Wow, Monolid No More got such an overwhelming response. Thank you so much! I’m flattered many people took the time to actually read it in its entirety considering how word heavy it was before the photos. All the feed back was also largely positive as well. I’ll do a second post with a compilation of FAQs and comments because they’re scattered all across Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and so forth.
Today I’m continuing with my travel and eating posts. I’ve done everything out of order but I guess when I recap everything I’ll include a timeline. I’ve been wanting to blog about Restaurant DC in Malaysia from my very first bite there as I was completely blown away by the calibre of the food. I’ve been lucky enough to travel overseas and try lots of different kinds of food. And perhaps because of this privilege, Malaysia’s fine dining scene has always seemed a bit lacklustre for me in comparison to what I know. The same for most of Malaysia’s brunch spots. I think the problem lies in using too many foreign imported ingredients. I really enjoyed Restaurant DC because Chef Darren (of Dave’s Deli and Dave’s fame!) utilises a lot of local ingredients. I also like his style of cooking which stays quite regional except when it borders on fusion. So when it does mix with Western influences, it reads more as South East Asian-French rather than “SEA trying to be Japanese”-merging with French. Does that make sense? It’s local enough that it doesn’t seem like it’s trying too hard, but also slightly off the Malaysian radar so it doesn’t feel like you’re paying premium for small portions of Malaysian street food. Hopefully my pictures do a better job of explaining than I do.
Both a 5-course (unsure) and a 7-course (RM 368++) tasting menu is available. My dining companions are on “diets” so I forge down the path of the 7-course on my lonesome tonight. It’s quite rare to find restaurants that let a dinner table pick different types of sets per person so I thought this was a big plus.
Restaurant DC is two floors. The bottom seems to be a bar area, very modern and sleek but seems to be closed for now except for private functions. At the door you are given a welcome drink such as that above. I fail to remember what was in it but it was citrusy-y sweet, like your standard mocktail mix. Still it’s a very nice touch and you get to sip on it as the friendly waitstaff bring you upstairs to the dining area above. It’s all a very intimate affair, that night we have three other small tables around us and one fairly large dinner function. I wager you can fit about 40 people max in this upper area.
To start with we have a basket of bread from their bakers Marc and Christophe Gros. There’s a light croissant in there, a cheese mixed loaf, rye and country sourdough. The bread was brought out by none other than the baker himself. This would be the beginning of what I’d say is one of the best customer service experiences I’ve ever had. Every course was brought out by Chef Darren himself and we noticed he did the same for all the other tables. He would stand there to explain what we were having, taking greater care with my stepdad too who does not eat pork or beef and thus requires several of the courses to be replaced.
Butter for the bread is Pamplie unpasteurised truffle butter (Poitou Charentes). I’m just parroting the menu here as I have no idea about butter from different regions in France but truffle butter is a a big plus for us no matter where it’s from!
First courses are now rolling out and this is my stepdad’s, stuffed rambutan, yellowfin tuna ‘larb’ and little deep fried balls that I would like to tell you about but he ate everything before I could try or asking him what it was..
Mom and I get the crispy beef tendon “chicharonnes” with sourdough bread cream and Hungarian paprika. Ours also comes with the same yellowfun tuna “larb” and cilantro rice puff. The tendon is from Thailand, a memento of Chef Darren’s trip when he went and was so inspired by the cuisine there. I’ve had deep fried tendon like this before but never would I have thought to turn it into an amuse bouche in this way. The bread cream was moreish, perhaps bread sauces are the new aioli? I could dip it with chips or lick it all up with a spoon.
