Nourish, Damansara Heights

April 7, 2019

On a sunny Saturday, slightly past noon, Nourish feels like the happiest place in Damansara Heights: The brunch crowd is feasting on everything from corn bread to crispy falafels to buckwheat pancakes, while Hall & Oates' You Make My Dreams flutters from the speakers, followed by The Beatles' Love Me Do. The restaurant's bakers have been up since 5:30 a.m., and the results of their labour are on vibrant display, with pecan pies, banana bread, carrot cakes and egg tarts lining the counter.

Nourish marks a spin-off by the team behind Kenny Hills Bakers, taking up the challenge of a full-fledged eatery that embraces a diversity of ingredient-driven recipes, living up to its name with a passionate reliance on produce like organic eggs, grass-fed beef and fresh vegetables and herbs, with cakes that shun gluten (diverging here from Kenny Hills Bakers) and refined sugar.

Salads and warm meals surface from the kitchen starting 11 a.m. everyday; customers can choose two types of salads on one plate for RM28 or three for RM36, making for a meal on its own or a starter for sharing. Each salad is thoughtfully conceived, brimming with delicately nuanced subtleties (begone, Caesar, Cobb and Greek!) - aubergines are roasted with harissa and dressed with dukkah, pomegranates and sesame seeds for a distinctive taste of North Africa, while kale and avocados come all chopped up, jazzed up with corn, cherry tomatoes and hemp seeds for light, uplifting sustenance. Other options span oven-baked sweet potatoes with spiced peanut sauce and radicchio to pan-fried asparagus with miso, leeks and garlic crumbs.

For protein, highlights include char-grilled free-range chicken with percik sauce - tender, clean-tasting meat that's complemented, not overpowered, by the luscious sauce (RM34 with a choice of one salad). Instead of a salad though, we had ours with nasi dagang for a made-in-Kelantan pairing; the mix of grains is partly glutinous, wholly aromatic with coconut milk, sprinkled with desiccated coconut and invigorated with wild jungle ulam. Note: On the menu, the rice is with curried tenggiri.

Breakfast begins at 8am; for a warm, golden start to the morning, have the polenta-crusted cakes, stuffed with spinach and quinoa, partnered with a poached egg and punchy lemon-laced tahini (RM28). Gluten-free baked fare also abounds - try a crisp, open-face toast, rounded out with house-made accompaniments like stone ground peanut butter and berry compote (RM13; the peanut butter, naturally textured and nutrition-rich, is also available in jars for sale), or a braised beef cheek and portobello mushroom pie - both the crust and the centre are delicious, the former buttery and flaky, prepared with almond milk, the latter robust and full-bodied (RM26). Complete with a cortado with oat milk (RM14).

Nourish's pecan pie is our top sweet treat, blanketed irresistibly with nuts, imbued with the nectarous earthiness of Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup (RM16). But every indulgence is intriguing in its own right, less guilty than typical, completely meriting the calories - the mud cake showcases Nourish's own-made Nutella (RM18), while the orange polenta cake is enlivened with a gentle, graceful zest (RM15). Even the egg tart is engaging, channeling creme brulee instead of heavy custards (RM8).

Nourish by Kenny Hills Bakers

35, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Plaza Damansara, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 8am-6pm.

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