3 Bags Full @ Kota Damansara

December 21, 2014

Baa humbug? Launching in time for Christmas, this new venue owned by Malaysian chef Beljian Neo & two of his friends showcases some interesting ideas that make it worth visiting - even though we wish the trio hadn't resorted to a name that's too similar to that of a popular Melbourne cafe.

There's a lot on the ambitious menu, so let's plough straight into it: Start with a savoury-sweet Liege waffle, heaped with a mountain of (deep breath!) beef bacon, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, spinach, tomatoes, basil & kitchen-made apple chutney with raisins (RM18). Too much? Each individual component is enjoyably well-prepared, though a clearer focus might leave a more lasting impression instead of an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink strategy.

Equally eccentric: Crispy mochi waffle (!) crowned with green tea gelato, beetroot sauce, pumpkin seeds, black sesame & almond biscotti. RM14; we have mixed feelings about this. We respect how the kitchen experiments with offbeat twists, but the waffle base comes out plasticky-rubbery. Still, with some fine-tuning, this won't be the black sheep of the menu here.

Here's one that sounds potentially sensational on paper: Potato puree seasoned with whole grain mustard, tossed in a jar with Granny Smith apples, grapes, beef bacon, lettuce, chives & egg. RM10; comfortingly creamy in texture, but the rich sweetness of the fruits clashes with the powerfully tangy mustard. In this case, less would likely be more.

It's not all negative news - far from it. We'd happily recommend the button mushrooms stuffed with herb-laced feta cheese & blueberry-tinged mascarpone (RM13), a fun way to breathe fresh & flavoursome life into a mushroom recipe, illustrating how Neo's kitchen makes more effort than most.

We also like the baked escargots with a thick mix of herb garlic butter, blue cheese & cream, plus toasted garlic bread sticks. RM17; somewhat on the high-sodium side, but customers who read menu descriptions carefully enough should foresee that.

Jellyfish salad with poached egg, avocado, almonds & sesame dressing (RM26). The serving portions & quality of ingredients for 3 Bags Full's dishes are consistently satisfying. But while we favour salads that put poached eggs & avocado on one plate, & we like Japanese influences, this might not be the most cohesively conceived recipe.

Sizzling prawns with chicken floss & garlic butter milk (RM25) - Oriental flavours seize centre stage for this. We should reiterate: 3 Bags Full is a cafe that warrants a visit (in our case, we made two trips here). Its hard work in trying to offer something different deserves encouragement - but further tweaking would make some of these recipes more successful.

In the end, you can't really go wrong with juicy flame-grilled sausages in a meaty trinity of lamb, chicken & beef. RM19.

Also a pleasure: Moist house-made brownie, served sizzling at the table, complemented by roasted walnuts, double choc gelato (from Gelatomio) & a rich, smooth peanut butter sauce. At RM13, 3 Bags Full can't be accused of over-charging.

The hot-cold interplay persists with brioche bread & banana pudding topped with Nutella gelato (RM15). One more plus point: 3 Bags Full has a front-of-house service team that's friendly & tries to oblige whenever possible. Thanks for the warm smiles.

Coffee is taken seriously here: 3 Bags Full gets its beans from Johor's W Espresso Sporting Club by Monsta Cafe.

From 'burning caramel' lattes to lavender lattes (RM10), there is no lack of caffeine-loving choices at 3 Bags Full, a name that we hope to hear many positive things about in the months ahead.

3 Bags Full
38, Jalan PJU 5/10, Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03-6150-2831

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Sausages to sambal. Muffins to marshmallows. Peanut butter to mango chutney. Cornflake ice cream to honey aloe yogurt. Lavender-laced lemonades to lychee-&-guava juices.
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