2016 New Menu: Thirdwave @ Bangsar South

June 3, 2016

Every year, around this time, there's cause for thankful celebration, as Bangsar South's Thirdwave unveils an annual revamp of its menu, introducing a new batch of recipes that its team has worked on for months - a ritual we've come to anticipate eagerly, it feels like Christmas in June. Starting this weekend, you'll find about a dozen fresh entries to Thirdwave's food selection, reflecting the inspiration of Malaysian fruit orchards, Italian trattorias, Sichuan hot pot parlours & more. As a bonus, Thirdwave is offering a 10 percent introductory discount off these unique new dishes this Saturday & Sunday (June 4-5).

Thirdwave's reinterpretations of Scotch eggs have always been crowd favourites, & its latest incarnation should be no exception - the Magic Taro Egg (RM26++) comes coated in yam, served with enoki & dried shrimp tempura, encircled by a moat of mussels & macaroni in truffled cream. This is comfort food that we'll remember for a long time, something we'd want to keep coming back for on the hard days, with gentle flavours centred on what feels like the love child of a Scotch egg with the taro puff of dim sum restaurants. Crisp, lightly creamy; dreamy deliciousness that had us polishing off everything on the plate.

Two renditions of shakshuka will take the limelight - we like both very much, with a slight edge to the Green (RM28+), which brings to mind Thai flavours, with a warm egg in spinach curry sauce, lemongrass, kaffir lime, rustic chicken sausage & chilli butter. The Red (RM26+) is more conventionally familiar, but it's exemplary in execution, with a moderately spiced red sauce that's not too tangy, plus a Yemeni-style green chilli zhoug sauce, textured chicken sausage & tender roasted peppers. Both come with a whole pita bread baked right here at Thirdwave, fresh, fluffy & fully capable of soaking up the shakshuka's sauces.

This next one may be an acquired taste, but nangka devotees should adore it - Jackie's Bao (RM21+) is a steamed mantao-type charcoal bun, bulging with a luscious mix of marinated chicken thigh, grilled jackfruit, jackfruit tempura, pickled chillies, crushed peanut soil, fried shallots & kitchen-made chilli sauce, a combination that's full-bodied in its sweet-savoury flavours.

We tried these recipes while Thirdwave was in the final stages of fine-tuning; some elements have since evolved ahead of the final versions - when it goes public this weekend, the remarkably ravishing Golden Salmon Bell (RM33), a masterwork of plating that's well worth capturing for social media, will still emerge with a massive salmon ball that customers can slice open to reveal a molten mozzarella centre, spilling over a line of crunchy quinoa & grilled sourdough salad, glazed carrots, shaved fennel & passionfruit chilli gel, but the topping of Thirdwave's own-made burrata cheese will be replaced with a poached egg.

If you're searching for a dose of distinctiveness, order the duck confit (rich & meaty) coupled with a challenging ice cream that tastes like egg yolks mixed with beef bacon; some of us will like the ice cream, others absolutely won't - the flavour of egg yolk is dominant, with a real infusion of beef bacon in the essence of the ice cream. It's admirably ambitious, certainly something to talk about; the finalised version will surface with a savoury waffle, Waldorf salad & maple sauce to balance things out (RM35+).

Another one-of-a-kind creation, the Mala Chicken (RM25+) has a lot going on in one serving: Fried chicken strips & burnt cornbread, cushioned with two nutty sauces separately taking control of each side of the plate - a Sichuan peppercorn peanut sauce & a sweetish chestnut-walnut puree. It's like an amalgamation of southern American soul food (fried chicken & cornbread) & southwest Chinese flavours (Sichuan fieriness that may numb your tongue, depending on your spice tolerance).

We're pretty pleased with vegetarian-friendly risotto, wet-textured & filled with crunchy bits of kale, zucchini flower & cucumber blossom fritters (RM23), tasting like springtime in Italy. There's one more savoury offering that we missed, but it sounds supremely promising: Sabich, an Israeli sandwich (RM19+) - Thirdwave's take features sous-vide chicken breast meat wrapped with garlicky hummus, cooked egg & fried aubergines in a pita pocket, served with tzatziki sauce & a lentil salad.

Desserts: The chief attraction might be the house-made ice cream sandwiches - you can opt for a single serving of each sandwich (RM10/RM12 each; 7 cm in diameter) or have all four in a tasting flight (RM32 for the complete set; 5 cm per sandwich). The flavours are also imaginatively & meticulously thought out: Share these with your friends & debate which one's your favourite - pandan kaya & burnt caramel ice cream in matcha sable; banana & praline ice cream with biscoff crumbs in charcoal sable; lavender honey & blueberry ice cream in lemon sable; or dark chocolate & rose ice cream with choc sable.

This final new plated sweetheart is one we happily endorse: The Banana Dreamboat (RM22+), a 21st-century reworking of the classic childhood ice cream & banana dessert. House-made vanilla bean & milk chocolate ice cream, artfully arranged with strawberry caviar to complete the Neapolitan triumvirate, plus perfectly ripe banana brulee, a gorgeous pandan sponge & peanut soil. One of our favourite desserts of 2016 from one of our favourite KL cafes; thanks to Thirdwave for this preview of yet another exceptional new menu launch - Malaysian-made cafe fare that pushes the envelope in a captivating direction.

Unit 1-11, Level 1, Nexus, Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur. 
Sun-Thurs, 10am-1030pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-12am. Tel: 03-2242-2126

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