Monday, July 6, 2009

An Eclectic Dining Experience. Hakka Republic @ Menara Hap Seng, Kuala Lumpur

Heard lots of good things about this Restaurant cum Wine Bar from other floggers. You can read LL's review here and Boo's take on the restaurant here. Trudged there from Pavilion one evening after some misadventures at 7ate9, which I will post about later. Arrived at Hap Seng hot, flustered and irritated. The restaurant was located on level 2, which has a beautiful courtyard adorned with real trees and grass.

Peace and a sense of tranquility descended upon me and the cool, crisp air from the air conditiong in the mall set me at ease once again. I got into the restaurant and was struck by the decor of this place! Very Chinois motifs, with Joanna Wong's sultry voice singing in the background. Oriental chic!

I was warmly received by the waitress at the entrance and was ushered to an empty table. There were no other diners there yet, but a few people were already having their tipple at the bar. The menu is not very extensive, but is rather esoteric. With Wagyu Beef and Ponzu sauce, Miso Cod... definitely some Japanese influence, which I found out to be true. The Chef had been working in Japan for more than 10 years.

Another interesting thing about the menu is that there are a lot of suggested wines to be paired with each entrée or main course. And the wines are sold by the glass, thanks to their enomatic machines. Which is a god send when dining alone or with few dining companions.

I proceeded to order and while waiting for the food, the waitress offered to bring me on a tour of the restaurant. On top is a view of the very posh VIP room waiting area. A place to have some drinks while waiting for your food in the adjacent VIP dining room. It should seat approximately 16 people comfortably.

You can see the enomatic machines at Boo's site.

First to arrive were the obligatory rolls. Then Came the Salmon, Hokkaido Crabs and Avocado Salad.

Amazing. Arranged in layers, with Avocados in the bottom, followed by crab meat and then salmon, topped with fish roe and a sprinkling of caviar.

Marvelously creamy. Each tasty morsel slid down my throat effortlessly, bringing with it the taste of the fruits of the ocean. The mix of smooth, chunky salmon, slightly salty crab meat and the "fishy" tasting roes when enveloped by the rich, creamy, buttery, nutty avocados turns it into this delicious, decadent treat for both the eyes and palate. Bravo!

Next, was the Duck Confit with Fig compote, Potatoes (mashed) and (Caramelized) Onion Jam. Ducks are notoriously difficult to pair with wine. The only memorable pairing that I can recall having the pleasure of tasting was Duck with Orange sauce and a 2001 Pinot Noir from a Malborough vineyard in NZ a couple of years back in Bangkok.

This time it was paired with a Gerwurtztraminer, a 2006 Zind Humbrecht, I think. The colour was excellent (see pic above). It released a very floral bouquet of rose petals and jasmine! Lots of fruits in the mouth. I got passion fruit and some melons. Slightly sweetish with a tinge of turpentine, not cloying sweet. The wine lingered in my mouth for about 3 to 5 minutes. Magnificent.

When I first tasted the duck on it's own, it was dry, salty and very, very gamey. "A dud!", I thought. By the next mouthful, when mixed with a bit of the fig compote and onion jam, I changed my mind. From then on, the game of seduction between the food and my taste buds began. A beautiful amalgamation of textures, taste and temperature. Tantalizing me, seducing me with a game of hide and seek with fleeting, furtive tastes. Crunchy, salty, warm duck dancing with the sweetness and the fruity aroma of the fig. The onion jam which is a mixture of sweetness and saltiness, yet delectably pungent and bitter, bathed by the cold, slightly acidic aromatic wine.

If The Tango has been described as making love in a vertical position, this must be doing it in a sitting position. Each bite brought about such rich and interesting flavours, my taste buds were screaming for more. At the end of the meal, I nearly stood up and gave the chef a standing ovation!

Bliss.... Bravissimo!

I had a Chinese wedding to attend later in the evening and was not able to taste the desserts! Oh! Woe! But the dining experience was very, very memorable.

A cultural hodge podge of Chinois Chic plus fine Western Dining with Japanese influences. Beautiful ambiance and impeccable service. Delicious and finely thought out food. Affordable and carefully matched wines. What else can a hungry Paranoid Android ask for?

Hakka Republic is a very welcome addition to the Dining scene in Kuala Lumpur.

Contact info:

Hakka Republic
Lot 2.05, Level 2
Menara Hap Seng
Jalan P.Ramlee
Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03 - 2078 9908

Open from 12 noon till 1 am, except for Saturdays, when they are open from 4 pm till 2 am. Set lunches available. Must try that out too!


Chalawan said...

Looks like a great place to dine. I guess it takes good food and wine to get you going. This post is more verbose than the previous posts. 555. Love the pics here too.

fatboybakes said...

HAHAHA, wow, ya, i agree with chalawan, very confit and!
err, dare i ask how much was this feast of yours?
i also found the duck confit very salty and told the owner actually.

Paranoid Android said...

@Chalawan: Yes. That was the first time back in KL that I had such a good meal. And they paired the dish so well with the wine.

@FBB: He he he... Yep. That's the self indulgent, verbose me here. The whole meal, plus 2 mojitos and the wine set me back by about 150 bucks. Looks like it's just going to be just a monthly affair. The wine they paired with the duck probably did the trick in transforming that dry, salty duck into a swan.

Maleewan said...

Wow! The meal was that good huh? A glowing review from you is so rare. Bring me there next time I'm in KL, promise?

Paranoid Android said...

@Maleewan: Sure thing. Just let me know when you are going to grace KL with your presence.

CUMI & CIKI said...

OMG! ur killing me.. i want to go bk again!

Paranoid Android said...

He.. He.. Would love to taste their wines there again. You'll probably love the Gewurtz I had. It was so lovely.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I like my salads, and this salad looks gorgeous. I'm afraid I'm stuck there and can't read past it. I hope you had nothing important to say at the end.

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