Tuesday, November 06, 2018

INSTAGRAMMABLE NEW EATS AT UPPERHOUSE KITCHEN & DESSERT BAR


Good food and dessert come to those who wait. Especially at Upperhouse in Bangsar Baru, an Australian-inspired dessert bar and kitchen specialising in inventive contemporary cuisine and prettily plated desserts.
Opened two years ago by professional pastry chefs and passionate dessert enthusiasts Gerard Ng and Hester Ling, the duo serves delicious, comforting dishes and exquisite, instagrammable dessert that are thoughtfully composed and lovingly crafted with great attention to detail. 

Hester and Gerard were classmates at Le Cordon Bleu Sydney. Having stayed in Australia for four years and spent time abroad, they were inspired to start Upperhouse Bangsar to introduce reasonably priced Australian cuisine, notably plated desserts to Malaysians.

The restaurant interior is whitewashed and light-filled as favoured by typical Aussie outposts. As a kids and baby-friendly outlet, there’s a nicely furnished children's play corner, complete with a wigwam, toys and kids' size furniture. In addition, a nappy changing station inside the loo makes it convenient for mothers with babies in tow. Simple and nutritious light bites are on the kids’ menu to boot.

A wall mounted display proudly showcases the partners’ handiwork: gingerbread houses, macaron tower and stacked praline rochers. Part of the ceiling boasts hand-painted frescoes of fluffy white clouds and blue skies whilst composite wing-shaped renderings of local motifs adorn an expansive feature wall. Boxy planters of faux blossoms add bursts of colour to the overall scheme too.

Since the owners firmly believed in using fresh produce and ingredients for their food preparation, some dishes may take about 20 minutes or more to reach your table. However, the resultant specialities will be worth the wait.
In the meantime, sit back and enjoy some thirst-quenching Mocktails (all priced at RM12 each) such as Sangria, Planter's Punch, Mojito, Sparkling Pomegranate and Apple Oolong Tea. The refreshing drinks are not too sweet; each concoction has its own appeal.



Prior to the arrival of mains, relish light bites such as Croquette (RM13), Creamy Crab Bisque (RM21), Wild Mushroom Soup (RM18) or Savoury Toast (RM27 for set of 3). The crisp, breaded croquettes are delightful but kinda outshine by the foamy crab bisque. Served in an old-fashioned kopitiam cup and saucer with crunchy croutons, the savoury broth is sublime and superbly satisfying. A crowd-pleaser sure to win hearts and tummies is the creamy-rich and chunky mushroom soup.


Personally I’m partial to the trio of savoury toast piled high with chopped mushroom, toasted slivers of cheesy tomatoes and deep-fried breaded prawns. Every aspect is on-point, from the visual presentation and scrumptious taste to the overall textural composition; an obvious testament to the care and pride taken to make them.

Popular mainstays to sample here include Smoked Salmon Benedict (RM30), Mushroom Aglio Olio (RM20), Buttermilk Chicken Pasta (RM26) and Salted Egg Yolk Prawn Pasta (RM25). A newer menu addition like Buttermilk Chicken Burger (RM24) should fit the bill for burger fans.

We are happy to report the eggs ben is everything it’s cracked up to be, from the lush hollandaise sauce to the generous smoked salmon slices. The pasta offerings strike a chord thanks to unexpected inclusions like sautéed button mushrooms and deep-fried battered eyringii chips in the aglio olio, and crunchy deep-fried dried fish along with springy shelled prawns, aromatic curry leaves and cherry tomato halves in the yummy salted egg yolk pasta.


Enveloped in a light crumbed coating, the tender fillet of buttermilk fried chicken hits the spot well; making it a nice foil to the toothsome pasta on sweet potato purée. 
 
Bolstered by a sizeable slab of delicious buttermilk batter-coated, fried boneless chicken, the burger leaves no cause for complaints. A heap of French fries lends extra susbtance to the portion.
 
No visit to Upperhouse is complete without savouring the house selection of dessert. Past stints at world famous restos: Heston Blumenthal in London, Quay Restaurant in Sydney, Andre in Singapore and Janice Wong in Singapore, and her travel inspirations from around the world, Hester Ling recreates plated desserts culled from her litany of experiences and current trends.
Do take note her much-touted Strawberry Watermelon Cake (RM15 per slice) is only available on weekends. The appeal lies in those tiers of feather-light sponge and  
crème pâtissière sandwiched between a juicy chunk of fresh watermelon and topping of strawberry wedges. Just that vivid burst of fruitiness cutting through the layers of cream and cake sponge is enough to win you over.


There’s also cloud-light Burnt Cheesecake (RM15) to melt the hardiest resolve. For a seductive multi-sensorial treat, try the simply-named Carrot (RM20) — an avant garde assembly of carrot cake thimbles, chopped walnuts, Greek yoghurt parfait, carrot jelly, honeycomb chunks and burnt honey ice cream on chocolate soil.


“A plated dessert comprises of different components. The varying textures and flavours on a plate keeps things interesting,” says Hester. Her signature Mille Feuille (RM24) is a notable example. Pronounced meel-foy, the two buttery French pastry wafers have piped orange milk chocolate mousse in between them. Almost too lovely to eat, the dainty creation is decorated with edible floral petals, spiced pineapple triangles, little dollops of vanilla mousse and red lacy brittles, complemented by hay-infused ice cream on the side.

 

Gerard, who discovered his love for baking when he was 7 or 8 years old, majored in pastry at Le Cordon Bleu Sydney. Having worked alongside Janice Wong from 2am Dessert Bar, Anissa Helou and Joe Barza during the World Chef Showcase in Sydney, Gerard is responsible for handcrafting the chocolates and chocolate showpieces using single origin cacao corverture from Callebaut at Upperhouse. His luscious chocolate handiwork also forms part of the newly refreshed Afternoon Tea (RM65 per set, available daily from 3pm-6pm).

The triple tier of tempting goodies is an excellent way to discover the Upperhouse duo’s forte. From the deconstructed watermelon cake and mini mille feuille to petite madeleines and smoked salmon sandwiches, rest assured you and a partner will go away with a delectable insight of the restaurant’s dessert specialities.
You may wish to finish with the Housemade Kombucha tea. Refreshing and light on the palate, the Kombucha is fermented for 14 days using black tea and sugar and is said to help with detoxification, improve digestion, increase energy and boost immunity. Health buffs may prefer the Housemade Almond Milk (RM8), a mildly nutty beverage. For something slightly more decadent, the Hot Chocolate Lolly (RM12) or Satongo Hot Chocolate (RM12) won’t be go remiss. 

Upperhouse is definitely the go-to place in my book for lovely plated desserts and good food without putting a dent in the wallet.

For more info and reservations, call Upperhouse Kitchen & Dessert Bar, tel. no. 011-28720083 or visit https://www.facebook.com/upperhousebangsarkl/ 
Address: 27-A, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur.




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