Restaurant DC By Darren Chin @ TTDI

October 18, 2014

Three more days until DC Restaurant - one of 2014's most confident new outlets - is formally unveiled on Oct. 21; many thanks to chef-founder Darren Chin, his right-hand man Kim, Scots stalwart Sam & the rest of DC's hard-working team for this preview dinner of what their restaurant hopes to convey to customers.
Earlier introduction to DC Restaurant: October 13.

Housekeeping notes first: DC Restaurant will initially operate only its first floor beginning next week, with dinner commencing from 7:30pm (except Mondays). Prix fixe menus might cost RM280 per person; advance reservations of at least 48 hours are required to ensure DC manages to secure everything that's needed to ensure an enjoyable experience from start to finish.

The hall has a minimalist feel - it's warm, welcoming & woodsy, intimate enough that hardly twenty-plus guests can be seated each evening. At least one burning mystery can be resolved now: The restaurant's unofficial logo - reflected in the shape of the ceiling's lighting structures within & signboard emblems outside - refers to Darren's passe in the kitchen.

DC's food is infused with character & personality. When even the bread & butter prove so satisfying, you know you're likely in safe hands for the remainder of the night. DC Restaurant's baker Jo does a sterling job with the caraway-tinged ciabatta, foccacia & sourdough with five cereals, paired with million-calorie dollops of unctuous, unpasteurised Pamplie French butter.

It takes a long time to type out 'charcoal rice crisp with eggplant caviar, anchovy cream, fraises des bois (wild strawberry) confiture & baby coriander,' but only a second to pop this amuse bouche into your mouth & another second or two to recognise & relish its varied, crunchy-creamy textures & nuanced, sweet-savoury flavours.

A similar theme is reassuringly woven throughout DC's menu - the emphasis on technique & balance, both mastered & tamed in this yam puff laced with guinea fowl confit, accompanied by kitchen-made hollandaise sauce & Korean chilli pepper for a tinge of heat. There's a surprising complexity of flavours when you bite into the puff - the ideal illustration of how a small morsel can supply massive pleasure.

Darren is French-trained, & while his menu incorporates the foundation of his learning & experience, this isn't a French restaurant - it might be better described as experimental or progressive, with many Southeast Asian elements. Darren's wife is Thai, & her inspiration shines in her husband's interpretation of beef tartare, prepared through the prism of Thailand's northeastern Isaan heritage with coriander oil, garlic & Thai basil, topped with & bitter sorbet.

Dinner at DC might take a little longer than usual, since there are so many courses in the seemingly never-ending set menu, but the time flies by effortlessly, thanks to temptations like these cold soba noodles with Boston lobster claws, lobster shell, baby oyster leaves & salicorne, plus a side salad of iced daikon strips with tonka bean vinaigrette.

DC's focus on fresh produce - best exemplified through the bounty of the ocean & the harvest of the land - seizes the spotlight in this 'seafood medley,' with Pulau Ketam pomfret a la meuniere from MySeafoodMart, slipper lobster from Mersing in Johor & clams with watercress puree & zucchini.

Note that DC's menu is expected to be an ever-evolving one; what's available this week might not necessarily be spotted the following week. Guests so far have had the chance to feast on slow-roasted guinea fowl with pomme puree & glazed carrots ...

... but customers later this month might find, say, veal sweetbreads or aboriginal-reared chicken on their plates.

Choice of cheese: Fans will have a field day here, though the key to select one wisely.

Our recommendation: Ask Sam what's the stinkiest. With great pungency comes great fulfilment. The cheese is served with Turkish figs braised in red wine & mesclun salad.

Good things come in threes, as proven by DC's trio of sweets to cap this meal - from a ravishing pistachio creme brulee with soy milk, black jelly, hazelnut tuille & green tea ...

 ... to chocolate fondant that's the height of comfort food, capable of healing a broken heart ...

... to soft, smooth kachai ginger ice cream - pure in taste, delicate in texture - with baby coriander, again underscoring DC's pivot toward ingredients from our region.

We start our evening with cold hibiscus tea; we end our night with hot tea infused with herbs from the restaurant's own garden.

A compact range of better beers is available, including Belgian, British & Spanish varieties.

In vino veritas - In DC Restaurant we trust. And that's probably the truth.

But what about DC Restaurant's street-level section? It'll open soon too, supplying an action-packed setting where the mysteries of cooking are laid bare, where the chef might fillet a fish & strip the meat off a whole lamb right in front of you.

Restaurant DC by Darren Chin @ TTDI
44 Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
Open initially only for dinner. Reservations: Contact Darren at 012-223-2991

Check out the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for October-December 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. 
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