Degustation, Taman Tun Dr Ismail

June 27, 2019

Meals conceived with creative effort, presented in portions that exceed expectations: Taman Tun Dr Ismail's latest restaurant makes its mark with recipes of robust imagination and remarkable integrity. Start with the three-course set lunches, which kick off with a soup of the day and a salad that prove more nuanced than the norm; the latter, for example, is a far cry from perfunctory leaves, tossed with an elaborate ensemble of shimeji mushrooms, yellow raisins, julienned red peppers, red radish and candied walnuts in a perky lemon vinaigrette.

The main course is where the lunch shines: Choose from possibilities like Pork Bulgogi Melt Sandwich (showcasing chunks of 12-hour slow-braised pork belly, savoury succulence to sink your teeth into, thickly sliced to ensure an epic mouthful, layered with sambal, salted egg yolk aioli, cheese and pickled cucumber in a charcoal bun, with breaded onion rings on the side for extra indulgence), Salted Egg Yolk Smoked Duck Spaghetti (pasta coated in a house-made cured duck egg sauce, more mellow and subtle than typical, mixed with coconut emulsion and garlic scapes for an aromatic boost, plus a poached egg to crown the poultry protein pleasure), beef stroganoff, pan-seared salmon, duck leg confit, and more.

This could be the neighbourhood's heartiest, most honest set lunch bargain, clocking in at a total of RM19.90++ for three courses with a beverage. It's impossible to imagine many other places offering a multi-course meal that includes a powerhouse serving of braised pork, beef stroganoff, salmon or duck confit for that price.

The forces behind Degustation comprise its lead founder, passionate first-time restaurateur Swadesh, and his chefs Bryan and Alvin, who are relatively young but have honed their craft at respected restaurants in KL and abroad. Their skill and experience come into play for the dinnertime repertoire; while Degustation currently doesn't boast a degustation menu, the selection's wide enough to ensure that a sampling of different, distinctive dynamics can be delivered.

Seafood buffs can take note of the citrus-cured hamachi, channelling an Italian-inflected crudo preparation for the yellowtail, fleshy fish that's jazzed up with uplifting notes from grapefruit dashi, red perilla, avocado mousse and kaffir lime oil (RM25), and scallops cushioned with creamy sweet corn polenta and spiced butternut squash puree, punched up with chorizo crumbs and soothed down with orange blossom essence (RM30), painstakingly put together, pretty on the plate.

For a good ribbing, Degustation delves into both beef and pork - the bovine short ribs is meat at its most full-bodied, blanketed in smoked garlic jus, balanced out with steak fries, baby carrots, broccoli puree and pearl onions (RM33), while the porcine ribs is part of the bar snacks menu, emerging tenderly glazed with a lightly tangy chipotle passionfruit cider reduction sauce - it's sufficiently substantial to be a main course on its own, with a heap of fries on the side (RM18).

There's plenty more for the bar snacks, from Southern-fried chicken to sausage platters and salmon tacos, to pair perhaps with playful cocktails like the colourful Raibbow (RM29), a beer bottle-loving Coal concoction (RM36) and Ginito, essentially a Mojito with a gin-based twist (RM20).

Many thanks to Degustation for having us here.


16, Jalan Wan Kadir 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Open Monday-Saturday, 12pm-12am. Tel: +6019-700-7433

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