the windows. a comfortable and a relaxing space. 

the dainty sunday brunch menu proffered three options - which were all classic brunch selections but marked with 'the kitchen table' twists and of course, a selection of pukka tea flavors and espresso based cuppas. 

i can't complain about our sunday brunch spread as {mh} and i decided to share a dish of sweet and savory each with our choice of breakfast liquid fuel. 

teas - pukka teas ::  lemon, ginger & manuka honey (rm 9)

served in a clear teapot, we gave it a few minutes as the tea steeped. {mh} took her first sips and thought it was very light in flavor (maybe too light) with an after taste to the tongue that dissipates after several seconds. out of curiosity, i tried a sip of it which funnily gave me an impression of fennel notes in the steep.

coffee :: latte (rm 9)

adorned with coffee art, the latte smelled promising as the comforting familiar whiffs of the coffee emanates its way to a pleasant start to my brunch. as much as the aroma was lovely, the latte was alright with sharp bitter endnotes - not quite the best but not bad.

sunday brunch :: chamomile french toast crunch, cornflakes, macerated strawberries, gula melaka syrup (rm 19)

the sweet. 

two pieces of thick cut toast (brioche, perhaps?) soaked in the egg-milk mixture infused with chamomile (it maybe that i tasted the addition of buttermilk too), caramelized in butter in a pan. the chamomile introduced itself at the first bite but quickly disappeared in the crowd of the other ingredients. but a few bites in and i think it needed more time in the pan to cook the center and to give it the crispy edges i desired. 

it was a mark of ingenuity with the sprinkle of cornflakes for crunch although i wouldn't mind another small handful for extra texture. more than that, my favorite part was the bruleed sugar on the top side of the toast for additional crunch and pleasant caramelized sweetness of the sugar that contrasted the lightly tangy cream that was akin to mascarpone. i loved the twist with the use of gula melaka syrup to complete the french toast which exemplified the kitchen table restaurant's infusion of local ingredients in their menu. it was crunchy vs soft and tangy vs sweet done almost right. almost since i would have loved additional syrup to elevate the sweetness. 

sunday brunch :: soft egg, streaky bacon, tomato jam, watercress & sourdough (rm 19)

the savory. 

the base: sourdough slathered with excellent tomato jam, both made from scratch. 
the bacon, perfectly cooked soft eggs and watercress salad were cushioned graciously.

once again, the tomato jam stole the show (although i have to say the smoky, salty and crispy thick cut bacon came in as a very, very close second) with its sweetness weaving through the tartness of the tomatoes. partnering with the balanced flavor profile was the fresh crispness of watercress tossed in a light lemon vinaigrette. to top it off, the golden richness of the yolk coated each bite-fuls of sweet, salty, smoky and citrus-y herbaceous flavors to bring it to a full circle. a delicious ode to the classic breakfast favorite. 

now only if marcus would sell the tomato jam in jars. :) perhaps it's a secret project in progress *fingers crossed* 

the kitchen table restaurant & bakery's food philosophy was evidently reiterated in their creations, rooted in their respect and love for each ingredient in their new american approach infused with local ingredients. short conversations with marcus and mei wan hinted that the brunch/lunch/dinner spread may be expanded over time but kept to a single page menu with the possibility of seasonal menus. in fact, my second session at the restaurant is in the planning, and this time for lunch/dinner. i can't wait. 

the kitchen table restaurant & bakery | location
22, jalan ss20/11
damansara kim
47400 petaling jaya

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.

