Stoked at Kasah, Medan Damansara: Restaurant Review

Posts by Sean Yoong
August 31, 2015
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Stoked fans the embers of a scorching-hot new era for Medan Damansara’s restaurant enclave – replacing Ribs By Vintry, this admirably ambitious effort by KL’s long-venerated Vintry group is one of 2015’s most notable F&B freshmen, with a rustic elegance that evokes a French wine cellar & an oven-powered oeuvre that sparkles with steaks, seafood & much, much more.

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Stoked may be Asia’s first restaurant to bank on Bertha, a British-built, cast-iron charcoal & wood-fired oven that fuels meat-loving establishments across England, from Searcys at The Barbican in London to The Plough Ivy Hatch in Kent. Stoke’s mild-mannered executive chef Yu Yao oversees the 300-kilogramme oven, carefully cooking everything from meat to vegetables at soaring temperatures of up to 600 degrees Celsius to lock in moisture & flavour while imbuing a smoky char in the produce.

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Start-To-Finish Consistency

This is one of those rare & precious restaurants with a start-to-finish consistency of thoughtful excellence. It begins the moment you enter, welcomed by a sterling service team (spearheaded by manager Daniel) that’s determined to take care of you thoroughly. Even the amuse bouche that emerges is far from a time-passing afterthought – whether it’s foie gras terrine with mango & balsamic sauce, cherry tomato stuffed with molten mozzarella, chicken tinged with truffles, duck with capsicum, or a bread roll with sumptuous butter, the curtain rises in a manner that foreshadows culinary stagecraft at its most captivating.

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Roasted Beetroot and a Medley of Roasted Field Fungi

Come ravenous & commence with the roasted beetroot, blood orange & mascarpone cheese (RM25), a composition of lyrical nuances that sing like the sweetest symphony. Stoked is also a maestro of mushrooms – its medley of roasted field fungi with confit garlic & onions (RM25) proves a persuasively orchestrated melody of earthy chords, aromatic notes & voluptuous tones.

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Pan-Fried Foie Gras with Cubed Mangoes

When Vintry founder Yin-How & his team first tasted this pan-fried foie gras with cubed mangoes (RM48), they realised they were on the right track in birthing an ingredient-driven restaurant that commands the understanding of what makes food good & how to showcase recipes that shimmer with skill, honesty & imagination.

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Seafood Showdown

Seafood showdown: Our vote goes to the grilled squid with arugula & truffle vinaigrette (RM38), thanks to its enjoyable subtleties of complex flavours, since the seared scallops (RM38; with orange & fennel salad) turned out a slight shade too dry. Still, both manage to impressively mix confidence & character in their conception with graceful restraint in their preparation.

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Steaks

Here comes the main event: Steaks are Stoked’s forte – the reasonably priced repertoire begins with the Blackmore Wagyu ‘Bavette’ Skirt Steak (RM80 for 200 grammes & RM115 for 300 grammes), wending its way through an Aussie chilled Black Angus rib-eye (RM78 & RM112), tenderloin (RM88 & RM125), USDA Prime rib-eye (RM98 for 200 grammes) & Wagyu Sirloin MB5 (RM108 & RM155), tackled with a consummate respect for the meat that results in robustly flavoursome succulence.

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Yin-How’s inspiration for Stoked stems from a visit years ago to Victor Arguinzoniz’s Asador Etxebarri in the Basque Country. It’s no surprise then that the passion for flame-licked meat burns bright here – Stoked plans to soon also offer a steak tasting platter for sharing & sampling, featuring three cuts in one serving. Here’s a potential preview, with slabs of rib-eye, tenderloin & the one-off bonus of a lamb loin – unbeatable for those evenings when you need to chow down on meat & more meat.

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The zealously clear-eyed attention to detail extends to the meal’s accoutrements – distinctive sauces like the wasabi yuzu that packs a green chilli pepper’s punch, intriguing salts like the Hawaiian Black Lava, cutlery like Laguiole knives, & even the water: the UK Chefs’ Choice award-winning Hildon mineral water, chosen for a natural purity that complements Stoke’s fare.

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The Fish

Fans of Stoked will be forced to make multiple visits here – fish is a should-order, with a locavore philosophy that brings in Malaysian catch like a whole flounder (seasonal prices prevail) from Perak’s coastal town of Hutan Melintang & coral trout (RM78) from Selangor’s Tanjung Karang. The flounder we had was clearly a beautiful fish, & it was ravishingly done.

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Off-Menu Specials

It could be worth enquiring about off-menu specials – you may be rewarded with juicy, fleshy guinea fowl. But if not, take consolation in the always-available guinea fowl eggs en cocotte, luscious with prosciutto, button mushrooms & truffle oil.

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Customers who cherished Ribs By Vintry will be heartened to learn that Stoked still serves pork ribs, including the finger-lickin’ rosemary Iberico (RM72), the Barbarian Ribs (RM74) & Original BBQ Ribs (RM45). Enjoy with oven-cooked sides like Japanese purple sweet potatoes (RM15) or pumpkin chunks with prosciutto crumbs (RM15); even the leeks, a vegetable we love to hate, turn out to be atypically tender & tasty.

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Desserts

When dessert arrived, we thought the best was over – but we were wrong. Stoked has produced an unbearably compelling sticky date pudding (RM25) that ranks as the best we’ve had in KL – it scores A+ for taste (sweetly punchy but not cloying), A+ for texture (straddling the balance between fluffy & dense), A+ for temperature (fresh & warm), served with sea salt for extra dynamics & Fatbaby vanilla ice cream for an exuberant contrast. One of our favourite desserts this year, no ifs, ands or buts.

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Nothing else quite compares to the pudding’s magnificence, but the dark chocolate mousse & soil (RM25) is nonetheless a cacao lover’s fantasy, while the mixed fruit salad with yuzu ice cream (RM25) comprises a dreamy mix of ripe morsels of avocado, grapes, dragon fruit, kiwi fruit & mango. Even the dark choc truffles yield a pleasant surprise – the tang of ginger.

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A discussion of Stoked wouldn’t be complete without its Italian-built Enomatic wine dispensers, which enables customers to try a meticulously curated, evolving selection of 24 wines – including some uncommon vintages – in three serving sizes: a 25-ml tasting portion, a 75-ml half-glass & a 125-ml full glass. Prices range from RM5 for some tasters to RM20-RM56 for a glass.

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It’s a enlivening & enlightening experience, both for the wine novice & the pundit, taking the Vintry brand to fun new heights. For a steak/seafood & wine dinner, Stoked seems an easy recommendation; many thanks to the team here for the hospitality.

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Location and Contact Details

Stoked

Jalan Kasah, Bukit Damansara, Damansara Heights

Tel: +603-2096-1645

Tues-Sun, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-late

Find: Contact details and map for Stoked

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