October 24, 2011
It's fusion cooking that's fearless & flamboyant: Urban Spoon scoops up forkfuls of Asian & European ingredients, then jackknifes on unexpected tangents from what might as well be a parallel-universe kitchen.
Make mine Malaysian: Poached salmon is a culinary cliche, but splatter it with sambal ikan bilis & it's like a salty breath of fresh air for anyone drowning in an ocean of ordinariness. This plate's embarrassment of riches also includes grilled taro, shallot confit & watercress pesto.
Chinese chow: Emperor Tang's Duck Confit, with accoutrements of soy & calamansi reduction, maltose, braised cabbage & roast potatoes. What grade should we give meat that's this tender & therapeutically tasty? Something better than an Asian F, for sure.
Impressively Indian: Lamb Keema Pizza, topped with spicy minced lamb & tomato chutney, covered completely with boiled egg & Italian balsamic dressing. The worlds of Gujarat & Gallipoli collide in one big bang, evolving into a farrago of full-bodied flavors.
Let's call it a Thai: Mussels in a broth of coconut milk, galangal & lime, accompanied by French fries & aioli. A tangy twist to the recipe of "tom kar gai," heavy enough to make customers want to crawl upstairs to Urban Spoon's first-floor lounge for a post-meal nap.
Turning in, I'm turning round, I'm turning Japanese: Chicken roll with enoki mushrooms, carrots in sweet vinegar & tomato salsa. Wish they would use thigh meat instead of breast; this could be so shamelessly succulent, you wouldn't need a samurai's sword to slice through it.
Desserts fail to display the same East-meets-West razzmatazz, though the chocolate caramel cake with sea salt & peanut butter banana cake are nonetheless as virtuosic as anything else on the menu. But why do both look so familiar? A clue might reside with the boy who baked them.
Morande Pinoero Chardonnay, available by the carafe.
Morande Pionero Merlot.
UrbanSpoon Bistro & Lounge,
63, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1 (opposite Hartamas Shopping Center),
Taman Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur.