Wizards At Tribeca @ Imbi

January 25, 2018

The creators of Wizards might not be capable of thrusting a magical sword into a stone, battling a brood of Death Eaters, or mastering the Eye of Agamotto, but there's still a certain sorcery involved in conjuring up a restaurant like this. Poised and polished, this venue in a new serviced-suite tower is precisely what KL's cafe disciples worship - a living, breathing masterwork of aesthetics, a vision of love at first sight, promising the city centre's most finely honed Melbourne-inspired brunches and Southeast Asian-roasted coffee. Putting customers at immediate ease, the reassuring sense of professionalism is nothing less than what we'd expect from the team behind Solaris Dutamas' pioneering The Red Beanbag and Damansara Heights' Yellow Brick Road.

The all-day-dining menu offers Big Breakfasts and baked eggs all the way from 10am till 6pm, with pizzas, pastas and burgers coming to the fore at noon, and an evening repertoire of protein-powered main courses starting 6pm. The kitchen focuses pragmatically on providing patrons with what they know and want instead of breaking fresh ground, spotlighting proven bestsellers like buttermilk fried chicken burgers and pulled beef tagliatelle.

Still, with founders as skilled as these, there'll always be some pleasant surprises in store, often because of the clear-eyed attention to detail. The Taro Mish Mash (RM28) is a triumph of comfort-food brunching, beautifully blending the earthy creaminess of mashed yams with the crisp crackle of sourdough toast, the warm lusciousness of poached eggs, and the nuance-rich uplift of an avocado pesto, tomato salsa and feta cheese.

Wizards' foie gras brioche might seem like it's intended solely for the Tribeca address' well-heeled inhabitants, but it clocks in at an encouragingly reasonable RM44, with a fair portion of foie layered with beef bacon, mushroom duxelles and mixed berry reduction on a buttery brioche - it's as sumptuous as it sounds, with each component terrifically tuned in proportion so that the entire ensemble tastes even better than it looks.

The one minor miss for us is the dinnertime duck breast - despite being smoked and brined in-house, it might not be discernibly more delicious than commercial smoked duck. But that may be nitpicking for most customers who'll relish this dish, well-complemented by braised radish, forest mushrooms and duck jus with a walnut salad (RM42). Bonus points to the team for making the not-as-simple-as-it-looks effort to ensure that even when a recipe here sounds conservative, there's consistently something in it to keep it vital and engaging.

Wizards boasts some of Malaysia's most celebrated baristas, so there's as much craftsmanship in the beverages as the food. Ask for the weekly coffee specials to check out, say, filter coffee (RM20) made with beans cultivated in Colombia's Las Brisas farm and roasted by Singapore's 2 Degrees North Coffee Co. A coffee tasting platter (RM17) is also worth sampling, as is excellent hot chocolate (RM16) made in collaboration with KL's Chocolate Concierge.

The cocktail selection is fun, with tea and coffee finding a place amid the alcohol - the Ikebana is our favourite, a strikingly robust blend of Absolut Vodka, Niko Neko Matcha green tea, white peach syrup, lime juice and rose syrup (RM38); the Specialty Irish Coffee (RM48; Jameson Irish coffee, filter coffee, cascara syrup, fresh cream) should also hit the spot. And with other solid offerings like the Wizard's Potion (RM42; house-pour red wine, campari, passion fruit, blood orange syrup, rosemary) and Empress Dream (RM38; a nod to China's seventh-century Empress Wu Zetian, featuring what Wizards might describe as a relatively feminine-leaning mix of Hendricks Gin, osmanthus syrup, lemon juice and egg white in a traditionally masculine-tilted glass), this is one restaurant that confidently straddles the line between weekend-brunch cafe and after-work watering hole.

Ground Floor, Residensi Tribeca, Jalan Imbi, Off Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 10am-10pm. Tel: 03-2715-5308

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