Sunday, March 18, 2018

Drop KL @ The Terraces, TREC

Drop your dinner plans and drive on over to this new modern American restaurant, which records an ace on multiple fronts - a refreshingly distinctive menu, a skilfully energised team, and a sleek setting that includes a terrace with a sprawling view of KL's RGSC greens. This is the first overseas offshoot for Drop, a fixture of Hong Kong's nightlife since the millennium's turn; thankfully, the Malaysian locale is as much an eatery as a club and bar, making it ideal for lingering throughout the evening.

Drop's executive chef Tim Jay is originally from Chicago, but his three decades of professional cooking have taken him from his home country to the Middle East and Asia, imbuing plenty of cross-cultural inspirations into his menu here.

Start with the house-made flatbreads, elaborately rounded out with the tastiest toppings - Duck Duck Goose is our best bet, blanketed with smoked duck, goose foie gras, miso, prunes, ginger and goat's cheese, supplying sumptuous layers of flavour and texture (RM85). 

For a somewhat simpler but still satisfyingly nuanced ensemble, Dirty Clams is beautifully balanced with clams, caramelised onions and Provolone (RM22). 

Terrifically crafted, with thoughtful choices for every component, extending even to the cheese - other flatbread options come crowned with possibilities like rabbit and artichokes with tallegio cheese or wild forest mushrooms with scarmoza cheese.

Much of the menu is a nod to North American favourites, executed with confident flair, from the Real Deal Mac & Cheese (RM32; made irresistibly delectable with five cheeses, cream, butter and garlic bread crumbs - perhaps the nicest mac & cheese we've had in ages) and the Creole sweet potato pie (RM42; lusciously fluffy on top, concealing a savoury base of seafood in sauce Nantua) ...

... to south-of-the-border recipes like classic Mexican chicken or fish tacos (RM22 each) and the cheekily named Go Ask Alice, a wonderfully vibrant and vivid rabbit stew with chickpea 'sope,' pico de gallo, roasted red peppers and slaw (RM85).

Even the side dishes aren't an afterthought - cauliflower is enriched with thyme, butter and duck jus-lie (RM18), while Louisiana-loving turtle beans come mixed with yogurt cheese and coriander (RM18), working well as accompaniments or even on their own.

Drop currently serves only four desserts, but all are intriguingly worth checking out - poached apricots stuffed with mascarpone cheese, chocolate and pistachios (RM15), preserved blue fig with spiced caramel sauce and kitchen-made ricotta (RM22), a delicate goat's cheese flan (RM19) and Dad's Great Chocolate Cake (RM30; chocolate mousse with walnuts). In the case of the cake, it's a lovable family recipe - 'Dad' refers to the father of Drop's general manager, New York native Alison Christ.

Alison doubles as Drop's certified sommelier; she's curated a meaningful selection of wines here, built on natural, sustainable philosophies - you'll find a sturdy range at reasonable prices even by the glass, drawn from vineyards that span Argentina to Austria, California to New Zealand, Spain to South Africa, France to Italy.

Come for cocktails too - Drop's young Kiwi bartender Tim Clark is as passionate as his peers about his craft; potions like the Horchata Amor (RM36; Teeling Small-Batch Irish Whiskey, sherry, fresh orange juice, sugar syrup, almond juice) and Un-holy Matrimony (RM37; Cimarron Blanco Tequila, Strega Italian herbal liqueur, fresh grapefruit juice, hibiscus syrup, lime juice) are invigorating. Tim is also completely capable of whipping up special cocktails tailored to your preferences.

In the pipeline: Super Food Cocktails, showcasing ingredients like chia seeds, pomegranate juice, fresh papaya, organic yogurt and kale. These should be available by month's end.

Drop KL
First Floor & Rooftop, The Terraces, TREC KL, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 5pm-late. Tel: +603-2110-4343

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Depot Pub @ Petaling Jaya

Depot’s Sarawakian founders are clearly proud of their roots, with small flags of their home state flying above the entrance and behind the counter.

The pub’s main founder, Cindy, is from the Lun Bawang indigenous community of Lawas town; her menu includes a few noodle-based nods to Sarawak, including basic mee kolo (RM10) and mee goreng basah (RM12). There’s also a Depot Laksa (RM15) that’s not exactly the Sarawak laksa we know and love; the broth features a different spice mix with less depth and more creaminess. Still, this is one of the Klang Valley’s rare spots in the Klang Valley where you can wash down your laksa with tuak; alternatively, pair a Tiger with the Hornbill treats.

It’s probably best to come to Depot on weekends, when Lun Bawang specialities like babi belacan are available - Sundays are supposed to be especially festive, with the crowd coming in after church. 

Depot Pub
63, Ground Floor, Zenith Corporate Park, Jalan SS7/26 Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 
Open Tues-Sun, 11am-midnight. Tel: 03-7886-0174

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:

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Cafe Vanille @ Suomenlinna, Finland

Exploring the rocky hillocks of the historic Suomenlinna island fortress, set in the Gulf of Finland, can burn a tonne of calories; Cafe Vanille, a wooden house-turned-eatery built in the 1920s, promises plenty of pastries and sweets to help visitors recharge.