Mr. Wolf @ Taman SEA, Petaling Jaya

November 1, 2015

Mr. Wolf howls into PJ this month: Helmed with ferocious flair by young chef Bryan Tan & his Wolfpack, this is a haven for ambitious & adventurous cooking, tackling Asian-accented tapas & other contemporary creations that convey forceful flavours.

Mr Wolf comprises a street-level restaurant & first-floor bar - it's worth stopping upstairs before or after dinner to sample the bar snacks, which go far beyond the ordinary. We love the crunchy pork skin 'nachos' embellished with a sweet-savoury, meaty mix of beef bolognese, sriracha mayo & cucumber salad (RM16), the deep-fried pig's ears, a crisply addictive treat with streaky bacon (RM18), the squid surimi strips, served cold with morsels of salted duck egg yolk & teriyaki vinaigrette (RM20) & the soft-shell crab sliders, Tiger-beer-battered & complemented by kimchi mayo & caramelised onions (RM12). Each is deliciously imaginative, supplying a pleasant surprise with the first bite & pure satisfaction with every subsequent mouthful.

The restaurant isn't afraid of bold combinations - citrus-cured salmon carpaccio with pickled daikon, yuzu shoyu & avruga caviar would be safe & crowd-pleasing, but Mr. Wolf adds a memorable dimension of robust Southeast Asian dynamics to this recipe with bunga kantan prawn tartare (RM32). For your main course, some equally engaging concoctions might compete for your attention: Braised ox tongue with Thai red curry, sweet potato & grilled eggplant (RM32; lovely comfort food) & sous-vide miso pork loin with crackling, creamy soft-boiled eggs, apple coleslaw & black vinegar caramel (RM32; beautifully executed). 

Mr. Wolf's pastas are not as show-stopping, though the spaghetti bolognese is still a notch above average, thick with tender oxtail & beef, plus parmesan cheese & truffle oil (RM36). But we'd probably skip the crab ravioli (RM32), since its filling falls short of the luscious crustacean fleshiness that we're hoping for. It comes with tasty accompaniments though - deep-fried calamari & a salad of pickled mango & papaya in a light coconut broth. Desserts are also not Mr. Wolf's forte for now: Both the sous-vide creme brulee with candied pistachios & fresh berries (RM20) & the date pudding with Gula Melaka sauce & salted caramel ice cream (RM18) were less rich & more conventional than their descriptions might suggest - they're enjoyable enough, but not as compelling as Mr. Wolf's entrees. Still, there are sufficient triumphs here to rank Mr. Wolf as one of PJ's best new restaurants. Wine is available, as are well-made cocktails at welcome prices (the Seductive Hound above is RM18).

Mr. Wolf PJ
5 Jalan SS23/11, Taman SEA, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Daily, 5pm to late. Will open for weekend brunches eventually. Tel: +603-7886-1098 or +6012-216-5064

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