Sitka @ Batai, Damansara Heights

April 10, 2014

From noontime treats of beef tacos & crispy liver submarine sandwiches to evening temptations of goat's milk panna cotta with banana-chocolate wontons, Sitka is a Malaysian-Scottish collaboration that's determined to deliver innovative cooking fuelled by local produce. This is one of 2014's most promising new restaurants.
April 24 Update: Click here for a new review on Sitka's lunch selection.

Sitka is the most ambitious initiative yet by the talents behind the Klang Valley's Butter + Beans, Feeka & Food Foundry, marshalling the experience of Christian Recomio & Barry Lindsay, the former head chefs of the highly rated Moonfish Cafe in Aberdeen. In recent months, they've sniffed out small farms & independent food suppliers in Malaysia in their mission to create an eatery that capitalises on this country's abundance of produce. Customers can expect to pay rational prices for satisfying meals that transcend run-of-the-mill recipes: A salad of honey-marinated aubergine, miso-tinged portobello mushrooms & millets will barely breach RM20.

 Staying true to the ethos of its owners, Sitka is tucked away in a neighbourhood that brims with history & character. Here on Jalan Batai, it retains a long-faded signboard over its entrance, replacing a homeopathic treatment centre on a decades-old row of shop-houses out of sight from Damansara Heights' main roads. It's not a venue that most future customers can convincingly claim to have conveniently stumbled upon themselves for their 'hidden cafe' lists.

 For this coming week, Sitka _ a non-intimidating, far-from-stuffy outlet where customers can relax in a casual setting _ is in its soft-opening stage, bereft of hot meals. Pastries & cakes are available, with coffee made with a Faema E61 espresso machine, a model that's reputedly legendary among caffeine buffs.

The restaurant currently opens 9am-6pm daily; come early for fresh-tasting smoked salmon quiches & enjoy a chat with Sitka's co-owner Jenifer Kuah or her cheerful baristas to learn more about what this place is all about. 

 Strawberry rhubarb tarts (RM11), jasmine raspberry pound cakes, walnut cinnamon rolls (RM8) & peach cobblers are among the sweet treats here, all crafted with care & poised to please.

Snatch a slice of the chocolate raspberry meringue creation whenever it's offered; it's a real crowd-pleaser.

Starting April 18, Sitka will serve its comprehensive menu, with daytime delights like tacos filled with local fish tempura, apple slaw & smoked pepper aioli (RM22). Dinner will only be served three nights a week (starting in May); expect possibilities like hay-smoked beef with pickled egg yolk & salted radish.

 Feeka fans will be happy to hear their favourite cafe's blend is used here. Try the flat white (RM10) or the hot mocha (RM11), both exemplary. Wine will be available by the end of next week.

Tonka bean ice cream affogato & iced black, brilliant for beating the heat.

Hot & cold: Macchiato & a creamy-rich iced chocolate.

Smoothies feature combinations like banana, mango & strawberries.

Sitka's story is only beginning; expect to see & hear much more about this place in the months ahead, as folks steadily familiarise themselves with the restaurant's logo of the Sitka spruce tree that's part of the landscape in Scotland & elsewhere. 

Sitka Restaurant
8-5, Jalan Batai, Bukit Damansara, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2011-1117

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Also, take a look at the latest edition of Eat Drink KL: 100 Favourites, completely redesigned with a revamped look, featuring 100 recommended restaurants for April-June 2014, including more than 30 new entries for this quarter. This eBook is available to read or download at this link: http://eatdrinkkl.publ.com/Eat-Drink-KL-100-Favourites-Apr-Jun-2014 (Link expires June 30, 2014; see blog entries after that date for new link).