June 6, 2018
Roost continues its relentless rise as one of KL's most notable restaurants, evolving from its local farm-to-fork origins to embrace produce from a wider worldview. Peek into the open kitchen and you'll see Chef Albert Frantzen and his team labouring on modern European creations that now bring together the likes of Spanish-bred ducks with Selangor-harvested figs, relying meticulously on sources that support ethical, eco-friendly cultivation.
The menu is meant to be sustainable and seasonal, epitomised by the distinctive Shigoku oysters, nurtured by the Taylor family shellfish farm in the U.S. state of Washington. These oysters are relatively small but deep-cupped, furnishing a firm but smoothly tender bite and a sweet, cleanly briny chew. Deliciously satisfying by any measure, buoyed further by Roost's own herb oil with notes of coriander and parsley (RM11 per piece).
There's a clear confidence in starters like the Snapper Ceviche, a crescent that glows with visual gracefulness, the local fish imbued with an invigorating tang, made textured with crispy rye and pickled radish (RM35), and the Duck Prosciutto, the intensity of the dry-cured meat tempered by the juiciness of grilled local figs (RM25), both showcasing a mastery of keenly calibrated dynamics.
The versatility of Roost's culinary brigade is evident through its interesting work on pasture-fed beef from southeastern Australia's Goulburn Valley - the steak tartare swerves toward a more Scandinavian interpretation, complementing the meat's rustic purity of flavour with the earthy depth of dark rye (RM35), while the Beef Cheek Slider is every bit a swoon-worthy, savoury sacrament of succulence, sandwiched in a house-baked bun with truffle mayo and pickled onions, for a slider that we'd happily have again and again (RM28).
Roost is equally adroit with the ocean and the land, with seafood or fowl, from the Spanish octopus bolstered by puy lentils for treat of succulent, creamy dimensions (RM78; add RM25 for aromatic streaks of Italian shaved truffles), and the Canadian Blue Lobster Roll, with luscious morsels of the crustacean plumply stuffed with sour cream and pistachios in a fresh brioche (RM84) ...
.. to capon as the catalyst for reinterpretations of French and Austrian classics - the former, coq au vin, beautifully braised chicken leg coupled with white cabbage mash, the pinnacle of protein-fuelled comfort fare (RM36), the latter, chicken schnitzel, thinly breaded and pan-fried, paired with cauliflower rice and chilli jam for fuss-free nourishment (RM36).
Roost's repertoire is comprehensive enough that you can construct a complete meal even without meat, kicking off with addictive snacks to share, like padron peppers (RM18) and sweet potato croquettes (RM18), both spiked with hints of goat's cheese for punchy complexities ...
... then moving on to a main course of spinach tortellini with elements of pumpkin, sage and ricotta cheese that would make a respectable trattoria proud (RM32), plus fibre-loaded side dishes like burnt white cabbage with miso cream (RM16) ...
... before coming full circle with a sweet conclusion of more figs, this time baked in their entirety, ravishingly rounded out with cream cheese and honeyed pistachios (RM26).
Special mention here for Roost's charming tableware, crafted by Malacca-based ceramics brand Bendang Studio.
For wine devotees, Roost also persistently pursues fresh frontiers for its options, carrying the torch for a terroir-driven tour de force that includes natural and organic wines, which include intriguing possibilities by both glass and bottle.
The BK One Ball Chardonnay is a bit of Burgundy by way of Adelaide Hills, a natural wine with the creaminess of peaches speckled with nutmeg, the outcome defying what a Chardonnay typically denotes (RM40 by the glass, RM180 by the bottle), while the Scott & La Prova Scott 'Lo Zingaro' (The Gypsy) harmoniously blends four varietals - Shiraz, Sangiovese, Aglianico and Lagrein - into a wine that balances richness with restraint (RM42/RM190).
But the ultimate encounter might be Emilia-Romagna's Denavolo 'Dinavolino' (RM170 by the bottle) a natural orange wine that carries the warning 'try at your own risk' on Roost's menu - it's a wine that tastes like a barn, perhaps a pairing that's ideal with fermented food and aged cheese, but if you like challenging flavours, it's a wine you might want to experience.
Many thanks to Roost for having us back.
69-1, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 1130am - 1130pm. Tel: 03-2201-1710