Ambrosia Wine & Tapas Bar, Taman Desa

December 19, 2018

Taman Desa's latest wine bar strives to live up to its name: Founded by a team of industrious wine importers, Ambrosia is an intimate space where cosy evenings can be spent in the company of more than 300 labels of wine, including about a dozen exclusively brought in by the bar's show-runners, as well as single malt whiskies, craft beers and a smorgasbord of culinary specialities that take inspiration from across Europe and beyond.

As far as Ambrosia's vintages go, the selection seems worthy of Bacchus, spanning the breadth of vineyards throughout the globe; with prices per bottle beginning from RM118, we can imagine returning repeatedly for enjoyable explorations of the racks here.

Our maiden Ambrosia experience commenced with an appealing Australian accent - we were wooed by the Woodstock Grenache Rose (2015, McLaren Vale), with refreshing notes of raspberries and rose, softly sweet without overwhelming the palate, easy to endorse on its own or with even with some savoury tapas (more on those shortly).

Remaining steadfastly Down Under, South Australia's Pioneer Road proved a pleasurable source for our next two pourings - the Shiraz (Barossa Valley), channeling the lushness of ripe berries, and Cabernet Sauvignon (Langhorne Creek), uplifting with smooth tannins, both showcased lovely structure and character for a rewarding encounter.

The house's final recommendation harks back to the summer of 2013, when Wirrega Vineyards embarked on its first release, the 'Sfera' Shiraz, comparatively the most complex of the wines we sampled, bringing a beautiful intensity of fruit to the table.

Another wine specially brought in by Ambrosia that we'll aim to try next time is the Adelaide-based boutique winery Chain of Ponds' The Ledge Shiraz.

In September this year, Ambrosia completed a physical transformation to its venue so that dining could complement the wining. Scarcely three months old, the kitchen has already established its own impressive selection - start with the small plates, which spotlight tapas-like temptations, including seafood that puts a spin on Spanish staples; the Gambas Al Ajillo are less oily than typical but still mildly garlicky (RM22), the Almejas Al Estilo Murciano is a tomato-rich preparation influenced by the southeast shores of the Iberian Peninsula (RM18), and the Pulpo De Bebe Frito (RM18) are crisply batter-fried baby octopus that we could merrily munch on till midnight.

The Italians find equal representation at Ambrosia with pastas and pizzas - crowd-pleasers comprise the seafood aglio olio (RM18.90) and the smoked duck breast spaghetti (RM17.90), alongside a pulled pork pizza laden with bacon, pineapples, jalapenos and cilantro (RM21) and a punchy lamb pizza with both Greek and Italian inflections, studded with goat's cheese and basil (RM21).

The rest of the menu hopscotches past borders - while the escargots with garlic and cheese appear distinctively French (RM19), the pan-seared duck breast with marmalade sauce (RM18) and spicier-than-expected bacon-wrapped jalapenos (RM18) could surface in contemporary bars in various cities.

For folks who favour Asian flavours, check out the deep-fried pork belly, lightly breaded for an engaging twist, its salt-and-garlic nuances pairing well with a house-made chilli sauce enlivened with lemon (RM19), as well as the pork ribs in a sweetish strawberry sauce (RM19) and sauteed lamb with fiery Szechuan peppers (RM23) that might both fit into a respected Chinese restaurant's repertoire. Something for every palate's preference, certainly.

While we relished our hours in Ambrosia's sleek street-level setting, there's more room upstairs for larger groups, as well as three very comfortable private rooms plus karaoke facilities. Live jazz performances are in the pipeline for certain evenings, making this a place to linger over light tunes.

Many thanks to Ambrosia Wine & Tapas Bar for having us here.

Ambrosia Wines
11, Jalan 1/109f, Plaza Danau 2, Taman Danau Desa, 58100 Kuala Lumpur.
Open Monday-Saturday, 3pm-1am. Tel: 03-7972-6648

This feature first appeared on eatdrinkkl.com

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