April 18, 2018
If you ever plan to reward yourself with a much-deserved three-hour weekday lunch, Skive is the route to take.
Bangsar's newest restaurant brings a human touch and honest character to contemporary comfort food, conceived primarily through the culinary skills of Malaysian husband-and-wife team Jon (a Swiss-trained chef whose love for cooking sprouted from his family in Penang) and Wen Huey (a former British-based surgeon who swapped the operating table for pastry ovens). Skive's a bright and cheerful space, staffed by a warm team that strives to see customers leave with a spring in their step and sheer satisfaction in their stomachs.
Skive's name might evoke mischievous sentiments, but the food here is more cheeky pleasure than guilty over-indulgence. Upon entering, patrons are welcomed with a counter of freshly baked temptations and a chiller of house-churned ice cream that both illustrate an imaginative streak.
If you allow yourself only one carbolicious treat this week, make it the highly memorable Vadai Soda Bread, blending Indian and Irish sensibilities, beautifully tasty and textured, delicately but distinctively laced with lentils and curry leaves. Enjoy it warm, terrific for a high tea session, better than any scone we've had this past year. It might sound like a novelty, but one bite is enough to assure us that we're in the hands of a capable kitchen.
Skive's ice cream also ought to be the hottest thing on Telawi - check out what the restaurant calls its â€˜breakfast ice cream,' in the flavour of soybean with caramelised yew tiao and a subtle spike of ginger, capturing the essence of its traditional tau foo fah inspiration and transforming it into a palate-tickling ice cream with a twist of cruller bits.
Basil sorbet is also executed with flair, flush with naturally invigorating nuances, even for those of us who seldom adore sorbet. If you see the durian avocado ice cream available, get it quickly - we procrastinated too long and another customer swooped in and purchased the entire tub (if that person is reading this, we hate you).
There's much more on the menu - this is a full-fledged eatery for an entire meal, be it brunch, lunch or dinner. Start with slices of jerk-marinated salmon slathered over crisp German-inspired dark bread - doubly a delight, a fine change from typical smoked fish and French-style sourdough, bringing together seafood's lusciousness with the dense earthiness of rye in perfect proportions with swirls of avocado puree and salsa for an ensemble that gives open sandwiches a great name (RM19.90).
Reconfiguring familiar flavours into playful pleasures, Skive turns Tex-Mex into Thai-Mex: Sourdough tortillas (yep, also made on site) come plumped up with pulled duck curry, lychee and mint for a messy but successfully mouthwatering marvel of cross-cultural tacos (RM22). Even an innocent-looking beef burger takes on Southeast Asian dimensions - the thick, house-ground patty is jazzed up with the uplift of lemongrass, rounded out with sriracha mayo (RM34).
Skive ensures there's something for everyone, spanning inspirations from East, West and a few places in between. Grandma's Thai Laksa is a fragrantly heartwarming recipe handed down by chef Jon's mom (RM25), the herb-crusted NZ lamb rack with parsley risotto and beetroot-walnut puree supplies a thoughtful balance of carnivorous and vegetarian components (RM62), and the ayam berempah spatchcock is some of the most lip-smacking chicken you'll find in this zip code, impeccably crisp-skinned, succulent and rich with flavour, served with spiced rice, sweet corn and three dip-worthy Malaysian sauces (RM58).
Cakes galore are available, but the lovely lemon chia was made for us, no question about it. For customers seeking bottled nostalgia, Malacca-made Long Chan-brand beverages are your best bet (try the Ais Krim Soda to transport your taste buds back to the eighties); for others who understandably crave more potent relief, a small selection of wine can be spotted.
All in all, Skive provides a shameless excuse to ditch the office and rustle up a few over-worked colleagues for an afternoon of gossip and gluttony. Plus, if you ask politely, chef Jon might even croon a line or two of Josh Groban for you at the table.
Ground Floor, Telawi Square, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur.
Open Mon-Fri, 9am-9pm; Sat-Sun, 7am-9pm.
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