Ampersand by Culinary Rebels @ Damansara Uptown

December 10, 2015

Big breakfasts served on banana leaves & chicken wings showered with crispy pork lard or smothered with sticky garlic glaze: Ampersand is one of Damansara Uptown's most enticing new destinations, with unique offerings by a band of Malaysians who call themselves the Culinary Rebels, comprising chefs currently working in both KL & Singapore. Ampersand replaces Ecole P, whose co-founder Steven has joined forces with new collaborators G-Man, The Butcher & Rayman to create this cafe-bistro.

Communal weekend brunches are among Ampersand's signatures - the XXL Breakfast is a striking medley of fluffy-creamy scrambled eggs (10 eggs are used!), juicy pork bacon, thick bratwursts, earthy mushrooms, toast & tomato jam, spread on banana leaves; the serving can satiate four customers & costs RM58. For folks who love Big Breakfasts & are seeking a memorably imaginative preparation, this is a should-try - the well-executed ingredients are dished out one-by-one at the table, evoking a banana leaf rice meal, resulting in a photogenic ensemble that will earn plenty of curious comments on Instagram.

Ampersand poses a chicken-or-egg dilemma for brunch: Most customers would have no regrets choosing chicken - roasted meat that's succulent, sweet & flavourful, brined for 24 hours with lemongrass, also served on a banana leaf backdrop with practically the rest of the chicken - feet, neck, gizzard & a beautiful liver pate that's rich, soft & smooth. This Chicken Feast with onion jam is easy to enjoy & endorse at RM36 for a half-chicken & RM64 for a full chicken, both with all the accompaniments.

Everything for brunch, currently served Saturdays & Sundays, is built for sharing: The French Toast platter will feed a family, featuring slices of Hainanese bread partnered with pork bacon, ripe bananas & a lip-smacking peanut butter sauce for RM40.

It's worth visiting Ampersand for dinner too, when the cafe turns into a cosy bistro, offering ravishingly plated chicken wings in intriguing flavours - the Sinful Wings by Rayman (spiced wings with crunchy Nestum cereal, pork lard & ulam leaves), Buttermilk Wings by G-Man (brined wings with buttermilk, lemon zest & spicy sriracha sauce), Thom Thom Wings by G-Man (with garlic glaze, garlic chips & lime), Devilled Wings by The Butcher (with charred scallions &lemon) & CCB Wings by The Butcher (with belacan, shrimp paste, palm sugar & lime). Fresh & piping-hot from the kitchen, these are a tasty treat for chicken wing devotees, at RM16 for four wings & RM21 for six. Beer is available; the bistro is planning to also eventually offer distinctive pork ribs & inventive desserts for dinner; keep an ear out for those. Many thanks to Ampersand for having us.

Ampersand by Culinary Rebels
First Floor, 19, Jalan SS21/37, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 03-7732-9711
Signboard outside currently says Ecole P, above Restoran Khalifah

Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Friday: 5pm-11pm. Saturday: 10am-3pm, 5pm-11pm. Sunday: 10am-3pm

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