Yellow Brick Road @ Batai Village, Damansara Heights

April 1, 2015

Some of us may harbour impossible expectations for any place that calls itself Yellow Brick Road. The name ignites the imagination; its rallying cry of 'by dreamers for dreamers' teases us with the prospect of an escape into the earthly equivalent of Oz, Narnia, Neverland or Wonderland. We know it's only a restaurant, but we want it to be much more.

That's an unfair burden to saddle on a new cafe, even one whose founders & collaborators have earned the robust respect of their peers & nurtured a reliable reputation among their customers. Yellow Brick Road is a place that needs to be enjoyed on its own merits - with compassion for its limitations, with the understanding that brunch is only a meal, a kiss is just a kiss, & a wizard who rules an Emerald empire may simply be a circus magician from Nebraska.

There's a lot to like about a place where the vibe is unerringly positive, thanks to a team whose tireless work is unobtrusive enough to go unnoticed. Come at 10 a.m. & in a blink, it'll be noon & you'll have laughed & loosened up over plates of a poached egg with quinoa rosti, avocado slices, smoked salmon & passion fruit hollandaise sauce (RM25++), French toast with poached pear, coconut mascarpone cheese & caramel kaya sauce (RM22++) & 'Oatly Amuesing' soy milk muesli (RM20++).

Even the restaurant's tunes prove uplifting, fuelled soaringly & surprisingly by the '70s, with The Jackson 5's 'I Want You Back' seguing into ABBA's 'Mamma Mia,' followed shrewdly by Elton John's buoyant 'Philadelphia Freedom' instead of the brooding 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' - the perfect soundtrack for a carefree, calorie-foolish session of kitchen-made char siu chicken with aglio olio pasta (RM25++), mac-&-cheese with truffle oil (RM22++) & truffle fries with pecorino cheese sauce (RM16++).

Yellow Brick Road represents the work of an ensemble, with bright minds bouncing perceptive ideas off each other, producing a place that no one or two people could have created on their own. That sort of synergy courses through some of the food too - each mouthful of the ayam percik is most satisfyingly eaten with a bite of mango kerabu salad (RM25++), each forkful of the omelette is best dunked into the sambal ikan bilis & devoured together with sugar-cured prawns (RM25++).

Yellow Brick Road's menu reads like a mishmash, in the best sense of the word; beef rendang cottage pie (RM22++) is followed by chili con carne baked eggs with naan bread (RM25++) - a harbinger of the restaurant's potential to evolve & extend the boundaries of its imagination & inspirations. For now, head chef Bob Azran's affinity for seafood remains unmistakable; the battered barramundi with mushy peas & mint yoghurt (RM28++) & a tangy hot pot of prawns, flower crab, calamari & clams with foccacia (RM28++) might showcase shades of Bob's past stint at Changkat Bukit Bintang's pioneering fish-&-chips outlet.

Even for those of us who honestly can't tell a Slayer from a Synesso, it's clear that Yellow Brick Road's coffee is, as it's described here, Oz-some (currently a Columbia & Costa Rica blend, with tasting notes labelled as 'raisin sweetness, plum skin acidity & a Darjeeling tea finish'). Iced white coffee & icy red apple & dragon fruit Smooshie juice are godsends in this weather.
Earlier preview of Yellow Brick Road: March 29, 2015.

Yellow Brick Road
Jalan Batai, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 9am-6pm (will extend hours in a month or two). Tel: 03-2035-5922

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