Thursday, September 21, 2017

Nomada Cafe Y Tapas @ Melbourne

This recently opened venue's brunch-meets-tapas concept is deliciously executed and distinctively nuanced, from the signature temptation of a smoky '├žlacked' egg on burnt hay to thick-cut bacon with creamy potato sauce to perfectly soft and ripe avocados with cabbage powder and reduced whey. 

Slightly heartier offerings include a crispy-juicy quail schnitzel roll with saltbush and slaw, and sourdough toast topped with tenderly sauteed mushrooms, cured yolk and fresh curd. 

If you can't quite wrap your head around whether you're actually having brunch or tapas, pair your meal with Capital Coffee brew with Milk Lab almond milk as well as a First Foot Forward Pinot Noir of Yarra Valley.

Nomada Cafe Y Tapas
412A Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Anneh @ Damansara Uptown

Anneh adds a pork-loving spin to banana leaf rice: The basic set here is a familiar crowd-pleaser, comprising rice with three veggies (starch, green and fried), splashed with curries and dal, complemented by salted fish acar, deep-fried chilli and rassam for RM9.90. But customers are encouraged to swine up the meal with pork ribs devil curry (RM11.90), pork varuval, pork vindaloo, pork chops or stir-fried spam for a spicy, hearty experience. Non-porcine temptations are also available, including masala chicken, ikan bilis sambal and prawn aloo gobi, though if you need other dishes to hog the limelight, there's also Maggi Goreng sprinkled with crispy pork lard (RM10.90).

20, Jalan SS 21/35, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. 
Daily, 10am-10pm (banana leaf rice starting 11am; other main courses starting 3pm). Tel: 03-7731-8959

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Birch @ DC Mall

By EDKL Writer A. A.


The team behind Mezze, Huckleberry & Skullduggery has done it again, adding another potent destination to its stable of establishments across Damansara Heights. Birch has become the buzziest restaurant in DC Mall, & it's no stretch to see why - this seductive setting is soaked in sunlight, saturated with tasteful greenhouse-inspired aesthetics & suffused with happy vibes.


Birch begins its mornings bright & fresh, beckoning early birds to come in at 9am on weekdays for breakfast & on weekends for brunch. The food is served with a flourish, refashioning trendy favourites with a Birch spin, encapsulated by the Birch Benedict (RM26), layered with luscious poached eggs, pulled chicken with spices & barbecue sauce on a thick seven-grain sourdough toast, with charred cherry tomatoes that showcase an attention to detail. Rich, creamy comfort.


The daytime selection, served through 3pm, manages a deft balance between the wholesome & the indulgent; the former is best represented by the Japanese Miso Porridge (RM36), a smooth porridge laced with tender crab meat & morsels of pumpkin, topped with sliced salmon, braised shimeji mushrooms, togarashi spices and micro greens - it's a hot, soothing blend of seafood & earthiness, evoking the Zen of time-honoured Japanese fare, transformed into a contemporary temptation.

Birch's team takes a lot of pride in the Falafel Sandwich Wrap (RM18), for irresistible reason - the fritters are delicious, spiked with kale & local ulam for a pleasantly herbaceous uplift, wrapped with pickled chillies, chopped salad, red sauce & yogurt in Turkish flatbread for lots of lovely nuances.

And if you feel like treating yourself, the Korean Fried Chicken Brioche seems like a bargain for RM18, with its hefty slab of crunchy-fried buttermilk chicken complemented by Korean hot sauce & young papaya slaw, served with a choice of sweet potato fries, French fries or a green salad. A big & bountiful, brawny & bold-flavoured pleasure for burger fans.


On weekends, Birch's kitchen gets even more fired up, bolstering its offerings with meaty mains cooked in a Josper charcoal grill & oven, locking in smoky succulence, leaving a flame-kissed char. 

For your protein fix, you won't go wrong with the Mexican-spiced Spatchcock (RM50), an irreproachable rendering of grilled chicken, completed with charred baby potatoes, or the unique Steak Benedict (RM32), an umami-packed minute steak crowned with a runny poached egg that forms something of a decadent sauce for the beef, with charred cauliflowers & broccoli for fibrous contrast.


Birch's portions are princely, but it's still worth squeezing in a sugary treat at the end. In the duel of desserts, it's a toss-up between the hearty Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes (RM28; wedded with honeycomb butter, bananas & maple syrup, suitable for sharing) & the Brulee French Toast (RM26; buoyed by dulce de leche caramel sauce, charred pears, white coffee crumbs and ice cream), but we'd probably vote for the latter - each fluffy bite is bliss.

A perceptively curated range of beverages is available - if you like your drinks perky & refreshing, check out the Fizzes, laced with natural ingredients for a light, cooling experience, in choices like Jujube & Arugula or Watermelon & Basil (RM15 each). If you prefer creamier gulps, select a smoothie - the Mango, Coconut & Yoghurt and Cucumber, Apple & Mint (RM19 each) are luxuriously textured but remain appropriate for health-conscious meals.

Photo of cheesecake courtesy of Birch.

Soon after we visited, Birch introduced a new Burnt Cheesecake (RM18++ per slice / RM200++ for a whole cake of 12 slices), baked by Huckleberry Food & Fare, inspired from the tarta de queso of San Sebastian. This is meant to have a creamy, gooey centre, contrasted with a spongey outer layer and a brulee crust, conveying velvety cheese, honey and caramel.

By now, Birch also has its dinner menu ready, available from 6pm onward, Monday to Saturday, including Josper-cooked seabream, smoked quail eggs, Spanish octopus and skewers such as mussels, chicken, beef strip loin, beef heart and lamb leg.


Birch also serves a tantalising array of cocktails, available after 4pm, Monday to Saturday. The cocktail menu will soon be revamped, but everything we sampled from the existing selection is excellent. Many thanks to the Birch team for having us here. 

Lot G10-11, Ground Floor, DC Mall, Jalan Damanlela, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur.
Monday to Thursday: 9am-1am; Friday to Saturday: 9am-2am; Sunday: 9am-5pm.
Tel: 03-2011-5966

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Avgust Cafe @ Subang Jaya

Baking its own bread & cakes, Avgust might not be the right cafe for the carb-phobic, but the rest of us will find much to savour: Start with the Mex Meatball Sub (RM20.50), featuring the full-throated, hot-&-heavy flavours of beef meatballs, chili con carne, caramelised onions & blue cheese sauce in tender country bread. The El Chapo Burger (RM20.50) is another guilty pleasure; Avgust builds its own 170-gram beef patty & crafts a house chipotle aioli, before piling on barbecued pulled beef & crispy tostadas into a brioche bun, for a whopper of a sink-your-teeth-into-this burger. Wash down with textured Green Tea Espresso (RM9.50) - warm matcha with milk at the base, layered with an iced latte on top.

Avgust Cafe
37-1, Jalan USJ 9/5P, Taipan Business Centre, Subang Jaya, Selangor. 
Mon-Sat, 1pm-11pm (opens 230pm Fridays). Tel: 03-8081-1060

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