An uninformed customer would assume that Define: food is another restaurant that is riding on the casual dining trend sweeping Kuala Lumpur like a tidal wave.
It ticks off all the right boxes—from location to ambiance and a carefully curated list of classic favourites.
Its simplicity and unruffled casualness is a welcome respite in the bustling Mid Valley Megamall. All it takes is one sit-down meal at Define: food to realise that there is more than meets the eye (and palate).
“We try to put something unexpected in the dishes that we create here, even though at first glance of the menu, the fare may seem to appear normal or unexciting,” he adds.
A familiar face on the Asian Food Channel, Malcolm spent years perfecting his culinary skills in the kitchens of leading restaurants in KL as well as abroad.
Through input from his fellow co-founders, Ryan and Bryan, based on their well-honed palates and preferences, Malcolm works to create unique flavours and pairs it with fascinating food presentations, using the best ingredients he can source.
Take the restaurant’s Ceasar salad, for instance—yes, you read that right. I triple-checked on its spelling with Ryan, who laughed at my confusion and explained that it was a subtle way for them to convey their philosophy of comfort food with a twist.
Crisp Romaine is tossed generously with butter-baked croutons, crispy Parmesan chips, shaved grana padano and quail egg before being topped with thinly sliced homemade duck bacon.
Ryan recommends topping the salad with the house-made salmon gravlax, a Nordic-style salmon cured in-house by Malcolm. The succulence of the fish is a refreshing texture that complements the lightness of the salad’s dressing and the saltiness from the duck bacon.
Befitting its concept as a place for like-minded individuals to have a good time over food, the portions for the appetisers are generous, like the seared US Diver scallops, served with pumpkin coulis, smoked duck snow and pea ragout or the seared foie gras with house-made cranberry jam, toasted brioche and rocket salad.
The scallops are cooked just right so you can taste the flavours of the ocean with each bite. Make sure you scrape every bit of sauce and condiment on your plate because Malcolm and his team made them from scratch.
In KL, a good plate of crab cake is hard to come by, but Malcolm’s does not disappoint, as it is made with 100 per cent crabmeat—no breadcrumb fillers here, thank you very much. A citrusy yoghurt swirl and Oriental macerated mangoes as a side offers enough tartness to complement the natural flavours of the crab cake.
If soups are your comfort food, the light mushroom soup is a favourite choice.
Moving on to the mains, satisfy your lust for meats with a serving of the truffled mushroom wagyu burger, served with mushroom ragout, melted Gruyère cheese, fries and homemade BBQ ketchup. The buns of the burgers are made using Malcolm’s own recipe, which complements the meaty patty that is always served medium-well.
Deserving special mention is the handmade BBQ sauce, made with sun-dried tomatoes for a more rounded palate of flavour when compared to the standard ketchup.
A must-try here is definitely the duck confit, served with potato Lyonnaise, rocket salad, cranberry jam and poached egg. Providing a juicy burst of flavour with every bite, the duck confit is not of the dry and salty variety—evidence of Malcolm’s keen understanding on local flavours and preferences.
Do also give the Harissa spice rub lamb striploin a go, as well as the flavourful Asian-inspired honey soy glazed butter cod.
Desserts here are sublime, especially the bombe Alaska topped with the house-made pandan coconut ice cream and apple feuille de brick.
While the wines and alcoholic beverage list is short at the moment, the opening of the restaurant’s bar and alfresco dining area is set to see the drinks menu expanding—which gives me another excuse to visit again.
For more information, visit their Facebook page here.
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