Pop Up Dining KL is a collaboration of young chefs, putting their food out there to serve to a group of guests in pop up venues [source]. It is almost as if they are ninjas appearing whenever they so please to serve a fine dinner for private guests, and once they leave, they disappear with the night till the next session.
Monday happens to be their favourite day of the week to set up their pop up diner. Which Monday to be exact? You've got to check their Instagram for that. As for the location, they have been based at Jaslyn Cakes for a few dinners now but intend to do their next pop up at another location, perhaps still within the Bangsar suburb.
* I apologise if the lighting in the photos may seem "off" to you. The location had low-key lighting and I for one am not an expert on that, unfortunately.
So my friend, Lydia, and I got to experience this:
I noticed that they don't name their foods but rather simply include the ingredients which work as both the title and description. Quite clever.
A plate of rice crackers with a certain tomato-based topping greeted us upon arrival. Not the best ice-breaker but it was a start - a minimally seasoned snack to kickstart those tastebuds.
I absolutely love sourdough bread and am particularly glad it was served with more than enough butter, though I wish I had an entire slice of bread rather half. Crusty with a soft, warm and dense middle, this was the perfect tummy warmer. Also, is anyone else a fan of those slightly burnt edges of breads that gives off the most profound flavour? Because I am.
Prawn, sorrel, chicken and onion sauce.
Had to Google up what a sorrel was and it's apparently used in cooking for its acidic flavour. Combined with the sweetness of the onion sauce and the prawns, it added freshness to each bite taken with it.
Tomatoes, lala, pegaga, pickled shallot, cured egg yolk, sea butter.
These various types of tomatoes were blanched, giving that burst of elegantly refreshing juice upon arrival in your mouth. The cured egg yolk was used as garnish on the top but the highlight, I believe, was the sea butter base made with obviously butter and also flavourful juices from the lala. It sounds like a handful putting salt into butter but that did not threaten the freshness of the entire dish. This has to be one of my favourites of the menu.
Rice congee, ikan bilis (anchovies), egg, local greens, fish sauce caramel, spring onion
"Congee? Really? What possible greatness can it hold besides being just ... congee?" My exact thoughts pre-dinner. And guess what? I took back what I said.
There's nothing much to be said about the rice congee itself other than it being well done - not too watery nor chunky. The fish caramel sauce was slightly peculiar. Typically, I enjoy congee with soy sauce and just soy sauce so having some sweetness was an interesting experience for something savoury and fishy. Also, do you see that egg? It is a sous vide egg - also pretty much like a poached egg but rather having vinegar in the water, the egg is slow-cooked at a certain temperature. Dear restaurants who do not know how a proper runny egg is like, please find the image above your reference.
This could be one of the better congees so far but I'm sorry, nothing beats my mom's homemade one.
Duck breast, beetroot, cucumber, cashew nut leaf.
The congee was filling but there was still space for one more. This beautiful duck breast, which was tender enough to render a phrase of weak-in-the-knees, claimed the final course before dessert. For someone who is not a fan of beetroot, the sauce was a surprising delight. You can tell it's quite thick from the way it can potentially run all over the plate but just refuses to.
Rose apple, milk, meringue.
Dessert was a milky ice cream with apple slices with a subtle rose flavour and meringue. The ice cream melted fairly quickly and became cream-like at the end. I'm not sure how to describe the apples. The texture is comparable to the blanched tomatoes but it was more like having extremely juicy and cool apples. I would've very much preferred the ice cream to be the highlight.
Dinner ended with hot rose tea and financiers a.k.a. tiny French cakes which are such a delight with tea. We got to take more home as well!
Thank you, Pop Up Dining KL for having us :)
If you're interested, follow their Instagram or 'like' their Facebook page to get the latest announcements and menu for the next session.