In a world where fast food rules, it’s immensely comforting to know that heritage cuisines still hold a special place in the hearts of gourmands who take pleasure not only in savouring every bite, but also learning about the intriguing origins of these traditional recipes that have been lovingly passed down for generations. OpenHouse is one such restaurant that is serving up a fresh take on classic Malaysian recipes for the urban generation. Tucked just above the new Delirium Cafe at Suria KLCC, this restaurant has been making waves not just for its stunning chic-interiors, but for also championing recipes that would have otherwise become lost in the annals of time.
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The brainchild of Acme Bar & Coffee founders Andrew Wong and Brian Quirk, it is evident from the moment you flip through the menu that this contemporary dining experience takes its reverence for the past very seriously. According to Wong, the selection process for the recipes involved numerous months of in-depth research as crew members made multiple pilgrimages to their hometowns to dig up old family recipes and consult with their elders about precious culinary secrets from a bygone era. The result: a curated menu the not only shines a spotlight on familiar staples, but also presents a renewed appreciation of Malaysia’s immense biodiversity.
At the OpenHouse, well-known dishes are elevated with unexpected ingredients sourced from either local farms or foraged from the jungle. Great examples of this include smoked duck served with a tropical salsa made of ciku fruit; a comforting bowl of soup ekor infused with the intense flavours of the buah kepayang seed; the Pecel Salad which serves up a tasty mix of exotic village greens including banana heart, pucuk gajus and ulang cakar; as well as steamed glutinous rice served in pitcher plants with a side of smooth coconut cream.
A fantastic start for first-timers would be the Ingkung Chicken Pasta, a lip-smacking meal that brings out the best of lemak cili api and ayam percik. Those looking for a little bit of everything can opt for the Chef’s Tasting Menu (MYR59) which presents a generous spread comprising vegetable, seafood and meat dishes paired with rice and heady sambal. Fans of this addictive condiment will be pleased to know that OpenHouse offers six unique variations of this Malaysian kitchen staple, all of which are hand-blended at the restaurant using a pestle and mortar so as to preserve the integrity of the unique textures and flavours.
Diners with a taste for the exotic will definitely want to sink their teeth into the unique Horseshoe Crab Roe Kerabu. Served on the crustacean’s other-worldly shell, this tangy-yet-sweet salad provides plenty of bite thanks to the unique texture of the chewy crab roe. We recommend washing it down with a glass of Bidara Rimba, a healthy jungle tonic of rosemary, lemon, grenadine served with precious honey harvested from the trees by the orang asli from the Tualang.
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For those who still have room for dessert, have a go at the Bubur Som Som. Drizzled with generous slivers of gula tabung syrup, this panna cotta-like dessert keeps things light with coconut milk and rice flour while adding a delightful gula melaka jelly surprise at its centre. If it’s a real guilty pleasure that you’re after, you can’t go wrong with the Keria Churros. Made from orange sweet potato and wheat flour, each perfectly-fried bundle comes served with a generous dollop of whipped milo butter served with ribbons of caramel. If there’s anything that dining at the OpenHouse proves, it would be that sometimes the best menu innovations can come from a simple reframing of a familiar idea.
OpenHouse, G48 Suria KLCC, Lakeside,
Tel: +603 2162 0888, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org