2016 Menu: Roost @ Telawi, Bangsar

May 5, 2016

Roost soars higher than ever with its newest repertoire of recipes - chef Albert Frantzen & his team have hatched one of Bangsar's most intelligent menus, treating thoughtfully sourced produce with conscientious creativity in a charming setting.

A restaurant that lavishes such detailed care on each dish deserves respect - commence with the mackerel salad; the fish is commandingly fresh & captivatingly fine in flavour, wet-aged & kitchen-cured for a sultry, succulent smokiness, well-matched with heirloom tomatoes, baby cucumbers & capers (RM28). Thumbs up too for the crisp-battered zucchini blossoms, stuffed with a surprise, spilling out with Roost's own-made mozzarella when sliced, balanced with intimations of chilli & mint (RM22). The outlet's founders now even run their own vegetable farm in Cameron Highlands, for an assurance of consistent standards.

If you adore poultry, Roost promises persuasive possibilities - the 64-degree-cooked chicken liver mousse pate is ravishing, achingly soft & smooth, with a mellow but distinct flavour, complemented with toasted bread, wild honey & sea salt; like many of Roost's pleasures, it's something we'd jubilantly eat again & again (RM22). Roost relies on free-range capons for its chickens, in enjoyably elaborate preparations like sous-vide chicken thigh with red cabbage & lentil puree (RM38) or chicken breast with onion puree & king oysters (RM38). There's duck as well, pulled in luscious sliders (RM32; served with terrific thick-cut fries & constructed-from-scratch chilli jam) or turned into a ragout to pair with Roost's own pappardelle (RM32). The restaurant wastes none of its chicken & duck supply, with remaining meat going into snack-sized poultry croquettes (RM18).

Local seafood, from Pulau Ketam & other Malaysian waters, is represented in everything from a crispy squid starter with ink aioli to a mangrove crab salad with sorrel. Portion sizes span the sea bass with beetroot risotto (RM38; perfect as lunch for one) or a squid ink paella with snapper, prawns & other fresh catch in the pot (RM105; ideal as a family feast, this requires a one-day advance order) - satisfying triumphs in transposing Italian & Spanish rice-based cooking into our domestic context.

In a bid to remain as true as feasible to the farm-to-fork ethos, veal, lamb & beef are the only protein obtained from overseas - Roost's Spanish-bred veal cheeks are worth the effort, coupled with mash & beets for creamy, soul-food comfort with earthy dimensions (RM72). Even the side dishes here succeed in transcending cliches, comprising some of KL's best-textured polenta fries (RM16) to a complex ensemble of roasted & sauteed dehydrated shiitake, erynggi & oyster mushrooms (RM25).

Desserts & drinks are far from an afterthought at Roost - ice cream is house-made, showcasing tangy flavours born of local harvests, including soursop, passion fruit & tamarind (RM12 a scoop); the panna cotta conveys coconut & passion fruit, cheesecake is accented with rose apples, while a chocolate gateau features pineapple coulis & lemongrass. Coffee is hand-carried from Taiwan (Roost co-founder TungWei has family roots there), roasted by Gabee Cafe in Taipei, with light, clean subtleties. Cocktails are concocted to be confidently refreshing - we especially love the dynamics of the Strawberry Basil Gin & Tonic (exactly our kind of poison), but the Grown-Up's Iced Tea, combining vodka with Earl Grey, honey & lemon juice will have numerous admirers as well (RM28). The wine list merits investigation too, specifically several Spanish varieties like a white with a candied lushness & a red with an easy-drinking brightness, each at RM22 by the glass & RM95 per bottle. Many thanks to the Roost team for having us here.

Roost KL
69-1 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Tues-Sun, 1130am-1130pm. Tel: 603-22011710

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