Huckleberry After Dark @ Plaza Damansara

May 28, 2016

For those of us whose appetites rise when the sun sets, Huckleberry After Dark is a beacon of light that could become a sleeper hit, shifting gears from a cheery daytime cafe into a somewhat edgier hangout with a suave funkiness - the menu is completely different at night, focusing on the sort of casual American soul grub that a roving LA food truck might serve up.

By day, the crowds throng Huckleberry Food & Fare for freshly baked loaves & brunch munchies; by night, Huckleberry After Dark's kitchen swaps salt beef sandwiches & poached egg pastas for the likes of Tex-Mex specialities, while sustaining a special sense of flair & wit. Start with the Wholly Guacamole, available not only in the familiar original chunky recipe (RM13.90) but also as a Wack Guac that's spiked with pickled ginger for a pleasurable zing (RM14.50). And of course, there are tacos; choose from battered fish with slaw, jalapenos & pico de gallo (RM19.90) or BBQ beef with coriander & sour cream (RM21.90).

Hot dogs & burgers are another highlight - Huckleberry's house-made brioche buns form a fabulous foundation for these treats, with a beautifully crisp, buttery fluffiness that threatens to steal the spotlight from the sausages with a succulent snap & the patties with a meaty bite. A cornucopia of choices turns this section into a real variety show: The Dawgs come with toppings that range from classic yellow mustard, ketchup & diced raw onions to more unconventional combos like a comfortingly thick, savoury chili con carne with American cheese & sour cream (which is what we enjoyed), mac & cheese with cream & cilantro, or guacamole with pico de gallo & crushed tortilla chips (RM19.90-RM26.90, including fries). And boy, there are burgers - in the battle between chicken & beef, the former wins; the buttermilk chicken thigh is a deep-fried behemoth of dripping juices (RM20.90) that the leaner & less tender Beast Mode beef burger can't surmount, despite intriguing toppings of barbacoa pulled beef, duck bacon & root beer BBQ sauce that crown the patty constructed with three cuts of beef (RM26.90).

Huckleberry After Dark is made for hearty gluttony - abandon all hope of calorie-counting when confronted with pizzas like 'Another One Bites The Crust' (RM32.90), with chicken sausage, mushrooms, mozzarella, egg & house-made tomato sauce blanketing a distinctive sourdough base. By the time we finished the chicken & waffles (RM24.90; with the waffles also produced here at Huckleberry), there was no chance we could still devour the desserts (for the record, the churros with Nutella & crushed Oreos, as well as the skillet chocolate pudding with marshmallows & butter biscuits, both sound totally tempting).

We also ended up drinking far more than expected, but the blame rests in the ultra-cool, super-stocked bar. Check out the French-made Fair Quinoa Vodka (RM16 a shot; produced with quinoa from the Andean mountains, it goes down smoothly like a dream, with a warming depth), Haitian Clairin Casimir rum (RM20) & Sri Lankan Colombo gin (RM18), which taste terrific on their own & would also be brilliant bases for cocktails. And if you're a devotee of handcrafted cocktails, it's well worth dropping by to down delicious mixes like No Church In The Wild Lemonada (RM25.90; house-made nutmeg mace liquor, limoncello, Ceylon tea, lemon juice, sugar), Basil Grande (RM27.90; own-made vanilla & cardamom vodka, forest berry puree, basil, black pepper, soda), Minion Juice (RM24.90; house-made banana rum, pandan syrup, coconut water), The Pick Me Up (RM31.90; cognac, spice) & Charlie's Fix (RM31.90; rum, maple). But in line with the theme here of subversively wicked fun, what we loved the most were the excellent liquor-laced milkshakes (RM23.90) - Summertime (gin, coconut ice cream, fresh lime, mint), Canna Butter Kisses (vodka, frangelico, peanut butter, strawberry jam, peanut butter biscuits) & A$AP Rocky Road (bourbon, vanilla & salted caramel ice cream, own-made rocky road brownie, toasted marshmallows, salted caramel sauce) make the greyingly mature among us feel very much young at heart again. Many thanks to the fine Huckleberry team for having us.

Huckleberry After Dark
2G & 4G, Jalan Medan Setia 2, Plaza Damansara, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. 
Open 530pm till late, except Mondays. Tel: 010-960-0498 for reservations

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