Keep things simple. That is the culinary philosophy of Executive Chef Logan Terence Lopez of Bounty KL, the new bistro concept restaurant at The Kuala Lumpur Journal boutique hotel. From what we sampled of his handiwork, the simplicity comes with a curveball or two thrown in to delight and tease the tastebuds.
“I like to showcase the food without playing around or touching it too much” says Chef Logan. The kitchen powerhouse enjoys creating dishes without too many frills or carb fillers. “Simple plating enables diners to focus on the core ingredient, be it a meat, poultry or seafood offering. We try to use fresh local ingredients whenever possible.”
Opened last December, Bounty is operated by Hooked Hospitality Group that also owns Bait in Bangsar. Framed by floor-to-ceiling windows, Bounty’s interior is outfitted with art deco furnishings loosely reminiscent of 1960s Kuala Lumpur, with food displays reflective of the bountiful offerings of its city surroundings. Raw brick walls decorated with repurposed, multi-colour vintage door grills enhance the vibrant vibes and clean lined furnishings.
The bistro’s focal point is an open pastry studio helmed by pastry chef Heng Jung Yang and his team who demonstrate their talents in front of customers. It's an added plus point as it means the gourmet breads served here are truly freshly baked.
According to Chef Logan, Bounty specialises in an unfussy, contemporary European (French, Italian and Mediterranean) menu using fresh, quality ingredients at accessible prices for the average diners. His handiwork fits the resto's hipster ambiance too.
“The a la carte line-up is changed on a quarterly basis. With the new menu coming into force, we will proffer new options but popular choices like Grilled Spatchcock will remain. Expect larger portions for main courses to give better value and for communal sharing.”
The dainty, crisp and flaky Salted Cronut with White Truffle Butter served gratis for dinner is a nice way of starting things on the right note. My previous encounters with cronut weren't anything to shout about so this creation hit the spot. Especially when it was smeared with subtly musky truffle butter. Yums!!
Non-beef eaters who hanker for French onion soup will be pleased to know Chef Logan whips up a mean French 5 Onion Soup (RM23) with crouton, gratinated cheese and poached egg. Using a clear base of chicken consommé culled from chicken carcasses and wings, he blends 5 types of onion: red, white and yellow onion, scallion and shallot.
The onions are gently caramelized in white wine vinegar for the sublime soup. A poached egg with molten yolk, a slice of melted gruyere cheese crusted crouton and chopped flat leaf parsley complete the rich and hearty taste dimension.
Heirloom Tomato Soup (RM23) with smoked duck bits, capsicum salsa and grated hardboiled egg is another notable choice. Flat leaf parsley and a slice of baked focaccia lend extra nuance and texture to the soulful soup which draws inspiration from the Spanish cold soup of salmorejo (gazpacho’s richer, deeper ‘cousin’ from Córdoba).
There is more than one way to rustle up a salad and the Octopus Salad (RM38 best for sharing) proves it. Reinterpreted from a Basque speciality, the mound of roasted veges: baby carrots, capsicum, zucchini, piquillo pepper, onion, garlic and potato come liberally doused in mayo and some wild rocket. The citrus marinated octopus, which has been sous vide for 80 minutes, is lightly grilled and sliced for the salad. Personally, I hanker for more rocket leaves and less mayo in the dish.
Baked Lamb Kofta (RM29) with tomato chutney, harissa dip, Greek yoghurt and mint leaves pique our tastebuds further. Minced from lamb leg meat, Chef Logan flavours the patties with cumin, onion, garlic, sumac, coriander, turmeric, paprika and mint. Once cooked, the spice-suffused patties are delicious with the stealthy hot harissa dip leaving your tongue a-tingling while the tangy yoghurt cools things down.
Roasted Wagyu Bone Marrow (RM32) with bordelaise sauce, basil pesto, onion jam and grilled bread is an acquired delicacy for some. To enjoy, smear toasted slices of bread with onion jam then top with flat leaf parsley and cheese shavings. Scoop the marrow onto the bread slices and you’d find the gloopy clumps tastes reminiscent of foie gras with a feral aftertaste.
Saffron and sumac emerged as the condiments of choice in three subsequent dishes: grilled spatchcock, prawn with risotto and barramundi. The complex spice profile renders the tender, smoky rum-basted Roasted Spatchcock a riot of aromatic accents. Complemented by Chilli Butter, Roasted Veggies, Potatoes & Garden Greens, the juicy bird has become a raveworthy staple with the lunch crowd.
Seared on one side and charbroiled on the skin side for crispness, the Barramundi (RM30) with Sautéed Clams a la Vongole is light on the palate; its delicate sweetness amplified by the oceanic nuance of cherrystone clams in a pool of aromatic sauce. Chef Logan reveal some tobacco infused water is used to bestow hints of spicy smokiness to the concoction of fresh chilli, sliced garlic and Italian parsley. Cooked with Carotina oil, the sauce is flambéed with sauternes (sweet French wine) for the finishing touch.
Kimchi paste lends depth and bright robustness to the Risotto Tiger Prawn (RM49). Marinated in rum, the inherent sweetness of the prawn medallions forms a sublime affinity with the creamy, nutty short-grained arborio rice perfumed with saffron.
The light and mildly sweet Frozen Chestnut Parfait (RM26) is a most welcome treat in our current sweltering weather but is partly eclipsed by the stellar Hot Vanilla Soufflé (RM25) infused with Vietnamese cinnamon. One of the trickiest desserts to accomplish, it easily stole the thunder with its pouffy, foamy lightness and eggy richness.
Tobacco again lends some oomph to the Coffee Creme Brûlée (RM25), an ultra-lush creamy treat which evoked the coffee overtone well.
Bounty (The Journal KL, Jalan Inai, KL) is opened daily from 6.30am to 11.00pm. For reservations, call tel: 03-2110-5520 or visit www.thekljournalhotel.com/dine for more information.