Monday, July 28, 2014


have you ever faced this rather odd conundrum?

you're at a place where there is abundance of restaurants/food places and yet it seems like there is nothing to eat.

similarly reminds you of the typical dilemma of owning a full wardrobe but nothing to wear, huh?

actually, that was what led us to the discovery of a surprisingly pleasant find that involved japanese cuisine and noodles :: ori-udon. highlighting the flavored sanuki {さぬき} udon, ori-udon collaborated with the renowned udon expert, fujimoto-san of sanuki udon in taman desa (wishlisttttt!) in paying tribute to the noodles that is characterized by its square shape and flat edges. 

located on the lower ground floor in the mid valley gardens mall, the noodle shack sits right next to cold storage.  its decor has taken a liking to the modern wood theme as it mimics the interior of noodle shacks in japan. coupled with the open dining area with an open kitchen, it creates a more casual and relaxed ambiance.

there wasn't any waiting for seats since it was without a crowd attributed by the fact that it was still early for dinner. the menu was predominantly udon and with sides of tempura/karaage as well as kushiage {串揚げ} or deep fried skewers for your choosing. 

fresh handmade udon - soup :: niku beef udon (rm 9.9o)

swimming in clear warm broth, the udon were crowned with thin slices of beef which were slightly under-seasoned but overdone, which was a tad disappointing. the yolk from the soft cooked eggs dispersed its richness throughout the soup as i pierced the chopsticks into the yolk. the soup had a simple, clean flavor profile that allowed the noodles to shine but i thought i detected a slight hint of ginger in the soup to which {sysm} disagreed.

the freshly handmade udon makes a difference with its springy, chewy texture that was pleasant. it was cooked el dente that granted lovely, satisfying slurp-fuls. i thought the soup needed more of a punch of flavor but {sysm} enjoyed it just the way it was. 

ori udon set menu :: set 4 - mentaiko + karaage + green tea (rm 13.9o)

to be honest, i was drawn to the word 'mentaiko' on the menu and it was a done deal. mentaiko is marinated roe of pollock and cod. i may or may not have second thoughts with my order when the wait-staff asked me hot or cold and informed me it was a dry version. 

after a few seconds of uncertainty, my answers were yes and hot. served with a dollop of the coral colored yumminess, seaweed strips, a spoonful of mayonnaise and finally completed with a soft cooked egg.

stirring all the ingredients together, the el dente noodles were coated with a thickened, rich sauce of mentaiko and mayonnaise, decorated with speckles of dark green from the seaweed. the mentaiko 'sauce' had a rich, salty, savory, subtly spicy, briny seafood flavor that created a celebration on my palate. it may not be for everyone though especially if they are not one for prominent flavors of the sea. personally, i have not eaten this version of yummy mentaiko udon before which i think is rather special.

a side of fried chicken which was marinated in ginger, garlic and soy aka karaage { から揚げ} was served with teriyaki sauce sassed by hot japanese mustard. while the dark meat chicken remained juicy and moist, the coating could have been crispier and less greasy. the sauce is a saving grace that compensated for the chicken's shortcomings especially the hot japanese mustard that gives a kick similar to its traditional counterpart of wasabi coupled with the savory, tangyness but with a tinge of sweetness. 

side dishes :: kakiage (rm 3)

a basket of shredded vegetables, prepared tempura style. {sysm} felt that it was a dish not to be missed since she quickly realized that as crowd begins to fill the tables at the restaurant as dinner time approaches, it was a feature on almost every table. 

a combination of thinly shredded vegetables - which i guessed are carrots, onions and burdock root meant a natural sweetness, with the satisfaction of biting into the slightly crispy tempura shell that encased the soft inside. addictive, especially when dipped in the teriyaki-hot japanese mustard sauce. however, the greasiness quickly became evident which may have attributed to the tempura shell being less crunchy. the flavors are nice but execution had some room for improvement. 

for fans of green tea, rejoice because the tea (hot or cold) is refillable. 

ori udon has called mid valley gardens home since the end of 2o13 so it is a mystery that i haven't notice this quaint noodle shack until last week. the phrase "better late than never" aptly describes the discovery of ori udon because i foresee a follow up visit when the cravings strikes, especially for its mentaiko udon.

ori udon | location
lg-k01, lower ground floor,
mid valley gardens,
lingkaran syed putra,
59200 kuala lumpur

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.