This is the eleventh blogpost in our series Singapore & Malaysia food trail 2013. Check out our previous blogposts in this series:
- Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, Singapore
- Teh tarik, Rafee’s Corner, Singapore
- Chinese New Year of the Snake 2013, Singapore
- The Scarlet, a boutique hotel, Singapore
- Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
- Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine, Singapore
- Food Safari, Singapore
- Restoran Soo Kee, Kuala Lumpur
- Restoran Fei Jay, Kuala Lumpur
- Breakfast in Kuala Lumpur
Mysaucepan and I are on a 3-week eating spree and will be blogging about our street food adventures with lots of photos and tweets about hawker favourites and local delights that will also cover Chinese New Year 2013 – The Year of the Snake.
We would love your feedback on which are the foods you love and would also welcome any suggestions and recommendations that we should try during our trip in Singapore and Malaysia.
I like traditional Malaysian and Singapore cuisine but Chopinand and my friends all know that I’m always on the lookout for new and innovative flavours that challenge your palate and salute chefs who think outside their pans and search for new inspiration.
This trip, I am really happy to witness a new food movement that’s simmering below the surface and the explosion of flavours is exciting. A new generation of chefs trained in western techniques are finding their roots in eastern flavours and marrying them successfully in innovative dishes.
Chopinand arranges to meet his fellow musician friend TM who has impeccable taste in both food and music and he suggests that we try an exciting new restaurant in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Our foodie friends M & F who used to live Sydney and recently relocated to Kuala Lumpur are keen to catch up for a meal as well.
We head to Acme Bar & Coffee, fondly nicknamed ABC, located at the ground floor of The Troika apartments on Persiaran KLCC just off Jalan Ampang. The doors swing open and the funky blue sign, high ceilings and moody ambience create a great sense of arrival.
When our friends greet us, we are even more delighted to see them after a short hiatus. We are fond of wine with our meals but forgot imported wines are relatively more expensive in Malaysia. As Chopinand is having the flu and giving alcohol the rare miss, we proceed to order a glass of wine gingerly before perusing the food menu.
It is difficult to describe the style of food here as there are hints of Mexican, American, Italian, Chinese and Malaysian flavours sprinkled across the menu, but before you run away in fear, they all somehow blend harmoniously.
We order a good cross section of entrees to share, our preferred way of eating so that we can sample different dishes and still watch our waistlines. Our foodie friends can’t wait to tuck in but we are eagerly taking photos and trying to find the best shot under the dimly lit conditions.
First to arrive is the salt egg yolk chicken strips. Chicken breast slivers are coated in a savoury mix of salt egg yolk and batter and then sprinkled with crispy curry leaves. They have a salty spicy bite, which will surely go well with chilled glass of dry white.
Then, the curious popcorn coconut prawns arrive, cute round balls of prawns coated in desiccated coconut and deep fried to a crisp and served with a mango salsa. The coconut flavour is subtle and goes well with mango.
Another flavoursome entree is the truffle mushroom wontons, a good alternative for vegetarians. They are deep fried and drizzled with sweet chilli sauce, truffle oil and sesame seeds.
We enjoy the crispy and juicy parcels and would have given the chilli sauce a miss as it was jostling for flavour with the mushroom and truffle.
A hearty Just Mac & Cheese reminds me of one of our favourite comfort foods in winter.
What stands out from the menu at ABC is the interesting pasta dishes as they are not served with your typical sauces. We are told the sambal hebi aglio olio spaghetti (hebi is very small shrimp in the Hokkien dialect) is the restaurant’s signature and it is spot on.
Gutsy, spicy and punchy, the sambal dried prawn sauce, stir fried with garlic and asparagus coats the spaghetti beautifully and really lifts the dish with a refreshing hit. Who would have thought of using this staple rice condiment in a pasta dish – brilliant!
Black ink pasta is squid ink linguine with venus clams stir fried with garlic, carrots, celery and spring onions and tossed with the pasta and topped with ginger floss – deep fried thinly shredded ginger.
It arrives on the table with chilli oil which you pour onto the dish to add a finishing kick.
The roasted lemon spring chicken is more mainstream though, simply roasted with slivers of lemon and thyme, retaining all of its natural juices.
A grilled marinated lamb shoulder is also given a delicious Asian twist.
Lamb shoulder is sliced thinly and seasoned with kecap manis, Indonesian sweet dark soy sauce and grilled to a caramelized finish. The spicy peas and shoe string fries complement the dish beautifully.
We are all dessert fans, except for Chopinand and we wouldn’t leave without a sweet finale. This is truly a place for dessert lovers, as there is an entire dessert counter positioned strategically near the entrance of the restaurant.
There is an entire array of cakes – raspberry chocolate, lemon poppyseed, banana caramel, apple and olive oil, coconut bounty – you name it and they’ve got it. There are also the more elaborate plated desserts from tiramisu sandwich to chocolate meringue tart and the unusual sizzling chocolate brownie with oreo ice cream.
We opted to share the calories with the signature cempadak cake and banana caramel cheesecake. Cempadak is a fruit similar in taste in jackfruit – a pungent sweet yet stringy fruit with an unusual aroma and its essence is well captured in a light sponge with layers of cempadak cream.
The banana caramel cake is rich and dense, with caramelized banana and the toffee sauce adding the right sweetness to the savoury and smooth cheesecake.
There are a range of interesting teas to finish the dining experience on a high note, with lychee coconut, honey yuzu, cherry marzipan, coco truffle, Moroccan mint and African solstice to choose from.
However, with good friends, good food and great conversation, who needs anything else?
So dear readers, do you have a favourite new restaurant in Kuala Lumpur with cutting-edge flavours to recommend?
Acme Bar & Coffee
Unit G1 The Troika
19 Persiaran KLCC
Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Tel: +603 2162 2288
*Apologies for the less-than clear photos as the dining room was very dimly lit and Chopinand is using his flu as an excuse
Agree that ABC is a great place to hang out with friends.. really nice ambiance and food is great too!
The food at ABC is consistently good and the menu is admittedly rather inventive. More than this, it was absolutely fantastic to catch up with my two favourite people from out of town. Just like old times, indeed. Thank you for sharing some time with me. See you both again soon.
Good friends definitely help make a meal!
The food looks great…I like the first one, salt egg yolk and chicken…and yes, company is very important…
Have a great week!
I am curious about that cempedak cake! And oh the little popcorn! Lovely
Lots of lovely food and prices do not seem that high. Looks like a great place to hang with friends.
I love a good piece of roast. The simplier the better I’d say. I love how it has splices of lemon on it, helps add a touch of tanginess. noms