Damansara Perdana's new Tao puts its own stamp on a what a friendly neighbourhood restaurant and bar can be.
Helmed by a husband-and-wife team who've lived in Damansara Perdana for a decade, Tao serves the community with a satisfying spin on Chinese cuisine and contemporary cocktails.
Thanks to a talented chef with a firm handle on the fiery wok, Tao's kitchen boasts fun and flair. The signature fried rice is tossed with seafood, peach and walnuts for lovely layers of smoky flavour; the crowd-favourite omelette is sumptuously smooth and soft; even the simple-seeming lap cheong and ikan bilis emerge with house-crafted glazes and garnishes.
Come for the lip-smacking flambeed pork ribs, stay for the Peachy Smash cocktail, ripe with peach, coconut and strawberries - Tao's team warmly welcomes everyone, from families and office workers craving an everyday lunch to friends chilling out after work.
It's worth visiting Tao this month. For this soft-launch period, Tao is offering a 15% introductory discount off all dishes. You'll also find a special Chinese New Year Set for four to six persons (featuring Prosperity Lou Sang, seafood tofu soup, yin yang cod fish, fortune braised pork knuckle and more) and Valentine's Menu (with premium garlic scallops, pumpkin fish maw chicken soup, golden salted egg yolk lobster, cod fish, and red wine beef striploin)..
Fun fact: Tao's name, Chinese for peach, is partly inspired by the Japanese folklore hero Momotaro (Peach Boy) and his kinship with his friends who helped him surmount his hurdles.
By day, the restaurant is calm and relaxed, the perfect place to escape the crowds and clamour.
By night, Tao casts a captivating spell as the lights are lowered, with a cosy crimson sheen illuminating the brick walls. The venue stimulates the five senses, engaging the eyes and ears (especially on future nights with musical performers), tempting the taste buds with everything from Ginger Onion Sang Har to Hakka Crispy Pork Belly.
Tao's Ipoh-born head chef harnesses over two decades of professional experience - each creation is precisely prepared, never over-cooked, including the HK-inspired Tomato Egg (RM15), a silky-fluffy three-egg triumph, moistened with mellow tomato gravy and juicy tomato chunks. Omelette enthusiasts, bookmark this for an entirely enjoyable experience.
From rice to noodles, Tao promises a pleasurable carb fix.
The Signature Tao Fried Rice is aromatic - not just with wok hei but jazzed up with the chef's selection of shrimp, squid, abalone, dried peach, raisins and walnuts. It's a tasty, textured treat, perking up the palate instead of gagging it with grease (RM28).
The Black Pepper Udon is addictive to the final strand, slick and savoury, comforting and clean-flavoured, fuss-free and fulfilling (RM22 with chicken, RM25 with seafood or beef).
Tao does justice to seafood too, whether you prefer creamy or crunchy platters. The Salted Egg Yolk Prawns is a surefire hit across generations, buttery and lightly spiced with chillies and curry leaves (RM35), while the Hawaiian Baby Squid conveys a crackly chew, brightened with pineapple cubes for a tropical kick (RM25).
Scrumptious snacks to share include the Sweetened Lap Cheong, with nectarous notes that evoke bak kwa (RM22). The lap cheong is meticulously made - it's sliced, boiled and torched to order, ensuring fabulous freshness, served hot and crisply tender.
The Fried Anchovies (RM18) illustrate how a familiar favourite can be enlivened and enhanced with thoughtful touches. Tao turns this into a memorable, mouth-watering marvel, zesty and zippy with plum sauce and onions.
Three Cup Chicken with rice makes for soulful single-pot sustenance - there's much more to explore on Tao's menu, so customers can regularly return here for multiple meals.
A sense of surprise persists on the cocktail menu - the current house special is the Peachy Smash, bringing together bourbon with fresh peach puree and peach liqueur, mixed with mint leaves and lime juice, crowned with strawberries and covered with coconut flakes. A visually striking potion with a powerful punch, rejuvenating and fruity.
Other highlights include the AMF (blue curaçao with lemon juice and egg white) and the eternally popular Cosmopolitan. Wine, whiskies and other alcoholic options are available; ask the amiable bartender for your preferred liquor.
Tao Restaurant and Bar
46-1, Jalan PJU 8/5b, Damansara Perdana, 47820 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Open Daily, 11am-1am. Tel: 012-222-2668