September 12, 2018
Some chefs are worth following wherever they might lead us: We first met Justin Yap more than two years ago, and even then, his risk-taking resourcefulness was evident, when he served us everything from mee sua with Shaoxing-cooked prawns to squid ink pasta with crispy curried crickets (yep, the insects!). Barely in his mid-twenties, Justin is now the executive chef of Momentz Music Restaurant, revolutionising the menu at what might superficially seem like a typical Puchong watering hole.
What makes Justin a chef to eat for is his inventive interplay of ingredients, delivering a delicate dance of flavours and textures that soothes and satisfies. His kitchen takes the familiar and transforms it afresh with skillful self-expression, while still respecting the roots of the recipe. That's the essence of soulful fare like the Namikaze Tonkotsu Ramen, showcasing noodles immersed in a broth that's made collagen-rich by being cooked with pig's trotters, given gently nutty nuances with tahini, toasted miso, roasted garlic and ginger. It's ultimately lighter and less robust than the typical tonkotsu ramen, evoking Chinese inflections as much as Japanese, but its strength rests in how it feels intimately personal, with the noodles being handmade and the broth taking 13 hours to prepare. It's a contemporary take on ramen that succeeds in tasting classically time-honoured.
That sense of versatile confidence extends to salads, seafood and meat: A mesclun mix is enlivened with marinated crab meat, tobiko, jellyfish, wakame seaweed, Japanese cucumber and wasabi sesame dressing for a beautifully balanced medley of Western and Japanese sensibilities; Nordic king salmon fillets are seared to a suppleness reminiscent of a slow-cooked confit, their luscious flesh contrasting vivaciously with their crackly skin, punctuated with sparkling notes of lemon, thyme and soy butter (a certain should-order for salmon enthusiasts); and a Black Angus striploin is aged for 100 days in butter, boasting a clean depth of savouriness, char-grilled to the ideal tenderness, rounded out with an onion pepper gravy and portobello mushrooms with shaved bonito and truffle oil, brilliantly bringing together beefiness with brininess and aromatic earthiness.
Any of those aforementioned offerings would make Momentz a memorable destination, but the most striking ensemble might be the charred iberico pork collar, marinated with juniper berries, plum sauce and sea salt, plated with an egg yolk, bacon-spiked mashed potatoes, herb-roasted vegetables and teriyaki sesame glaze - an effort that's both accessible and ambitious, purposeful in each of its flourishes, with each component well thought-out and well-tuned to serve the dish as a whole.
Many thanks to the Momentz team for having us here.
Momentz Music Restaurant And Bar
LOT 1, i31, Jalan PPU2A, Bandar Puchong Jaya, Taman Perindustrian Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia.
Daily, 11am-1pm. Tel: 017-257-5591
This feature first appeared on eatdrinkkl.com
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