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2016 Menu: Gastro Bar, By Burgeon @ Petaling Jaya

May 25, 2016


There's a thrilling new team that now helms the kitchen at Gastro Bar: This month, three young chefs - Justin Yap, Jeremy Chan & Rainer Krieger - have unveiled one of the Klang Valley's most stimulating menus, imbued with a sense of adventure & accomplishment. Check them out to pique your palate with contemporary creations that flaunt a flair for stylish surprises.

Pastas & poultry illuminate Gastro Bar's forte: Each of its nearly thirty current recipes is discernibly distinctive, weaving together global gastronomic threads into a tapestry of flavours & textures shaded with Asian/Malaysian sensibilities. A flattened mound of orzo rice-shaped pasta is buoyed by brown sugar-glazed bacon crisps, duck liver sausage & horseradish cream (RM30), tasting like a sweet-savoury cross between a Tuscan summer salad & Hong Kong lap mei fan. Pan-seared sous-vide chicken similarly takes its cues from both West & East, partnered not only with pancetta & pumpkin puree but recast with a creamy-starchy risotto of black glutinous rice & a reduction of black chicken & traditional Chinese herbs (RM38).

This incarnation of Gastro Bar evolves from small plates to heartier fare, but maintains the robust complexities that have been the restaurant's hallmark since its inception. A six-hour-braised beef short rib conveys notes of smoked miso in a chrysanthemum-&-honey reduction, matched with yellow squash, Yukon Gold potatoes & purple spinach (RM48), Japanese tonkatsu donburi is reassembled & revitalised as marinated panko-breaded pork katsu with brown butter garlic rice, water chestnuts, snow peas & lemon bacon sauerkraut (RM38) & a chunky pork belly stew emerges brazenly rich with lap cheong, smoked cheese, pickled fennel & pear in lamb reduction with jalapeno hot sauce & ricotta herb baguette toast slices (RM36).

Pork remains a cornerstone of Gastro Bar - the siew yok salad is a should-try, with achingly succulent crispy roast pork surrounded by sauteed nai pak choy, baby spinach & baby cucumber with bacon pomme puree (RM28) - but seafood increasingly threatens to steal the spotlight, thanks to Gastro Bar's reliance on top-flight fresh produce & insistence on house-prepared complements. Smoked salmon is draped around charcoal-glazed scallops with a sprightly fuji-basil puree, carbonised leeks, purple carrots & miso spinach compote (RM48), while line-caught pomfret surfaces moist & fleshy, accompanied by garlic-chilli confit shimeji mushrooms, sauteed nai pak choy, crispy capers & Shaoxing butter sauce (RM32).

Illustrating the scope of Gastro Bar's capabilities, vegetarians are capably taken care of. Tortellini is folded over rice wine-cooked shiitake & eryngii, with the mushroom theme completed by mushroom jam & a reduced shiitake-tea consomme (RM26). Shallow-fried mantao is stuffed with masala beet hash instead of meat patties, making for mouthfuls of vegan-friendly pleasure with caramelised orange segments, wilted spinach & cilantro with kabayaki sauce & miso hollandaise (RM24). And what initially looks like a plate of scallops turns out to be eryngii transformed into truffled doppelgangers of the molluscs with a firmer bite, bolstered with blackened kailan, roasted soy baby corn & watercress, & decadent arugula-laced butter (RM32).

The dessert selection is more compact but showcases equally elaborate & enticing ensembles, founded on fruits - a spiced apple crumble pie with brown butter sparks magic with honey-&-bacon ice cream, citrus chocolate ganache & black sesame soil (RM32), a bruleed caramelised banana tart is compellingly coupled with banana-pandan compote & bourbon ice cream (RM28), while a watermelon, calamansi & yuzu granita with glazed ciku, gula Melaka & dragon fruit (RM16) is as rejuvenating as its sounds. Our only lament is that the cocktail repertoire has been truncated, though you'll still find sufficient temptations with a twist or two, like a Mai Tai with banana-infused rum or Gin & Tonic with jasmine-infused gin (RM38 each). The wine list merits investigating too, with most bottles of red clocking in between RM122 & RM230. All in all, this revamped direction for Gastro Bar is very promising, & the restaurant has some intriguing plans still to come. Even if you're not in Petaling Jaya, this is a destination that feels worth the effort to travel to. We're likely to be back soon - many thanks to Gastro Bar for having us.

Gastro Bar, By Burgeon
8 & 10, Jalan BM 1/2, Taman Bukit Mayang Emas, Petaling Jaya.
Now open Tues-Sun, 6pm-1030pm, except public holidays. Tel: 03-7497-5373

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