The petit entrée is next and here we have Sabah soft shell crab as a charcoal tempura, sweet basil hollandaise and kaffir lime. Next to it is a poached Irish oyster with a cucumber-belimbing salad. Not only is my shot of the soft shell crab tempura out of focus but even if it was sharp, it would probably still resemble a black mound. Nevertheless it is a huge reason as to why I called this course quite early on as my favourite. The crunch was incredible and the sweetness from the crab just cut right through. Regretfully I have to admit I’ve never been to Sabah or Sarawak but if the seafood is as incredible as this then I am hotfooting it there on my next trip for sure. The oyster tasted deliciously like the sea, and for the non-Malay or Indo speakers, belimbing is star fruit!
The third petit entrée is an 18 hour spiced lamb loin with carrot and cumin velouté and charred confit baby carrot, Mum adored this dish as she’s more of a meat eater than I am. The tender lamb was incredible but I believe pairing it with the velouté sauce really brought it all together.
Cauliflower cream with truffle, white asparagus, poached kampung egg and pumpkin seed oil. Milk tuil with mixed cereal. I didn’t expect a vegetarian dish to be my favourite but again I declare it for being so amazingly delicious. Truffle and egg is an unbeatable combo but I love the silky richness that also came from the cauliflower cream. White asparagus is pretty rare on my side of the eating woods so I’m glad I got to have it.
It arrives pretty as a picture and I adore the jellied consommé because it’s just concentrated packs of flavour. I can only dream of swimming in a pool filled with this exact broth. The rouelle on the other hand, is well, pleasant? Cutting into it, I realise that this “rouelle” is basically a glorified fish ball. Obviously the most expensive and luxurious ball yet since it is is made from lobster and scallop. But it wasn’t what I expected and if I had the benefit of hindsight I would’ve instead ordered..
My mom’s amazing main course. The AOP Anjou French Pigeon. The description says slow roasted pigeon, crusted sweet breads, celeriac with black shaved truffles, mentaiko mushroom and sauce perigord. Poultry doesn’t usually excite me at fine dining which is why I didn’t go for it but everything else on the plate is basically the sum of all of my favourite foods!
For my main I opt for the DC signature seafood medly which is again another mish-mash of everything I adore about eating food. The catch of the day, Hokkaido scallops, razor clams from Pulau Ketam, mizuna, watercress almond puree and a seafood emulsion! Yay for Pulau Ketam produce! I can’t remember what the catch of the day was but it was a buttery cod type fish.
Probably the worst photos I took of the night, here you go, this is mom’s main. A 14 spiced Black Angus fillet with garlic cream, baked bok choy, with walnut pesto. I think Chef Darren deserves 10 stars for coming up with a bok choy recipe that isn’t gross. It looks a lot like those cheese spinach kind of lasagna wannabes that do usually go with steak, but this is much lighter and sharper on the palate because bok choy.
There isn’t much of an option for dessert if you have a sweet tooth as it’s just the one dessert plus a selection of cheese from the cheese trolley.
I give the Lychee Parfait a go because a lychee stuffed with caramel cashew sounds insane and I like the sourness from tamarind. It’s a great dessert and very good looking for sure. But the rose sorbet kills it for me as I dislike all manner of rose-flavoured foods. Definitely just a personal vendetta against rose, if you are a normal person I am sure you will love how refreshing this is.
Can’t quite remember all the cheeses we got but we definitely picked the cool looking blue cheese up on the right hand corner of the trolley, a goats’ cheese and a mixture of medium soft to hard cheeses. I much prefer a slight chew to my cheese rather than straight up creamy brie or camembert.
Thus concludes a fantastic meal at Restaurant DC! Portion sizes aren’t the biggest even as fine dining goes but we were all very, very full by the end of it. I’m so happy to see Malaysia raise the bar in terms of the quality of food. I know there are cafes and restaurants mushrooming all over the place but I still think it’s quite hard to find quality stuff. I’ll do another post later which will wrap up everything I ate during my trip, mostly just visiting the same seafood noodles place next to Atria because that’s like a pilgrimage visit for me. I didn’t want to include DC as part of a long list of things because I really feel they deserve a separate post. Thank you Chef Darren, we really had a lovely time!