Nosh Up @ Jaya Shopping Centre

September 25, 2014

Probably the prettiest cafe in Jaya Shopping Centre, Nosh Up opened up this month with a menu infused with intriguing twists.

Kudos to the artistic talents who constructed this tastefully colourful restaurant that's owned by the people behind Puchong's This & That Cafe; it features a plethora of photogenic flourishes, making it distinctively identifiable & definitely Instagrammable.

Browsing through the menu easily elevates expectations; the cafe says it bakes its own bread (oregano buns sound tasty), signals that it wood-smokes its salmon & proclaims it shuns preservatives & artificial colouring in favour of natural seasoning.

We respect Nosh Up's spirit of experimentation; there are interesting ideas & the chefs have encouraging sparks of inspiration, so the challenge is ensuring the flavours are effectively composed & consolidated to leave a memorably positive impression. The slow-braised lamb ragu 'pie' with mixed veggies & borlotti beans is robustly savoury, partnered with puff pastry slices (RM25), but the topping of oven-baked mashed potatoes needs fine-tuning to rescue it from becoming a lump of bland carbs.

A lot's going on with this open-face sandwich (RM26++) - pulled beef in a kitchen-made BBQ sauce with melted cheese & tomatoes on mint toast, cutely accompanied by syringes containing three types of mayo (original, wasabi & orange-flavoured). But there's a lack of lively complexity in the dimensions of flavour; it's a recipe piled with layers of stuff that pack scant punch - the meat tastes simply of a sweetish sauce, the mayos seem merely creamy, making the sum not much greater than the parts.

The menu lists this as potato rosti, but it turns out to be the texture-deficient baked mashed potatoes once again, paired with smoked salmon that might have been better left uncooked & more of the mayo that would be redundant if only the potatoes & salmon were strong enough to shine on their own. RM15.

In all fairness, the food here is not bad; we finished everything we ordered. It's just that we think this place has the potential & ambition to be even better. There's hope, for sure; it takes thought & effort to create a repertoire that includes the likes of this smoked duck fettuccine with miso sauce, tomato salsa, seaweed flakes & poached egg (RM25). Some customers will rightfully enjoy this, even though the end result is not quite something we'd still remember in a fortnight.

 Nosh Up's big sister, This & That, supplies cakes to various cafes in the Klang Valley, so there's familiar fare in the chiller here, including this elderflower lime cheesecake (flavoured subtly). Maybe This & That's avocado cheesecake will also make an appearance someday at Nosh Up, which is ultimately worth a stop if you're in this neighbourhood & looking for a new cafe.

 Save space for coffee: Nosh Up's is engaging enough to sample; the blend is Javanese & Brazilian, easy to drink, producing a less full-bodied espresso than expected but with tantalising nuances nonetheless.

 Nosh Up's peanut butter latte is surprising too; we like it. It's more peanut than peanut butter, with a natural nutty taste that works convincingly well to complement the coffee. Oh, bonus points for a service team here that's helpful, obliging & friendly.

LG-26, Jaya Shopping Centre, Section 14, Petaling Jaya

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