Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wine Kaki @ TTDI

TTDI's new wine bar is well worth exploring, its shelves pregnant with possibilities, promising more than three hundred labels that reach beyond the run-of-the-mill, taking in the measure of vineyards from Spain to South Africa. Bottles here are priced lower than what KL's restaurants might charge (with terrific choices clocking in between RM100-RM200), perfect to enjoy in a cosy, casual setting that's personalised with lovely photographic portraits taken by one of Wine Kaki's founders in his travels.

Earmark an entire evening to spend here, starting perhaps with the fruity effervescence of a rosé cava by Valencia's Vicente Gandia, then moving into the deeper, sturdier elegance of a Tuscan Sangiovese blend that holds its own with savoury food, before finishing with the light, late-night liveliness of an easy-quaffing Grenache Syrah Marselan from southwestern France's Libourne commune. Wine Kaki's founders collectively have more than three decades of experience in the wine trade, so customers are in seasoned hands. If you live in Taman Desa, note that Wine Kaki boasts an outpost with an even wider wine selection there, but the trade-off is that only the TTDI branch now has a full-fledged kitchen. Whiskies & beers are available at both venues.


Food here isn't an afterthought; the skewers & snacks are made for all-night-long grazing, unadorned but uniformly well-executed. Charcoal-cooked quail eggs (RM8) or oysters (RM15), both blanketed in bacon; Iberico pork loin, smoky & succulent (RM15); handmade pork balls spiked with Asian herbs (RM8); charred cured duck breast (RM25); chicken pops in house-made batter (RM16); deep-fried dumplings stuffed with Japanese yellowtail (RM18); grilled salmon fillet (RM24) - each plate had us hankering for more, crisp whenever necessary, juicy as a rule, delicious to a fault. Thanks to Wine Kaki for having us.

Wine Kaki TTDI
28, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 2, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Mon-Sat, 4pm-1am. Tel: 03-7731-4692

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Mamalee @ Damansara Uptown

Originally from Penang, the Khoo family brings its cooking to this casual new restaurant with a Nyonya influence - nasi lemak comes complete with fried chicken or ayam masak merah for a hearty lunch with satisfactory flavours (RM10 for a set with teh or kopi tarik), while assam laksa is endowed with a pleasantly mellow tang (RM5), complemented by chicken lobak that's both juicy & tasty (RM10), plus capably executed jiu hu char (RM10) & sambal sotong petai (RM5). Wrap up your meal with classic bubur cha cha (RM3.50). Familiar local comfort food for Damansara Uptown's workers, served with warmth that evokes home.

Mamalee
27M, First Floor, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 
Mon-Fri: 7am-1030am (light breakfast), 11am-5pm lunch and early dinner. 
Sat & Public Holidays: 11am-6pm lunch and early dinner. Tel: 016-279-7909

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Monday, May 29, 2017

The Bright Side Sandwich Bar @ Ampang Park LRT Station

Working in KL's congested centre might sometimes seem bleak, but it's finally time to look on the bright side: This new sandwich bar outside the Ampang Park LRT station hopes to spread a bit of cheer with bang-for-your-buck creations, warm to the touch, crisp to the bite, tender to the chew.

There's really a sandwich for everyone here, freshly assembled to order, with every square inch inside blanketed with well-proportioned fillings, served in a choice of sourdough or ciabatta. The possibilities are intriguing: Vietnamese chicken (RM11.90; poached chicken breast, chicken liver pate, coriander, chillies, pickled carrots & fish sauce dressing), pulled beef (RM14.90; barbecued brisket, caramelised onions, pickled green chillies & cheddar), tea-smoked butter fish (RM15.90, with dill, cucumber, red onions & tomatoes), roasted vegetables (RM10.90; eggplant, pumpkin, capsicum, hummus & garlic mayo) & more. After trying four sandwiches, it's safe to say the offerings here are nicely thought out & tastily executed. Note: The Bright Side is located right beside its sister outlet, the caffeine-devoted Optimist Coffee, for double the workday smiles.

The Bright Side Sandwich Bar
Outside Ampang Park LRT Station, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Mon-Fri, 7am-7pm.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Makhan by Kitchen Mafia @ Petaling Jaya

Kitchen Mafia strikes again: The team that runs Section 17's hugely popular restaurant Hello has unveiled its new venue, Makhan (a reference to the Hindi word for 'butter'), tackling northern Indian & British comfort food with a contemporary flair.

Tongue-to-tripe dining: For the ideal introduction to Makhan's repertoire, start with a bar snack of beef tongue chips that convey full-bodied offal flavours (RM22), then moo-ve on to more bovine bodaciousness with the beef parts vindaloo (RM28, comprising tenderly braised tongue, tendon & tripe) & steak pie (RM38, with slow-cooked brisket, carrots, leeks & shrooms).

Makhan's northern Indian offerings hit enjoyably mellow notes: The lentil-rich dhal makhani is deliciously creamy (RM14), while the classic butter chicken can be substituted with smoked duck for a more savoury punch (RM26). Pair with garlic-&-herb flatbread (RM8) or better still, the fluffy, fragrant & flavoursome pulao rice tossed with tasty chicken tikka (RM16), bolstered by tomato chilli chutney & coriander yoghurt (RM2 each).

The British section is more compact, but the classics are accounted for, from crisply battered fish & chips with mushy peas (RM36) to bangers & mash with smooth, succulent sausages that come in a choice of chicken, beef or robust lamb (RM38). 

Makhan by Kitchen Mafia
The Gasket Alley, Lot 15, Jalan 13/6, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Currently open 3pm-12am; closed Tuesdays. Tel: 03-7932-1929

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